Mini Guide to Offerings
Today I’m going to be talking about offerings.
Many people incorporate these gifts to their Deities, Spirit Guides or to the Earth in general. When browsing forums a lot of people ask the same question that looks a little something like: “I want to give an offering to [insert name of Deity/Guide] but I don’t know what to give them, and I don’t want to be rude so what should I do?”
First, some of you might be asking why people give offerings? There’s a good argument that I’ve heard that states that many Pagans have a more open, direct path to their deities. Many Pagans see themselves as equals with their deities and have no problem talking to them as friends, parents, and even lovers (Hi, Lugh.) So, why should we give offerings or gifts to someone that we don’t need to "grovel" to.
Good point, and I wondered the same thing. When I first thought of offerings I thought of someone sacrificing things in order to gain the Gods’ attention and love.
Instead I started looking at it in the way that my wife stated back in 2014. She said “no, it’s not like groveling, it’s like they’re your friends and you know when you’re at the store and see something really cute for Jess and you just have to buy it for her? You’re not getting her stuff to buy her affection, but just because you love her and want to.”
Which is true. I don’t do it because I have to, but because I want to.
If you feel that you need to give some gifts to your deity, guides, companions or others, then hopefully these quick tips will get you on the right track.
If you want to know what your deity likes – then do a little bit o’ research. A lot of correspondence charts, or books on certain deities will have what they're known to like listed right in them. Or, you may be able to infer what the deity/guide would like based on other factors. For example, if you were to try to find an offering for a fire deity, you can infer that ashes from an important spell done in Their name, or an incense that you blend specifically for them with spicy notes might be good for them.
Use Common Sense
Instead of getting wrapped up in the moment, take a step back and make sure the offering makes sense and is safe. In the same vein, make sure that anything you’re offering is legal in your area. If you’re too young to buy alcohol for example, then please, skip it.
As easy as it may sound, just ask the deity/guide what they would like. I’ve currently begun working with a gargoyle spirit guide and I had no clue as to which offerings I should be giving him. So, I asked and he very specifically told me beef jerky and whiskey. After doing some research, approach them in meditation and politely ask what they would like.
It doesn’t have to be physical
Many times when we think of offerings we think of a tangible item. Some folks have been known to offer fasting (do research, be safe and get a doctor’s approval for this).
Other folks offer sexual acts and orgasm to deities. Hi, it's me, I'm Other Folks. (Hi again Lugh.) Be safe if you are using this option, do research, make sure the deity is ok with these kinds of offerings. Also, if engaging in relations with a partner, have their consent to utilize the energies for this reason, make sure they understand what’s going on.
Giving general energy is a good option if you’re offering to the planet. One circle I fondly remember is raising energy in circle and then channeling it into the Earth for some good healing vibes to help Momma Gaia out.
Basic List of Offerings.
In most cases these things will do the job: milk, honey, bread, eggs, incense, herbs, water, candles (even a small tea light will do.) If you want to get a little more specific I recommend this article by Patti Wigington
How to Dispose of Offerings
Some people leave offerings on their altars for a set length of time an then dispose of the offering. If it’s a food item then normally I leave the offering outside so that there’s no chance of it spoiling on the altar, as long as it's safe for the animals around - no chocolate for example!
If you're unable to place food outside, feel free to eat it if you have that relationship with the Recipient of your offering. Sometimes I'll share the food - They get the spirit, and I get the physical. Sometimes it's all for Them. Depends on the dynamic and what you're comfortable with.
If it’s inedible, like a candle, then I’ll let it burn all the way down and dispose of of the metal tin since I normally use tea lights.
If it’s something that can’t spoil, like a piece of jewelry then I’d either leave it on my altar or pack it away with care so that it’s not disturbed and can’t be misplaced.