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                                  BLOOD SACRIFICE 
                                by Althea Whitebirch
           We  have all moved through periods of crisis in our  lives;  things
      ranging  from the sublime to the ridiculous,  from the death of  someone
      close to us to final exams.  Events which are extremely stressful--which
      threaten  our lives,  home,  future or security--would seem t  call  for
      strong  measures of assistance.   There have been many times that I have
      felt that the course of events required swift and strong intervention of
      a deity. Blood sacrifice is, to my mind, one of the more powerful magics
      one could perform,  and so seemed particularly suitable for  this.   But
      it's rather ethically sticky.
           I  may feel that the kind of energy contained in the outpouring  of
      blood would be most efficacious in a serious situation, but I'm dead-set
      against the use of an unwilling victim for the purpose.  So, in the past
      I've spilled my own blood with an athame,  at the same time  offering up
      prayers;  it  just  didn't seem to work as well as I thought  it  would.
      Perhaps,  I thought, one needs lots of blood to generate any appreciable
      amount of energy.
           Then  a  friend suggested what seemed the  perfect  solution--blood
      donation!   I'd been giving blood for several years and the thought just
      never had occurred to me before.  So the next time I went in to donate, I
      approached it as ritual sacrifice for a particular purpose, and both the
      process and results seemed to be much improved.  Since then I've gone to
      donate  blood  many times,  each time with a prayer for healing for  the
      recipient of my blood,  and a request for aid from the deity that  seemed
      most appropriate.
           For those of you who've never donated blood before, I can provide a
      few details of the process.   It's not very frightening, and it can be a
      very spiritually moving experience,  I'll tell you!   As well,  remember
      that you don't sell blood (at least not in Puget Sound), you donates it.
      You  can sell plasma--the straw-colored fluid that makes up the bulk of
      your blood--but not blood itself.
          The  first  time you go in you'll fill out a medical  questionnaire:
      the  Puget Sound Blood Bank doesn't want your blood if you're ill  right
      then (or just getting over something),  taking certain medications, ever
      had hepatitis or malaria, or are in a high-risk category for contracting
      AIDS (Haitian,  homosexual,  needle-using drug user or prostitute).   If
      you have any questions, they'll be happy to answer them.
           After  you  fill out the questionnaire,  they'll  take  your  blood
      pressure  and  a blood sample (like sticking your finger with a pin)  to
      test  your hemocrit (% of hemoglobin) as well as determining  what  type
      your  blood is.   If your hemocrit count isn't high enough they'll  send
      you  home.     Nowadays,  all  blood is sent to a lab to be  tested  for
      presence  of  AIDS  anti-bodies as well;  if you test  positive  they'll
      notify  you by mail.   You'll be asked if you've eaten in the last  four
      hours, and if not, sent to the canteen for cookies and juice.
           Then comes the fun part--you go lie down on a table where a phlebo-
      tomist  (who  draws the blood) asks you some  questions,  verifies  your
      name, and then sets you up to donate. They tie a rubber hose around your
      arm,  so  the vein will stand out and be easy to find.   They  use  cold
      liquid ethyl chloride on your arm,  to numb it where the needle goes in.
      I  won't  say that it doesn't hurt when the needle is inserted--it  does
      but it's tolerable--when it's in place though,  you'll hardly know  it's
      there.   (You  may get the idea from all this that I'm a  stoic--hardly!
      I'm a wimp when it comes to pain,  but this I can handle.)  At this time
      they'll  leave  you  there for up to five minutes while you  clench  and
      relax  your hand (to keep the blood from clotting) and the  blood  flows
      into  a little plastic bag.   It's warm and red,  and rather reassuring,
      really.   At this time you can get into some really serious  prayer,  or
      hum  a  little healing chant for the person your blood's going  to.   (I
      once  was  doing  this and got a flash image of a  little  boy,  a  burn
      victim.   I  always  wondered who got my blood that  day.)   I  wouldn't
      recommend getting too spaced-out though;  remember you've got to be able
      to  return  to yourself when you want to,  and the physical  effects  of
      giving blood can make some people light-headed or slightly woozie.  When
      they ask you how you're feeling,  be honest,  not macho.  You don't want
      to embarrass yourself by fainting.
