Local offerings

I probably have touched on this before, but it has been on my mind a bit today, and that is the subject of using more of what we have locally in worshiping the gods. This doesn’t mean throw out the frankincense and hand-rolled incense sticks imported from India, but it does mean using more of what is found in nature as a regular staple. It is easy, especially when worshiping in a tradition that is not native to your locality, to get caught up in what you should be offering in accordance to tradition. And definitely it is important to do so and I encourage to add a good measure of that, but sometimes we get so focused on this that we are disconnecting our worship from our local environment. There is very little then that is tying directly to the world that we live in.

As an Alaskan this is important to me because Alaska is A LOT different from the Mediteranean. In fact it would probably be alot easier for a local Heathen or Asatruar to sinc with this environment in their worship than it is for a Mediteranean religion like Hellenismos. Firstly, all those trees are are called evergreens in ancient literature: the laurel, the olive and the oak. Yeah…that is not an evergreen in Alaska. In fact at best it is a summer green and then by midwinter completely dead tree. Oaks don’t grow here, nor do olives (though perhaps a russian olive would but those aren’t real olives in any case), and laurel will only grow babied indoors (though I am still more than happy to get one and do so!). Even the laurel substitute I ease for sprigs, the rosemary, has to be grown in the warmth indoors as it won’t weather our cold winters. What do we have for evergreen trees (and for the worship of some gods it seems a necessity to be connected with an evergreen tree, as in the case of Artemis and Apollon)? We have pine. That is it.

Therefore I have taken to using pine in replacement of laurel locally in my worship of these divine twins. Though pine has no known connection I have found to Apollon, that pine was a sacred tree of Diana in the cooler parts of Italy in the north, I have extended this tree towards Apollon just as the laurel is shared between the gods and the cypress. This also provides me for an excellent source of incense through pine resin. This will cut my use of the more expensive frankincense that I can reserve for specific occassions or even perhaps blend with the pine and bring in something from the local nature. Meanwhile willow twigs have been used by me in his honor in the past as these are the first signs of life with their small furry buds in March when King Apollon returns. That willow is also a natural form of asprin also makes sense. I have also used willow for Athena as a decor for her shrine in the past. Pine also provides another natural gift. As the Arcadians ate acorns, we have pine nuts that are pretty easy to acquire at local stores.

There are of course many possibilities that I have yet to explore. And I thoroughly encourage everyone to take a look at what they have around them and see what exactly they can make use of to bring the gods home so to speak and connect them with our local environments and lives.


6 thoughts on “Local offerings

  1. I suspect that “evergreen” may be the important part over “species of” or at least that’s what I tell myself. Yes I can buy pomogranites in season in the store, but the more local fruit offerings of wild blackberries in summer and apples in the harvest seem more”me” than trying to track down a historic fruit. This is of course only one example of my personal experience, and should not be taken as an authoritative word 😉

  2. I love reading posts like these — including this one — so very much. More than reading about ancient practices brought forward, reading about how people bring their location into their worship makes me so very happy to see. I’m continually grateful that my short cut to connection (read: being at the coast) isn’t something that I can do easily or often, I value greatly the time I spent even away from accessible rivers in PA, because it forced me to look elsewhere for deep, meaningful connections with Poseidon. Or, rather, it made me look inward and consider what was on hand. I value that experience so much, even now as I live in the land of oh-my-god-its-always-WET.

    I really enjoy reading about your posts about your location and your awareness and connection to your gods through that lens. Plus, at least for me, it brings in an automatic honoring of the local land spirits, which is important for my path.

    • Thanks hon 🙂 I think it is valuable for us to keep in mind our local environments, and also to looks at some things on a symbolic level that we are more inclined to do when we don’t have immediate access. We learn to look at what things mean to us on a spiritual level and explore our connections there as you have said. With Apollon the way this landscape is divided in half by noticeable light increase and decrease it gives me a closer understanding of Apollon in his role in nature in some respects, but in other respects I have to work a little harder because being up this far north means I too have to work harder to see certain things.
      Of course this came up in a conversation the other day with a friend of mine who is blind, who said she did not feel any real connection to Selene, and therefore didn’t feel a press to worship her, because she could not see the moon, that unlike the sun is not noticeable in any other way other than visual. So I found myself speaking of metaphors of things occuring with the moon’s influence that even though she can’t see the moon she can feel the importance of this goddess. I think that this is true of any other god. Just because we don’t have the kind of direct experience in nature that others may have, doesn’t mean that we can’t get that connection to them. We just need to work a bit harder at it, and look at things from a different direction 🙂

      • And it’s useful! It’s such a useful exercise, I’m so glad that I’ve had to do it.

        Funny that you should mention Selene; She’s been one I’ve neglected *a lot* considering how frequently He suggests I add Her into my worship. In more than a “structure my religious month around the moon’s phases” sort of way, but it gets interesting having the two cultural influences . . . the moon is obviously a male symbol, don’tcha nooo. 🙂

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