Offerings to the Gods: Cakes & Ale for the Celtic Gods and Goddesses

Updated on May 21, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Nicole believes our ancestors' beliefs may still convey deep and profound meanings in our lives. She continually studies mythology.

An altar is a great place to present offerings for the Celtic gods and goddesses.
An altar is a great place to present offerings for the Celtic gods and goddesses. | Source

Gods and Goddesses for Everyone

In Paganism, there are hundreds and thousands of gods that one might connect with or choose as a pantheon. It is also even common to switch between gods depending on what you are going through in life. There's a pantheon for every culture and region - Greek, Roman, Celtic, Native American, Meso-American, Inuit, Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Mesopotamian, many African pantheons, Aboriginal, indigenous Filipino, and the list goes on.

We all know that the god and goddess are always there to listen to us, to guide us, and to strengthen us. They do not expect anything from us, because they don't need anything from us. However, many of us still like to give offerings to the god and goddess in order to show our appreciation and dedication. Think of it this way - the more you give, the more you will receive.

In this article, we will learn about specific offerings to the Celtic gods and goddesses that were used in ancient Celtic times and that can be used today. Feel free to modify it to make it right for you and your practice; this is meant to be a guide.

Cernunnos is a well-known Horned Celtic God of the Wild - give him wild offerings directly from nature.
Cernunnos is a well-known Horned Celtic God of the Wild - give him wild offerings directly from nature. | Source

Celtic Goddesses & Associated Offerings

Because the Celtic empire stretched from the East of Europe to the West of Europe at one point in time, there were hundreds of different Celtic goddesses that the people believed in. This means that Celtic Pagans and Wiccans today have many goddesses of the Celtic pantheon to choose from. I have selected some of the Celtic goddesses that I am more familiar with in order to provide you with information of their favorite offerings.

The Morrigan

The Morrigan is a Celtic Irish goddess who comes to me quite often, both in my dreams and through symbols in nature. She is a fierce warrior and a powerful magician, but she is also a loving mother. She has sent me gifts in order to give me boosts of warrior strength, usually they come in the form of a crow's call or a random rainbow during a rainstorm. This Samhain I plan on leaving an offering for The Morrigan, just to display my gratitude. The Morrigan will enjoy offerings of food and drink, particularly in the colors red and black. Red wine, pomegranates, red apples, chocolate, cherries, and red meat are all wonderful offerings for The Morrigan. Milk might also be an appropriate offering, as it is said that The Morrigan owns a herd of magical cattle.

Danu

Danu is the great mother of Ireland, as she is the mother of the Tuatha de' Danann. A loving, strong, and nurturing mother, Danu is a wonderful goddess to call upon when you need a little encouragement in life. She has been thought of also as a Fairy Queen, though I fear this is just a misinterpretation of the Tuatha's original powers. The great news is that she doesn't ever expect much in return...but if you would like to leave an offering for this delightful Celtic goddess, here are some suggestions: white cake, angel cake, colcannon, mead, white wine, cream, and milk.

Cerridwen

Cerridwen is a Welsh Celtic goddess and was rather popular with the Celts. She was said to be the goddess of poetic inspiration, rebirth, reformation, and transformation. Legend says that Cerridwen actually gave life to the poet Taliesin. If you ever watch "Mists of Avalon" or read the book, you will hear her name quite often mentioned by the Lady of the Lake and on the Isle of Avalon. Because Avalon is associated with the sacred fruit of the apple, the offering of apples is an appropriate one for Cerridwen. One of the many stories of Cerridwen tells of her shape-shifting into various animals in order to overtake her servant (who eventually becomes Taliesin), and in the end of the story Cerridwen turns into a hen in order to eat her servant who had become a grain of corn. Obviously corn might be another appropriate offering for Cerridwen. Wine, mead, and beer are also offerings that Cerridwen might enjoy.

Brigid is a well-known Irish Celtic Goddess who enjoys candle-flame as an offering.
Brigid is a well-known Irish Celtic Goddess who enjoys candle-flame as an offering. | Source

Celtic Gods and Associated Offerings

Cernunnos

The Great Horned God, the King of the Wood, the Lord of Beasts. Cernunnos is a rather popular deity these days, and back in the day of the Celts he could be seen on many paintings, sculptures, pottery, etc. Today he is seen as a part of the Lord and the Lady in Wiccan belief systems, and many look to him as a representation of the changing of the seasons and cycle of the year. If you would like to leave Cernunnos an offering, base it off of the season. For instance, for Samhain - leave offerings of the last harvest such as apples, pumpkin, squash, herbs, turnips, nuts, wine, and meats. For Imbolc, leave Cernunnos offerings of bread, milk, cream, pears, and potatoes.

