Greening your magics: What are you giving?

Offerings. Every spiritual tradition on earth has them in some form. It helps to form as relationship with the unknown and unknowable of our traditions. The rune gebo and a line from the Havamal sum it up well for me: a gift for a gift. Gods/spirits/ancestors give to us, and we on the living side give to them.

In some traditions, offerings revert back to the devotee. For others, the offerings are left out to be burned or taken in by the spirits themselves. Which often then translates into the local fauna consuming them.

What are you leaving out for your spirits then?

Over the past year I’ve blogged a lot here about food. Hel, I have an entire blog devoted to the subject. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I put into my body, as well as what others ingest. I know Those in the Unseen world do not have the same nutritional needs as people do, but I still wonder how some of the food in our culture might nourish them.

Do we want to share offerings comprised of fake sugars which the pancreas cannot process? Or fake fats? Or overloaded with potential allergens and fake colors and an overall ingredient list which sounds more like a chemistry experiment?

Also, if you are going to leave the offerings out for the spirits, and for animals to consume, do you want to put out food which could make them sick or cause death? Chocolate is toxic for dogs, for example.

My friend Lupa spoke about this recently. There is more to offerings than food. You can offer actions. You can offer words. You can offer objects. I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. My ethics won’t allow me to spend a huge amount of money on little trinkets which were made in the sweatshop of a poor country.

So what do you do, especially if you only have a small amount of money to put into your offerings? If you want to buy food or items, get the best quality you can. Negotiate. Ancestors especially understand not having a huge amount of money for what amounts to gifts. When done with love and thought, they matter a lot more than throwing around a lot of money for flash.

What have you been offering recently?

5 thoughts on “Greening your magics: What are you giving?

  1. Sarenth

    Given I am very, very often strapped for cash if I can give nothing else I give water for a physical offering, and where I can I buy incense or something that the Gods, Ancestors, or spirits might like. Barring that I share food and coffee if They want some as an offfering or want to have me sit down and eat with Them. When I am at a park one of the things I do in service to Jord and the landvaettir is pick up garbage. I sometimes do this with the prayer that not only is this me cleaning, but that others will follow suit and honor Her and the landvaettir better. There’s a lot of things that can be offerings given mindfulness and the proper attention such a thing is due.

  2. David Dashifen Kees

    I regularly find myself offering “the breath of my body” and/or “the actions of my heart” as I tend to make offerings spontaneously as I’m moved to do so and, therefore, don’t always actually have physical _things_ to offer.

  3. Soli Post author

    Sarenth, what you said there is part of what I am going for in these posts. Looking at your relationships with the Unseen and your practice and taking more stock of what is being done. For some traditions, physical objects are a part of it but not all.

    Dash, your comment reminds me of a quote from the Ninth Doctor: “I give you air from my lungs.” And that is some heka there.

  4. Pingback: A lack of magics… but only from me? | Syncretic Mystic

  5. naiadis

    We give food offerings a lot. We give our time and money as we have it, but libations and food offerings are a foundation in our home. Food offerings especially have always been given with an eye toward those it would also feed, physically, afterwards, so food offerings are usually geared toward foods that are safe for wildlife to consume. Back in Philly, it was mostly the feral and stray cats. Here it’s cats and racoons, squirrels, birds, and the occassional o’possum. I’ll be honest — food offerings started with me as a means to play double duty. We have a breathing room with our finances now, seven years ago that wasn’t the case, so our gods got the food offerings, but with an eye to also feed those in need. I’m also a trash gatherer, as I go. I like that people are talking about offerings as actions as well as things that we give; this is good.

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