anatomy of an offering tray


So I was planning for an ritual and thinking of ways to organize the offerings. I wanted a system to keep track of everything and have all the offerings in one place. In ADF rituals, there is an emphasis on making offerings; to the “outsiders” (opposing spirits), the Earth Mother, the Three Kindreds (Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Deities), to the “Patrons of Occasion”, and we even give tokens to our sacred Three Hallows of Fire, Well, and Tree (portals to communing with our Kindreds).

When I was packing for a solitary ritual, I just placed little baggies of offerings in a basket and placed it in my backpack. Now that I’m doing group rituals, I decided to come up with a better system, in which the items are easier see and to get to during ritual, and a system in which I wouldn’t forget to bring anything. My first idea was to take a basket and wedge large re-purposed yogurt containers in it. That system would allow for a large amount of a few offerings, and the lidded containers would insure that it wouldn’t spill on the way to the ritual site.

My next idea (the one that stuck) was to use a lidded snack tray I got at a thrift store recently. It has a flat lid that locks into place, and the lid is also flat, so I can stack other things on top of it when packing for a ritual. (I’m just careful not to turn the box sideways!) The compartment in the middle is perfect for holding the Three Hallows offerings in small re-purposed spice jars; oil for the Fire, silver beads for the Well, and epsom salts for the Tree. The number of compartments around the edge gives a nice variety of offering options, and just enough of each for a small group ritual. (We offer large pinches at a time, rather than handfuls.)

When time to set up, I turn over the lid, drape a large scarf over it, nestle the tray inside and twist the edges of the scarf around the base.

anatomy of an offering tray


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