Kitchen Witch: Soy

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(Glycine max)

Planet: Moon

Element: Earth

Energies: Protections, psychic awareness, spirituality

Lore:

We know soy in two forms: soy sauce and tofu. While soy sauce has always enjoyed popularity in the West as a flavouring for Chinese food, tofu is only now gaining ground as a nutritious alternative to meat. It is especially popular with vegetarians.

The Chinese have eaten soybeans for at least 2,000 years and the Japanese for 1,000.

People in both cultures usually eat them in the form of tofu. In Japan, two deities, Ebisu and Daikotu, are involved in the old-style preparation of tofu. Symbols of these deities are burned into the side of the wooden boxes used to measure the soybeans to be processed into tofu. This blesses them with the energies of Ebisu and Daikotu.

Throughout Japan, fried tofu is an acceptable offering at the inami, agricultural shrines that dot the countryside. These shrines are dedicated to agricultural deities.

On the Japanese New Year, handfuls of roasted soybeans are scattered onto the floor in homes and temples. These “beans of good
fortune” are then thrown through an open window to the chant of “Out with evil; in with good fortune!”

In the 1600s, the Emperor Nintoku established the Women’s Mass for Needles. In this ceremony, a cake of tofu is situated on the household altar. Women push all the needles which have been bent or broken in the past year into the cake of tofu. This is done to give the needles—thought to be the spirits of people whose bodies have been sacrificed in service—a gentle resting place.

Magical uses:

Add soy sauce or tofu to protective diets. Soy sauce is ideal for this due to its extreme saltiness (though too much is, of course, hazardous to
good health). For protection, stirfry tofu with onions and other vegetables of similar energies. Tofu is also eaten for psychic awareness (particularly if one is searching for alternatives to meat), and to induce spirituality.