Offerings Guide

Gods have personal tastes just as we do, and offerings to them will vary from deity to deity. If you're expecting a dinner guest you know doesn't like peas, how rude is it to serve peas? You're not likely to develop a relationship that way. Or worse; who would knowingly serve pork to an observant Jew? That would not only be offensive; it would be an offense. The same is true with deities.

Some are offended by certain offerings — most commonly, meat, which is particularly bothersome to some domestic deities. Sometimes, you can find out what to offer deities through research. Cultures often have traditions: water mixed with wine for Greek deities, sake for Japanese kami, etc. Individual deities may also have preferences. For instance, we know from Apuleius (Golden Ass, 3.27) that Epona liked roses. But sometimes, you will need to experiment, starting with what seems best and seeing what happens.

There are some patterns linking deity type and offerings that can help with this. The following list gives some of them. These suggestions are not meant to be taken as hard and fast rules — a deity from a culture that does not drink milk may be confused by a milk offering — but they can give you a starting point for experimentation.

In the following list, animals can be replaced with meat or symbolic offerings.

Ancestors: Food and drink from the family table, bread (especially dark), beer, beans, caraway, hair. If you are offering to a particular ancestor, use their favorite foods.
Birth Deities: Bread, eggs, milk, sandalwood, mint, roses.
Border Guardians: Pigs, eggs, honey, milk, wine, flower garlands.
Culture Deities: Songs, poems, prepared food.
Death Deities: Pork, dogs, beer. This is one exception to the rule of sharing; you don't want to share with death.
Deities in General: Bread, butter or oil (burned), wine, beer, frankincense.
Earth Deities: Bread, pigs, beer.
Fire Deities: Flammable items, especially liquids like vegetable oils, whiskey, or melted clarified butter.
Garden Spirits: Bread, grain, fruit, water, milk, honey, bay leaf incense, flowers.
Hearth Guardians: Bread, butter, milk, pine incense, rosemary. Generally not meat.
House Spirits: Bread, salt, wine, milk, food from the family table, butter, beer.
Lunar Deities: Milk, bread, white flowers.
Nature Spirits in General: Local grain (cornmeal in America, wheat or barley in England, etc.), bread, beer, flowers, shiny things.
Nature Spirits (American): Cornmeal, sage, tobacco, shiny things.
Solar Deities: Horses, white wine, mead, gold, butter.
Storm Deities: Cattle, beer, meteorites, sledge hammers, axes, flint.
Technology Deities: Tools, products of labor.
Threshold Guardians: Barley, bread, wine, juniper.
War Deities: Cattle, goats, iron, weapons.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License