i have put this post in this topic as its quite long …
i have been exploring some thoughts on offerings and sacrifices thought i would share… but it is quite long, so idk
TL;DR - concider what form your offering is taking and how it can be viewed
Offerings versus sacrifice,
Offerings equate to giving, we give and feel as sense of fulfillment. Offerings share our abundance, and the act of sharing brings its own reward.
A sacrifice however is giving up something fundamental that is needed,
“giving is an act of the Soul. Giving, generosity and being of service come from our own sense of fullness—“I have, therefore I give”
Gifts v Trade
The giver is the the lower deity, and the higher is obligated to repay in a larger amount by social bindings (expectations?)
Social relations are strengthened by the exchange
Goods exchanged can be highly valued
Obligation to give & accept
Gifts bind and turn participants into partners…
Trade - function as equal partners, goods often lowly valued, and equal value,no obligation.
- Gift exchange aims at one another’s person, a trade to the goods
- I, donor, regard you as a partner, appreciate you as a friend, as one who belongs to us
- The gift is an answer to man’s condition, the uncertainty about himself and his place in the universe from which he differs and is seperate
- The giving of a gift conveys to man a sense of belonging to the universe, to make him feel at home, the power to persuade a home sick waif that he belongs, for who can refuse a gift?
Offerings and sacrifices can be divided in to low intensity and high intencity,
LI is ideal for mans communication with the supernatural, when things are going smoothly, simple rites inspire confidence in the deities continued benevolence & protection. “Routine piety” - setting aside food on the altar of the ancestors, lighting a candle…or simple occasions like the first corn of the harvest etc
The offeror does not mind who ultimately eats the corn, what counts is the expression of his faith, the nearness of the ancestor / or deity who must be remembered because of their nearness
The act of requesting (via a prayer or simple request) for something in return goes against the understanding of a gift… The man humiliates himself by asking for something in return - you could not give a gift to another man and at the same time demand something in return. By doing so the man shows his dependance on the deity/spirit .this is the point where a gift becomes an offering…
For low intensity offering this is sufficient, a continuous give and take, where the relation between man and his deity are all normal, and merely being kept up - vehicles of intention.
When things go wrong however HI offerings … sacrifice …
*vows - asking for something from the deity, with an offering of higher value to be given once the request is fulfilled. The deity is placed under no obligation to grant the request, the onus is all on the supplicant (if you give me 1 million dollars i will kill this cat in your name)
*appeasing - when the man has done wrong and must make sacrifice as atonement… Can be a gift, or a punishment offered (i have angered you and will kill this cat to appease you) (( no offence to cats))
This ties in with the belief that a human act can have cosmic affects (ie displeasing the gods causing a drought or famine) after all if man belongs to the cosmos intimately for good things, then also for bad. ( or for the small things )
The sacrifice of a living being, can be looked as as a bribe, and the living being as a vessel for the deity. In the case of cattle - they can be seen as wealth, as a symbol of wealth, and are tended with care and devotion… The sacrifice of the god-victim can be seen as an effort at communication through identification, in this thinking it is more appropriate the the sacrifice be a man and not a beast representing the godform. It may be seen that stories of actual human sacrifice may well be more a reenactment of a mythology and the actual sacrifice in the rite with the initiates much less… Bloody…
Giving gifts, rather than bribing deities is far more important to enable participation … for nono can participate without first giving, and participation is essential for a meaningful existence. The onus I take away from my musings is that frequent contact with out the demand for reciprocation can be more effective in communication than infrequent bribes/demands from a stranger…
Throughout the forum i have seen many members say that the demon view a willingness to learn as a suitable gift, and then free reciprocate with bursts of enlightenment/ knowledge/ aid, and many say they do not make sacrifices/bribes at all.
In the developed world, where we are more cushioned from the impact of a local drought, the value of a cow (for instance) no longer carries the weight that it used to, and this is where i think now that the blood of the operators themselves carries far more weight as it has some value.
When deciding upon giving something to a spirit/ancestor/deity close consideration should be given to the exact nature of what is being given… A gift, an offering or a bribe…