Thursday, December 19, 2013

Of Whine and Wine

I've been getting some unpleasant feedback from my previous post about context, discernment, and getting to know a deity that you're only just meeting.  The feedback stems from the audacity of my suggestion to pour out the offerings to a deity instead of consuming them yourself. In this situation, if you do not know who the deity is who is contacting you and if you have no context at all, it is always better to err on the side of respect and caution: do not consume the offering. So...let's break down what I had said in my previous post:

"If you can’t seem to find any context..."
That is, if you cannot immediately discover the name of the deity whom you are experiencing, and you do not know from which parent culture, pantheon, or religion that deity originates. It's ok not to know which deity is communicating. Sometimes we must live in that uncertainty for a while.This happens often.

"...if you can’t seem to find any help..."
That is, if you cannot find other polytheists to ask, forums to post on and read from, books, useful websites or blogs, and so on.

"...if you can’t seem to find any way to address the deities who have called you..."
That is, you can't find a prayer which is typical of a particular context, no particular rite or method, or you have no oracle or diviner to ask.

You can
"a)ask around even more—aloud, in public or private forums, to people, and b) you can try this:
Find something to represent the deity in question: picture from the internet, a symbol, a rock, a book, a cup, a doll, whatever. Set the image up on a table. Pour wine, vodka, good fruit juice, olive oil, milk, beer, kefir, perfume, or another fine beverage or liquid in a bowl or cup before the image. (Unless the deity in question has a history of wanting something like kool-aid or soda pop, you may want to avoid these.) If you’ve not been able to find out what liquid would be appropriate, go with your gut feeling. Bow down, prostrate yourself before the deity’s image, and pray. If you’re in this situation, the best prayer you can make is the one that is honest—there’s no formula here, no magic words, no formulaic incantation."

Furthermore, "do not consume the liquid that you pour for the deity. Wait a cycle of a full day and night, then pour the liquid into the earth outside. Yes. Pour it into the earth. It is not 'wasteful'--it was given to a deity and the deity consumed the essence of the liquid. By pouring it out, you are completing the process of sending it on to the deity. By drinking it instead, you may have interrupted this process (again, it can depend on context)." That advice I give about a cycle of a day and a night is there for a reason: some deities are more connected to day and others are more connected to night: if you do not know the deity who is communicating, and you do not know if they prefer day or night, leaving out the offering for 24 hours is a respectful and useful practice.

Did you notice that parenthetical comment at the end? "Again, it can depend on context." If you have no context, no name, no pantheon, no culture, nothing to go on, then it is best to err on the side of respect and do not consume the offering. It's that easy. I'm not proposing a revolution...but considering some reactions and some hesitation in this regard, maybe what I propose really is that revolutionary in this day and age.Viva la resistance, and hand me another bottle.

If you are so destitute that you cannot even pour out a shot glass--or even mere drops--of wine, olive oil, beer, milk, or juice to the deities I am truly sorry. Granted, I would assume that you are also on food stamps at that point, that you do not have an I-phone (I don't have one), you use a library's internet connection, you have questionable housing arrangements if any, you buy your clothing at a second hand shop (I often do), and you do not spend excess money on shiny silver jewelry with amethysts and amber (I often don't). If you are truly this destitute, please let me know and I will make an incense offering or a small libation on your behalf to almost any deity, even if you do not know who your deity is. With what money and expenses I have, would I rather pour wine to my gods and sometimes to yours, too, than have an I-phone? You bet your beer goggles I do.

If a person living in an inner-city ghetto in a gang war zone can manage on occasion to pour out a 40 to his homies, chances are high that you can afford to crack open a juice box of 100% pure fruit juice and pour it in honor of the gods. Sweet Ancestors, people, it's not the blood of your firstborn child. It's juice. Pour it. Into the ground. Seriously. The grape juice police will not accost you. I promise.

