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.*
*FYI I will be discussing menstruation in this article! If this offends your delicate sensibilities, please do not read that section. If you read it anyways, don’t come complaining afterwards – that’s on you.*
So we’ve established some of the reasons why blood is used as sacrifice or for craftwork. In this article I’m going to expound into the how. If you haven’t read part one, check it out here.
The act of deliberately and ritually cutting your person to offer your own blood. AS I mentioned, I have met several folk who opt to do so with blades, opening up large wounds on the person to ensure a greater blood flow. This can be incredibly dangerous! It also can be very difficult to heal from. Some would argue that this lends itself to greater potency.
There are also folks who choose to work with smaller cleaner blades or needles. It is important to point out that this is primarily done with sterile blades and needles to ensure the greatest amount of safety. It also releases a smaller amount of blood and heals quicker, but can still be dangerous.
Ritual Scarification or Tattoo
There are some, myself included, who go to professionals to receive scarification (a professional cuts the skin with a sterile surgical blade into designs) or tattoos and give the pain and blood that is naturally produced as an offering. This a simple matter of intention – again, the beauty of practical magick – but it can also be done specifically with an artist who is also a witch or pagan.
I have seen some truly beautiful work done in this way. I myself hope to one day receive scarification and offer it up to my Gods.
Scarification differs from tattoos in that it produces more blood – and thus is more dangerous – but it is also a semi-permanent form of body modification. With proper care and a much more delicate scarification, I’ve met some people who have had a scarification last only five years.
The Sacred Hunt
I live in Colorado, and if we’re being honest there is a number of hunters out here. I am a big supporter of hunting to feed yourself. I often think of this as being the most honorable way to eat meat.
I have seen some people honor the animals they raise for food through a ritual killing. This is not done in offering, but is meant as way of killing the animal in a humane manner. They will often give thanks and praise the animal for sacrificing its life so that they may be sustained. I believe this could easily be turned to hunted animals as well.
I think honoring the animals we kill for food by giving them a humane death and giving thanks for their sacrifice is important, but what if we took it a step further? Once a hunter catches their prey, what’s to stop them from leaving a portion of their catch as an offering?
Leaving a portion of your prepared meal as an offering is a common practice in some cultures, especially with some forms of ancestor worship. I’ve also seen this done with plants and vegetables in the garden. A portion is taken to feed oneself, a portion is left for the plant to continue to thrive, and a third portion is left for nature to make use of (often in the form of birds or other animals feeding on the plant). Why not do this with the meat that is caught?
bum Bum BUM! The dreaded topic of menstruation! Run if you must, stay if you will.
Yes, I admit it. This is my preferred way of utilizing blood for ritual. It’s a simple and plentiful way of accessing blood that does me no harm and minimizes some of the dangers of blood offering.
I also like the fact that menstrual blood is tied with creation and manifestation. Why wouldn’t I use the blood my body naturally produces during the cyclical creative process that is naturally connected to the energies of the moon?
Listen, having a period sucks big hairy balls. There are very few benefits to having one – in my life personally anyways. Using it in ritual and as offerings is one of the very few times I actually get some use out of my ovaries and womb.
I have also offered up the pain of menstrual cramps to my Gods before. I think pain and the strength of enduring it can be a very potent spiritual offering, and it has the added benefit of calming your mind so that the pain isn’t quite so intense. At least it seems to work for me.
Need some more ideas about how to use menstrual blood? Check this out!
My hope with this article is not to persuade anyone to start using blood for ritual, sacrifice or craftwork, but simply to open your mind to some different practices. Substitutes can always be used in all of the ways blood is used for offering and craftwork. Many use other bodily fluids – saliva, tears, and/or sexual fluids – in lieu of blood, but it’s important to remember that these fluids also carry and transmit diseases, so always be careful and practice these at your own risk.