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Author Topic: Human sacrifice  (Read 38102 times)
Collinsky
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« Topic Start: August 24, 2010, 10:17:09 pm »

If you are following a path that has a historical connection to ritual human sacrifice (whether proven or simply probable) - how do you see that in the modern world? Do you enact some sort of symbolic sacrifices (like burning a poppet) to serve a similar purpose in your worship? Or do you feel that it was something entirely for another culture in another time, and not something that is significant to your path?

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« Reply #1: August 24, 2010, 10:24:16 pm »

If you are following a path that has a historical connection to ritual human sacrifice (whether proven or simply probable) - how do you see that in the modern world? Do you enact some sort of symbolic sacrifices (like burning a poppet) to serve a similar purpose in your worship? Or do you feel that it was something entirely for another culture in another time, and not something that is significant to your path?

Not significant to me. Ancient Druids also went without birth control or basic hygiene - am I supposed to emulate that, too? Wink

I'm not on a recon path, but I think at a certain point one must concede that religious activity is very much a product of the time and place in which it was practiced.
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« Reply #2: August 24, 2010, 10:25:19 pm »

If you are following a path that has a historical connection to ritual human sacrifice (whether proven or simply probable) - how do you see that in the modern world? Do you enact some sort of symbolic sacrifices (like burning a poppet) to serve a similar purpose in your worship? Or do you feel that it was something entirely for another culture in another time, and not something that is significant to your path?



While I am aware of the cosmological reasoning behind human (and other types) of sacrifice in an I-E cultural context, I haven't made a decision on whether to incorporate human sacrifice (symbolic, of course) into my practice. I do however like Erynn Rowan Laurie's essay on the subject, particularly the idea of substituting cognate plant material for human.
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« Reply #3: August 24, 2010, 10:51:13 pm »


The Mesoamerican recons I've encountered have offered their own blood.  (Often using sterile lancets such as those diabetics use to get blood for blood sugar tests.)
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« Reply #4: August 24, 2010, 11:00:24 pm »

The Mesoamerican recons I've encountered have offered their own blood.  (Often using sterile lancets such as those diabetics use to get blood for blood sugar tests.)

I come close to passing out every time the doctors take blood for tests - I can't imagine having the stones to actually give blood in that manner myself. Although I wonder what they do with the blood afterward?
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« Reply #5: August 24, 2010, 11:08:05 pm »

I come close to passing out every time the doctors take blood for tests - I can't imagine having the stones to actually give blood in that manner myself. Although I wonder what they do with the blood afterward?

The lancets for testing your blood are tiny and short.  They produce at most a drop or two - just enough to cover the receptive dot on the test strip.  (diabetic here). 

If I am going to do this I usually use the blood to anoint a candle or to underscore something written on paper.  Occasionally it will go into something I drink or pour out.  That small amount is enough, in my opinion, to convey the energies I am trying to work with and disposal isn't really an issue.

Mind, I don't worship any gods for whom blood sacrifice is a major deal - I mostly use it to tie magic down rather than as an element in  worship.

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« Reply #6: August 24, 2010, 11:10:52 pm »


Okay, gotcha. A couple drops makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking.
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« Reply #7: August 25, 2010, 01:03:53 am »

Not significant to me. Ancient Druids also went without birth control or basic hygiene - am I supposed to emulate that, too? Wink

I'm not on a recon path, but I think at a certain point one must concede that religious activity is very much a product of the time and place in which it was practiced.

To be fair, lack of birth control or hygene were not religious practices. Human sacrifice was. Iy seems to me shallow/flippant to dismiss the issue as one that is on a par with the issues you mentioned. Are you aware of the religious significance of human sacrifice within Celtic religion and believe that it is no longer relevant, or are you unaware and uninterested, aware but not willing, etc.?
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« Reply #8: August 25, 2010, 01:46:53 am »

To be fair, lack of birth control or hygene were not religious practices. Human sacrifice was. Iy seems to me shallow/flippant to dismiss the issue as one that is on a par with the issues you mentioned. Are you aware of the religious significance of human sacrifice within Celtic religion and believe that it is no longer relevant, or are you unaware and uninterested, aware but not willing, etc.?

I'm aware, not willing, and don't think it matters anymore in society. My point was that just because something happened in the past doesn't mean it should be replicated. Granted, it never occurred to me that human sacrifice could be performed in effigy - not something I'd ever make part of my practice, but to each their own.
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« Reply #9: August 25, 2010, 01:58:13 am »

I come close to passing out every time the doctors take blood for tests - I can't imagine having the stones to actually give blood in that manner myself. Although I wonder what they do with the blood afterward?
You could use the SMBG kits that diabetics use to test their blood sugar. The tool gives a swift jab to your finger that you don't feel, that produces a few good drops of blood (I don't know how much you'd need?)............just thought I'd throw that out there  Wink
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« Reply #10: August 25, 2010, 02:03:09 am »

I'm aware, not willing, and don't think it matters anymore in society. My point was that just because something happened in the past doesn't mean it should be replicated. Granted, it never occurred to me that human sacrifice could be performed in effigy - not something I'd ever make part of my practice, but to each their own.

