Daily Offering GuidelinesIdeally, for the sake of daily observances, you should have an incense burner, a stone or ceramic immolation bowl, a candle holder, and a potpourri pot or cauldron. Some may choose to add a stand or stone platform for small blood sacrifices as well. Not everyone can manage this, and that’s okay. One should attempt however, to do the best that one can. It is okay to be innovative and inventive so long as one follows certain guidelines.
Always give to Eshu first except for blood offerings. Unless it is a blood offering, Eshu is to be fed first because he opens the way for us to speak to and be spoken to by other deities and spirits. If you do not go through the Gate Keeper first, you may misunderstand what is being told to you, or you may open yourself to attack or trickery by beings specializing in illusion. Opening up to the spirit realm or higher than third dimension without the Gate Keeper makes you vulnerable…”naked in the woods” if you will. Never forget this.
One other exception in feeding Eshu first may be made when you receive an online donation to do offerings or spell work on someone’s behalf. Before you transfer the money to your account or spend it on supplies, you may send a portion of it as an online donation or other electronic or “wire” transfer to your home temple, ile, or specifically to a temple or shrine of Ogun, or some related effort. It is not required that you feed Ogun first in such a case, but some find that it suits their conscience better since the means of providing for the offerings was through computer technology, which is one of Ogun’s domains. You would still be feeding Eshu first offline.
For incense offerings, you can use a premade incense if you have to, but I recommend making some Eshu incense. This should go on the charcoal first in your daily observances. If you are well supplied, you can try Orisha Online Altar’s Eshu incense recipe. If you can’t manage that, one of the basic bare-bones recipes is:
- 3 pinches of black pepper or long pepper
- 1/4 cup of cinnamon, anise, allspice, coffee, or clove powder
- 3 teaspoons of sugar
- a tablespoon of benzoin powder or grated wax
There is also a general Orisha incense, and a “Seven African Powers” incense that can be used as a general offering. This is good for those who have privacy, time, and space concerns, and want something that will be pleasing to everyone. You can buy it or make it yourself. A bare bones version of this is:
- 3 pinches of black pepper or long pepper
- 3 pinches of red pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated coconut
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon sandalwood or agarwood shavings or powder
- 1/4 cup benzoin or frankincense powder
You have probably seen different recipes, and it is okay to use those. However, there is a reason mine is different. One is that the black and red pepper together have a strong gate opening energy, and all the Orishas like coconut. Sugar attracts good fortune and benevolence from Eshu and Oshun. Sandalwood and agarwood are especially attractive to the more ethereal Orishas, though go with agarwood if you are in need of success energy. Benzoin and frankincense are all-around pleasing to the spirits. If you have any Native American ancestry though, you may wish to add one of your local tree resins that was given as offerings such as copal or pine “amber”.
In the case of a blood offering, Ogun is fed first, and then Eshu. This is because Ogun is in charge of tools, so he would be fed first by default anyway. It is a good idea to give him his due thanks and credit for this.
VERY IMPORTANT: be extremely careful not to wound yourself while giving blood offerings. Do not ever give your own blood to Ogun. In some traditions, children or hard core adherents of Ogun who are entering a blood pact with others of their brotherhood, or preparing for literal war, have been said to do so, but under no other circumstances should anyone do this. Do not approach Ogun directly if you have any open wounds that have not scabbed over fully, or if you are menstruating or having post pregnancy bleeding. To wave your blood under the nose of Ogun is to offer yourself as a sacrifice to him. People who have done this often die or at least bleed some more in some sort of machine related accident.