Over the past few months I have been noticing an increased amount of Pagans, polytheists and magical practitioners talking about making offerings as a part of their practice. Many folks are talking about the research they are doing to find out what type of offerings to make, the quality of the offerings and so forth. All great. Fantastic even. There is however a trend that has irked me, and this is the spirit in which the offerings are sometimes made.
One article in particular really got under my skin, which was an "offerings 101" type thing advising people to make offerings to get what they want. The whole tone of the article was one of commanding spirits and "using" deities to get ahead in life, a spiritual view that is completely foreign to me and perhaps even dangerous.
To me the act of making an offering is a sign of hospitality; it is the giving of a gift out of gratitude, friendship, respect. Offerings are a part of sacred devotion and reverence. The act of giving to get what you want is bribery, something that dirty policy-makers do. Surely there is nothing sacred nor hospitable about that.
In other words, bribes are not offerings. The intention behind making an offering is equally important--if not more so--as the act and effort behind it.
For a wee bit more on making offerings, you can check out a previous post here. I welcome thoughts and comments, including ones in opposition to me own.