You can’t fill a vessel that’s already full.
This is one reason why participating intentionally in the sacred act of reciprocity is so important. By giving to the spirits we’re allied to, that is, by making sacrifice to them and setting aside for them, we actually create space within us and within our lives for them to respond with their deep green blessings.
But that’s just the beginning.
Sacred reciprocity is a way for us to participate in the maintenance of the cosmos. It is an opportunity for us to enter into the cyclical give-and-receive which forges the relationships that make up the very fabric of existence. To give is to return the energy one has received. To receive is to replenish what has been given. When we look to our plant allies we can see them demonstrate this perfectly from year to year; they draw vital force from soil and sun, embody and manifest it via their own unique virtues, and then return their own signature vital force back to the land and the sky as part of their harvest rituals.
Since the entire cosmos is a complex web of infinite relationships that have been happening since forever and will continue to happen forever, sacred reciprocity is the law of movement which keeps the whole thing going. It is by entering into gifting cycles with our allies, our friends and families, our deities, our ancestors, and the varied spirits of place that we come to understand the ways in which the relationships we cultivate and nourish actually create our reality.
So, what does sacred reciprocity look like in practical action?
It is the direct recognition of relationships that brings us into conscious participation with the wholeness of things. One of the easiest ways to do this is to honor those who take care of us, especially those whose love extends across the hedge which separates the worlds, through offerings. These offerings need not be physical or expensive and should never ever be transactional. We give so that our allies may give- not so that they will give. The difference is subtle but deep.
Offerings can come in many forms. Here are a few of my favorite:
These offerings all have value to our allies from across the hedge: plant spirits, deities, ancestors, and spirits of place… and many of our human allies enjoy these, too!
To begin making offerings of gratitude and petition, I suggest first offering a small space in your home which will be dedicated to the relationship you are nourishing between you and whatever ally or allies you’re connecting to. This could be a small altar or shrine, a special bowl set aside for them, a corner of a bookshelf or kitchen countertop, or a tree stump in your garden. Over time this space will become both sacred and liminal making it easier for you to reach out and connect with the allies of your work. From here, offerings can be made, meditations and journeywork done, magic and medicine crafted, petitions laid, and inspiration received.
No matter what you do, choose to engage with the sacred act of making offerings and you’ll quickly find that the doors open, paths are cleared, and the presence of your allies becomes stronger as the cord that connects you is nourished and strengthened with your love.
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