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September 5, 2012
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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:

:bulletblack: gifts given to a variety of entities, from land spirits to the Elements, the Fae, or the Ancestors
:bulletblack: usually in the form of food and drink, but can include poetry, music, or crafts
:bulletblack: can also be organic items like flowers, seeds, tobacco, etc.
:bulletblack: 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:

:bulletblack: given to the Gods in exchange for Their acting on our behalf, answering prayers, offering protection, etc.
:bulletblack: 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.
:bulletblack: 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.
:bulletblack: whatever is given as a sacrifice is something that you will never get back.

A few words about blood sacrifice:

:bulletblack: 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!
:bulletblack: 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(
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:iconlyingdyingwonderbody:
lyingdyingwonderbody Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Sorry, this may be really out of context:
but does anyone know what happened to the user "asleeplikewolves"?
I really liked her work and would like to stay in touch.
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:iconleathurkatt-tftiggy:
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry, I was not trying to "convince you," but to educate you on things and attitudes you may not have had contact with before. There is a big difference between religious "witnessing" or educating, and "proselytizing" or brow-beating someone into accepting your way of thinking. My mother and I are vehemently against that! And saying "Native American" without qualifying that by naming the nation, and even groups within that nation, says nothing because of the variations of belief and practices within that society, even by family. Just as there are as many colcannon recipes as there are families in Ireland, the same is true in Native American Nations, Bands, and families with regard to their beliefs and practices as each family chooses what practices from their heritage traditions they keep and incorporate into modern beliefs or even to Christian beliefs they choose to adopt.

You are right in that a potent bond is established with an animal that you personally kill (in any way). At least for most of us this is true, because we have not become jaded with the taking of a life. It affects us deeply and stays with us for a long time. However, the bond with a wild hunted animal is completely different from the bond we share with animals we hand raised. It is widely considered more appropriate to sacrifice a domestic animal we hand raised, but in rare occurrences of an unblemished animal that is hunted, the most prized cuts of the meat are given in offering to the deities.

I do think you may be taking the word "perfect" as I have used it a little TOO literally though. "Without (visible) blemish or fault" is the usual requirement for a sacrifice, thus why I have stated repeatedly "without blemish, disease, or parasites" as considered "naturally perfect" as opposed to "literally perfect" as (and I agree with you on this point) literal perfection does not exist in anything no matter what it is because everyone has their own idea of what is perfect And no, the rats and mice you describe are not perfect in any way as they are artificially altered against their natural state. There are some who believe in going to more detailed and exacting standards than simply "without blemish, disease, or parasites, but that is not necessarily "required."

We must each learn and determine our own path and belief system. This usually changes through the years as we learn and experience more. That is the purpose of this discussion thread, to learn from each other. To be honest, I have enjoyed this discussion, as I do with many such discussions. In talking about our personal stances on issues, we learn from one another, and are exposed to sources of information new to us, then we can take that knowledge and apply it to change or greater affirm our position on the matter. It is sometimes difficult for people to talk about such things without taking the comments personally. My statements were not directed at any one person, only the practices and belief itself. Reading through all the statements posted so far, we all have much more in common than we have in opposition to one another in practice.

Taking the information I have offered as a personal attack upon your own beliefs is also a bit excessive, as it appears in your responses. What I have stated in my posts are not a matter of personal opinion, but are points of fact as I have researched and educated myself on a large number of beliefs through independent study and research since as early as six years of age and taught by my mother and others since earlier than that. Please understand the difference between factual research and matters of opinion. **smiles**

