As you will see, we put food on the altar as “offerings”, meaning that it is to be given to “someone”. The confusing part of this is that if we do not pray or worship anyone as said in the “gods and deities article”, then who are we offering to, and why?
In nature, you can witness a very simple theory that keeps nature running – what the sky don’t need is good for the ground, and what the ground doesn’t need is good for the sky. Look, the sky got too much moisture and so it rains down the water for the ground. The ground got too much heat and such, it explodes and vent the heat back to the sky.
Even in human society, we know that the garbage we don’t need can be recycled and turn back into raw materials. What human don’t need, is what the factory and processing plants needs. What side A doesn’t need, is what side-B need.
What Pre-heaven produces is good for the Post-heaven. What the Post-Heaven produces is good for the Pre-heaven. – That’s the principle of nature, like an hourglass, things flips between the two sides, the two worlds, and recycle.
Putting food on the Taoist Altar is a form of giving the products of this world to the Pre-Heaven. It’s a form of the cultivation of “Te” as mentioned in the “concluding article”, a way of giving back. Nature gives the elements that it take to grow crops, fruits, or give birth to animals, and so when things are done growing, we can give the finished products back to nature, because that’s what nature itself don’t have.
Who Gets the Food Offerings
First of all, a Taoist altar must be clearly connected to something, which sets your “Tao”. For our disciples’ altars, they all connects to the higher powers of our lineage. They connect and get the powers from it, and so they give back to this source.
You might think that the altar is a dead object, and the other “higher powers” on the other end cannot physically consumes the food anyway, so what’s the point of putting the food up?
Besides the physical consumption, you should look at how “real” consumption is done in nature, which includes how we intake food. We don’t just put food in the mouth when we eat. Can you recall that there are times when you are very hungry, and there goes the cooking in the kitchen, and you smell food… somehow you are magically feeling calmer, more “fulfilled”, and more or less you feel not as hungry already. As you can see, you consumed the smell of the food, and all that energy the food gives off on the exterior – even before you physically swallow it.
The color of food and the form of food is another thing that we consume. We look at food and we are happy, why is that so? It’s because the colors and the shapes. We consume the light of food when we see, and we consume the energy of it when we smell, hear and sense. There go the two main elements of pre-heaven – light and energy.
When you swallow the physical food, you get it all, and you get the “container” of the light and energy, which is what your physical body needs. However, the altar does not need that physical form of consumption. Just like a sheep died in nature, then nature consumes it by just sucking up the light and energy and that is why you see the body starts to decay. Nature consumes things as long as it is exposed in the open area. If you don’t want things to be consumed by nature as rapidly, you cover it up, or wrap it up, or even seal it into an air-tight bag. When there is no air, then there is no way for nature to consume things in this world.
As you can see, the altar can indeed consume things as long as you place it there. The altar itself connects to the Tao, the higher powers, and so these light and energies are all consumed – and they goes into the higher powers you connects to, which cultivates your “Te” level. As a result, the Tao will get what you have given, and stored it up like how the sky contains the moisture from the ground and creates cloud. When the cloud is heavy enough, the sky will be able to rain. When you contribute enough, you can request the Tao to rain, which means, to give you back something you need. There goes the Tao and Te cycle between you and the Tao that you connects to.
How to Offer Food
Giving food offerings and such, you must do it properly for things to be consumed. The mindset is very simple, which is to set your mind as if you are giving it to “someone” to eat, don’t treat it like as if it is “energy work”. When you have put up your offerings, burn 1 incense with your “Heart Spell” and say in your mind “May all the masters enjoy!” and then upload the incense to the front-center position of your pot, do a casual bow and it’s done.
The “masters” are the higher powers that you connects to, which you are “treating them like as if they are human”. Remember the lesson on “statues”? You have to treat things as if they are human, in order to connect to their heart energy – just like how you connect to your teddy bear when you were a kid. You treat it like your friend, then you can feel its emotions too.
In our lineage, the basic food upload consists of 3 cups of liquids – tea, liquor and water. Then you will have dishes of beans, salt, rice, and then the fruits and other things. There are basically two categories of food upload. One type is for the altar the consume, and one type is really for getting things from the altar – for your magic work use.
The type of upload that everyone knows how to do is the type for “feeding your altar”, which is easy to do. Just think about what human will like to see, smell and eat, then give them to your altar accordingly. For example, flowers that smells nice and look good, you put them in a vase and put it on the altar. Fruits and food that is good and heated, it gives off smell and energy, good to upload. There might be some bacon, chocolate, candies, cakes, whatever you think you might like to eat? Put them up.
The second type of food offering is different and less common, which is used for requesting energy from the altar for different powers. These uploads are like when we put up dry foods such as beans, rice, salt, and such. These things do not really give off things, they actually soak in things from the surrounding. Just like rice will soak in moisture naturally, and salt do soak in the moisture in air too. Beans and such are dry, and they do soak up water too. These elements will absorb instead of “gives off and output”, which makes them useful for “requesting energy” from your altar.
There are different reasons for these different food uploads, which are like codes in the lineage’s system. Different sects and lineages have a different dictionary for these things. As you learn in our lineage, you will know more about the reasons and meaning behind the different foods and offerings, or even how to use them after they have gotten their energies from the altar. There are also other things that we have to do to the food in order for them to be uploaded “successfully” too. For example, we will fire in our heart spells, draw the “fu head” over it, or even drawing symbols to set a program to the energies for doing the specific magic work.
Food offerings can be as simple as just feeding your altar and giving back to the pre-heaven, for more good stuff to come to you later on. At the same time, it can be very complex when it comes to magic work, because every food offering or upload can have their purpose and meaning that corresponds to their property. To really understand it, you can get ordained today, and then you will be able to learn it by your own experience while working with your own altar with the lineage! Read our second follow-up article on this topic to get more knowledge about the "food upload"!