Sacrifice bridges the worlds

While these days I consider myself foremost a spirit-worker, I have built my spiritual practice on a strong foundation of devotion. I have always been an ecstatic, a mystic, but without ever neglecting the fundamentals of polytheistic worship, such as prayer, offerings and sacrifice. For one thing, it is a constant reminder that “it’s not about us,” which is important in order to keep the ego in check. And giving to the gods connects us to them, even during those times we can’t feel it (which happen, even for the ecstatics and mystics). Making an offering can be a request for help, a symbol of gratitude, an expression of love, an act of discipline, a reminder of our vows, a pledge, and all these things together at once. But it is also magic.

When we make an offering or sacrifice to the gods, we are in essence parting the veil and connecting the worlds. We offer a piece of Here to the realm of There. The act of dedicating the material to the spiritual creates a channel through which power flows. It creates the very sacred space through which the holy substance of the thing can be transferred to the spirit world, to the gods. Sacrifice literally does make sacred, as its etymology implies.

That arc of wine poured onto the earth in libation is a bridge between the worlds. And for those of us who are witches and shamans and mystics in addition to worshippers, it is a bridge we can tread. We can slip into that opening created by sacrifice to commune and communicate, as we wish, with the gods and spirits. When we see it for what it is, the act of offering itself can alter consciousness. If you consider it, it’s an amazing thing – through intention and ritual (both are important), we take some simple physical thing and hand it to the gods. Even if we can’t see Them take it, even if we can’t feel it, an exchange has taken place, the worlds have briefly touched. And we can, in fact, learn to see and feel it, and take full advantage of that holiness that is created through giving.

(And this adds another consideration to the act of animal sacrifice. To dedicate not just an object but a life to the gods opens a powerful channel, as the process of death itself blurs the boundaries between the worlds and lets a soul pass through. Which is yet another reason – and there are many – that any such sacrifice should be carried out flawlessly, with deep respect to the living creature and solemn dedication to the holy powers, by specialists skilled both in the physical and metaphysical elements. A channel of that magnitude should not be opened carelessly, or improperly, or with any stain of cruelty.)

~ by Dver on January 22, 2012.

8 Responses to “Sacrifice bridges the worlds”

  1. I think that the bridge created is the misunderstood thing. The need and nature of sacrifice is misunderstood, or deliberately twisted.
    There’s not enough on the internet, or in books, saying “It’s serving the spirits, not being served by them.” – it’s mutual, and without there being some give, the “take” quickly gets shut down.

    Even the Solomonic operations, renowned for their brutality to the spirits, involved offering up blood and sweet-smelling incenses to them. How many Neopagans can say their summoning and dismissal of elements, and deities has even that level of nicety?

    • There’s not enough on the internet, or in books, saying “It’s serving the spirits, not being served by them.” – it’s mutual, and without there being some give, the “take” quickly gets shut down.

      Very much agreed.

      For whatever underlying cultural reasons, it’s gotten very popular in the “pagan” community to have a rather self-centred sort of spirituality, where it’s all about what one can “do” for oneself, and anything done “for the gods” or given to them is even described as being ultimately for oneself. The pantheons are merely “thought-forms” and feeling the presence of deities and/or daimones in a certain place and time is simply “finding [one’s] goddess forms” (actual quote from an e-mail I got years ago in response to a WitchVox rant I posted on Urban spirituality).

      This pseudo-spirituality I see in so many other self-proclaimed “pagans” is all take, take, take, and few seem to fully grasp how hollow that is.

  2. Even if we can’t see Them take it, even if we can’t feel it, an exchange has taken place, the worlds have briefly touched. And we can, in fact, learn to see and feel it, and take full advantage of that holiness that is created through giving.

    Could not have said it better, myself.

  3. I am not much for blood sacrifice, but must admit to having done it on one occasion. Two very foolish men decided they would poach on my sacred space. An animal lost it’s life and I knew I needed to do something. I let my own blood on the land. There was an immediate, palpable change in energy for the positive. This is not something to play with, and I will likely never need to do this again. Much power in this that must be tempered with restraint and respect.

  4. It bothers me a bit, the white washing or dismissal of the sanctity of sacrifice (including that of animal) in spirit or deity work. Many neo-pagans think it all just comes for free and that no real debt or thanks need be paid as long as the words and rites are lovely enough. Sort of takes the magical impact out of the picture… IMO….

  5. When I moved here it was made VERY clear to me that I would have to tend the area and keep an eye on it, even if I can’t always walk out in it. I feed the birds here daily, place offerings, put no chemicals into the ground for my growing space. I’m well aware that it’s part of the deal. Everything comes with a price, sooner or later one has to pay, and Workers are not exempt.

  6. […] of there being no connection between this world and that world. Dver made a really awesome post about sacrifice and connection between our world and the world of the gods. You should check it […]

  7. […] there is the more esoteric side of the act: fully devoting a tangible offering to the divine realm bridges the worlds. It opens the way for further communication on both sides. It is a magical act that can be the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s