Usually I don’t comment on internet arguments because I don’t feel what I have to add works one way or the other. But there’s some heated back and forth on the subject of animal sacrifice/blood sacrifice/place of sacrifice in reconstruction in general going on and I thought I might weigh in on how my beliefs have grown and changed since I began practicing Paganism.
There’s the viewpoint in the thread that goes- Why would an animal want to be sacrificed and who are you to use its death to worship a deity? I used to be of this camp myself. I was all tied up on Harm None and for a while, was a self-righteous vegetarian due to health issues. Well, vegetarian due to health-issues, self-righteous because I was annoying. The idea of killing an animal was abhorrent to me because I had not yet read and learned that one of the goals of the person sacrificing the animal was to be as quick and humane as possible and because I personally knew a girl in the past who stole and sacrificed kittens and other household pets… before she was incarcerated, that is. I also had a hang-up with Death itself due to my extremely unhealthy upbringing. I had a lot of issues and I did not understand what was really meant by undertaking this act. I was vehemently against it because I bought into the horror-show view of animal sacrifice my small town past endowed me with.
All I can really say on the issue is- It makes sense to me now. I know, that isn’t really a basis for a blog post and it isn’t deep and interesting or full of insight. But I can understand and (as if it makes any difference at all) agree with why people are moved to sacrifice to their gods and then to share that food with others as well as the deities. I suppose if I’m saying anything at all, I’m saying that it’s possible for the most closed-minded ninny to change because, well, here I am.
On the subject of sacrifice and feeding the gods, I can speak a little more freely on my own practices. When Èlada first made His larger presence known in my life I asked Him- Lord, what can I offer to You? He didn’t seem to want much and none of those things were food, incense, or blood. Motivated partly by reading others’ accounts of their own worship, I straight up asked Him, “What about my blood?” It was then that Èlada gave me explicitly to understand that, in no uncertain terms, that I was. not. to. offer. my. blood. to. Him. He was stern and I could almost see a finger wagging at me. So, what did I do when Virgil landed in the hospital for the third time, as sick as could be? Yeah, I totally disregarded Èlada’s wishes and offered my blood. And we had a row. My, did we have a row. He understood why I did it but, shit woman, I told you not to do it, that I did not want that from you, don’t you ever do that again. If I want blood from you, I will tell you plainly.
As for feeding the gods, that’s a practice I took up at Èlada’s urging some months ago. It began with Him but it has since expanded to include Tethra and Indech as well. On Mondays, I clean the house, purify and seal it spiritually, and then I make oatcakes, which I turn around and offer. It doesn’t count if I don’t have one, so I guess They enjoy sharing food too. Then there are the flesh offerings- That is, if I cook meat, a few times a week, I offer meat from my own plate and eat less. I don’t take extra and on our limited food budget, it’s not like there’s extra to take. These offerings seem to be better accepted than cooking an extra piece of something that I set aside only for Them. I once had a practice in the past of feeding the gods before I met Èlada and the Others but looking back on it, it was nowhere near as well-received as my current practice. I also offer lights, coffee or tea, depending on Who is being honored, and incense on the days I have set aside for each deity. I am considering switching to handmade olive oil or tallow lamps because it has come to seem to me that the candles I currently use are starting to be less well received.
I think for me, it is only natural that I would sacrifice to or go out of my way to feed Those I worship. It fosters a closeness that I can say that we did not have when I was simply praying or even dedicating time and work to Them.