Sieidi and sacrifice

by Aquila

Sieidi is a sacrificial stone, fell, mountain, or sometimes a tree, that has some prominent features compared to the surrounding environment. An unusual big rock in otherwise barren landscape or mountain with noticeable facelike shapes could have been chosen as a holy place of sacrifice.

Sieidi is a loanword from Sámi languages. It was chosen as the name of the lodge because it portrays some of the depths of our lodge work and because it’s locally important in the areas where the lodge was founded. Although we accept members internationally, the work was started in the arctic regions of Europe where Sámi culture has crucial importance and history.

Stone is a sturdy and balanced object and this kind of symbolic dimension is a good base for long-lasting work. It maintains it’s form throughout the year, through all weathers and conditions.

Historically these sacrificial stones were often worshipped in hope that they would ensure the livelihood of the worshippers and in return the spirit of the stone received a part of the herd that was slaughtered, antlers, blood etc. Nowadays most of us are not herders or hunters and we do not have so direct connection with the nature. Because of that it would be pointless to commit sacrifice in the same way as in the old days, especially if we have no actual connection to such customs. If one has found a place of personal importance in the sense of considering the place holy there are other options that should be done. The greatest sacrifice is to commit and dedicate your life to serve a certain spiritual path.

In the system of Star of Azazel the holy places are seen as locations of ”geochakra”, a power place in nature (or in cities often in cases of churches, chapels, etc.). This place is a key point of several physical, psychic and spiritual powers. Some nature spirits might reside in such locations but our goal is not to worship them or any single power of the place but have a more holistic approach, for example the idea of pilgrimage that is a long term process and includes many different phases and parts during which our personal being finds a meaningful connection to this location. The idea of making one single sacrifice (of food, blood, money, some personal item etc.) is not necessarily a good idea because we have no reason to conciliate the spirits and because we need to think of the nature and what actions serve it best and not just our personal ideals of how some specific sacrifice should be done. If you still wish to sacrifice something concretely there are alternative possibilities. One of them is to eat at the holy place. When you do it ritualistically the food is transformed and sacrificed. Other option is to bring a natural object that you have found intuitively and place it somewhere at the location. Various concrete or abstract objects of sacrifice have different meanings and will work in differing ways depending on the way the sacrifice is done.

As our work is especially centered on nature and life therein, we should always be aiming toward actions that don’t cause damage and suffering to nature and animals. Though the forces of nature sometimes show their strength, we as humans do have certain power over nature both in magical and physical sense and should always take this into account and have loving attitude toward our younger brethren of nature.

The magic of Sieidi works by the simple idea of getting what you give. This also gives basis to the work done within the lodge as all time given and all deeds done are seen as giving something and receiving something in return. In the context of pilgrimage and retreating into wilderness we can symbolically think of ourselves as the sacrifice sent into the desert. Here we give ourselves and in the extent that we’re able to understand, receive something beyond.

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