-Bringing Devotion To The Physical World-
Often I am asked common questions about basic Deity worship and honoring. Among those questions I hear, offerings related inquires are the top dog. Many starting and veteran practitioners often get hung up on the mechanics of offerings while often losing the notion of what they really are. With the Pagan community growing larger everyday, UPG and opinions about offerings can get mixed up in the crosshairs and can become confusing to many people. Such a simple act can be made out to be a full on ritual (not that it can’t be) but most of us having jobs, family and such that intertwine in with our spiritual lives. This means we often may not have the time for a huge ritual. We often have to keep things simple and time wise, something that fits into our busy lives.
I am finding a trend in my entries…originality and what you make of it. Here we are again dear reader, embarking on an adventure of offering advice and me reminding you that it’s all what you make of it.
I’d be a liar if I told you I am not forgetful and can go days without offering anything or even lighting a candle. Life has a funny way of reminding us that we have bills to pay, relationships to maintain and name tags to wear at work. With as busy as we are now, us ever-growing humans, it’s incredibly easy to get pulled away from spirituality. If anyone ever tries to sell you the notion they are the cadet Pagan, the real scout and never forgets, always on time and never misses a holiday…decline what they are selling and shut the door. That isn’t reality. People make mistakes and people forget. It’s fact.
Everyone has a different situation in their lives that shapes the spiritual world around them. Even more when it comes to altars and offerings. There are harmful authors out there that will tell you that you NEED an altar and you MUST do x, y and Z or you aren’t a true ‘believer’. (Slow the roll Silver Ravenwolf..no one is gonna drink your Kool-aid!) Lies, all lies. Hearing this, at least this new information being passed onto newbies and even more ones who live in less than accepting environments will be disheartened and will walk away from whatever their calling may be. Shame on the authors and people who pass along harmful information. It’s a disservice to our community.
Mind you there are young Pagans who live in abusive homes and environments that cannot have altars and offerings. I’ll cover you too, darlings.
Offerings are just that. An offering, a gift, a show of appreciation and love, kindness and devotion. They can be anything and everything from home-baked cookies to sex. (both if you are feeling adventurous! ) I could list you common offerings that I give to Loki and the others but I wont. That information is UPG and SPG and ergo you can look that up on Google. The reason for that choice is because I want YOU to discover what your Deity(s) like and enjoy as offerings. Wine (if you are of legal age), cigarettes or cigars? Home cooked food and sweets? What about candles of a certain color or scents? Just to name a few ideas.
For those of you in situations to where you can’t have an altar, choose not to and or cannot set out physical offerings of food or drink, keep in mind you have a plethora of options at your disposal that can go without detection to those around you.
I grew up in an abusive home and even more a home that was not exactly kind to the fact that I was Pagan. I had a mother that would tear down pictures, rip books apart and destroy altars just because she could and hated the fact I was Pagan. To her, it was a stupid phase (Nearly 20 years later, jokes on you!). So I understand when I get questions from readers who live in the same situation or in dorms they cannot freely practice in.
You will be free from that one day. Until then, may the Gods always keep you safe and sound. You are loved.
Now for those non-physical offerings and devotions, think outside the box. In terms of ways to not be caught, think of ways we live and enjoy things daily. Books, music and art. Look for books (if you enjoy a good read) that has a character that reflects and reminds you of your Deity(s). If the book isn’t openly Pagan or Pagan related, who would know? Same with music. I have a playlist for Loki that has music that never mentions his name or any myths or other Gods. I enjoy them because resonate a feelings of Him to me. Art is another wonderful way to express an offering and devotion. Make jewelry that reflects your Deity(s). Get into painting and sketching, try drawing a modern version of Deity, pictures of what they look (which alas! Will cause you to research your Deity and that is a great form of devotion and offering.). Go for a walk. No music or distractions. Someplace quiet and connect with the nature around you. You never know what messages will come through to you!
Fleetwood Mac has great music that I know a lot of mainstream Pagans use as devotional music!
I’m not a huge fan of devotional and offering type books. I mean to say that there is no work for you to do when its mapped out for you. It takes away the creativity and bonding moments between you and Deity(s). It’s vital we read, learn and connect with them on a deeper level to achieve a higher sense of self. You will make mistakes and there have been times I have given an offering to Loki that He just didn’t want. That’s ok. We have all been offered or given something we didn’t want nor had use for. Experiment within your means and have fun!
That being said, I feel the need to add in quickly that offerings do not have a price tag. I have gotten some amazing offering items and altar items at the thrift store, Wal-mart and the dollar store. Don’t get caught up in posts and Pagans talking about how they spent $400.00 on a statue. No one will be impressed and I’m a huge believer in things hold more meaning when they come from the heart. I’d rather my fiance’ have picked flowers from the road for me than come home with flowers from the local store. One required thought and effort, the other required a credit card. See the difference? Hell, I have tossed dandelions on the altar for an offering because I thought they looked pretty and reminded me of happiness and sunshine. Free but from the heart. It truly is always the thought that count’s.
Even thoughts can be an offering. No, seriously! There have been really random times where I have (in thought) thanked Loki, Thor, others just because I could. Or I have said devotional prayers or words in thought because maybe I forgot (shocker!) to give incense or a candle that day. You can do this anywhere and unless someone is a magical mind reader….no one will ever have to know! Also, it’s a good way to work on ‘hearing’ communication from Deity and learning discernment. (Oh look, an idea for a entry!)
Whatever it is you do, how you do and when you do.
You do you baby.
Offerings are personal, fun and a chance to get creative!
Todays practice: If you are in the vicinity of a local thrift store, take a special trip there and look around! Set intentions that you are looking for an offering item and let it go from there. I am a witness to the old saying of ”ask and you shall receive”.
If you are unable to make that trip or feel it nit be a good idea to do so (your environment and such) Take a nice hot bath or shower. Use this as a devotional act and as an offering to wash away your stresses and worries. Meditate quietly in the comfort of your bathing rituals and use the quiet time for some thought offerings!