The Spellbinding History of Cheese and Witchcraft

The above picture, taken from the 1971 book The Complete Book of Magic and Witchcraft by Kathryn Paulsen, has been making the rounds of the internet over the past week or so. You have to admit that cheese is magical -it can turn a hamburger into a cheeseburger and make nachos irresistible. The spell as written seems a bit dumb, but it is only out of date. Cheese has been thought of in supernatural terms for a long, long time.

It’s not entirely clear why cheese is seen to have magical properties. It might be to do with the fact it’s made from milk, a powerful substance in itself, with the ability to give life and strength to the young. It might also be because the process by which cheese is made is a little bit magical. The 12th-century mystic, Hildegard von Bingen, compared cheese making to the miracle of life in the way that it forms curds (or solid matter) from something insubstantial.

In the early modern period (roughly 1450-1750) the creation of the universe was also thought of by some in terms of cheesemaking: “all was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed – just as cheese is made out of milk – and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels.” The connection with life and the mysterious way that cheese is made, therefore, puts it in a good position to claim magical properties.

Cheese has been used to produce dreams, to reveal those guilty of crimes, and to tempt people into sin. Witches were blamed for stealing milk or spoiling it, and were accused of using cheese in their nefarious magic.

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Read the details of how cheese and witchcraft go together at The Conversation. -via Strange Company

Also check out the previous post 4 Holy Women Transformed by Cheese.

Source: neatorama

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