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Moonsmith

Sacrifice

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What is sacrifice in the Pagan world?

What does it achieve?

Who or what initiates it?

How do you decide what to sacrifice/do/give?

Stuff like that!

[Blame Ellinas]

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Blame me, why don't you.  Didn't hold a gun to your head, did I...?

Anyhow...

What is sacrifice in the Pagan world?

A lot less colourful and gory than it used to be.  I rather suspect that most of us would equate it with making an offering.  The concepts are connected, I do not doubt - though the idea of sacrificing a slice of pizza doesn't quite have the ring of authenticity that would attach to a sharp knife and sheep.

More generally, it is what the word implies - "making sacred", i.e. cutting something off from the everyday and devoting it to deity in some way.

That's not to say that there is no mileage in ideas such as work or art as a sacrificial act, though in reality I'd prefer the shade of meaning found in the word "devotional".

What does it achieve?

At worst, nothing.

Often, a warm fuzzy feeling of having done something, however bizarre, for one's deity (bearing in mind that no deity actually needs any of the physical things devoted to them).

But is that all...?

When my father was dying, I made a small offering and asked for his speedy passing (he was in quite a pitiful state).  I later discovered that he died, as far as I can tell, contemporaneously to that offering.  And, I have to say, the offering seemed rather too small for the issue involved - which is why I was not entirely surprised when I lost my wedding ring the next day.

When my wife was ill, I also made an offering/sacrifice - an antique pocket watch.  It still exists.  I know precisely where it is.  I will never again wear it, nor profit from any sale.  Eventually it will pass to the custody of my son - and he will be entirely free to do with it as he sees fit.  But to me, it is something devoted to a particular goddess.

And that's the point, I think.  It is an act of giving. That is it's importance.  The value of what is given is of limited importance - but can become more important when linked to an issue of sufficient weight.  It's not an issue of usefulness to deity, but of cost to the giver.  It is a mark of respect and an indication of willingness to bear a cost.  It achieves whatever the giver seeks to achieve, by and large.

Who or what initiates it?

The giver.  Who else could do so?

How do you decide what to sacrifice/do/give?

Depends.  Often, it's a matter of practicality.  A small pack of sesame seeds pured onto the ground in some bushes is unobtrusive and harmless for marking an acknowledgement of one's deity.  For weightier matters, whatever seems of sufficient value or has the appropriate symbolism.  I do not hold to the idea of any rules or objective requirements, however.  I very much doubt, personally, that deities have any greater preference for specific substances than they have use for them.  The question is the association in the mind of the giver.

Stuff like that!

Can you be more specific?

Edited by Ellinas
Because I can't spell
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3 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Who or what initiates it?

The giver.  Who else could do so?

The deity in question?

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On 13/02/2018 at 1:49 AM, Moonsmith said:

The deity in question?

When the recipient initiates a gift of something that the recipient does not actually need, it's time to start analyzing a relationship.

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I have made offerings even though I don't have a relationship with deities.  For me, it was purely symbolic of gratitude and usually consisted of some small token.  What does it achieve?  For me it serves as a reminder to be grateful when things go right or I am lucky.  It just felt right at the time.  

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On 11/02/2018 at 9:19 PM, Moonsmith said:

What is sacrifice in the Pagan world?

What does it achieve?

Who or what initiates it?

How do you decide what to sacrifice/do/give?

Stuff like that!

[Blame Ellinas]

image.gif

For me, it’s part of the “do ut es”. I give that you might give. It’s transactional.  Sometimes it’s payment, sometimes it’s a gift. The offering depends on the deity and the agreement we come to. 

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6 hours ago, Pomona said:

For me, it’s part of the “do ut es”. I give that you might give. It’s transactional.  Sometimes it’s payment, sometimes it’s a gift. The offering depends on the deity and the agreement we come to. 

To what extent is the WAY you give or behave generally in ritual/liturgy a sacrifice of effort in its own right/rite?  

We Pagans have it pretty cushy when it comes to obligation to our deities but perhaps Religio Romana work a bit harder at it?

Edited by Moonsmith

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