A few weeks ago, I went fishing. It was the first time in a long time, so I wasn't looking to keep anything, that and I kept catching bluegill after bluegill and some small bass. Too small to keep. I threw them back, so they could grow. I didn't feel too good about that (I'm against Sport and Trophy Hunting/Fishing), because of many of my hooks were hard to remove. I gave the Pond Spirits offerings of thanks. Then came Unlucky 13 who ended up swallowing my hook, then flopped into the water on his own. I gave a blood offering.
Life for a life.
Whenever I fish now, whether I throw them back or keep them, I give pain and blood to the Water Spirits. I make it even. (Sometimes the fish do the cutting for me!)
I was harvesting white peony root last week and I didn't feel that just giving energy or water to the Land Spirits was enough. I gave bit of pain and a bit of blood for killing most of the peony for some of its roots. I can feel a plants' energy, I can feel their fear and pain (this may actually be me being sensitive to the chemicals that they released when damaged, either way, I can sense it and it sucks), I believe that this is the best payment for harvest. Take and give. In my practice, it needs to be done.
With hunting/fishing, Artemis demands that I give some of my kill to Her, and I do without question. But times when I don't have anything to offer Her, I may give Her my own blood, although She hasn't asked. Before I'd give words of thanks, a lit candle, or a found gift from nature. I don't believe that's enough anymore.
As for Ceres, same thing. Blood is better than milk or alcohol, for this type of task. When you're working in the garden, one tends to give pain and blood anyway, through random cuts, splinters, bites, stings, and blisters. In my eyes, that's nature taking their share for the harvest. Balance.
Growing up hunting and fishing, some my elders told me that the injuries and soreness from the journey are just God's payment. He blessed us with the skills and the privilege and chance of taking that life, we had to repaid him.
From now on, when I harvest flora and fauna, any pain given or life taken will be repaid in my own blood. I still have my lancer from when I had gestational diabetes. It's perfect. I've used it in the past for blood offerings.
On one hand, I feel pride when harvesting. On the other, it's a very somber experience. I don't enjoy taking life, but it needs to be done, be that life flora or fauna. That's just how our existence is. Take one life to sustain the other (soon it'll be my turn, as Mufasa says 'to take my place in a great circle of life'. My life will be taken and given to sustain other lives). I'm certain to use as much as I can, treat the harvest with respect from beginning to end. And to naturally discard what I can't use. As is the way of nature.
Not a blood offering, but thanks to Ceres for my White Peony Root harvest. I gave the blood to Her and the Land Spirits after harvesting from the plant last week. Just fire and milk tonight.