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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in gift economy

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Voto X

For [god/goddess], because he/she heard my cry.”

 

What would you be willing to give in order to get rid of the Troll-in-Chief?

The ex-voto—the vowed or votive offering—is a fine example of a spiritual technology inherited from the ancestors but sorely underutilized today.

Here's how it works. You're hoping for outcome X. So you make a vow to Deity Y: If you will bring about Outcome X, I will, in return, give you Z.

I will:

Sacrifice a fine bull.

Commission a statue of you.

Throw that beautiful boar's-head torc into the Mississippi.

It's a contingency vow. If X, then Z. No X, no Z.

If it all sounds just a little transactional, bear in mind that this practice is firmly grounded in our divine pagan gifting economy: Do ut des, a gift for a gift.

Be warned: if Deity Y comes through for you, do not fail to follow up with Z. Do not. There are lots of stories about those who didn't*, and—believe me—you don't want to hear any of them, much less become one. As Alexander the Great always used to say, It doesn't pay to be stingy with the gods.

Why do I bring this up now? Well, as you may have heard, there's an election coming up.

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