Sacrifice and the Mabon Spirit

Print by Paul Bommer

Happy Mabon!  Yes, this post is a little late, but I was, well, imbibing in Mabon spirits!  In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the middle of the harvest season, and for Wiccans, this is Mabon, the second of three harvest festivals.  The story of John Barleycorn exemplifies the spirit of the season: the sacrifice of one to save many.  The story of Dionysus also contains the same spirit:http://thebackseatwriter.com/vine-and-ivy/.   This concept relates well to Utilitarianism, which is in a nut shell: the greatest amount of help or happiness to as many beings as possible with the hurt or sacrifice of the least amount of beings possible.

Sacrifice is a concept that some Pagans are not at all comfortable with.  They like to hide it down their pants or fluff it up so that something like burning a picture that he or she has painted carries the same weight as killing an animal.  While burning something you have created and there’s only one of is indeed a sacrifice, it doesn’t, nor can it, compare to you taking a knife and slicing an animal’s throat—or even shooting one in the head in the name of your deity.  And then there are those Pagans that will quote the “Charge of the Goddess”: Nor does She demand sacrifice, for behold, She is the mother of all living, and Her love is poured out upon the earth.  It’s true, I don’t believe that our deities DEMAND sacrifice, but I believe that from time to time they urge us to do it, perhaps as a test of will (because even the Christian God did that to Abraham with Issac), and I believe that when a sacrifice is given that it’s greatly appreciated.

This was posted on an online Pagan group by a supposedly well know Pagan leader:  I am just going to say this: I am against all animal sacrifice at all times and in all situations here in the modern Western world. Period. I see a day when this becomes more commonplace in NeoPaganism, and that is the day you will see me leave the community behind. This will split our community and cause more dissension than any other issue ever because there are a lot of us who simply will not put up with it, take part in it, or circle with those who do.

I don’t care if it is done reverently and the animal consumed afterwards. I think the argument, “I eat meat, why shouldn’t they” is bogus, too. I think the Pagans who use this argument have NO UNDERSTANDING of the OCCULT meaning and consequences of the act of animal sacrifice.

It’s the act of feeding the etheric life force energy of blood to an etheric entity that for whatever reason, cannot get it on its own. It’s not a symbolic act. As a Lucumi priestess explained to me one time, the explosion of life force energy that happens when you slice an animal’s throat or chop it’s head off — that’s what the entity wants. That creates a big channel or vortex of energy that strengthens a spirit on the etheric level, which is the energy level closest to the physical. That’s why you can’t just prick your finger and feed one drop of your own blood. It’s like putting one drop of gasoline in your gas tank. Won’t take you very far.

Well, guess what: not only are there Loa and Orisha and other higher level spirits that have that Etheric-place “piece” or aspect — there are lots of other lower-level spirits, and they sure do like that blood, too, and they’re getting fed, too, and some of them can mimic a Loa or Orisha. My husband, Doug, and I both have experience with this. We practiced Lucumi ten years ago, and Doug returned to it a couple of times before he had a really bad experience with a lower-level etheric entity masquerading negatively as Erzulie. We were not DIY’ers — Doug had “warrior pot” from a well-known Babalorisha out in Atlanta, and I had elekes. 

I quickly found out that the wonderful myth of the chickens being reverently consumed was just that, a myth. The chickens sacrificed on my behalf and his behalf were not eaten. They were left laying around the back yard and his dogs played with the dirty corpses all weekend.

I have talked to other people who started to go down that spiritual path. It’s not all reverence and light. There are houses where the Orisha or Loa decides that it’s not enough to just get the life force energy from the blood. They demand that the animal be torn from limb to limb or tortured before killing. Yes, this DOES happen. It is NOT urban legend. These are not fringe houses but well-established. 

I also know of two NON-SACRIFICING Houses of Voudoun and guess what. They get just as good results, and have just as powerful and beautiful rituals, as the blood-letting houses. They have good, peaceful, prosperous happy lives. The Loa come and possess them and bless them and are not angry because they aren’t shedding blood.

Because all higher-level spiritual entities, including Loa, Orisha, Deities, Saints, etc. exist not just on the etheric level, but on the astral, mental, causal, and divine planes as well. And in the modern world, we can use other techniques such as dancing, chanting, drumming, safe/legal entheogens, sex, or quiet and internal techniques to ELEVATE OURSELVES to the astral level and beyond, and meet our Deities there, and cultivate Their Powers and Energies within OURSELVES. We can use energies of peace and healing and harmony, not of violence, to offer and commune with the Divine.

