By now, my last two posts on the topic of offering practice are already a couple of weeks — or at the very least a number of days — in the past. In the meantime, several things happened that have nothing to do with offerings, but I think it’s an important topic and so, I’ve decided I’ll dig some more there.
This is going to be about offerings of food and drink specifically, and, to a degree, about blood offerings, too.
What I describe below is an expression of my understanding of things; I am no expert in offering etiquette, as you will have easily noticed reading the previous two installments in the offerings series. If there’s a sound like a brick being dropped? You’ll know where to find me. (Hint: in the immediate vicinity, sporting a deep red facial colour). So, again: I am not an expert! I don’t call myself one, and what little I know, I know from personal interaction. Hence, the maxim is: this was meant for me to know and listen to, so it has meaning and importance primarily for me. Beyond that, I can but hope. Whether or not this meaning can be transferred, must be completely your business to decide. I would just like to share my perspective here.
Due to certain community skirmishes (in the US communities mostly) I feel obliged to say this. For shame, really, as it should be obvious. But as it’s not ideal to be completely on my own in isolation, for better or worse, I have to deal with this.
What I really do not want at all, is to tell anyone to Whom, how, or what to offer. Just so we’re clear.
Personally, I’m for the practice of offering food and drink to the Gods, and I do practice it regularly. I know that there are a couple of friends in my “spiritual circle” that cannot offer food, or will not, or, for some reason, find it weird and strange to do so. It would make me really happy if someone read this and thought, hey, maybe it’s not so silly after all. And if not, that would be also perfectly fine.
The previous offering post containd a rather random thought tangent, an excursion into “theobiology” — the thought that Gods can feel hunger, and do feel hunger.
That sort of begs the question if offerings of food and drink are in any way special offerings, doesn’t it? Do we, therefore, owe Them food offerings in particular? I think we do. Not because They have a physical body that They need to maintain, but because food and drink are essential to us.
I believe that there is a very primal potency to food and drink offerings. The food and drinks we ingest keep us alive, and that is exactly why they contain a very special brand of “energy” — the kind that isn’t measured in kilojoules. Food and drink are “programmed”(?) with the intention to nourish: we know that bread and butter nourishes and that water will quench our thirst, and therefore they contain that sort of energy.
There really is no difference between this knowledge and the knowledge of a magician who uses a tool to achieve a specific effect. Likewise, the magician knows their action has a certain effect, and this knowledge is what will bring about the effect in the first place.
A work of art, a picture painted with loving care, a blog post, a letter, time, a piece of music, a poem, a dance… all these are offerings that are highly appreciated. At least according to my experience, they are. It is a very special feeling to place a gift for a Deity on Their altar, and to feel Their acceptance and appreciation. It is a very special feeling to sit on the floor, breathing heavily from dancing, and to know that the Deity is taking part in every movement, every drop of sweat on your skin.
But food offerings are even more primally potent. The Gods want them — out of love, devotion, reverence, gratitude. Because I believe They are hungry, and I believe that in the past, humans used to know this.
More essential than food offerings, I think, are only blood offerings. Blood is something I personally haven’t offered yet. So naturally, my elaborations are limited to the theoretical sort. Just as a caveat.
Blood is life. Food maintains life, but blood is psychologically linked so closely to life that it itself becomes a symbol for it. Of course, today we know a lot more about metabolism and how life-support works, but still: the emersion, the loss of blood is associatively linked to the violation, jeopardy and loss of life.
Not only that: blood also contains the essence of what we ingest through our food and drink; nutrient matter, liquid, oxygen, energy. All that our food and drink already contains (except of the oxygen, I know… breathe!) is contained in our blood, only in concentrated and purer form.
That’s why blood offerings are very powerful offerings. That is why they bind, whether they’re given in conjunction with an oath or not. You give of your life to a Deity. Through receiving the blood offering, the Deity holds a part of your life in Their hand.
Any thoughts? (the comment line wants to be fed, but please dont blót for it!)