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Tidying up offerings
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Edited May 22, 2010, 17:20
Re: Tidying up offerings
May 22, 2010, 17:17
I've given an opinion when this topic came up before I think, so I won't go into again.

Since that time though I've seen a new thing. I don't know if it happens elsewhere, but in a few places in Scotland now I've seen charity shops with "cloutie trees" in their windows. Usually made out of a large bundle of branches in a large jar/jug. Tied to the branches are little pieces of card with the wish of the person who made a small donation to have the cards tied to the tree. Custom-wise, an offering of silver had been made, and the wish expressed, and in some cases the card was tied to the tree with a strip of cloth from the sick person. I imagine people who wished for a relative sick with cancer placed their cloutie and donation with a cancer charity - and likewise for other illnesses.

The only aspect of the custom which isn't fulfilled this way is the one being ignored anyway - by those leaving material that is never going to decompose at least. Namely that your wish comes true as the item you left is destroyed by the elements. (Always assuming it isn't the help of the little people you are propitiating - which custom dictates is not a "possession" which will only invoke complete freedom from your wishes). The added benefit of donating to a charity working to cure ailments probably makes up for the missing element in the ritual, though.

I've always thought telling people to stop following their beliefs is a waste of time, and you'de get further teaching them that following it badly negates the whole purpose of the exercise instead.
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