Book News … new release

Sacrifice to the Gods by offering, oblation and libation by Melusine Draco

This is the first title published in the ‘Arcanum series’ for Ignotus Books.   Arcanum books will be titles of under 100-pages of practical and/or instructional text on a specific esoteric subject or theme and written by magical practitioners with proven antecedents. Based on the idea of those children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that often introduced us to an interest that lasted a life time and, taking its name from the Coven of the Scales’ foundation course, the aim is to offer further tuition/guidance on specific elements of witch-lore and practice. 

Coming in at under 25,000 words, each title will be packed with information and instruction rather than puffed out with superfluous wordage and regurgitated text borrowed from other publications.  The series will be aimed at those who have attained a certain level of magical competence and who don’t need to be spoon-fed basic instructions for Circle-casting with each volume – and are therefore not written with beginners in mind. 

Sacrifice, like death, is one of the great taboos of modern society. The notion that human sacrifice could be considered a most holy act is almost inconceivable.  Yet the evidence for human sacrifice in north-west Europe, derived from both archaeology and the testimony of Classical writers of the first centuries BC/CE, has to be confronted.  The term ‘sacrifice’ has become so firmly engrained in the human psyche – or racial subconscious – that even in this modern day and age, it automatically conjures up images of bloodshed regardless of context. 

In media-speak, any reference to ‘sacrifice’ in connection with pagan rites and practices is almost immediately and erroneously conveyed as involving animals, babies or virgins!  In other words, media reporting provides the narrative that forms the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it is supposed to be fully understood – even if it is misleading and inaccurate. To the detractors of pagan beliefs, however, the term ‘sacrifice’ usually refers to killing animals or harming humans – because they fail to understand that in a pagan sense, what is always offered in sacrifice is, in one form or another, life itself, a a means of preserving the Sacred Order.

Sacrifice is a celebration of life, an acceptance of its divine and imperishable nature. In the act of sacrifice the consecrated ‘life’ of an offering is released as a sacred link that establishes a bond between the sacrificer and the divine power. Through sacrifice, energy is returned to its divine source, regenerating the power or strength of that source; life is fed by life. Hence the words of the ancient Roman sacrificer to his god: ‘Be thou increased (macte) by this offering’.  Needless to say, it is an increase in this divine power that is ultimately beneficial to the sacrificer because sacrifice is the merging and guarantee of the reciprocal flow of the divine life-force between its source and its embodiment.

Often the act of sacrifice involves the destruction of the offering, but this destruction is not in itself the sacrifice. The destruction (or consumption) of a food-drink offering at an altar’s fire is the means by which the deity receives the offering.  Thereby, a sacrifice is the total act of offering and not merely the method in which the rite is performed. 

So, sacrifice as a sacramental communal meal may involve the idea of the god as a participant in the feast, or being identified with the food consumed; it may also involve the idea of a ritual meal, at which either some agrarian event such as the springtime (Beltaine) and the harvest (Lughnasad) is repeated, or the sacred rites of the seasons are symbolically renewed – the Summer and Winter Solstices.  Although the fundamental meaning of these sacrificial rites is that of affirming a bounteous and fruitful relationship with the sacred power and of establishing humankind in the Sacred Order, the rites have in more modern times assumed a multitude of different forms and intentions.

Sacrifice to the Gods looks at the latest archaeological findings from the Ancient World to see how these offerings can be interpreted for modern pagan use, so that we can fully understand what is permissible and what was forbidden in times past, so that our sacrifice is acceptable to our gods, regardless of the Path or Tradition we follow.

Sacrifice to the Gods by offering, oblation and libation by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Books ISBN 9781839457012 : Paperback : Pages: 102 :  £6.85 : Published13 January 2021. Available from the printer at a special discounted price from

E-book format will be available from Kindle shortly

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