Grim Ingredients – Dog Sacrifices

National Geographic reported that a recently discovered medieval Hungarian town full of ritually sacrificed dogs could shed light on mysterious pagan customs not found in written records from the era. Bones from about 25 dogs were recently discovered in the 10th- to 13th-century town of Kana, Photograph courtesy Gyorgy Terei which had been accidentally unearthed in 2003 during the construction of residential buildings on the outskirts of Budapest. These sacrifices probably served much like amulets to ward against evil—for instance, to protect against witchcraft or the evil eye. About a dozen other canines were found buried under house foundations as construction sacrifices. Previous evidence of animal sacrifices—seen even under churches, in Budapest and elsewhere in Hungary—had been mostly isolated cases, but the new findings show that sacrifices were not that rare a phenomenon. It was practiced regularly in a Christian village. The fact that pagan customs such as animal sacrifice persisted for centuries side-by-side with the church is surprising. Christianity came to dominate the region after the first king of Hungary, Stephen I, began his rule in A.D. 1000. Under his reign, pagan rituals such as animal sacrifices were explicitly banned.

Ignorant as I am, I wondered if there are any references to dog sacrifices in the grimoires. A quick Google search yielded a magickal essay by Godfrey & Barynski which suggests a dog sacrifice is hinted at in Le Petit Albert:

(…) the Mandrake, which is a root, and therefore under the dominion of the Moon. Having this lunar attribution, it follows that it will be linked (…) with matters of sex and of prosperity. These characteristics too are a part of the authentic tradition, one version of which is given in the grimoire known as the Little Albert. (It follows likewise from the lunar attribution that the success attained therein will frequently be illusory.) In the authentic tradition, incidentally, there is a dog sacrifice, somewhat veiled by the medieval writers, and the dog is a lunar animal, as will be shown in the next chapter. (…)

I checked J.H. Peterson’s site and used the search box to find out some more, but this modest survey produced in fact only references to the killing of a dog (in order to use one of it’s prepared body parts as an ingredient):

  • Le Petit Albert §52: Secret du bâton du bon voyageur: … les deux yeux d’un jeune loup, la langue & le cœur d’un chien, trois lézards verts, trois cœurs d’hirondelles …
  • H. C. Agrippa: Occult Philosophy, Book III (part 4): … the hearb called phu condace to expiation. Also the blessed Clove flower; and the gall of a black dog being fumed is said to be very powerfull in these, as well for expiating of ill spirits, as any bewitchings …
  • H. Gollancz: Sepher Maphteah Shelomoh (Book of the Key of Solomon): … said sword, and fix it in front of you within the circle. Afterwards you must have the hide of a dog unborn and the blood of a hawk (?), and write on this hide with this blood these characters in two …

Another online article (of the literary kind) by C. Carter-Stephenson “quotes” from The Black Magic Grimoire, author unknown:

In order to summon a demon, you first need to sacrifice a dog, a hen and a cat. Place them in turn on an altar and kill them with a single blow to the throat. As you sacrifice each animal, speak the following words: “I sacrifice thee in the name of X.”

In conclusion, it appears that Google science cannot reveal more about this putative cover-up of dog sacrifice in the medieval grimoires – as is suggested by Godfrey & Barynski. To be continued!

References

Photograph courtesy Gyorgy Terei

Photograph courtesy Gyorgy Terei

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2 Responses to “Grim Ingredients – Dog Sacrifices”

  1. Harry Roth Says:

    I believe that what’s being referred to is the harvesting of mandrake, which is in many ways similar to the preparation of a Hand of Glory, which IS mentioned in Little Albert, but no dog. As you probably know, a dog, generally a black one, was required to harvest mandrakes. The harvester would dig around the root with a sword, being careful not to touch it. Then a hungry black dog would be tied to the root. The harvester would stop his ears and move away, then throw a piece of meat towards the dog. The dog would lunge for it, pulling out the root and dying from its shriek at the same time. A fellow named Rahner who wrote Greek Myths and Christian Mystery (1963) argued that the dog was actually a sacrifice to Hekate, since the mandrake is a “thing of Hades.” He’s focusing on the mandrake (and Hekate) as diabolic. But the mandrake also has a long history as a love charm, and I would point out further that in ancient Greek love magic, to which I am fairly certain this practice is related, Underworld divinities like Hekate were often appealed to for help. And what was Hekate’s favored sacrificial meat? Black dog. I’ve written about this some here:

    http://herbalwitchcraft.com/blog/?p=181

    It is my theory that the Hand of Glory is a mandrake, or vice versa.

  2. grimoires Says:

    That’s a very informative comment Harry, thanks!

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