After a long winter it feels like Spring is finally in the air and with the Spring Equinox today, we thought it was time for a bit of spring cleaning for our minds as well as our homes...
Spiritual Spring Cleaning: the Bean Blessing
The change of season at the Vernal Equinox, on March 21, brings about the need for new energies, which you can engender with cleansing. Here is an ancient way to cast out “the old” and bring in glad tidings and positive new beginnings for your friends and family.
Grab a bag of beans from your kitchen and invite your circle over. In ancient times, many pagan peoples, from Incans to Egyptians and Greeks, believed beans contained evil spirits, so this rite comes from that lineage. Go to your roof or the highest point of your house which you can get to safely and give everyone a handful of beans. Each person throws one bean at a time, calling out whatever they need to bid goodbye to—a bad habit, nightmare job, whatever your personal demons may be. After everyone has tossed the negativity and discord away, celebrate the clean slate. Fun note, if you toss lentils into a barren field in the spring, by fall, you will be able to harvest enough for many pots of soup!
As winter thaws into spring, bulbs are the first to do the work of bringing forth the new season. An old-fashioned food that is now wildly popular is ramps (wild garlic), formerly the domain of hill folk and farm-women. Even the chicest of city chefs have gone wild for ramps, which are akin to leeks and
can substitute for each other in recipes. Ramps are more powerfully pungent. The beauty of this recipe is that rice and ramps take 20 minutes to cook. This change-of-seasons dish combines risotto-style rice with a harbinger of spring to delightful result. The old wives and hearth witches who were the first to explore ramps believed this healing green could prevent colds and flu.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup (75g) sliced ramp (wild garlic) bulbs
11⁄2 cups (280g) long grain rice
3 cups (720ml) unsalted
organic chicken stock
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄2 cup (120ml) finely minced ramp (wild garlic) greens
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Toss in the sliced ramp bulbs and cook for 3–5 minutes until they soften, stirring gently. Add the rice to the pan and stir well to mix the rice, butter, and ramps and get the rice sticky with butter. After 2 minutes, add the chicken stock, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil, stir three times counterclockwise, and then turn the heat down low and let simmer for 20 minutes. At that point, all of the liquid should have been absorbed by the rice. Turn the heat off and add half of the minced ramp greens into the rice. Pour the ramped-up rice into a serving bowl and sprinkle the rest of the minced greens on the top as a garnish.
Before you and your guests begin, stop and breathe in the healing savory greens. This is also an occasion to share stories of the wise women and elders in your life and honor all they have passed down.
For more rituals and recipes to celebrate the festivals of the season, check out The Book of Kitchen Witchery by Cerridwen Greenleaf.