The Blood Ritual

CODEX Entry 1550: The Blood Ritual

 

The most sacred and significant part of the temple ritual involved the giving of half the blood to the gods. This ritual is not understood, chiefly as a result of errors in translation, which have generated whole mythologies of their own. Archaeology’s renaissance coincided with Victorian morals and self-confidence, making discussions of blood rituals hard to publish. There was an intentional muting of the topic, fanned by the whispered taint of paganism. This despite the ritual sitting at the very heart of the practises of the Victorian’s Christian god. For in genesis 9:5-6 yahweh is very clear:-
“sopek dam ha’adam ba’adam damow yissapek ki elohim beselem a’sah et ha’adam“
“it was for the libation (poured offering) of man’s blood that mankind was made in the gods’ likeness”

NRSV translation:-
“Anyone who murders a human being will be killed by a human being. That is because I have made human beings so that they are like me.”

 

Yahweh further makes clear that no man may use the libation himself.
“we’ak et edros miyad kal ha’adam hay’yah miyad lenapsotekem dimkem edros et ha’adam nepes is ahiw.”
“without doubt I will take the life of any living man who takes a libation of blood from another man.”

NRSV translation:-
“I will certainly hold someone accountable if you are murdered. I will even hold animals accountable if they kill you. I will also hold anyone accountable who murders another person.”

These orthodox translations verge on intentional deceit.

The largest buildings in human history, at that time, were all built specifically for the Blood Ritual and undertaken with the strictest hygiene codes ever recorded. Yet For written records of the mechanics of the Blood Ritual, we rely heavily on the Old Testament, where the process was carried out in a large makeshift tent around 1420 BCE to 1340 BCE, rather than those within the grand temples of Ur, Baalbek, or Esagila.

In Leviticus, instructions are given eight times referring to the horns on the altar in the blood ritual¹. And another eight in Exodus and Leviticus referencing splashing and sprinkling of the blood on the sides of the altar².
We have the word sa-veev, or hebrew in ancient Hebrew, meaning ‘to turn, circle, or cause to whirl around quickly’. This is translated in the Bible as ‘around’, or ‘on all sides’. Then we’za’requ, hebrew , which means ‘to throw, hurl, or toss’, but is translated as ‘to sprinkle or splash’. Finally, qar’not miz’bah, hebrew hebrew , is translated as ‘the horns on the altar’. Yet qar’not also means ‘of strength, an instrument of power, weapon, or radiance’. The horn was a metaphor for physical strength or spiritual power³. Yahweh is referred to as man’s “horn of salvation” or ‘instrument of salvation’.

In some areas, modern translations have repaired the damage, notably in Psalms 75, ‘All the horns of the wicked will I also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.’ is now in the New Living Translation ‘I will break down the power of the wicked, but the power of the righteous will be raised up’, and in the God’s Word Translation ‘I will destroy all the weapons of wicked people, but the weapons of righteous people will be raised proudly.’ In Zechariah 2, for example, ‘Then I looked up and saw four horns. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?” He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” Why four horns in the sky? Surely four instruments of power would make more sense in the context of the destruction of a city?4

So now:-
‘the blood splashed or sprinkled on all sides of the horns of the altar’.
Becomes:-
‘the blood hurled and whirled around quickly by the instrument of power on the altar’.
And:-
‘Take some of the blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger; pour out all the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.’
Becomes:-
Take some of the blood and put it on the instrument of power on the altar with your finger; pour the rest of the blood at the base of the altar’.

Anyone taking a blood assay would be familiar with this sampling process. The orthodox translation evokes images of gallons of blood chucked all over this most sacred of locations. An altar further desecrated by Baal-like horn symbols. Considering the hygiene and reverence of this most holy of offerings, this translation appears unlikely to be accurately expressing the mechanics of the ritual.

The Horn of Plenty; the Cornucopia; the Holy Grail, containing the elixir of eternal life, all spring from this misapprehension. While many understood that what stood on this altar, this instrument of power, this object of veneration, somehow related to the extension of life, numerous individuals and powerful organisations have embarked on intergenerational quests on the basis of an actual horn or goblet, rather than something resembling more a medical instrument or centrifuge.

 

 

References:

¹ Lev. 4:7, 4:18, 4:25, 4:30, 4:34, 8:15, 9:9, 16:18,
² Exod. 29:16, 29:12, 29:20; Lev. 1:11, 3:2, 3:8, 3:13, 17:6
³ Lev. 4:18; Deut. 33:17; 2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2
4 Zech. 2