In my Witch in Practice posts, I’ve mentioned that I do daily and weekly offerings, but I haven’t explained in detail what they involve. Now’s the time for that!
In the past, since becoming Pagan, I’ve had a hard time with daily prayer – I’d give it a try, and find it actually made me feel more distant from the deities I was praying to.
It was true when I used pre-written prayers (by me, or from suitable historical sources), and it was also true when I did the more extemporaneous (with a little advance thought) that is my more common mode in ritual work.
(In my witchcraft tradition, we have a few set texts, like our circle cast and blessing. There are a few that partly have a set text, and some pieces we fill in for each specific ritual, like our quarter calls. But our deity and ancestor invitations are usually thought about in advance, but improvised in the moment, depending on what we feel is needed and wanted for that ritual.)
Whatever your reasons for daily prayer, that distancing is pretty clearly the opposite of the goal, so I stopped.
Then I was reading Jason Miller’s Elements of Spellcraft talking about offerings, and several other people talking about related things, and I decided to give that a try.
My current practice
In March, I did a round of the lunation rite put together by Ivy of Circle Thrice which is moderately involved, and is done every day for a lunar month. You repeat a fairly sizeable chunk of ritual text, add an Orphic hymn, and some other specifics, and it took about 15-20 minutes.
(Ideally, one does the lunation rite after sunrise, and there’s a limited number of days in the year where that lines up usefully with when I need to leave for work.)
It was a great way to see if doing something daily worked for me without committing to it long-term. When the month was over, I was ready to try something simpler, but regular.
One of the keys for me is something Jason suggested, which is that instead of making one or two offerings to specific deities, instead make general classes of offerings. You can break these up in different ways, but mine are:
- Gods and goddess, ancient and mighty ones, and the overseeing powers of the land on which I dwell. (Pretty self-explanatory)
- Ancestors, protectors, and allies (i.e. human or non-deity entities who are amiably inclined toward me.)
- Spirits of the four directions and above, below, and all the places in between. (Elemental and nature spirits, including cthonic ones.)
- All beings to whom I owe a debt or who have angered through mistake or ignorant action. (A category highly recommended by Jason.)
You can include some of these and not others, or come up with other groups, but Jason recommends doing the fourth group only if you’ve invited the first two (or something similar.)
My daily rite involves offering energy (just energy: I either rub my hands together, or blow into my hands and form an energy ball) with a bit of ritual phrasing. That is basically addressing the beings I’m offering to specifically, making the offering, a brief statement of intention (a short sentence, usually).
If I have a particular request of those beings, or I want to address a specific deity or ancestor, or whoever, there’s space to do that, but often I don’t have a specific thing to say other than, effectively “Hi, thinking of you, glad you’re in my life.”
I do offerings to the four classes listed above (in that order), then to the spirit of money (my prosperity shrine is next to where I do the offerings), a brief comment to the planetary ruler of the day with any particular requests, and that’s it.
It takes under 2 minutes, and it doesn’t take any particular items or equipment.
I have one other part of daily practice where I listen to a song from a playlist I’ve put together (it has about 80 songs on it) and see what strikes me that day, and I pull a Tarot card (usually by app, because I end up doing this when I get to work most of the time.)
I do two brief weekly offerings to specific planetary energies – specifically Jupiter (on Thursdays) and Venus (on Friday). These don’t take long, but are in addition to the daily rite above.
On Thursdays, I light a candle consecrated to Jupiter, and keep it lit while I do my weekly budget and financial account update. (That one usually lives on the small shrine in my bedroom, where the computer is.)
On Fridays, I use ritual oils or perfumes associated with Venus, and spend a little time just enjoying that.
On Sundays, I do a longer offering. The text of what I say is roughly the same as the daily, but some other things are different.
Physical offerings: I make physical offerings for the weekly rite. Normally this is a lit candle, a stick of incense, and something liquid.
The candle is one that I use every week until I run out of candle (it is an apothecary glass candle from Mithras Candle, so it will burn for c. 60 hours.)
The incense varies depending on my mood, if I have any particular requests or focus, and the season.
And the liquid also varies, but is something nice but not super fancy. Right now it’s mulled wine I made during solstice with charged mulling spices. Often it’s a bit of whatever wine or mead I have in the fridge. Sometimes it’s cream or honey. Sometimes it’s been a bit of tea. Depending on the liquid, it sits on the altar for the week, or I clean it out when it starts going off.
Time: Once I’ve made the offering, I spend some time hanging out in my living room (ritual space).
This is my usual time for deeper reading and study, doing work in the book of shadows/grimoire I’m slowly building as a physical object (rather than notes in six different places..) and generally focusing on religious learning and practice.
In a sort of ideal world, I would probably pick Monday for this, but I work a regular day job schedule, and really like having a relaxed amount of time without a hard end time (unlike after work) where I can start well-rested and continue as long as I feel like. So Sunday it is!
One of the things Jason noted that made a lot of sense to me is that you want your regular daily offerings to be something pretty straightforward. You don’t want to pull out the really elaborate offerings (or even the modestly involved ones) every day – because what do you do when you need a particular favour?
Save the really amazing alcohol, fancy chocolate, elaborate pastry, special incense, etc. for the times you want something extra special. A few times a year, maybe once a month, but not every day or even every week.