Will our families gather for Thanksgiving feasts this year? Will aunts and uncles and cousins come from near and far to sit around our dining room tables? Does anyone have a table that’s big enough for social distancing? As I write this before November actually arrives, it seems unlikely that we’ll have few traditional holiday events in our homes (or anywhere else) this year. Well, my friend, who cares? Let’s pretend our feasts will be just like they’ve always been.
Back before the turn of the century, I belonged to a group that met every month in my friend Sandy’s family room for companionship, study (we worked our way through two excellent books by Julia Cameron: The Artist’s Way and The Vein of Gold), celebrations of birthdays and other special events, and rituals honoring various goddesses. We also had potluck suppers. (That was when I found out I can’t even be in the same room with jalapeño chili peppers.) It was a friendly, caring group of about twenty-five women and a few men. Alas, many of these people have moved away, a few have died, and a couple have just disappeared. I miss this group.
It was for these potluck suppers that I Found (made up) Caloria, the Triple Goddess of the Potluck. Every month, member of the group gathered around Sandy’s dining room table, joined hands, and called upon Caloria. (See the couplet at the end.) We did that for as long as the group lasted. We always not only ate well, but we had fun sharing favorite recipes.
I figure we all need a bit of chcering up this month, so I’m offering Caloria to you and your (socially distanced) families. Yes, cheers! (Oh, gee–a sudden and worrisome thought: what are the guys gonna do if there’s no football? Actually talk to the women? Help with the dishes??)
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?
Not to worry—this gnawing problem is now solved.
True to tradition, Caloria is a Triple Goddess. 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.
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 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, Emeril, and all the good ol’ boys on the cooking channel. High Caloria especially enjoys the glorious desserts created by Chocolata, one of the Found Goddesses of Ecstasy.
Eco-Caloria is She who inspires Her grandchildren to eat off of china plates and drink out of glasses and china cups instead of using throw-away paper goods. Thus does She help us preserve the virgin forests and the Styrofoam mines.
When we know we’re going to a potluck, therefore, we begin by invoking the Goddess Caloria as follows:
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 Sacred Cave 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 every offering. Then, before we start dishing (pun intended), 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.
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.