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Author Topic: Human sacrifice  (Read 38688 times)
Mandi
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Religion: ergghhhmmmmnnnnn....
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Did the big meanies break yer speshulness

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« Reply #29: August 25, 2010, 10:27:23 pm »



For other peoples, blood or human life was the most valued, and so was that which was sacrificed. Others sacrificed works of craft or art, pieces that may have taken years to craft and were highly value at the time.


I'm coming back to this, because in cultures that practiced human sacrifice, this is both true, but not.  The worldview of an individual life being of high value is a relatively young one.  I don't see the romance of the current perceptions of human sacrifice as being applicable in an Aztec context.  The individual was largely unimportant.  The 'loss' of an individual was not really 'mourned.'  That person was being given a high compliment to be chosen in some cases.

I was actually reading some pretty nifty stuff on sacred cannibalism that talks about why ritual decapitation in the Aztecs case was significant.  The individual, (Tonalli) resided in the head - the part that guided the day to day functioning, their body, their blood/ heart (Ollin) was where the force - the movement of a person lived (hence the need to give it to the gods, to keep the sun moving across the sky and to repay their sacrifice in creating the sun and the earth) and the more metaphysical spirit (nagual) were considered quite separate in some ways.

The individuals identity was removed, their generative force harvested and offered to the gods and their body, the product of their prosperity was then consumed or ritually disposed of in a way as to represent their prosperity being diverted back into the society.

The individuals significance was secondary and not really a factor of the sacrifice any more than any other ritual sacrifice - the money analogy is actually a good analogy, although rather than burning it it would be more like using it to pay a bill.  The lights stay on, you have the opportunity to generate more money and the individual properties of that bill aren't all that much different from any other of the same numeric value.

The person being sacrificed, was an avatar for their social unit.
Logged

I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir

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