Blood worship is pretty creepy.

Blood worship seems to persist even though we’re far from the mass sacrifices of “pre-Columbian” societies or the Igbo (although in both cases their European conquerors killed many more people than sacrifices would have). Granted, we are not yet over human sacrifice, but at least we hide it.

Blood consumption has been part of accusations against perceived enemies. Vampires are one obvious example. There is also blood libel: for centuries Jews were accused of kidnapping gentile children to bake with their blood or kill them to release their blood.

The origin of these accusations, in turn, lies in the belief that Jesus’ blood has special powers. Jesus’ blood “covers” our sins and cleans our conscience. Jesus enjoined his disciples to drink his blood. His blood is part of the ritual of transubstantiation. Catholics are especially interested in Jesus’ heart and blood, to nauseating levels.

The book of Revelation tells us that angels kill so many humans that the resulting blood covers a distance of more than 300 km (something like the distance between New York and Washington). Now imagine all that blood clotting and… yeah.

For a religion that’s supposed to be concerned with the immaterial and the supernatural, the afterlife, the spiritual matters, it seems rather strange for it to be so concerned with something as mundane as blood. Is it merely a prolongation of the Jewish concept of blood sacrifice, or are both the manifestation of some plague monster lying in the collective unconscious?

I have no qualifications in mythology or psychoanalysis, so I will refrain from making such analysis, although perhaps it’s worth noting that the concept of “blood memory” has been associated with the collective unconscious before.

The blood worship of Christianity is creepy, but many other beliefs about blood are creepy. Look how natalists harp on perpetuating the bloodline. Based on this belief, they insist in having children of their own instead of adopting one of the millions of desperate children in the world.

Do they literally believe in the importance of the blood itself? No, I obviously don’t think so, otherwise blood transfusions would be much more opposed than they are today. The bloodline is a metaphor for the extension of the self into one’s children, grandchildren, and so on. The parent is, in the sense of extension, the “consumer” of the blood, the life-force of the child: the life (and death, in those cases where a child dies) of the child glorifies the parent. That’s much creepier than any blood consumption.

From the consumption/extension end, we go to the complete opposite when we look at menstruation, which for millennia has been used as a reason to subjugate women. The Bible tells us that a menstruating woman is “unclean”:

Leviticus 15:19-24
And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

Leviticus 15:28-30
But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.

So when women issue blood, it’s considered a sign of their unclean nature. But when Jesus does it, it’s a fucking sacrament. Go figure.

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7 thoughts on “Blood worship is pretty creepy.

  1. Heretic July 16 2014 at 11:49 Reply

    I enjoyed this a lot, and am reminded of all the other practices of bloodletting in our culture of guilt: cutting (self-harm), bdsm, bloodletting as a medical practice, war (as bloodshed), animal sacrifice, porn (vaginal/throat/anal tearing). From a woman’s perspective I can say that women who are in relationships with men breathe a sigh of relief when they menstruate, because it means they’re not pregnant and in our culture being ‘childless’..that may have something to do with the menstruation = uncleanliness thing, like how dare they not be punished with pregnancy for having sex?!

    • Francois Tremblay July 16 2014 at 17:04 Reply

      Your topics also get into the concept of sacrifice, which I’ve examined here:

      http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/on-the-delicate-issue-of-human-sacrifice/

    • Tarnished July 20 2014 at 5:02 Reply

      I liked this post, especially as I’ve never seen my menstrual cycle as anything dirty or unclean. (Though the only symptom I experience is bleeding, so that might make my views on it different. I know my mom and younger sisters think of it in a much more loathsome way than I do, but they have a poor time of it.)

      To me, it’s just another one of the numerous cycles present in nature, like the seasons, the paths of the sun/moon/stars, or even the lifetimes we go through. Besides, other animals have periods too, like my Sheltie, so it’s not as though menstruation is something special to humans.

      One thing I want to question is why things like porn and bdsm would be considered “bloodletting”? None of the porn I watch delves into something so harmful (anal/vaginal/throat tearing? My Gods…), and the bdsm I do with my lover doesn’t involve such destruction of the flesh either. While I have heard of such practices, it’s my understanding/experience that one has to go outside the norm to find it…something I and my lover are not desirous to do.

      Another thing I’d like to point out is that a lack of menstruation doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of pregnancy. My own mother continued to bleed for 6 months during one of my sibling’s gestations, and I’ve heard of similar occurrences from my aunt and at least 1 family friend. I wonder if minor/light bleeding happens in more pregnancies than we know of, simply because no one thinks it’s normal and therefore doesn’t talk about it…much like how everyone “knows” first-time sex is painful and/or leads to bleeding, whereas this is not always the case.

  2. Heretic July 20 2014 at 15:18 Reply

    Tarnished, that’s TMI. I’m really not interested in what porn *you* watch or the kink *you* do as an individualist exception just to make yourself feel better about them. There’s really no such thing as safe porn; the industry itself is based on capitalism and enforcing the sexual contract, which is part of rape culture. You don’t speak for the mainstream of kink and porn which *are* hardcore; look at any blogs and there is choking, cutting, whipping until bleeding, heavy bruising, etc. If self-harmers can do this to themselves then why couldn’t they just as easily do it with someone as a proxy? You may also want to check out these links, many of which are coming from current kinksters, ex-kinksters, and psychologists (I’ve refrained from anecdotal stories): http://www.jaywiseman.com/SEX_BDSM_Breath_Medical_Realities.php http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html#bdsm http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/one-in-three-kinksters-reports-a-consent-violations/ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219703 http://diaryofasadomasochisticnarcissist.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/sadomasochism/ http://yoursocialconstructsareshowing.tumblr.com/post/81015186506/the-solution-of-the-problem-of-masochism-excerpts-ps http://www.shadowlocked.com/20100524436/opinion-features/the-sadomasochist-inside.html http://www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/card.htm http://exgynocraticgrrl.tumblr.com/post/38099240634/where-your-gag-comes-from http://yoursocialconstructsareshowing.tumblr.com/post/29327442754/excerpt-from-the-art-of-loving-by-erich-fromm-ps#notes http://zinelibrary.info/files/Liberating%20ourselves%20in%20the%20boudoir,%20PRINT%20VERSION.pdf “a lack of menstruation doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of pregnancy.” bleeding during pregnancy does not necessarily mean menstruation, though. i bled when i was pregnant once (before i aborted); spotting, even frequent spotting, is considered normal with precautions. actual menstruation during pregnancy is not normal and should be checked out.

    • Tarnished July 20 2014 at 15:44 Reply

      Heretic-

      I didn’t think I said anything that would have warranted it being considered too much information, but if my words offended you, I apologize.

      For what it’s worth, I am confused over some of your own wording…I don’t partake in something to “make myself feel better about them”. I’m afraid I don’t quite get what you truly mean by this: I do things because I like them (for example, bdsm with my lover) or because they are lawful (following the speed limit) or because they are moral (helping a lost child find their parent). Of course, I’m human and thus fail at times, but this is generally what I base my actions on. I don’t understand doing something in the way you describe.

      *As I didn’t know this was an anti-porn and anti-bdsm blog, I will completely understand if this conversation isn’t something you’re comfortable continuing.*

      Thank you very much for the links, I’ll try to read them all tonight but can’t make any promises. :)

      Hmm, I know my mom and aunt each had actual bleeding (not spotting) during 1 pregnancy each, but my sister and cousin were born on time and healthy. Perhaps theirs was just one of those oddities? The respective ob/gyn’s didn’t give them any special advice or diet, so I’m guessing it wasn’t too bad.

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