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I've been following the discussion of animal sacrifice on one of the ADF lists, and it's been interesting. I think they may have shut down the thread as off-topic because no official ADF ritual may include animal sacrifice (or blood sacrifice of any sort, IIRC), which is reasonable given ADF's history and philosophy, not to mention its focus on public worship (and the accompanying need for good PR!), and I don't think anyone was recommending that ADF should allow or condone it.

Where I would have a problem would be if ADF tried to assert this sort of control over their members' private practice, since many ADFers are members of other religions in addition to ADF's unique brand of neopagan druidry--a number are Wiccan, others are various types of reconstructionist, and as long as they don't try to combine it with ADF liturgy in an official rit, it's no problem. Fortunately, ADF has never had any interest in monitoring its members' spirituality outside of ADF. (I personally do not practice ADF-style ritual, finding other systems more personally rewarding, but I have a great fondness for other aspects of the organization. Admittedly I tend to swing a bit toward the recon side of things. :))

I do know folks who do or have done animal sacrifice. I have not yet been to one myself, but I certainly have no objection to it, because in the cases I'm familiar with it has been done by someone who raises their own animals for food already, and the only thing different about the sacrifice is that it is done in the context of ritual rather than in a purely secular manner. I don't think it would ever be a common thing (most Asatruar blot with mead for a reason--practicality) because most people don't live on farms (thus no animals) and don't have the experience or skill to do it properly. However, if you are going to be feasting on the home-grown pork or mutton anyway, I don't see why it would be a problem to kill the animal in a religous context, in which the life taken is especially honored. The only arguments against it that I can see would be the same ones that are against eating meat in general--and, as one who eats meat, I have not personally found those to be compelling. There may be something I am missing here, of course, since I know I've only skimmed over some of the discussion.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
elektra_lite
May. 13th, 2004 10:46 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much my stance to the animal sacrifice issue too.

(My first comment is a "me, too!" Heh.)
hearthstone
May. 14th, 2004 01:20 am (UTC)
No prob :).
gothicdruid
May. 13th, 2004 11:24 pm (UTC)
Actually, the thread was not shut down. The moderator simply asked those who were taking it off solely into a discourse on Hasidic practice to bring it back on topic. I hope you have a chance to read the thread in depth (including...coff, coff...my rather wordy post). In general, I'd second everything you said...except that I'd say there are plenty of arguments against group animal sacrifice besides vegetarian ones (Karen Dutton posted a number of examples of various arguments from the ADF site which I found interesting, personally). The problem is that discussions of this...as with so many issues of personal belief...do not lend themselves to consensus and sometimes become pretty polarized. The mere fact of that polarization...IMO...argues for the reasonableness of a public org like ADF maintaining a ban on live animal slaughter during its official Grove and Protogrove rituals. --BB. Todd
hearthstone
May. 14th, 2004 01:11 am (UTC)
Ah, I see--guess that's what I get for skimming! :) I do still have all the messages, just haven't had a chance to read them all yet. It is true that, of the instances I know of, all were done within a small group, and not as part of a public ritual.

It's a topic that interests me because, as a heathen and a Hellenic semi-reconstructionist, I see it as something that is likely to come up--I don't know offhand of any animal sacrifice being done in the Hellenic community but I wouldn't be surprised to see it. Although perhaps not a full hecatomb right away... :).
athanasios
May. 14th, 2004 12:33 am (UTC)
I think animal sacrifice is a perfectly reasonable expression of faith. It is clearly an Indo-European practice and I know at least one good friend of mine (a Pontifex et Flamen) within Nova Roma who has conducted several animal sacrifices according to the Mos Maiorum of the Religio Romana. Personally, I feel it is somewhat hypocritical for meat eating Pagans to be "ethically" opposed to animal sacrifice. If you can purchase your meat at your local grocery store why would you be opposed to making the animal sacred and offering to the Gods in the form of a communal meal? The whole thinking that opposes such a practice is bizare to me.

If Pagans hide behind the fear of "society will not accept us.." Then we will never reach any sort of semblence of mainstream, because mainstream society (ie., Christian society) does not accept us. Islam and Judaism have their traditions and they fight to preserve them. Most Pagans that I know fear the traditions of the ancient Pagan ancestors.

