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You make offerings to your deity a lot. Like, sometimes every day. What do you do with all those offerings? Do you return it to nature? Can you put it into the garbage? Can you avoid wasting it somehow?
There are so many questions, but I promise by the end you’ll have the answers you need! So let’s get into it. Let’s learn how to dispose of an offering to a deity.
Disposal is magickal! Don’t leave offering disposal as an afterthought. Plan ahead so that your offering is put to rest in an intentional and respectful way. Your offering is a sacred magickal object, so treat it as such and give it a proper disposal.
There are many great methods of how to dispose of an offering to a deity, most of which involve returning the material back to nature. However, some materials, like plastic or metals, can’t be safely disposed of in this way.
Burning ritual offerings is a quick and easy way to dispose of items. It is permanent, final, and sudden. Many Wiccans like disposal by fire because it can be done in your own home.
Use a fireplace, grill, or backyard pit if you have one. Otherwise use a cauldron or pan to contain the fire. Once burned and cooled, ashes can be buried, washed away with water, or thrown away in the trash.
Be careful of materials that will smell a lot when burned, especially if you are burning inside your home. Also be careful with very flammable materials like oil. Practice fire safety and keep an extinguisher handy.
Burning is not suited for materials like plastic, that will give off toxic fumes when burned. It’s also difficult to dispose of bones this way, because they require high heat and a lot of time to break down.
Burial provides a safe and permanent resting place for offerings, and allows them to return to the Earth. If you have your own yard, you can bury objects on your property.
Be sure to not bury items on top of one another. If you don’t have a yard, you can buy a potted plant or create a small indoor garden, and bury items in the plants’ soil.
You may also be able to bury items outside in parks and forests. Take care to not trespass on private property, and always respect the rules of the park.
Never bury items that will not compost over time like plastics or glass. Bury only organic items that will break down in the soil over time.
Compost and Fertilizer
Like burying, this method returns offerings to the Earth. Except that this way, it nourishes plants along the way.
Add organic offerings to your compost heap, or grind them up and sprinkle onto soil as fertilizer. The offerings will enrich your soil, providing further life and growth. What a wonderful and regenerative way to honor your deities.
For liquid offerings, these can be poured directly onto the Earth as a libation. Be sure to only pour organic liquids back into the Earth. Alcohol, juices, waters, milk, and other beverages are perfect for libations. Do not pour liquids like oils, detergents, or other chemicals.
One of the oldest ways to dispose of offerings is in bodies of water. In today’s age though, we must be mindful about what we immerse to avoid polluting waterways and damaging the environment.
Stick to materials that occur naturally in bodies of water like stones, sand, rocks, leaves, and small branches. Never dispose of large or man-made items in water. If needed, you can first burn items, then dispose of the ashes in water.
Offerings of food can be naturally recycled by feeding them to animals. Head to a local park and feed bread offerings to ducks. Or leave nuts and seeds outdoors for wildlife to snack on.
When giving offerings to animals, avoid leaving processed foods, sweets, or chocolate for animals, as they may not be able to digest it. Breads, fresh fruits, seeds, and nuts are all great ideas.
Be careful of pests as well. You may leave a honey offering outside for deer, but return to find that it is overrun by ants! Try also to avoid leaving out items that will spoil like eggs or dairy.
Scatter to the Wind
For some types of offerings, scattering them in the wind can be a great way to dispose of them. Offerings like dry herbs, ashes, salts, sands, flower petals, and loose dirt can be sprinkled into the breeze and carried off in farewell.
Many magickal items we recycle without even realizing it, like stones and crystals. Wicca is all about living in harmony with the Earth, so why wouldn’t we reuse and recycle where we can?
Consider melting down a few old candle stubs into one new candle. Or try stitching used fabric into a new altar cloth? You can even donate money you save from reuse to charity. What better way to honor your deities by avoiding creating waste and creating good in the world?
Consider donating offerings too. You’re not only disposing of the item, but you’re also helping someone else in the process.
For some items, there’s just no good way to return it to Nature or to give it another purpose. For these items, putting them into the garbage is fine.
Some may feel that the garbage is a disrespectful place of disposal. However, any place can be made sacred. Don’t just toss your offerings– add intent to the disposal by giving them a quick good-bye ceremony. Eventually, it will make its way to a landfill where it will reunite with the Earth anyway.
We have learned many ways in Wicca how to dispose of an offering to a deity. Many avenues allow for natural disposal and a return to the Elements, while others allow for upcycling or donation.
As always, use your own common sense and good judgement when disposing of offerings. If you feel that any material you need to dispose of might be toxic or dangerous, contact your local poison control for guidance. And as always, incorporate any guidance your coven or magickal tradition gives.