Navigating the Vessel: Meso-and South American Sacrificial Beliefs and Practices
Miles, Jessica Honey
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Human sacrifice, according to Eliade, was performed by groups of people in almost all areas of the globe at some point in human history, and yet, the field of sacrifice has been crossed by too few modern scholars and exposed to far too few young scholars. As I began to search, I discovered an intricate cosmology that represents the ecological facts of the world more accurately than modem religious concepts. The tangible results of this cosmology included behaviors that look surprisingly like respect for all life, rather than mindless destruction of life. Not only respect for individual lives, but respect for the rhythm by which life moved as well. I summarize Sullivan's arguments before using him to demonstrate that human sacrifice was not about humans, gods, or animals, but rather about the rhythm of growth/decay (read: rhythm of change) and of consumption that kept the cosmos in working order. The reciprocity inherent in a rhythm of consumption meant that no type of being controlled this cosmos. All were responsible to fill their respective roles, and only the cooperation of all could ensure that life continued to occur.