http://realpagan.net/photo/alter-1?context=user"/>I added this photo I hope it stuck This was our Samhain offering it has all off the different veggys and herbs from our garden. Also Flowers water, wine, rice and Honey I also have walnuts from the tree we have in the front yard. I know it a bit pack on there theirs still more on the front. I to put out milk an whiskey for the Wee folk .
We libate and leave a food offering of our cakes and wine after our rituals. Since moving to the country, we have set up a small granite offering stone that sits on an old grinding wheel near our garden. We pour the wine over the stone saying "To the fruit of the vine" then place a cake on the stone saying "and the harvest of the fields, be welcome!" Typically, the cake is gone by morning.
In my personal devotions, I leave wine, honey, an oil friends brought me from Pompeii (great friends!), and small food offerings on our mantelpiece -- my modern take on leaving offerings for the Genius Loci, Lares and Manes of our house. In case anyone sees the disconnect between my Greek name and Roman-derived devotion here, there's a story behind being adopted by the Roman version of these spirits which I may post at some point.
"As an example, for Bastet I have supported our local no-kill cat shelter for many years with donations of food, etc."
I think that is an excellent idea, Lark. =D
I've wanted to support the no-kill cat shelter here but at the moment it's all we can do to care for our cats. =/ When our lives steady out a little, I think I shall do the same, and help them out. ^^
I usually only burn incense, candles if I have some to spare, with a quiet conversation about my thanks to them, even though I don't know who they are. I tell the cats my thoughts for Freyja, but otherwise I'm so uncertain about what I'm doing that I do things as tentatively as I can.
When I have my favourite food or alcohol, I share it with the spirits here and leave some for the gods. My little offering bowl outside currently has the summer-dried remains of cherries and mangoes, but the cats took off with the chicken. I also leave them half the 'harvest' of my plants. Cider, mead or amarula gets poured on the grass, or if I have something very serious to deal with, on the garden beneath our window- any magic work that I do, all meditation etc etc happens in our bedroom, and everything important that has to go in the ground (Our lost litters of kittens, for example) is buried there. All my prayers or specific attention on family spirits and house spirits happen there.
But, to cut all that short, my offerings are my favourite foods, my favourite alcoholic drinks, incense, and occasionally orgasm, if I have something to be extremely thankful for. I would offer blood if I thought it appropriate, I haven't yet, and I refuse to do any sort of animal sacrifice because it troubles me far too much. I'd rather care for the animal and make it part of my family. I generally don't focus on what I *should* be offering, and instead offer the best of what I have.