Giving offerings to those Deities and Spirits with whom I have (or am interested in developing) a relationship is a regular part of my practice. I think it’s an important part of the reciprocity between worshiper and revered power, and for me it also serves as a way to regularly put myself into sacred space and a witch-ly mindset. Here follows the rite I created and use when I give offerings.
On a small table separate from your altar, place all the offerings you intend to give. These may be ultimately poured or placed into an offering bowl or may each be set upon the altar in its own vessel or dish, as they are given. If you will be burning incense or herbs whether to scent the room or in offering to certain Powers, have your charcoal lit before you begin.
Prepare your space in whatever manner you usually do. For giving offerings I do not cast a circle, nor do I purify the space beforehand since I have a permanent altar in a room dedicated to such workings. I light the candles upon my shrine shelves and upon my altar, close the door, and dim the electric lights before I begin my rites.
As you stand in readiness before your altar, ground and center yourself in the manner you are accustomed to. Draw up a little current of energy from the earth below you and from the air around you, letting these currents flow within you such that you begin to tingle with power and anticipation.
Holding your hands outstretched, palms facing forward, speak aloud appropriate words of greeting:
“Hail the Powers that Shape the World.
I come before you as a child of the Old Ways,
A Walker on the Crooked Path
To give due Honor and Offering.”
You may also speak words appropriate to the season, for example:
“The year wanes,
The moon wanes.
We are in the fallows of the year.
The land has grown cold,
And the spirits hunger.
I bring offerings of libation and sustenance.”
Go to the table upon which your offerings are laid and choose the first you intend to give. Return to the altar, stand before it and holding your offering aloft say appropriate words, for example:
“To Herne the Hunter, Master of the Wild Hunt, Winter King, I offer______. May the smoke of its rising please You in this, the season of Your riding and reaping.”
“To The Serpent in the Land, Whose Coils lie Under the Earth, I offer _____. O Great Serpent, I pray You accept my offering.”
If you have more than one offering for a given Deity or Spirit, present them one at a time, bringing them each from the offering table to the altar in turn, and speaking appropriate words with the presentation of each one.
Here are some more examples:
“To my Ancestors, who came before me, and without whom I would not Be, I offer unto Thee ________. May this offering please thee.”
“To the Mothers/Fathers of my line, I give ______. May it sustain Thee!”
When all offerings are given, hold your hands outstretched with palms facing forward, and pour the raised energy that has pooled within you into the offerings upon the altar. After this, cross your hands upon your breast and bow your head briefly in respect. Then, back away from the altar three steps before turning. Your rite is ended.
I always extinguish my candles soon after, using a candle snuffer and thanking each flame as it is quenched.
Any perishable offerings should be consigned to the Earth within three days or so, lest they begin to mold or rot.