It's a sacrifice. That's what sacrifice means. It means that you are letting go of something in order to give it to another--and in this case, that "other" is a deity. I like how a friend put it--you can share a meal with the deities, but you don't eat off their plate, just as you wouldn't eat off of a friend's plate, because it's rude.I would go further and say that it is like eating from the plate of royalty. You'd be kicked out of Buckingham Palace for trying that at the Queen's dinner--"Hey, Liz, you gonna eat that?"

Unless you are operating from specific instructions through context, oracle, divination, or rite, you just don't do this. If a modern rite says you can do this, and that modern rite claims to be based on ancient rite, look up the ancient rite. Chances are you'll find out that the specific ancient rite involves priests partaking of the offering, or predetermined segments of the population according to the situation, who consume the offering--not everybody, and generally not laypeople at a home shrine. (Hey, it's ok just learning this--I myself have made this mistake before, of eating an offering in an inappropriate situation..It's a common mistake in Western culture, and it's a common mistake that I think stems from any of us with Depression Era relatives, and all of us with recession minds. It's a product of living in scarcity-mindset. Heck, I've made plenty of other mistakes, too, such as offerings of bacon-wrapped dates to deities who hate bacon. Oy. We all have a learning curve.)

Besides, why the Hel should the deities give a you anything if a you don't have the courtesy to share with them anything you aren't taking back through consuming it yourself or using it for your own personal reasons? After all, the gods are not your personal biatches. That's not an offering to the gods--that's a gift to your own id. If you don't believe the deities are real beings separate from yourself, a) you're not a polytheist and this post won't matter to you anyway, and b) why not cut the middle-man and just buy items outright for yourself instead of pretending they're offerings to the deities. It would be a lot easier. And at that point, at least there's honesty in the dealings.

In many places of the ancient world, it was customary for offerings to be collected from people as a part of taxes. Those offerings would go to the temples and the offerings would be burned in their entirety such as meat and grain or incense, or poured out if liquid, or kept as a sort of treasury in case of drought or crop failure, or sometimes shared with segments of the population, or in part consumed by the priests. If you are not a priest (to the point of obeying grooming rites, food taboos, and that which goes with the role) and you are not keeping a temple, if you do not yet have good abilities of discernment to hear what the deities are saying, if you do not have an established relationship with a deity, and if you do not have an oracle or divination to ask, it is prudent to avoid consuming the offerings. It is my experience and understanding that this is common across the board, be that deity Canaanite, Thracian, Greek, Egyptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Akkadian, Hittite, Hurrian, and even Norse. 

37 comments:

  1. I found the butthurt over this sort of amazing. I don't know if these people are thinking you're talking about leaving out full on dinner's as an offering (because yeah, I couldn't afford that either) but a piece of honeyed bread and a little bit of milk or juice? Not that big of a deal.

    Also, the absolute failure of reading comprehension is just embarrassing.

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    1. Arsowen: yep. I think person(s) are accidentally or intentionally misunderstanding the points here. I believe at this point that it is an intentional "misunderstanding."

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  2. I must say that the attitudes and judgments on poverty that you display in this article are incredibly ignorant and offensive, topped off with an ugly dollop of subtle racism. And such a display really negates and takes the attention completely away from anything meaningful you had to say here.

    I kindly suggest (as opposed to harshly chewing you out as is my instinct) that you really check your privilege, educate yourself about what its like to actually be poor (as opposed to just struggling) and maybe find some compassion and understanding while on that journey. Because your words are just ugly and infuriating.

    With respect,
    A poor person who works with other poor people and actually understands poverty. Unlike you.

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    1. Are you kidding? Please tell me you are kidding.

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    2. Nope, Kullervo, I don't think she's kidding.

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    3. I must say that the attitudes and judgments on poverty that you display in this article are incredibly ignorant and offensive, topped off with an ugly dollop of subtle racism.

      [citation needed]

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    4. I've lived in poverty. I've been poor enough to dumpster dive for food and go door to door, lying about a canned food drive (so I could take that canned food home and eat it). Making an offering, a piece of bread and splash of milk or juice or even cool, clean water is not that difficult.

      I'm sick of every single time someone on the internet gets offended, they through the word "privilege" around to derail the conversation.

