One of the first devotional practices I learned was “coffee with The Morrigan”. (Thanks Gina and the rest of the MCR staff of 2018.) It might sound strange at first, particularly from anyone not in a devotional relationship with a deity. But a part of devotion should be conversation. Think about your friendships and relationships. Do any of them work without conversation? I’m going to guess your answer is no.
Relationships, whether friendship, romantic, platonic, or with the Gods, are built through work and conversation. They aren’t a given. They are something you develop together, right? You don’t normally show up at a random person’s house and ask for a cup of sugar, or ask the person on the train next to you to borrow $100. Those are things that you approach those you've established some sort of relationship with- the sugar request is one level- maybe you know a name, and have spoken to a few times, and asking for $100, well..I’m guessing your friendship level is a lot higher- there’s probably some trust built between you. (And yes, this ignores desperation and unusual circumstances...I know those happen. But I’m speaking of not so desperate situations, and “normal” circumstances.)
A good way to build a relationship is conversation- just a little chat. It is done through consistency- something done repeatedly and on a somewhat routine basis. So why not something over coffee (or tea, water, juice...anything really.) Here’s how my own routine works- I eat my breakfast, I light a candle, and I make an offering of fresh water to both my ancestors and to The Morrigan. I then make my coffee, which is a magical practice on it’s own, and I offer a cup to The Morrigan. I sit with my coffee, and hers on her altar and we just talk. Sometimes we sit in silence, sometimes I just talk, and sometimes she does all the talking.
Being comfortable with this was actually hard for me. Having a family always around every morning (and day, night, evening...), I hesitated to talk out loud, mainly because I didn’t want to get interrupted with “Hey, who are you talking to?” or “What?” (Imagine that with a central New York nasally accent.) Sometimes I just didn't know what to say, or worried I wouldn't say the right thing. Over time I learned the right thing to say was anything. Talk about your day, talk about your dreams, ask questions, even “What do you think about…” If your UPG is that you must be rigidly formal, and pious, then perhaps this won't be the right thing for you. However, that's not my experience (for any of the deity I work with) nor the experience of many others.
The point is to get to know each other. And sure, it might take awhile. You learn your deities' voice, and mannerisms, their quirks and sense of humor. You begin to establish a relationship, one in which is begins to feel okay to ask favors from, though these conversations are not the time to ask for things. There begins to form some reciprocity- which believe it or not, I think the Gods like. The Morrigan isn’t above saying “Thanks for the cup of coffee, here’s a little something in return.” And there’s a blessing, a gift, some words of wisdom, insight or even a warning. And she certainly isn't above saying "Thanks for the coffee, now do this for me, if you would go do this task here for me..."
Do you have to do this? Maybe not, but I think it’s a good practice. I believe our ancient ancestors valued hospitality, and when I invite The Morrigan into my home and into my life, building a trusting relationship is a hospitable act. Making offering is a part, in my opinion, of right relationship with deity, and it's hospitable. I always try to offer guests something when entering my space, even if it's just a glass of water. I also find it strange to demand the attention and actions of a deity I don’t have a relationship with. I could never base my practice and magical work around that sort of “command.” And it also helps build a familiarity- when something other than The Morrigan approaches me, claiming to be one of The Morrigan, I know when it’s not, because I have grown accustomed to her presence. And the same goes for any God I have formed a relationship with.
This practice works for most Gods and Goddesses, the ancestors, and it can work with any spirit you wish to develop a relationship with. And it can be anything, not just coffee. Tea, water, food...what works for you, and what works for deity is the best approach- and you can figure that out by reading and studying about specific deity, and the culture it came from- both past and living. People tend to ignore that part- but both the past and living culture of a deity is important!
A lot of people struggle to find time, as well, to devote to deity, and coffee chats are great because you can have them on the go. I find people go one of two ways- they have time for a cup of coffee/tea and what a good way to multi-task, or they get it to go, and head off to their destination- only you can still take a few moments while driving (even riding) to work to chat. I know they say words have power and so spoken words are best. However, if you’re sitting on the train, or in a carpool, feel free to close your eyes for a few moments just to say Hi, how's it going? Just remember to listen as much as you talk.
I’m interrupting this post for some words brought to you by my UPG...The Morrigan tells me to share the fact that if you can’t give her coffee because you’re not making it, and buy it instead- buy one for someone else. Whether that be a friend, coworker, a person on the street, share it forward- you can buy one in The Morrigan’s name. Doing good things in her name? Much approval. Kindness. It's a good thing. Back to the post.
If I’m with my family, traveling, I simply cradle my coffee in my hands, sipping it as I talk to the Morrigan for a few minutes silently. Same goes for when I’m on retreat- the point is that it’s not that hard to take a few moments to say Hi. They might not even be quiet moments- I don’t know how many times I’ve said “Sorry for the noise, kids are loud, you know? Anyways, Hi. Things are good today, so thanks. The weather today reminded me of that time in Ireland…” in my head, or if I get a few moments alone, out loud, sometimes whispering, sometimes speaking at a normal volume.
Of course, this is only one small part of a devotional relationship. There’s a lot more to explore and do, and build upon. Coffee with your deity, however, is probably one of the simplest and easiest things to do. It can help build consistency and routine, without a whole lot of effort but with a good amount of return. Showing up is the number one rule, I think, to devotional practice. So this makes it perfect for a beginner. (And don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks/months or more to get a response. Honest! Sometimes you just gotta keep knocking.)
*If you like my articles, please consider buying me a cup of coffee! It helps keep me going and adding new resources for my readers!