I wanted to revisit this topic and share a previous post I made about it at the end of this one. For now, I want to discuss how offerings play a role in my life – or how they have played a role in my life.
I’ve never been very ritualistic about my practice. I try for a bit, but it always ends up feeling rigid and boring in the end. I don’t really see a practicality in an altar currently, nor has it been really possibly to have a working altar or devotional altar in any of my past situations. My practice is very minimalist, very spontaneous – I don’t plan many things when it comes to celebrations or rituals. I just sort of let it happen – if it starts strong and dies early, so be it. I follow the energy.
I can say the same thing about my offerings. Most of my offerings consist of my time and energy, not material objects. Many mornings, a simple thought to the Universal Energy is enough of an offering. It doesn’t have to be something major, seriously. You are capable of making a big deal about it, and yeah, there are some deities out there that demand something spectacular, but on average simple is best.
I primarily view offerings as a means of payment for a request, as nothing in this universe is free. There is always an exchange of something, whether currency, effort/time, objects, or energy. From here, I am going to just share my previous post:
(Written 18 July 2014) In order to receive, you must first give – what this means is that if you want something, you need to sacrifice something. Now, of course this is all dependent on the work you are doing. I generally use this rule: If you ask a Deity, Ancestor, Spirit, or Guide for assistance, make an offering to them as thanks. If you are working magic for an inner change, like the perseverance to lose weight, or the courage to speak in front of a crowd, and you are not asking a specific ally for assistance, an offering may not be necessary. Nothing comes for free, even in magic. Sometimes, hard work and effort, time, and energy are enough of a sacrifice to “pay” for what you are working magic for – other times, something a little extra is needed. Making an offering is also done in honor of a particular Deity, Ancestor, Spirit, or Guide, as a form of worship.
When, Where, Why, and How?
You want to make offerings whenever it feels right – if you have the feeling that you should make an offering during any particular working, ritual, or from day to day, do it. If you are asking something of someone, be it human or non, make an offering of something! It is easy, just like being responsible and paying someone back when you borrow something. Nothing you receive is truly free – somewhere, someone or something is paying for that gift.
Where you make an offering is completely up to you, and the working you are doing. Some spells and rituals may call for you to leave an offering at a tree, a crossroads, or toss an offering into running water. You can erect altars to your chosen allies and make offerings at those altars. You can keep your offerings in a special container, and make a trip every once in a while to a sacred spot and make an offering. It all depends on your relationship with your allies and what they require. Read up on your allies, learn what you can expect from working with them, and what they expect from you.
There is a multitude of information out there about offerings to Deities – certain gods and goddesses expect certain things. Sometimes, people will tell you if you offer something that is not on their list, they will not be happy. I feel that it doesn’t matter the specifics, unless your tradition is rigid in this. Some of the most basic items you can offer are:
Just as amazing, but not used as often:
- Offerings Stones
And finally, my favorite form of offering:
- Artwork of any kind
Look at this generalized list and look at your allies – does anything feel right?
Offerings can be done at any time, for any reason – even just because. I do a lot of Digital Art (photomanipulations mostly), and I view each piece as an offering to my allies. There are some images I make in honor of a specific ally, and I try to make sure that they know it exists and is for them. My children find items in nature and offer them at a specific tree to the Fae when we go to the park.
Just remember: When in doubt, do it.
(Image Credit: firstname.lastname@example.org)