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?