Monday, September 23, 2013

The Liturgy of Sacrifice

There have been recent postings on Hellenic Pagan and on Hellenion_Chat which have led me down various trails of thought on ritual and its liturgy.
The major part of an Hellenic festival ritual liturgy is the time of sacrifice.  This is the prime focus.  Most modern people will claim to know nothing about this.  Of course, this is not true.  It is a case of bad religious education, as most Hellenistos and modern "pagans" were former Christians.  This is especially so for Roman Catholics, the Orthodox and members of "High" Protestant churches: Episcopalian, Anglican, and Lutheran.  It was especially clear in the Roman Church before Vatican II (yes, I do remember that far back) that the Mass was far more of a mystical mystery to enter than it has since become.  Anyway, the replication of Jesus' sacrifice is central to those services along with all the other theological understandings which come with it.
Our understanding of sacrifice is, of course, quite different.  It is the community offering to develop and further the reciprocal relationship with a group of the Gods from the pantheon.  These are the Gods of whom the stories are told of what they did for the community in days long ago.
Now, I will never be a main-stream "Politically Correct" individual."  The only reason I use fat and bone scraps cut from my meat is because I do not know how to butcher a chicken.  My Grandmother knew how, though, because she came from Russia.  Even my Grandfather had to ask neighbours to butcher his hogs and an occasional cow.  It is not something most of us know how to do anymore.  I know several Asatru groups who do have access to a co-religionist who is a butcher who will ritually slay a lamb or goat.  That may be a good way to go.  Ritual purity is usually equal across the lines; however, if you are acting as priest or priestess I would say that you should be there for the event, otherwise you are a hypocrite.  Of course, the Pythagoreans did not give meat sacrifice; but, IMHO, they were weird.  For those of us in the Northeast, I plan on sacrificing lobsters to Poseidon.  So far so good this hurricane season -- the steam will please him, YUM!.  Finally,  ask the Gods involved what they would like.  No one has even broached that most obvious of answers.   

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