This is not to say that public animal sacrifice should be a spectacle. It shouldn't be flaunted as a novelty, because it is not. It is, however, a legitimate form of honoring the Gods and I hate to see people ridicule it as an anacrinism. Most monotheists refer to polytheism as an anacrinism. We should honor our traditions, at least that is my belief.

Needless to say, I unsubscribed from ADF-Discuss, along with most ADF lists. I have too much to do to worry about list politics and discussions, so I have better get back to work :)
hearthstone
May. 14th, 2004 01:16 am (UTC)
I know at least one good friend of mine (a Pontifex et Flamen) within Nova Roma who has conducted several animal sacrifices according to the Mos Maiorum of the Religio Romana.

Interesting--is this done as part of an official Nova Roman ritual? If so, have they had any objections from the membership?
athanasios
May. 14th, 2004 03:37 am (UTC)
Animal Sacrifice within Nova Roma
Gaius Modius Athanasius S. P. D.

Salve;

The Collegium Pontificum recently passed a decretum legislating that those sacerdotes who have the ability to conduct animal sacrifice according to the mos maiorum and in accord with macronational laws shall have the right to conduct said rituals on behalf of the senate and people of Nova Roma. Additionally, those sacerdotes who do not wish to participate in animal sacrifice are not required to do so, but it is recognized as a legitimate form of sacrifice and as a part of the mos maiorum is to be honored, and not insulted.

There are a few who oppose the idea of animal sacrifice, but almost all of them are Christians within Nova Roma, and they are involved in Nova Roma more from a historical fancy or for re-enacting. Their cries fall on deaf ears, as I have told them numerous times, "I don't walk into your Church and tell you how to honor your God, don't do it to me."

The vast majority of Pagans in Nova Roma are either supportive or very supportive of the idea of animal sacrifice. I am very proud of this milestone within Reconstructionism.

Vale;

Gaius Modius Athanasius
Tribunus Plebis, Flamen Pomonalis et Augur
hearthstone
May. 14th, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Animal Sacrifice within Nova Roma
That is very cool. Was it a battle to get it done, or not that big a deal (apart from the non-pagan presence)? I don't know offhand of any other large organizations that address the issue specifically in that sense.
tlachtga
May. 14th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)
To me, the only objection is perhaps the climate of the country, and not to the act itself. As others have stated, I don't have any objection to a "holy barbeque." We--or at least most people I know--eat animals, we might as well have a ritual about it.

But I worry instead about the climate of the local community. We're never going to be accepted, but at the very least, I'd like that we're left alone to worship in our way; I don't see that happening. If, say, the local officials got wind that there were Pagans performing an animal sacrifice, I can see all sorts of trouble happening.

How does Nova Roma fair with the community when they're performing such a ritual?
chronarchy
May. 14th, 2004 12:45 pm (UTC)
My main issue with it is that we keep going over and over and over the same ground with it. And it's an ugly debate sometimes.

But this particular discussion got very interesting when one of my Grove members said he was in favour of *human* sacrifice.

I'm still trying to smack some sense into him. *rolls eyes*
tlachtga
May. 14th, 2004 02:29 pm (UTC)
But this particular discussion got very interesting when one of my Grove members said he was in favour of *human* sacrifice.

Yeah, what was that about? If I worshipped a deity who wanted human sacrifice, I'd find a new deity PDQ!
chronarchy
May. 14th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
I still don't knwo what that's all about. But let's just say I am really not happy with how this particular conversation is going.

Smackage may be in order.
tlachtga
May. 14th, 2004 02:43 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you aren't!
hearthstone
May. 14th, 2004 03:25 pm (UTC)
He meant that seriously? I just assumed that he was actually against animal sacrifice and trying to make a point.
chronarchy
May. 14th, 2004 03:48 pm (UTC)
I just replied to him again. Yeah. Seriously.
hearthstone
May. 14th, 2004 04:57 pm (UTC)
Wow. I have honestly never heard of anyone who held that point of view.
chronarchy
May. 14th, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC)
Neither had I, until now.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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