What are offerings? It can be as simple of pouring a measure of mead/ale or other drink to give thanks to the earth/spirit/Divine after a ritual.
In ancient times, offerings included jewelry, goods, food, and even things such as animals or even people. The need for blood sacrifice gets toned down quite a bit in these modern, but we should also understand for the ancient, in times of struggle, you took drastic measures to appease the gods.
Modern witches and pagans may prick a finger to draw blood, or throw a ring or treasured item into a river as an offering but the most common practice I’ve encountered is the ritual of libation.
Many cultures make offerings of oil, tobacco, wine, incense, milk or other liquid. Its often poured on the ground, or poured over a sacred item symbolizing the Divine. (in physical or spiritual form). After ritual, its tradition to pour libation the last of the wine/ale/drink from ritual as an offering.
Do god/desses really need libation or sacrifice? That depends on who you ask. I personally don’t feel it’s a literal practice as much as symbolic. Being mindful and grateful for things in our lives, and taking an action to show that gratitude in some form serves to touch upon bring us peace in our hearts.
In some cultures, its believed the offerings such as food and wine, incense, or burning candles, when placed on an altar are given in essence to the gods and after a time, the food might be consumed by priest/esses.
Does anyone give blood sacrifice? I have never met anyone who did, and cultures that practice animal sacrifice often ritually slaughter an animal before its consumed. I don’t see much difference of how any animal is killed for consumption other than having a prayer said over it. You also find certain gods and goddesses required sacrifice while others did not. Read up on your mythology, the cultures, to learn more.
A fun method of making offerings. Traditionally you make offerings of something that you find worth. This could be jewelry, drop of blood, or other things, but consider the idea of making an offering of actions? Find a basket, bowl, or box and start making offerings by jotting down on a piece of paper something you’ll do for the gods in gratitude.
For instance, you might want to denote money or time to an animal shelters, give food to a local food bank, donate blood to the Red Cross, or make a change in your life (fasting, forego meat, or drink, or smoking), or you might consider other ideas.
Add in comments your own thoughts, opinions, or practices of offerings. I’d love to hear about them.