A ritual, or more properly a ritual template, for making general offerings to a particular deity, divinity, or other spirit. Based on how my own offering practices developed over time, this ritual template codifies it into a set process that can be easily amended, altered, or extended to accommodate a variety of offerings to a variety of spirits. First mentioned in this 2013 post.
The text of the ritual is intentionally vague, high-level, and with gaps for specific names, offerings, and other things to be listed, and is intended to be used with a hymn of praise, such as the Orphic Hymns. However, if a particular offering cannot be made, such as lit candles in a college dorm, those parts may be substituted with another offering or omitted entirely if necessary. Some things may not be offered depending on the kind of spirit; although wine is one often-recommended libation, not all spirits should receive it. The prayers may be altered as needed to avoid specific language used, such as omitting “worship” or substituting it with “veneration” should one engage in Christo-pagan or Noahide polytheism. With the appropriate substitutions or alterations, this ritual template may be used as a basis for making offerings of light, incense, libation, song, and anything else as desired to any spirit who is willing and able to accept offerings. I find that this ritual is often good for making a “first contact” type of offering to a new spirit one wishes to work with or venerate further in the future, and especially for inaugurating a new shrine to a spirit when introducing them into one’s household. Notably, I find that angels do not really accept offerings in this way, if at all, but that’s just my experience.
For this ritual, you will need:
- One or more candles
- White, unscented candles are good for offerings to any spirit
- Colored or scented candles may be offered to specific spirits, e.g. black for spirits of Saturn
- At least one candle is to be offered, but more may be made as desired or in a number appropriate to the spirit, e.g. three for Saturn
- Incense, whether in stick, cone, or loose form
- Frankincense, rose, or benzoin are good for offerings to any spirit
- Particular kinds of incense maybe offered to specific spirits, e.g. myrrh for spirits of Saturn
- If resin or loose incense is used, a charcoal and fire-safe brazier are also needed
- If stick or cone incense is used, an incense burner to hold it and the ash is also needed
- A hymn or poem of praise to the spirit, if available
- Liquid offering
- Clean, pure water is good for offerings to any spirit
- Juices may also be offered for some spirits
- Wine, beer, or rum may be given to some spirits that can accept them
- Other kinds of libations may be made appropriate to the spirit
- Other offerings as desired, preferably disposable or consumable, as appropriate to the spirit
- Fruit, bread, or other food
In addition to the above offerings, you will also need the following tools or implements:
- A clean, flat surface
- This may be on a raised surface for heavenly entities or on the ground for terrestrial or chthonic entities
- The surface may be covered with an altar cloth of in a color or design appropriate for the spirit
- One or more candle holders, one for each candle to be offered
- An incense holder or brazier
- A cup or bowl
- Matches or a lighter
- Matches should not be used for ancestral, chthonic, or some terrestrial spirits
- Whatever other vessels are needed for any other offerings besides the ones listed above, e.g. plates or vases
Prepare the surface so that it is clean, flat, and free of dust, debris, or other objects. Set out the candles, incense, the empty cup, and other offerings on the surface as desired; there is no set arrangement, though a general practice is to have the candle in the center towards the back, with the cup on the right side of the candle and the incense on the left side. If a holy image of the spirit is available, such as a statue or painting, place the candle on the right side of the image, the cup on the left, and the incense front and center. Other arrangements are possible, as dictated by tradition, preference, and intuition.
When the area is prepared, knock with both hands on the surface at least once. Three is a generally good number to knock, but other numbers as are appropriate to that spirit may be used instead. Begin the offering, replacing every instance of “NN.” with the name of the entity being offered to.
O great, strong, and blessed NN., I call upon you! I, who am (your name), son/daughter/child of (mother’s name if known), who am (pen names, craft names, etc. you want known to the spirit), who am your supplicant and devotee, call upon you who are NN.! You are (epithets, titles, or foreign names of the spirit), you are the god/goddess/patron/spirit of (roles, jobs, responsibilities, and patronages of the spirit). I call upon you here at this place, now at this time, today on this day, that you may hear me, see me, and be with me!
