I was delighted to hear world famous writer, lecturer and spiritual teacher Denise Linn had agreed to do an interview with Berkshire Woman. I read Denise’s books for years and always learned something from them. This year Denise has written a new book with her daughter Meadow Linn which is just about to come out. I was interested to read and review this book, called ‘The Mystic cookbook’. Suffice to say I was intrigued by the idea of a spiritual kitchen and mindful cooking. (My review will be available online very soon.)
B.W. – First of all, congratulations on your new joint book. Is this the first mother-daughter project? Meadow, how was working with your mum?
M.&D. – We’ve been working together for years in different capacities. Meadow has been cooking for Denise’s workshops since she was 18 and has been helping out in the office off and on for most of her life. A number years ago we collaborated on a book together called Quest, which has just recently been re-released by Hay House. However, The Mystic Cookbook is the first time we’ve worked together so intimately on a project of this scale. This subject is so dear to us both. It’s been three years from its incubation to its final birth this month.
At first we were a bit hesitant to collaborate on this project. Although we’re very close, we also have different ways of working and a different approach to the mystic side of cooking. We wondered whether we’d be able to ride the wave between being colleagues and mother and daughter. As it turns out, not only did we not quibble over ideas or the content of the book, we actually grew even closer and more alike throughout the writing process. As we spent day after day typing at our individual computers in our respective home offices, our writer’s voice became similar, and we even began to finish one another’s sentences. We’ve even started dressing alike! We had wonderful celestial guidance along the way that not only guided us in the creation of the recipes and the writing of the text, but also strengthened our relationship.
B.W. – Who did what? Was there a clear division?
M.&D. – With the exception of a few personal stories and anecdotes, we wrote the entire book together. Meadow wrote the recipes, but Denise had the good fortune of getting to be a taste tester.
B.W. – Tell us a bit more about the concept of the book, and how you came to the idea of creating it.
M.&D. – We are currently on the verge of an evolution in our understanding of the universe. Science is beginning to assert what the ancient mystics and seers of the past have known for millennia . . . that there is an unseen, but viable life force that permeates all things, and we are not separate from this vast sea of energy.
We wrote The Mystic Cookbook because we wanted to share the myriad ways that you can harness this pulsating power and infuse it into every dish you prepare. These meals can be transformative and can profoundly inspire and uplift the energy of anyone who eats them. Over the years, we’ve discovered that by embarking on such a culinary journey, you can activate the deepest spiritual wellsprings within you that can lead to powerful transformations and breakthroughs. For instance, we know a woman who began to accept herself more fully and cherish her body simply by changing the way she approached eating. Although this is not a diet book, as a result, she not only felt more alive, but also lost extra pounds.
By living deliciously, you savor your life. By celebrating the vast array of colorful, flavorful, and delicious foods available to you, you celebrate yourself more fully. Food is both physical and spiritual nourishment, and we wanted to share some of what we’ve learned over the years about the way we eat being a metaphor for the way we live our lives. By following the steps in The Mystic Cookbook and doing some of the activities, you can infuse your food with vital life-force energy and create whatever template for your life you desire. The way you eat says a lot about who you are. So, who do you want to be?
B.W. – Denise, we would be interested to hear a bit about your background? You have Native American blood in you. How much of your Native American traditions influence your day to day living?
M.&D. – My lineage and roots are always with me. Even when I’m in a city and surrounded by what some people like to call the “concrete jungle,” I feel mother earth under my feet. I’ve even been known to spend time seeking out a park in the middle of a city, just so I can feel the solid ground beneath me and touch the cool grass to the bottoms of my feet. Even when surrounded by skyscrapers, I look into heavens and feel Father Sky with me. When I get wrapped up in the urgent phone calls and e-mails and all the other things demanding my time, I make a point of taking a deep breath, going outside and spending time in nature. I believe, as my ancestors believed, that we’re all a part of the great web of life and it’s vital to our wellbeing to be in harmony with Mother Earth.
B.W. – You have written so many books for empowerment of women. Which one would be the most comprehensive one? Is there a book that covers it all or are you yet to write one?
