I’ve been aware of the value of sacrifice lately. Sacrifice is a common element of ceremony and magick. It’s about giving up energy and is usually part of an exchange. Sacrifice is only of value when we’re giving up something we care about.
What might you choose to give up? When is the right time for you to make a sacrifice? How would you meaningfully do so?
We make these exchanges all the time. We pay money for goods and services, financial payment is a form of sacrifice and a reason I don’t give my services for free anymore, although I’m always happy to discuss what kind of energy exchange a person is prepared to make for what they receive. There needs to be an exchange of some sort and it needs to be commensurate and valued, otherwise the receiver isn’t going to respect what they gain. What I do is coming from spirit through me and spirit expects some kind of energy exchange.
There are many ways we make sacrifices, giving up our time or caring for somebody, whether or not we feel we have a choice. We do have a choice, we could walk away, even when a powerful sense of duty or guilt motivates us. Sacrifice is chosen but we may believe we don’t have an option when we do.
One of the ways that sacrifice has become apparent in my life recently is in lightening the load. By that, I mean reducing material possessions. This is not always easy, sometimes it’s difficult to let go when giving away books or thinning out the wardrobe. And what’s the pay off? It’s provided me with a sense of lightness, space and personal freedom. It’s felt a bit scary because I’ve removed much of what felt comforting and difficult to part with, but afterwards I appreciated the space and felt less inclined to refill that space with new things. There’s something really satisfying in weighing up the value of each item in my life. By value, I don’t mean monetary value, I mean what sparks joy. A big ‘thank you’ to my soul sister, Emma, who gave me this nugget of wisdom.
It’s the deliberate action of making sacrifice as a part of some magickal intent that really calls me, the power and transformation that can be invoked. Sacrifice makes me think of offerings, making gifts to Mother Earth, nature, the elementals or the ancestors at sacred places. More and more, I leave them energetic gifts. It used to be little crystals, dried sage or food. Now, I often materialise an energetic sun or maybe a diamond or heart emanating love. It means I always have something to give, even when my pockets are empty. Sometimes, it might be a hair from my head or a prick of blood from my thumb. It’s the intent, sincerity, love, peace and gratitude that matter. And I may ask for nothing, perhaps just to pass through a place peacefully and safely.
When it comes to magickal spell-work, the bigger the gesture or sacrifice, the greater the energy we unleash. The greater the energy, the more we can do with it. Sacrifice in ceremony may be used for letting go of what no longer serves us and cutting ties. For this, I might break a sacred tool or object, much as our ancestors broke a precious sword or mirror in two and placed it in the river, lake or bog.
There are times we are called to give something up, whether it’s something from inside ourselves, of ourselves or something precious to us. When we do, sometimes we are purposely calling in something new, something we are specifically looking for. And sometimes, we are releasing and allowing whatever is ready for us to come fill the space we made.
Be aware, with magickal work, sometimes there’s a backlash, especially when we receive something profound. We may have an extra price to pay, one that we weren’t expecting. It may be in the form of making us unwell. It’s best to take it as a positive, evidence that our request was heard and accepted. We will get better, as long as our protection is good, we are being challenged as spiritual warriors and energy workers and it’s a part of our growth and maturing as practitioners to be so. When we seek transformation and empowerment, when we ask to be fast-tracked to higher levels, don’t always expect a free ride.