Saturday, 16 January 2016



It's a dirty word to some. To others, it's a prayer, and others, a challenge.

It evokes all of these images of throwing pretty virgins into volcanos, or goats disemboweled, or tender babies stabbed through the heart on a Satanic altar. Maybe that is what sacrifice used to be about, but in the modern age, we do things cleanly and with a little less blood and guts.

That said, sacrifice takes guts. Not literal guts, obviously, but courage. Sacrifice is giving up something that you want to keep in order to get something in return. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the payoff. Let's use the Wicker Man as an example. The villagers wanted a human, willing sacrifice to please their gods because it was tied to their survival. They would starve without crops. They gave the ultimate sacrifice (a life) in exchange for life (crops). To them, it was a fair trade and swung the pendulum into the 'greater good' side. One life to save many lives was fair.

I think sacrifice is at the core of most practice. We leave offerings and libations - forms of sacrifice that we have either made and sacrificed our time, or paid for and sacrificed our money. Some of us use blood, or cut our hair, or tattoo our skin - giving offerings of pain and pieces of our actual selves - to please the gods. Working with certain gods or spirits can demand a sacrifice of your time or sanity. Some sacrifice certain foods in their diet to please their gods (Jewish and Muslim people do not eat pork because the animal is considered unclean by god - any of us who have tasted bacon understand this sacrifice!). There are many ways to sacrifice.

What you must always remember that the sacrifice must being meaningful. It can't be something you wouldn't miss or something you don't care about. No one will be pleased by a half-assed sacrifice. The more powerful, the more pain you feel in losing it, the more powerful the gesture.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The true nature of sacrifice.