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    5. I am truly sorry, Arsowen. It's not good being in that situation. I've not been there, but I've been close: having to decide if I want to pay the heat bill or buy groceries, and exactly how long can I extend one bill payment...?

      Flinging words like "racism" and "privilege" here are attempts to derail the conversation and end an argument instead of actually looking at the matters involved and what is said about the important matters involved. Worse, it draws attention away from when actual incidents of racism or socioeconomic privilege occur. It's the old tale of the boy who cried "wolf".

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  3. This was a very good read and I came across it from another site. It is about giving freely. I don't have a lot of "extras" in my life and am raising a child on a single income. But guess what my deities and ancestors get their coffee before me, their little pieces of flesh first from the pot. They are currently enjoying the holiday cookies (which are tempting as all hell) and specialty candy.

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    1. May you be blessed with the generosity that you have shown the deities, Lucinda, and may you receive great abundance. May you at the very least always half enough and then some. In our household when we make offerings of a special meal, we do the same and the offerings are given first to the deities before we eat. The deities get their plate first.

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  4. The only exception I know of where it is "OK" to consume the libation is in the case of the Egyptian deities. This seems to be the general consensus of Kemetic Polythiests.Once the essence is consumed, it is then deemed acceptable to partake and it is a wonderful communion with the divine.

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    1. I wonder about those rites and would like to know more about them. Knowing what I do about the ANE, I wonder if those modern rites are based on ancient rites from primary texts written to discuss the practices of the priests in a temple, ceremonial, formal setting much different from what a layperson finds him/herself in in an informal home setting. In Canaanite practices, the priests would eat some of the offerings made to the deities at the temple, but laypeople in most settings would not. I would like to know more about this side of the matter...

      However, my previous post was indeed about people who do not know which deity is calling, have not yet developed good discernment, have not yet developed the divine relationship further, have restricted access to oracles and divination, and they don't know the context, setting, and what is appropriate for that deity. Erring on the side of caution is still a good thing.

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    2. The only exception I know of where it is "OK" to consume the libation is in the case of the Egyptian deities.

      I know some Shiavite Hindus consume the offering at the end of ritual and (as it was explained to me by a convert) this is as act of inviting a part of a deity's essence into that of one's own. That said, this seems to be a practise peculiar to that sect; it seems far more common to leave a sacrifice out to deities in Hinduism than for the worshipper to consume it.

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    3. This might be a tad bit late for a reply. But i just wanted to clarify. I am a "Hindu" by birth, but a Vedic Polytheist by choice. Hinduism is an extremely layered religion so the responses can vary significantly.

      In ancient Vedic Polytheism, the deities, while being separate and very much individual entities, they were not anthropomorphic. Their 'reality' was manifest in the mantras recited by the priests. Sacred offerings are offered into fire by the priests with mantras addressed to the deities. The Vedas do not know of iconic worship.

      Even here, the Vedic rituals are of two types. Srauta and Grhya (Domestic). In the elaborate and complex Srauta rituals, food offered to the gods is always completely offered in the fire. In the case of the domestic rituals, food cooked over the fire is offered to the priests by the person who "sponsors" the ritual. In the case of animal sacrifice, a tiny portion of the burnt meat is consumed by the priests.

      However, these rituals have become almost extinct due to the opposition to animal sacrifice. And due to the shrinking of the hereditary priesthood, the Vedic rituals have become rarely practiced. However, in modern time, fire rituals called Homas, on a much smaller scale, are performed with only vegetarian offerings. In Homas, there is no consumption of any left-over food. I will not deal with the fire-rituals as they are way too complex.

      In later day Hinduism, the devotion to one God (and his close family in some cases) to the exclusion of all other deities, became common. This can be said to be a trend towards monolatry, not monotheism which denies plurality. The Shaivaite Hindus referred above as well as other such sectarian groups (Vaishnavas, Shaktas, etcetera) who all worship a particular God or Goddess, believe that they should sanctify themselves by consuming a consecrated food. In that way, they are invoking the divine presence into their bodily "temple".

