Chapter 12 - Cakes And Wine - continued (e)
Feasting is a significant communal part of ritual, and the importance of feasting at the gatherings is stressed by Murray in The God of the Witches, where she described a number of feasts, referring to “wine to drink and wheat bread to eat”, which is a combination that will be very familiar to Wiccans. This may be where the change in emphasis from Eucharist to feast comes from.
The cup is not a tool with much magickal history outside of Christianity. The use of cups in the Greek Magickal Papyri is exclusively for love, passion or death spells. The other main use of the cup is as a skrying aid. The Eucharistic cup of communion is a focus in some branches of Christianity. This use is clearly paralleled in Wicca, although both sides would probably prefer to ignore this. The Bible gave a clear indication of this use when St Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:16,
"The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?"
Again pointing to a possible influence of the Key of Solomon in Wiccan practice, it is interesting to note that during the presentation of the tools in the first degree initiation ceremony, the chalice is often omitted, whilst the eight other tools are given precedence. The cup plays a lesser role in Solomonic rites, which is the reason sometimes given for it being omitted.
In Witchcraft Today Gardner mused about the exclusion of the chalice during initiations, which all those working within the tradition will know is an important tool as it is used in all ceremonies, including initiations. Gardner wrote “At first I was puzzled by the absence of the Cup from the witches’ working tools and the inclusion of the unimportant pentacle, said to be used to command spirits…”; going on to say that he was told that the exclusion of the chalice was a remnant of the Burning Times as any mention of the cup would have led to an “Orgy of torture” due to a perceived parody of the Christian Mass. However, this is a ridiculous justification as the chalice, regardless of its omission in the traditional initiation rites, is still a tool which is, as previously stated, used in every single ceremony – so it is unlikely that anyone who saw a Wiccan ceremony being performed, or who chanced upon a Book of Shadows, and who was looking for evidence of a Christian parody would not notice the inclusion of the chalice! Even on a very simple level, though it may not be presented in the First Degree Initiation, it is still used for the Cakes & Wine component of the ceremony which forms a part of it. Gardner’s comment that the pentacle is unimportant is a puzzling one. As all consecrations are performed on the pentacle, it is an extremely significant tool.
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.