My job is to select and prepare the animals that will be shared at the ritual feasts. There are other folks who do the day-to-day tending of them. I visit the pens regularly and keep my eyes on who is going first when the time comes. That one gets a few extra treats from me so we are good friends. I work closely with the person who is in charge of the ceremonies and with the Healer, because you never know what parts they might want later for some concoction. I’ll tell you how it went recently.
Two pigs for the first equinox this last time. Oh, they were beautiful fat girls! I chose them back at the winter solstice so there were plenty of days to feed them with indulgence. The feast was exquisite. Before that, however, a plan was set in motion. We are very good at planning ahead.
After the equinox ceremonies of the taking of the pigs, and while they were being prepared for cooking, we sliced the most perfect fat from them. More white and soft than a baby’s little bumbum, it went into waxed wrappings and we set it aside in the under-earth shrine to keep it cool. After the feast, everyone was too tired to deal with the next part. There was all the cleanup to do after the dancing, after all. Happily, around here there are others to take care of things like that, because I fell asleep before it was finished.
The next day the big cooking pot was available again and we brought that lovely white fat back out. Planning ahead, the girls had already mixed ashes from the fire with a little water. That went in. I always like to throw in some of the tiny white flowers that smell like honey. I’m sharing all my secrets with you now.
We have a special song we sing while we are doing all this. Hmmm, we have songs for everything. Keep it stirring and bubbling gently until the water boils off. You will see it change a bit. Then it gets poured into something to cool. The boys made a long box with wood and lined it with a great nice soft cowhide, hairs on the underside, of course. When the mixture solids up, you can cut it in pieces and there you have it. We have all been washing with it for days!