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Author Topic: cakes and ale origins  (Read 1936 times)

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earthmuffin

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cakes and ale origins
« on: August 06, 2012, 11:28:11 AM »

So I was munching on a zucchini muffin that the kids and I made for Lammas and as I ate I thanked the Goddess for her wonderful gifts. I visualized the grains and other vegetables as part of Her-- I conceive of her often as the entirety of the Earth and all its components. I reflected on how by eating the muffin, the Goddess becomes and is a part of me and I, as a creature upon this Earth, am a part of Her as well. This is basically how of conceive of the Goddess, rightly or wrongly. Anyway, I started thinking about Christian Holy Communion and couldn't wrap my brain around how the bread came to represent the body of Christ, when bread as the body of the Goddess flows logically from my conception of Goddess. These thoughts also led to wondering about the cakes and ale part of the Wiccan ritual and the origins of those. Did they come from pagan practices or were they more of an adaptation of Holy Communion? I did a little internet research as that is all I have access to at the moment but sadly am not much more enlightened on the topic. History buffs, please help straighten me out if you can.
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Eternal Seeker

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 12:57:58 PM »


This explains where the Christian concept of communion came from: http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=14467  As to the cakes and ale, "Breaking bread together" as a ritual predates modern man- there are reasons to believe Neanderthal & Cro Magnon man did this.

peace,
ES
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dragonspring

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 01:05:24 PM »

Rituals involving food and drink predate Christianity and are common in most religions and cultures throughout history. Sharing food has likely been an expression of community since the days of cavemen.  Food and drink are common finds among grave goods and offerings of food and drink for the Gods are the basis of many religious rites.  It is most likely that communion and other Christian sacraments grew out of Pagan practices.  It makes sense to me that Christians would relate sustenance to their deities as well as Pagans. And there is scriptural reference for it as well - "And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.’" -Luke 22:19, 20
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Nicodemus

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2012, 02:34:51 PM »

Hello
I am not a Christian nor a good historian, but my understanding is that water, wine, bread etc are symbolic and not often literal, for example:

Luke 4 - 13
Quote
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but  whoever drinks of the water that I will give him  will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become  in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir,  give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Link http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%204&version=ESV

Here, water means 'truth' or 'spiritual teaching'. When one recognises this then the more esoteric verses make more sense:

Jeremiah 2 - 13.
Quote
Be appalled,  O heavens, at this;
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
 they have forsaken  me,
    the fountain of  living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%202&version=ESV


Or rather, these people are not listening to the truth from the living Jesus and are not able to hold the truth like a broken cistern is not able to hold water.

The above are from a book by Maurice Nichol, called The New Man.

In my personal opinion bread represents the body, or the material world. Pretty obvious even today as we are what we eat. However it is significant to Jesus as he taught of the material versus the spiritual worlds, for example:


Quote
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."

In the Lord's prayer, in my view, earth represents the body and heaven represents our spirit. Both of which actually reside in us (The kingdom of God is inside you - Luke 17:21). So the Lord's prayer is a prayer to wish that the will of the spirit (heaven) comes to reign over the body (earth). The body undergoes lust etc, so if one wishes to overcome lust we must look to the spirit, for example. It can also be taken literally, as can 'bread, water, wine' etc.

Just some ideas, I am not an expert on this.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 02:41:20 PM by Nicodemus »
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earthmuffin

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2012, 03:01:38 PM »


This explains where the Christian concept of communion came from: http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=14467  As to the cakes and ale, "Breaking bread together" as a ritual predates modern man- there are reasons to believe Neanderthal & Cro Magnon man did this.

peace,
ES


ES, you're so bad!!  :laughfit:
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earthmuffin

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2012, 03:57:12 PM »

In my personal opinion bread represents the body, or the material world. Pretty obvious even today as we are what we eat. However it is significant to Jesus as he taught of the material versus the spiritual worlds, for example:

Quote
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."

