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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacrifice

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
Messy Religion

Blood spraying, semen squirting.

Libations splashing, incense dropping ash.

Paganism sure is messy.

Well, the Old Ways are religions of life, and what life isn't, is neat and tidy.

One could say the same for pagan thought. Theology we have; systematic it isn't.

Messy religion. Not to everyone's taste, perhaps.

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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
Interview with a Cauldron

It's generally conceded that the far-famed Gundestrup "Cauldron" was used in ritual.

Assuming, then, that "form follows function," can we hazard any guesses about what sort of rituals those might have been?

The Gundestrup Cauldron is a container.

Chances are, it was made to hold offerings. It seems likely that these would have been liquid offerings; libations are known universally throughout the Indo-European-speaking culture sphere.

The Cauldron as libation-bowl.

One possibility might be libations of beverages: water, milk, mead, wine, beer.

The Cauldron as blood-bowl.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Ancient Crete Was No Utopia

One of the dangers of having an ancient civilization as the focus of our spirituality is the tendency to view that culture through rose-colored glasses. That’s especially tempting when it comes to ancient Crete and the Minoan civilization that flourished there in the third and second millennium BCE.

There are so many positive aspects of Minoan culture: Women had high status and the Goddess was revered. Minoan cities and towns had paved streets, enclosed sewers, and flush toilets. The Minoans appear not to have had any sort of military, choosing instead to invest all their energy and wealth into what was probably the largest merchant fleet in the Mediterranean at the time, so their society was prosperous and relatively peaceful.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Do You Do With Old Offerings?

If you build the candy cottage, the children will come.

If you build a temple, people will come and, being pagans, they will, of course, bring offerings.

Offerings belong to the god, which makes them (by definition) sacred. So what do you do with them when they begin to pile up?

With consumables, that's one thing. Libations are poured out onto the ground. Token amounts of food are placed onto the earth (but never directly; they should always be placed on a layer of something biodegradable: leaves, grass, sticks). Food offerings in quantity traditionally revert to the temple staff; part of the god's responsibility to his people is to see that they're fed. (Richard Reidy calls this “reversion of offerings.”)

But the non-consumable offerings, what of them?

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