In many traditions, there is a ritual dedicated exclusively to offering in which celebrants donate objects, food, and prayers to the deities. There is a lot of misconception about this topic, and some people asked me what to do with food offerings after a ritual.
So, today I decided to write this article to talk more about offerings and explain exactly what to do to dispose of them after a ritual.
What are offerings?
The most famous is perhaps the despacho, from the Andean tradition that offers a specific divinity a set of gifts chosen on the basis of the divinity to which one is addressed; the offering is then entrusted to the waters or buried.
It seems that this ritual has 3,000 years of history and its meaning is precisely “dispatch”, or missive, that is, a message, a letter sent; it is also known as ofrenda, or “offer”. The rite of offering generates an energetic space of interaction between us and the divinity we are addressing, and this allows us to be present at this time and to listen to present needs.
With the offering we can ask for something to improve in our life thanks to the exchange of help with the called deity.
Why do we give offerings?
Offering something produces energy and allows you to receive benefits in return. Without the sacrifice, no charm can work, because it’s like putting the ingredients in the cauldron and then forgetting to put it on the fire!
Without effort and discipline, characteristics that develop from the Agni Fire, linked to the 3rd Chakra (that of the will), no transformation can take place. I find offering ourselves to the divine through concrete acts to be the most beautiful way to improve ourselves and the world.
However, I am not talking about offering flowers or food because we now need to offer more. The ritual offers of past centuries are no longer useful; try to think about it: why did they offer an animal to the gods?
Maybe because it was useful to the gods then, as for themselves to kill one to feed themselves, but today? What are the needs of this time? What can we offer of ourselves?
What to offer during a ritual?
Incense and oils
Homemade ones are preferred, as with the other offerings mentioned. Incenses are more related to the Demons of Earth, Fire, and Air, while oils are more suitable for Demons related to Water.
However, all Demons, in general, will appreciate them very much.
Don’t forget about creative offerings. If you have the time to make them and put your heart and soul into it, they are more than valid offers.
Music, poems, drawings, sculptures, and various writings can be used as offerings. If you work hard, you can use them during rituals.
They are most appreciated as offerings by entities related to music, arts, and crafts such as Toth, Hekate, Seshat, and Delepitore.
Offerings to burn
The offerings to be burned are generally effigies, something in the form of something else, burned as a representation: a classic example is the seal corresponding to the Demon or a drop of blood itself on a piece of paper burned in the offering bowl. Fire transforms the offer from the physical to the spiritual. Each Demon will tend to accept burnt offers.
What is reported is just a list of examples of offers that can be given as a gift to the deities to which we are linked, but it is good to remember that each of us has a different relationship with the entities and only through direct knowledge—and therefore personal experience—the preferences of each god can be intercepted in the best possible way.
Once you have placed your offering on the altar, let it assume the right sacredness. After a few days, you can dispatch it, that is, remove it from your altar. Don’t fall into the typical mistake of throwing offers away as if they were junk!
The dispatching of the remains must follow certain procedures, in the same way, that in magic one gets rid of the remains of candles and other ritual materials:
- Organic offerings (food and drinks, sexual fluids, blood, plants, and flowers) will be returned to nature: buried (outdoors, or in a vase specifically dedicated to such use) or dispersed in a stream.
- For burnt offerings, the ashes will be scattered in the wind or returned to the earth.
- Incense and oils are naturally dispatched automatically during use: the herbs burn and the oils will grease and dry by themselves, as well as those of tobacco.
- Creative offerings can be kept on your altar and used as you please for later purposes.
Offers of wine or spirits
This is the most common form of offering reserved for Demons. Generally, it is the wine used in the ritual that is left directly at the disposal of the Demon or is dispatched and offered as a libation.
According to some authors, the type and quality of the wine is of little importance while the true value lies in paying for that wine with the money that one has personally earned; other authors, on the other hand, argue that the quality of the products on offer is extremely important (and I personally agree with the latter) since, by the same principle, paying for quality is equivalent to making a greater economic sacrifice compared to classic low-cost wines.
Offering of tobacco
Tobacco is not widely used as an offering for Demons, although some still appreciate it. It is used more frequently in necromantic rituals and towards entities linked to Death; in fact, we find this type of offer in the Cainite practice and in Voodoo.
Plants and flowers
What you grow with your own hands has more value but certainly, the time you spend picking wildflowers will also be much appreciated. Deities with more feminine energy, perhaps even earthly or aquatic in some way, willingly reconnect with the energies of flowers used as offerings.
- Fruit: it is an excellent choice for deities like Hekate, Anubis, and all those Demons who transform what is alive to dead. There is a life force in the fruits that they seem to appreciate.
- Milk and honey: it is an ideal offer for Kemetic, Roman, and Greek deities as it is very traditional.
- Peanuts and dried fruit are a good offering for the deities.
- Bread and cakes: for this type of offer, it is recommended to make a cake or bread yourself and share it with the entities during the rituals.
What to do with food offerings after a ritual?
You need to let the food’s energy return to its origin so you can bury it. Burying the food is a great way to let it return to earth, especially if we are offering natural vegetal ingredients.
It’s a great way to let the earth feed on these offerings to create a spiral of fresh energy and balance things out, properly honoring Mother Earth and the foods you used. Of course, this is not a fixed rule; you can do whatever you want and what makes you feel comfortable.