Skittles to me are M&M’s low-rent relative, and Gummi Worms look like they should be threaded onto a lead-head jig and used to catch largemouth bass — except the fish might just spit them out. (I am sure that someone has tried.) But per Byron Ballard’s advice, “the cousins” get them every new Moon. And sometimes a demitasse of coffee or a shot of bourbon.
I wrote to her in early March,
After I sent you the photo of the snail of shiny things and the plate of candy, it did indeed snow, snow that is just starting to melt now. I looked out the back door this morning, and the plate was off the backside of the retaining wall,
lying on the ground.
When I checked, yes indeed, fox tracks.
The fox apparently prefers Skittles to Gummi Worms.
Do you depend on woodland creatures to remove the offerings after Those Critters have presumably sampled their essence?
So somewhere there was gray or red fox with a sugar rush. Byron replied,
Poor fox! Yes, generally critters take the food away or it composts itself.
What do they want? Hmmm. My best guess is they want attention, they want a relationship and they want to be entertained and amused. Just like us.
Anne Johnson commented, “I don’t leave much candy, preferring to eat it myself, but I fling every kind of shiny object at those lil’ cousins. For awhile I’ve had peace in my household.”
Our household too has been more peaceful, but there are still oddities. When we went to Texas for a week in early April, I took down the birdfeeders because the bears were waking up, and a bear would happily smash the feeder to get the sunflower seeds. One feeder hung by a short length of shiny chain. When we came back, the chain was gone. It was too heavy for any but a big bird, and why would a mammal (raccoon? gray fox?) climb up and get a steel chain? Foxes are notorious for stealing things like teddy bears and dog toys, but steel chain? Oh well.
In his chapter on “Offerings” in Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic, Aidan Wachter writes,
Some spirits I have worked with also like tea, coffee, and some like milk. I think the best way to proceed is by following the hints the spirits give and then seeing what happens. Some spirits are decidedly into alcohol and tobacco, some find these offensive. If you like, you can sit with the pendulum or cards and ask questions as to what might be a good offering.
I think the most direct way to think of offerings is as offering nourishment or food. Sometimes this is outright food, and many I know who bake, bake for the spirits. I tend to give offerings of unbroken eggs, tortillas, chili sauce, fruit, flowers.
It is a good to consider candles as food for the spirits as well. Candles are a solid energy source (wax, but this is also true to oil in oil lamps or even wood for a fire) that is largely consumed by burning. As it is consumed, it is transformed from solid matter into heat, smoke, ash, and carbon. This transmutation allows and spirits and powers to feed on these energies and their subtle nature (p. 80).
Six Ways has more content in 167 pages than a whole shelf of typical Craft books. I recommend it unreservedly. Wachter, however, is writing about more than just household “pixies” here. So in the next post I might set one foot into the swamp of faerie taxonomy.
Continue to Part 4