- An act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure: they offer sacrifices to the spirits the ancient laws of animal sacrifice
Freyr sacrifices Himself every year for a good harvest. He is one of many sacrificial kings. Last night, I co-lead a ritual for Freyfaxi, and His sacrifice is one of the things we talked about before we tucked into the Working.
The notion of sacrifice for harvest is a foreign one to many modern-day Pagans, because most of us live in a food-rich environment. Food is on TV. Food’s at restaurants, grocery stores, convenience marts. We don’t know the kind of worry that our ancestors had about food scarcity. Where I live in Florida, this is even more so, because we really don’t have a dead or latent season. I have some Vanatruar pals who experience Pop sleeping in the fall and winter. I never get this aspect of Him. He changes, but He’s not gone, and I think that’s because of where I live and what the agrarian cycle is like here. I live in the winter strawberry capital of the US – central Florida. And when I say “winter” I mean that we can get fresh strawberries from December to April. Citrus too, and many other types of produce. Farmers markets and produce stands are prolific where I live.
So what does sacrifice mean to me, as a modern-day Pagan? Why sacrifice anything?
“How much do you want something?” Pop asks. “What is it worth to you –because what you are willing to give shows what you value in yourself.”
“Why do we even have to make the gesture?”
“It’s magic,” He says, and His eyes twinkle.
“I’m serious. Change can happen slowly, or it can happen quickly, but for something to happen quickly, you must give fuel to the fire. Consider death, for a moment. A body may decompose slowly, or you may put it in the fire and it changes quickly and releases its energy as it burns, yes?” Pop looks out on the glade where we sit. His hair and beard are longer, a little more unruly; hints of grey peppered in their gold. It makes Him look a bit more like Grandpa Njord. “And when we return we are different, each and every time.”
“And every time you go?”
“Every time I return, I am a little different. And every time, I wonder if My loved ones will still love Me.”
“But of course we do.”
He nods. “Love is as great a constant as change is.”
“So why do You do it? I mean, besides ‘people gotta eat’?”
“Because sacrifice, when done right, sets us free.”