We don’t think enough about what we do. We don’t think enough about what results are, and what results on other people are, and how the ricochet goes on and on.
But every action we take is rather like walking along a mountain path in avalanche country. A mis-step will knock some pebbles down the slope; perhaps it will only knock ten or twenty other pebbles loose, but perhaps it will knock loose a sufficiently large rock that there will be a noise.
And with that noise comes action: large action, which we did not intend, and which we cannot control; action which may harm or destroy us ourselves, but which will also destroy anything else in the downslope path.
So, the theory goes (don’t pretend you haven’t read it somewhere, even if it horrified you and you would never dream of doing it) that blood sacrifice releases a large quantity of power; and that the younger or more innocent the victim, the larger the amount of power released.
This is true, but it contains a lie.
The lie is that the power can be at all channeled or controlled.
Sacrifice releases the power of the avalanche. The action knocks into so many other people and things, so quickly, that the power builds, becomes enormous, destroys everything in its path, has consequences so far-reaching that no one, anywhere, could have predicted them all.
And child sacrifice, because of the betrayal, not only of life, but also of innocence, of trust, has an even larger consequence, and one that persists over time.
As pagans, we claim that we do not make blood sacrifice — or if we do, it is only the sacralizing of animals we planned on eating anyway. Never would we sacrifice a human, and far more than never would we sacrifice a child.
The Christians claim that they don’t ever sacrifice anyone, since they had the one and it was enough. Which, if you’ll go back and look at the avalanche, is quite accurate, as far as it goes.
The Jews don’t sacrifice since the Temple was destroyed, and Moslems stick to goats. So, we think: child sacrifice doesn’t happen in our societies.
But it does. It does.
Whenever the needs of a child are placed second to the desires of an adult, that child has been sacrificed. Whenever a child is killed (as so bloody many children are killed) by a family member, or a friend, or some kid down the block, that child has been sacrificed. Whenever a child is confronted with the sexual appetites of an adult, and parental /societal /religious protection fails, that child has been sacrificed.
And the sacrificer is never one person alone: we cannot say, it was this man who raped her: He sacrificed her. Her family bears a portion of the guilt, for insufficiently protecting her, or deliberately delivering her up to harm; and the whole of us bear a portion of the blame, for permitting our society to continue to sexualize children, to allow them to appear as objects of desire, so that the man could nurture such lusts.
We cannot say, it was this parent who failed to feed him: She sacrificed him. The rest of the family bears a portion of the blame, for not assisting with food; local industry bears a portion of the blame, for cutting jobs; and the whole of us bear a portion of the blame, for policies which place “competitiveness” above the lives of children.
We cannot say, it was this mother who sold her daughter for drugs: She sacrificed her. What kind of pain is the mother medicating with those drugs, that it can drive her to forget the trust of her child? What kind of society have we nurtured, that we face such pain and such poverty with anger and rejection, with disdain and punishment? What kind of society have we become, that such pain exists in our midst? That it is commonplace?
Such betrayal, such sacrifice, is a deliberate avalanche in muddy climes: a shout, loosing mass destruction far and wide, setting off earthquakes with its force. And all the force is destructive, wreaking more pain and more pain, until the original shout is long lost to anyone’s memory, and only the continuation of the destruction is visible, each new act a shout of its own, each as inevitable as lashing out against pain.
We began sacrificing children so long ago that we make excuses for it.
Look around you and see what has become of us.
So …. what, then? Are we doomed? Can nothing be done? The mountain will not climb back up its own slopes, after all.
But EVERY action comes back on us three times over, and on everyone else ten times as much: good as well as evil. We cannot undo the destruction of the past, nor make it as though it had never been, but what we can do is to ease the present pain and sow seeds of benevolent avalanches: shouts of joy and of help, mudslides of kindness, earthquakes of inter-responsibility.
And as magick-workers, and therefore knowledgeable about the inter-reactions of things, we particularly are responsible, wherever we see an opportunity, to help, to protect, to intercede, on behalf of anyone.
But especially to protect the children.