Meanwhile, anyone reading this probably is well aware that there has been a lot going on regarding horse slaughter in the US. From a crazy slaughter house worker posting videos of himself shooting a horse, to state laws allowing slaughter being passed, to state laws banning horse slaughter being passed, to battles with whether inspection must be allowed, to the Agricultural Appropriations FY2014 getting through both the Senate and the House committee votes with amendments banning inspection, to S. 541/H.R. 1094—The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act getting more co-sponsors in both Senate and House. Both bills have a ways to go yet, so please do not be shy about contacting your Senators and Representatives to make sure they stand for the horses (or to thank them if they're already on it!...never forget to thank them when they're already doing it).
What I'm here to post about now, however, is back on the whole Pagans Ate Horses Thing ...yet AGAIN! And this time more closely associated with my personal path, with Macha and Her Sister and involves people I had mistakenly tried to be friendly allies with. A lot of those who focus on eating horse meat are Heathens and there is evidence for it not being uncommon among early Germanic peoples, but it seems that despite the obvious rarity of it among the Celts that some who claim Celtic practice (even if actually very eclectic...which was always a problem I had but, yeah, try to be friendly and open and what do you get....) seem to believe it's something they should bring back. Even if it never, you know, was a thing (but, again, there is a lot of holes in their poor research).
I'm debating putting the link here, at this point I won't...if people ask I may add it later. I don't want to add to this group's publicity.
I am not opposed to ritual sacrifice of food animals, but do feel it needs to be only food animals. Animals that you eat already. I raise chickens and I do make the killing of our meat birds a sacred act. The very nature of what makes something a sacrifice is that it is done in a sacred manner and humanely, by us.
It is not a sacrifice if the animal is slaughtered at a commercial slaughterhouse. Especially when the animal is tortured, which horses are as, despite lies told by some, it's impossible to humanely kill a horse in these hell houses. And a Canadian horse advocate has confirmed on my Flying with the Hooded Crow FB page that in the Providence this group was in, it's the only way to legally kill horses.
Are companion animals "fair game" for sacrifice? I do think it would be a very bad precedent. After all, if it become acceptable with one companion animal, horses, then why not others such as dogs and cats. There is perhaps more evidence of dog eating in Celtic culture than for horses. We also have the "chewing the raw meat of a pig, dog or cat" as part of the formula for inducing imbas; perhaps given how scary the idea of raw pork is some might think it safer to go with dog or cat. How many in this group would have participated in the ritual killing of one of their dogs and sat down to feast on it, which given an Morrùgan's canine associations makes as much sense as eating a horse to "honor" a Horse Goddess.
And at least if it was one of their dogs, it would be theirs. Making it actually more of a sacrifice. At no point in their post or their blather on my FB page, did either woman mention that she raised the horse with honor, deep care, as a true votive animal before sacrificing her/him. At no point did they say why this was a sacrifice.
Because it wasn't. Feeling a little "torn up" because an animal species is your "power animal" is not the same as holding an animal you raised with love from infancy and offering up her life. It isn't actually giving up a damn thing! It's just taking a life. But don't get me wrong, I'm not remotely condoning actually killing your pets for sacrifice. But don't kill someone else's former pet either!
If you want to discuss animals and sacrifice, you have to start with caring for the votive animal. This, of course, becomes the actual sacrifice. It can entail moving to a location which is better for the animals but might separate you from friends, career and other conveniences. Giving up your lifestyle, concerts, parties, various activities. You may find yourself out at 2 am in -40 degree F weather walking a colicing horse. You
Eating a dish of meat from an animal you did not know and that someone else killed, no matter how much you tell yourself it was "ethically" done, is not a sacrifice. It's taking, not giving. To do so in the name of a Horse Goddess, well, really, is it Pagans who are supposed to eat their Gods? Seems that's someone else. Not to mention all those medications that make their meat unsafe for human consumption. So claiming it's also to over come "health issues," well, OOPS! Have fun being poisoned for your health then.
As a dedicant of the War Goddesses, Badb, Macha and the Morrígan, I feel I can also address certain other issues. Like "the Morrígan told me to do it" and what we might find ourselves asked to do. There are, of course, Pagans who clearly feel that if a God/dess demands it we must do it. Perhaps there are some Gods this is true of, again, the Christian seems to operate this way according to some. Oh, wait, not always....seems there was some guy named Abraham who found himself rather conflicted.
Actually, an Morrígan, who, despite it being written late and by those who may not have fully understood it, we do have some story about how She interacted with a dedicant. Because that is clearly what Cú Chuainn is, when the stories are read from a warrior's perspective. But as those in question, along with an apparent majority of Pagans, have otherwise shown themselves to be unable to understand those stories by claiming She punished Cú Chulainn for rejecting Her, this is often lost.
But, no, think about what the sexual advances of a Sovereignty Goddess means, if you can get away from self-centered concepts "sovereignty." It means easy victory. If he accepted this he would have gotten that, his glory forever lost, he may have lived a longer life with no fame, She'd have turned Her back to him. Instead he chose, as he had as a child, the fame and She aided him by Herself raising odds against him in battle. What you, a non-warrior, think is a reward is punishment to one such as he was. (I already have a post planned, it will be awhile yet, for my warrior blog which will include more discussion about this and it's already discussed in an article I have awaiting publication.)
So, if we choose to accept that this woman was told by the Morrígan or Macha to eat horse meat, her blind obedience, when she says she was conflicted, sounds like a seriously failed test. To go against what you claim is your nature in service to a War Goddess is truly an insult to Her. This is a Goddess who challenges and expects to be challenged. We do not worship her on our knees and go against our values to do so. Therefore I do hope that these people, who also think She possess them yet somehow She is unable to pronounce Her title correctly for them, are just delusional. Otherwise, they are surely lost.
As I have seen others become loss. They often do not know it, but others watch them stumble and play act. It's sad.
We do not worship a Horse Goddess by eating horses! It's utterly insane. We worship by sacrificing ourselves to care for and defend Her children. And we will speak against those who are so warped and twisted that they kill what is sacred!
*quote from the Wicker Man (original)