I am an anthropology major. In Africa, in South America, etc. — when someone has a problem and the community comes together to solve it with a religious ceremony, they sacrifice an animal. The inner meaning of this kind of sacrifice, in these tribal communities, is to redistribute protein throughout the community. So there is a non -religious function that is important. In modern America, or anywhere in the West, we already eat too much protein. In this context, when we sacrifice an animal, it really just becomes a commodity we use to PURCHASE the favor of a spirit. And I don’t think the Deities, Loa, Orisha or Saints want us to do that. I think it’s all lower-level entities masquerading as the Deities, Loa, Orisha, Saints, etc.

Do we really want to bring this practice back? I have seen this done. It’s not pretty. Hell, I instigated a sacrifice and let me tell you, it took place around the time of my first degree initiation. And the Goddess bitch-slapped me good. “Nor do I demand sacrifice,” She says. 

Death happens to all things. Protein-based life forms often need to feed on other protein-based life forms to maintain decent health. I am pro-hunting and pro raising your own meat. It’s the way the physical world is set up. I am ANTI supplying that energy to a Being on a different level, because they will always want more, more, more. If an Etheric Entity wants life force energy, let it figure out how to get it itself. 

It horrifies me to see this practice creeping up to NeoPaganism. What a sad day.

Well, all I can really say to that diatribe is “good riddance and become a vegan so you don’t look even more stupid and uneducated”.  I think this person’s histrionics over ripping the animal apart is proof that she really wasn’t ready or understanding of what was going on in the ritual.  Perhaps people do rip live animals apart during their sacrifice rituals, but I’ve never witnessed it, nor have I have ever come across a Pagan or a Heathen or anybody else who would rip apart a LIVE animal for sacrifice.  Of course, dead animals are a different story.  If you recall from the “Hunt the Cunt” series, rabbits and hares can be killed, skinned, and butchered bare handed, which involves some ripping and tearing.

I do participate in blood sacrifices from time to time.  When these rituals occur, the animal is dispatched (thanks military for that lovely euphemism!) ritualistically, reverently, quickly, and humanely.  Most of the meat is consumed by the participants at the time of the ritual or is frozen for later ritual use.  The blood is collected as is other parts and pieces, and what is left is either burned, buried, or left in the woods for scavengers.  People can disagree all they want, and I’m sure they will, but in a great majority of the cases, animals die more humanely during a sacrifice ritual than the do at the slaughter-house.

This harvest season, sacrifice something that is dear to you.  No, don’t wring your cat’s throat, but commit an act of sacrifice that benefits another. That could be giving away a favorite piece of clothing or buying a food item that you really would love to eat but are giving it to someone else instead.  Do this act as an offering to a deity and make sure that it hurts–just a little. The act doesn’t really count if it doesn’t hurt.

These folks sacrifice all the time just for you:

Erotic Sensations http://eroticsensations.us/

Quadrivium Supplies  http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com

Tonia Brown www.thebackseatwriter.com

Chris Eagle Music http://chriseaglemusic.weebly.com/

The Geeky Kink Event http://thegeekykinkevent.com/
Passion And Soul: http://passionandsoul.com/

May you never thirst, part 3: You’re a grape because you’re full of whine!

What do fancy dinners, Wiccan rituals, Ernest Hemingway, and my favorite punch all have in common? Wine! Pagans and yuppies in particular seem to be fond of wine. For some reason, and I suspect that it goes back to mistaken thoughts about ancients and carry overs from Christian communion, many Pagans feel that they can only use wine for cakes and ale. This of course is ridiculous, but wine is still the most popular beverage in circle. Wine is incredibly easy to make, which probably explains why most of the world’s cultures have some version of it. Kordwainer, who has been Wiccan for 20 years, makes wine at home.

Several years ago he was looking for a new project to take on. ” A friend of mine suggested that I look into wine making. It was good timing too, because there were a couple of learning opportunities right around the bend. I ended up attending a workshop by the agricultural extension service and enrolling in a short class at a local farm just a month or so later. ” Since learning about wine making, Kordwainer has made several batches of wine, from both kits (like making a cake from cake mix) and crushed fruit (like making a cake from scratch), some of which have been used in rituals for cakes and ale and libation.

Wine holds a sacred spot in Kordwainer’s religious beliefs. “I am, in particular, a devotee of Dionysos, God of wine (among other things). He is the Divine aspect that resonates most deeply with me and I see His story played out in the actual wine making process itself,” explains Kordwainer. “In a body of Myth associated with Orphic cults, we are taught that humanity was originally made partly of the remains of the infant Dionysos and partly of the Titans who kidnapped and dismembered Him. When Zeus discovered that the Titans had killed the child and were preparing to make a meal of him, He showered the entire scene with His lightning, destroying both the attackers and the victim. Hermes swooped in and carried away Dionysos’s still beating heart, from which He was later reborn. The soot and ash that was left over served as the raw material from which Zeus formed mankind. The material was a mix of the remains of the baby and His murderers, therefore each of us has something of the God in us as well as more base and wicked impulses.

