Hindus Find a Ganges in Queens, to Park Rangers’ Dismay – NYTimes.com

Hindus Find a Ganges in Queens, to Park Rangers’ Dismay – NYTimes.com.

This was an interesting article on the impact of sacrifices to rivers by some members of the Hindu community in the US – mostly new immigrants who have yet to learn our rules or adapt their spiritual practices.

I often think about these things when I choose my offerings.  What is the least harmful to the environment?  What won’t hurt the nature spirits?

Some of the best offerings are biodegradable – flowers, fruits, vegetables, bird seed, grain, wooden carvings, libations of milk or alcohol.

There are some things I will not give as offerings.  Anything made of plastic is a no-no and should be for all Pagans.  Candles are best when they are made with organic soy or bees wax.  I always avoid chocolate.  It would probably burn up in a fire, but I’m always afraid of an animal finding it.  Chocolate is toxic to many of our Nature Spirit brothers and sisters.  If you feel that I’m preaching to the choir – trust me – I have heard of Pagans giving chocolate.  They mean well…  but some Pagans have their heads too much in the clouds to the degradation of the physical world.

I do make offerings of fabric but they tend to be burnt or hung on a tree.  The felted eggs I made for Ostara were totally meant to be pulled apart by birds looking for nesting materials.  I’m interested to see what they look like when I visit the grove for Beltaine.

Fuzzy eggs...
Felted eggies for Gods, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits!

I think it’s admirable that the leaders of the Hindu Community in Queens encourage cleanup.  The interesting thing about this spiritual group is that they are very large.  I don’t know of any major Pagan group who makes such large offerings.  One flower is fine.  Twenty is also, probably, fine (depending on what it is, I guess…)  But a hundred?  A thousand?  I wonder…  This is a hurdle we have not had to cross.  I guess, in a large ritual, a better offering to our Gods would be to pool money and plant a tree – or do some other sort of group offering filled with everyone’s energy.

As Earth Day approaches, I hope other Pagans visit their holy spots and clean up – no matter who made the mess.   The forest near my apartment is a continual uphill battle.  Garbage blows in from the streets all the time and idiots leave butane lighters, spray paint cans, and soda bottles around, especially in the summer.  It is annoying, but cleaning that mess shows the Nature Spirits how serious you are about forming a bond with them.  If you visit nature and never give back, well, shame on you.  Trust me – the spirits pay attention and respond when you show respect.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

3 thoughts on “Hindus Find a Ganges in Queens, to Park Rangers’ Dismay – NYTimes.com

  1. My offerings tend to be (soy)milk on occasion, birdseed (mostly), or original poems. Occasionally I will do flowers, too~ When I visited a certain park regularly I’d always clean up the area, didn’t matter if the trash was mine or not. I formed such a strong bond with the spirits of that place–I miss it so much (moved away about 3 years ago and it’s far enough that it’s hard to get back there, sadly).

    1. I usually give almond milk! When I first started to do that, I wondered if the Nature Spirits or Brighid would object – but they were very understanding. 🙂

      I love your story about forming a bond with the spirits in a park. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the felted eggs that can be pulled apart for birds’ nests. I just saw a cute “nest material” holder at uncommon goods: http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/bird-nest-depot

    I’m sure something similar could be made on the cheap…

    And I agree with how picking up trash from outdoor places brings you closer to nature. Now that the seasonal road beyond our house has opened for the season, I definitely see an increase in trash. I think I will start periodically walking down it and cleaning it up a bit.

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