I am a firm believer in citing my sources. Some of my sources that I can share with you include: The Cheyenne, by John H. Moore (Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, who lived with the Northern and Southern Cheyenne in the early 1970's, and was approved to be taught by an elder in the community.), Dog Soldiers, Bear Men, and Buffalo Women, also released as Plains Indians, by Thomas E. Mails, and The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt ;and of course the Old Testament in The Bible where it talks about sacrifices (Exodus 29). These should be available on Amazon or Alibris and easily obtainable. I can offer additional sources as well if necessary from other cultures.
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:iconasleeplikewolves:
asleeplikewolves Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
It's just extremely presumptuous of you to assume that I haven't been educated, and that I need to be educated by an anonymous person on the internet. You don't know about my academic or religious background. You aren't the first person who has said what you are saying, in the end-all manner in which you are saying it. What you're saying is a matter of opinion: you don't have the relationship I do with my Gods, it's extremely obvious that we do not practice a similar religion at all, nothing I do is informed by any Native American nation's traditions (and I am completely aware that there are different nations; that original statement was supposed to be general and is irrelevant anyway), and nothing I do is informed by Abrahamic traditions.

My belief system has changed over the years, but not because of any person other than myself. I've already said that I appreciated your views, but disagree with them. You've continued to tell me how I've been wrong. I find your patronizing advice telling me to understand the difference between factual research and matters of opinion to be incredibly misguided and immature. You might be factually researching beliefs, but those are still beliefs, nothing more than glorified opinions. I respect yours, yet I disagree with them. Stop trying to change mine. I can't understand why you're so invested in correcting the ways others perform sacrifice.

Some of my own citations:
The Cult of the Sun, Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt, by Rosalie David. The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Early Irish Myths and Sagas, Witchcraft in Europe, by Kors and Peters, as well a decade of workshops among many different Pagan churches, dealing mostly within Celtic and Egyptian constructs. If you need more, then you can let me know.
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:iconleathurkatt-tftiggy:
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If your beliefs have nothing to do with Native Americans, then why did you state such as if you know all about it and practice it? If you are not of Native American faith, then why attach yourself to the wolf, a long established Native Tribal Totem? Or are you following Nordic faith and praying to Fenrisúlfr (Fenris)? I have done the research into factual cultural practices established and practiced for thousands of years. Not a single part of anything that I have said has anything to do with opinions, mine or others.

I have noticed from your comments and conversations on this journal as well as on the Weekly Spell Corner III [link] which I posted, you appear to be aggressively opinionated and excessively defensive when such is unnecessary. You balk at and call CatalystSpark and myself "patronizing" yet neither of us are as you describe. He was being very polite to you, yet you attacked him for disagreeing with you? And now you are attacking me as well when all I have done is offer others facts and options regarding sacrifices and offerings (let alone after attacking my original Spell Corner III posting)?

To be bluntly honest, you sound less like an informed practitioner of Pagan Craft and more like a badly misinformed and deliberately argumentative person dabbling in something that should not be taken so casually. The Pagan Craft (Witchcraft) is in fact a religious and cultural practice, and to say that an Atheist could also practice Witchcraft, as well as stating that the "Three Fold Law/Karma/etc" are false and that you don't believe in it so it doesn't affect you at all shows just how ignorant you really are. Atheists do not believe in any form of deity or spiritual figure, while Witchcraft by its very definition follows practices and rituals centered on deities and spiritual beings. Also, the Three Fold Law/Karma are as real as the Law of Gravity, and while you can ignore it and pretend it does not exist all you want, it will still affect you and your life whether you acknowledge it or not.

Also, citing the Egyptian Book of the Dead is the same as saying "Native American" without qualifying which one. I personally have 3 different copies of the Book of the Dead and all three are translated differently by different people. Thus while generally similar as they are all translated from the same text, their interpretation varies greatly between each one. And that's just with the three I have, there are significantly more than that. I have studied Celtic, Norse, Greek-Roman, and ancient Egyptian culture since childhood so I know well those cultural practices, not just Native American and Judeo-Christian cultures.

I think you would greatly benefit from the Lesson of the Great Smoking Mirror. Perhaps you should look within yourself and find why you are so angry, defensive, and argumentative with others, especially with those like myself who have had a lifetime of research and practice in our faith and culture. None of us knows everything, but some are more knowledgeable than others, and as a lifetime practitioner and researcher, duly Ordained as an Eclectic Spiritualist Pagan, I would not offer words that are not of truth.

