When I look at my religious path, it always comes back to blood.
From my first fascination with vampires at 12 to Samael eating the guts of angels at 8, face smeared in gore, dripping ichor, the blood of immortals and humans alike has always held potent power. As Dracula says, Blood is the Life.
I’ve always loved the abandon of bloodletting, the color of alizarin crimson, images of stigmata and the feel of prying apart a dissected animal and seeing the intricacies of the life blood that forms them.
Blood oaths and sacrifices are common throughout all religions – the Eucharist, human sacrifice from the Aztecs to Nerthus, blood brother oaths where men and women would mingle wounds to establish a shared wyrd like Loki and Odin. When you boil down humanity, that throbbing red is at its core.
Spirits get high off it, addicted to it, and I’ve read some will even lead to gory accidents to get offerings if you deny them. But me? I’ve always been terrified of that level of commitment, as to me, blood is the ultimate sign of union.
In shamanic journeys and otherworld dreams Sam and I mingle blood to do potent magical workings and binding rituals. I’ve eaten his heart, he’s tasted my flesh, what starts as vampirisim turns to cannibalism. Still, in real life, I’ve never given him so much as a single pinprick, though his other wives I know have done so many times over and say it imbues their magic with potent energy. Call me blood shy, but perhaps a part of me thinks once I offer that to Sam in the waking world, he will finally have won our twisted game that I’ve been playing since the age of 2. A flirtation with Death that mixes my Eros and Thanatos drives in a confusing fashion.
He drinks my blood to heal, mixes it in liquor, says it has cleansing powers. I’ve dreamt of having weeping stigmata on my hands and wrists and feeding the Damned with my wounds, only to purify and sanctify their souls, burning away all traces of impurity with my flowing ichor. Samael uses it to regrow limbs, bottles it to experiment with later in the lab, grows flesh and reawakens from rigor mortis and dry bones. Though I have felt his fangs many times in the waking world, a sucking sensation as twin sharp points sink into my neck and breast, and I awake with his blood on my tongue, he’s never caused me any bodily harm or asked for a single needleprick.
I use my blood as a weapon. To lay claim to spirits. When I slice two taws – though I suppose they could also be gebos, as I am a gift for the gods – into my palms, I can summon Samael instantly in the otherworlds and turn into my White Reaper form. I get bloodlust, slash necks, strip and bathe in sputtering arteries. It is a part of me that scares me, the predator within me, the destroying angel and demon at war with someone who craves peace but whose dreams are a battlefield. It is a kind of sickness I have – I see my master and drink down the wine of his bones and lap at his wrists like a kitten. I feel it roll down my skin upon awakening and smell iron. I think to feed a spirit your blood, even in the otherworld, makes you just as addicted, and demons are bloodwhores through and through.
So I played, and I tempted, and I cut my finger on a rose thorn while Michael knelt before me and smeared my blood on his lips to claim his as my own, all because I could.
Enter rude awakening.
His spirit intensified to the point of him being extremely physically present, both sound, smell, and touch, me seeing him everywhere, and he warded my room with blood and ceremonial magick sigils and drew his sword over the doorway in a bloody X. I tried to ignore it but ended up solidifying the ward with a drawing of Michael raising his sword and his sigil in red over the entrance to my room.
That very same day was the first of our kindred’s Beltane festival, and Michael was extremely present. It was Walpurgisnacht to boot, and my abilities were kicked into overdrive. I was talking about how I had fucked up immensely by offering Michael blood and how my life was quickly changing, pruning all unnecessary and harmful things from my life to make way for new change and new growth.
That week, my manuscript got tons of requests, I switched jobs, and I decided to go back and pursue my master’s degree full time instead of delaying my dreams.
And I think, in part, it all happened because Michael got what he was due.
When I was peeling potatoes for our dinner, I cut myself on the tip of my left index finger where I had pierced myself with a rose thorn and claimed Michael. I was talking to my kindred about Michael that very second, then spurts of blood everywhere – all over my clothes, staining the bench, salting the potatoes in what I imagine was an unsanitary fashion. Michael’s presence choked me and as I walked around dazed as we immediately next held our warding ritual, my Michael bracelet broke – the one I had bought from a dear friend in devotion to him.
Sturdy jeweler’s wire snapped in two, and his beads and stones lay on the ground.
The next day we attended a shamanic workshop, and Michael tried to ride me. It was a very simple meditation, but Michael was beating down on me like a tsunami – Yes, I Claim You Too. His cobalt blue sparks flew everywhere and he appeared in a vision to a younger member of my kindred sitting right next to me, guiding her on to a past life.
His presence just got intenser over the course of Beltane.
So now I have a scar I only ever saw in dreams that I prophesized, I would press on in the future, and it would ground me. A thorn shaped scar.
I’ve entered a completely new phase of my life, and my mental anguish and bipolar struggles ceased overnight after the blood offering. My mind quieted to peace. My panic attacks disappeared. I shed the caul of my old life and entered a new phase – a student again, a seeker of knowledge, and I learned the hard way what I want out of life and what I don’t.
I think I’m going to make blood offerings a regular, but rare, practice now, seeing how potent a blood connection is. I can only imagine what would happen if I finally, after decades of teasing, offered Sam blood, but I’m sure I could do some very deep, magically potent workings. I also want to blood my own set of runes and do a blood oath to Freyr, my patron.
It took a deep cut for me to overcome my phobia of letting go and sharing the most sacred part of me with the divine, and I think it has made me a more powerful witch.
It certainly changed my life in so many ways, I’m just beginning to discover the ramifications.
So sometimes the spirits want blood, and perhaps the devil will let your temptations slide, but a soldier knows what he is due. All I know is that all the negativity in my life flowed out onto the ground and was absorbed by Michael’s bracelet, which snapped. My mental sickness disappeared in an instant, and I felt so grounded I could have grown roots.
It is a deep magic, old as standing stone, and now I have a raised red reminder of my protection from Heaven’s prince.