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A sacrifice without love is mere slaughter.

A sacrifice is a voluntary offering of blood made by witches with the aim of obtaining a magical result.


A sacrifice is one of the hallmarks of Maleficium, the magic practiced by witches. Via sacrifices, they are able to harness the energy released by bloodshed, especially that of innocent victims in order to fulfill a witch's misdeeds. Usually, the victims are animals with particular qualities or simply readily available as hares, cockerels, and mice, or human beings, especially for the most powerful and important rituals such the Grand Rite. Lesser important spells and rituals can also be empowered with the blood of the witch herself, obtained from an incision on the palm. For some spells, even a few drops of blood from a fingertip pinched with a hatpin is enough so the magic is realized. Some rituals or circumstances call for the blood of the witch's familiar. Sacrifices are made to seal the success of a ritual, to celebrate a Sabbath, or because blood is a required ingredient in the recipe, as often occurred for curses and hexes, resurrection spells or necromancy. However, a sacrifice must never be done lightly and the more the ritual is important the more the sacrificed victim must have value for the witch, because the life that will be suppressed not only will fuel the power of the spell, but also satisfy the greed of demonic spirits, which are well know to deem blood a delicious payment.

Blood virtues

Witches collecting their blood in a blessed cup for the Consecration

Many are the virtues related to blood, whether the methods of spreading it or the quality and origin of the blood itself. Innocent blood is an essential ingredient for the most important and majestic rituals, like the Grand Rite that requires a significant amount of blood to cleanse the land. Innocently, however, does not always mean "free from sin." For victims necessary to the first stage of the Grand Rite, for example, Mary Sibley using her shrewdness has concluded "innocent blood" as innocent of the crimes attributed by the court of selectmen. Since none of the defendants was a witch, they were therefore innocent. The most precious blood, however, is that of the witch itself. Another virtue of the blood is to create an irrefutable sign, a reason why is used to sign the first page of a Book of Shadows. Blood as other body fluids is also used to create a connection with the victim during curses and enchantments.

Witch Blood and Bloodlines

Besides being an outstanding fuel agent in arousing elements like fire and flames, witch blood is also able to germinate poisonous roots and thorns, as shown on several occasions by Mary Sibley in her enchantments. Moreover, the blood of a witch is an essential ingredient in some rituals of resurrection and necromancy, precisely because of its enhanced quality. No coincidence familiars feed not only on milk, but also on blood through the witch nipple.

Noteworthy are also the bloodlines that date back to the dawn of time, when witchcraft was taught by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Although the most ancient hives have perished and extinguished, some bloodlines survive. Well-known are the ones from which John Hale descends and, of course, that of the Countess Von Marburg which also includes her son Sebastian Von Marburg. Anne Hale is descended from both of these bloodlines and, according to Tituba, the young witch belongs to the highest and most ancient order. Blood witch, therefore, runs through her veins with the power of many generations.

Throughout the Salem series

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Mary gives to the devil her unborn child, thus becoming a witch. Later, other rotting corpses of unborn children are shown by Isaac to Alden in the woods, and the young man says that are gifts for the devil himself. A dove is also sacrificed during the Sabbath as the starting point of the Ritum Magni. (The Vow)

Mary's blood

The greatest sacrifice shown in the series is certainly the mass sacrifice of thirteen innocent victims following the phases of the moon until the thirteenth victim is sacrificed during the Hunter's moon, thus starting the second phase of the Grand Rite, the one that spreads the plague.

During the series, many small animal sacrifices are made, such as the mouse killed by Mary Sibley to pack the cursed doll to give to Anne Hale or that of a turkey to open the secret room's door in Hale's house, when Magistrate Hale beheaded the animal with his bare hands.

Mary and Tituba take a vow of blood to spy the kidnapper of Corwin and, later, to kill Corwin himself in order to prevent him from speaking. This was made possible by linking the latter to a severed head of a ram, and since like attracts like, everything that has been done to the ram's skull was reflected upon Corwin, leading to his death by exsanguination. (From Within) Anne Hale make a blood vow to seal her own grimoire and thus receiving her familiar demon in the shape of a mouse. Having previously tasted a drop of Anne's blood, Mary was able to spy on the contents of her secret journal. (Book of Shadows)

Mary Sibley offers her blood during a resurrection spell

Anne Hale sacrificed her own familiar to cast a enchantment of love on Rev. Cotton Mather, along with other ingredients to win his heart and mind. In the same episode, Mary and Tituba have tried to revive a recently deceased George Sibley also making use of blood sacrifices. (The Dark Wine Sea)

The most important of all sacrifice is accomplished with the arrival of the Starry Messenger Comet. The Ritum Magni is completed when John Sibley is sacrificed by the witches of Salem and the Von Marburg witches who drown him in the pool of Hell-blood to turn him in the Vessel to host the Devil himself. Collected in a consecrated cup, the blood of the witches has shown once again worth as binding agent for extreme and cruel rituals. (Midnight Never Come)

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Mary and Sebastian lure the Dark Lord into the woods, where the last of the Essex hive waits for them. They sacrifice themselves to fuel Mary with the power of sacrifice, enabling her to dismember the Dark Lord's human vessel. (The Man Who Was Thursday)

Cotton Mather, considered to be a pious soul, sacrificed himself to save Salem citizens from the imminent massacre of the Great Terror. His sacrifice allowed the Devil to harness a great power, thus becoming able to reach adulthood in the span of a few minutes. (Black Sunday)

Memorable Quotes

Mary Sibley (to Anne Hale):"The deep magic, the strong and permanent kind, always requires a little blood."
-- Book of Shadows
Tituba (to Mary Sibley): "Words without blood are nothing but air."
-- Blood Kiss
Dr. Wainwright: "Tell me, Reverend, as a doctor of the soul, would it be a sin to sacrifice one man to save many?"
Rev. Mather: "The one must sacrifice himself, like Christ. Otherwise, it is not sacrifice, but murder."
Dr. Wainwright : "And if one murdered a man about to die, is that really a crime?"
Rev. Mather : "A crime, perhaps not, but a sin, no doubt."
Dr. Wainwright: "Ah! I can live with that. Question is, can you?"
Rev. Mather : "I suppose we'll find out."
-- The Beckoning Fair One
Countess Von Marburg: "I do not need to hold him in my hand to have him in my grasp. He will be there waiting at the appointed place and time. Now, you must learn your part. Repeat after me: "By my love, you were made. Now in love to return. By my love, offered up. In love's fire, ever burn.""
Mary Sibley: "You would have me speak words of love while you destroy him?"
Countess Von Marburg: "A sacrifice without love is mere slaughter. Now, learn the words."
Mary Sibley: "I will not doom my son."
-- in Midnight Never Come



  • Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals to a higher purpose, in particular, divine beings, as an act of propitiation ownership. While 'sacrifice' often implies ritual killing, the term 'offering' (Latin oblatio) can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts. For offerings of liquids (beverages) by pouring, the term 'libation' is used.
  • Almost all spells require a calibrated amount of blood depending on the level of the spell, the greater is the benefit for the Witch and the greater is the sacrifice required.
  • Rev. Increase Mather mortifies his body with a cilice, this is a form of penitence sacrifice made in the name of a superior deity.
  • Blood is also one of the hallmarks of Von Marburg witches to probe the minds of their victims to steal information, relying on retrocognition abilities through a blood kiss.

See Also

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