      Thus, there are different layers and I just wanted to clarify.

      Btw,this is a beautiful blog! I have always wondered if there were any practitioners of the polytheisms of the Levant and here they are! May the deities bless you!

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  5. Thanks for the information. I was ignorant of these facts. IN my book, IGNORANCE is ok, because it's 100% curable. As for why one seeks unknown gods, I offer The Parable of the Dinner:

    Once there was a man who was very hungry. He didn’t like his Mom’s cooking, and didn’t know how to cook for himself, so he went out to look for food. He passed by the IHOP and Howard Johnsons -- he had eaten there many times with his family, and didn’t want to go back there. He passed by the pizza place his friends recommended, he ignored all the good places mentioned in Yelp! Finally, at the edge of the city he found a small door into a Cafe that no one -- not even the City Health Inspectors -- had ever heard about. Inside, the only one eating was the dishwasher on his break.
    The man sat down. The waiter asked what he wanted.
    “I don’t know. I’m hungry, just get me something.”
    The waiter disappeared into the kitchen, from which wafted unfamiliar smells. The man wondered what the dinner would be like.
    Let those who can digest this, do so.

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    1. ...and the waiter reappeared with a meal so amazing and so filled with foods, spices, broths, and savory sauces the man and never before experienced. Turns out the cook in the kitchen was the mother of the dishwasher. The mother was trying to make ends meet by starting out a brand new restaurant and making use of her mother-in-law's delectable recipes. Her newest customer, this man, had offered her an opportunity to try out some of the recipes, and his willingness to experience something different allowed him the opportunity to try something so completely different that he never would have ventured to try before. The cook and the man started a conversation, and from that conversation, the man gained new flavors, new insight, new friendships, and he learned how to cook.

      Sometimes we don't know what we want. Sometimes we don't know what we need. But the gods always know what we want...and what we need. When we are willing to suspend expectation and allow an experience to unfold, we are accepting a gift. Sometimes the experience is pleasant, sometimes it's unpleasant, but it's always an opportunity.

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    2. I love your ending to the story. I deliberately left the ending unfinished because the whole point is to come up with your own underestanding of the story.

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  6. By the way, can you recommend any particular wine that the Canaanite Gods like best? I've just tried Manischewitz Concord Grape wine, and it seemed to go down well.

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    1. Manischewitz is just dandy. I've offered it before and I've had no complaints. There's a particular wine I've liked using that is a little less sweet than Manischewitz, and it, too, is a concord grape. I've also had some good responses from a light strawberry blush wine, especially from some of the goddesses.

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  7. "why not cut the middle-man and just buy items outright for yourself instead of pretending they're offerings to the deities. It would be a lot easier. And at that point, at least there's honesty in the dealings."

    wooowww wow.

    I found this very offensive and degrading people's doings for their Gods.
    I'll take myself as an example.
    I'm a type of person who's afraid to eat fattening food, but one of my Gods likes chocolate. So I buy him a huge bar of chocolate sometimes.
    So after I offer them I'll share the food with other family members. I can make people happy with that too.
    I dont buy things that I want for myself then disguise it as offerings. And I'm sure many others are like that too.
    So, please, dont write such a rude statement. Except...are you talking about yourself?!

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    1. What is insulting is that this kind of behavior must be called out at all.

      This should be Polytheism 099. If you do not have basic respect for your Gods then learn that before all else. If you're part of the Kemetic tradition(s), for example, that accept consuming offerings WITH your Gods, then where is there a conflict in what is written above, and elsewhere?

      If you are respecting your Gods, Their expectations, your traditions' beliefs and traditions around offerings, etc. then you are probably not the focus of this rant at all. Given the ugly backlash she and others have gotten from folks in having the audacity to demand basic respect for their Gods, I cannot say this anger is unwarranted or not needing expression. This should not even need to be said, let alone have gotten to this point.

