We made barbeque the other evening. A friend of ours had the pig and cooked it for ages before bringing it over to our house to be finished. Afterward, we had a great side of fat with a substantial amount of bone and spare meat and gravy in a great pan, so I decided that it should be offered to the kindreds in thanksgiving.
Now I find the whole offering-at-meals thing fascinating. I read somewhere that it was the custom of classical barbarians (leg. Celts and Germans) to give thanks after the meal rather than before. I’ve not confirmed it, but it makes sense. The standard blot, the sacred feast of Scandinavian and Icelandic tradition, began with a sacrificial slaughter that invited the gods to dine with the group. Select portions (mostly entrails and such – the parts not to be consumed by the community) were burnt as offerings to the gods. Then the meal was eaten and ritualized drinking occurred afterward.
This is the direct ancestor of giving toasts wherein someone declaims some sort of quip or secularized blessing before downing their drink. In Scotland (at least) it was considered ineffectual if you did not empty your glass.
I don’t know if it is a break with the proper order of things, but I thought that it couldn’t be bad to offer some of our dinner to the land-spirits, ancestors and gods. Saving the largest portion for the gods, I built up a fire with a prayer to it that it might carry my offerings well to their intended recipients and proceeded to set the chunks of fat and meat into the blaze, each with its own soft prayer. In all it was functional and direct.
D. came out when I was making a final offering of the oil to the gatekeepers. She saw the children being too close; in fact, I had been strtuggling to stay focused with their high energy bouncing all over the place. Concerned for their safety, she set some of our folding chairs as a clear closure to the semicircle that I had made around the fire-pit with our bed of herbs and flowers. I could not believe that I had not thought of this before: setting a perimiter that could form an inner, sacred space in which the children had to be “serious” and an outer, ‘fun’ space where they could romp as they pleased.
Sometimes I can be really thick in the head.
With the meat, fat and bone utterly consumed and the children in a bath, I was tending the fire’s death and thinking about the whole affair. I’ve withdrawn a bit from trying to perform full ADF style rituals as I’m still feeling very new to all of this. The absence of a definite community and everything that goes with it has been a very palpable lacuna in my development: I want to say ‘block’ to it, but I am not sure that the absence of the community is my block. In its stead I have focused on trying to discern real divinity and power in what is around me, hoping that by clearing away preconceptions the clear divinty in the order reality will shine through. As I sat there looking up at the two oaks at the eastern end of our back garden, their newly sprung leaves hissing softly in the evening breeze, I became aware of them as living things with august numina of their own. When the fire was finished, I addressed them both, giving thanks for watching over everything and asking them to convey to the gods my regrets for any missteps of mine regarding the offerings.
Clearly, I am becoming increasingly ‘ok’ with UPG.
In the wake of all this, not to mention an exchange with another blog-keeper here on wordpress, I cannot help but wonder if I am not making a great cock-up of all this. I have followed my conscience. I regret nothing since I left Christianity. In fact, most times I feel an elated sense of freedom – or would feel so if there were not so many worries with money. This lack of money is a great bother to me, not only in that we struggle with affording all we would like, but more it bothers me because I sincerely believe that if one is in touch with the truth all things become possible. There is still a disjunction for which I cannot account. It is like I am waiting for the dam to burst or the heavens to open. I am sick of waiting, though.
I wish to speak with one of the gods.