Spiritual insights, reflections, and meditations on life, death, and rebirth, expressed through food.
Summer's Bounty, Life's Mysteries
Not too long ago, as I was baking a batch of cupcakes, it dawned on me why I love baking so much. I always thought it was because it was a great indulgence for my perfectionist side; everything has to be correctly measured or it won’t come out right. I’m sure that’s still part of it, but I came across a bigger reason for my deep affection. It is because, to me, it so perfectly embodies the life-death-rebirth cycle. The grain grows, it is harvested, ground into flour, and now I am giving it new life as cupcakes.
I spent some time meditating on this realization. I have never dealt well with death. When, as a child, my dog had to be put to sleep, I cried for months. In my adult years, the losses of family members sent me reeling. And when my father died a few years ago, I fell into a deep depression. Death frightened me. Perhaps not death itself, but the loss of control; the fact that everything comfortable and familiar could be snatched away without any notice. I saw only life and death. I could not yet see rebirth as a part of this cycle.
For years after the death of my father, I tried to avoid looking at death in any way, shape, or form. I did not understand the goddesses of death and rebirth. But in the past few months, those goddesses have started whispering to me. Whispering about rebirth, that I may understand the nature of the entire life cycle. They spoke to me in the only language I can really understand… food. They whispered that I also carry out their sacred tasks of overseeing life, death, and rebirth, every time I create a new food from something that had once been alive in a different form.
This thought came to me again the other day as I was preparing some fresh fruit to be frozen, so that I can preserve summer’s beautiful flavors all winter long. At first I dismissed it as silly, but quickly realized that the fruit I was slicing was fruit from the earth; fruit of the Goddess herself. Why shouldn’t I consider my task a part of the sacred life-death-rebirth cycle? Who knows what new life I will give to the mangoes, strawberries, peaches, and bananas.
I find the rebirth aspect of the cycle very exciting. It’s like the feeling I get when I am standing in the kitchen, raw ingredients at hand, but nothing has been created from them yet. It’s a time when absolutely anything is possible! And so I hope it is for my loved ones who have crossed over. While I mourn the loss of their physical presence in my life, I am exhilarated by the thought that they now have a new blank canvas to work on, and anything and everything is possible for them. And now when I cook or bake? I hear the whispers of goddesses and loved ones, saying “take joy in your new creation… take joy in the rebirth”!
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