M.&D. – All of my books are about finding more joy, connection, and empowerment; however, the one that is the most focused on women is Secrets and Mysteries: The Glory and Pleasure of Being a Woman, which I wrote after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis was a huge wake-up call for me and made me realize how much I needed to shift in my life if I were to keep on living. I made radical changes and called upon my feminine power. A month after the diagnosis I went back to the doctor for more tests, and they said they couldn’t find the cancer. Either the test was wrong or the inner work I’d done had helped heal my body. We might never know the truth, but this I do know… there is great power in speaking your truth, living your path, and embracing your divine feminine power. This experience propelled me on a yearlong odyssey of retreats — inner and outer — to understand more about the mysteries of being a woman. I also interviewed remarkable women to find out their secrets of womanhood, and I researched our ancestral roots as women.
In no small way, women today carry the legacy of their ancestors. In ancient times, women understood the power of the inner way; they knew how to reach out and feel the energy of the stars and the whispers of the wind. Western culture has all but forgotten these hallowed traditions; however, echoes still dwell within us. Secrets and Mysteries shows women how they can bring forth their inner wisdom, power, and femininity.
B.W. – You do a lot of workshops all over the World. Tell us a bit more about women’s workshops.
M.&D. – I’ve had the great pleasure of taking part in and leading workshops all over the world that help women tap into the ancient wisdom of our foremothers. In the workshops, we do deep inner work to tap into the source of each woman’s power and reach the depths of her soul. In many native traditions, the Divine has always been a woman. It’s only been in a relatively short part of our history that men have been the keepers of the hearth.
One of my favourite anecdotes from one of the women’s workshops happened one evening a number of years ago. I’d been teaching an all day women’s workshop, and it was a beautiful full moon night. At the end of the class, we went outside to stand under the moon. Spontaneously, one of the women howled at moon and then another and another, until eventually everyone was howling at the moon. What may have seemed awkward or strange was actually quite a powerful and poignant moment. In that instant, we became a connected community of women as we tapped into the ancient wisdom and power of the moon.
B.W. – You also teach group courses with men and women?
M.&D. – Over the years I’ve taught many different types of classes and workshops and both men and women have been a part of many of them.
B.W. – Where are you going to be in 2013? Are you coming to the UK?
M.&D. – The 2013 schedule is still in the works; however, there’s a chance we will be in the UK in the autumn.
B.W. – You are both teaching at the moment about spiritual cooking?
M.&D. – This past summer we taught our first Mystic Chef™ workshop together. Denise has been teaching for over 40 years and Meadow has taught in many different capacities throughout her career, but this was the first time we had the opportunity to teach together. We had such a wonderful time working together and cooked up some delicious magic!
We’re a great team as we each bring our different skills to the table. Meadow is a linear thinker and keeps us on task while enlightening us with facts, stories, and statistics. She also does an excellent job teaching the practical skills of cooking and infusing food with love and Spirit. Denise, on the other hand, has the keen ability to activate our spiritual selves in a way that takes cooking and eating from simple nourishment to nirvana. She does this by leading class participants on inner journeys that ignite their inner mystic chef. Additionally, through doing inner work, class participants can learn more about what thoughts, feelings, and emotions from early childhood could potentially affect their food choices today.
B.W. – Can you explain to our readers why is it so essential to pay attention and cook in a special mind-frame?
M.&D. – Every plant, vegetable, fruit, or grain is filled with potent, swirling life-force energy. Albert Einstein said, “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
The food we eat, no matter if it’s been recently plucked from the earth or whether it’s been sitting in a warehouse for a week, is made up of energy. Of course, the closer it is to its source, the more vitality it contains, which in turn will further sustain you. However, even aged and processed foods, which have little life force left, can — as we discuss in depth in the book — be beefed up and infused with energy if your intent is strong enough.
We talk a lot in the book about the journey of our food before it ever reaches our table. There are the people who planted and cared for the seeds, the people who harvest the plant’s fruit, those who transport it, stock the grocery shelves, those who prepare the food, and in a restaurant those who serve it. Before you ever lift your fork to your mouth, each morsel you ingest has travelled great distances and been influenced both on a physical and energetic level by all the people whom it’s come in contact with.
Have you ever noticed how different a tomato, for instance, that you’ve grown yourself tastes from one you purchased at the store? This is in part because you may have planted a tastier variety of fruit that hasn’t been engineered for longer shelf life and picture-perfect roundness, but there’s something else at play as well. The love, joy, and energy that you put into growing your own food infuse every molecule of the plant, and in turn you ingest that love and energy.
