Once you start practicing autosacrifice, I’ve found that it’s very difficult to stop. I’ve never had spirits remind me that I need to make an offering of something quite as forcefully or reliably as when blood is concerned.
Depending on the God, I’m sure, a devotee’s blood can be a rare, intensely personal gift. But with my Gods, it’s par for the course – it’s part of the pact they made with humans when we were created. They feed us, and we feed them in turn: blood for blood. It’s an ever-renewing mutual affirmation of what it takes to keep this world alive. But no matter the reason for doing it, there’s not a polytheist out there who will deny the power it has.
I used to do it a lot more: once every 20 days. When I stopped using that calendar, though, I lost my mechanism for timing autosacrifice rituals, and wound up lapsing. I think it was around that time that I sliced off the tip of my thumb and lost probably a cup of blood to the kitchen sink. Before that, when I would visit Canada for extended trips and cease pretty much all religious practice (except occasional prayer) I found knives would slip from my hands a lot and fall to my bare feet. I lost some blood that way too.
My point is, when you start regularly giving blood, you have to rethink things a little. You have to take extra precautions for your personal safety (I’m admittedly not the greatest at practicing protective magic, though cutting gloves would go a long way too), and you have to start paying attention to the blood you do wind up spilling. Where are you bleeding from? Why? When did it happen? It’s a kind of bodily augury you have to tune into, to see what your Gods or spirits might want, or to see if it’s your Gods or spirits wanting it at all. However, sometimes an injury is just an injury.
This morning I woke up with the most profuse and drawn-out nosebleed I’ve ever had that didn’t start because I was sticking something up my nose, and it was timed with the retreat of the first rains that we’ve had in a week. Last night Dver did a cartomancy reading for me (I highly, highly recommend her services, by the way!) regarding my Year of the Twins, and I did a few readings myself. Though the one thing I haven’t divined on yet is when, exactly, the Year is supposed to end, and when I can get back to my prior relationships.
I think this nosebleed was the final missing piece of that picture.
The Year, it seems to me, is over.