Article Specs |
Article ID: 6410
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,946
Times Read: 3,385
Author: Ares Hearthfire [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 6th. 2003
Times Viewed: 3,385
Sacrifice. No one word says more about dedication to a cause than this. We hear this word all the time. Even in sports you hear phrases like "Taking One for the Team." Sacrifice...it's a deadly word, it's a sacred word, it's a word given to people that give themselves for others to gain.
In movies we see heroes die to save loved ones. In war soldiers jump on grenades to save comrades in arms. We weep, we salute them and we honor such people. Sacrifice is thought of in religious concepts also. In the Christian Pantheon Jesus sacrificed himself for others. However, most elders in our paths have also sacrificed of themselves.
Gerald Gardner, the first person to come out of the broom closet, sacrificed himself for the good of the faith (though some argue that). Without him risking his own well-being amongst a world of intolerance we would not have any Wiccans today and such groups as AREN and others would never have come around.
In my personal life it causes me to make sacrifices. I must sacrifice my time for rituals, money for tools and time for preparation. Without giving of yourself none of these rewards would ever come. Even the Three Fold Law in Wicca encourages sacrifice. If you give of yourself to help something happen it only stands to reason that we will be rewarded for it. Not many people ever see someone give anything of themselves and than ask why. Everyone always wishes that they could do that.
At one time I did not even know what I was doing. I was brought up in a non-religious Jewish household. I never accepted the Bible, since the book seemed artificial. In my rejection of the faith, I was making a sacrifice. I understood that I would do better if I followed another path. When I discovered that path, it was Wicca. All the teachings I had ever had were now going to be replaced. In giving up of the old teachings I was making a sacrifice to the Gods.
How is giving up our childhood teachings a sacrifice? People never think of it as one, yet you are sacrificing those thoughts, those words, and those teachings in order to grow and to find yourself. It is a rite of passage. You really are giving up those thoughts to the Lord and Lady! Sacrifice need not be just giving up something material; indeed, sacrificing thoughts are just as worthy of the word as giving up anything material. In fact, it may be harder. Maybe, just maybe, that is the reason why it is so fulfilling to come to a Pagan Path. It is my belief that this is what happened to me when I "came home" to Wicca.
It is not easy to give of yourself. Any person that has ever started a coven, ran a coven or a Pagan event or festival will tell you how much hard work it is. They have to spend hours writing rules, talking to people, preparing paperwork and countless other things; they know what sacrifice is all about. Why is there a Starwood or a Craftwise every year? Because those that give of themselves year in and year out feel such a method of satisfaction that they can't help but to do the work over again.
Sacrifice, it is a mere word. In itself the word can cast different emotions out of people depending on how they see it. However, without it we would be isolated. Without it, no one would come together. If certain people could not make sacrifices we would not have the Witches' Voice. How many people use the site as a resource? How many people come to this place on a regular basis? Yet those that work for it take no pay, make no money. I would not even be writing this essay if not for them. Those behind that make a sacrifice to the Pagan Community greater than other people ever think about.
When you go to the local book store or Pagan shop and pick up a book you can see the time and effort that has gone into it. Many dislike certain authors for making money, yet the money is not that much and is this not a sacrifice? After meeting many Pagan authors throughout my journey I can honestly say that they are not given enough credit. Countless hours are spent in front of a computer or with pen in hand just to put together something for others to learn. How many of us write books? How many of us complained when doing three pages of homework at school? Just think of the frustration it is to write a couple of hundred pages, risking public ridicule, just so they can be heard. The time put into such work is a sacrifice of other duties. We owe ALL of them a thank you. Whether you agree with a person or not, they are enabling future Pagans of different paths to come into the light. Without such sacrifices many of us would not be here.
People always think of ritual when they think of many of our religions. Yet, as Pagans, the most stunning sacrifice most of us make is in the mundane world. Living openly and risking your job and reputation just to see that you can enlighten some. Living in the shadows and sacrificing your own right to live as you wish out of fear. Both are types of sacrifice. No one should ridicule those that do the opposite. It is not easy to give up anything, yet both polarities give up something. To me, this is why our community is so amazing. It does not take dying to give something; a matter of fact, living at a loss is a much bigger sacrifice then not having to live with your decision can ever be.
Paganism has much sacrifice in it. We may not recognize and think about one person's sacrifice. We must see the sacrifice that we make every day. Just to survive and practice our religion as such a minority. Many have lost friends; some have lost families. Yet for all they have given...they have still found the Goddess and the God. Sacrifice abounds in Paganism...we may not have a martyr, but we all have each other. Blessed Be for that.
Location: new york city and metro area, New York
Bio: The author is from Queen's NY and is co-founder of the Coven of the Sacred Chalice, a Witchvox sponsor and Wiccan teacher. He has been a practicing Wiccan for 8 years.
Other Articles: Ares Hearthfire has posted 2 additional articles- View them?
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Email Ares Hearthfire... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
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