Daily Archives: December 29, 2012

O is for Offerings – Pagan Blog Project 2012

This is, just maybe, related to yesterday’s post about full moon rituals and why they – or more to the point regularly-timed rituals in general – are important.

Today I’m talking about Offerings. An offering is not the same as a sacrifice. A sacrifice means giving up something you’d really rather hang onto – time on the internet, your obstinant pride, a whole bottle of your expensive favourite liqueur, the extra income it takes to pay for a regular pedicure. That sort of thing.
An offering is more like sharing what you’ve got in order to say Thanks to Someone or to – is it crass for me to put it this way – to build up “sweat equity” with Someone if you’re in a working relationship with Them. It’s also a way to express committed interest in having Them around and spending time with Them. You get the idea.

I do boiling water offerings… some of the time. Rarely. Intermittently. But I do them. I also do light (candles – usually home-made, beeswax candles[1]) offerings, include little bits of my food (typically the raw materials rather than the cooked finished product… which may or may not be okay in the long run) as I prepare my evening meals, and periodical incense offerings as well. Sometimes I’ll offer wine or blood or something else along those lines, but that’s really, really, REALLY a “sometimes food” for my Gods, Ancestors, and other People.

Miss Sugar says that your People are more likely to give you a hand (when you ask for it, or maybe even when you don’t) if you are paying them attention and giving them goodies when you don’t Want Something from them. I think this is pretty-much the case with everybody, so it makes a lot of sense.

If ritual is a way of setting time aside to recognize the holy, offering is a way of doing this on the fly – to take a moment, when the moment takes you (or as a matter of course) to spill a few drops or a few crumbs, or more than that, and a offer a few thoughts – the way people have done for centuries, even millenia – before getting on with your day. It’s worth it, and it adds up. Give it a try. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] For a slew of reasons. Everything from “I made it myself. That means the work I put into making them is part of the offering” to “Beeswax smells way better than paraffin and also doesn’t screw with the air quality in here” to “Yay renewable resources” to “If I make them myself, the cost of making 56 dozen candles drops by, like, sixty percent. So…” It’s a whole big thing. 😉

Full Moon (Long Nights Moon) – some thoughts on ritual work.

It feels like Snow Moon came early. We had heavy snow on the 20th and it’s kept up, off and on, all week. In spite of that, it doesn’t technically begin for another two weeks. Roughly.
I spent this morning writing porn – which turned out to be “Leather Woo” in nature – and, thus, I’ve wound up thinking about full moon rituals and what makes them matter.
So what makes them matter? I don’t think it’s mearly a way of marking time – although that’s part of it. Rituals – even tiny rituals – are a way of setting time aside to recognize the holy, to think about something that isn’t basic day-to-day getting by (the endless round of to-do lists) but that goes deeper, or more slowly, than the usual frenetic pace of life.
Maybe that’s why I avoid them. I used to do regular yoga – and then I stopped. For a slew of good reasons, sure, but I didn’t pick it up again when I was able to. Am I afraid of quieting my “what next, what next, what next” distracted mind? (Yeah, probably). I think ritual – or my tendency to slack off around ritual – is similar in this way.
I feel silly and awkward doing ritual.
I know that’s practically heresy (or something) to say it on a Pagan blog, but I do. I prefer to do it when I’m on my own because, as Mama Fortuna says, you look really, really stupid doing magic. And/or ritual. Seriously. When it comes to talking to my gods? Not a problem. I do that all the time. But when it comes to doing offerings, spells, or other ritual work… I don’t actually want anyone to see me doing it.
Which is awkward, at the best of times.
But I still need to do it. To light up the altars (which reminds me, I really, REALLY, need to make more beeswax candles – I figure I go through close to 700 beeswax tealights every year. That’s slightly more than 56 dozen so…), to insence the house, to greet my gods and my ancestors in ways that are at least slightly more than in-passing.
Maybe that means lighting incense on a different altar every week. Or making sure my boiling water offerings happen with some small degree of regularity and, ideally, frequency.
Enough to take the time, slow the mind, pay attention to the People (and the people) who really matter. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.