The Positive Energy of Threshold Days

Every New Year’s day my dad always had a pot of black-eyed pea soup simmering on the stove to offer a bowl of good luck and good health to all who stopped over. The soup was always made with the leftover hambone and ham bits from Christmas dinner. I found his old recipe today in one of his old cookbooks my mom let me have when he died.

Like dad I also make a pot of black-eyed peas to usher positive energy into the new year. New Years and the solstices are threshold days. It is on these days that we can petition the gods to draw good luck through the threshold to infuse the new year. Cultures across the world have devised lucky recipes to draw prosperity and good health. In Germany millet porridge is the dish eaten on New Year’s Day for luck. In Japan the luck drawing dish is made of buckwheat noodles In the US, sauerkraut, lentils, and black-eyed peas are considered lucky fare.

Spicy Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup

You will need:

3 cups of dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

2 Tablespoons butter

2 cups onion, chopped

1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup molasses

4 cups broth

3 cups of water

1 ham bone or a kielbasa

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped.

salt and pepper

cheese, to garnish

On New Year’s Eve soak 3 cups of black-eyed peas. If you missed this step you can use canned black-eyed peas, drain before adding to cooking pot. On new year’s morning, pour off the water and rinse. Pick out any stones, hulls, or odd looking peas. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter. Add onion and sauté until clear. Add jalapeno and garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes, molasses, broth, black-eyed peas, and or ham and hambone or a chopped kielbasa, parsley leaves and simmer until peas are tender. This will take several hours. Keep an eye on the pot as you may need to add water if it cooks down. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with a handful of grated cheddar.

This year I brewed up a White Bean and Black-eyed Pea Tuscan version

You will need:

6 cups of beans that have been soaked overnight. In the morning, pour off the water and rinse. Dump into a colander and they are ready to use. For this recipe I used 1/2 blacked eyed peas and 1/2 lima beans.

6 slices of bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely diced

2 celery ribs, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons herb de Provence

6 cups chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, melt butter and cook onion until clear. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or 2 then add then carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the beans, spices, and the broth. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Discard the bay leaf and season the soup with salt and pepper.

At the holidays, bayberry candles are given in friendship for good luck and good health. Present a box to the hostess of your next fall or winter gathering to bless your friendship and give the gift of abundance.

Good Luck Bayberry Candle Spell

Another traditional practice is to light a candle and burn it down to the socket to draw prosperity through one year into the next. This tradition began when colonists settled the New World and discovered that bayberries had a waxy coat that could be extracted by boiling the berries. The green wax floated to the surface and could be skimmed off, when the water cooled, to make aromatic candles. However, it takes a lot of the small berries to make any quantity of candle wax. Sixteen cups of berries will render only one pound of wax. So the scented candles became a treasured commodity reserved for special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and New Year's.

To draw your own good luck, light a bayberry candle so that it will continue to burn from one day into the next bring good luck forward through the threshold hours. (If you have a six-hour candle, light it around eight)

as you say,

“Bayberry candle burned to the socket, bring health to the home and wealth to the pocket!”

*If you do not have a bayberry candle, you can use a green or gold candle that has been anointed with bayberry oil, Light it and let it burn down to the socket so that it burns out on its own to usher good luck into your home. Do not leave it unattended. The last thing you need is a house fire.