Oh yes, let’s get deep in some shadow magick shit…
I DO NOT ENCOURAGE OR ENDORSE THE USE OF BLOOD FOR RITUAL, SACRIFICE OR CRAFTWORK. IF YOU CHOOSE TO PRACTICE THIS DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.
*FYI I will be discussing blood sacrifice in this article. Be warned that working with blood is extremely dangerous and it is not my intention to encourage its use, but to educate you on how and why it is used. Blood can transmit diseases and cutting yourself or maiming yourself, even for ritual practices, is ill advised. When working with blood you can catch or spread a number of bloodborne pathogens including AIDS. Before reading this article, please watch this safety video about bloodborne pathogens.*
Ancestors and Blood Sacrifice
Alright, yes, many of our ancestors made blood sacrifices by slaughtering the willing and unwilling. We all know this, there’s archaeological evidence that has proven this. Regardless of how you or I feel about this practice,
IT IS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL TO KILL PEOPLE FOR RITUAL SACRIFICE.
Animal sacrifice is a little more ambiguous on the legality and morality, but we’ll get to that later…
Back on track! Ok, yes, they did these sacrifices. Why is that important to us? Mostly it shows us the value that was placed on life. When attempting to manifest something very important, communities clearly offered up to their Gods and the spirits what had the highest value to them – life itself.
Modern Blood Sacrifice
These days it’s pretty taboo to offer up blood sacrifices. That may seem like I’m downplaying the negative judgements of these offerings, but there are actually numerous cultures and pagan communities that are still practicing blood sacrifices.
I have met a number of pagans – primarily Norse followers – who offer their own blood up in sacrifice while in ritual. These individuals will often cut themselves – usually on the arm – and let the blood drip into a ritual pyre. There are also practitioners of voodoo and santeria who will ritually kill animals.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are witches who will “blood” their tools. Yep, that’s right, some of us will apply our own blood to our ritual tools. This sometimes looks like pricking a finger and placing three drops of blood in a glass of water, then painting a tool with the water – this can also be done with runes or sigils when casting. It could also look like taking a ritual dagger and cutting one’s body with it and using the blood in the same manner just without water.
Offerings can also be made with blood, like those Norse folk I mentioned earlier. They often offer their own blood to their Gods as a sign of their complete devotion. Literally giving their life force to their Gods.
Alternatively, some use their blood as a way to connect with their ancestored dead as their blood – their DNA – connects them to those that came before. These offerings are often given to the dirt to strengthen the bond to the earth’s memories and therefore the memories of our ancestors.
Why do they do this? The power and importance of life force energy.
The idea is that you are taking life force energy – usually your own – in the form of blood and giving your tools or your sigils life of their own so they can manifest your will without your attention.
Blood is intricately tied to our very life force. It is what feeds every part of our body. Without blood we cannot survive. It is tied to the heart which is linked to life – no heartbeat, no life. It’s fairly self-explanatory.
How is this useful as a witch?
As above, with blooding tools and sigils, the application of the blood with intention is meant to give life to these tools and sigils. If we expand on this, by giving your life force to give life to ritual tools and sigils, they become an extension of your very being which could have very large implications for craftwork.
The Wild Hunt has a wonderful article that interviews five modern practitioners on their opinions about blood sacrifice. Check it out!