I think I will come back to water after I'm finished with the paintings for the Tomato Art Fest. For some reason, it's hard to write about water - I didn't realize I was so rusty on it!
Another question came up while I had the podcasts going as I painted. I think it was an older New World Witchery podcast and they were talking about offerings - especially food offerings. How to deal with them? Do you leave them for awhile and eat them yourself at a later time? Do you throw it out when they're 'done'? (Wait...was it The Jaguar and The Owl podcast? One of those two.)
I still have conflicted feelings about it, even after all this time. On the one hand, it feels rude to put out food, only to come back later and take it away to eat it myself. One of the guests made the observation: "You don't invite family over and let them fill their plates, only to have it taken away and eaten by someone else."
However, it feels quite companionable sometimes to have something like a burger or a snack to share with Them. It's a little like sharing the popcorn at a movie. I also like to sit down and offer a cup of tea. It doesn't seem so...wasteful that way.
That is the crux of the thing, right there. I am the granddaughter of people who lived through the Depression. My paternal grandparents never talked about it but there was always plenty of food stored away in the root cellar - all things canned by grandmother out of the garden. My maternal grandmother rarely talked about the Depression but she had a lingering distaste for macaroni and tomatoes because many times, that was all there was to eat. (It was just cooked macaroni with canned tomatoes added to it, juice and all.)
So it is almost an ingrained thing for me. You just do not waste food, no matter what.
I came across a blog (was it Devo's?) that explained the shrine they had set up. What surprised me was the use of re-ment - in this case, good quality 1/12 scale food, plates and even beer. They talked about how they had enough to switch out 'meals' fairly often. The author of The Twisted Rope blog points out that is is not only the food (or spirit of food) that feeds the gods, but also the ritual, the words we say - the entire act of spending time with the gods that nourished Them. Granted, re-ment may not work in every situation but it still seems like a viable option in a shrine. It definitely looks like an easier option than paper things that is so popular in some Asian ceremonies, where they are burned to send the spirit of the things to the spirits.