Today’s topic will be what common offerings are offered to Hera, both historical, modern, and UPG.
Historically the animals associated with Hera that were given in sacrifice to her have been cows and goats. Bulls, oxen, and cows are pretty standard as a sacrifice and represented the biggest investment possible for farming communities. Bovines are expensive to raise and were useful for the production of milk, meat, leather, glue (horns and hooves), and off course oxen were employed to pull the plough. They could also be used otherwise as beasts of burden. Sacrificing even one as a huge investment, let alone if performing a perfect hekatomb of a hundred oxen/bulls/cows. Goats are another common sacrificial animals, and especially to Hera in her guise of Aigophagos, the Goat-Eating Hera.
The Orphic Hymn to her recommends incense of aromatic herbs to burned. I myself tend to use lotus scent for this, though other appropriate incenses would be the fairly standard frankincense and myrrh. The lotus is a beautiful and royal flower, and so I think it logical to offer such incense to her, though I’m fairly certain that the incense I use is artificially scented in some way. You would need a LOT or lotus leaves to produce enough essential oils from it to use in even one standard incense stick.
While I focus on the lotus, other aromatic herbs may also be useful. My advice would be to go with your gut and watch for any signs showing her acceptance or refusal. Refusal in my experience often manifests as the insence sticks not staying lit continuously until burnt up. Once when I was trying out dragon’s blood incense I got such consistent results in this regards, none of the incense sticks would keep burning continually, and I had offered it to a variety of different Deities. They seemed pretty universal in their refusal of it. Again, that is just a piece of UPG, your mileage may vary.
In terms of libations the standard ones of wine, milk, honey, olive oil, etc., would be quite sufficient. I myself drink a lot of tea, so it makes sense for me to pour tea in sacrifice to the Gods. I don’t really have any particular tea associated with particular Deities, but I do make tea from loose leaves rather than tea bags. It tastes better to me, so I also prefer to libate it for that reason as well.
Fruits would also make for great offerings. Particularly apples, associated with the Apples of the Hesperides, which belong to Hera. Also pomegranates, a fruit particularly associated with her for its resemblance to a testicle (i.e. a round object filled with seeds, which connects Hera to producing heirs, the primary function of marriage in antiquity).
Singing hymns, reciting poetry, or making art in honour of Hera would also, of course, be appropriate, in ancient as well as modern times. Both ancient hymns and poetry, as well as modern ones, can be used. Especially potent would be to make your own poetry or art. You are putting effort and time into making something for Hera, even if you are not particularly talented and the end result may not be akin to well-known poets or artists, it would be a great offering to the Goddess, made valuable by the time and effort you personally put into it, in honour of her.
Jewels, gold, silver and other precious things can also be given as offerings to the Goddess. But keep in mind, offerings are made valuable by the sincerity and devotion with which it is given. A rich person can give the most expensive and lavish offerings, but if given for show rather than genuine devotion, it will count for less than a poor farmer sacrificing a grain of incense daily. In all things, give according to your means, without going so far as to starve yourself or otherwise damage your personal or family’s health and well-being. The Gods do not demand lavish offerings given in superstitious fears. They will accept what you have to give in genuine devotion regardless of how small or insignificant it may seem to other mortals.
Give to Hera piously and with devotion, and she will smile upon your offerings and will guide you towards the things she likes, and away from the things she dislikes as offerings.
Honour be to Hera!