Actions as Offerings, and Other Extreme Sports

Actions... actions... it can be difficult to pick up on a topic that you wanted to write about when you jotted down the title in April and didn't take any notes. But dusting the cobwebs off my blog is an action, so let's start there.

Good. Keyboard all clean? Spiders scurrying off to more abandoned online ecosystems? Perfect. Let's get writing.

For as long as people have prayed to the gods, more or less, people have been giving offerings to them as well. Once upon a time, these offerings were typically payment in kind for something that we wanted - "here is my first apple from my orchard, in return for a good haul this season" - or perhaps, gifts to honour or placate, with no particular goal in mind. In modern polytheism, however (and I speak strictly from a non-reconstructionist standpoint, so bear this in mind), people quite often make offerings as a way to be closer to their gods or simply say "hey, I was thinking of you".

When we think of offerings, there's a certain mental image that is likely to come to mind. That of an altar, perhaps with a dedicated bowl for pouring in drinks, or an incense holder, or a wax-dripped candle holder that has seen plenty of use. But in the twenty first century - and especially in an era of our world where counting pennies is a necessity for survival - this isn't the only way to give something to your deities. Some people maintain digital altars to get around this, but something else that you can do is devote activities and actions in the name of your gods.

There's a few ways to think of this. First of all, you can consider the energy expenditure to be the offering that you are making; a sort of conversion of kinetic energy to spiritual energy, as it were. Think of it, if you want, like the crocodile god Offler, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. His priests cook sausages for him, and then consume the 'gross, earthly husks' after he has consumed their essence. It's not important that they have given him sausages, so much as it is that they were prepared for him. Effort went into cooking them, whether it resulted in award-winning sausages or not. Intent is key - not just for this, but for anything devotional.

Another thing to consider is that we as mortals are often a god's instrument in our world. There are things that our deities might outright ask us to do for them - for example, it is a commonly held UPG that Odin 'collects diviners' - and there are activities that they might partake in, if they were walking amongst us. For example Glaucus, the Greek patron god of fishermen, might spend his time on trawlers, or sitting on the end of the wharf going squid fishing. Or Tyr, a deity so often associated with justice, might be front and centre at a BLM rally or volunteering at a soup kitchen. If they do not do these things themselves, we can do it; like polytheist side quests!

Lastly... self care is a form of worship. Both in terms of loving yourself, and in being the best person that you can be for your deities. Devoting your daily rituals to your deities - and doubling that as a way to spend some quiet time with them - will benefit you both. Also, if you have a skill that you would like to learn or a hobby that you're interested in picking up, why not consider making that an offering as well? Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and knowledge, would probably appreciate you learning a new language and devoting it to her. As a bonus... she's connected to owls. I don't know if she's connected to green owls, though. My husband (tangentially) dedicates his reenactment battles to Odin and Thor.

So next time you're at a loss for what to do for your deity, perhaps think about what you can do, literally! And if you already have devotional activities that you take part in, feel free to share them in the comments section.

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