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Nature Spirits

4 5 Sacred exchange offerings, spells and prayers As in most other countries, offerings have long been made to nature spirits, faeries and the local gods all across the British Isles, a tradition which has survived through the Christian era to the present day. In the Celtic or Gaelic traditions offerings include butter, milk, cakes and sweet things, and sometimes ribbons or small parcels of pretty cloth which are hung on tree branches. These are called clooties in the West Country and can contain fragrant herbs, a silver coin, or a small prayer or petition for the gods assistance. The Celtic goddess Covetina is traditionally given silver coins in the wishing wells that were originally her special domain and consecrated in her honour. Offerings to beings of different elements include prayer flags for air as in Buddhism, flowers and floating candles upon water, burning incense for fire spirits, and gifts of water for plant spirits. Caring for the land in a practical way is always important and appreciated by nature spirits. Some sacred landscapes traditionally receive offerings specific to their local goddesses or guardians. The fire goddess Pele of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is given rum to avoid her wrath. The Yoruba tribe in Africa cast rafts of flowers upon the waves as gifts to the ocean goddess Yemaya. In these simple ways, offerings have long forged relations and maintained bonds between mortals and the spirit realm, to call in blessings and protection in a world larger than human perceptions.
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