Why to Offer and Pray to the Gods
When we offer and pray to the gods, we are engaging in a process known as the gifting cycle. The gifting cycle allows a fyrnsidere to form a relationship with deities and wights. The act of gift-giving shows that we honor and respect them and value their actions and influence. We believe that the gods will, in return, look kindly upon us. We cannot guarantee their help or aid, but we believe that the relationship we are seeking predisposes them to think kindly on us, just as humans return favours that are bestowed upon us.
This reciprocal relationship is historically attested throughout the Germanic world, and is extended all the way back to our distant Proto-Indo-European ancestors. It is present in all traditions that descend from Proto-Indo-European religion, including Fyrnsidu, Norse Heathenry, Hellenism, Hinduism, and more.
How to Begin Offering and Praying to the Gods
Offering and praying to the gods for the first time is, unfortunately, the hardest step. Western, English-speaking society is generally biased against any form of polytheism. The process becomes easy and natural once a habit is started and you start building those relationships with the gods.
Before making the initial offering, identify a purpose and intention in your mind. It may also help to have a god, goddess, wight, or ancestor in mind that you will be offering to. An example intention could be something as simple as thanks for the rising of the sun, or praise for a magnificent thunderstorm, or some other natural phenomenon. Conversely, the intention could be centered around fascination with or adoration of a particular god or wight.
Once you have an entity you want to offer to and a reason you are offering to them, the next step is to prepare an offering.
What do you Offer?
Offerings can be as complicated or as simple as you care for it to be. The following list is full of generic examples that could be suitable for any entity. The list is not exhaustive, and we at Fyrnsidu.faith encourage you to embrace your creativity in offerings.
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Beer, Ale, Stout, etc.
- Non-Alcoholic Beverages
- Juice (apple, grape, etc.)
- A small portion of your meal
Prayer, Offering, and Worship
Prayer, offering, and worship in a heathen context are very similar to each other. Prayer and offering are forms of worship, and all offerings are a form of prayer but not all prayers have an offering component.
This diagram represents the aforementioned concept visually. Offering is a type of prayer that includes a gift to the gods or other entity involved, prayer is essentially how we communicate our thanks and worship to the gods, and worship is anything we do that shows the gods our acknowledgement of their worth and value in our lives.
How We Pray
Prayer, like offerings, can be as complicated or as simple as you care for it to be. Most heathens opt for a short-form prayer that is succinct, especially when compared to the prayer format of other traditions.
The pattern proceeds similar to this:
Call to the God(s)
We call the name and perhaps a few bynames or kennings for the entity being petitioned.
Statement of Purpose
We explain to the gods or entities why we are praying. This reason could be a request for action, praise, or simply acknowledgement. This is also where we specify whether the prayer is for ourselves or on behalf of others, such as a sick relative, or the health of our household.
We now make our offering, if applicable. Offerings are an optional component, and can be waived according to individual discretion.