“An offering is an act of completion. So many things come to us from the gods. If we keep them, the flow ends there. By holding tightly to the gifts of the gods, we create an interruption in the natural rhythm of the world, a dead-end into which the universe flows and then stops.”

- Ceisiwr Serith
A Book of Pagan Prayer
http://amzn.to/1POD8uk

Image Credit: Astrid Dellair

Window Shrines

Window shrines are a great way to communicate with and honor entities you don’t want to invite into your home or entities that wander.

I personally have one window dedicated to a specific being where I practice smoke offerings, leave offerings on the windowsill and even practice methods of communication through forms of divination there. 

You can decorate the curtains, hang items from the frame and decorate the windowsill. This is especially helpful if you have limited space in your home.

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that offerings are not meant to be a status symbol. They are meant to perpetuate ma’at, and to nourish the gods and yourself. Whatever you can do that embodies that is a good offering.

Hello there! I’m assuming you two are referring to this post I made earlier.

Generally, when you make offerings to a Deity, They’ll let you know if the offering has been accepted or rejected by a number of ways. If it’s been accepted, you may find a sense of peace around the altar. The area will seem calm, refreshed, and a place of solitude and contentment. I’ve heard many people describe an uneasy or anxious feeling when they put the wrong offering down. 

If you’re putting the offering down as an exchange for a favor, there’s a pretty obvious way to tell if the offering was liked: if They grant you your favor! If They don’t like the offering, there’s very little chance They’ll do what you ask of Them.

Look for little clues in your daily life, as well. Look for messengers of your particular Deity, and little “coincidences”. The universe is rarely so lazy. (10 points for catching the reference) 

For my personal practices, it’s a little different. Horned One generally takes what I give because we’ve been working together so long, I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what He likes. He’ll let me know if I’ve got it wrong, though, nearly immediately.

Usually I’ll figure it out if the offering starts rotting while others don’t, the offering continuously falls off the altar, or He straight-up tells me. 

Finally, a good way to avoid rejected offerings would be research, and a lot of personal work. Make sure you’re not giving Pomegranates to Zeus, for example. Make sure you’re not giving roses to Chang'O. Figure out what your Deity likes, through reading mythology, sacred texts, and prayers. 

Obviously all of this goes the same for sacrifices, as well. I hope this helps!

-TLW

Recipe: Baking Bread/Offerings

I love to bake bread. I mean absolutely love it. I bake bread any chance I can get and I love using it as an offering because I know my time, effort and energy has gone into it. I will scatter it for the wildlife around my house or plant it at the base of some trees, depending on what kind of offering I’m doing.

In any case, I thought I would share my go to recipe with you because it’s pretty fool proof and it’s a good beginner’s loaf. So here we go! This Recipe takes approximately 3 hours from start to finish (but you can go do stuff while it’s rising)!

 This recipe uses standard american measurements, sorry if you live somewhere else and have to convert it!

You will need:

  • A large (plastic) bowl, Saran Wrap, a spatula and a Bread pan plus measuring cups and spoon.
  • 3 cups flour (I use King Arthur Bread Flour but any all purpose or bread flour will do)
  • 1 Packet of quick rise yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • ½ cup milk (can substitute with soy or almond milk for vegans)
  • 1 pinch of ginger (optional)
  • Pam or some other non-stick cooking spray.
  1. In a large bowl combine the water, yeast, sugar, shortening and pinch of ginger. Mix together until yeast is dissolved and set aside for 5 minutes or until it starts to bubble a little.
  2. Add your first two cups of flour one at a time blending it in thoroughly before adding the next one.
  3. Add the third cup of flour, salt and milk. Mix until everything is pretty well together and then start kneading the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-10 minutes or until all the ingredients are well mixed and the dough is no longer sticky to the touch.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball. Spray the bowl with Pam and place dough ball back in bowl. Spray the dough ball.
  5. Cover the bowl with Saran Wrap and let rise for 60 minutes in a warm spot (if it’s crappy weather and cold you can put it in an oven set at 95 degrees)
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size PUNCH THAT SUCKER DOWN right in the center then let it rest for a few minutes.
  7. Take it out of the bowl and knead on a floured surface for five minutes, again until it feel smooth and not sticky. It should start to feel firm in your hands, kind of like the consistency of play doh.
  8. Grease your bread pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  10. Shape the dough so it will fit in the bread pan evenly then let it rise in the pan for another 30 minutes.
  11. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is browned and you can tap on it and it sounds hollow (that’s how you can tell the whole loaf is cooked, it will all sound the same).
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes before turning it out of the pan.
  13. ENJOY!

