On The Use of Blood in Ritual

Since the beginning of time blood has been looked upon as the Life Force. The Aztecs considered it a privilege and great honor to be sacrificed to their Sun God who had a great appetite for human hearts. In many primitive cultures, the child sacrifice was important in assuring that the seasons would be conductive to a good harvest. Much documentation survives pertaining to the tribal use of child sacrifice as a means of guaranteeing a victorious outcome in the battlefield. The ancient Jews offered up cattle to YHVH, and there is recent archeological indication that some of the tribes of Israel may have actually practiced child sacrifice until the Law of Moses prohibited the act of ritualistic murder. (See the story of Abraham.)

New Aeon magicians bring this practice into their rituals by spilling their OWN blood, as they are aware that the only sacrifice worthy of the gods is SELF SACRIFICE. Crowley's Mass of The Phoenix comes to mind.

Blood has been used in sacrifices in order to appease the gods, as a sacrament to one's Higher Self, and as ink in talismans, sigils and other ritualistic communicators where one wishes to align one's self to a particular principle by signing a promise or contract with it.

In simple terms, the spilling of one's own blood is a gesture of devotion. It is NOT the method of wizards and sorcerers to sell their souls, or anything else to the devil. This myth is implied in the 15th century work of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

The act of spilling blood communicates to the subconscious a seriousness regarding the operation or object of worship. It indicates a willingness to sacrifice one's time and energy in order to accomplish the task at hand. The crucifixion of Jesus and the mysteries of the Mass allude to this phenomenon.

Bleeding is extremely unpleasant for most people as the act releases painful memories of situations associated with pain; the thought of causing oneself to bleed borders on the irrational, and the willingness to go through with it indicates the intensity of one's devotion.

Since blood is connected to life, the act of willingly spilling it is a gesture that one is willing to sacrifice in order to succeed. When done as an act of devotion to a deity it is regarded as surrender like no other.

For this reason, tattooing and body piercing have become instruments for many New Aeon magicians to communicate the seriousness of their intentions or initiations to their psyche. Pain and bleeding are so closely connected to the survival reflex that they provide instant access. The only thing that comes close in matching the effectiveness of these is sex, or rather, orgasm… which implicates blood in a different form.

Blood as an ink, has also been used as a medium to animate ones sigils and talismans. Again, the life force qualities in the blood are believed to make living things out of inanimate objects. Also, it has been used very effectively for the purpose of signing ones name on Oaths of Secrecy.

Menstrual blood, or Blood of The Moon is believed to be very powerful, as the alchemists of old believed that the passing egg could be fertilized and kept alive for an undetermined period of time, while the spirit of an elemental was be invoked into the dividing cell. This elemental would then do the bidding of the magician while “alive” in the physical plane. Sex magick evolved out of these theories.

This kind of operation necessitated the fusion two types of blood: The Blood of The Moon, illustrated in alchemical texts as Silver, and the lifeblood of the Sun: sperm, or lifeblood, represented as Gold. The operation is symbolic of the union of the Sun (male, sperm) and Moon (female, menstruum).

In his opus Magick and Theory and Practice (Magickal Childe), Crowley claims to have practiced the Bloody Sacrifice of “A male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence” for “an average of 150 times every year between 1912 e.v. and 1928 e.v.” He then quotes J.K. Huysman: “It is the sacrifice of oneself spiritually. And the intelligence and innocence of that male child are the perfect understanding of the Magician, his one aim, without the lust of result. And male he must be, because what he sacrifices is not the material blood, but his creative power.” The fundies appear to have missed that.

This is an obvious insinuation to masturbation, and the spilling of sperm. There are still large numbers of people who are convinced beyond doubt that Crowley was able to abduct (on the average) one child every other day for 16 years for the purpose of sacrifice without ever drawing the attention of the local authorities. One would think that with that number of children being reported missing every week someone would have eventually knocked on his door!

In modern times, the “blood is life” metaphor survives in the Catholic Church, whereby partaking of wine and bread are symbolic of the Blood and Body of God. Metaphorically, by assimilating these talismans into their bodies, it is believed that some of the virtues of the God they represent might become prominent in their lives. In essence, they hope to eventually become that Deity.

Crowley's Liber XV: The Gnostic Catholic Mass and The Mass Of The Phoenix are good examples of the ritualistic use of blood, and are worth mentioning for the tremendous potential they possess.

Gerald del Campo
January 14, 1986
North Hollywood, CA

Copyright Gerald del Campo 1986. All Rights Reserved