On Offerings

serpent-mound

I like this rightful tirade post by Downtrodden about being an environmental witch/pagan/druid regarding one’s offerings at various sacred sites, whether old or the one made in your own back yard. I know in old England, and now being revived, is the practice of tying coloured ribbons and such to sacred trees and tossing what used to be organic offerings into wells at sacred sites like the barrow he (?) refers to here. Back in the past such offerings were in cotton and flannel and such and would organically break down. Nowadays people think those synthetic colored ribbons and Chinese made trinkets (probably tainted with lead) are used. Instead use red cotton yarn (not acrylic) and maybe cardboard flowers your kids can make. A few years ago a local group of witches, pagans, gypsies and drunks would get together for Sabats at a local stone circle under a huge maple tree, and each time before the next ritual some of us went to clean up the trash like that which had blown off the tree, and plastic bottles thrown into the bale fire. I know people had good intents, but just plain bad environmental practices. Also referring to crystals in his post, nowadays most are raped from the earth by bulldozing down the Amazon rainforest to get to the clay level where they are found, or ripped out of caves. Here in the Appalachians it is not uncommon to find small crystals in our sandstone and the round stones in our conglomerate are quart too, so these make great offerings when charged up with intent. I also prefer offerings of food like eggs, which the possums and raccoons so eat that same night, and a symbolic offering to the Earth Serpent. Speaking of which i recently followed a link from The Wild Hunt to this article Crazy Theories Threaten Serpent Mound, Demean Native Heritage which is about the desecration of the Great Serpent Mound effigy in Ohio which speaks of people burying “offerings” at this nationally protected site and confusing even the archeologists.

Pilgrim's Way

Offerings…we all leave them I’m sure, I am however becoming less convinced that people actually think about what and why they are making these offering?

I was especially looking forward to one of my regular visits to the Coldrum Longbarrow yesterday, the sky had finally started to clear, and whilst there was still a strong wind, the air was warm.  It’s not often I get the place to myself, to just sit and watch the world go by undisturbed, watch the swifts dance over the wheat fields, to just be in that place, in that moment.  It is my therapy, my second home!

I do not, however, find it especially therapeutic to spend the majority of my time there clearing up!  I come away feeling nothing but cross, no actually…infuriated.

Over the years I have collected a whole catalogue of junk from this place; dirty nappies, drinks cans, empty candle…

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5 thoughts on “On Offerings

  1. It’s sad to see that there are still pagans who do not consider conversing with powers of place about whether firstly their presence is desired, then whether to leave an offering and of what nature. In my experience it’s been quite rare that I’ve been asked to leave physical offerings, the peoples I commune with valuing friendship and care over gifts. Occasionally I will leave fruit or a splash of mead.

  2. I couldn’t agree more! I have blogged about this exact problem several times too. On almost every place we go to wildharvest and/or make our own offerings, we end up picking up entire bags of trash. Same goes for crystals – I have several stones picked from places of power that I use in my work constantly, and they have an energy I have never found on any store bought gemstone. Great post :).

  3. That was a really interesting post, and as a hiker as well I can doubly sympathise. The amount of rubbish people think its ok to just dump in the countryside is depressing. When I was on the West Highland Way I met a couple of guys hiking it who had started to hike with carrier bags so they could collect the rubbish others had discarded.

    Considering that pagans, hikers and other people who make the effort to get out to sacred places and into the wilds love the places that they visit – it is hard to understand why they want to either dump trash or leave an indelible mark where they have been. Surely its better to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories…

    • I too always carry a plastic grocery bag in my pack to pick up trash as i go along. When i first moved here i hiked along the road to my mom’s summer trailer about a quarter mile away and collected 3 large garbage bags of trash. One person must have thrown out their morning Styrofoam cup at the same stop sign for years.

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