“Dionysos’s bodily destruction at the hands of the Titans is mirrored in the crushing of the grape, and the gradual separation of the new wine from the must and lees reflects His role in elevating our own spirits, drawing out more of our Divine nature and leaving behind our titanic influences.

“What I’ve enjoyed more than anything else has been muscadine wine. I love the flavor, and the grapes themselves have an untamed quality that I admire. I think of them as embodying more of the wild Dionysian spirit.”

As I stated above, wine is really easy to make. It is also completely legal to make at home, as long as you don’t sell your wine or make more than around 100 gallons. Of course, like anything, there’s always somebody willing to sell their sqeezings regardless of the law.Kordwainer said that his initial investment was about $200, which included yeast and fruit for his first batch and a bundled kit from a wine shop. The typical kit includes a primary fermenter, two secondary fermenters, a hydrometer (a tool that measures sugar/alcohol levels), and some tubing for racking. With this set up, you’re ready to start making your first batch.


According to Kordwainer, “You basically start with some sweet liquid, like fruit juice, and place it in a controlled environment where you can manage things like temperature and exposure to oxygen. Fruit pulp or whole crushed fruit is often left in the juice to help provide aroma and color. This juice/fruit combo is called “must”. Into your must, you introduce some yeast and give it time to convert the sugar into alcohol, making sure to keep an eye on the process. 


 ”At some point you’ll have to separate the wine from the sediment (called the “lees”) or the wine will take on some unpleasant flavors or odors. The separation is accomplished by draining the wine into a new container, leaving the lees behind (this is called “racking”). You’ll probably have to rack a batch of wine at least twice before you get an acceptable level of clarity. 


“When the wine is clear, and the fermentation process is complete, you’ll hopefully have a very dry wine. Any sweetness left at this point means that the fermentation process was halted before the yeast could eat all the sugar, and that can be a bad sign. Most winemakers will sweeten their wine at least a little after the fermentation process is done and before final bottling, but for fans of dry wines, it’s not strictly necessary. It is important to stabilize the wine (kill any remaining yeast) before bottling, though. If fermentation restarts after the wine is bottled, it can have explosive results (literally). 


“You have to make sure the sugar level in your juice is high enough to get the potency you want in your wine, and you have to be careful about what strains of yeast you use and make sure that the risk of contamination from other bacteria is minimized. My best tip is Sanitation is king. Keep everything sanitized; even the slightest contamination can ruin a batch of wine. Next, I’d advise you to do your homework. Read some books, take a class or attend a workshop if you’re able to. Try to at least partially understand what you’re trying to accomplish on a chemical level. I’m no chemist, but the little bit I learned has really help immeasurably. Finally, I’d say to be prepared to exercise some patience. Wine takes a long time to mature. You’re looking at 3 or 4 months at least before a batch is drinkable, and letting it mature longer after bottling greatly improves its quality.” 


Just as wine and ritual seem to be a natural pairing, food and wine seem to be quite natural as well. While many wine aficionados spend endless hours biting their nails over pairing just the right wine with their food, Kordwainer says that it’s not a big deal. “It’s a bit like magick, actually. In a way, wine/food pairing follows the law of attraction. Like calls to like. Red meats go with red wines; and white meats like poultry or fish go with white wines. Rich foods pair nicely with more robust wines, and milder food match with lighter wines. Of course, the most important rule is to drink wine you enjoy with food you enjoy, preferably in enjoyable company. “ 




Just as pairing the right wine to the right cuisine is important, pouring wine properly is also important. “There are differing opinions about that. There are a LOT of variables, honestly: the exact temperature at which to serve the wine, the shape of the glass, how long to let it breathe before pouring, whether or not to use a decanter, etc. Pouring a glass of wine can be an art, or even a science. To add to the confusion, it can all change for different varieties of wine. You pour a still wine into the center of the glass, but you pour a sparkling wine against the edge to keep it bubbly. White wines are more commonly served chilled than reds, although sweeter red wines sometimes break this rule.


 ”My own favorite serving method is highly unorthodox, but it does have some historical justification. The Greeks, in accordance with the edicts of Dionysos, always mixed their wine with water. To them, the drinking of unmixed wine was a sign of barbarism. I prefer to mix my wine with club soda and serve it over ice. I also favor sweet, full bodied wines which work out well with this method. I know that there are some cultured wine buffs who would have my head, but I pour it to drink and enjoy, and I think that’s the real secret to the perfect glass of wine.” 


With that said, imbibe some wine and try not to act like a maenad (at least not too much!).