It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. I’m going to address one of the most frequently asked questions I receive: How do I give offerings? For some reason, many beginner books don’t dive into the specifics of this religious practice which many are unfamiliar with. Hopefully this will help.
Offerings are given as thank-yous, as little gifts to say that you appreciate the deity’s existence. They don’t have to be expensive, but they should be special in your eyes. For example, I often offer donuts or wine simply because I don’t buy those two things often.
Offerings should be appropriate for the deity you’re giving them to.
You’re allowed to get creative with offerings–in fact, the Gods even prefer that you do!
How often you give offerings in accordance to your practice is up to you.
You may give apology offerings for any offense you think you may have made.
Prayers, songs, playlists, and there intangible gifts still count as offerings.
You do not need an altar to give offerings. You can give offerings anywhere, at anytime.
Simply saying “This is for you” makes the object an offering.
Most food offerings are eaten after being offered. The main exceptions are Greek chthonic deities, and ancestors, in which case you do not eat the offerings. Research your specific pantheon to make sure if eating is appropriate or not.
There is no set amount of time to leave out food offerings. In fact, many worshippers will eat said offerings right after they offer them.
If you do not eat food offerings, you may throw them away, saying something like, “Though I discard these physical offerings, the spiritual offering remains”.
You may also bury the offerings. Make sure that the offerings will not harm the surrounding environment or animals. Do not bury them in a jar or plastic bag.
If you offer herbs, you may either burn them using a charcoal block or cauldron, or you may throw them out/bury them. While burning is certainly traditional in many pantheons, do not feel the need to if you will be bothered by the potent smoke or handling fire.
Liquid offerings are handled in the same way food offerings are, with the exception of oils.
You do not have to drink oils after offering them. (Drinking straight olive oil is pretty gross, and please DO NOT drink harmful essential oils!) I recommend pouring them into the ground outside, or into the trash can.
You may pour liquid offerings into the offering bowl, or, you may keep the liquid offering in a cup. I have a special teacup that I often use for offerings such as tea, but any regular teacup will do. After all, you are offering the liquid, not the cup.
Incense and Candle Offerings:
According to tradition, these offerings must be left to burn out on their own. I recommend lighting small tea light candles for these offerings, as big candles burn for a long time. However, some modern Pagans may blow, rinse, or snuff them out early to prevent a fire hazard.
Make sure to be present while the offering is lit, and make sure nothing catches on fire.
If you are bothered by incense smoke, using an essential oil diffuser or unscented candle works fine.
Although many Pagans recommend incense as a general offering, you do not have to offer it, or any candles, if they bother you.
If you offer a plucked flower, you may leave it on an altar or table until it withers. Afterwards you may throw it away. Basically, you handle it as any other friend would had you given them a plucked flower.
If you offer a growing or potted plant, tend to it as you would your other plants. If it dies, that’s okay. Simply discard it as you would normally. The Gods understand that plants die, and They appreciate the beauty of plants while they last.
For objects such as stones, shells, or family heirlooms, keep them on the altar or somewhere else special. Ideally, you will not need to throw these away. If they get damaged somehow, and if you cannot repair them, you may throw them out, but give an apology offering and try to replace them.
For artworks or crafts, place them on the altar or hang them somewhere. Don’t sell your offerings; they are gifts you gave to the Gods and not yours to sell.
For songs, play or sing them anytime you’d like to connect or give something to your deity.
For writings, you may keep them, or some people might burn them to “send” to their Gods. Whichever way is up to you.
For e-shrines or other technological offerings, keep them saved in their own folder, keep them nice and up-to-date.
For magical tools, such as grimoires or wands that you dedicate, feel free to use them as normal. Just take care of them, and remember to thank the deity you devoted them to once in a while.
For daily or private actions, such as cleaning, giving to others, etc., simply think “This is for you” or send your energy to the God, and finish the action.
You may say prayers out loud, write them down, or simply think them in your mind. All are perfectly legitimate.
I hope I got all of this. Feel free to reblog or message with corrections, since I know I don’t know everything about every pantheon. Have a beautiful day, and have fun worshipping!! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
Sometimes as someone who is stuck in one spot, it can be hard to feel connected to your gods/goddesses/deities. However, it’s not as hard as you may think to find some solid methods! Please note that your deities understand your situation and don’t expect you to suffer for them or consistently do things for them!
Burn candles or incense that remind you of them. If you are
unable to do this, try an oil diffuser or room spray.
Use blankets, sheets, pillows, etc. that have colors you
associate with them.
Make an online devotional blog or altar. I do this [X]
Chat with other people who work with them.
If your body is okay with it, eat foods that are sacred/connected
Hang pictures or decorations that correspond with their
sacred animals, plants, or what lessons or teachings they present to you.
Write devotional poetry, or make drawings for them.
Draw sigils for them and hang them on your walls, ceiling, or
put under your mattress.
Find a stuffed animal that you feel captures their essence or
reminds you of them, and hold it close when you need the support.
Research them/browse their tag on tumblr.
Keep stones and crystals you associate with them near you –
on a bedside table or under your pillow.
Use astral travel or dream magic to connect with them.
Listen to music that makes you feel closer to them.