Significance of Offering Coconuts in Temples

In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut. Coconut plays a vital role in all puja rituals. The coconut is a satvic fruit.

It is sacred, pure, clean, and health giving, endowed with several properties. It is also offered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. It is offered in the sacrificial fire whilst performing homa. The coconut is broken and placed before the Lord. It is later distributed as prasad. The marks on the coconut are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva and therefore it is considered to be a means to fulfill our desires.

The coconut resembles the human head in many ways - the coir outside resembles the human’s tuft of hair, the hard nut the skull, the water inside the blood and the kernel is akin to the mental space. Another interpretation equated the outer shell to the human being’s gross physical body and the kernel to the subtle body.

The coconut (Sanskrit: Sriphala = God’s fruit) alone is also used to symbolize ‘God’.

By K.Nagori

Helpful Hints for Witches #5

If you’re working outside, please try to be respectful and kind to the environment.

Don’t leave plastic, synthetic fabric, and other non-biodegradable garbage around as offerings or otherwise. Clean up your workspace when you’re done.

If leaving food offerings, make sure they aren’t toxic to any wildlife that may consume it.

If you’d use salt indoors, consider using birdseed, sand, or flower petals outdoors. Salt will kill plant life.

Be thoughtful and aware of your actions!

5

Some other news….my new offering set came in the mail from Tsubaki America Jinja! It goes to Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto-sama, Amaterasu Omikami-sama, and Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto-sama.

The ones I had before go to Yatagarasu-sama and Futsunushi-no-Kami-sama. 

Here is a helpful guide that came with the set on how to make offerings! I thought it would be good to share :) 

thundercunt-deity-101 asked:

Hey so I know you've probably answered this hundreds of times, but I'm trying to study Wicca, specifically Celtic Wicca. I was just wondering if you could give some tips or starter tips on getting to know specific deities, bonding with them or giving offerings and communicating with specific deities? Thanks

Starter tips? Sure thing, lederhosencow! This applies to all Deities, spirits, entities, beings, heck, even people. Not just Celtic. 

1) Research the crap out of those Deities. Look through multiple sources, not just one or two websites. Pick up an old mythology book. Maybe an academic paper pertaining to classics studies.

* Seriously, it comes in handy, trust me. Have that info in the back of your head. For example, did you know that Aphrodite is associated with the myrtle? Well, you do now.

2) Once you know them, you know which Deities call to you, which ones you are attracted to most, research them more. In depth. What’s Their favorite colour? Their favorite food? What flowers are They associated with? Which animals? What time of day? What day of the week? What moon phase?

*(obviously some Deities may have all of these attributes readily written about Them, or only one, or none, or three, etc)

3) All that seemingly random info you just found out? Offer Them that. See how They respond. (Here’s a post I wrote a little earlier this week on offerings and reactions of Deities to the offerings)

* Simple as that!

4) This is where the bonding comes in. Figure out what They like, don’t like, how They like it to be offered, when They like it to be offered. Imagine you’re making a new best friend, and you’re trying to figure out all of their favorite fandoms and books and movies, and you want to make them smile. So you mention those things around them. You read the books they read. You watch the movies with them.

* treat Deities with a little more respect than a new best friend, of course. You may be besties and They may love you, but They’re still a Deity, after all.

5) As for communicating, this comes easier for some than others. Some people have visitations in dreams or meditations from the Deities they work with. Some have very clear conversations or communications with them. Some people know the nuances, and communicate mostly by feeling or by emotion (That’s me, by the way. Hello. -again, 10 points if you catch the reference)

NOTE: If you don’t experience any of these communications or conversations or visitations or ____ations, don’t feel badly. Everyone experiences Deity differently.

(I remember, many years ago, I felt awful for not being able to have conversations with my God. Everyone else seemed to be having profound dialogues, and I was just having little visitations once every few weeks and having a lot of intense feelings. But now I’ve come to realize just how beautiful our system is, He and I. We don’t need words.)

I really hope these 5 steps can help you on the path to a rewarding, satisfying, and beautifully exploratory relationship with Deity, should you choose to work with Them.

-TLW

Offerings PSA

(I had an ask that got eaten, so)

According to the contents and residues around altars, temples, funerary locations, etc of ancient Greece (studied over and over again in so many locations, and by so many people, both via personal testing and confirmation via primary sources):

the most common offerings to the theoi, nymphs, and heroes were dairy, honey, sweet wine, pomegranates, garlic, grapes, and bread.

So, if anyone is looking to start making offerings, but don’t know where to start: here you go.

