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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in libation

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan 3D, Part 3: Critter Rhytons

This is the third in a four-part series about the 3D elements in Minoan art. Find the other posts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Four.


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


If you build the candy cottage, the kiddies will come.”



What do you do when standard-issue libation-bowls just aren't big enough?

We'll be pouring three different libations for the Many-Named and Many-Colored Lady of Spring on Opening Night at this year's Paganicon, so—a hotel ballroom being our temporary temple—we'll need a pretty capacious receptacle to catch them all.

(After the ritual, of course, we'll pour out the mingled offerings on the Earth, giver of all good gifts.)

So a friend of mine offered to bring her largest cauldron.

“Just how big is this cauldron?” I email, ever the conscientious organizer.

(You don't have to be anal-obsessive to make a good ritualist, but it sure helps.)

From several hundred miles away, I can far-See the glint in her eye as she fires off the response.

“Big enough to boil three babies,” she writes.

Ah, my people. Some size cauldrons by quarts and gallons.


A cowan walks into a witch store.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs Vintage Corning Ware (A-84-B)


Libations played an important role in the religious practice of the pagan ancestors, and they still do today amongst Latter-Day Pagans.

But libations aren't quite what they used to be.

For the ancients, “libation” (Latin libatio(n)- < libare, “to pour”) meant what 19th-century translators used to refer to as “drink offerings".

Contemporary pagans, though—at least here in Paganistan—tend to use the term libation more generally, to mean “a sacred/set aside portion,” whether of food or of drink.

At feasts, in particular, it's customary to set aside a token portion of each dish for the gods: hence the modern usage—which would have been incomprehensible to the ancestors—of the “libation plate.” “Has this been libated?” people ask before taking a portion for themselves. No Midwestern feast table is complete without both the libation bowl (for beverages) and the libation plate (for the food).

Well, let the purists decry. (In the end, purism is its own punishment.) We're certainly not the pagans that the ancestors were; we can't be. We have to be the pagans for our own time and place: it's the only kind of pagan that we can honestly be.

And we can be absolutely certain that the ancestors would have approved the practice itself, if not what we call it.


It's something of a standing joke here in Midwestern Potluck Culture—surely the archaeologists of the future will know us as the “Casserole People,” from our most common cooking vessel—that no one will ever take the last piece of something on a plate.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan 3D Offerings

The Minoans were big on offerings. They made all manner of offering stands, libation pitchers, and other paraphernalia for their altars and shrines. And they used these ritual vessels to hold items and substances such as bread, fruit, flowers, wine, honey, seeds, and even wool.

But there are some interesting ritual vessels from Palaikastro that come pre-filled with little ceramic offerings. Were these models of offerings meant to replace the real thing? To be a reinforcement of what was put in the offering dish? Or to be some other kind of symbol - a reference to the deity the offering was given to, for instance, or a depiction of what they wanted the deities to protect?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Red Wine Spill. | Red wine spills, Spilled wine, Red wine


Here in Paganistan, as across Pagandom, when you open a bottle of, say, wine, it's customary to pour out the first few drops onto the ground in thanksgiving to Themselves.

But sometimes you forget.


You know how it is. A glass gets knocked over, the wine is lost.

“Was this bottle libated?” someone always asks.

Turns out, usually, it wasn't.


Here we see, then, yet another good reason to pour libations.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Pagan Thing to Do

I was raised up Congregational,

never found it too sensational;

I'd rather be libational.

That's good enough for me.

(Old Time Religion)


Among the historic paganisms, the libation, or drink-offering, was probably the most frequently-performed act of worship, both public and private.

Today, it still is.

Whenever you're about to drink something, you pour out a few drops first: by way of thanks, by way of honoring, by way of making consumption a sacred act.

Outdoors, you do this directly onto the ground. No matter which god you're offering to, the ultimate recipient of all libations—as of course is only right—is Earth, giver of all good gifts.

Indoors, you use a libation bowl.

When pagans get together—as we did the other night for Full Moon—there will be eating and drinking.

Among the bottles and cans on the drinks table, you're likely to find a bowl. There you'll pour your libation when you're serving yourself. It's the pagan thing to do.

“Has this bottle been libated?” you'll hear people ask, before they take some.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Offerings, Minoan Style

We're modern people, not Bronze Age Minoans. But in Modern Minoan Paganism, we do some things that ancient people would have found familiar. Among those is the presentation of offerings to the gods. We do this quietly on our home altars or a bit more loudly sometimes, in group ritual.

A while back, I wrote about the kinds of offerings we make to the various gods and goddesses - what they like and what they don't. But the way we make offerings, or more specifically, the kinds of containers we use for them, take their inspiration from the Minoans.

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