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Author Topic: Offering in a Different Way  (Read 1747 times)

Vella Malachite

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Offering in a Different Way
« on: August 26, 2011, 02:56:53 am »
Just a quick anecdote and question:

Recently, I bought a ring.  It was a cheap, $10 ring from a market in Melbourne, but it had a very pretty Celtic design on it.  It had been previously indicated to me by my deities that I should get one, so I went specifically looking and got that one.
It was then indicated to me that I should offer it.  I remembered the history of silver offerings, and the tradition of throwing them in the river to offer them, and I asked if that was acceptable, and recieved an affirmative answer.
There's a river outside my college, but I began to think of the make-up of the ring which was most definitely not pure silver, and wondered whether it was better offered some other way, because I was worried about polluting the river, adding things to it that would make its already questionable water just that bit worse.
I asked whether it was the river which was important or the act of giving up the ring, the fact that I had it and liked it and now was willing to give it away.
I ended up giving it to a friend, and all indications since then have been that that was a perfectly acceptable way of resolving the issue.

Has anyone offered things in that way before?  For you, is the point of an offering the fact that you could have kept/eaten/drunk/worn the object, which would have been a beneficial outcome from your point of view, but you chose to give it away in service to your gods?  Or does it matter more what you do with it, the method you use to offer it?
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veggiewolf

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Re: Offering in a Different Way
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2011, 11:34:23 am »
Quote from: Vella Malachite;15676
Just a quick anecdote and question:

Recently, I bought a ring.  It was a cheap, $10 ring from a market in Melbourne, but it had a very pretty Celtic design on it.  It had been previously indicated to me by my deities that I should get one, so I went specifically looking and got that one.
It was then indicated to me that I should offer it.  I remembered the history of silver offerings, and the tradition of throwing them in the river to offer them, and I asked if that was acceptable, and recieved an affirmative answer.
There's a river outside my college, but I began to think of the make-up of the ring which was most definitely not pure silver, and wondered whether it was better offered some other way, because I was worried about polluting the river, adding things to it that would make its already questionable water just that bit worse...


I've mentioned this before, on the old forums, but I've a friend that "tosses silver into the river" by donating money to water-related charities.  Her gods are very happy with that.
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Finn

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Re: Offering in a Different Way
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 12:24:13 pm »
Quote from: Vella Malachite;15676

Has anyone offered things in that way before?  For you, is the point of an offering the fact that you could have kept/eaten/drunk/worn the object, which would have been a beneficial outcome from your point of view, but you chose to give it away in service to your gods?  Or does it matter more what you do with it, the method you use to offer it?

 
I baked a large batch of sour cream tea muffins as a thank you to Brighid. Usually when I offer Brighid something, I take part, eating a little or drinking (depending on the offering), and then watering the plants or composting the rest. This time, thought, She told me specifically to "take them and share".

So I ended up taking small plates to the neighbors and didn't eat any on my own. That's the only time I've been particularly asked to give my offerings away instead of disposing of them in another way or even sharing in the offering myself.

I really like the idea though--I think it is particularly appropriate for Brighid to want to share. ;)
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Aster Breo

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Re: Offering in a Different Way
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2011, 12:56:33 pm »
Quote from: Vella Malachite;15676

Has anyone offered things in that way before?  For you, is the point of an offering the fact that you could have kept/eaten/drunk/worn the object, which would have been a beneficial outcome from your point of view, but you chose to give it away in service to your gods?  Or does it matter more what you do with it, the method you use to offer it?


Interesting questions.
 
If you're asking if we've made offerings specifically by giving up something we liked/cared about and giving it to someone else, my answer is "not exactly."  If you're asking whether we've made offerings in a more symbolic or metaphorical way, my answer is "yes."

Giving an object to someone else:  I don't think I've done that *as an offering*, but I have had objects "tell me" that I was meant to give them away, usually to someone specific.  That has happened numerous times, but I've always interpreted that more as the object's wishes, or maybe the universe's wishes, than as an offering to a god/dess.

Symbolic/metaphorical offerings:  Like Veggiewolf's friend, I have made offerings in the form of donations to organizations doing work that is in alignment with my goddess's associations.  I usually reserve that for really big or important things, though.  F'ex, I've asked Brighid for help getting my disability application completed, submitted, and approved.  In return, I've promised donations (in the $50 - $100 range, per organization, which isn't really that much, but is what my family can afford right now) to Solas Bhride, Heifer International, the Human Society, and the ASPCA.

At first, I wasn't sure I was comfortable with that sort of promised offering -- like I was trying to bribe or extort favors from Brighid.  But, after thinking carefully about it and asking Brighid whether it was an acceptable form of offering, I've come to terms with it.  Now, I think of it more as a "thank-you" than as a bribe, and I'm always careful to phrase it that way when making the promise.  Something like "I ask for your help with XYZ, and I will thank you by making donations to these organizations."  That might just be semantics, but it seems to work for me.

