Valheim Hof

A new temple to Odin has been opened in Denmark, for the first time in nearly a thousand years.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is a Greek neopagan about a festival she attended recently. They apparently elected to "reimagine" the blood sacrifice, instead buying snacks from a local grocery. I found that vastly amusing, as the whole point of the particular ritual they were trying to revive was the blood magic. Apparently the danger of the basic tenets of the faith being overwhelmed by feel-good Hippie sentimentalism is not limited to the Catholic Church.

To the credit of these Odhinnic pagans, they did not omit the blood.


MikeD said...

They apparently elected to "reimagine" the blood sacrifice, instead buying snacks from a local grocery.

Snacks. That they eat? Because I also was of the impression that the blood sacrifices were then burnt, giving the entire offering to the gods. As such, no one ate any part of a sacrificed lamb or bull. And that was part of the "sacrifice", you took thing thing that held value (for food is always inherently valuable) and utterly destroyed it, making it unfit for human use. You sacrificed the whole thing to the gods. Eating the sacrifice means nothing more than dedicating the meal to them, saying Grace, if you will. Hardly retains the meaning of sacrifice then, doesn't it?

Grim said...

Not in Greek paganism as it was practiced in Homer's day. The Greek ritual frequently involved eating the sacrifice. For example, here's a description of one such offering from the Odyssey:

"Now the people of Pylos were gathered on the sea shore to offer sacrifice of black bulls to Neptune lord of the Earthquake. There were nine guilds with five hundred men in each, and there were nine bulls to each guild. As they were eating the inward meats and burning the thigh bones [on the embers] in the name of Neptune, Telemachus and his crew arrived, furled their sails, brought their ship to anchor, and went ashore."

Later, there's a very lengthy description of a sacrifice by Nestor of a heifer. He gilds its horns, and the gold is consumed, as are the thigh bones wrapped in fat. But the edible meat is toasted over the fire on spits.

Now, there were other festivals in which the meat is not eaten. In one fertility festival, the sacrifices were all dumped in a pit to rot, both animals and grains. Then, the next year, the rotten meat and vegetable matter was taken out of the pit and spread across the fields. This "magic" actually probably worked -- it was really a massive compost pile that doubtless did a lot to increase the fertility of the soil.

MikeD said...

I stand corrected then. Just seems to minimize the actual "sacrifice" involved.

Grim said...

The kind of sacrifice you're thinking of is where we get the word "holocaust," which means "to burn the whole" in Greek. I think Xenophon describes one.

Eric Blair said...

The ritual was more important than the actual sacrifice, from what I've read over the years. Although, one has to remember that somebody is paying for that sacrifice, be it bull, goat, or whatever.

Lars Walker said...

My understanding is that in Norse paganism the sacrifice was closely associated with the feast. Similar to non-holocaust sacrifices in the Hebrew religion, a portion would be given to the gods and the rest would be enjoyed by the guests in the hall. This formed the center for a rather complex and sophisticated system of hospitality and gift-giving exchanges which was the basis for their political networks. Thus the word "godi" is translated both "priest" and "chieftain."

I was amused some years back when I overheard a couple Norse heathens talking. One said that he was pleased that the chief priest in Iceland had declared, at some time previously, that it was no longer necessary to die in battle to go to Valhalla. Kind of like spiritual jihad, I guess.