Liturgy 1: Sacrifice

Note:  Considering the importance of this subject, I was rather surprised that ADF only wanted 100 words for this essay.  Mine clocks in at 183 and could have been much longer.  One thing that really got me thinking during this essay was the idea of sacrifice = entering the sacred.  I’ve always felt that ritual is a journey from the mundane to the sacred; if true, this means that ritual is essentially the act of sacrificing oneself.  I’m sure that I’m not the first person to consider this concept, but it really made me go hmmmm.

Discuss your understanding of Sacrifice, and its place in ADF liturgy.


My understanding of sacrifice is primarily based on two concepts.  The first concept is that the terms sacred and sacrifice are inseparable; the sacred is something that is removed from the mundane world, and to sacrifice something is to move it from the mundane to the sacred.  The object thus sacrificed may not be physically destroyed or removed, but it no longer has a place in the mundane world; a sacrificed tool may no longer be employed as a tool, for instance.

The second concept is that of hospitality and reciprocity so common to many Indo-European speaking peoples; the notion so eloquently captured in the Latin do ut des – ‘I give that you may give’.  In other words, through the act of sacrifice we may give to the Gods in the expectations that our offerings will be returned in kind.

Sacrifice is a central element of ADF liturgy; the Core Order of Ritual provides many opportunities for making offerings and culminates in a “key offering” and “prayer of sacrifice”, after which we anticipate the Kindred to return our sacrifice with their blessings.

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5 thoughts on “Liturgy 1: Sacrifice

    • I’m starting to get better. I’ve read a few of Michael Dangler’s study program essays and am always astounded at how brief they are. It’s really hard to demonstrate that you truly understand a concept in one hundred words..

  1. I really like the point you made about ritual being a sacrifice of ourselves. It wasn’t a connection I had made either, and it helps me make more sense of what I should expect out of a ritual. I hope that will help me to plan more effective ones, more often than not I wind up feeling silly since I’ve only ever been a solitary and it’s hard to tell if I’m “doing it right.”

    • Hi Sanil. I think that for a solitary it is even easier to achieve the appropriate state. You can use whatever methods and however much time you need to prepare without worrying about whether the other participants are getting bored. I don’t do very many solitary rituals (other that little devotionals) but when I do I love being able to take hours leading up to it to ensure that I’m in the right ‘place’.

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