           Afterwards they'll ask you to have some juice and cookies.   By all
      means,  do!   For one thing, you've earned them; for another it's impor-
      tant  to  replace the fluid and blood sugar you just gave  up.   Working
      magic really takes it out of you, too (at least it does me).
           In my experience, there are several good reasons to use this parti-
      cular method of blood sacrifice: a)  It doesn't require the death of one
      of  the Gods' children.   b)  It is giving of yourself--for the good  of
      others as well as your own.  c)  It is safe--the Blood Bank uses sterile
      instruments and never  re-uses needles, so you can't catch anything.  d)
      You have the added benefit of being able to see the blood as it's  being
      given  (somehow  that adds to my experience),  and a pint is a lot  more
      than I've ever been able to get with a knife!  Next time you want to get
      the Gods' attention, try it!
                        The Grove of Phoenix Rising 
                               FOUR WEEK FAST 
      If you normally eat meat, begin to eliminate it from your diet
      during this first week. If you feel you must eat it, eat a small
      amount and no more than 3 times during the week.
      Eliminate all alcoholic beverages, carbonated beverages (except for
      bottled waters such as Artesia, etc.), and diet drinks. Substitute
      fruit juices or fruit drinks.
      Refrain from smoking (anything), or using any other intoxicants.
      Cut way back on any other stimulants, such as coffee or tea or
      cocoa. No more than three cups a day if you are a heavy coffee or
      tea drinker.
      Use as little salt as possible and no other spices.
      Refrain from sweets - cakes, pies, candy.
      Drink large amounts of fluids, especially water.
      Eliminate meat entirely. Substitute dairy products - IN MODERATION.
      Continue to limit intake of stimulants (coffee, tea, cocoa),
      cutting back to no more than two cups a day.
      Continue to avoid tobacco, alcohol, other intoxicants, spices,
      and soft drinks, and use as little salt as possible.
      Continue to drink large amounts of water.
      Your diet should consist largely of vegetables and grains, with
      large amounts of liquids.
      Limit intake of stimulants (coffee, tea, cocoa) to one cup a day.
      Continue to avoid tobacco, alcohol, other intoxicants, meat,
      spices, and soft drinks, and use as little salt as possible.
      Do not use meat in seasoning vegetables.
      Your diet should consist of vegetables and fruits only. Raw
      vegetables and fruits are best (nuts can be included). Drink large
      amounts of water and substitute fruit or vegetable juices for meals
      as often as possible.
      FOURTH WEEK (first four days)
      Fluids only. Fruit and vegetable juices in desired quantity,
      cutting back each day. Drink large amounts of water. If you feel
      you must have coffee, limit it to a cup a day (a half cup if
      If you feel you must have something the first day or so of this
      week, a small handful of raisins or other dried fruit may be taken.
      Nibble slowly. As the week progresses, continue to cut back on
      nibbles and the amount of juice taken. A spoonful of honey added
      to hot water helps satisfy the craving for hot beverages and gives
      you an energy boost.
      THE FAST
      The fast should last for three days. It is best to do this on a
      weekend and if possible, alone and in the woods. (Go camping!)
      Drink lots of water and if you feel the need for an energy
      stimulant, a small amount of honey may be added to hot water.
      Spend as much time as possible in meditation. This period should
      sooth your spirit as well as cleanse your body. RELAX!
      You will probably want to sleep a lot. Do so. Allow yourself to
      drift with your thoughts. Do not attempt to solve your problems
      during this time. They will solve themselves later, for your mind
      will be clearer after the fast is over.
      Most people feel great the first day, a little weakness the second
      day, and great again on the third day.
      Eat lightly for your first meal after the fast. It is best to begin
      by returning to fruit and vegetable juices and working your slowly
      into solid foods over a few days.
      WATER ALL THE WAY THROUGH! This flushes out toxins the body is

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