Sacrifice; Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of something or someone considered to have a greater value. The act of offering something in propitiation or homage.
I have thought a great deal about the nature of sacrifices, offerings and vows lately. During my recent journeys I have made many offerings, some were in the form of vows and oaths, some in the form of sacrifices, some in the form of gifts. All were because I believe the purpose of my offerings, the object of them, to be of greater value than the offering itself. I have made vows, pledges, oaths, sacrifices and offerings on a daily basis.
I have benefitted from the sacrifice of others. The liberty and freedom I enjoy, to worship as I please, to vote, to make choices about my life, to voice ideas regardless of who might disagree, to educate myself, these are all due to the sacrifices of those who valued these principles more dearly than life itself. I am indebted to those who sacrificed for my liberty and for those freedoms, I Give Thanks.
Sacrifice can be an uncomfortable idea, but the primary principle behind it is that of a gift. The giving, the offering up of something of value, for the sake of something or someone of greater value. Yesterday I made offerings of food and wine to honor those whose lives were lost in a war that was fought a long time ago and resulted in benefit to me and to those who will come after me. The wine and the food were bought with money that I earned at a job that requires my time and effort. This is of value to me; my time and effort are those elements of which my life consists.
The offerings and sacrifices and vows that I make are gifts of my energy and time and love and service. They mean nothing unless they are truly a part of me. I make them because I value something else even more. In some respects my life itself is my offering. My vows to live my life with honor, valour, integrity, compassion and grace, are sacrifices to principles that I value. My vows to love regardless of the potential to be heart-broken, to walk in light as well as shadow so that I may serve others and indeed my higher self, these are offerings I make to the Great Work. I place myself upon the alter, upon the anvil, as a sacrifice to my Gods, my Ancestors, my beloveds, myself. That which I gain I value more highly, I esteem more dearly than that which I offer up. And that which I give in offering, in sacrifice I cannot reclaim. For that is the true nature of a gift, of sacrifice. It cannot be taken back.