[Ed Note: This has been reprinted from Steven Harper's original blog entry posting on March 11, 2007 and gives some of the background behind the tradition. It also provides the basic the guidelines for how to receive and give an offerering. Thank you, Steve, for initiating this beautiful piece.]
Offerings: Passing It On
by Steven Harper
For years as part of the end on many of my workshops I invited the group to participate in a “giveaway”. Objects are given into the circle with each person saying something about the essence of what they have given into the circle. Once everyone has given into the circle they are asked to take a moment and reflect on what they would like to receive from the circle. When they are ready, each person picks up an object and says something about what they would like to receive from the circle. The process of giving and receiving can bring up a surprising amount of “process” for people (but that is another story). I ask each person to give something of what they received during our workshop out to the larger world of their daily life. Also, I ask that they pass on the object they received when they know it is time.
I have here a pendant that I received in such a circle. It is carved shell and came to the circle from a woman who had it for two years and it came to her from a Native American who had carved it. I don’t usually wear much jewelry. I surprised myself by wearing this regularly for almost a year and half until the cord broke. It has been on my “altar” with other reminders for almost 6 years. About two years I repaired the cord. This pendant saw me through some challenging times as a reminder of the persistence of life and aliveness. It is time to pass it on.
In the spirit of experimentation, here is the manner in which I would like to give this to the circle.
First off, I am giving this to the iThou circle. I trust that the person that feels they want/need to receive this will contact me here at this entry and say something of why they are receiving this from the iThou circle (not personally from me).
Second, the recipient can send me a private message with their address and I will send this to them. You must be a member of iThou and no money is exchanged.
Third, the only “obligation” for the person receiving an object is to find something that they would like to give to the iThou circle in the same manner and spirit of this “offering”. If the offerings are entered on this entry the thread of giving and receiving will be intact.
In this way the offerings are given to the community, not to the person, and the gift is received from the community. In this way the gift keeps giving as we keep receiving.
The tradition of making offerings, giveaways, and the like are numerous. Many indigenous cultures have some form of passing on gifts as the basis of community life. We are currently doing some form of this with words, music, and pictures. As we weave the fabric of this community I thought it might be interesting to initiate a thread of offerings that adds to the fabric of this creation.
Note: This is an experiment that has been brewing for sometime. I have had numerous conversations about this idea with Albert before implementing this first round. Since I have not used this form in an on-line community it may be that it will require tweaks to encourage its appropriate adaptations and evolution. Thanks for partaking in the experiment.
March 11, 2007
1) There is a tab under the Latest call "Offerings". This is where you can find the historic and current offerings. If you're reading this, you've probably already found it! :-)
2) With each Offering Submission, it might be a good idea to cut and paste the basic three-point instructions...
First, this offering is being given to the iThou circle. The person that feels they want/need to receive this can contact me [INSERT YOUR NAME] here at this entry and say something of why they are receiving this from the iThou circle (not personally from me).
Second, the recipient can send me [INSERT YOUR NAME] a private message with their address and I will send this to them. You must be a member of iThou and no money is exchanged.
Third, the only “obligation” for the person receiving an object is to find something that they would like to give to the iThou circle in the same manner and spirit of this “offering”.
This can help remind readers what the post is about and the guidelines for it.
3) If/when you receive a gift from the circle, you will need to start a new entry when you are ready to make your offering. Please use the same title and next number in sequence (e.g. Offerings: Passing It On 9, Offerings: Passing It On 10... etc.) In this manner we will be able to follow the thread.
4) Before you submit a new offerings there is a field titled "Topic", if you type in the word "offerings" it should post to the Latest and to the Offering tab.