The Dagda, the One Who Feeds People

I brown the beef in the pot with the onions. I add a little flour to make a roux. I add carrots, potatoes, and garlic. Then comes the beef broth. I stir it all up to make sure all the roux is mixed in, and move to put the lid on for it’s long, slow simmer.

He stops my hand and says, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

I laugh and sigh at the same time. Maybe I roll my eyes a little, but I can’t argue. I pull a can of Guinness out of the fridge, pop it open, take a swig, and pour the rest into the stew. I give it another stir.

“Yeah, that’s more like it!” I pull two more out of the fridge: one for me and one for Him. We go and sit in old creaky lawn chairs in the backyard, just watching the sun move across the afternoon sky. As the sun sets, we get to talking. Occasionally, I go and stir the stew.

He takes a long drink as twilight sets in. “You know why I like it when you cook?”

“Not entirely, no…”

He sits up on the edge of the old chair, His green eyes serious through his bushy red eyebrows. “Heh…you’re a bad liar.” He laughs. “But this time, I’ll humor you, because it’s important. Food does many things. It can heal people. It can comfort people. It can bring joy, and soothe sadness and pain. When you are the one making food for others, you are bringing them closer to you. You are doing a magickal thing. It is satisfying when you’ve fed someone who you know needs what you can give.

But it’s not just about the food. Food is only the vehicle for the human need for connection. Food brings people together. So much can be communicated by and healed through a shared meal. Especially when you cook for someone else.

That’s why I like to help you. A doubly blessed meal is always a good thing.”

He pauses taking another swallow of Guinness, patting His big belly. He pauses for a few minutes, then continues. “It’s the same when you priest, you know. I bet you know why by now.”

I think for a minute. “Well, yeah, when I’m priesting, I’m stirring the spiritual pot and making something beautiful and nourishing for the people I serve. And if I don’t make it good and flavorful, people won’t accept it.”

He smiles. “And don’t forget to have some variety. Remember, a stew isn’t a stew if you don’t have all the ingredients together. And sometimes, a little spice is a good thing!” He winks at me, then lets out a huge roar of laughter that comes from his belly. “Go on, check the stew. It should be almost done now.”

I get up to stir the stew. He picks up His harp and plays a light tune as the stars come out. I hear the lilting song in the kitchen. Over the music he yells back into the house: “Pull out a lot of bowls, love, there’s a lot of folks to feed out there!”

“All right!” I start pulling bowls and utensils out of the cabinets, lining the counters and the table. I begin to hum along to the harp song as I slice bread, put out the salt and pepper shakers, and butter. I feel the anticipation of knowing that a meal I made will feed so many. It is a beautiful thing.

The harp song rises, calling out into the night:

“Come, come, whoever you are,

for the cauldron is full

and you will not be turned away.

Come, come, whoever you are,

we call to you to come and taste

of comfort, of love, of peace

and of justice

Come and taste, come and talk, come and love, come and be

May we be blessed with abundance as the seasons turn!

Come, come, whoever you are

for the cauldron is full to overflowing

Come, come, whoever you are,

you are welcome here

and you will not be turned away

Come, Come, whoever you are

for love is here and plentiful

Come, come, whoever you are

you are welcome here

come and have your fill!

Come and taste, come and talk, come and love, come and be

May we be blessed with abundance as the seasons turn!”

There is a knock at the door.

“Come in!” I shout, as the harp song continues….

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