I’m not sure if this is normal for all pagans, but when I started this, I really didn’t think that I’d be paying much attention to my gods. I figured it would be a weekly thing, maybe. Or, maybe a “I need something so I’ll turn to the gods now” moment here and there. I think I kind of thought of it as something akin to what I did when I was a Christian: be angry most of the time and pray only in moments of extreme clarity or extreme distress. In reality, I don’t know what I was thinking or what I thought my practice would be like, however what I have now is not what I had pictured.
A while back, I was going for a more Reconstructionist look to my practice. As someone who is in love with ancient Kemet, it seemed like a good idea at the time. With that, I did daily offerings for my goddesses: I’d get up, feed them breakfast (so to speak), say a few words and be on my way. This got old real fast.
The thing is that in Kemetic practices, you’re pretty much choosing your breakfast as well as that of the gods. A lot of people have this issue, actually. The whole point in the offerings spiel is so that we can revert them into ourselves after the gods have finished with it. Especially for those of us who are up at ungodsly hours, it makes it that much harder. You have the choice to deal with it, you have the choice to stop, you have the choice to revert offerings in a different way, and you have the choice to use stand-ins for the food you would give them. (This practice is quite common in Kemetic practices.)
When I started this daily stuff, I really was at a loss. I was up at four or five in the morning. I was giving my gods random items that didn’t feel quite right just to offer things. I didn’t know what to do. I ended up stopping because I couldn’t give things that I wanted to and because I felt exceedingly guilty for not reverting the offerings in the customary way. This caused a crisis of faith. It may sound silly: a crisis happened because of food? But it was a big thing to me.
I’ve gone back and forth on the daily offerings thing repeatedly.
When the Old Man showed up in July, I was at a complete loss as to what to do with him. It took me a while before I began to give him daily offerings on his own. For the most part, his daily offering consists of a fresh cup of steaming hot coffee every morning. This seems to be all he’s wanted from me with an occasional touch up on his glass of rum or something shiny that I’ve found that he’d like (he has quite the penny collection going).
I’ve come to think of my daily offering to him in conjunction with the ones that I leave for Sekhmet. After all, they both want something given on a daily basis and it was because I had begun giving to Sekhmet that it occurred to me to do likewise with Papa Legba. The thing is that it’s simple to brew some coffee for the Old Man while it’s harder to come up with more than a glass of water for Sekhmet. And it’s because of the ease of his desires that I find myself still very content to give, whereas with Sekhmet, I find it more and more an added chore.
And to be completely honest, this bothers me greatly because it makes me feel like I am a failure in the eyes of Sekhmet. Obviously, I haven’t heard this from her but feelings are still pretty important, even if one is contending with [possibly imagined] ones in relation to the gods.
One day, I’ll figure all of this out. In the mean time, I’m just stumbling along until something feels right.