End of Line...
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:iconasleeplikewolves:
asleeplikewolves Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
Okay. My dA name has to do with an ongoing artistic project that I've been working on for quite some time. It has to do with a series of totally fictional characters and an over-all theme that most of my work reflects, a portion of which is viewable on dA. It has nothing to do with totems, Paganism, or anything else of that matter.

For everything else, I'll just go ahead and agree with you. My own research and 10 years of practical experience can clearly not be counted in the face of someone who's been studying such topics since before they were six years old. I'll refrain from participating in the group in the future, as I've clearly been so terrible to everyone here. It's much easier that way.
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:iconleathurkatt-tftiggy:
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
**nods** Very well then, fair enough. Interesting project, I hope it goes well.

I think you are taking this too personally. **shakes head** But, that is your choice. I do hope you consider what I have said and take an honest look at yourself and how you respond to others, as well as some personal soul searching and meditation. Hopefully you can find peace, and understand that I was only trying to share my knowledge and experience and hoping to learn more as you were sharing yours. A discussion about our shared yet widely varied culture and practices as Pagans, not a series of personal attacks. I am truly sorry that it has come to this, but we all must do what we feel is best for ourselves. Blessed Be.
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:iconasleeplikewolves:
asleeplikewolves Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
I felt attacked because I never told anyone that their beliefs or practices were wrong, but was told such myself more than once..
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:iconleathurkatt-tftiggy:
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
All I can say is that if a lot of people from a lot of different paths are telling you the same thing, perhaps you should listen to them and discern why rather than lashing out and calling them "patronizing", or worse. **tilts head** Just a thought.
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:iconasleeplikewolves:
asleeplikewolves Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
Well, you're the first two...ever. *tilts head*
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(1 Reply)
:iconleathurkatt-tftiggy:
Leathurkatt-TFTiggy Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
As I said in this comment here --> [link] it is the fact that our society is so divorced from our food that people view sacrifices as evil when they are not. I was raised with quite a mixed bag of things: My mother is Southern Baptist and she also raised me with our Cheyenne heritage beliefs, my parents took me to Black Powder Rendezvous and I grew up going to Pow Wows. We had friends who had working animals such as horses, dogs, and cats, as well as food animals like cattle, chickens, and rabbits. I knew very well where my food came from and how it gets from the pasture to the table, every stage of it. As an adult I got into Midieval Recreationism and while at a demonstration event, I was utterly shocked to see a 10 year old girl standing there with a horror stricken look on her face when she was told (by someone in character) that the meat being prepared came from a cow that was no longer able to produce milk. **facepalms** It was then that I realized how blindly segrigated from our food sources we have become as a society, slowly brainwashed into obedient unthinking sheep following what authority figures tell us and forbidding us anything that is not on their "approved list".

Offerings are things we give that are part of daily life, such as a plate of food, a poem or prayer we wrote, incense, stones, and similar items. Sacrifices are things we give that come at a cost to us, such as money or an animal. Offerings and sacrifices are both equally important and both must be carefully prepared and kept sacred for their intended purpose. An animal sacrifice in my mind is where a cherished animal, usually a prized and well cared for food animal, is gently taken, prepared in ritual, quickly and cleanly killed, its blood gathered in a special vessel and placed upon an altar for the ritual, then its meat carved and cooked carefully and with deep prayer for a ritual feast, then its hide is specially tended and tanned for ritual purposes (from use as an altar covering to being made into ritual garb, medicine bundles and shields, and other sacred items), and the bones carved and made into ritual tools and fetish items. Thus unlike a general food animal killed for every day purpose, the sacrificial animal is exceptionally well cared for, protected from injury, illness, and parasites, and kept as clean and well tended as possible for the life of the animal to keep it pure and suitable for the sacrifice. This was done in biblical times as well as long before Christianity came into being, and it is the right and proper way to do it.

Now that is not to say that other animals are not well cared for, only that the intended sacrifice is given extra special care to keep it as clean and pure as possible, literally over and above what we do for our so very important food animals and our beloved companion animals, or even for ourselves. The word sacrifice should not be treated as a dirty word, but treated as it should be, a word for a sacred act that is over and above our daily or weekly offerings.
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