I think it was Stephen Posch that gave a talk about animal sacrifice at Paganicon (Sorry Stephen — I can’t find my notes and for some reason Pagnicon doesn’t have the class listed in the old online schedule). The presenter was discussing Wiccan ritual structure, and how raising the cone of power was adapted to fill the hole where animal sacrifice would occupy a ritual from antiquity. I haven’t followed up that theory with any research of my own, but it makes sense: most religions in antiquity had some manner of sacrifice, and the Victorian sensibilities of Gardner would not have been amenable to including the practice in his creation.
As a young magical practitioner, that bias against flesh offerings extended to other types of offerings. Offerings in general were devotion, you see, and that sounded an awful lot like submission, which good magicians discarded along with their Christian backgrounds. Magic was all about energy and will, you see, and I took pride in not kneeling before any gods. Continue reading