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CHLow: Dark/Light Neopaganism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.christian,alt.satanism
From: Clifford Low 
Subject: Re: CHLow: Dark/Light Neopaganism (Was Re: Dark roygbiv Light)
Date: 6 Jan 1996 11:52:31 GMT

In article <4claap$> Mandrake .....the Bard, writes:
>  I don't think so. All things supposedly hold power, whether it be 
>ourselves, a rock, a sword, a thought, whatever. I never said that blood was 
>not an acceptable sacrifice, but that is was an extreme one. How much more 
>extreme can you get than to snuff out a life ? Even if you only take blood 
>from yourself, like some Neopagans slicing their hands or Mayan kings engaging 
>in self-bloodletting, that's still a highly extreme measure. It could have 
>been seen as a sign of extreme commitment. According to Roman accounts, many 

But I thought you were going to avoid suppositions involving symbolic
sacrifices? It could also have symbolized chips and salsa, but what of
it? Why was blood sacrifice the highest of goodies? There must be
something special about bloodsoaked altars and daggers plunging into

>of the human sacifices that were done by the Celts involved the priests or 
>rulers offering themselves. That could be seen as a very extreme sacrifice, 
>the priest himself giving not just blood but his entire life as payment.

Let's start with animal sacrifice then. Usually, such is livestock. Food.
Why would the sacrifice of food, be higher than the sacrifice of swords
or money? And if it's because of the symbolic bounty- why not prepared
food? Instead, a wailing animal hacked open and switching while it's
organs are yanked out of the blood-gushing body cavity. Who rang the
dinner triangle?

A preoccupation with blood and death. If not an animal, human sacrifice.
And we should consider that some sacrifices were merely burned alive, not
just slit. That's all burning witches were- offerings of scapegoats to
purify the community. 

It seems that the lesson is that those beyond life love to consume
nothing more than blood and life. The dead in the Odyssey consumed
offerings of blood and honey. The Jews painted their doorposts with
blood, as the angel of death crept through old Egypt. 

>   The point is, there's no reason to believe that there's some bloodthirsty 
>god up there who wants to eat his followers. It seems far more reasonable to 
>believe, and I believe the Celts are an exceptionally good example of this, 
>that it's the act of "sacrifice" that is important, not specifically what was 

On the other hand, if you sacrificed the wrong thing, they probably would
have used you to decorate a tree. Perhaps some of the sacrifices are
ritualized offerings of stuff which "matters", but it doesn't explain the
inordinate crosscultural regard for ritualized slaughter, murder, and
bloodletting. They seem to break the interpretations that sacrifices were
symbols and that they were offerings of things which were immediately
useful. Instead, it's as if it were something a being needed to feed
upon. Lifeforce. Blood. Trauma. Pain. Death. 

>>Perhaps then, we should redefine them as "glorified familiars" rather
>>than "gods". If they do what you want them to and only ask for scraps you
>>throw them, they're pets. If you are the person deciding what goes in the
>>food tray, who is in control? Why would an entity of any significant
>>power submit to your whims, a mere 20th century witch who treats him/her
>>like a plaything? 
>   I suppose you're fond of the Cthulu stories too, huh ?
>   Like I said, I think it's the commitment and act of sacrifice that is 
>important to the gods, not specifically what one gives. And, one can treat 

OK. Let's analyse commitment. Instead of using a god, I'll use commitment
to a fictional girlfriend- Tracy. Cliff says that when you show
commitment, you do so in the terms of the one who you are committing to.
Thus, though I may want to do otherwise, as a sign of respect and
commitment I give Tracy a diamond ring. It's to make her happy, and even
if I make the choice of the particular ring, it's something that is keyed
to her enjoyment. It's a sacrifice on my part. I may be poor. I may not
even believe in giving rings. But for her, I'll break my own rules. Or
bend them, just for her. Tracy is happy, trust and respect is maintained,
we make whoopie- happy ending.

Now, Mandrake's mate- let's call her Womandrake- oh heck, let's just call
her Bambi. Mandrake feels that commitment should never involve making
compromises, or sacrifices. Bambi wants a sign of commitment- and
Mandrake decides that a way to show that which won't cramp his style,
would be to go cruise some  bars and give her some edible lingerie. "Hey,
that's good money!" Bambi isn't a conservative sort, but wanted something
out of the ordinary. Bambi hints that a more impressive gesture would be
required for her to think fondly of him. She says she wants a symbol
meaningful to her, not a symbol meaningful to Mandrake. She wants to feel
like a princess for a change. Mandrake is offended. Who is she to define
mighty Mandrake's path? There are other fish in the sea less demanding,
and so casts her back in the drink. Next time, Mandrake gets a hideously
pocked dwarf of a mate who's willing to accept anything because it's
better than nothing. ('Tis an allegory, don't get steamed).

The point of the story is that sacrifices and gifts in relationships are
done on the terms of the one it is offered to, not the sensibilities of
the one doing the offering. What audacity- they seek to define how I
should make my offerings- who do they think they are, gods?

>with a being more powerful than oneself, and that's not a demeaning prospect 
>for either. No one ever said (certainly not the Celts) that walking the walk 
>and talking the talk meant that everything would work out. What if Cernnunos 
>just had a bad day and wanted to play with his hunting dogs ? I guess you'd be 
>SOL. It's a matter of bargaining, and trust. I trust my gods enough to believe 
>that they will be fair to me. How they choose to do so is their decision.

Perhaps we have a difference in terminology but...

I don't want my gods to be fair. I want them to be hideously unfair, in
my favor. Life is fair. Death is fair. It's random, and rewards stupidity
with death, and vigor with breeding. I want more than fair- I want an
edge. I want my gods to play favorites. I want them to be nice to me, and
pick on my enemies.

To assume that the reward of a god is a fair life, implies that the
normal state of affairs is a miserable, unjust, unfair life. If
normalization is the reward of worship, then that's a sign that your gods
are complete and utter weenies. Your other statements support this


|C|           | We enter into life naked and |
|L|                  | howling, covered with blood. |
|I|        | The fun doesn't have to end  |
|F| | there.                       |
|F| fngr:  |       - The Book of Madness  |

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