Chapter 12 - Cakes And Wine - continued (b)
A fourteenth century Sufi reference quoted in part by Crowley at the beginning of his work on sex magick, Liber Agapé, emphasised the Eucharistic nature of the cup of wine in magickal ceremonies, equating the two to the Moon and Sun. It says:
“The Sun is the wine and the Moon is the cup.
Pour the Sun into the Moon if you want to be filled.”
Writing in his book Magick about the use of food and drink as a Eucharist, Crowley observed:
“The magician becomes filled with God, fed upon God, intoxicated with God. Little by little his body will become purified by the internal lustration of God; day by day his mortal frame, shedding its earthly elements, will become in very truth the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Day by day matter is replaced by Spirit, the human by the divine; ultimately the change will be complete; God manifest in flesh will be his name.”
This is not a new concept, and it may find its magickal beginnings in the ancient Egyptian process known as the “reversion of offerings”. This was the process where food and drink were offered to the gods, who were believed to partake of the essence of them, and subsequently the food would then revert to the priests for consumption. A variant of this more akin to Wiccan practice is the Grace before a Meal spell recorded at Edfu. Here the table was equated to the creator god Atum, so all the food and drink, though offered to the gods, was also blessed by the creator before its reversion to the priesthood for consumption.
Although the Eucharist is central to much of Christianity, it has sometimes been vilified when used as a practice by rivals. Writing in the second century CE, St Irenaeus accused the Gnostic teacher Marcus of perverting the Mass by faking consecration of cups of wine, so that his followers would believe they were imbued with the divine presence of Charis (‘Grace’), a name given to Divine Thought. What is significant here is that the Gnostics should be consecrating the wine with the divine presence, whether the Church chose to slander it or not.
“Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them.”
Of course the Catholic practice of the Mass has the Eucharist as the centre of its mystery, but as was often the case with Christianity, this was a practice they adopted from earlier cultures, rather than an original component. So even if the Christian Mass is viewed as the obvious source of Cakes & Wine in the Wiccan tradition, it comes from earlier pagan roots.
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.