I have been giving spirit offerings daily for about two years now and it has quite quickly become one of my main spiritual practices. I tend to do one main offering everyday and maybe one or two ‘energy offerings’ while at work or out and about. The whole experience is fun and highly enjoyable for me and has benefitted me in a variety of ways.
There are many ways to give offerings. I tend to give them a glass or hot tea, candles, nuts or a small picture. You can even give an offering of a song that you sing or even a storytelling session- there are many appropriate and enriching things to give them.
These simple acts of generosity are fruitful ways to improve your spiritual life. Spirit offerings are a great way to open up to the universe and have a truly interactive experience with it. Not only is it fun to find and give offerings but the boons that come from acts of generosity to the spirits will far exceed your expectations.
I also give offerings to the many bodhisattva’s that exist within the Buddhist tradition, invoking them through mantra or through some other form of invocation and then giving them an appropriate offering.
I came across a good quote about spirit offerings in, ‘The Sorcerers Secrets’ by Jason Miller.
“By making offerings to the ruling powers, local spirits, and even to the land and sky you are building a relationship, just like a relationship between two people. The older and more firm your relationship with the universe, the more apt it is to help you out when you need it. By serving the local spirits of your area you will gain allies that will not only respond when summoned, but act on your behalf of their own accord… On the other side of the coin, not all spirits are friendly. Some are naturally wrathful. Others act in retribution for actions that we take that have consequences in spiritual dimensions… offerings are [also] a pacifying practice that protects by offering an olive branch to hostile spirits and elemental forces.”
There are many traditions and rites that give a focus on giving offerings to disembodied beings (take your pick). Many of the original shamanic magical practices of early man simply involve giving the right offerings to the right powers for the benefit of the community or individual. Interacting with spirits is something that is deeply embedded in the history and culture of the distant past of humanity. These types of practices still exist in the world. Shamanic practices are still very much a part of communities within Mongolia for example. A shaman has a very specific role, travelling to and from the spirit world to talk to spirits for the sake of their community, serving as a bridge between the spirits and their community.
In the western world spirit practices seem to be more formalised. There are hundreds of grimoires dedicated on to how to invoke, bind and interact with spirits. Ceremonial magic is a thriving (seemingly under the radar) practice and many societies and groups have been created in the west in order for modern magicians to work with spirits and interact with reality. Grimories like the Goetia have a whole list of spirits with diagrams, symbols, ritual instruments and so on to call up demons for various purposes.
I think that one of the greatest ways to interact with spirits are through simple practices. You could leave some jam and bread under a tree, you could leave some incense and a candle on a shrine, you could pour a libation on the ground and dedicate it to the spirits of the surrounding area…
The universe is there to help you. It is your divine right to interact with reality and allow the microcosm and macrocosm to enrich each other.