Note: fresh, potable water is always acceptable for all gods and spirits and is also  very common, but not all theoi will want garlic, as that has cthonic associations (earth, death, underground, etc); the rest is pretty well accepted across he board.

If you’re interested in making more traditional or ancient fare, then recipes abound as well for offerings like spice-mulled wines, honeyed milk, cakes, and flatbreads, bean dishes, fish dishes, etc. It’s all out there, but as a quick primer, here you go.

Alcohol-Free Offering Suggestions

Two months ago I stopped drinking. It wasn’t a big deal and I’m not an alcoholic, so I didn’t suffer any withdrawal or anything like that. However, now that I’m getting back into setting up my altars and performing rituals, I’m stuck with making a choice. I don’t like waste, so whenever I put something out as an offering I usually consume it after I’ve let the gods take what they want. Now that I’m sober I need to make alterations to my offerings so that I don’t waste and they still get what they want. 

This information can be useful if you’re underage, have diabetes or digestive issues, are allergic, if someone in your household struggles with addiction, or if you just don’t care for alcohol.

Links and more info at the bottom. 

ABOUT ALCOHOL

Alcohol is generally split up into 2 categories-

Fermented or Undistilled & Distilled

Fermented alcohols include-
beer, wine, sake, cider, and less common alcohols (in the US, at least,) like chicha, tepache, plum and palm wines, and basi. There are others, this is just a few. 

Distilled alcohols include-
gin, vodka, whisky, rum, tequila, brandy, cognac, and others like guaro, horilka, mezcal, baijiu, and arrack. 

The key to replacing alcohol is to figure out whether the alcohol is fermented or distilled, and what grain/fruit the alcohol is made from. This will make it easy to find appropriate replacements. 

TEA
Tea is a very easy way to get the general energy of the alcohol across, especially since fermented teas, like kambucha, are gaining a lot of popularity in the west. When you expand into herbal and grain teas the possibilities really open up. 

If the deity you want to work with is typically offered up beer, for example, there’s a Japanese style barley tea called mugicha that can easily replace it. There’s also a Korean rice tea called hyeonmi cha, that can replace sake. Of course, you can always buy prepackaged tea bags for both of these, along with other teas with roasted corn and other special grains. With these specialty ones, though, unless you have a multicultural market near by, it might be cheaper to make it at home. 

Herbal teas are also useful, and you can replace things like chartreuse, fernet, sambuca, absinthe, goldschlager, and jagermeister when matched with similar ingredients. 

Kambucha is great because it contains a lot of typical traits of pale ales, cider, and white wine, partially because it goes through a fermentation process as well. It’s also easy to make an infused and flavored kambucha, but home made kambucha can contain around 1% alcohol, so be careful if there are health concerns. 

Most countries also have a “typical” tea that is served, see if you can replicate a tea used in the cuisine your spirit is from. Do your research about the particular alcohol you want to replace and see if there’s a tea with similar properties/ingredients you can use instead. 

JUICE
This one seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook because it might feel a little silly at times. If you’re replacing something obvious, like wine, choosing a high-quality grape juice is a good idea, and store-bought is better because juicing grapes is a challenge. If possible, try to find a kosher grape juice (it’s less likely to have sugars and unnecessary additives than western grape juice.) Of course, if your budget only allows for your typical juice then go with what you can afford. 

It’s also easy to replace liquors and liqueurs with juices, especially orange juice, which is easy to make at home, and more importantly, cheap. Just use your best judgment, and again, do some research. 

MISC.
Coffee- Now, I couldn’t talk about drink replacement without talking about the glory of coffee. Coffee can be used to replace dark and bitter alcohol, especially dark ales and dark rum. Try infusing coffee with cinnamon, anise, or other pungent flavors to match the coffee to a strong flavored alcohol.
Chocolate- Chocolate based drinks, like cocoa, can also replace alcohol that is meant to be warm and comforting, like brandy. You can also add chocolate to tea/coffee to “thicken”  it very slightly, or to add a bit of bitterness or sweetness to the drink. (Be careful when leaving this out as an offering to make sure your pets don’t drink it, the same goes for coffee.) Chocolate drinks can also be used if the region is famous for chocolate drinks, like in many South American cuisines. 
Milk- While milk shouldn’t be left out and then consumed, it’s always good to figure out if milk makes a good replacement. In a lot of cultures, milk is a major source of vital nutrients. Try and see if the deity/spirit comes from a land where milk is a staple food, like in the Caribbean. It can also be used in reference to a cream alcohol your spirit might enjoy, like creme liqueurs.

