Kemetic Offering Guide
Offerings symbolized life and order (ankh and ma’at), and as life and order they were consubstantial with god. That such a large proportion of them consisted of food makes their link to life force clear. Texts speak of the animal’s thigh and heart as awakening life and transmitting life force to the god. … A god was not immortal in the absolute sense; a god’s life force needed replenishment. Of course, the life force that was returned to god in offerings had previously come from god, the source of life force. … The circular flow of life from god to king/Egypt to god and back again prevented the cosmos from winding down. Offerings were more than gift giving; they were reciprocal creation. (Temples of Ancient Egypt, Shafer)
Often times, many new comers to the Kemetic field aren’t sure what to offer the gods that they have interest in. There are many modern guides to what you can offer the gods- based off of certain gods’ likes and dislikes, though most of them are based solely off of UPG. However, it seems very likely that many gods in antiquity were offered the same things- regardless of the god they were being offered to. Almost like a list of foods/offerings that were safe for all gods.
In order to help the beginner, I’ve compiled a list of goods that were commonly offered in ancient Egypt (to learn why we offer what we offer, or why we offer it the way we do, please see this post. To learn more about offerings in general, please see here. To learn more about making offerings with limitations such as space, dietary needs, etc. see here). Goods which should be safe for any god that you are hoping to start a relationship with. Hopefully this guide can serve as a starting point for any beginning Kemetics out there who aren’t sure what to give the gods. As always, I feel that offerings should be of higher/better quality as these are the gods we’re talking about. I’ve broken the list up into categories below.
According to this article, there were 4 main beverages offered in antiquity. All of these beverages served similar meanings, purposes and symbolism – that of rejuvenation. Here are some commonly offered drinks in ancient Egypt:
There are probably hundreds of food selections that could be offered to the gods. However, I will attempt to stick to offerings that are most common and are the safest for all gods. The most basic of basic offerings in antiquity was bread. Bread symbolized Netjer and humans working together to create something that sustained life. Bread in many ways was a pillar in the ancient diet and you could easily offer nothing but different types and shapes of bread to the Netjer. So when in doubt, start there.
- Biscuits (or any baked good in general)
- Wild Game (gazelles and oryxes are cited)
- Water fowl or duck
- Vegetation or Fruit
- Grains (barley, wheat, flour, etc)
Non Food Items
As with food, there are many many different items that could be offered to the gods. Here are some of the more popular items I have found.
- Incense (this was a staple in almost every ritual)
- Natron (also a staple)
- Papyrus (sheets or the plant material)
- Wood for heating and cooking
- Clothing or bolts of fabric/linen
- Oil based perfume or unguents
- Ib Heart
- Wedjat Eye, Eye of Horus, Eye of Ra
Once you have offered your items to the gods, you have a few choices with what to do with them. In regards to food items, it is customary to eat them afterwards. The Netjeru don’t like waste- so make sure you offer items that you’re willing and able to eat! As for non-food offerings, you can leave them on the shrine or you can incorporate them into your life or ritual practice. Many of the non-food items offered to the gods in antiquity were then used by the temple and temple staff after being offered. Use your discretion in deciding what use will be best for your offerings after they have been offered.
Not your style? Want something a little more modern? Check out the Great Netjer Soda Guide instead!