There are so many amazing things you can do to add a little more magick to your Passover Seder. Considering that so much of the Seder is about creating a sense of wonder to engage your body, mind, and spirit. It’s intended to be experiential. Here are a few ideas to bring a little more magick to your Pesach.
Tell the Story like You Were There
One of the most popular parts of the very first Haggadah I ever wrote, was the “Maggid” section, where I chose to tell the story in the first person. Each participant speaks the story as though they are one of the characters.
You can find this and several of the other best bits from my personal Haggadah at haggadot.com to create your own Haggadah!
At the beginning of your seder, set the intention for your seder. You can turn it into a magickal working this way. Maybe you want to set the intention that this seder will set one enslaved person free. You could even have a specific person in mind. Maybe you want to use the energy of your seder to free minds or end persecutions of a particular people. You could also use your seder to remove the chains of your own biases that you don’t even know.
Be sure to restate your kavanah at least a couple of times and use it as a framework for discussion through out so you can build some energy. You can add a final prayer to send the energy out into the world.
There is a great deal of folklore around the use of the afikomen as an amulet for good fortune and protection. While it’s traditional to share the recovered piece and eat it as part of the seder, it doesn’t have a lot of meaning for most people anymore. The idea of it as “desert” just doesn’t resonate. What if the recovered piece was broken and given as an amulet for people to take home? You would have to explain it, but people understand the idea of a lucky charm. You could have pretty little mojo bags for people to put their piece of the end of the seder.
I also like to save the other half of the middle matzah for tashlich at Rosh Hashanah.
Create a Pesach oracle to get messages from the ancestors. Create slips of paper with quotes from the matriarchs, patriarchs, talmud, and other areas of the Torah. Choose a time that feels right and have people draw out the “lot” and see what the message the ancestors have for them. It could be styled as messages from Elijah and Miriam and be included during that portion of the seder, or as messages from the Four Children. You could even make kosher for Pesach “fortune cookies.”
The Seder plate and meal are two of the least utilized elements of the seder. The table is the altar for the seder. The seder plate is generally there, quickly mentioned, and then forgotten. The food is often just thrown out at the end. The seder plate could be revisioned as a food offering akin to those mentioned in the Torah. Think about different things you could do with the food or the wine in Elijah’s cup to honor its sanctity and power after the meal.
The meal is generally just tasty food. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but what if you layered the metaphysical meanings into your menu planning? Can you focus on only local foods? How about a meal where every recipe has to be made in18 minutes or less? It might mean you move away from the brisket and matzah ball soup, but maybe not. Either way, think about the meanings of your food choices and discuss them with your guests!
I am a huge fan of making your own matzah. It’s not always the tastiest. It’s not glatt-kosher — but it’s an incredible experience. The whole process seems arbitrary when you start. What’s with this 18 minutes thing? Then you start to get it. First, the frenzy of trying to quickly bake the bread before you are trying to escape. Then you start to think about the number 18. It’s the numerical equivalent of the word “chai,” which means life. Matzah the bread of affliction, is also the bread of life. Bring a group of women together a day or two before Pesach and you could have a matzah making ritual.
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Adapted from a post originally written for Peeling a Pomegranate (2003-2013) by Kohenet Ketzirah haMa’agelet