Have you ever seen a child who’s a picky eater suddenly eat something they swore was public enemy #1 after preparing it herself? This is because she’s involved in the process and because, believe it or not, she can actually taste the care and attention that she perhaps unknowingly infused into the dish. When I (Meadow) was a little girl, one of my favorite stories was from a series called Frog and Toad. In one of the stories, either frog or toad (I don’t remember which) sang to his plants. Believe it or not, there has been research that proves that plants respond positively to music and will grow better when treated with care. The food we eat is not a static substance. It’s alive with energy, which can be decreased or enhanced by the way we treat it.
In an ideal world, we’d all grow our own vegetables, tend to a family orchard, and raise our own eggs, dairy, and meat in order to not only cut down on the carbon footprint of our food but also to have control over the provenance of our meals. However, in today’s modern society that’s not really possible. Most of us don’t have the time, space, or ability.
It’s not, however, a lost cause. I’m not particularly a fan of books or films that tell you how bad things are and then don’t offer suggestions on ways to remedy the situation. So, here’s the thing… obviously, it’s best to grow your own food or buy from local farmers whenever possible if you want produce grown with the most care; however, there are a multitude of things that you can do to improve the energetic quality of your food, from a tired apple at your local convenience store to a fast food hamburger. In the book, we offer myriad techniques and tools that you can use to enhance the vibratory rate and the energy in your food, which can be as simple as saying a prayer and thanking the many people who played a role in bringing the food to your table or holding your hands over your meal and imagining energy and love flowing through your hands and into your food. These are just a few of the things you can do to raise the vibratory rate of your meals and infuse it with energy. There’s an entire chapter in the book, for instance, dedicated to the transmutation of food into consciousness.
B.W. – In some of your other books you’ve talked about quite spooky encounters. Do you still go and heal people’s houses?
M.&D. – Although I no longer professionally go into many homes, I have trained a number of wonderful practitioners in Interior Alignment®, which is a school I started many years ago that blends space clearing (A term I coined that is now widely used), feng shui, and intuition. And yes, at times I have assisted in releasing earth bound spirits (the word commonly used for “ghosts” by the native people with whom I’ve trained). I’ve spent time with and trained with native people of many different cultures from whom I learned how to help earthbound spirits leave the earth plane. Remarkably, even people who don’t believe in spirituality can recount experiences with a ghost, which are spirits who’ve become trapped between the earth world and the spirit world. However, there are things that can be done to help them release their hold on this world and join their kind in the spirit world.
B.W. – I saw some of photographs you took during your traveling or just on your ranch. They are amazing. Is this something you are also looking to link to your teaching? Use of photography?
M.&D. – Thank you. Both Meadow and I love taking photos. She took the majority of the photos in The Mystic Cookbook. We both really enjoy taking pictures, though at this point neither of us has plans to do in a professional capacity, but I do so love taking photos of nature and exploring our ranch in California through the lens of my camera. As the proud mother that I am, I like to tell people that Meadow worked as a sports photographer at university and some of her fine art photography won awards at the state and even national level. She always gets embarrassed when I tell people. But, isn’t that a mother’s job (both to embarrass and boast)?!
B.W. – Meadow, tell us a bit more about your side. Do you teach?
M.&D. – I was a schoolteacher for eight years. I taught advanced French literature, but I also taught elementary school as well. Both had wonderful challenges and rewards. I’ve been passionate about food and cooking my entire life, and I’ve been cooking for my mom’s residential retreat workshops since I was 18 years old. I’ve had the great good-fortune these past few years to be able to blend my passion for food with my love of teaching and do culinary coaching and teach people the secret art of becoming a Mystic Chef™.
A Mystic Chef is someone who understands the deeper energy in food, and a Mystic Chef is someone who cherishes the act of nourishing not just our bodies, but also our mind and spirit. Just as Vianne creates magical chocolates in the novel, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, a Mystic Chef can ignite passion, unite communities, and elevate the mundane to the hallowed simply by infusing love and intention into the foods you cook. There are many ways to be a Mystic Chef, none of which take a lot of time or money. In The Mystic Cookbook, we offer a number of different tools, activities, and recipes for spicing up your cooking and elevating your cooking and dining. Anyone who desires to eat well and live deliciously can become a Mystic Chef.
B.W. – What are your plans for future? New book? Another joint project?
M.&D. – For the time being we’re enjoying riding this wave. We’re having so much fun sharing The Mystic Cookbook. We are, however, planning to continue leading more Mystic Chef classes and who knows what else the future will bring!
B.W. – Thanks Denise, thanks Meadow. We would love to see you next time you are in London!
M.&D. – Thank you! It was a joy!!
(by Billie Krstovic)