The “True nature of sacrifice”

©2003 Forest Butera - Blue Moon Wicca

While we make many sacrifices throughout our lives on Lammas we make a special effort to do something specifically for the gods. Often I hear the question, “What is an appropriate sacrifice to the gods, especially on Lammas?” When one understands the root meaning of the word sacrifice then the answer to that question becomes more clear.

The first part of the word, sacri, comes from the Latin root word sacrare meaning, “to make sacred or holy”. The second part of the word, fice, means “to make” or “to offer”. Sacred means “consecrated” or “set apart for a special purpose”, especially those things made more acceptable to a deity or for religious purpose. When we make our Lammas sacrifice it is an act of self-sacrifice. So when we understand the meaning of sacrifice we can see that one way we could word our intended goal is: “To set ourselves apart for the special purpose of becoming more acceptable to the gods”.

Whatever we choose to give up, to do, to make, to complete, to avoid…it should be with this intent in mind: “By virtue of this sacrifice, this time next year I will have become a better person, more useful to the gods, and therefore more helpful to and useful in all capacities and to all my fellow creatures”.

Lammas is a celebration of the grain harvest. The grain harvest was to our ancestors, and continues to be in many respects, the most significant harvest of the year. While fruits and vegetables are important for variety it is grain, of one type or another, which has been the staple of most diets throughout time and throughout the world. On the surface it may seem superfluous and unnecessary to make a sacred offering of grain to the gods on this day which celebrates the abundance of grain that they have given to us. What we are saying when we make such an offering to the gods is, “Thank you for teaching us how to plant and harvest, thank you for providing our nourishment, and we offer this portion, the best of our harvest, back to you because we trust that our relationship will continue and that, in due time, harvest will come again.”

Whether we are farmers or procure our food in the more round-about way of the grocery store, we will always want to keep in mind the literal offering and thanks to the gods. But as we work a Mystery Religion we must also be vigilant in our efforts to constantly uncover layers and more layers of symbolic and allegorical meanings to all that we do and experience. Consider (meditate on) the allegories of grain and of harvest in your own life. Once you have considered all of the above you should be able to come up with a logical and valuable Lammas sacrifice.


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