"Sacrifice is an enduring enigma. Too subtle to define, too pervasive to ignore, too close to the heart of our culture to observe objectively, and too horrible to accept without flinching, human sacrifice manages to hide from us while making its presence felt everywhere. Like a black hole in space, which destroys all light around it but somehow gives rise to galaxies, sacrifice is a vacuum at the center of culture which somehow spins the web of life."

Patrick Tierney

The Highest Altar


"The notion that human society can survive without sacrifice remains an unproved hypothesis."

Patrick Tierney


"The number of human sacrifices may actually be greater in Yunguyo today than it would have been in a similar population under the Inca system."

Patrick Tierney



"The old idea of sacrifice was this: that blood of the lower life must be shed for the feeding and strengthening of the handsome fuller life."

                    D.H. Lawrence  (The Old Idea of Sacrifice)



The Lord has a sword steeped in blood,

It is gorged with fat,

The fat of rams; kidneys, and the blood of lambs and goats;

For he has a sacrifice in Bozrah,

A great slaughter in Edom….’

And the land shall drink deep of blood

And the soil be sated with fat."

Isaiah 34:6-8


"Before Judaism, Christianity, or Islam existed, before people could write, and before they founded cities, they sacrificed. The species Homo neandertalensis (flourishing between 110,000 and 35,000 years ago) interred both animal and human skeletons near hearths evidently constructed for sacrificial gatherings. Remains of young children found in Crete from the ancient Minoan civilization at Knossos, dated during the middle of the second millennium B.C.E., were found charred, their bones nicked in a way that accords with how Minoans prepared sheep and goats for ritual slaughter. Horrible to conceive of, human sacrifice has nonetheless remained rooted in human behavior from the time it emerged, deeply enough that the impulse persists, encoded even in evolved societies."

Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam" by Bruce Chilton



"I have already given two cousins to the war, and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother..."

-artemus Ward


"As transmuted into the Zoroastrian tradition, the Haoma plant was ritually burned, mixed with the fat of the sacrificial animal, and ingested, first by the priests and then by the congregation, during the day-long Yasna ceremony. The plant was believed to give spiritual immortality. "The sacrament on earth, however, is only in anticipation of the final sacrifice of the bull Hadhayans performed by the Soshyant, the eschatological savior who, in the last days, will rise up from the seed of Zoroaster to restore the whole of the good creation. From the fat of this ultimate sacrificial victim the white Haoma will be pre-perfect and whole in body and in soul.

   This eating of the sacrifice has resonances in Christianity, for the Haoma was also believed to be the son of Ohrmazd who willingly became the plant and the sacrifice for the salvation of the believers. "The plant is identical with the son of God: he is bruised and mangled in the mortar so that the life-giving fluid that proceeds from his body may give new life in body and soul to the worshipper." But the sacrifice of Haoma does not just ensure personal salvation but also the welfare of the society as a whole. He gives health, makes herds of cattle multiply, protects from the attacks of wild beasts, and maintains the balance of the world."

-Sharan Newman

The Real History of the End of the World




Book: "The Strange World of Human Sacrifice" by J.N. Bremmer, Ed

Book: "Dying For The Gods: Human Sacrifice in Iron Age and Roman Europe" by Miranda Green


© 2007



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