I’ve received a lot of questions about offerings for the spirits so this will serve as a bit of an overview or reference that you can come back to at any time as a starting point should you decide you would like to begin making offerings to the spirits to develop your relationships with them.
There are a wide variety of spirits and no single offering for all of them. Offerings can vary, and you should go with your gut and research on what feels right. Common offerings include:
- Spring Water
- Items that are representative of the spirit (statues or images or sacred correspondences)
- Handmade items
- Acts of good will or charity
If you’re just getting started with spirit work, I recommend beginning with an ancestor altar. Your ancestors love you and want to keep a relationship with you going strong, so it’s a solid place to start because you’re already linked to them. Check out my article on creating an ancestor veneration altar here.
I leave offerings for the fae because they’ve been part of my life since childhood, and they’ve done much for me. The fae really enjoy dairy products such as cream (think milk and cookies) and breads. All kind and helpful spirits are welcome in my home, and I consider my ancestors to be part of the fae anyway, so food offerings are always left out overnight for any spirits who need respite whether they’re passing through or whatever.
Saints usually have their own specific physical offerings. Saint Expedite loves pound cake, the colors red and green, red candles, and red flowers. Saint Cyprian usually gets offerings of incense and purple candles and cool occult items, in conjunction with Saint Justina who gets flowers. Saint Mary MacKillop receives offerings in the form of good works and flowers. I recognize the feast days of the saints I work with as well. Research the saints you want to work with if this is an avenue you’re interested before setting up their altars. Find out which ones you connect with and begin there. I don’t currently work with any angels but they also have their own offerings, so if they interest you begin researching them.
Most of my offerings to land spirits consist in taking care of the land and being respectful. Picking up trash, beautifying, making my yard a haven for all kinds of birds and animals, and so on.
The deities I am in relationship with also have their own offerings. I am in relationship with Hekate, The Lady of the Lake, and Loki. Lavender and garlic, pomegranate and baked sweets are typical offerings from me to Hekate, as well as personal issues that I am ready to give up. I give special devotion to Hekate at the dark moon and November 16th specifically. I’ve created spirit beads for Hekate and the Lady of the Lake. I’ve collected sea shells for the Lady of the Lake, and I have another project in the works for the Lady of the Lake as well. Loki gets chocolate and pastries offerings as far as foods go, Cinnamon incense, and I recently purchased a pretty cute t-shirt that I’m totally going to wear that is in honor of him. I don’t personally do alcohol offerings because we don’t do alcohol in our home, so I do my best with substitutions there (pop, usually).
My work is an offering to all the spirits as well. All the good that I am able to do is dedicated to them and in honor of them. All that I create is an offering too. We are so interconnected and they are so good to me that I never have to be concerned with stinginess. Spirits appreciate a generous heart and most give generously themselves.
I put all my food offerings for all the spirits I work with on one altar that my cats can’t get to, my main altar, and it’s in the great room of my home on the north wall. I change the water daily on the altar, and I light the main altar candle daily as well. I keep some coins on this altar as an offering, which keeps prosperity flowing.
Some spirits have specific veneration days (like Saturday for Saint Cyprian and Wednesday for Saint Expedite), so I only light their candles and put out water for them on those days every week unless I’m doing an active working with them.
Found items usually end up on my altars as well. Feathers, shells, cool rocks, sometimes bones, acorns, pine cones, etc.
With my practice, food offerings go into the trash when it’s time to change them. Sometimes food offerings can be put outside, but overall I don’t do that unless it’s safe for local wildlife, and because I live in town and it’s considered littering. Composting is another option. Just don’t eat the offerings because the spirit of the foods have been consumed already.