The Nature of Sacrifice

Alchemical WeddingI often hear people using the word “sacrifice” rather freely to indicate giving something up unwilling, or being forced to perform some act of contrition or separation from. However, our word sacrifice is from the Latin word “sacer,” which means “to make sacred, to consecrate, to make holy.” The Greek word for “healing” originally meant, “sacrifice to the gods.” The act of sacrifice was to literally place upon the altar of the gods, e.g., to “surrender,” the part of the self that had been acting profanely (without love; to treat something sacred with abuse, irreverence, or contempt). To sacrifice was to give up the short-term benefit of ego-based (non-loving; non-sacred) behavior, in favor of the longer-term, more positive, benefit of holding sacred space. In its true form then, the act of sacrifice was to eliminate the influence of ego (the toxicity of conflict and dissension), so that the individual could become healed, e.g., brought into greater harmony. Sacrifice allows us to reconnect with our true self. When we question our beliefs and leave our ego-driven behavior behind, we make a sacrifice. We give up the immediate gratification because we realize we no longer “need” these things. When viewed from the lens of it’s actual denotative meaning, to make a “sacrifice” then is actually a very noble and beautiful thing…to make something sacred.


3 Replies to “The Nature of Sacrifice”

    1. Yes, I think everything in life all depends on your point of view. Someone could say, “I made all of these sacrifices,” coming from a very, bitter, negative point of view about it and driven by selfish, ego-based desires. Or that same person could view their sacrifices as a means to make something special, something sacred, and say, “I made sacrifices.” The way sacrifice appears on the service, outward level could be identical, but how the person views those acts, changes everything.

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