Excerpt from the Water Magic Course...
Naturally witches that work with water will want to give back to the ocean or body of water that they work with which gives them so much year around. I often come home from the beach feeling so full, happy and with so many treasures, that I want to give back. However, we need to be very careful what we decide to give the ocean or other bodies of water. Often time’s good intentions can have negative effects. For example a beautiful trinket that you want to give to the ocean may be made of plastic and harmful to the waters creatures. We want to avoid giving the water anything that does not belong there. I have divided offerings into three categories.
The first category is Positive Impact Offerings. This type of offering can be given anytime you like. They include things such as beach cleanup, rescue relief, ocean conservation, and ocean and animal advocacy. Charging waters, making gem elixirs and healing teas for the ocean. There is also nothing wrong with collecting shells from the beach, charging them for a moon cycle and bringing them back to the water!
The second category is what I call No Impact Offerings. They do have an energetic impact, but there is nothing taken away and no strange, out of the ordinary offerings used. These include things such as driftwood that you collected previously and perhaps carved and have now returned to its original location. Tumbled stones such as agate or quartz that you either found and tumbled or were given/purchased etc. These types of stones are often found on the beach so bringing something similar to the location that is charged with magic will be a no impact type offering. Be sure not to use heat treated, dyed and over mine stones. Do not use paints, stains or other chemical based things. However if you wanted to make an offering out of drift wood and you do want color, consider using a natural dye that you extract yourself. For example, my henna paste is 100% organic and natural. There is not one thing in there bad for a human, animal or the environment. So if I wanted to carve a piece of wood and add some red, I could use henna; same with red ocher and traditionally prepared woad.
The last category is what I call Low Impact Offerings. These are offerings that do not in any way harm the ocean or the environment, but that do add a foreign object to the water. These include things such as flowers, stones such as amethyst and garnet that you would not usually find, hair or other taglocks and papers that are not bleached, have no chemicals etc. It is really important to use flowers that are grown yourself pesticide free, or if you know a florist that buys natural, no chemicals, no pesticide, no dye flowers then you can use them. You want natural not heat treated stones, and even papers can have bleach, or other chemicals. It is your responsibility to check what you are adding back to the water, ignorance is not an excuse! You must educate yourself on your offerings and never ever use something toxic! I use this last category for the most important things, such as my work with Aphrodite, major rites, and important rituals marking transitions in my life.