In cultures where animals were raised for food, blood offerings were often used. Sometimes to give thanks to a deity. Sometimes to ask for help. Remnants of these practices can still be seen in many traditions.
The blood itself is not important. It is the life-force of the animal that is being offered. In Ifa, life-force is called Ase (pronounced ah-shay). Ase is a powerful energy that is used in many rituals around the world.
In traditional Yoruba, and Cuban, practice the life-force of animals is used to generate energy. In their cultural context this is completely appropriate. The killing, and butchering, of animals is part of daily life for them.
I am not making judgments about people who still choose to use animals in this way. A priest of good character treats animals far better than a slaughterhouse would.
Most of the people reading this live in a modern, western, cultural context. Many have never witnessed an animal being killed. It is as if our meat was never alive. We are separate from the the process of slaughtering, and butchering.
The Ase of the animal is directed by the priests to a specific purpose during a ceremony. It is the Ase that is important. It can come from many sources.
In cultures that never raised animals, medicinal herbs, and potions, are used instead. Even breath can be used to generate sufficient Ase to accomplish the work at hand.
I have received initiations with, and without, blood. I received the highest initiation for a male Ifa priest in a bloodless ceremony. It is to date the most powerful experience that I have ever had. I do all of my work bloodless. I do not believe that the Ase of an animal is necessary.
What is your position on blood offerings? I’d love to hear.