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Louisvillian
27 Feb 2013, 23:31
While myself a practitioner of Wicca, I have taken a strong interest in Greek and Roman gods and Hellenistic religion of the ancient world. Consequently, Hellenic and Roman reconstructionists are among the more interesting polytheistic revival religions in modern day.

I have a question for those of you who know more about it, and/or practise it: since animal sacrifices were so integral to ancient Roman and Greek religious practice, do modern revivalists also perform animal sacrifices and burn parts of them as offerings? If so, are sacrifices done in situ with live animals? Or are the bones and spare bits of already-dead animals burnt before a meal?

ThorsSon
27 Feb 2013, 23:54
While, I am no longer a believer in, nor practitioner of, any religion; I used to be a Heathen (Germanic Heathen/Asatruar).

I am also a hunter. I also have experience slaughtering domestic animals for food.

I have, ib the past, slaughtered an animal as a sacrifice, and made the kill of a hunt into a sacrifice.

In both occasions, I gave the blood, and the choice cut of the kill as a sacrifice, and kept the rest of the meat, the leather, and anything else usable, for my own use.

So, I have done both, made sacrificial blood offerings of animals that were alive (until the offering), and sacrificial offerings of things that were dead (prior to the offering).

Ophidia
28 Feb 2013, 01:14
For me it's pretty much the same description as ThorsSon - when I've gone hunting or fishing, or killed a domestic animal for food, I've dedicated its life to deities. I've made burnt offerings of meat I was cooking - which is not a good way to make friends with neighbors. Burning bone and fat is stinky.

Generally, killing an animal for a sacrifice should be done by someone who knows how to kill and butcher animals. That way it's done safely and as humanely as possible. If you don't know how to do so, it's best to stick w/offerings via the grocery store or butcher shop.

Dez
28 Feb 2013, 09:01
Major urban area, here...the people I've run into who care about that mostly seem to put that intent into buying part of a creature ethically/organically raised by a small local farmer.

That said, there's a rooster one street over who's untimely demise I fantasize about...

Louisvillian
28 Feb 2013, 23:12
I've considered getting a fire pit in which to burn the bones of meat food, e.g. from a whole rotisserie chicken, along with some of the flesh and fat. As a separate practice outside of my formal religion, since Wicca is generally opposed to flesh sacrifices as offerings. I wouldn't conduct these rituals as a Wiccan, I'd conduct them as a personal rite; not necessarily Hellenic in the sense of that of a reconstructionist, but perhaps as Hellenistic, in that it relates to the culture and ways of the Greeks of Antiquity.
I only really am considering this because the gods I worship in paramount are both of Greek description, and I would like to honour them in some small way similar to the way they were honoured in their time of primacy.

ThorsSon
28 Feb 2013, 23:19
It always seemed to me, that it would be best to offer things that I though that the deities that I was offering to might like. Who likes just bones and fat?

"Sacrifice," entails something given up... Things that would've been thrown away, anyway, aren't exactly a "sacrifice."

Ophidia
01 Mar 2013, 00:26
It always seemed to me, that it would be best to offer things that I though that the deities that I was offering to might like. Who likes just bones and fat?

It's because of a bad bargain Zeus made, one that was brokered by Prometheus. Prometheus was always trying to help mortals out, so when it came time to decide who would get what part of a sacrificed animal, he told the people making the sacrifice to take the bones & hides and drape them with the rich, succulent fat. The people then put the lean meat in another pile, which was considerably smaller. When Zeus came to pick His portion, he of course chose the larger pile with all the juicy fat.

Another version of the story shows Zeus seeing through Prometheus' little ruse, and decreeing that all offerings to the Gods henceforth would be the bones and fat to show how little mortal offerings meant to the Gods in general.

Either way, we got the good stuff.

ThorsSon
01 Mar 2013, 01:07
It's because of a bad bargain Zeus made, one that was brokered by Prometheus. Prometheus was always trying to help mortals out, so when it came time to decide who would get what part of a sacrificed animal, he told the people making the sacrifice to take the bones & hides and drape them with the rich, succulent fat. The people then put the lean meat in another pile, which was considerably smaller. When Zeus came to pick His portion, he of course chose the larger pile with all the juicy fat.

Another version of the story shows Zeus seeing through Prometheus' little ruse, and decreeing that all offerings to the Gods henceforth would be the bones and fat to show how little mortal offerings meant to the Gods in general.

Either way, we got the good stuff.

to quote every BBQ'er that ever lived: FAT IS FLAVOR!!!!

(and have you never sucked marrow?!?!)

no one wants JUST the bones ans fat... but I wouldn't argue that we got the "good stuff" by sacrificing them... but, then, honestly, "getting the good stuff," kinda runs counter to a "sacrifice."

Ophidia
01 Mar 2013, 04:55
to quote every BBQ'er that ever lived: FAT IS FLAVOR!!!!

(and have you never sucked marrow?!?!)

no one wants JUST the bones ans fat... but I wouldn't argue that we got the "good stuff" by sacrificing them... but, then, honestly, "getting the good stuff," kinda runs counter to a "sacrifice."

