There are a lot of misconceptions about Satanism and the rite of sacrifice. Thanks to Christian propaganda and its pervasiveness throughout popular culture, there is an alarmingly prevalent belief in satanic sacrifice. The Satanic Panic of the ’80s only intensified that fear. There are still people who believe that Satanists are evil people who sacrifice children, as is evidenced by the recent backlash from Christian parents against The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Club in Chesapeake, Virginia. So, do Satanists even perform blood sacrifices?
No. No we do not. In fact, I would argue that the whole concept of ritual sacrifice is entirely incompatible with Satanism, period.
Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice as “An act of offering to a deity something precious.” So, according to the dictionary, a sacrifice doesn’t have to be a child or a virgin or even an animal. It just has to be precious. Hell, it could be argued that even Christians perform ritual sacrifices, every time they write a check for the collection plate on Sunday. In this case, it’s a sacrifice of wealth, and although it might not go directly to their god, it goes to the service of their god by funding the church’s maintenance and programs (and let’s not forget about their preacher’s Mustang).
In terms of blood sacrifice, Anton Lavey has something to say on the subject, too. According to him,
[…] The release of […] force is not effected in the spilling of blood, but in the death throes of the living creature! This discharge of […] energy is the very same phenomenon which occurs during any profound heightening of the emotions, such as: sexual orgasm, blind anger, mortal terror, consuming grief, etc.”The Satanic Bible – Anton Lavey
In other words, it’s not the sacrifice itself which powers the ritual, it’s the emotion generated in the process of sacrifice that powers the ritual. Therefore, for a Satanist at least, blood sacrifice isn’t even necessary. Masturbation or an effigy is just as powerful, if not more, than blood.
The way I see it, whether your sacrifice is blood, an effigy, money, or sexual fluids, your sacrifice isn’t valid unless it comes from you. A random animal or even a human sacrifice does literally nothing because the powerful emotion meant to power the ritual isn’t coming from the person performing the ritual. A death in the name of sacrifice isn’t really a sacrifice – unless the practitioner killed their self, it’s just a murder. Likewise, a ritual involving the destruction of property – like, say, the defacing of church property – isn’t much of a sacrifice either unless the practitioner is destroying their own things. As satisfying as it may be, the thing being destroyed isn’t precious if it doesn’t belong to you, so even if a strong emotional high occurs, it’s still not a valid sacrifice.
As Lavey said, it’s not the sacrifice itself that powers your ritual, it’s the emotion generated by the sacrifice. Normal people don’t need to sacrifice anything in order to feel strong emotion, and if you’re a Satanist, chances are you’re performing your ritual in order to release that emotion. Therefore, “satanic sacrifice” is just a fabrication meant to frighten those susceptible to the lie. So, to those parents in Chesapeake who are concerned that the big, scary Satanists are going to hurt your kids, you really don’t have anything to be afraid of.