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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in offerings

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Voto X

For [god/goddess], because he/she heard my cry.”

 

What would you be willing to give in order to get rid of the Troll-in-Chief?

The ex-voto—the vowed or votive offering—is a fine example of a spiritual technology inherited from the ancestors but sorely underutilized today.

Here's how it works. You're hoping for outcome X. So you make a vow to Deity Y: If you will bring about Outcome X, I will, in return, give you Z.

I will:

Sacrifice a fine bull.

Commission a statue of you.

Throw that beautiful boar's-head torc into the Mississippi.

It's a contingency vow. If X, then Z. No X, no Z.

If it all sounds just a little transactional, bear in mind that this practice is firmly grounded in our divine pagan gifting economy: Do ut des, a gift for a gift.

Be warned: if Deity Y comes through for you, do not fail to follow up with Z. Do not. There are lots of stories about those who didn't*, and—believe me—you don't want to hear any of them, much less become one. As Alexander the Great always used to say, It doesn't pay to be stingy with the gods.

Why do I bring this up now? Well, as you may have heard, there's an election coming up.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Does Electric Incense “Count”?

Who would expect to be confronted with a theological conundrum upon walking into a supermarket? Welcome to the Wonderful World of Paganism.

I've gone over to my neighborhood Asian market to pick up some tofu. (At a buck-fifteen per cake, it's still the best deal in town.) Just inside the door, in his little shrine on the floor, sits Weng Shen the Door God. Flanked by electric candles, he scowls as good door-wards do. Before him burns a bowl of electric incense.

The porcelain bowl filled with gravel looks just like a real incense bowl, if you ignore the electric cord that runs through a hole at the back of the shrine. Even the “sticks” of incense—I assume that they're plastic—could almost pass for the real thing, if it weren't for those uniform glowing red electric tips.

So here's the conundrum. Is a symbolic offering still an offering? Does electric incense “count”?

I suppose that the answer to this question depends upon what you mean by “count.”

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Do You Say to an Angry Lake?

Red Lake is Minnesota's largest lake.

Two months ago, two fishermen were drowned there. Their bodies have yet to be recovered.

In traditional lore, when a lake takes a life, this means that the lake is angry.

Why would a lake be angry? Because people take too much.

Since the drownings, there has been no fishing on the lake. Local media has mostly reported that the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe banned fishing on the lake, but that's not entirely accurate. In fact, there was no top-down pronouncement; people simply stopped fishing because that's the traditional way. Everyone knows what the deaths mean, and what you do and don't do in response.

Since then the Band has held a series of potluck feasts at the Lake. Each time, they have set aside food for the lake. When you take, you need to give back. That's the Old Way.

Each time, the elders have burnt sage and spoken to the lake. I don't need to tell you what they said.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Foundation Offerings

The offering bears the prayer.

The ancestors thought long and hard about their foundation offerings.

In their choices, we see their intent, their wit and (like enough) their humor.

When the New Stone and Copper Age ancestors of Old Europe built a new house, they buried beneath its floor a little model of a house, lovingly rendered in ceramic detail.

No one needs to tell you what that means.

To the ancestors, it was obvious that when you built something important like a house or a temple, you first laid an offering in the ground to bear the embodied prayers of the builders.

We too have thought long and hard about what offerings to lay beneath the Bull Stone, when we raise it to mark the Marriage Point of Earth with Sky, of Land with People.

There will be three.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thinking Outside the Magic Circle

“I've never been to one of those kinds of rituals before!” the little girl enthused.

What she meant was a ritual with offerings and prayers. Clearly, the experience had come as something of a revelation.

We'd just completed our annual Offering to Minnehaha Falls. The priestess stands at the head of the Falls and makes the traditional threefold offering of water, meal, and flowers, while praying for life, sustenance, and inspiration for the People, for the year to come.

I don't know about where you live, but around here pagan ritual tends to involve casting circles, calling quarters, and raising cones. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's more to pagan ritual than summoning, stirring, and pointing knives at.

A lot more.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Thanks for your lovely and well said column. As I learned long ago, it's not just about "church on Sundays" so to seak, it's havin

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Life, Food, Beauty

As keeper of the coven temple, it's my responsibility to make the daily offerings and to pray for the well-being of pagan peoples everywhere.

The prayers are simple:

May the people have life.

So mote it be.

May the people have food.

So mote it be.

May the people have beauty.

So mote it be.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    So mote it be.
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    O firstborn, bring us to harmony. O naturekin, sustain our lives. O ancestors, guide our paths. O immortals, bless our world. O ou

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