Libation

For a Wiccan, this is “cakes and ale” and is a sharing of food and drink that has a great deal of symbolism and meaning attached to it.

For the Traditional Crafter, this goes deeper still.

Known most often by its Cornish name of “Houzle”, the coming together of white bread and red wine or dark ale is seen as honoring the blood and bone of the Ancestors.

This is a complex piece of symbolism, considering how simple the practical technique itself it.

The libator dips the bread in the wine or ale, and toasts the Ancestors, the Gods, old Hornie, and whoever else they need to honour.

In a group, the participants take turns.

It seems very simple, but the symbolism runs very deep, as in addition to the act of symbolic theophagy that can be seen in the Catholic Mass, there is also the nature of blood and bone to take into account.

Frequently the blood is seen as the lineage itself — the Witch-Blood — and the bone is the body of Lore that both sustains the blood and enables us to discover and connect with it.

Traditionally, the Houzle is performed with a horn cup, which — depending on the tradition — can be an actual cup made of horn or a stirrup cup (the cups designed originally for members of the fox hunt to drink their libation before the hunt.

They do not have a base, but rather are stored upside down, and are frequently made in the shape of animals, especially stags and foxes.)