Watch shows or movies that remind you of them.
Pray to them, talk to them, write them a letter. Stay in
communication with them, especially in times of need.
Drink something warm or cool that helps you connect with
Make a spell bottle/jar that you feel captures their essence.
Charge during good days, use for connection and support during the not-so-good
Make emoji spells to feel more connected to them.
Expose yourself to natural light (or gentle artificial light)
or complete darkness, depending on the deity.
Artemis (goddess of asexuality) and Aphrodite (goddess of pansexuality) are best friends and they like to have sleepovers where they paint each other’s nails and punish homophobes and transphobes. When Dionysus (god/goddess of genderfluidity) is feeling femme, they join Artemis and Aphrodite. Feel free to add on!
One of the characters named Chloris was a nymph that lived in the Elysian Fields, the area of the Underworld where the worthy souls lived. She was abducted by the god of the west wind, Zephyrus, whom she later married. She also transformed a number of mythological figures into flowers, including Adonis, Attis, Crocus, Hyacinthus and Narcissus.
Hi! So, I’m writing a webcomic and one of my main characters is a Indian American teenager (he’s 14 at the beginning of the comic). As a part of the webcomic chapters are separated by little info pages (to help world build). The first one of these for Avi is a bedtime story told to him by his mom. I’d really love to use the Hindu creation story since Avi’s Hindu and I want to make that super clear to the readers. My issue is, I’m not Hindu and I don’t want to leave an important piece out of it or be unintentionally offensive in how I’m telling it.
I’ve structured the story like my own mom did when she was telling us religious stories as bedtime tales:
Before there was an Earth or a sky, there was Vishnu and there was a great snake. Vishnu was protected and safe deep within the coils of the snake, who floated upon the waters of the endless ocean that was the universe. Then, energy began to grow and with it, a lotus from Vishnu’s belly button. Inside the lotus was Brahma.
Brahma looked to Vishnu.
“It is time to begin,” Vishnu told Brahma. “Create the world.”
Then, a great wind came and the waters of the Universe grew turbulent. When Brahma next looked Vishnu and the serpent were gone and he was alone.
Brahma, determined to fulfill the orders of his master, took three lotus petals.
He stretched high into the sky and gave one petal to the heavens.
The second petal he formed into the Earth, barren and hard.
The final petal became the skies, the clouds, the stars, and the planets.
Then, satisfied with the canvas he had created, Brahma set to work. He touched the dry earth and rivers flowed, tenders flowers grew, and great trees soared toward the sky. He created animals and insects to live on the land and among the plants. He created birds and fish and laughed when they delighted in the sky and water. To all the creatures of the Earth he gave the senses to see and feel and hear and taste and smell their home.
Soon, the world was as we know it and Brahma was satisfied that he had fulfilled his master’s command.
For visual context: I’ve placed the text over a stylized starry ocean and a snake curled around a lotus.
I guess what I’m asking is this: Do you have any Hindu (or Indian American) mods or followers who could help me out with being culturally sensitive with regards to a pretty important bit of religion?
(Also, Avi’s not crazy religious (no more than any 14/15 year old) but if there are any things that he should be doing in daily life that internet research might talk about that would be awesome too!)
There’s not one single “the Hindu creation story.” There are at minimum three; two are found in the Rig Veda where
1) in the Hiranyagarbha Sukta an abstractly-conceived Divinity manifests the cosmos out of itself as a “golden womb” and
2) my personal favorite, the Nasadiya Sukta, because it’s basically a non-answer that shrugs and says “meh, who knows what happened?” (There are probably other Vedic creation stories I can’t remember right now, in addition to post-Vedic versions where it’s a goddess or divine feminine power responsible for creating the universe as opposed to a god.)
In addition to those there are the stories found in the Puranas, which involve personified deities like Vishnu and Brahma (and Shiva if the destruction of the previous universe is told of as well), and more closely resemble what you outline in your question. The common elements are: Vishnu lying on Sesha (the serpent), when the lotus emerges from his bellybutton, which unfolds, revealing Brahma, who creates the universe.
This is where you start to lose the established mythological thread, or at least diverge from what I personally know (so take what follows with the caveat that I don’t know every single Hindu scripture and version of a creation story—to do so may be impossible due to the sheer volume of the literature). I don’t recall anything specific about the lotus petals being used for definite purposes in the creation process. The actual process of creation is usually left vague; Brahma’s purpose is to create the universe so that’s what he does—how he does so is mostly irrelevant and left up to the imagination (so using the petals like you do isn’t necessarily wrong, you just may want to mark it as poetic license taken by the person who tells this story within your story).
The one detail you have that I would say is generally regarded as incorrect is referring to Vishnu as Brahma’s “master.” Vishnu is rarely considered to be Brahma’s “master,” although he’s typically depicted as more powerful and is usually the one who fixes things when Brahma screws up (such as by granting superpowers to demons and such). In Hindu cosmology, gods often pray to each other, which can be confusing but the implication is not that there’s a consistent power imbalance between two gods just because one prays to the other sometimes. It’s not like western or Abrahamic religions in that regard.
When depicted together, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are usually considered to be kind of the “holy trinity” of Hinduism, and are co-equal.