An excerpt from The Thelemic Cookbook: Cooking with Correspondences by Lita-Luise Chappell
A Feast Menu for the Spring Equinox
March 19, 20, 21 or 22
At each Spring Equinox nature is called upon to once again perform its act of regeneration. It is the celebration of a new year with the promise of renewal and rebirth. We may rejoice for the foods of this season are at their most young and tender. It is time when the earth begins to warm, when seeds take root, and a pulsating force for new life begins.
The Thelemic calendar celebrates the Rituals of the Elements according to the nature of the elements: Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. Many pagan and mystical traditions hold these rituals at the equinoxes and solstices, but many of them differ as to their interpretations of which element is assigned to each season. Each offers sound reasoning because in each geographical area an element will predominate. There is not just one way of looking at the matter. It is simply the convention that one learns and to which one becomes attached, whether it is Wiccan or Celtic, Chinese or Indian, or Platonic or Aristotelian. Sometimes spring is of air, sometimes of water, and—as in the Chinese system—it is of wood. Sometimes summer is of fire, sometimes it is of water. Sometimes autumn is of water or of metal or of air. Sometimes winter is of earth and sometimes of water. There has always been some debate about which element belongs to which season. The best way to celebrate is to know which element is dominant in your geographic region in each season.
In the Gnostic Mass when the deacon recites the calendar, he or she lets us know “there are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.” In Crowley’s commentaries in The Law is for All, for verse 36 in the second chapter, he gives us his perspective: “In particular the entry of the sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the equinoxes and solstices are suitable for festivals.” The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. When the sun passes through Aries, a fire sign, it will be spring. When the sun passes through Cancer, a water sign, it will be summer. When the sun passes through Libra, an air sign, it will be autumn. When the sun passes through Capricorn, an earth sign, it will be winter. This is, of course, reversed for the southern hemisphere. Aries marks autumn, Cancer marks winter, Libra marks spring, and Capricorn marks summer. I will, however, be presenting a different system.
In North America most of us do not equate spring with fire, or summer with water. It is more evident—and our thermometers confirm it—that although there may be some warm days in spring, the hottest part of the year is in the summer. And although it might rain in summer, it generally rains much more in spring. Whenever an element is present to a greater extent than all others, it becomes self-evident. Thus for this book I have assigned fire to summer, water to spring, air to autumn, and earth to winter. For the first seasonal feast of the year, spring foods and those foods that have the pronounced quality of water will take precedence.
A spring menu is pretty easy to assemble, especially when one can find a vast array of fruits and vegetables throughout its prolific season. These foods are the earliest and tenderest of what the season’s offerings will be. In fact, there are so many foods of spring that one cannot possibly eat all of them in one sitting, but here one will find a wide assortment to honor this season.
On the following pages are the full menu for ‘A Feast Menu for the Spring Equinox’, as well as sample recipes from some of its courses, read on to continue: