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Political Sacrifice

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I hope that you are enjoying a wonderful Lughnasadh.  I hope that you are harvesting all that you can manage and just enough to share. 

Here in the mystical MidAtlantic, there are lots of jokes about sneaking onto our neighbors' porches to leave bags of zucchini; we can all get overwhelmed this time of year by what our gardens produce.  I want to remind everyone in that (enviable) situation that most food closets and soup kitchens will gladly take extra produce -- they're masters at turning out soups and casseroles filled with your extra produce.  It's not so much a sacrifice as a way of sharing, a way of continuing and reviving the gift culture that may, one day, supplement, if not replace, capitalism.

As we've danced into Lughnasadh, I've been thinking a lot about sacrifice and its role in our magical/political lives.  Some say that this Sabbat springs from funeral games declared to honor Lugh's mother Tailtiu, a strong woman who died clearing forested land for cultivation by her people.  I want to honor both the sacrifice of the woman who cleared the land and the sacrifice of the forest.  I want to spend time today thinking of those who gave their lives to make our lives better, even when their sacrifices had unintended consequences. 

Others concentrate on the sacrifice of the grain itself, the Golden God of the Harvest (the God of the Sun made manifest), who is sacrificed for the good of the people.  There's this odd, left-over bit of conflict between the hunters, who revered their own bravery and the animal that they killed for the good of the tribe, and the planters, who wanted the more predictable, less-dangerous sacrifice of the grain, so much this year like the grain last year, that was cut down, planted in the underworld, and expected to rise again.

We still see it today in those who hope to follow that one charismatic leader who will set us all free and those who believe that only a communal effort to bring in the farmer's harvest and the leezings will keep us all fed.  And, of course, in the end, we need both.

Political sacrifice has become an outdated notion.  "Abraham, Martin, and John," but not anyone we know.

I'm not sure that I have any definitive answers.  All that I do know is what the cells of my body tell me:  Winter's Coming.  We're all going to be cold.

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HecateDemeter is a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an ecofeminist, a lawyer, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth.

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