On the Practice of Making Offerings. Disseminating Moon.

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Mama moon wanes now, or decreases in light.  We enter the last quarter of the moon’s lunation, half dark half light, darkness gaining.  

That means we wrap up one of my favorite of her monthly phases~disseminating.  To disseminate means to “spread (something, especially information) widely.”  The disseminating phase follows her full phase, which we understand in context is the phase right after peak fertility or peak light.  In essence, the quickening, active energy of magnified sunlight peaks, and the clarity from that growth and gain begins to absorb, or spread out widely (w i ld l y!?) when she tips beyond her light momentum back towards decrease and dark.

With lunar Beltane just behind us, and the deep alchemical fusion of darkness into light of being~ness that accompanies that tide, this week was a sweet time to “harvest” insight. The disseminating phase symbolizes our Harvest of the month.

We move now to the last quarter phase, after today she is more dark than light for the rest of this lunation. This is the time we will naturally move towards retreat and reflection.
For today’s post, in honor of the continual changingness Mama Moon embodies and teaches, let’s focus on Offerings.
My earliest introduction to “Offerings” takes me back to my earliest introduction to Celtic paganism. This was the winter of 1995~I remember reading D.J. Conway’s Celtic Magic, and later going out in my mom’s backyard under a full moon and making an offering of honey to the holly tree back there. It was my whimsical way of making good relations with the soul or life essence of Holly. An interesting side note~to this day, almost every place I have lived since has had a holly tree on the property. Because of this serendipity, I have come to have a rich relational experience with her, feeling her to be a Sacred Protector for me. This is animism in practice for me.

More recently–last year in the Spring–I attended a training through the Maryland Counseling Association on Native American ritual practices to incorporate in mental health. This training was from the Ojibwe (Chippewa) people of the White Earth nation in northern Minnesota. The president of the MCA spent a week on the reservation learning from elders sanctioned practices for the mental health and soul of all modern people, native and non.

She learned that in their tradition, the practice of leaving Ancestors herbal offerings like tobacco or cedar is also known as gifting. Two things here. First, the word Ancestors here means both spiritual elder of deceased family and friends, as well as the animist understanding that the life of the trees, herbs, the plants, the rain, the river, and all other examples of natural environment, including the animal kingdom is seen as the Ancestral realm–a storehouse of living, breathing historical wisdom.

For the Ojibwe, wild growing herbs and flowers, animals that are hunted etc, as well as other expressions from Nature in the wild, are considered “gifts” from Mother Earth.

When we harvest them, we give some back as acknowledgement of the reciprical exchange, as acknoledgemtn of the “gift”. This is the practice of Offerings, staying in relational, sacred reciprocity.

From this tradition, I learned that things like store bought smudge sticks aren’t considered “gifts”. In fact purchasing herbs for this purpose is actually opposite the traditional idea of Offerings, because it takes us away from direct experience of the web of life and reciprocity within Mother Earth and the natural world.

This understanding has changed my practice of making Offerings. For example, I have for a long time kept a frequently stocked jar in my truck of Offerings, consisting of different flowers and herbs, seashells and other natural gifts from Mama Earth that I collect. I leave them for Mama Ocean after an awesome swim. For the pines in the Fairy Forest where I go walking for the way they soothe my soul. For the solitude and reflection of the Sunset. For my animal or tree familiars in my special secret spots.

For the times I pray to my deceased loved ones.

Now I have really become mindful around the resonance, or the emotional intention behind how I relate when I gather “gifts” for my Offerings jar. I adore little teeny wildflowers (weeds 😁!) ~ the wee itty fancy dancy faces of the devic kingdom! I love these lil sweeties. The idea that they are a gift of the joy of right now, a gift of Mama Nature! This infuses my appreciation of them even more so!

It becomes the power of the momentum of connection and gratitude.

Likewise, I have become so much more aware of the serendipity of “gifts”. The many times over the last year that dear sisters have sent packages with little acorns or pinecones, little dried flowers that made them “think of me”. Or how my mom recently made me a shaker of sea salt bc she knows I love to cook with it. Well, salt holds a power-full charge, and so some of that “gift” is now in my jar!

So there you have it dear friends. As we pause today and reflect on the dissemination of insights post-Beltane, I want to invite everyone to explore coming in to a more intimate experience with Mama Nature.

If over Beltane you tended blessings, wishes or intentions to grow this upcoming Harvest year, here’s a reminder to practice reciprocity. To make Offerings of appreciation for the inter-connectivity of Life.

There’s no right place to make your Offerings.

But “Gifting” is a deepened appreciation of what we might call a “Right Way.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. mandee nelson says:

    Enjoyed this very much my friend

    1. K says:

      Thank You, my dear and sacred elder and friend!

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