You can also use soy, almond, and coconut milk to replace similar alcohols, like almond milk to replace nut-based alcohol like amaretto and frangelico.

Hopefully this helps some of you, and, as always, do your research and don’t make yourself or your family sick from leaving out toxic drinks. 

Here are some links and information.
List of liqueurs
List of alcoholic beverages and their ingredients
Alcohols by origin
National liquors
Make kambucha at home 
Flavoring and bottling kambucha
Herbal teas and their properties
About tea
Infusing milk with natural herbs and flavors
Barley Tea
How to make barley tea
Rice Tea
How to make rice tea

anonymous asked:

Why do the gods value our offerings? Our offerings must seem so petty in comparison to the possessions the gods already have :/

There are actually a lot of reasons behind why the gods value offerings. Each pantheon is going to be different in offering protocols, so I’ll stick to what I know best, which is the Egyptian pantheon.

One of the most direct reasons why gods value offerings is that it is energy that is focused on them. You’re taking time out of your day to prepare food for them, which means you’re thinking about them and their needs. This energy helps to strengthen their connection with this plane, with the devotee in question, and fills their belly a bit, too.

For Kemeticism specifically, offerings are a way of reciprocal nourishment. That is to say, the gods take care of us by sustaining our planet and helping us to grow food or procure nourishment, and in turn we show our gratitude by giving some of what we have back to the gods. We also eat our offerings because it’s like sharing a meal with the gods. The Egyptians didn’t want to waste any of the gods bounty, so everyone partook in the food that was given to the gods- which we still do now. Which still comes back to gratitude. I know a lot of groups believe that offerings are about sacrifice, but for us, offerings are about thanks and being grateful. And it would be considered rude to throw away the bounty that the gods have given us.

In a lot of ways, one could argue that the gods need humans as much as humans need gods. Yeah, they’re big bad powerful beings, but without humans, their influence in our plane of existence is minimal. ANd while they can suvive without us, they don’t really thrive without our added energy feed. So in many ways, a lot of gods are driven to reach out to humans because we help to sustain them in a lot of ways.

And while yeah, our offerings are probably small and tiny in comparison to lavish gold and lapis, you can’t really eat those things for survival (you can eat gold, but I doubt it’s filling). And often times the most comforting and rewarding things are the simplest things in life. That is why we tell people not to undervalue the basic bread and water combination. Because many of us take both for granted (hell look at CA who is running out of water, take a look at many other under-developed countries- the biggest priority is making sure you’ve got clean water). idk if you’ve ever had the misfortune of being stuck outside in the desert with nothing to drink- but nothing hits the spot like nice water when you’re parched. It may not seem like much to us, but it means the world to someone who is thirsty. We really can’t survive with out water, which makes it a powerful offering. And sometimes the simplest gestures can mean the most to the gods.

You may also find these posts on offerings helpful:

Your offerings and devotions 'aren't good enough.'

The shitstorm in December really bothered my spouse when he found out about it last month. December was such a bad month for me that I wasn’t keeping up with more than a couple of blogs and I wasn’t reading the comments. The comments section of someone whom I’ve liked for years was astonishingly (truly - I was astonished) nasty.

It’s put me in an awkward position; I own several things they made, but ultimately I am someone that they would aggressively hate, given opportunity to know how I feel and how I do things. They were meant to be ritual wear items for Shannon. I bought them after the shitstorm, but before I had been told to look at the comments. The post itself wasn’t horrible, though it had ableist assumptions and a lack of understanding of how severe poverty (I live below the poverty line. most people who talk about being poor are not that poor: a fact for which I am truly infinitely grateful. but it does mean that many people assume things about poverty based on their own experiences and not people who are in significantly worse situations) affects people, which was pretty common across the board of shitstormy posts.

I have not been well enough to try to collate my thoughts into a post, but as I’ve been reading a lot about offerings and daily rites and thinking about what I can and cannot literally do, it seems to be coming together, despite the brain fog and the desperate wish of my fingers to avoid typing because it hurts.

Being a family on food stamps, which the government dramatically cut in two slices between November and the beginning of the year (over $100/mo per person cut – I used to get around $200 for food each month), I never offer any food that I’m not actually eating. I invite them, the land spirits, ancestors, various others, etc, to share it with me. 

We typically offer water, candlelight, and incense a few times a week. Incense gets offered the most, because I prefer to only sit at the shrine if I’m relatively clean and since I am disabled and suffer severe chronic pain, I cannot shower every day or even every other day. I like to do the candles and the water when I can sit down and pray for a while.

I’ve never been told that what I do is not enough or not good enough, except by other pagans.

