Food was a central and unifying experience in my home as I grew up. From visits to all manner of markets, farms, and butchers, to planning recipes and breaking bread with family and friends, it’s no surprise that I am highly food-focused. Some of my fondest memories are the amazing dinners hosted by my parents and spending time in my Grandmother’s kitchen while she cooked.
Each time I step into the kitchen to create a recipe and cook, I invite the Hungry Goddesses to join me and to provide their sustenance and nourishment. When I stand in the fields of a farm or over the lush offerings from a friend’s garden, I am amazed at the way Goddess provides for us. As I create recipes and gather with friends and family, I pour my love into each bite they take.
Most Goddesses have food and drink that is sacred to them, but there are many that are the direct source of food and nourishment. I invite you to move forward mindfully with your food. Make it a sacred celebration, infuse it with Goddess love, and revel in this primal connection to Goddess.
To our Great Mother Goddesses that provide for us, sustain us, and nourish us, to the Hungry Goddesses, we give praise and gratitude!
Annapurna – Hindu Goddess and said to be a form of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. Her name means anna (food) and purna (filled completely). She is the Goddess of nourishment, food, and cooking. Annapurna is vital to Hindu beliefs and customs since food is an integral part of society and worship. Food is cooked with mindfulness, holiness, imparting the blessing of the Gods through the alchemy of the prepared food. In Annapurna’s hands, she has a jeweled, sacred container of food and a spoon showing her offering of food to the people. In front of her are many plates, symbolic of her promise to provide. Invoke her while you are preparing meals; Annapurna is not just the physical food, but she is nourishment in action.
Ukemochi is a Japanese Shinto Goddess and her name means “Goddess Who Possesses Food”, quite literally. When Amaterasu (Shinto Sun Goddess) asked Her to prepare a feast for the Moon God, Tsukuyomi, Ukemochi expelled food from her mouth in several directions. To the sea, she spit out fish, signifying abundance, woman, and wisdom; to the forest, all manner of game came forth from her, including oxen and horses; and in the direction of the rice paddy, she produced rice. When she served the regurgitated food to Tsukuyomi, he was so offended that she had vomited the food that he killed her. Even in death, Ukemochi continued to produce rice (symbol of happiness and sustenance), beans (seen as good luck and dispelling evil spirits), millet, and even silkworms from her eyebrows. From her head, she generated oxen (representing agriculture and working for the benefit of others) and horses (symbols of endurance and creativity).
Other Hungry Goddesses – Goddesses of Food and Drink:
Aha-Njoku is also known as the “Lady of Yams” and is worshiped by the Igbo people of Nigeria.
Native American Goddess Corn Woman brings her gifts of corn, fertility, and sustenance.
The Balinese Goddess, Dewi Sri, is celebrated monthly as a Goddess of fertility and rice.
Should we be surprised that the Romans had a Goddess for Feasting and Food named Edesia? Her sister Goddess is Bibesia, Goddess of Drink.
Hathor, the Egyptian Goddess of Love and Beauty, is also known as the “Mother of Food” and “Bringer of Food”. Uto/Uati is a title of Isis with the same meaning.
Oshun is the Orisha Goddess who rules the kitchen. She loves sweet potatoes, pumpkins, lemons, squash, cinnamon, honey, and kitchen implements.
As the Roman Goddess of Orchards, Pomona watches over and protects fruit trees. Her name is the root for the French word for apple, “pomme”.
Sedna is the Inuit Goddess who provided all fish and animals of the sea for nourishment and sustenance of her people. The Inuit also recognized Pinga, the Goddess of land animals and caribou.
As you invoke the Hungry Goddesses, don’t forget a nod to the Hearth Goddesses, those of light and flame who allow us to prepare the food: Hestia, Vesta. Brigid, Kamui-Fuchi, and so many more.
Happy cooking and eating! Stay tuned to MotherHouse blog for more on these Hungry Goddesses, plus recipes to connect with them.