This is a ritual that I don’t do as often as I really should. It has no particular origin, it just sorta happened on its own and became a somewhat regular thing for me. This is an easy ritual to add things for a longer occasional observance, or to do very simply on a daily or otherwise more frequent basis.

Required:

-Seven bay leaves (I prefer fresh leaves. They’re not quite as easy to find as dried, but some larger grocery stores will have them in their produce department- I’ve found them so far in Wegman’s Safeway and Giant in my area. They are far ess expensive- usually around $2.50 for a whole package instead of several dollars more for a small bottle containing far fewer. The fresh leaves keep for several weeks (I think I’ve had them for up to two months in the time) in the refrigerator. I generally try to offer leaves that are undamaged and have found that dried packaged leaves are often cracked or broken. Another source of fresh leaves, if you have one available to you, would be a bay laurel tree.)

-bowl in which to place the leaves

Optional: candles, incense, beverage to libate

I do this at Apollo’s shrine in my temple room. I generally sit on the floor where I have to look up slightly to see Apollo’s statue. I generally start by lighting one or two candles- I have a stash of Mediterranean Cypress votive candles from Yankee (a scent which is, very sadly, discontinued.)

I light these candles and sit down at the shrine. Generally, I immediately then light a stick of incense (I usually use Wildberry brand peach or awapuhi incense. It used to be Green tea before Wildberry stopped producing it. No particular reason for these scents, they are just what I started using a couple of years ago and have stuck. Sometimes I burn cedar or lemongrass incense instead. They all seem to be favorably received.)

After that, I spend some time meditating on what my intention is- the intention of this ritual has generally either been to thank Apollo for blessings, or to make offerings that are more abstract in nature.

When I am ready, I take the leaves one at a time, pick each one up, hold it in my hands, and concentrate on what it is that I’m offering or thanking him for. I mentally place my offering/thanks into the leaf, and place the leaf in the offering dish (you could also write your thoughts on larger leaves with a fine-point pen). I do this for all seven leaves.

Sometimes, after that, I’ll pour a libation- usually white wine)- over the leaves. Alternately, I also sometimes will pour the wine into the bowl first and place the leaves in the wine. There’s no real difference in the order.

After this, I generally will meditate or do other things at my shrine until the incense is burned out.

When it’s time to dispose of the leaves, do so when and how you see fit. I end to let the leaves fill up the bowl and then put them all into a plain wooden box that you can get at craft stores. When the box is full, I re-offer the entire thing by way of burning in a ritual fire.

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