The first actual spell I ever cast was one that was meant to send healing energy back to the earth. I picked it because I was still a little timid about doing spells, and I thought that trying to heal the earth was fairly harmless....I wasn't sure how I could mess it up!
But over all the years I have been reading books and spells (and reading spells is something I love doing, I love seeing all the different ways people approach spellwork), that is one of the few spells that I have seen that is focused on giving back.
It's not that I think that Pagan's don't give back. Offerings are often a big part of many people's paths. But I think that sometimes we forget that there are more ways of giving back than just offering. And depending on your path, offering may not be a part of your daily practice.
Giving of one's self is a wonderful thing. We give of ourselves all day long, we just aren't always paying attention to it. When you offer to do a favor for a friend, or help a family member with something, you are giving back.
I think that giving back can become a very meaningful spiritual practice. Many people who volunteer feel that it benefits them as much as the group or person they are volunteering to help. I very much believe that by helping other people, we enable everyone to reach greater heights. It is through working together, through encouraging everyone to achieve their highest potential, that we make these amazing discoveries and advancements.
And thinking on a global level, when we consider the impact of our actions and how we can give back to the world as a whole, then we are building up a global community that will see us all benefit. Imagine the world where every person was able to have their basic needs met and therefor contribute whatever gifts their spirit has instead of focusing all their energy on simply making it to the next day alive.
And not just people. We, as the human race, haven't always considered the animals, plants or resources of our planet. We sometimes act as if we have no limits and can just pluck whatever we see with no consequences. As a species, we are starting to wake up to the fact that we are not treating our global home with respect and care, and that if we keep going in the manner we are, that we are headed for ruin.
As spiritual people, I feel that we sometimes overlook the energetic landscape. We can tap into and harness energy from a myriad of sources. And yet giving back to these energies isn't often discussed.
Gratitude practice is a big thing right now. And it is definitely wonderful! But let's take gratitude a step further. Let's start considering how we can give back to the things that make our lives fantastic.
Many Pagan's already support Green causes and do their part to give back physically. Many are also involved in volunteer work for organizations that they feel are important and worthy.
It doesn't have to be hard to start giving back spiritually. Many paths involve regular offerings to deities you work with. Keeping a shrine or altar and performing regular cleansing and offerings is one way to give back to the energies you work with regularly. Along these lines, consider the spirit and energy of your home and surroundings. Many ancient civilizations had household altars or recognized guardian spirits of the home and regularly offered to them in gratitude for their work at helping things at home run smoothly.
Another way is to add energetic blessings to your seasonal rites. If you honor the Sabbats, you can dedicate some of the energy you raise at ritual towards healing and nurturing the earth. This could be a general thing, just directing energy back to the earth to be used as needed. Or you could work to heal a specific thing that you feel appropriate, either locally or globally.
Service is often talked about in terms of Priestessing (or Priesting!). But I think a lot of times we are prone to wait until someone asks for help, and then we are happy to lend a hand. Consider how you can offer of yourself or what you can give of yourself everyday, no matter if anyone asks. Perhaps you have a message to share, and you spread your word so that other people can hear it. Or, perhaps you simply make the conscious decision to be open, to listen to whoever needs to speak to you, to hold space for the people who can't speak.
Giving back doesn't have to be huge and flashy. In fact, I think that the truest gifts are often the quietest. Look around you, notice what needs a boost and share what you have. Give without thought of what you might get in return. Bless the world!