Come forth, blessed NN., for I have prepared for you these offerings of light, incense, (libation), and praise (and whatever else you have prepared in the order to be presented) for you. Blessed NN., I make to you these offerings freely and joyfully, and I ask that you accept them in the same as symbols of my thanks, love, honor, trust, joy, and respect for you.
Light the candle (or candles).
Blessed NN., I burn for you this candle that it may burn for your honor, respect, enlightenment, empowerment, and exaltation. Grant that as this candle burns and casts its light around me, so too cast your light upon me that I may always be guided, lead, and enlightened by your presence. Grant that as this candle burns and casts its light upon this place through these airs, so too cast your light through me as your medium, conduit, focus, and lens upon the world, that the entire world may come to see you, honor you, glorify you, and praise you and your good works.
Light the incense. As the incense burns, fan it gently away from you with your hands.
Blessed NN., I burn for you this incense, sweet-smelling, fragrant, and pleasing to you, that it may satisfy you, please you, and fortify you. Grant that as this incense rises up in the air around me, so too fill up my life, sphere, and surroundings with the knowledge and blessing of your essence and divinity. Grant that as this incense fills up all the spaces in this place, so too fill up my body, soul, spirit, and mind completely with your power and virtue that I may be ever more deeply initiated into your mysteries and presence.
Pour out the libation (water, juice, wine, etc.) into the cup.
Blessed NN., I give to you this (libation), fresh, sweet, and pure, that it may sate you, please you, and cheer you. Grant that as this (libation) is poured out for you, so too open me up that I may more freely accept your presence and power in my life. Grant that as this (libation) is accepted by your countenance, so too let me be free to partake in your joys, your light, and your essence in this and all places, in this and all times.
Take a moment to catch your breath and let the incense rise for a moment and the libation settle from any bubbles that may have resulted from pouring it into the cup. When ready, continue.
Blessed NN., I sing to you an ancient song, dedicated to you once long ago, sung to you now again for your honor, glory, worship, and respect. Grant that as these words ring out in the air around me, so too may I always carry your praise in my mouth, that all people who come in contact with my words may come to praise you, honor you, glorify you, and respect you and your works. Grant that as my words are sanctified by your holy power, so too empower my own words and soul, that all I desire, will, intend, and speak may be brought to completion and perfection with your aid and presence in my life.
At this point, say the hymn or poem to the spirit you’ve chosen.
If desired, add more prayers here as needed to dedicate other offerings, such as flowers or food, following the general format as above.
When complete, continue.
Blessed NN., come forth and partake of these offerings I give to you freely and joyfully, for they are yours! I sacrifice this light, incense, (libation), and praise (etc. as above) to you, for you to do as you will! Be kind to me, blessed NN., that I may continue to praise you; give me your blessing, blessed NN., that I may continue to honor you; help me in my need, blessed NN., that I may continue to respect you! Grant that in all my works with you, I may come to spread your honor and glory, that you and your great works may be known by all people, that all people may praise you and respect you.
If desired, further prayers may also be said at this point to ask for specific needs or help, following the general format as above. When all this is complete, or if no further prayers are to be said, continue to the close of the offering.
Blessed NN., I thank you for your presence, for you have come as I have called and aided me as I have asked. As you have come in peace, if you so will, so go too in power; stay if you will, go if you will, but know that you shall have a place of honor, respect, and praise here in this place from me, this (whatever title or descriptor you prefer for yourself). Hail to you, blessed NN., hail to you!
Knock on the surface once more, in the same number as done before. The offering is complete. Leave the offerings at least as long as until it takes for both the incense and candle to burn out, but preferably no more than three days, before any perishable offerings like food or wine begin to go bad. All disposable elements may be disposed of respectfully in the trash, at a crossroads, or at another place appropriate to the spirit as desired or agreed-upon with the spirit.