In the Lord's prayer, in my view, earth represents the body and heaven represents our spirit. Both of which actually reside in us (The kingdom of God is inside you - Luke 17:21). So the Lord's prayer is a prayer to wish that the will of the spirit (heaven) comes to reign over the body (earth). The body undergoes lust etc, so if one wishes to overcome lust we must look to the spirit, for example. It can also be taken literally, as can 'bread, water, wine' etc.

Just some ideas, I am not an expert on this.

Thanks, Nicodemus. Your ideas have helped the symbolism from the Christian view make a little better sense to me, although I still wish I had a better understanding of our how the symbolism evolved and if either the Christian sacrament or neopagan ceremony derive from an ancient pagan tradition or if the neopagan ritual is more influenced by Christianity. I suppose I may never know.

I did find a blog that mentioned that Aradia, Gospel of the Witches mentions the cakes and ale ceremony. I looked at Aradia briefly and found this:

"The Conjuration of Meal.

I conjure thee, O Meal!
Who art indeed our body, since without thee
We could not live,
thou who (at first as seed)
Before becoming flower went in the earth,
Where all deep secrets hide, and then when ground
Didst dance like, dust in the wind, and yet meanwhile
Didst bear with thee in flitting, secrets strange!"

I know Aradia was influential to Gardner-- however, the authenticity for both Aradia and Gardner's basis for his Wiccan rituals are questioned by historians so I still haven't gotten very far.

I also found a reference in the Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft to the cakes and ale ceremony saying it may have been a reference to Jeremiah 44 "in which the Jewish women inform Jeremiah they will go back to offering wine and 'cakes bearing her image' to 'the Queen of Heaven' because in the past when they had followed those practices 'they had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no evil.'"
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 06:10:08 PM »

Baptism and the "cakes and ale" type ceremony were common in ancient Egypt. As well, the Catholic church took its vestments and ceremonies almost intact from the cult of Sol Invictus.
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smd6290

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 07:21:50 PM »


This explains where the Christian concept of communion came from: http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=14467  As to the cakes and ale, "Breaking bread together" as a ritual predates modern man- there are reasons to believe Neanderthal & Cro Magnon man did this.

peace,
ES


Hilarious, ES
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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 01:34:39 AM »


This explains where the Christian concept of communion came from: http://www.evtv1.com/player.aspx?itemnum=14467  As to the cakes and ale, "Breaking bread together" as a ritual predates modern man- there are reasons to believe Neanderthal & Cro Magnon man did this.

peace,
ES


Hilarious, ES

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vordan

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 03:33:26 PM »

I have read references to small wafers of bread being broken and drank with wine in rituals of both the cult of Isis and the cult of Mithra. Both of these religions find expression in Christianity, so the communion does predate Christianity and seems to of been borrowed from paganism. The solar cross was sometimes sometimes inscribed upon the bread also at least in the Mithric Sun God cult.
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earthmuffin

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 08:18:18 PM »

Very interesting... thanks. Do you all think it is plausible "the bread is body/wine is blood" could have grown out of the more literal connection between bread and body of the Goddess similar to the way I viewed the zucchini muffin as part of the Goddess?
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vordan

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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 08:47:08 PM »

Do you all think it is plausible "the bread is body/wine is blood" could have grown out of the more literal connection between bread and body of the Goddess similar to the way I viewed the zucchini muffin as part of the Goddess?

It seems that the male God tended to actually be embodied in the actual grain itself, especially as a solar diety dying in the Fall and being reborn in the Spring. The Goddess more as the earth itself in sacred union with the God giving birth to the grain. The Golden Bough, by Sir James George Frazier has lots of bits of European folklore he collected which seems to support this. In my beliefs, being rather pantheistic, divinity finds expression in all things and the great mystery in in the union of opposing forces to create life. In a sense when you partake of the bread you are partaking of the  divine power of creation given form. It is more then the Goddess, it is in a sense everything.
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Re: cakes and ale origins
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2012, 09:49:10 PM »

Good point. I view the God as a solar deity as well who supports the Goddess and all her parts with life-giving energy so in that sense, the muffins would be the product of the union of Goddess and God.
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