Sacred Food

figs rounded’cornersThere are not many things more universally sacred than food and water. In both ancient and modern times, life requires most basically water, food, and an agreeable environment.

In almost every culture throughout the world, food is used in the celebrations of sacred ceremonies and as sacred offerings. Food is featured in the histories, myths, symbols, art, and legends of most every people and religion. Plants and animals used for food are held in the highest regard.

There are cultures that use certain foods and herbs as sacred medicine for powerful healing, heightened spiritual awareness, and spiritual communion.

In most of the world’s religious texts, there are doctrines, rules, special diets for daily life and fasting, and guidelines on what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, and where to eat. Whether part of religious festivals, traditions, or rituals, or served during services at holy places or at home, sacred foods represent an important segment of religion and culture.

This respect for, appreciation of, and reverence to food is something that gets lost in the shuffle of our daily lives.

How then, can we rekindle the sacred relationship between ourselves and our food?

Honoring Food As Sacred

“We celebrate God’s creation of a self-sustaining web of life in which plants, animals, land, water, air, and human beings are interwoven. There are many relationships in this web that can heal or damage the web itself. Let us take actions that heal.”
– Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Here are some ways we can bring the sacred back into practice to nourish not only our bodies, but our Spirits as well:

1. Explore which foods and eating practices are sacred in your religion or culture and include those that are fitting to your personal practice.
2. Connect with your food. Tend a garden and grow your own food, include some food from your garden in your meals as often as possible, find out how and where your food is cultivated, raised, prepared, and by whom.
3. Give thanks. Enter a light state of meditation before your meal or say your version of a pre-meal Prayer or Grace. You may choose to honor all life that was sacrificed to bring you this meal. You may also bless your food before the meal and at any time while growing or preparing the food.
4. Take only what you need. This respects not only your own body, but all of the resources and life-force energy that went into the food. Also, consider making a food offering (one way is to honor an altar of your choice, or make a Spirit Plate such as the Native American tradition).
5. Appreciate your food with all of your senses. Using all of your senses heightens awareness on multiple levels of not only your food, but the world around you and can truly be considered a spiritual activity.
6. Recognizing which foods are best for you. This is an intimate way of connecting with how foods interact and commune with your unique self. By observing this and choosing foods that serve your body temple in the best way and avoiding foods that contribute to poor personal health, you honor this connection in the most basic way.
7. Share. Sharing food with others in a communal meal is a most ancient, and most sacred, act of love. It’s both nourishing and nurturing to not only the body, but the Spirit as well.

Common Sacred Foods

Include enough nutritious foods in your diet to honor your sacred temple. Sacred foods give nourishment, energy, strength, vitality, and may have healing or other properties. Here is a list of some of the most common:

  • Grains (Wheat, Corn, Rice, Spelt, Sorghum, etc.)
  • Grain Products (Breads, Cakes, Pastries, Dumplings, etc.)
  • Mother’s Milk and Dairy Products (Ghee, Butter, Cheese, Cream)
  • Eggs
  • Seeds
  • Beans and Legumes
  • Fish and Fish Roe
  • Apples
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Cacao
  • Other Tree Fruits
  • Honey
  • Wine
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Edible Flowers

The sacred earth-food-body-spirit connection can be nurtured by shifting our eating focus from the self, to the divine. This can cultivate at any point in the eating process; from buying our food, to preparing it, to consuming it. With intention and purpose, we turn an ordinary meal into a sacred one.

In what ways is food sacred to you? What can you focus on to strengthen your personal spiritual connection with food? Let me know and share below!

2 comments

Such an important concept of thinking about rituals around food! So many people eat without thinking, in front of a tv, while doing something else. Treating food as sacred also, in my opinion, increases its nurturing and digestion and therefore availability of nutrients. Food IS sacred, and food is also medicine. It’s important to respect it. Great piece. Thanks for bringing light to it.

by teri on April 29, 2015 at 11:02 am. Reply #

I got good info from your blog

by My Stakkeland on August 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm. Reply #

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