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1. a contribution to the funds of a religious organization
2. a sacrifice, as of an animal, to a deity
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A sacrifice or gift to the gods. Whenever Witches have a meal, before they eat or drink they pour some wine onto the earth, onto the altar, or into the fire, as a sign of giving thanks to the gods for what they have. This is an essential part of the ceremony of Cakes and Wine, a part of every Witch meeting, although it will also be done any time Witches are feasting together. Offerings may also be made at any time, but they are done especially at the time of harvest to show appreciation for the bounty of the gods.

In some forms of primitive magic, it is felt that an offering is needed in order to bribe the gods to be beneficent. According to Sir James Frazer, offerings of first fruits may also be presented to a king, in his character of god, before the people are at liberty to partake of new crops. The Samoans would present the first fruits to the aitus, or ancestor spirits, and to the chiefs. In Voodoo, offerings of the best cuts of meat from sacrificed birds or animals to the loa, or gods, are placed on the altar.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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