I know many vegan Pagans. Fine.
But I eat meat. I know the ins, the outs, the blood, and the weight of eating meat.
I’m not ashamed.
I ritual hunt, I ritual cook, and I ritual slaughter/field clean.
I know the arguments.
But, I am as much a part of the cycle of the food chain as any other mammal. Again – I’m not ashamed.
When I hunt, or the times I’ve helped the two Pagan farmers in the next state over – the blood on your hands has a price. Seeing the breath leave, seeing the blood, feeling the weight of the animal go limp in your arms…
Changes your food. You don’t eat so quickly, you don’t gobble the bits down.
I think on this, as the hunting seasons end. The times when you wait, stalk, or plan their movements – listen to their portents and go to those grounds, and take home the nourishment that our Ancestors did before.
I know, it sounds weird to many. But for my own household – this is a direct link to our Ancestors. Wild game is a part of our existence, and we live and depend on it. Sure, we can go to the grocery store – but knowing… Just the knowing, of how the food came to the table means more to us, than just a simple purchase.
On Ostern, we dined on wintered potatoes, and venison. It was blessed, and consecrated to the sacred holiday. We ate slowly, and surely. It’s not just a gift, it’s a part of life itself. You don’t just gobble it down – you take your time, and listen to the meal itself.
And, it has it’s own story. Eating meat is not evil, it’s a necessary part of our nutrition. It’s when apathy takes hold, a simple grocery store visit that takes the feeling out of the meal – is when many Pagans have trouble.
I have my own hand in it – I field clean wild game, and I’m not ashamed of it. I honor the bones left behind, I collect them. If I hunt the animal myself, there is a ritual before I even touch the fallen animal. I don’t glorify it, I won’t take pictures of it – because of it’s sacred nature. No, no ‘Hunter Photos,’ for me – it is a sacred act between the ancient hunter and game. No photos will be taken.
Death is something I understand too well from war, to hunting. It isn’t something you glorify. It isn’t something you brag about. It’s just a fact of life you nod to, and keep going on. One end leads to the other, and without one, you cannot have the other. I do not discount the Pagans who honor their food, even if they buy it, but know how it came to be. I honor those Pagans in my own meals. Because, not all of us can hunt.
Hunting is not simple for me. Never has been. Sure, the joy of being able to put food on the table is ageless, but the weight… That YOU did it… Weighs on the household. The food is not to be wasted. Not to be squandered. You did this, and took part with the Ancestors – an act, that has stood the test of time – you’re now part of this…. Their blood rests in the cuticles of your fingernails no matter how many times you wash your hands…
I eat meat. I am not ashamed.