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#1 Slartibartfast

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:40 PM

I've been trying to be respectful to a spirit friend by leaving food offerings out, but I'm not sure what food is best and how to handle an offering that's become stale. I feel bad about leaving old food out, but then again I feel (stupidly) guilty when I throw them out!

What sorta foods make the best offerings? Or, is it the thought that counts? I decided on chocolates, since they're good no matter how old! That's the theory, that is.
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#2 Kira

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:44 PM

Spirits eat?
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#3 Slartibartfast

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:48 PM

Spirits eat?


Ehehe. ;)

No, no, I'm not saying that. I just wanted to know what foods would be the most respectful, or more fitting for offering to spirits. Or if there are any rituals required for them. I think it's the "thought that counts" thing that's powering this question. Don't really know if they "eat" or not. But how'd I know,eh!
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#4 Kira

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 09:01 PM

I've just never heard of leaving food for them as offerings. I know that Buddhists have a shrine where they'll put oranges, exotic fruits, incense, and I've even seen a pack of cigarettes, but never heard of doing that for spirits. On Passover, Jewish people leave a glass of wine on the Seder Table for the Angel (I forgot which one) as a "thank you" for not allowing the Pharoh's soldiers to kill their first born son.

I'll be interesting to see how others respond.
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#5 Mystic Hippy

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 09:15 PM

I've been trying to be respectful to a spirit friend by leaving food offerings out, but I'm not sure what food is best and how to handle an offering that's become stale. I feel bad about leaving old food out, but then again I feel (stupidly) guilty when I throw them out!

What sorta foods make the best offerings? Or, is it the thought that counts? I decided on chocolates, since they're good no matter how old! That's the theory, that is.


In my opinion...

Well, there are alot of ways you can go with that, but some of the basic foods are things such as bread, oranges or bananas. Bread because it is a base food. It is considered a staple in many localities. It is also a symbollic food used in many types of communion ceremonies.

Fruits, or more especially tropical fruits, are considered "earth foods". They are a basic food and are probably the earliest types of food eaten.

If you leave a liquid leave either a small bit of wine or apple or grape juice.

The basic, non-fancy foods, help to convey the symbollic nature of the offering without distraction. They also have certain aromatic properties which lend to the offering ceremonies.
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#6 feusurlaneige

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 05:18 AM

What sort of spirit friend are you talking about here....a earthbound spirit or a spirit of a higher realm.

If its an earthbound he will laugh because he doesnt have a body. He doesnt need sleep, food or shelter. He has his emotions, his intelligence and his memories.

More evolved spirits would rather you save the money from the food you waste by putting it out, and donate it to the poor who dont have enough food.

I wouldnt bother with this. The spirit you are talking about would already know that your intentions were good anyway and that is what counts

#7 Yosei

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 01:30 PM

A traditional Shinto offering to the spirits( there is not such a strong line between departed ancestors/heroes, angels/fairies/nature spirits, and deities in Japanese culture) would be sake, rice, salt, and spring water. The salt and rice (if not cooked) don't go bad (and traditionally offerings CAN be eaten by the humans in the house after being formally offered to the spirits anyway---presumably a respectful pause is all that's needed), and the others just evaporate so if you don't use them yourself there's no problem! I do actually find my life seems to go smoother when I make such offerings regularly, even if many Americans think I'm nuts for it.
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#8 Mystic Hippy

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 02:30 PM

A traditional Shinto offering to the spirits( there is not such a strong line between departed ancestors/heroes, angels/fairies/nature spirits, and deities in Japanese culture) would be sake, rice, salt, and spring water. The salt and rice (if not cooked) don't go bad (and traditionally offerings CAN be eaten by the humans in the house after being formally offered to the spirits anyway---presumably a respectful pause is all that's needed), and the others just evaporate so if you don't use them yourself there's no problem! I do actually find my life seems to go smoother when I make such offerings regularly, even if many Americans think I'm nuts for it.


I don't think you're nuts. The offering ceremony is much like the basic steps in goal setting. Writing your goals on a piece of paper helps to make that goal more realistic to us. The offering ceremony helps us to meditate on the teachings of our elders. The teachings of our elders become more realistic. Those teachings are generally for helping us to grow spiritually which in turn materializes in our everyday life.
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#9 Yosei

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 03:21 PM

Thanks, MH. I hadn't actually thought it out that way, but that's another good way to look at it. :(
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#10 Slartibartfast

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 03:32 PM

Thanks to everyone for their insight. feusurlaneige, I think ur right. Perhaps I'm taking unnecessary steps to respect him, but he asked me to leave water out for him. I think he may've had some connection to a fire in his life or death, and I first met him when he was panting like he was thirsty. So, I just change his water every night. Maybe it makes him comfortable.

Thanks again, you guys! I have taken all comments to heart!
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#11 Redhead

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 07:41 PM

Actually, water is used to help spirits communicate easier. When going to a seance, a bowl of water is usually on the table, with the bell and trumpet - if it's the traditional sort of seance. It could well be that the spirit you are trying to contact is looking for the water as an aide to communicate with you. It may not be that he needs an 'offering' as such, just a conduit for better communication.

As an aside, in some cultures, the wee folk, or faeires welcome food left outdoors for them, especially in the winter months. They then repay this kindness with a small token gift - but it is considered bad manners if you thank them aloud for this gift, and they may begin to play pranks on you.
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#12 meanderer

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 09:09 PM

Slartibartfast, it really does depend on the spirit. But, I do agree with Mystic Hippy that whatever food offering you make, you should stick with the basic foods. Nothing fancy. And not too big. Spirits don't need much. It's really the intention of the offering that matters most, before the offering of food. Try not to use processed food at all.

Yosei, I've seen a grave somewhere in the mountains west of Tokyo which I believed to be Shinto. On it, there was an offering of two oranges and a can of Coke. I thought it was nice for someone to leave that. I actually have a picture of it, somewhere...

Redgead makes a good point. I've been known to offer milk to the wee folk, and I've just always known never to thank them out loud!
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#13 Electra Rain

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 09:16 PM

There is nothing wrong with chocolate, it too was highly sacred amongst some gods, and used in Ceremonial offerings. Wine, fruits, nuts, and milk for the fairy's, they're all good choices.

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#14 aloha_spirit

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 01:04 PM

Changing the water on a regular basis is a good idea - you don't want to give mosquitoes a breeding ground. Also, if your water is hard (like mine), over time mineral deposits form a ring.

Hawaiians will often wrap a lava rock with a ti leaf and place it on an alter. As far as food goes, alcohol is common, as well as bananas for the men (in ancient Hawaii women weren't allowed to eat bananas!).

On the topic of the living eating the offering, that concept is even biblical! In Judaism, the high priest would slaughter the animal and make it into a barbecue. God would get the rich aromas (and the burnt fat that drips onto the coals) while the priests would eat the cooked meat. Since the Second Temple was destroyed about 70AD and the Third Temple hasn't been built yet, Judaic high priests don't have anywhere to offer these burnt offerings.

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#15 Mark London

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 01:29 PM

I have just never heard of this before, interesting though :)




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