      Long story short, if you are doing right by your Gods I highly doubt she is calling you out, nor is she, or others, calling people out for trying to do their best. Rather, she is calling out the lazy, the intentionally impious, those actively scornful towards the Gods who seek at seemingly every avenue to avoid giving respect to the Gods that They are due. To my mind this calling out is needed, especially because such attitudes degrade the communities to which I and others belong.

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    2. Hello, Anonymous. Have you tried divination or consulting an oracle to see if that's what the deity wants you to do with her/his offering? Maybe that is what your deity wants you to do, and maybe its not. No harm in asking.

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  8. I don't understand how being poor is somehow an obstacle in making libations and not drinking them afterwards. I don't understand this because I'm poor myself, yet I manage to make offerings and libations and not consume them. An ounce of liquid is not going to be the difference between living and starving to death, and it's not going to break the bank. And if you're in a really tight spot, you can always give water. It's free, for the gods' sake.

    These people who complain so loudly are not oppressed, and they are not unable to do the right thing by their gods. They're just bitching and whining, and making excuses.

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    1. Water is a huge blessing and ever-suited for libation. There's an idea in Semitic cosmology that there are two waters, the waters above (i.e. sky) and the waters below (i.e. freshwater in the underworld). Water is so important that it is above us and below us, and it encompasses us. Even Ilu, the head of our pantheon, resides at "the source of two waters".

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  9. I am so, SO sorry that you have received the backlash that you have. You are giving valid, heartfelt opinions and advice on what's worked for YOU in your practice. And regardless of whether you are a Druid, Wiccan, Kemetic-Pagan-Caananite-Heathen or a frickin Kryptonian following GENERAL BLOODY ZOD...you're speaking your mind at YOUR blog, and giving direction on faith-based practices and faith-based topics that you've found helpful as you footstep on down your path. While our interactions, rituals and meetings with the gods will always ever be unique to the individual, that doesn't mean that having an opinion or 'tried & true' method -- and sharing that method as a guideline or just simple bit of advice is in anyway wrong. It's brave, unpretentious and just a nice thing to do. Even the most outspoken, opposite follower of ANY path of Paganism could and SHOULD find it in themselves to give it at least a smidgen of respect...that smidgen being, at the very least, to simply shut their mouths and say nothing if they disagree. Insults, bullying, threats, belittling and nose-in-the-air snobbery is not only an insult to the readers looking for not just information but the commaraderie that comes with it -- it's an insult to the gods, shared or otherwise; stepping in and ON someone who is simply doing what they've been called to do...SERVE their gods, be it written word or otherwise.

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    1. Hi, Porsha; thank you. I look at this conflict, even as uncomfortable as it is, as a necessary part of growth. Conflict, if people are willing to look at it open-mindedly as an opportunity, is a chance to reevaluate opinions and practices. It catalyzes ourselves to ask bigger questions or to sort out ideas in our own minds or among other people. I know that to others, I'm being used as a figurehead or as a symbol for matters which make some folks uncomfortable (after all, this conflict really isn't about me!), but if it challenges them to succeed, and to honor the deities, if it challenges them to look into their practices and reevaluate them, to come into a deeper relationship with their deities, or even to ask the bigger questions, that's alright.

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  10. As someone who is in bitter poverty, I have to say Tess I am deeply amazed at the ignorance you are displaying. I won't use privledge, but I will use tactlessness.

    No I do not pour olive oil(I can't afford 20 bucks for the cost effective one, 10 for the smaller one) Wine, I buy on very few occasions and usually for cooking, nor do I have the money to buy the expensive hard liquor. Nor have my Gods asked for that.

    Yes I have internet. It is needed. Going to the library for internet is not a good idea for my special needs kid, and it keeps him SAFE. Keeps him from running off. It is needed for a number of reasons.

    You have no idea of the sacrifices I do, or why, or what offerings I do give. Nor do you know the offerings and sacrifices that others make or do not make to their Gods or ancestors. It is pure unadulterated hubris on your part, and for you to sit there and argue back when people tell you what you are doing is gobsmacking. A sincere apology and maybe getting out and getting to understand the situation others are in, would be better.