I think the point of this kind of offering is more about contributing to the work that Brighid is concerned with, than about making a sacrifice. That's an obvious difference from food or libation offerings.  I do those too -- like putting a strawberry in the little offering vessel I have for Brighid or pouring out some of the beer in my bottle.  To me, that kind of offering is about giving a gift that I think She'll enjoy, or even sharing it with Her, rather than about depriving myself of that thing.

Does any of this make sense?  

I guess most kinds of offering is also a sacrifice, since I could be using that money for other purposes or eating that strawberry myself.  But that's true of pretty much any offering, isn't it?  I'm not really sure where the line between offering and sacrifice sits, if there *is* a line.

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Vella Malachite

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Re: Offering in a Different Way
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2011, 08:46:05 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;15740
Giving an object to someone else:  I don't think I've done that *as an offering*, but I have had objects "tell me" that I was meant to give them away, usually to someone specific.  That has happened numerous times, but I've always interpreted that more as the object's wishes, or maybe the universe's wishes, than as an offering to a god/dess.


Hm.  I see where that comes from, but in this case, it was less the ring telling me it ought to be given away than me being reluctant to put something possibly harmful in a river, asking if it was OK to give it away, and receiving what has so far been an affirmative response.  I'm not sure about whether that means it was technically still an offering - perhaps the offering was about the intent that I not have it anymore?  Who knows...

Quote from: Aster Breo;15740

Symbolic/metaphorical offerings:  Like Veggiewolf's friend, I have made offerings in the form of donations to organizations doing work that is in alignment with my goddess's associations.  I usually reserve that for really big or important things, though.  F'ex, I've asked Brighid for help getting my disability application completed, submitted, and approved.  In return, I've promised donations (in the $50 - $100 range, per organization, which isn't really that much, but is what my family can afford right now) to Solas Bhride, Heifer International, the Human Society, and the ASPCA.

 
This is a good idea.  At first I wondered whether this and the idea with my ring don't come from the same source, but I don't think that's quite right.  It comes across to me that your form of charity offering is to further causes which Brighid stands for/supports.  My offering was more about me giving up something.  On one level, they're giving something of yours away to benefit others, but it's not the same purpose, if that makes sense.

I personally do think that offerings, to have meaning, must be something you could have used or did value, otherwise what's so difficult about giving it up?  When you offer baked goods or alcohol or another food/beverage, you're giving them something that could be used for your benefit (and you would like to eat/drink because it's tasty).  You're showing your regard by sharing this with them.  If you offer 'silver' in the form of a donation, you could have bought something else with that money, but you gave it up for their benefit.  I think offerings are very close to sacrifices.  It may depend on how you define those words.

*shrugs*  I'll think a bit harder and come back with some more ideas later.
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Lecia Hale

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Re: Offering in a Different Way
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 11:58:46 pm »
Quote from: Vella Malachite;15676

Has anyone offered things in that way before?  For you, is the point of an offering the fact that you could have kept/eaten/drunk/worn the object, which would have been a beneficial outcome from your point of view, but you chose to give it away in service to your gods?  Or does it matter more what you do with it, the method you use to offer it?


Note: My relationship with deity has changed recently, after several years of denial and resistance, so keep in mind that what I put here is new to me and still being "felt out", if you will.

In my practice, I feel I have been led to imitate my goddess, at least as much as I can as a mortal. When she indicates that she requires something of me,  I offer it to her, but I adorn myself with it, taking the old saying "my body is a temple" in literal terms. She usually lets me know whether I can wear it "out", or whether its for ritual use only. Both are seen as offerings to HER, though, not as me merely adorning myself (although that's nice too). Certain perfume, worn in her honor, is also seen as an offering to her.

I know it sounds like an excuse to look and feel fabulous, but do I really need an excuse? :D:
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Livia Indica

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Re: Offering in a Different Way
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2011, 11:21:24 am »
Quote from: Vella Malachite;15676
Just a quick anecdote and question:

Recently, I bought a ring.  It was a cheap, $10 ring from a market in Melbourne, but it had a very pretty Celtic design on it.  It had been previously indicated to me by my deities that I should get one, so I went specifically looking and got that one.
It was then indicated to me that I should offer it.  I remembered the history of silver offerings, and the tradition of throwing them in the river to offer them, and I asked if that was acceptable, and recieved an affirmative answer.
There's a river outside my college, but I began to think of the make-up of the ring which was most definitely not pure silver, and wondered whether it was better offered some other way, because I was worried about polluting the river, adding things to it that would make its already questionable water just that bit worse.
I asked whether it was the river which was important or the act of giving up the ring, the fact that I had it and liked it and now was willing to give it away.
I ended up giving it to a friend, and all indications since then have been that that was a perfectly acceptable way of resolving the issue.

Has anyone offered things in that way before?  For you, is the point of an offering the fact that you could have kept/eaten/drunk/worn the object, which would have been a beneficial outcome from your point of view, but you chose to give it away in service to your gods?  Or does it matter more what you do with it, the method you use to offer it?

I've always had a give/receive/give relationship with various magical tools that have come and gone through my life. Many things have wound up as offerings in the form of re-gifting tools to pagan friends.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2011, 11:25:43 am by Livia Indica »

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