August 1—Lughnasadh (pronounced LOON-us-uh) or Lammas—is the first of the three traditional harvest festivals of the traditional Celtic calendar that most pagans follow today. And what naturally follows harvest? Feasting, fairs, and festivals. To help us celebrate the season, here are two Found Goddesses of good eating. The term “found goddesses” was created in 1987 by Morgan Grey and Julia Penelope, authors of a hilarious book titled Found Goddesses. After reading this book and having never met a pun I didn’t instantly love and being of a naturally satirical state of mind, I started Finding—i.e., inventing—my own goddesses shortly before the turn of the century. After I found a hundred of them, they were published in 2003 in my book, Finding New Goddesses.
When Xochitl Alvizo wrote here about the philosophy of vegetarianism and veganism in late June, I was inspired to contribute to the conversation. Although I understand the philosophy of not eating meat, I’m still a meat eater. (Though I don’t go quite as far as the so-called paleo diet.) Yes, it’s an issue of consciousness. I admit it. I just refuse to think about cows and sheep and chickens when I’m eating. But I refuse to eat lobster (because they’re cooked alive) or veal (because of how the calves are treated). I guess I’m not very consistent, and I suspect I’ve just settled for the hungry coward’s way out of the diet dilemma.
Back to my made-up goddesses. In the 1990s, I belonged to a circle of women led by my friend Valerie Eagleheart Meyer, who is a pipe carrier, ceremonial leader, teacher, artist, and partner in a beautiful metaphysical store. We used to meet once a month and drum or study or do a ritual, after which we always had potluck suppers. Which is how I Found Caloria. Valerie tells me that to this day a group she now leads stands around the potluck table, joins hands, and recites the invocation to Caloria.
You’ll notice that Caloria is a triple goddess, one of whose aspects is Low Caloria, the vegetarian goddess. I Found Her in tribute to my friend Sandra, who was a vegetarian at the time. I went to Sandra’s house for Thanksgiving several times. She cooked a turkey and all the fixings…and then she sat at the head of the table and ate mashed potatoes with butter along with her veggies while the rest of us scarfed down the turkey. When I went out to dinner with Sandra and her husband the week she gave up vegetarianism; she ate a huge prime rib that a truck driver would have trouble finishing. She says her body told her it needed meat protein.
Caloria: Triple Goddess of Potluck
Potlucks are vitally important to Witches and other pagans. Going to a ritual? Take something for the potluck afterward. Going to a drumming circle or a croning? The folks are sure to work up an appetite. But what to take? How to accommodate vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores, and ecofeminists? This gnawing problem is now solved.
True to tradition, Caloria is a Triple Goddess. High Caloria, our Bountiful Mother, is luscious and delicious. Her greatest delight is to serve Her children the yummy cheesecake baked by Her high priestess Sara Lee or any savory dish whipped up by Her other high priestess Julia Child. She also adds a tasty topping of pure love to any of the treats that arise from the ovens and barbecues of Her many priests, who include Wolfgang Puck, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, and Emeril. High Caloria especially enjoys the glorious desserts created by Chocolata, one of the Found Goddesses of Ecstasy.
Low Caloria, who is dwarfish and simple, is our Virgin Vegetarian. Although Her favorite dish is a casserole of brown rice, tofu, and lima beans, She has recently admitted that She is beginning to appreciate such gourmet fare as wild mushroom couscous and anything made with pasta, asparagus, or aubergine. Eco-Caloria is our Crone who inspires Her grandchildren to eat off of china plates and drink out of glasses and china cups instead of using paper goods. Thus does She help us preserve the virgin forests and Styrofoam mines.
When we know we’re going to a potluck, we begin by invoking the Goddess Caloria:
Hail, Caloria, You who freeze and thaw and bake,
Show me, please, what’s the proper food to take?
To learn what offering we should lay on the Sacred Potluck Table, we next enter the Goddess’s Sacred Precinct and approach Her Sacred Cave. As we open the Door to the SacredCave and the Inner Light comes on, we take up our Sacred Plastic Lidded Bowl and look within for inspiration. It’s easy to know when the Goddess makes Her Will known, for then we feel the chill of Her Presence. An alternative is to visit Caloria’s Sacred Marketplace and silently but hopefully worship at the Holy Deli until one of the votaries of the Goddess asks if he or she can help us. The votaries may, in fact, make suggestions. Proper protocol suggests the exchange of coins for culinary offerings prepared at the Holy Deli.
At the potluck, correct protocol is for every potential eater to carefully examine and comment on each offering. Then we join hands around the groaning table and give thanks to the Goddess:
Hail Caloria, rich and wise—
Feed my soul, but not my thighs.
I Found the next goddess after a phone conversation with my friend Margaret the day we compared notes and discovered that I’d had a fried burrito and Coke for lunch and she’d had popcorn and a cheese ball for supper.
Nutritia, Goddess of Good Eats
Nutritia, a fit and healthy goddess, looks younger than She is. Ask Her what Her secret is, and She’ll smile and whisper it in your ear. “It’s what Grandma always said. Be regular. Get enough roughage in your diet every day.”
Yes, Reader, the secret of a long, happy life is once again revealed. Eat good food. Veggies and fruit, your choice of protein and carbohydrate, and plenty of pure water to wash the toxins out of every cell in your body.
“And that means eat your broccoli,” Nutritia adds in simple words we should be able to understand. “It means salad without too much dressing, though, oh, goodness Me, I do love a soupçon of that balsamic vinegar that sexy movie star makes.” As Nutritia smiles, we see that all of Her teeth are strong and white. When She flexes Her muscles, we see that She’s in mighty good shape for the shape She’s in.
“And listen up,” She says, pointing at you and you and you, “that is not Pepsi and Krispy Kremes for breakfast. It is not Cheetos and Twinkies for lunch. It is not Orville Redenbacher, Velveeta, and Ferrero Rocher for supper.”
Alas and alack, it is a sad fact of modern life that we have broken the maintenance contract on the temples that are our bodies. It’s another sad but true fact that for many of us a restaurant d’haute cuisine is one where we actually get out of the car. Well, some people eat tofurkey and take their ginkgo biloba every day. Some people do five fruits, four veggies, three chicken or fish, two dairies, and one spirulina drink every day. Some people suck up to Nutritia.
And for the rest of us, well…all we can do is pray:
Great Nutritia, help me please,
To eat my corn and soy and peas,
A balanced diet, healthy food—
Bring on the eats, and I’ll be good!
To all vegetarians and vegans—peace! I admire your philosophy of compassion for our kin, both animal and vegetable. I also promise not to eat hot dogs when I’m in your company.
 One of the legends of Caloria concerns Her aspect as an oracle. Her most famous utterance was given in reply to the question asked by Dr. Sigmund Freud, “What does woman really want?” Caloria’s answer: Tupperware.
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.