Sign in to follow this  
Done Now


Recommended Posts


I'm very curious about this one, because it's very, very hard to find much solid information about the history of the idea (or at least, my google skills suck).

Does anyone know much about Sin-eating? The Wikipedia article outlines a practice where an individual would symbolically eat the sins of others (by, y'know, eating food, in that Catholic way of food rituals standing in for everything, I suppose). I've been able to find some basic information about other, older practices, where individuals would roam around, acting as the focal point of negative emotions and 'purging' communities through catharsis. But not enough to really satisfy me. I would love to talk about it more.

I'll quote someone named Robert who posted this in a comments section around 2007 on a now defunct blog:


(Possible)origin of the "sin-eater" idea:

There exists a definite, quantifiable force of negative energy existing within every group (eg. a family, a community, a nation).

This "force of negative energy" (the "Negative Force") acting upon and within individuals and groups manifests itself in the expression of various negative emotions (eg. hate, fear, anger, jealousy, etc.).

The Negative Force moves from person to person within a family or from group to group within a community, etc. When the physical/psychic energy of one "target" (individual or group) is exhausted by the target's expression or manifestation of negative emotions ("catharsis"), the Force moves on to another target within the group or another group within the community. The Negative Force is a constant quantity and can never diminish (on its own). It simply moves from one object to another (eg. the idea of "kicking the cat").

The expression or manifestation of negative emotions within an individual or, collectively, within a group, equals "sin". The existence of "sin" within an individual or group is unhealthy (physically and spiritually) and it is desirable to eliminate it (but not merely by unconsciously transferring it to someone else).

The "sin-eater" is an extraordinary human being (take Jesus as the highest example) with the power to absorb the Negative Force and transform it within himself into something positive, something "higher". The "sin-eater" can eliminate (by transforming it) a portion of the Negative Force existing within a given group, community or nation.

The myth of the "sin-eater" as a person who merely absorbs (but does not transform) the "sins" of individuals, dead or alive, in order to spiritually cleanse them is a corruption of the original idea. These pseudo sin-eaters could not die without passing on the sins (Negative Force) they had accumulated (but not transformed)to someone else. They were reviled because they were thought to carry within them the accumulated sins of all those they had "serviced".


Best description so far that I've found. I'd love if anyone else had any other views. I for one, am certainly not sure that the 'negative force' need be a finite thing that only moves from person to person. I don't know of many emotions that work that way; they spread through osmosis, radiating out and clinging to everyone they touch. Negativity in particular, breeds and spreads, and can be increased or reduced, I feel. People act as carriers and incubators for emotion that resonate with them, and negative emotions (sins) resonate easily with most people, thus why we all spend so much energy trying to cope with them.

What do you think? Is it a viable idea? How does it go meshing with Shadow Work*? Or modern spirituality in general? Is it just a way of excusing people from facing their own growth, endorsing a saviour complex for the sin-eater and a way of legitimising alienation and other-ness, or is it something that can help create balance and integration?

*Shadow work being something I'm actually shockingly ignorant of, I'll admit quite freely. I think I get the basics pretty well and have a pretty functional idea in mind, but I've not ever done Teal's versions of it. I wonder how much of my ideas match hers.

Edited by Done Now

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure that I have heard of the following guided meditation from more than one person:

-You imagine your heart is warm, glowing, or maybe crystalline energy.

 -you imagine someone else’s pain, sin, negativity as black smoke. 

-you imagine yourself breathing in their black smoke but when it hits your glowing, crystal heart the black smoke is destroyed, completely eliminated.

Our subconscious mind deals with images.  The removal of black smoke is essentially he same as your sin-eating.  

If emotions spread like osmosis then eliminating the black smoke would reduce the spread.  On the other hand, if you feel good that you have eliminated some negativity from the world then you might feel positive and spread that through osmosis.  

Edited by Scot

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything is going exactly as it should. Be courageous. Your fear and courage are friends. Your courage helps your fear feel safe. Love your fear and your courage. You need them both they are both a part of you. Everything you do is truly right. It's what you did, it's been lived now, good job creating a new experience that hadn't been lived. You are unique so are they. They are doing everything truly right, they are living an experience that was only known as possible but now is reality. They deserve all credits for their portion. All ways must be lived and more ways to live keep being created thru desire and then lived and on and on and on. Be grateful that you will always live and continue to have new experiences infinitely.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this