    Ghettor, warzone, and beer for homies? BLINKS really??? really??? Ok I have foot in mouth disease but OMG'S, that is not cool. First of all, do you even know if they pour out a beer for their fellow homies? Where on earth are you pulling this info from? THe people I do know that pour out a beer for their fallen comrades are the military and they do it out of LOVE. You are denigrating peoples relationships in that sentence.


    You do not even know if the peoples Gods call for alcohol, juice or milk. I have given apples I have on hand, honey I had on hand, yogurt that they asked for, that I had the MONEY for at the time, and I did it out of love. When I have been too poor to afford other stuff, they asked for oohlong and darjeeling that I had on hand. Just because you can afford beer, wine, olive oil, you are assuming other Gods want that, or that they ask for it.

    I am shaking in suppressed anger Tess. I had sincerely thought better of you. This isn't butt hurt Tess. You did wrong and you owe an apology.

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    1. https://www.facebook.com/notes/cloudia-eevee-jetter/on-the-topic-of-tess-dawson-and-her-moronic-racist-statements/10152144904847292

      maybe you should read this.

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    2. Hello, Moonwolf. Yes, you’re right, I should have avoided using the analogy that I did. Please read: http://tessdawson.blogspot.com/2013/12/bikkies-and-tea.html . As to the matter of backgrounds, you’re right, I don’t know your background, and please consider that you do not know my background either. We are not two-dimensional beings—you or I—and we are both much more complex and rounded than words on a screen could portray. Human life is a struggle, and we cannot always know the struggle others are attending to. Offerings given from love are among the choicest of offerings. If you would like me to make a libation at my shrine to your deities, you have but to ask.

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    3. Life happened so my reply took a bit of time to be posted. Instead of posting it here, I made a blog post.

      http://paininthebum.blogspot.com/2014/01/response-to-tess.html

      To frithmaking.

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    4. Hello, Luna. Especially if you are an ethnic minority which I have othered, I thank you for your forgiveness.

      I read your post and I really hope that you are not using the opportunity to use the forgiveness for the prior issue as an opportunity for eliciting an apology the subject of praxis. There are some matters which are observable realities, such as breathing oxygen. Gods are one of these observable realities. They do not exist only in the mind of those who would worship them. To think that they only exist in the mind, and especially to carry this opinion without fully realizing it, can lead to relativistic subjective thinking. (A “anyone’s reality is right because it is his/her reality and others should respect his/her reality as fully real” perspective.) It doesn’t matter if one believes the world is truly flat when observation can demonstrate that it is not. If when one believes that one is hearing the deities speak, but one is hearing useful advice that one would give oneself anyway, the chances are high that the deities may not be saying all of what one is hearing. This is where divination or speaking with an elder, a shaman, and/or a priest can be of aid, especially if this action is coupled with practicing discernment. I have a post on discernment, if it may be of aid:
      http://tessdawson.blogspot.com/2014/02/buttonson-learning-discernment.html

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  11. I am so, so very sorry Tess. Thank you for trying to be helpful. I loved your post, thought it was an excellent, straightforward primer on how to navigate first contact. I am honestly baffled by the negative responses you've received. As far as I can tell, either folks can't be bothered to actually read what you have written or (probably more likely) you are being intentionally misunderstood because it is just oh so much fun to be offended.

    A small suggestion: have you considered a catchy sound-bite style motto for all those who simply cannot handle reading an entire paragraph? I'm thinking something like "When in doubt, pour it out".

    Thank you. A thousand times thank you. Please keep writing on these topics. You are heard and your words are valued. Please accept my apologies on behalf of the internet.

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    1. I love that, Frith--that is a great motto! Thank you for your kind words of support, Frith. I appreciate it.

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  12. Hey, for the record, I've dumpster dived for food, been homeless, nearly starved, etc etc etc. You're doing it right, and everyone who flipped the heck out over this needs a reality check.

