One of the things that I have added to my practice over the last several years is to give offerings to the spirits, the Ancestors, and the Gods who inhabit my world and who I work with .Before I left for Kaleidoscope gathering in Canada this year, I ‘put my working altar to bed’. I tidied and dusted it, put the skulls away and requested that the spirits rest but be watchfull while I was away and in turn promised to bring them back gifts if they would do so. I did not want my house sitter to feel uncomfortable while she was staying but I also wanted my house to be proteted. Apparently I was so successful at this that my cat, who it could be said, is also a spirit, also spend the entire month in the hall cupboard and only came out when my lovely house sitter was asleep or out of the house.. but I digress
The news came at work, in a text from my fiance: Oregon's ban on gay marriage has been overturned, and the state is issuing marriage licenses to gay couples effective immediately.
It's big news for us, because it means when we say our vows next September we'll be able to do it on Oregon soil--or, in our case, sand, because we want to be married on the beach. I immediately have to go lock myself in a bathroom and cry a little bit, because up until this moment I wasn't convinced it was really going to happen.
Libations are simple: one pours directly onto the ground.
Food offerings, though, are a little more difficult. If there's a sacred fire present, one can burn them, but what if there isn't? It seems rude to lay them directly on the ground. (If I offered you a sandwich and set it on the floor in front of you, how would you feel?) To set out food offerings in non-bio-degradable containers pollutes both physically and spiritually. What to do?
I suppose I should weigh in on the offerings and consumption of said offerings. I give Loki a fair amount of food and drink. He enjoys the extravagant gesture, but having spent time starving in a cave (still starving, since time is not linear for Him and everything is happening, has happened, will happen) He doesn't really care for the wasting of food in my personal experience. Furthermore, my ancestors, particularly the ones who lived through the Great Depression, would have a coronary if I dumped lots of food regularly. If I have an excess of food, or more of a meal than I can eat, there is always someone who is hungry in my local community.
I have one exception to this: alcohol. I feed Loki more booze than I could ever consume (or should). So that gets poured out when He's done with it. It's likewise for other Deities that I offer alcohol to as well.
Americans still haven't celebrated our secular harvest holiday yet (Thanksgiving)-- which marks the unofficial change from autumn to winter, even if the official shift falls on the Solstice. So I think it's still appropriate to honor Freyr, especially at lower latitudes.
Whether it's your local metaphysical shop, farmer's market, or hardware store, buying local is an easy path to intentional spending. The 3/50 Project is my preferred method of encouraging local spending, because once you get past the sometimes-confusing name, it's an easy way to redirect existing money to local businesses.
The 3/50 concept is this: take fifty bucks each month, and spread it around three local businesses instead of using it at chain stores, franchises, or online. The project has a pretty specific definition of local business that focuses on the amount of money which stays in the community. One thing I like about the concept is that it stresses balance -- don't avoid big-box stores entirely, if that's where you get the best deals on some items, but do spend some money in businesses owned and operated by your neighbors.
It's been a crazy couple of weeks, folks, with lots of ritual work to be done as we move into fall. While we always honor our ancestors at the beginning of our rituals, autumn tends to be a a time when we focus even more strongly on our dead and that means a lot more rituals. I love it, but boy have I been busy! Autumn really is, for me, the best season. It's so vibrant and finally after an entire summer of positively aching for fall, i've started smelling the teasing promise of crispness in the air, the faint sense of crisping decay as the leaves ever so slightly show the first signs of their inevitable decay. I love it. Of course, I also love that questions on ritual and praxis keep rolling in. I've gotten quite a bit of good feedback on this series and I'm enjoying it greatly. Y'all have been sending in some really thoughtful questions and I find crafting my answers makes me look at my own practice in new ways too. I thank you, my readers for that gift. For today's Q&A, I have a series of questions on how to handle offerings from reader Lenore.