Saturday, November 30, 2013

Intentions Behind Making Offerings {Part 2}

This is a follow up to a post I did a few days ago Intentions Behind Making Offerings; there has been quite a bit of discussion over at Tumblr in response to the post over there, which showed me that there was a need for me to clarify a few things, which I am doing over here as well. You can see the discussion over at Tumblr here.
 I have read all the responses and comments so far to my initial post, and I appreciate all the feedback. Before I respond to other people’s thoughts, I will reiterate that everything that I am writing here is just my own opinion, I am not representing any group or stating that these are the opinions of those who share a similar faith as my own {although I would be especially curious to hear what other Gaelic Polytheists and Celtic Reconstructionists feel on this topic}.
After reading the responses I have gotten and re-reading my initial post, I feel that I was not thorough enough to begin with and made some assumptions that others who would be reading my post would already know my overall position on making offerings and have a general feel of my position when it comes to relationships with deities, ancestors and spirits. To save some time in completely repeating myself, I welcome people to read the other post I had linked to here. I will however be going into further detail as necessary.
Something else I failed to be clear on in my initial post was what types of Pagans, polytheists and magical practitioners I was originally talking about, which were those who feel they practice some “Celtic” based or inspired faith. I have tried to find the original article that I had alluded to and unfortunately have not been able to find it on Tumblr anymore. It was called something like “Offerings Celtic Style” and was originally posted on Tumblr around July or August. If anyone remembers that post and it is still around, please feel free to share it.
There are people from different traditions and faiths that have responded to this, most notably people from a Kemetic path {a timely discussion is going on right now, which I recommend other people read, as it is quite interesting, which can be seen here}. I will not pretend to have even the slightest clue what it is like to deal with the Gods of people from a completely different spiritual path than my own, and it could very well be that what I consider to be bribes is perfectly acceptable to their Gods and their value-system. I am comfortable saying though that I do not think that this approach is acceptable with the deities that I have a relationship with nor is this an approach that fits into my own world view.
Some folks have mentioned the idea of a “gift for a gift” and someone had also used the word “reciprocity”, which I feel both encapsulate what I am trying to get at here. The spirit in which I see these terms is in complete opposition to some people who think that they can take without giving back or only give something to manipulate someone to get what they want.
Someone mentioned if we don’t get something back from the Gods then what is the point? Indeed. There is something I feel I get back including guidance, protection, wisdom. I may ask for something that I feel I need or ask on behalf of someone else, that does not however mean that my Gods are here to fulfill my every whim and demand.
Long before I start asking for things, while I am still in the early stages of developing a relationship with a deity or spirit, I will make offerings, take actions to demonstrate my intentions, to show hospitality. If and when a relationship is established, then I may ask for something.
While I do not pretend to be “equal”, I do espouse to treat my Gods, Ancestors and the Spirits I work with as I would someone who is dear to me. They are not here for me to use. That said, I do of course get something back for having a relationship with them. If I did not, much like a one-sided friendship, eventually ties would be severed.
It is difficult for me to clearly define how I see my deities, although, at least in part, I see them as mentors and kindred. If I were to have a wise person in my life teaching and guiding me, there would be an automatic amount of respect that I would have for them; anyone who I feel is my kindred, I have an automatic amount of respect for them.
Besides what I already get out of a relationship with a mentor or kindred, I may ask that person for a favour. The may agree to grant that favour, or they may not. I would still respect them either way and I would try to avoid manipulating them, giving them ultimatums, or bribing them as I see these things as disrespectful.
For me offerings are made with a generous heart; they are just one expression of the values that I see as sacred, the values that I try to uphold in every day life.
I hope that I have somewhat clarified my position and I welcome further comments and discussion, whether you agree or disagree.


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