Yes, it’s Adar and I decided to go exactly where you expected me to this month — Purim and Hamantaschen. But as opposed to doing a history of the fabled, and delicious, Purim cookie — I’m going to explore some of the mythic and ritual opportunities these humble cookies offer us.
If you are unfamiliar with the history of hamantaschen, this post from Seforim Blog is a great place to start (thanks to Velveteen Rabbi for the link). For some the triangle shaped cookies represent Haman’s (the villian of Purim) hat, pockets or ears. There are also dozens of different recipes for the delicious cookies, and debates over whether jam or poppy-seed filling is the best. There are yeast dough recipes, regular old cookie dough recipes, and even this cream cheese recipes that seems to merge rugelach and hamantaschen.
But enough about the actual cookie. Let’s talk symbolism!
Yes, you can just eat the yummy cookie and enjoy it. But if you give yourself the opportunity, there’s a huge opportunity for personal and spiritual transformation wrapped in a delicious cookie shaped package.
The rituals of Purim, both the hamantashen and the “Purim Shpiel,” offer us opportunities to to symbolically gain power of our enemies. This is the reason that we shout, stomp, and use noise makers during the reading of the Megillah (Story of Esther) to drown out the name of Haman. This is why we dress in silly costumes and do “Purim Shpiel” plays. The ability to make fun of our enemies and make them ridiculous can give us emotional power over our enemies.
Hamantashen are supposed to be parts of Haman (ears, hats, pockets), enemy of the Jewish people. We literally consume him. We transform him into a delicate, delicious cookie and eat him. The only way he can harm us in this form, is by making us gain weight or raising our cholesterol. (Yes, I know others associate these cookies with the yoni symbol, Esther, and the Queen of Heaven — work with that if you prefer.)
Get creative! Invoke the sacred fool. Transform that cookie into a magick tool for transformation!
Want to see a ritual I created for Purim using the hamantaschen? It’s available as part of the premium resources for Cosmic Reference Library paid subscribers, but you can get a free preview if you aren’t a subscriber yet.