This entry was requested to be entered by dA-pagans member asleeplikewolves, she wished to put forward, one of the more controversial topics of sacrifice. Since this is a very eclectic group and there are members from many different paths here, I figured it might be healthy to get a good discussion going about it.
"Sacrifices vs. Offerings
As a public Pagan, I've seen offerings of all kinds freely and happily given. Gathered through a decade of personal study and experience with many public groups, the characteristics of offerings are:
gifts given to a variety of entities, from land spirits to the Elements, the Fae, or the Ancestors
usually in the form of food and drink, but can include poetry, music, or crafts
can also be organic items like flowers, seeds, tobacco, etc.
the act of giving is a carefree, light-hearted one, usually carried at the close of a ritual
What I very rarely see, or even hear talk of, is the practice of making a sacrifice, which I believe is one of the most important personal acts that any Pagan who believes in and prays to any of the Gods should be carrying out. Again, through personal study and public experiences, the characteristics of sacrifices are:
given to the Gods in exchange for Their acting on our behalf, answering prayers, offering protection, etc.
the nature of the sacrifice is specifically chosen based on the personality of the Deity. For example, the Morrígan, a Goddess of battle and corpses, would probably appreciate a sacrifice of rotted meat to represent carrion. However, Artemis, a Goddess of hunting and animals, would more likely appreciate a hide or venison that was gathered from a deer that you personally hunted yourself. There are as many examples are there are Gods in the world, and innovation can be key in choosing the appropriate sacrifice.
sacrifices are willfully given, but they should be hard to give as well. They should cost money, or be of very high emotional value. If appropriate, your own personal pain should also be a part of them.
whatever is given as a sacrifice is something that you will never get back.
A few words about blood sacrifice:
If you are drawing your own blood, be familiar with basic human anatomy. Do not cut across your entire palm with a knife, as seen on TV!
The safest and most organized method of giving blood sacrifice is to use the same test strips used by diabetics to prick their fingers. You can usually get several drops of blood from that, you don't risk damaging important structures in your hands or other areas of your body, and they heal very quickly without a huge risk of infection.
Since this is a pretty G-rated group usually, I figure that getting into the topic of animal sacrifice might not be as appropriate for everyone, though I will definitely discuss it if there is interest. I wanted to keep this pretty short, but let me know if you want more detail or an example of a ritual, or something like that. Thanks!"
Well, there you have it. I think offerings to deity is something not a lot of people incorporate into their rituals any more. And although I don't believe in killing animals for sacrifice, as I personally am Wiccan, and it would go against the Wiccan Rede, I know there are many people that follow very different paths. As for the blood sacrifice, definitely take heed of that! We don't want pints of blood being lost, be safe!
If anyone has any questions, leave them in the comments, or direct them to asleeplikewolves, and she will most likely reply. And please, no hateful comments, if you don't agree with it, ignore it, or if you feel you absolutely must say something, keep it nice and civil, thank you!
Until next time, Blessed be! )O(