Manannan Mac Lir

Manannan is a god of the sea, a psychopomp, and a Celtic god who has a rather endearing sense of humor. He will send seagulls in your path in order to get your attention. They may even run off with your food at the beach! Manannan also enjoys giving gifts to those who are of the right heart and mind. This Celtic god is the patron god of the Isle of Man, and many people believe this island was actually named after him. Offerings for Manannan might include: fishes such as salmon, ham or pork, apples, potatoes, nuts, and mead or wine.

Dagda

The Irish Celtic god known as Dagda is the Father of the Tuatha peoples. He can also be called upon and viewed as a father god of sorts. There are those who picture Dagda as a protector, a guide through life, and a teacher. Place your offerings to Dagda in a cauldron to represent his own magical cauldron or in a wooden bowl. Offerings for Dagda should also lean towards fruits and meats of the season. As a Father god, think of what your father might enjoy the most and use that as Dagda's offering. Masculine foods such as pork and steak, beer and ale are perfect. Bread and cheese are also appropriate foods to use as offerings.

Other Offerings and When to Dispose of Offerings

If you cannot afford such elaborate food offerings for the gods, what can you do?

Write a poem, a song, or draw a picture if you feel so inclined. Use your imagination and heart and the gods will be sure to like that offering just as much as a meal. Other items you might want to use as offerings could include herbs, incense, a lit candle, perfume, oils, tea, a photo, or pretty much anything that means something to you and your connection with that deity.

Do your research and often you can find inspiration in mythology and folklore on specific offerings for the gods and goddesses. Try different things and see what kind of experience you have after presenting the offerings.

Depending on the kind of offering will determine when to dispose of it or when to change it out. If you have a simple herbal offering in a bowl, you can change it out as often or as little as you feel drawn - weekly or even monthly. If it is a food offering, you'll want to dispose of it before the day is over. Beverages such as wine or coffee can remain on the altar for a little longer than food. Incense can be burned and then the ashes should be disposed of soon after. A special candle dedicated to your deity can be left on the altar and used until it is burned down. Fresh plants and herbs picked from nature should be left out until they wilt (about 24 hours).

Having a bowl on your altar for offerings is beneficial.
Having a bowl on your altar for offerings is beneficial. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Nicole Canfield

    Comments

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    • kittythedreamer profile image
      Author

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from Summerland

      Heidi - Glad you enjoyed this. Thanks!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      With St. Pat's Day just around the corner, some interesting suggestions for including these in celebrations. Voted awesome & shared!

    • kittythedreamer profile image
      Author

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      Cresentmoon2007 - Just a little research and you can find many things that appeal to the god and goddess in their many forms. :)

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Kitty I appreciate this article because sometimes I do not know what to offer up to the Goddess and the God. This was very useful.

    • kittythedreamer profile image
      Author

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      starbright - You have such a pretty name! Thanks for the comment.

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 5 years ago from Scandinavia

      Fantastic hub and really interesting topic KittytheDreamer. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    • kittythedreamer profile image
      Author

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      Awesome! I'd love to hear all about it!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 5 years ago from New England

      Very lovely and timely hub, Kitty. My Mooncircle group is gathering for a full moon drum circle on Monday...and I look forward to leaving some offerings on Samhain. :0)

      Karen

    • kittythedreamer profile image
      Author

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      Nell - Sounds like Manannan is trying to talk to you for sure! Seagulls can be such a pest, but as soon as I realized it was Manannan talking to me...I looked at them in an entirely different light. Thanks for the comment, as always. Hope you're doing well on the other side of the Atlantic.

      CMHypno - Thanks for reading and having such an open mind! Yes, you're right...offerings are always something we've done...no matter the changes in religion and belief systems.

      Eddy - You're too sweet, thank you!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Such a brilliant read and thank you for sharing.

      Eddy.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for this great information on offerings for Celtic deities kittythedreamer. Making offerings and sacrifices to the gods and goddesses goes right back into our prehistory, so although they don't need or expect anything from us, we always seem to have wanted to give something back and show our gratitude.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi kitty, I think Manannan Mac Lir must be trying to get my attention then, lol! I have hundreds of seagulls outside my house at this time of year! its seagull airport! they come in from the sea, and I can always tell whether the weather is going to be bad by them coming in early! and did you know that they love hotdogs too? yep! one stole a whole hotdog out of a container as I was sitting by the beach! lol! great hub, and really interesting stuff, voted up and hub shared, nell

    • kittythedreamer profile image
      Author

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      I absolutely agree, cryptid. Thanks for the comment!

    • cryptid profile image

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      Very interesting, as always. It's fascinating how different cultures have interpreted the natural and supernatural worlds.

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