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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Animal Sacrifice

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Banned at PSG!

25 years ago, they wouldn't let me give this workshop at PSG.

"Too controversial," they said.

But you'll be able to hear it in full—new and improved—at next year's Paganicon 2019.

Lucky you.

 

Sacrifice Revisited

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A Technology of Connectivity: New Light on Animal Sacrifice

Exciting new scholarship is exploding many of the old “myths” about animal sacrifice and casting fresh light onto the origins and meanings of this ancient and—to many of us today—mysterious practice.

Some findings from the emerging new consensus on the topic:

Animal sacrifice is a phenomenon of pastoral and agricultural societies. Hunters-gatherers don't practice animal sacrifice. (Think about it: how could they?) Of course, they do make offerings; hunters may set aside the god's portion from their kill. But in virtually all known examples, animal sacrifice comprises the offering and sharing of a domestic animal.

Animal sacrifice is not a “primitive” phenomenon. The old “evolutionary” paradigms for understanding the history of religions broke down long ago. Some religions sacrifice; some don't. The absence of animal sacrifice in contemporary Judaism and Christianity is due to specific developments in the history of these particular religions, which cannot properly be generalized to other religions.

There is no single reason for, or meaning of, animal sacrifice. Animal sacrifice is polysemous: it means different things to different people. It may mean something different to every single person attending any given sacrifice. Previous theorists attempting to extract a single origin, purpose, or meaning for animal sacrifice were mistaken. While it makes sense to compare sacrificial practice across cultures, there are no universals when it comes to meaning.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sacrifice: The Ritual

Animal sacrifice having been one of the primary expressions of public worship in the old days, the ancestors took it pretty much for granted, and as a result, there are, rather surprisingly, no step-by-step descriptions in the surviving literature of how sacrifices were actually performed.

So here's the entire ritual, as reconstructed by Classicist Ken Dowden in his 2000 book European Paganism: The Realities of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (174).

Just in time for Pantheacon.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Whenever I read of sacrificial animals I start thinking community barbecue. From what I've read in archaeology the shift to grain

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Tribe of Deicides

The world began with a sacrifice.

That's how the ancestors saw it, 6000 years ago.

6000 years later, that's still how witches see it.

Throughout Indo-Europeandom (and beyond it as well), one finds tales of the Primal Sacrifice. A divine or semi-divine being is killed; from his body, the world as we know it is created.

And so sacrifice becomes the central rite of public worship. Every sacrifice reenacts—reembodies—that primal, cosmogonic sacrifice.

Every sacrifice recreates the world.

Moreover, this is a true story. Truly, life lives on life. No matter what kind of -vore you are, others die so that you can eat them and live.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stag Rune

Apparently, they hadn't changed the marquee since Holy Week.

He died for you, it read.

Well, there's the difference between the Old Ways and the New, I think, driving past: It's all in the tense.

One's about sin.

The other, food.

The Horned dies to feed us every day.

If he didn't, we'd starve.

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  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    "He dies for you" --really beautiful thoughts here. Thanks so much!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree of Sacrifice

The stang, or “Devil's Cross,” is the forked pole that, in Old Craft usage, represents the Horned.

It's a Tree of Life.

It's also a Tree of Death.

At the great temple of Uppsala in Sweden, they used to hang the bodies of sacrifices—strange and terrible fruit—from the trees of the sacred grove.

If you've ever seen the gutted carcass of a deer strung up from a branch to bleed out, you'll understand.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Animal Souls

There's very little about animal afterlife in heathen mythology, and it's all pretty tenuous. There is a vague idea of sea dogs on Nehellenia's boat, the dog and oar being two of her symbols, in addition to the cornucopia. Some consider her to be the same goddess as Zisa. The boat may be a symbol of the afterlife journey, that is, boat as psychopomp. That would be consistent with using boats in funerals and with making boat shaped graves, both of which are historical practices. So, a dog and boat depicted together could be interpreted to mean that dogs which traveled with warriors at sea accompany them to their afterlife. As I said, pretty tenuous. Unfortunately the written lore is only a tiny piece of what the ancients would have known.

I've always liked the idea of the multipartite soul from the moment I first read about it. The idea is that there are many parts to the soul, parts that can go on to an afterlife, parts that return in the family line or in someone named after one, parts that are recycled into something completely different, parts that just stop, in an individual sense, but go on everywhere else (breath, for example, just stops for the individual, but that doesn't affect the idea of breath, or anyone else's breath.) I don't know if animals are just like people in that way or not. I think they do have souls, though, based on my gnosis. 

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