The Ancestor Fast of the Asphodel Tradition
The Ancestor Fast was an idea first described in Raven's article Feast and Fast in a Pagan Worldview. It is presented here as a suggestion for those who wish to modify their diet for a period of time in recognition of the foods naturally available in our climate (New England) at certain times of year. For each eighth of the year we have suggested foods which would traditionally be very scarce or unavailable, and foods which would be in abundance. (Of course, if you live in a radically different climate from us, different foods would be appropriate.) Some folks in our tradition have chosen to go without the scarce foods and enjoy more of the abundant foods for a few days in each period. For example, for three days before Imbolc, they might observe the fast for the Yule period, which is ending, and abstain from above-ground vegetables and fish, and go out of their way to have more traditionally hunted game. For Imbolc and the next two days, they would observe the Imbolc period fast, and abstain from dairy products and chicken meat, while eating plenty of eggs. Of course, these are all only suggestions and inspiration. Some may make a special sacred meal prominently featuring the sacred food of the period, while others may choose to simply incorporate more of it into their regular diet. Some folks may feel it is appropriate for them to strictly limit even trace amounts of the listed abstinence foods, others may only see a need to remove foods primarily composed of abstinence items. For the reasoning behind the items listed here, please see the article.
Yule Period, December 31 - January 31
Abstain from: fresh above-ground vegetables, and fresh fish.
Enjoy: traditionally hunted game. (We include any turkey, duck, goose, rabbit, buffalo, deer and moose, even those raised domestically.)
Imbolc Period, February 1 - March 21
Abstain from: dairy products and chicken meat. (Watch for butter, dry milk and whey in packaged foods.)
Ostara Period, March 22 - April 30
Abstain from:red meat and root vegetables.
Enjoy: dairy products.
Beltane Period, May 1 - June 20
Abstain from: fruit and beans. (Watch for soy products and soybean oil in packaged foods.)
Enjoy: fresh greens.
Litha Period, June 21 - July 31
Abstain from: grains, seeds, nuts, and anything made from these. (Watch for seed or grain based oils and corn syrup.)
Enjoy: fresh fruit
Lammas Period, August 1 - September 21
Abstain from: domesticated red meat
Enjoy: grains and beans.
Mabon Period, September 22 - October 30
Abstain from: traditionally hunted game. (We include any turkey, duck, goose, rabbit, buffalo, deer and moose, even those raised domestically.)
Enjoy: nuts, seeds, and all above-ground vegetables
Samhain Period, October 31 - December 30
Abstain from: eggs. (Watch for egg in baked goods.)
Enjoy: domestic red meat and root vegetables.