    I made an offering, one Halloween in a graveyard, to the dead and the ones who carried them. It was only wheat bread and apple cider. And I didn't eat for days because I spent that money. But you know what? I've never gotten as intense a reaction again either. Why? Because it was a *sacrifice*. One I would make again in a heartbeat. People really need to grow up an realise that sacrificing, making offerings, is *about* going without. It's a sacrifice. It's *easy* when you have plenty. *Any* idiot can do it when you have more than enough. Real devotion, real sacrifice, sometimes it actually *hurts*.

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    1. That's beautiful, David. May the deities bless you seven-fold for your generosity and thoughtfulness.

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  13. If I had an issue with Gods and their reality, I would have said so. My issue, is with the pour a 40 to the homies and the ensuing stuff. I don't play games, I state my issues in a blunt Sagittarius manner.

    I was very clear in my post, on what bothered me. I was very clear on my first comment, when I read your reply to the first flames that were given. To insinuate, that I am looking for an apology than any thing else, is insulting.

    It isn't your audience, it is you. You made a boo boo. We all make boo boo's. No one is exempt from communication boo boo's. I have made more than my share of them. I have even argued and then realized nope I was the horses patootie, and I apologized when I got it. I apologized when I gave offense and I stood firm in my convictions when I don't think I was wrong.

    The pour the 40's comment, yeah I don't think you have much to stand on. The sacrifice and the poor people bit, you have a small amount to argue on, but frankly it's insulting, and I was clear why.

    Either you are sorry or you aren't. You don't however get to make it my mental failing though. I read your post.

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    1. Hi Luna Moonwolf. You said on your own post, "I think the bigger and more grievous conflict, was the indication of your [sic] doing it wrong." As in the bigger and more grievous mistake--even greater than the 40--was the matter of praxis. This looks like "I would like an apology from Tess because she shouldn't have said that about praxis and now that an apology has been gained for the previous matter, perhaps an apology could be gained for the secondary matter." In reply to the issue of doing praxis wrong, I would like to make this available: http://tessdawson.blogspot.com/2014/02/praxis-and-youre-doing-it-wrong.html

      Bringing up the "pouring a 40" is no longer the issue here and hasn't been for a while. Indeed, that issue only took up about 25 words in your blog post, and yet they take up a good 39-40 words right here when you had already said that the matter could be "forgiven and forgotten” in your blogpost.

      Your post which you had provided a link to earlier (http://paininthebum.blogspot.com/2014/01/response-to-tess.html) went on to describe your communications with the deities, for quite a few paragraphs. I offer that discernment could aid one in that process: http://tessdawson.blogspot.com/2014/02/buttonson-learning-discernment.html

      As for the matter of reality, my words are not making a way across your own opinions against me. And if my words are having a difficult time reaching you, the deities' words might also have a difficult time.

      When you express in your post that you think Loki is guiding you to do some babysitting for a mother (“Go help someone instead. Go babysit and give a special needs mother a break, so that she may take a nap, a shower, go on a date, and find some sanity.”)—by all means, babysitting for a frazzled mom is a laudable and kind thing to do. But Loki…sharing about helping-your-fellow-human? If I heard that in my own head, I would put it through a process, testing it first to make sure it was what it seemed to be, and even at that I might ask for a second opinion. It sounds like you’re giving yourself good advice and putting Loki’s face on it. There’s nothing at all wrong with giving yourself good advice—it’s a useful and deeply good thing. A problem lies in sorting one’s own good advice in one’s own head from the messages of the deities.

      Discernment can aid a person in understanding the inner workings of her own mind so that she can better understand when a deity is communicating, or when she is listening to the opinions, thoughts, and inner workings of her own mind while thinking that this is the communication from a deity. Sometimes what a deity says in reality can differ from one’s own *perception* of reality. Discernment can help you sort your *perception* of reality from observable reality. This is where divination or speaking with an elder, a shaman, and/or a priest can be of aid, especially if this action is coupled with practicing discernment.

      If there is difficulty in finding a good messenger, priest, shaman, oracle of the deities, I’ve covered that issue recently, too: http://tessdawson.blogspot.com/2014/02/finding-good-messenger.html

      You have brought up some useful, good topics for discussion and blog posts, and I thank you for that.

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