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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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I am a 35 year old Pagan and professional baker living in South Carolina, originally from Massachusetts. I have been practicing Paganism for 10 years, and have been cooking and baking much, much longer.


  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    Yes! Cooking and eating is such a lovely part of the cycle!

  • some who call me tim
    some who call me tim Saturday, 22 March 2014

    Merry Meet!

    What a magical journey reading that riveting blog post! I only skimmed the first paragraph as I was busy casting glyph of warding on the secret entrence to my Wizards tower. Now when Lizann mentions "the cycle" is she referring to her menstrual one because if so that is disgusting and against nature itself.

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