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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacrifice

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Old Ways Endure

A rural Anabaptist commune in mid-20th century Manitoba seems an unlikely time and place for a sacrifice to a river.

But that is the story that journalist Mary-Ann Kirby tells in her autobiography I Am Hutterite.

Some memories, it would seem, live long indeed.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Whatever Happened to Animal Sacrifice?

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.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Divine Economy

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.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Killing the God

To the best of my knowledge, in the entire 3000-year span of its existence, not once in ancient Egyptian art do we see the death of Osiris at the hands of his brother Set.

If true (and my knowledge of the field is nowhere near exhaustive), this is a remarkable fact, and makes some profound suggestions about the thought-life of the ancients.

What is shown endures. What is shown is empowered. What is shown is made real.

So that the death of a god, the Great Sacrifice, while—terribly so—a necessity, can never in itself be an inherent good.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Indeed. The midnight Resurrection service is one of humanity's great liturgical masterpieces. Until you've been to Orthodox Easter
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    When I was taking my history of western Art class back in the early 80's I remember the teacher mentioning that art in the Eastern
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's a powerful, shocking image, to be sure. As an outsider looking in, it's hard not to see the crucifix as an image that glorif
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Many of us who identify as Christian are also horrified at the fixation on the Crucifixion and how that fixation has twisted and o

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gluten-Free Gods

 Let us recall the kings who died for corn:

 red bread and red drink at Lúnasa of the harvest. 

We were discussing the previous night's old-style witches' sabbat. (“Old Style” as in “just like the woodcuts.”)

Of the housel*—the feasting on the god's flesh and blood—someone suggested provision of a gluten-free option next time around.

Sometimes, I think, we need to be wise enough to listen to the wisdom of other traditions.

In his Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas poses the question: If the body of Christ is present in the consecrated host, just what part of Christ's body is present there? The head? The heart? The phallus?

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Bridges: Some Reflections on the Nature of Sacrifice

At 6:05 p. m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis collapsed. Thirteen people were killed.

Thirteen. On Lammas Eve.

Of many rivers, it is said that they require a life every year. The Mississippi, our “strong brown god” (Tom Eliot) takes many more than that. Last year, here in the metro alone, it was 17.

In the old days, they say, they used to offer to rivers. Nowadays, we mostly don't. But the sacrifices continue, as they will while ever the world endures. Willing or unwilling, they offer themselves, because sacrifice is in the nature of things.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Somehow in those moments when our lives touch the Big Things, one can only sit back and wonder. My gods.
  • Celeste Lovecharm
    Celeste Lovecharm says #
    My husband crossed that bridge just moments before that happened. He had decided to leave a few minutes early that day. Otherwise

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Blood Month

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.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I am entirely convinced that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more central to our paganism than what and how we eat. Do we li
  • Jim
    Jim says #
    Like most people in the U.S. I have absolutely no need or intention of eating wild animals. Even those who are so abysmally mundan

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