I respect your opinion and understand and agree with your position that just because the ancients did it, modern practitioners should too. You're very right in pointing out that we don't live in ancient times anymore. That said, what is your thought around the lack of relevance of this type of sacrifice in the contemporary world?
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« Reply #11: August 25, 2010, 02:12:39 am »

I respect your opinion and understand and agree with your position that just because the ancients did it, modern practitioners should too. You're very right in pointing out that we don't live in ancient times anymore. That said, what is your thought around the lack of relevance of this type of sacrifice in the contemporary world?

I think the visceral reaction comes from the idea of taking a human life and, even in effigy, replicating that practice today. Barring someone breaking through my house and trying to hurt my family, I don't ever think it would be right for me to kill someone, and the idea of offering that death to the gods just doesn't sit right with me. It's even more disturbing to think of the gods (especially today) accepting that sort of gift.
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« Reply #12: August 25, 2010, 03:01:30 am »

If you are following a path that has a historical connection to ritual human sacrifice (whether proven or simply probable) - how do you see that in the modern world? Do you enact some sort of symbolic sacrifices (like burning a poppet) to serve a similar purpose in your worship? Or do you feel that it was something entirely for another culture in another time, and not something that is significant to your path?

A number of festival practices I'm interested in generally involved a full-on sacrifice of a human body (in some cases, the person had the entire miasma of the village laid upon them, and they were killed; in other cases, the person had killed the god [usually an animal] and was killed himself), way back when, but were generally toned down, ranging from being ritualistically whipped, to poppets, or using an animal (like a goat or a bull-calf). Its not exactly something I can ignore. However, it's not something thats been asked of me so far, and while I've toyed with the idea of blood offerings, I haven't taken a step in that direction.

So.. significant, but not necessary at this point in time for me.
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« Reply #13: August 25, 2010, 03:01:54 am »

I think the visceral reaction comes from the idea of taking a human life and, even in effigy, replicating that practice today. Barring someone breaking through my house and trying to hurt my family, I don't ever think it would be right for me to kill someone...

I think that this is a very personal response and I would like to seperate my respect for it from the questions I have on the next to bits.

Not that they're discrespectful questions, but that I find that questioning personal things benefits from a considerate approach and text can be crap for that sort of thing Smiley

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..the idea of offering that death to the gods just doesn't sit right with me. ...

Can/will you elaborate on what you mean by 'doeasn't sit right'? Stream of consciousness would help as a starter, if it's hard to put into a whole picture.

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...It's even more disturbing to think of the gods (especially today) accepting that sort of gift.

What is disturbing? The offering? What's being offered? Other? How does the current era relate to the gods' acceptence (or otherwise) of the gift?
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« Reply #14: August 25, 2010, 03:39:30 am »

I think that this is a very personal response and I would like to seperate my respect for it from the questions I have on the next to bits.

Not that they're discrespectful questions, but that I find that questioning personal things benefits from a considerate approach and text can be crap for that sort of thing Smiley

Thank you for being sensitive and asking thought-provoking questions. Now that I've had time to think about it, I'm seeing that I've got a lot of defensive reactions in regards to this topic, which has me surprised. I'll try to do better about articulating myself.

Quote
Can/will you elaborate on what you mean by 'doeasn't sit right'? Stream of consciousness would help as a starter, if it's hard to put into a whole picture.

What is disturbing? The offering? What's being offered? Other? How does the current era relate to the gods' acceptence (or otherwise) of the gift?

I suppose the reason actual human sacrifice disturbs me is the fact someone had to be killed for it to happen. Whatever the thoughts were on the proper use of prisoners of war, or the desires of the gods, the modern values I was raised with tell me that murder is wrong. Human life is sacred, and the act of killing should have very good justification behind it (for example, in self-defense of oneself or loved ones, or in capital punishment involving serial killers). To me, "because (I think that/my culture or religion tells me that) the gods want me to" isn't a nearly good enough excuse.

Going to why I don't like the idea of gods accepting that sort of sacrifice... because murder is such a Very Bad Thing in my eyes, I don't like thinking that my gods are associated with Very Bad Things. I acknowledge that most of the gods we have written myths for were/are involved in some pretty terrible things, though I think that there's a deity, and then there's the deity as represented by a certain author, in a certain time period, writing with as much bias as an author today. And with the relationships I've kindled over the years, I can't imagine ever being okay with the gods I know and love accepting a human sacrifice. That's condoning actual murder - not the mythological or figurative kind, but the real kind - and that's not right by me.

Finally, as far as my dislike of human effigy goes... an effigy is supposed to be a stand-in of the real thing. Since I view literal human sacrifice as unjustified murder, I have a hard time understanding why someone would want to reproduce that, even without the loss of human life. However, since there are definitely intentions other than that (even if I can't think of them right now), if the intent of the sacrifice is clearly stated and there's a certain reasoning there for why someone wants to include that... I'd be willing to listen. I don't think I could participate in that ritual, but I would try to understand it.

I hope that makes more sense.
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