Food and Libation
purity of sacrifice
Food: Sacred ritual food should always at least be organic. The chemicals and practices behind conventional farming pose a severe threat to soil contamination and loss of nutritional health, water contamination via runoff (which can boost algae growth and deplete the water of oxygen for aquatic beings), deterrent and poison to pollinators like bees, causes soil erosion from eliminating vegetation, and performs monoculture farming which eliminates biodiversity and thus, a now completely dead ecosystem. Organic meat comes from animals that are raised in living conditions that mimic their natural behaviors (think grazing on pastures), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not given antibiotics or hormones. And larger terrestrial animals, like pigs and cows, release more methane in their waste, compared to deer and birds. Methane is a greenhouse gas that’s 30-times more heat-trapping than carbon dioxide! So if you can, try to focus your meat options with more venison and poultry over pork and beef. As far as fish go, wild-caught seafood is so over exploited that some are saying the ocean won’t have any more seafood in it by 2048. Aquaculture, or fish farming, is when the fish are bred in controlled marine environments that don’t affect the wild populations and thus, are the better option for seafood, so long as the fish farms are located in native areas to that species in case they escape, and are treated well so as to not deplete more wild populations. Obviously, hunting for your meat or seafood, and harvesting your own plants and food, is gong to be the better and more “Pagan-favored” option, but if that’s not possible, just research the source of the meat.
Libations: With alcoholic libations- be it mead, wine, or liquor- the environmental impact has more to do with the distilleries/vineyards and consumers, than it has to do with the bottles, surprisingly. The former is from the location’s materials, energy use, and shipping ingredients and product, as well as from farming practices used on the grain, hops, or fruit. When consumers choose product that’s made from far locations, they’re supporting the emissions used to transport that product, including their own to purchase it! Of course, we all want our sacred libations to be homemade locally, or from our spiritual groups, and to include organic fruit and grain, but sometimes we don’t have these options or we’re doing something kinda last minute. In these cases, it’s best to research some of our favorite manufacturers and see what they do to offset their carbon footprint. Like Maker’s Mark, for example, who uses local grain, turns their waste into energy, and their company’s land sits on a nature preserve! Or French Rabbit wine that uses recyclable Tetra Paks which reduce packaging weight by 90 percent over bottles, and so less emissions. The average person in Europe, the US, and Australia drinks over 8 liters of alcohol every year, that is plenty of revenue for major companies to make environmental changes! With non-alcoholic libations, aim for organic plants used, locally made, and post-consumer recycled materials for packaging.