What offerings do you make in your tradition and why?
The offerings that I make fall just about everywhere on the spectrum. The ones I give to Dea are those of works, flowers, and devotional writing. (This blog is amongst my devotional writings for Dea's sake.) Those I give to the Norse deities range much wider. For Freyr, I give my writing and personal energy. The writing is something he has requested of me and the personal energy is something that has felt correct to give intuitively. Loki asks for random things and when they are within my capacity to give them to him, I do. I give Odin regular offerings of hard liquor, which he seems to approve of and enjoy.
I am still building my relationships with the other Æsir, Vanir, and Jotnar. As these deities (and yes, I am one of those scandalous people who consider the Jotnar deities in their own right) make requests of offerings, I will do my best to provide them. Some of my offerings that I give fall in line with some traditional ones, like Odin's hard liquor or Dea's flowers. These are my recognition of traditional practices that have come before me.
Others are my filling the requests of the gods (such as Loki's regular morning cup of coffee, recently it has been a demitasse of espresso). I have found that several of my offerings resonate with those of other modern followers of these gods. (The shared PG1 of many of Loki's followers is that he enjoys coffee, to continue my earlier example.) It leads me to believe that these offerings are something that are not only requested of myself but perhaps many, many other followers and will eventually become accepted as a modern standard offering.
The third reason for giving offerings is because I have a desire to give the gods gifts to express my esteem and devotion. The things that currently fall under this heading is the semi-regular offering of incense for Odin, random crocheted prayer items for various gods, and devotional writing for Dea. The way I see it, the gods have given me so much good in my life, I am obligated to some extent to give gifts back to them. I am also someone who firmly believes in giving gifts to those people in my life who I care for. This also extends to the gods.
On occasion, I do give votive offerings. They are generally given at the time of the request. The offering is presented with a written request of the gods which I also say aloud. Ideally, I would burn the slips of paper that the requests are written on after they have been filled. My living situation doesn't allow for me to do so, thus I destroy them by hand and put them into my recycling.
And there are the offerings that I give as a continuation of how I was 'raised' within the pagan world. At harvest time, I give a portion of the first fruits of my harvest to the gods. I regularly burn candles for the gods as well. When I have it, I will give offerings of bread and wine to them also. All of this reflects the Wiccan tradition that I was trained in. The gods seem to approve of these offerings, thus I continue to give them on a regular basis.
1. PG stands for personal gnosis.