[Ok, not exactly. There are three variants, and nothing here is randomized. It’s an experiment, though, of a kind.]
We all do a great many things in honor of our gods, and I had a question: is there any noticeable difference between them, in a metaphysical way?
What lead me to this question was a discussion with a friend and colleague about something we both noticed. Deities seem more likely to manifest strongly after offerings of food and drink.
Now, here is the thing. Both my friend and I do a plethora of things for our collective Patron, basically every day. I’m always writing something for him, or advocating on his behalf with various mortals, or reading some mythology of his, or writing some ritual or other. My friend is doing likewise. He ministers to both friends and strangers on behalf of his god.
So, of all the things, are we really to believe that meat and wine are appreciated best? Granted, this is Hermes. He really, truly loves meat.
The thing that perplexed me, though, was the obvious: how is a non-physical being benefitting more from an edible offering than an inedible one?
I decided to do one rite with three separate altars, to see how different sorts of ritual offerings changed the quantity and quality of a deity’s manifestation.
Hermes thought this was a grand idea, and suggested that he should plop down a different aspect at each altar.
Altar 1: This altar contained things on fire. I lit a candle and burned some storax incense.
Altar 2: This altar had an icon, and I recited a hymn in front of it.
Altar 3: This altar was extremely plain. It had a bowl, and in it, I placed red wine and red meat. In front of it, I placed a saltwater taffy.
The invocations used were fairly neutral and generic.
There was a manifestation and a response at each altar.
Altar 1. I might describe the quality of the manifestation as being primarily intellectual. Conversation was possible, and the primary senses that manifested were intuition and clairaudience. The manifestation was nit particularly visceral and faded quickly once the incense ran out.
Altar 2. The recitation of a hymn with epithets generated a larger amount of energy (a good deal of which may have been mine), and tapped into the ideas that had accumulated around the deity over the centuries. The manifestation was highly visual. It dissipated as soon as I got up.
Altar 3. Food and drink generated a low energy, emotional and empathic manifestation which was very long lasting.
Each of these types if offerings seemed to generate a slightly different sort of manifestation. All are good in their own way, but there would seem to be substantial benefit to doing the three together in a single ritual.
Probably, it would be better in future trials of the same experiment to have altars in separate rooms.
The interesting thing to me was that each altar seemed to have a different vibration and a different psychic sense registered with each.
Food and drink offerings, in particular, seem to act as a sort of metaphysical glue. Unsurprising.
“So then, Mother, I shall tell you everything, without error.
When the messenger came to me, the swift Argos-killer,
with the news from my father, the son of Kronos, and from the other dwellers in the sky,
that I should come from Erebos, so that you may see me with your own eyes and let go of your wrath and terrible mênis against the immortals,
then I sprang up for joy, but he, stealthily,
put into my hand the berry of the pomegranate, that honey-sweet food,
and he compelled me by biâ to eat of it.” (Hymn to Demetet, lines 406-414)
We all know how that story ends. Because she ate the food of the underworld, Persephone was bound to it. Eating the food of a place links you to that place. Thus, it should not be surprising that food offerings have this effect.
Hymns call up the communal current of energy. Again, no so surprising, since Hymns are often recited to remind the mortal present of who the deity is.
Incense facilitates communication. Fire seems to power the manifestation. I’m not sure why that would be, but I’m looking into it.
Viewed from an Alchemical direction, you could say that the incense is the sulphur, hymns the mercury and food the salt.