Do you know how to sacrifice? All through out our lore there are stories of sacrifice, from mere mortals all the way up to the powerful Gods. Allfather Odin has sacrificed his eye and almost his life for knowledge. Tyr gave up his hand for the safety of the Gods and man from the Fenris wolf. Thor constantly sacrifices his well being for the Gods and man by going to battle the Etins every day. Frey gave up his magical sword to Skjrnir for personal happiness with Gerd. The lore that was written about our ancestors is full of tales of sacrifice to the Gods for victory in battle and for fertile lands.
The act of sacrifice or making sacred by dedicating something of value to something or someone is a very noble and sacred act. When something is sacrificed to the Gods, Wights, Dwarves or Disir, it is usually done seeking some type of divine favor to help them in a way that they are unable to help themselves. But there are other times when people have sacrificed to a particular God or Goddess just out of respect or appreciation for blessing their lives in some way. Then there is the sacrifice of self to self.
Most people, who don’t follow our beliefs or a similar pagan belief system, probably couldn’t fathom this last statement. “What do you mean, sacrifice yourself to yourself?” And then they would become even more lost if you happen to tell them some of the ways in which we do. “How would that bring you any type of knowledge or blessing from your Gods?” In seeking esoteric knowledge, some of the ways that you could sacrifice yourself to yourself for some of you who are new to this, it can be done in a number of ways
The main thing is depriving your body of what your body needs or exerting it in some way for a period of time. Some of the ways that could be done are by fasting, sleep deprivation, silence, pain, long periods of meditation and temperature discomfort. You could even use a combination of these things. Periods of time having to do with the numbers 3, 6, 9, or 12 and their derivatives have good results.
I personally fast, have periods of silence and meditate at least once a week. I permanently do not sleep on a mattress. A cotton blanket is tied to the metal bunk so that I have something to tie a sheet around. This I have been doing now for six years, even in colder winter months, for myself to myself.
Most people think that it is the item that matters when a sacrifice is performed. It may be what everyone’s attention is on, but that is not the case. How could anyone believe that the great powers could use an iron sword, a few gold pieces or even a corpse? The item being used is only a vessel for the energies being passed between the one performing the ceremony and the honored recipient. These energies would be known as the Runes:
Gebo is the magical exchange or sacrifice between two beings,
Nauthiz is looked at by some as the accepted hardship with hope of receiving
Tiwaz is the accepted sacrifice for the benefit of others or for justice,
Kenaz is one of the ways in which to sacrifice an item and make it holy. If it is from self to self then:
Eihwaz would also be used Eihwaz is used for “hanging of the tree” for that is where and how you sacrifice yourself to yourself.
Our ancestors believed in sacrifices so much that it became part of their daily life. From this holy act, spring forth two noble virtues – hospitality and generosity. If someone came to a house and needed a meal and a nights lodging it was considered a dishonorable act to turn them away. They also believed that it might be Odin as a beggar showing up to see if they were generous or greedy. Not too many people were willing to upset a god like him by being greedy.
The Havamal also warns of sacrificing too much. The murked aspect of the Rune Gebo is giving away more that you should or over sacrificing. This is quite possible if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. So the question can be looked at in two different ways: 1) Do you know how to sacrifice? 2) If so, do you know how much to sacrifice?