I think some of the difference lies in concept. There was, and still is, a difference between an 'offering' and a 'sacrifice'. When a standard offering is made, it's sort of routine, paying spiritual rent, that kind of thing. I incorporated burnt offerings into my routine.

Sacrifices are for more personal needs, or to say thank you, or give homage... those, even in ancient times, were more precious and special. That's when the town would select the most pristine animal from the herds, wreathe it in flowers, perfume its coat, gild its horns and hooves, lead it with a parade of cult priests and priestesses to the shrine - in other words, sanctify its life to the God in question and spill its blood for a favor that was greatly needed by all involved.

Louisvillian
01 Mar 2013, 07:15
It always seemed to me, that it would be best to offer things that I though that the deities that I was offering to might like.]
Well, yes, I've done other kinds of offerings before, i.e. libations and votive offerings. Even burnt offerings--just of herbs and effigies, not animal parts.


Who likes just bones and fat?
As Perze said, Greek mythology holds it to be part of a bargain between Prometheus and Zeus. It wasn't just the bones and fat; it was also the juicy innards, too. All of them were burned to send them to the Gods as an offering.
The reality is that, yeah, the Greeks offered the less-edible parts to the Gods because they wanted the meat to eat. In fact, the primary source of meat in the Greek diet was in ritual sacrifices. Which isn't to say that the other parts are inedible. Fat can be very flavourful, as can bone-marrow and some innards. Just that there were very practical reasons for dividing up the animal the way they did, and made a myth to explain it.


"Sacrifice," entails something given up... Things that would've been thrown away, anyway, aren't exactly a "sacrifice."
Well, it's a sacrifice in that the animal has its life sacrificed to the Gods after being sanctified. You're "giving up" a valuable animal, just as much as the animal is "giving up" its life.

ChainLightning
01 Mar 2013, 08:22
(Me and my semantics.)

The beef I had last night (not a fact, I actually had broccoli) came from a cow that was sacrificed in order to feed me and maybe a couple dozen other people.

Truthfully, I attach no stigma to the words animal sacrifice. Instead, I look at the reasoning, the process or method, and the appropriateness. And from THOSE things, it's hard to describe my actual thought processes as to whether I approve or disapprove. What makes it so hard to describe is that, more often than not, I have a sort of apathetic distancing from any moral or ethical code, from which dis/approval usually stems.



A simple thing that I go and complicate the guts out of.

Yazichestvo
01 Mar 2013, 09:27
In a number of cultures, "Animal sacrifice" means a communal meal in which men and Gods take part in eating the slaughtered animals. I think in this context, animal sacrifice is very appropriate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1qdU1JnSpc

See 12:00

ThorsSon
04 Mar 2013, 21:20
Well, it's a sacrifice in that the animal has its life sacrificed to the Gods after being sanctified. You're "giving up" a valuable animal, just as much as the animal is "giving up" its life.

I will concede that fact, in the case where I have sacrificed an animal that I own. In hunting, or making sacrifice of store-bought meat; I disagree. Yes the animal died. But... that sacrifice was already made (the animal is already dead). I have made no sacrifice.

Raphaeline
04 Mar 2013, 21:30
It always seemed to me, that it would be best to offer things that I though that the deities that I was offering to might like. Who likes just bones and fat?

"Sacrifice," entails something given up... Things that would've been thrown away, anyway, aren't exactly a "sacrifice."

To sacrifice literally means "to make sacred". What is given is made sacred by having given it to the gods, and the act of giving it to the gods is how we came to use it in the way you're thinking of - giving something up.

ThorsSon
04 Mar 2013, 21:52
To sacrifice literally means "to make sacred". What is given is made sacred by having given it to the gods, and the act of giving it to the gods is how we came to use it in the way you're thinking of - giving something up.

Now that you mention that; it seems like it is something that I knew, once upon a time. But... I had forgotten.

After doing a little etymology research... turns out, you are 100% correct.

Stupid brain; dropping facts, and hanging on to the falsities.

Py9
26 Apr 2013, 03:09
You can look at it with vegan point of view- animal sacrifices can be any thing you get from animals.
I personally, not vegan because I don't care, but I do think that milk and honey and eggs are made in a sacrificing process. A glass of milk and honey, maybe even small cupcakes with eggs and milk, are equal to a dead cow, at least for those who lives in an urban environment or the vegetarian pagans among us.

Ophidia
26 Apr 2013, 07:37
In hunting, or making sacrifice of store-bought meat; I disagree. Yes the animal died. But... that sacrifice was already made (the animal is already dead). I have made no sacrifice.

