Hecate and the New Moon in Libra
A Witch Way Q & A + New Moon Ritual
Inside: Amanda answers a question about the Deipnon - the feast of Hecate ritual for the Dark Moon (which is tonight!), she also gives you a New Moon ritual for tomorrow, invitation to join a coven of writers, and readers get the text for the Reading Group on Tuesday!
Witch Way Q & A: Deipnon, Altar, and Deity Work
I have questions about the deipnon [the ritual meal for Hecate given to her on the dark moon, i.e. tonight, 10/13/23]…
You say to include "sweepings from your altar". If I have dried herbs from an offering that was on my altar, can they be included in the deipnon? even if they were originally for a different deity?
Can you take the deipnon out during the day, or does it have to be after sunset?
Also… I am brand new to deity work. I'm feeling okay about my altar setup. But…
…I have questions about offerings.
Do you need a new offering every day?
Does the offering have to be changed daily, or does it depend on what it is? like things that can go bad removed right away but dried herbs or petals can stay longer?
Is there a ceremony or ritual that should be done when leaving an offering?
Should you hang out for a bit and meditate on the deity?
I understand that an offering should accompanied a petition, but what if you don't have a petition? I left an offering in gratitude for a previous petition, I wanted to leave the offering and it felt right at the time. But I'm not thinking about leaving an offering every day - work has been busy and my focus has been there for the past few weeks.
Is it a problem to not leave an offering daily? usually I get a feeling in my gut about when to do magikal work so I tend to notice the feeling and do it when that happens which isn't routine.
Thanks for considering these questions,
Witch Who Wants To Do It Right
Dear Witch Who Wants To Do It Right,
Thanks for your timely questions! It’s the dark moon! Folks wanting to perform the deipnon in order to get closer to Hecate should do it tonight. Read on to find out more about the details.
Also, don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the end of this newsletter to get a spell for the New Moon, which is tomorrow night.
And now, to answer your questions…
Sweepings From Your Altar
Hecate takes refuse and turns it into compost. She is the Life Force, the World Soul, who is always transforming death into life, therefore, no matter which deity the herbs were initially for, Hecate loves to eat them.
Best Time for Deipnon Ritual
Normally, the ritual is best completed in the evening, because it’s a ritual of the Dark Moon, and well, nighttime is when it’s dark. However, if for whatever reason you can’t do it at night, like it doesn’t feel safe, or you just won’t have time, then do it whenever you can (sometimes I even do it a few days later because I can’t always get my sh*t together on time) - it’s better to do it when you can than not do it at all!
How to Leave Offerings for Hecate – and All Deities, Really
There is no OFFICIAL way in witchcraft to leave offerings, because witchcraft is a folk practice based on personal relationship to the deities/spirits/ancestors/etc. So this is just my personal perspective, make of it what you will…
I usually burn incense everyday, which I do as a daily offering. Whenever I light a candle, it is an offering. I try to change the water on my altars once a week, and leave other offerings like alcohol or cakes whenever it feels appropriate or I feel called to do it.
Sometimes, when you feel like you’re working hard on some specific intention, it’s good to give new offerings daily, according to what you feel like the spell needs. For instance, does it need nourishment? Give it milk or oats. Does it need energy? Give it fire or a drop of blood. Does it need sweetness? Give it honey.
If I leave offerings of food, I put them on the altar and then put them outside the next day (usually).
The energy of the offering is taken up by the spirits as soon as you put it on the altar so it doesn’t need to remain there long.
Sometimes when I have things like dried flowers, I leave them there until I make a new altar.
I will say though that we really SHOULD attend to our altars, as our altars often show us the state of our spiritual practice. Dusty, cluttered altar = dusty, cluttered witchcraft.
(However, maintaining a spiritual practice, and thus a clean altar is not always easy, so if you’re behind - don’t sweat it. Just notice and get to it when you can. Remember, witchcraft is a practice, not a perfect.)
When I leave offerings for the deipnon, I chant to Hecate all the way to the crossroads, and all the way back. I say a prayer to her when I am there.
The deities always love a good prayer, and meditating on them, even just imagining the energy of the offering going to them is always going to be welcomed.
Consider if someone was making a meal for you, how you would like it to be offered?
Sometimes just having a cup of tea set on your desk while you’re working is nice. (This would be the equivalent of a daily offering)
Other times, like at birthdays, it’s nice to have people make a big deal of you - light candles, sing, all of it. It’s up to you to decide what feels appropriate.
Though I will say, if it was my birthday, just having a cup of tea set on my desk would not impress me much. So if you’re really celebrating a deity, you might want to “make it fashion.”
You do not at all have to always leave a petition when you’re leaving an offering.
In fact, it’s kind of rude to ask for something every time you give the deity a gift.
Offerings are about building a relationship with the spirit in question, relationships are not just about granting each other favors, they’re also about time spent together, listening to one another, celebrating each other’s wins, and being there for each other’s sorrows. So…
…when you’re giving offerings, keep the relationship with the spirit at the front of your mind.
Hope that helps, and remember, if you want to be reminded how to do the deipnon tonight, I wrote a whole essay about it here.
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New Moon Ritual For Tomorrow Night
Tomorrow night, 10/14/23 is the New Moon in Libra. New Moons are times to plant seeds, clear altars, and release old forms. On this night, we reflect, practice divination, and do simple rituals for clarity.
During Libra season, we’ve been practicing being in relationship and creating balance in our own lives. Now, on the New Moon it’s time to reflect on how far we’ve come and consider where we’re going next.
If you need instructions or suggestions…
…follow the ritual steps below for a divination prompt, a reflection prompt, altar strategies, and ideas to help you release old energy and bring in what is new and useful…
If you’d like to get the New Moon rituals, monthly Witch Guides, join live Full Moon Rituals, reading groups and more, subscribe!