Date: 20 Feb 1998
I think that the power of blood in ritual comes from its analogy with the Sea, which is the source of all life. In many Indo-European religious practices, the Cosmos is recreated through sacrifice and the power of creation itself comes with a flowing effect. This can be the "breath of life" or it can be the "word of creation." It can also be the flow of blood which is definitely the flow of power from the Mother Goddess. When the blood of life is spilled it is a release of this Goddess power into the world to be shaped by the ritual working.
In modern practices, most of us have gone beyond the need to actually spill blood in ritual, preferring to let the analogy be symbolized by a drink or other fluid. This goes for Pagans and non-Pagans alike (even Christians, those great *borrowers* of Pagan symbolism). The entire idea of such re-creation rituals is to open a channel to Goddess power that allows it to flow into the purpose of the ritual working. Depending on our sensibilities, the laws and our level of spiritual awareness, only the ritual itself need occur in order to open the flows. Those who *need* physical props would do well to understand the tremendous debt they incur when using a life force that was created by deity for another purpose in this existence. When we subvert the will of the deities in our own workings, how can we expect to not suffer the consequences?
If we lived during primitive times and were hardened in our physicality, then we would sacrifice humans and animals to accomplish our end. If we were slightly more evolved and enlightened, then we would do sacrifices using symbolic effigies of these living creatures in our sacrificial rituals. To be completely enlightened IMO we must commune directly with spirit on a spirit to spirit basis, without the use of physical media. To me this implies states of ecstasy that are to be had only by leaving the body. In that case death is temporary and a matter of trance and meditation. It is a death of the ego's hold on the separation of self from Self. In such self-sacrifice, we can receive the entire message of Deity and Creation. Perhaps our mission should be to perfect our means to communicate and guide those who seek creation or re-creation into ways that do not entail the destruction of the world's creatures? Perhaps what is needed is to embrace the will of Deity and the purpose of Creation? Perhaps these are only found by finding one's own purpose in being in the first place?