There is so much bullshit elitism and ‘ur doin it wrong’ that goes on that really is nothing but shit. They are not gods. They have no idea what the gods want from other people. They only know what they want from other people. They have a notion of what a “good x” is (themselves, their friends) and anyone who falls short of it is a “bad x.”

There is often no understanding, acceptance, or realistic advice for people who are disabled, or who have severe food shortage issues. Angry assertions that it is wrong to eat the food one gives to the gods (regardless of historical precedent) do not take into account any of the following:

  • it may be perfectly valid and correct in your religion.
  • your religion may come from a time or place where the 'waste’ of food was appalling and wrong.
  • historically, in your religion, offerings were what fed the priests after they fed the gods the same food, and food was always consumed by a person.
  • you may really and truly need every bite you can get from the food you can buy or get from a food pantry. 
  • you might have an eating disorder and having a 'valid’ excuse to not eat the food you prepare is extremely bad for you.
  • your gods may have told you to eat/share offerings (this explicitly happened to Shannon, for example. he is not allowed to not share things except in rare circumstances, such as certain holidays, on which he feeds the landspirits a bottle of mead that he’s already had a small amount from (Freyr’s portion)).
  • you may be incapable of disposing of offerings outside, due to where you live, the people you live with, or by being too disabled to do so.

There is so much ableism involved in the holier-than-thou bullshit.

Guess what? I’ve spent the last two months being too sick and in too much pain to regularly eat anything except instant mashed potatoes and tuna with mayo, till my gout flared, then it was solidly mashed potatoes. I shared my mashed potatoes, but,

There’s always this insistence that anyone and everyone can cook lavishly for their gods, and it is heavily implied that if you were a real devotee, or if you actually loved your gods, you would find the time and ensure that you had the money by going without some things because the gods deserve things far more than you do.

I’ve heard (hela give me strength) that you should “skip your daily Starbucks” in order to have this money. I think the last time I had something from Starbucks was… close to three years ago (V.’s parents wanted Starbucks when they were driving me home and asked if I wanted something), and before that, it was… pre-2007.

Also “stop eating out/eating fast food.”

I usually go to a restaurant for my anniversary, which coincides with V’s and my birthdays (they’re three days in a row), and have one dinner for everything. I refuse to stop celebrating my birthday, the continued existence of my spouse, and the years we have spent together. This is wildly selfish and dickish of me, I know.

My favourite, though, is “if you’re that poor, why do you have internet access?” I’ll tell you.

Since I can’t go to the store very often and anything non-food has to be bought with cash, anyway, I order things like toilet paper in bulk from Amazon, and I order cat food and cat litter. I also order things like incense for the shrine, and herbs and tea blends that make me a little less sick. 

Since I cannot go to the library (it is much too far for me to walk in my current condition), I cannot “just go there” to do my online ordering. Also, I either buy books online or read things online if they’re available. I also read the blogs of well-educated pagans who are further along their paths than I am, or whose insights I find invaluable.

I have Zero friends that I can see face to face.

Cancelling our internet access would give us $45 extra dollars each month, but if we still had a car, we would spend it in gas going places for what we need, and without a car, I just can’t get this shit done any other way.

Having a severe disability, I am already incredibly isolated. I never see anyone except my landlords, V.’s family (who can be extremely terrible people and who abused him extensively), and, obviously, the people I live with.

I don’t see anything good at all about not having internet access at home.

When I spend money on things that aren’t bills, or related to household needs, such as soap and toilet paper, or health things (I had to buy crutch pads for V., a heating pad, and a reusable ice pack last month, and we also drink herbal tea for health (if you have a chronic illness that causes fatigue and general malaise, look into Holy Basil, or tulsi. You can get it in bags and food stamp-covered from a Whole Foods, but we ultimately decided to start buying bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs)), it is to buy a book related to my religion, or something for the shrine, or I donate $5 or $10 to a charity related to one of my gods’ spheres. What more can I do?

Yet everything I do is unworthy of my gods and I do not really love them.

Before you presume to speak for my gods, live a month on my social security cheque ($830), with all my illnesses and severity of disability, my bills, and everything else.

While you’re at it, enlighten me about how you manage to even go to the store without a car, with two bad knees, and no bus. I’d love to know. I have to bum rides off V’s family, deal with being in a car with an abuser when I have severe PTSD (on top of a lot of other shit that caused my PTSD, I was raped by someone who drove me far away from home), and it has to coincide with a time that I feel physically well enough and someone is willing to drive me. This occurs rarely.

Then we can talk about what I’m doing wrong.