But haven't you sacrificed a great deal of your time and/or money into purchasing that meal? Even if you go to work at a job you love, you're still putting forth a lot of effort to obtain your daily bread.

anunitu
26 Apr 2013, 09:49
tradition aside,I think I would have a problem killing an animal myself. Most likely for me this stems from my distance from farming and animal raising for food in general. It used to be common for people to buy live animals to kill and prepare for eating,there was not as much stigma as we now see. Probably few outside the meat provider system could bring themselves to kill their own food. I am not a Veg. and would have a hard time if I did not have meat to eat. I admit I am what might be considered a "Modern" human in the sense of being less connected to the natural order of nature. If I had grown up on a farm,I might be more inclined to kill my own meat,but as it is I was born in a big city,and there is/was something of a taboo about killing animals yourself.

Py9
26 Apr 2013, 12:32
tradition aside,I think I would have a problem killing an animal myself. Most likely for me this stems from my distance from farming and animal raising for food in general. It used to be common for people to buy live animals to kill and prepare for eating,there was not as much stigma as we now see. Probably few outside the meat provider system could bring themselves to kill their own food. I am not a Veg. and would have a hard time if I did not have meat to eat. I admit I am what might be considered a "Modern" human in the sense of being less connected to the natural order of nature. If I had grown up on a farm,I might be more inclined to kill my own meat,but as it is I was born in a big city,and there is/was something of a taboo about killing animals yourself.


So, what do you use/ suggest to use instead of animals?

anunitu
26 Apr 2013, 13:20
I am not against killing animals for food,just not sure I personally could bring myself to do the killing. I LOVE eating meat. If I were in a position where I HAD to kill to eat,I most likely would. truth be told,if I were in a position where it was kill or starve,I might just kill and cook another person if that was all there was.

Py9
26 Apr 2013, 13:37
I am not against killing animals for food,just not sure I personally could bring myself to do the killing. I LOVE eating meat. If I were in a position where I HAD to kill to eat,I most likely would. truth be told,if I were in a position where it was kill or starve,I might just kill and cook another person if that was all there was.

I think that now days it's actually humanistic to hunt your own food than use the meat that was abused in the industry.
But I didn't phrase my question so good, I meant to ask- what do you sacrifice in your rituals?

WinterTraditions
26 Apr 2013, 14:17
I think the term "Sacrifice" is being misused. A sacrifice has to do with giving up something of importance in exchange for something else. I think this would be considered an animal offering.

If it was indeed an animal sacrifice, it would have to be something like you best friend, Max the dog or Nibbles the hamster. (Though I do not recommend slaughtering your pets!) xD

That is how I have always seen it, anyways. (As a parallel, Jesus sacrificed himself for the sins of mankind. Meaning, God lost his one son; the ultimate price. Jesus was already deemed "Sacred" before he was sacrificed.)

Py9
26 Apr 2013, 23:08
I think the term "Sacrifice" is being misused. A sacrifice has to do with giving up something of importance in exchange for something else. I think this would be considered an animal offering.

If it was indeed an animal sacrifice, it would have to be something like you best friend, Max the dog or Nibbles the hamster. (Though I do not recommend slaughtering your pets!) xD

That is how I have always seen it, anyways. (As a parallel, Jesus sacrificed himself for the sins of mankind. Meaning, God lost his one son; the ultimate price. Jesus was already deemed "Sacred" before he was sacrificed.)

That depends in what you consider to be the part of 'animals' in your life.
If you see 'animals' only as food, sacrifice would mean giving some of your food up for the gods.
When you consider 'animals' as your friends, that may be different, and similar to sacrifice one of your human friends.

monsno_leedra
13 May 2013, 09:06
Just sort of an aside note but the bones, internals and such were sacrificed to chthonic deities while the entire animal was sacrificed to celestial deities. For instance when Jason is sacrificing to Hecate in Culcas (sp) it's the blood, bones, internals etc that a placed in the sunken fire pit. Another aspect of sacrifice to chthonic deities in that it is done on the ground or below ground level. Sometimes being consumed by flame for transmutation other times left to seep into the ground.

When animals are sacrificed to Artemis at Ephesus they are led whole and alive onto a raised altar and burnt allowing the sacrifice to be transmuted via flame. Celestial deities receiving sacrifices upon a raised altar or platform as part of the sacrifice act. Recordings from Ephesus / Ephesos speaking of animals fleeing the flames only to be pushed back in by the priest / priestess or onlookers.

Additionally chthonic sacrifice of entrails, bones, blood, soiled cooking water, etc were deposited at the Y shaped cross roads as part of the Dneiper (sp) offerings to Hecake / Hekate on the 30th of the month or new moon. At times a part of the Hecate / Hekate supers left at the cross-roads though the dneiper actually lasted for three days. Either dumped as waste upon the ground or in a depression or placed within a cube like devise filled with coals and spun about the head to consume the meatier parts before being dumped upon the ground. The device believed to be similar to or actually the Stratapolis referenced in the Chaldean oracles.

Myself I tend to make offerings and sacrifices of the waste to chthonic deities by burning it in a sunken pit or depression. It may be the blood or internals depending upon the type of creature. For celestial deities it is placed upon a raised altar or platform and burnt until the offering is fully consumed via flame. The only exception to this is at times I also use the notion of Egyptian influences where the essence of the meal is sacrificed to the gods / goddesses and the meal itself is consumed by the one who made the offering.