This article will explore the practice of Sacrifice in Satanism, and in other religions that may be found in the occult. This article also contains my personal views on Sacrifice in Satanism. While I do not believe that sacrifice of anything is necessary in satanism, others may have different views.
The word sacrifice is derived from "sacer" meaning sacred1. A sacrifice may be a part of a religious ritual or rite that is meant to honor a god, or spirits. Sacrifice of animals is protected according to the US Constitution, as long as the sacrificed animal is not tortured and the animal is consumed afterward.
In ancient times, sacrifice was accepted as a part of daily life. For example, many cultures have used sacrifice as
The statue was built to look like huge bull man. The sacrifices were placed in the hands of the god statue and raised to the mouth, where they fell into the burning fires inside the statue. People danced around below the statue, and played flutes and tambourines to drown out the sounds of screaming. To them it was honorable to sacrifice to their god2.
A religion today using the rite of animal sacrifice is Santeria. The word Santeria means 'Way of the Saints'. This is a traditional tribal Afro-Caribbean religion based on elements of Catholicism. Sacrifice of small animals such as chickens are a part of their religious rites or initiations. Those who practice Santeria claim to treat their sacrifice in a humane manner.
The beliefs of Santeria are based on the 'Oriesha' who must continually be fed through ritual sacrifice. The Orisha spirits represent the Santeria version of God. Since Santeria uses elements from Christianity, they claim that sacrifices to God have been practiced for many centuries. The Santeria religion is protected and allowed to Sacrifice during ritual according to the US and Canadian constitution3.
Unfortunately, religions like Santeria are all too often labeled as 'satanic' when they have nothing to do with Satanism.
The main focus of the satanic panic of the 80's was the suspicion of satanic cults. Speculation and lies heightened the fears of the public, and raised a false awareness about cults, and satanism. I wrote an essay titled "A word on Cults", which describes a brief history of dangerous cults and the influence of cult perception within the satanic Panic.
Those who are satanists today would generally agree, that ritual sacrifice is not a part of satanic practices. Many Satanists will cite the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth, written by Anton LaVey, which state explicitly "Do not kill any non-human animal except for food"4. Although I am not a LaVeyan Satanist, I agree with these words in the Satanic Bible. Most satanists who are law-abiding citizens would agree with this statement. A satanist, knowing that these things are against humanity and that they are illegal, would not participate in these 'occult crimes'.
Acts of desecration that are committed are usually performed by dabblers, teenage satanists, and by those who have mental disorders. These people, along with others like them scapegoat satanism and place the blame on religion and the Christian Devil.
One satanic group claims to practice the art of human sacrifice. This Satanic Order is called 'The Order of Nine Angles". Lead by a man named Anton Long, it is an esoteric order which has released several publications, both in print and on the net.
This group gave instruction on how to choose a sacrifice, which is called an 'opfer' [literally, German for 'sacrifice']5. The opfer, who is most likely a new member of the group, is chosen for a ritual. While this makes for sensational reading, it is rumored that the ONA does not exist as an organized group and there is suspicion that the writings of the ONA are nothing more than occult documents, written by a few authors, that were made available to the public. My theory is that the opfer or sacrifice is a sacred rite, and a metaphor for the process of initiation, as one 'sacrifices' their former life to enter into an esoteric order.
While sacrifice is practiced by some religions, it is shunned by others.
I do not see a need for sacrifice in my ritual work, or as a part of my
religious beliefs. I love and respect nature, and energy that is
needed or created for ritual or magick comes from the will. Even in
the act of sacrificing something, it is the intention and the focus
of energy which is most important.
- Venus Satanas