Sacrifice is a word that is extremely scary to most people when associated with religion. There are many meanings and uses for the word Sacrifice but there are two that I feel have importance to this discussion. According to dictionary.com Sacrifice is:
1. the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.
3 .the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim (Random House Dictionary).
(noting that we in ADF of course do not practice human or living animal sacrifices nor approve of it.) The act
of sacrifice is the action of making offerings to the divine in homage and reverence to help in creating an important spiritual link between the worshiper and the divine.
Until coming to ADF, I had never really thought much about Sacrifice in my spiritual path. Then again there were a lot of things I did not think much of until coming to ADF. But once I started down the road of ADF cosmology I began to give thought to the meaning of sacrifice. I learned that it was not just offering things such as incense, liquids, and foods that are commonplace. Sacrifice can more meaning when the items being giving have some kind of value to them above and beyond the common value, whether it be a monetary or emotional investment. This has the effect of showing the divine that you are willing to give fully of yourself. I believe it shows that you are truly offering the best you can offer. The offering can be a bottle of high quality liquor, a piece of art work that was done by hand, goods that were baked especially for the Sacrifice, or even herbs that were planted, grown, and harvested for specific deities. (Thomas)
Sacrifice serves another function outside of being used to honouring the divine. Within ADF it is used to help us creation relationships with the Kindred. Through the actions of sacrifice we create the expectation of reciprocal relationships. We give to Them so that they may give to us. (Thomas)
We also sacrifice to create a type of peace treaty. It is custom for many people within ADF to make offerings to those we term Outdwellers. They are the forces, being and deities that do no have a harmonious intent with the goals we are seeking to achieve. We offer so that these Outdwellers will leave us in peace during our rites and in our lives.
Sacrifice within ADF the most interesting concept to me. For ADF liturgy Sacrifice is used
to honor the Three Kindreds. Sacrifices are gifts we give to the Kindreds so that we may
become closer with Them in kinship. But it is also a way of creating a reciprocal relationship with
the Three Kindred.