Today sees the publication of the most difficult piece I have written to date for The Wild Hunt, about Pagans and animal sacrifice. It was difficult because this is an issue that has a lot of passion underlying it, and I had to capture what others know and feel without tainting it with my own views.
I love animals. I’ve had pets in my life for all of my life. Pets, not livestock. I didn’t grow up on a farm, I grew up in a place where meat appeared to grow in styrofoam packets. My exposure to agricultural life came from watching the Dukes of Hazzard and playing with my Fisher Price farm. When I finally encountered animals larger than my dog, it was and still is with fearful wonder. Even a gentle giant can cause great harm if spooked, and I do not know these creatures like I do my cats, whom I still inadvertently scare sometimes.
What I am is a typical American, disconnected from the food chain and unlikely to think about the mountain of death which sustains my life — every life. Life feeds on life. Learning about the methods and reasons behind sacrifice was fascinating. I considered asking if I could observe such a rite, but in the end I decided I’m not ready to do that. It would change me, in ways I’d rather not think about, or imagine.
To write about such a topic is wonderful — I get to learn new things! — and grueling. This subject is dear because life is dear. Did I come off like I was condemning sacrifice? Was I a cheerleader? If I struck the right balance, it will either further healthy debate, or lead both sides to condemn me as favoring the other.