Cakes and Wine/Ale

Cakes and Wine/Ale

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Wiccan ritual of Cakes and Wine, or Cakes and Ale, thanks the gods for the necessities of life. It is a part of every ritual. It may occur at the end of the rite or, if there is magic to be done, it may be done in the middle, between the religious and magical segments.

The cakes are usually prepared especially for the ritual and are often made in the shape of crescent moons, although store-bought cakes or cookies are acceptable. They are placed on a plate or directly onto the Pentacle. The wine or ale (according to coven preference) is served in the Goblet. Mead, cider, or non-alcoholic fruit juice might also be substituted.

The form of the ritual is fairly constant throughout Wicca. The goblet of wine is proffered to the Priestess by the Priest. She holds her athamé between the palms of her hands and lowers it into the wine with the words, "As the athamé is the male, so the cup is the female, and conjoined they bring happiness." A libation is poured to the gods, then the Priestess and Priest take a sip from the goblet. It is then either passed around for the rest of the coven to drink or the coven file past the Priestess and drink.

Next the cakes are presented to the Priestess by the Priest. She dips her athamé into the wine and then touches it to each of the cakes in turn. As she does so, the Priest says, "O Queen most secret, bless this food unto our bodies, bestowing health, wealth, and joy; strength, peace, and that fulfillment of love which is perpetual happiness." Again, an offering is made, then the Priestess eats, followed by the Priest and then all of the coveners.

If the coven meets indoors, then the libations of wine and cake may be placed on a suitable plate and taken out after the ritual to be placed and poured on the ground as an offering to the gods.

There may be small variations from the above, according to the tradition, but the main form of this rite is followed by all Witches. It is an ancient ritual and is even mentioned in the Christian Bible, in Jeremiah 14, where "a great multitude" of people respond to Jeremiah's threats with: As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make our cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

Leland's Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, describes a conjuration of meal, preparatory to the Cakes and Wine ritual. It says, "You shall take meal and salt, honey and water," and make the incantation, which says, in part: 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!

Later it says, "You shall make cakes of meal, wine, salt, and honey in the shape of a (crescent or horned) moon. . . . All shall sit down to the supper all naked, men and women, and, the feast over, they shall dance, sing, make music, and then love. . . ."

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.