Friday, January 06, 2006

Eat like an Egyptian with Isis



In the beginning of the year Isis is being celebrated. Isis is one of the best known Goddesses. She is the main Egyptian Goddess, who was worshipped all over the Roman empire, and who is the main model of Virgin Mary mother of Jesus. Isis is a foremost symbol of motherhood, wifehood and sisterhood, and thus she is the Goddess of Women. Some women don't like the submissive trait in Isis, and choose to worship another face of Goddess. But there is a lot more about Isis people would need to know and find out...

"Isis rules life, magic, fate, civilization, spells, motherhood, maternal love, Nature, Egypt (especially the Nile Delta and the city of Alexandria), growth, decline, decay, regeneration, spirituality, laws, wind, rivers, sleep, dreams, serpents, daytime, moisture, storms, thunder, lightning, secrets, initiation, agriculture, orchards, cycles, war, peace, necessity, navigation, seaports, anchors, sea breezes, the sea, the heavens, outer space, stars (especially the northern constellations), material reality, solid form, the year, conjugal love, household arts, writing implements, medical schools, the Mysteries, and human affairs. She also rules mooring poles, travel by sea, Words of Power, breeze from the North, the breath of life, the crashing of waves, the sprouting of seeds, the unfurling of leaves, the opening of flowers, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the ebb and flow of tides, the cresting and flooding of rivers, and the entire Universe. Isis is the matron of widows, single mothers, and travelers."

I am very interested in ancient cooking, so Isis is going to serve an ancient Egyptian dinner to her servants.
The poor people usually ate bread, beans, garlic and beer, but Egypt was a center of culture already when Isis was openly worshipped there. There were fruits, oil and wine from all around the world - people even suspect that there was a trade route to South America, because they have found traces of cocaine in some mummies... and cocaine exists only in South America. There was a great variety of meats, cattle, mutton, camel, birds of all kinds (not chicken, though...) and a lot of fish. Even pigs were eaten at Nile delta. Milk products were also present. As Egypt was the center of wheat farming area, the baking skills were very high, and all kinds of breads and cakes were served.

Ancient Egyptian recipes
Modern Egyptian recipes

Ancient Egyptian date candy

And here's Nancy's Egyptian Resources, for more recipes, but mainly for entertainment for Isis' dinner - among other things; how to pronounce ancient Egyptian...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Japanese meal with Benten


Benten - a Hindu Goddess who invaded Japan

Benten, Benzaiten or Bensaitensama is the best known Japanese Goddess - she is even more popular as Amaterasu. She is actually Sarasvati who moved to Japan with Buddhism and was recognized as the Shinto Goddess Itsukushima Hime.

Benten is a dragon Goddess who is remembered at New Year. She is a water goddess - Sarasvati was originally mother of all rivers, but there are not so many rivers in Japan, and by emerging with Itsukushima Hime (Ichikishima-Hime) Benten become a sea Goddess. Ocean is the Mother of all things, the Universal Womb, and so is Benten. As such She is also the Goddess of all creation, and especially arts and crafts. In Japan technology is seen as a craft and all science is brought forth from arts. So Benten is also the Goddess of technology and science. Just like Sarasvati.

Benten is often seen as the creative force of Nature - shakti, as it's called in Hinduism - and this forms an idea of that the Pantheistic nature of Shinto makes it actually a Goddess religion. It has quite a lot in common with general Neo-Paganism... no holy scriptures, no absolutes, free individual moral code, Divine Couple, pantheism... there's even a "cast" of "high priestesses", mikos. "Shinto emphasizes right practice, sensibility, and attitude."
About Shinto at ReligiousTolerance.org

Then the food:
I am not very fond of Japanese food. My husband on the other hand is.

Japanese New Year's Food - osechi-ryori
A Japanese Cuisine Dinner Club Menu
Traditional Japanese Food Recipes
Japanese food by Setsuko Yoshizuka
A typical Japanese home meal - Ichiyu Sansai - soup and three

Monday, January 02, 2006

Peacock with Jana



Jana - the Goddess of the New Year

I am very fond of food blogs. I love cookbooks and books about and with cooking, and I love writing too - and then I'm a Pagan too, who loves myths and legends - and Goddess. I think this is a great opportunity to combine it all.

Jana was an ancient Roman moon Goddess. She is the "foremother" of both Juno and Diana - these two better known Roman Goddesses were born with dividing Jana into two, and adding Hera to one part and Artemis to the other.

Jana had two faces, just like her husband Janus - and she could see everything. Her animal was the peacock, with hundreds of eyes in its tail. Jana, as the moon Goddess, used also moon as her eyes, and all the reflecting surfaces, water, shining metal - mirrors. Mirrors are sacred to Jana. At New Year people did a lot of mirror magic, and the most popular entertainment at the change of year was scrying. Jana, the Goddess who sees all, was the Goddess of divination as well, and scrying from water and mirrors are her gift of vision to those who honor her.

Jana's food:

Cooking peafowl
It is interesting how the mere idea feels uneasy... I understand that a peacock is just a bird, not much different from a chicken, duck, pheasant or any other fowl - but I suppose the beauty is meant to be alive... At the medieval times, peacocks were often served with the skin put back on the roasted bird. (Here's a medieval recipe and a modern variant)

Flannery O'Connor's Peacock Chili

Recipes with Moon
It is interesting how much the moon inspires people...

Moon pudding

Eggless Peacock Green China Grass Delight
This is a very fascinating Indian milk pudding spiced with cardamon