At one time, animal sacrifice was the most common form of public worship in the West.
So what happened to it?
We tend to think of Judaism as mother and Christianity as daughter, but in fact Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism are sister religions that arose at the same time in response to the self-same trauma: the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE.
In ancient Hebrew religion, anyone could build an altar anywhere and offer up sacrifice there, but with the rise of the Jerusalem temple, a hard-fought process of centralization set in which eventually banned sacrifice anywhere else, on the logic of “one god, one temple.”
If I had to characterize Kirk S. Thomas' Sacred Gifts: Reciprocity and the Gods in only two words, it would be: “accessibly profound.”
Don't be put off—as I initially was—by his bantering tone, hyper-colloquial diction, or home-spun analogies. This book speaks as an incisive work of contemporary pagan scholarship and philosophy, and (best of all) points the way forward for future pagan thought.
There can be no relationship without communication. How, then, do we communicate with the gods?
In Sacred Gifts, Thomas answers this question elegantly and authoritatively by beginning with a careful examination of ancestral precedent. From these specifics, he deduces the general principles of the divine economy.
A Hindu festival in Nepal turns down animal sacrifice. Racists gather in Germany to attack refugee asylums. And debates continue about the complex intersection of laws protecting same-sex couples from discrimination and religious liberty laws. That's right, it's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly take on political issues that affect the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
Blót-monað, the ancestors called it: Sacrifice-Month.* Or one could say (as the ancestors did, in their pragmatic way) Blood-month. It still goes on.
Deer-hunting begins this weekend here in Minnesota. Hunting opener is generally the first full weekend of November. (Just coincidence, I'm sure. Yeah, right.) Blood on the leaves.
It's the season of the Dead, yes, but let us not forget what the witches in their wisdom have always remembered: it's also the time of the Rut.** The fawns that Old Green Eyes sires right now will be born about Bealtaine, sure. Blood and spooge: Old Craft in the nutshell.
In today's Watery Wednesday post, we concentrate on news about our Pagan communities and their allies. Big changes at the Wild Hunt; Pagan scholarship prizes; crowdfunding a Pagan funeral; SilverRavenwolf vs. Facebook; and animal sacrifice in Paganism, pro- and -con.
Big news on the Pagan Media front: The Wild Hunt founder and frontman Jason Pitzl-Waters steps down and leaves the keys to TWH media kingdom with new editor Heather Greene.