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Author Topic: Celtic Recon and Sacrificing?  (Read 3223 times)
Áine
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« Topic Start: December 13, 2007, 10:55:02 pm »

I literally just started to look at Celtic Reconstructionism (proper term?) and I saw that one of the general beliefs is sacrificing.  This is not something I would consider as a part of my religious practice.  Does this mean I am not able to be considered a celtic recon if I chose not to do this?  Are there any other options?  I need to clear this up before I move on Smiley
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« Reply #1: December 13, 2007, 11:18:29 pm »

This is not something I would consider as a part of my religious practice.

Do you mean you wouldn't consider sacrifice in general as a good thing, or have you gotten the impression that it is human or animal sacrifice specifically that is being talked about?

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« Reply #2: December 13, 2007, 11:21:52 pm »

I literally just started to look at Celtic Reconstructionism (proper term?) and I saw that one of the general beliefs is sacrificing.  This is not something I would consider as a part of my religious practice.  Does this mean I am not able to be considered a celtic recon if I chose not to do this?  Are there any other options?  I need to clear this up before I move on Smiley

I think you might be confusing "sacrifice" with "offering," the latter of which is very much a part the Celtic mentality, or at least identifying sacrifice with "blood-letting" or "killing creatures." Am I wrong here?

Offerings are very much a part of CR because hospitality, gratitude and respect for others is very much a big part of CR. We give gifts, of time, material things, food, love to everyone in our lives--the same principle applies to the spirits and deities. We show our gratitude and our regard for them by giving offerings. More often, the actual nature of the offering is a personal thing, determined by the deity and the practitioner, with cues from the lore. Offerings can be as small or as large as you like--an offering of smoke from a candle is just as good as a donation of one thousand dollars to a charity. It is the intent behind the offering, the giving, that is what counts.

Sacrifice is more of a matter of definition--some might see it as a more extreme version of an offering, or a larger offering than usual--say, like a pilgrimage to a holy site or fasting for a month, as opposed to a bowl of milk and a small plate of food. When one sacrifices, one truly gives of oneself ; whether that means literally or more metaphorically up to the practitioner. Again, it is the intent that is important. If you feel it is necessary to call what you give a "sacrifice," you may do so, though it does imply a certain reluctance to give what you are giving.

So it's up to you whether you wish to make offerings; deciding not to is not going to make you less "Celtic" or "Celtic Recon", though many will question your motives, given the importance of hospitality. Generally, offerings are given freely because we wish the good services of the spirits and deities we work with, knowing that we will be given good in return. We give because we want to, and feel it should be done. Offerings are made from the heart, and if your heart isn't in it, perhaps it's best to leave it alone.
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« Reply #3: December 14, 2007, 01:13:53 am »

I literally just started to look at Celtic Reconstructionism (proper term?) and I saw that one of the general beliefs is sacrificing.  This is not something I would consider as a part of my religious practice.  Does this mean I am not able to be considered a celtic recon if I chose not to do this?  Are there any other options?  I need to clear this up before I move on Smiley

What Finn said.

I'd add that, in my own personal practice, I think more in terms of "offering" than "sacrifice".  I'm not sure why -- it's probably some holdover of a negative connotation to the word "sacrifice".  (I had similar problems with "worship" and "prayer".)

My offerings to Brighid take a couple of different forms.  Every night, I offer flame.  On the rare occasion that I have a beer of other alcoholic drink, I pour out the first part to Her (under the oak tree next to my house).  My work as an advocate, and my hobby as a lighting desinger, are both dedicated to Her, and so could be considered offerings.  Every now and then I'll find something -- a rock or a coin or something -- that makes me think of Her, so those things go into my offering jar.  They are little gifties, I guess.  I don't know what I'll do with them ultimately.

Just a few examples of offerings.

I also agree completely with Finn about the importance of hospitality.
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« Reply #4: December 14, 2007, 10:04:30 am »

I literally just started to look at Celtic Reconstructionism (proper term?) and I saw that one of the general beliefs is sacrificing.  This is not something I would consider as a part of my religious practice.  Does this mean I am not able to be considered a celtic recon if I chose not to do this?  Are there any other options?  I need to clear this up before I move on Smiley

It does sound as if you are equating “sacrifice” with the offering of something dead that was once living. However, most make a sharp distinct separation of “sacrifice” and “offering”. How you make those distinctions is entirely up to you but we can tell you how we approach the subject ourselves.

For me, an offering is seen as something small and usually involves a material object like food, drink, stones, feathers, etc. Basically, it’s something that took very little effort on my part to obtain and is equally easy for me to lose. Now, a sacrifice is something bigger. I see sacrifices as big objects, things that took a long time and a lot of energy for me to obtain or create. For me a sacrifice could include volunteering for a shelter, an art work like a painting or novel, or another long term project dedicated to my chosen deity. Very often a sacrifice is done for another living person in the name of a deity rather than just given to the deity. It’s something that benefits everyone and shows your dedication to your moral and religious standing.

IMO, most Pagan religions are going to include both offerings and sacrifices in some shape or form. They do not, however, need to be food based or include meat.
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« Reply #5: December 14, 2007, 12:06:54 pm »

I literally just started to look at Celtic Reconstructionism (proper term?) and I saw that one of the general beliefs is sacrificing.  This is not something I would consider as a part of my religious practice.  Does this mean I am not able to be considered a celtic recon if I chose not to do this?  Are there any other options?  I need to clear this up before I move on Smiley

How well do you understand the word "sacrifice"? I mean no offense, but if it's enough to make you have problems with a religion, then I'd guess not very well. There's a common connotation to the word, but it's not its entire meaning.

"Sacrifice" comes from the Latin word "sacrare"  and means "to make sacred or holy" To sacrifice is literally to separate something from the everyday world and give it to the gods or other beings of worship (ancestors, nature spirits etc)...so basically, "offering" and "sacrifice" are fairly synonymous.

If it's the idea of animal sacrifice which is so distateful, consider this: Do you eat meat? Animals killed in religious sacrifice are generally slaughtered in a way that is far more respectful and humane than the cow from which you get your average cheeseburger. Also, animals meant for sacrifice are also generally treated far better during their lives than most of the animals that give us the meat in the grocery store. Now, of course animal sacrifice is extremely rare, but it happens. I've never encountered a CR who's actually performed any such sacrifice. Though I've heard of it once or twice among Hellenic reconstructionists. Some people though, will buy meat from the grocery store or butcher and make sacrifice of that.

Speaking from a Hellenic perspective, Animal sacrifices were not part of the everyday religion, but took place as part of major festivals. The animal/s to be sacrificed would be given by wealthy members of the community. In many cases, the parts given to the gods were that which cannot be consumed by humans, and the rest was eaten by the people participating in the festival. It's very likely that many of the folks only ate meat at these festivals because they could not afford to at other times.
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« Reply #6: December 14, 2007, 09:04:00 pm »

I think you might be confusing "sacrifice" with "offering," the latter of which is very much a part the Celtic mentality, or at least identifying sacrifice with "blood-letting" or "killing creatures." Am I wrong here?

Quote
Offerings can be as small or as large as you like--an offering of smoke from a candle is just as good as a donation of one thousand dollars to a charity. It is the intent behind the offering, the giving, that is what counts.



No, you are right here.  I just assumed that's what was meant *slaps forehead*

Beautifully said, thank you (the second quote)

Thank you, everyone for clearing that up for me Smiley
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 10:52:47 pm by RandallS, Reason: Quote BBCode corrected (I hope) » Logged


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