All photos c/o Jaime Wiesner ’19
On Sunday morning, I opened my Instagram to post a photo on my finsta. (It was a photo of my new favorite Kimoji: a candy heart that says “good dick”.) I started scrolling through all my friends’ photos, and I saw quite the gem on my friend Emma Graham ’19‘s finsta: she and two of her friends had held a sacrifice the night before in her Hewitt dorm room.
Emma and the other sacrificers in question are friends of mine: we are all Classics majors. Naturally, I thought it would be fun to catch up with these three and learn about their
alternative pregame very serious sacrifice. Read below to find out what Classics majors do with their free time.
So, my first question: how do you guys know each other?
EG: Um, honestly? WesMyths.
What is WesMyths?
EG: WesMyths is a club that has kind of disbanded… basically, we went to McDonough, and taught kids mythology. And that’s how we met.
Jaime Wiesner ’19: [Emma and Catherine] joined first because they were actually interested in the club, and I joined because I wanted to meet Classics people.
Catherine Kiall ’19: I think I joined first. And I knew [Emma] from Latin, and I knew [Jaime] because we had the same advisor.
So… we’ve established your connection. Now let’s talk about how you got from there to sacrificing together.
JW: It’s like — if you’re a Classics person, you’re kind of automatically part of a cult.
JW: The department itself is kind of cult-like.
I can relate.
JW: It’s very small. And all of us had kind of cult-like Classics experiences at our high school, which I think was a part of this. I had a sacrifice at my high school. It was a whole day. We staged a group sacrifice. This is not my first sacrifice.
EG: So Jaime has experience.
JW: I got to be executioner.
CK: We had a piñata, I think.
Wait. This is an entirely new layer to the story. I didn’t know that you’ve done sacrifices.
EG: I didn’t have a sacrifice at my high school.
They do things differently in Los Angeles.
EG: Right. But I read The Secret History. Last year. And it was an insane book that I loved. And in The Secret History they hosted, basically, a bacchanal, and they killed someone. And they also kind of formed a cult. And I was like, this is fucking crazy. And through Jaime’s sacrifice experience at her high school and my sacrifice experience reading The Secret History, we came up with this idea, like, literally a year ago.
JW: And then we decided we needed to make it happen forreal. Because it was a good idea. And we also felt like we could benefit from a good sacrifice.
Where does Catherine come into this? Is she the Bunny of the group? Are you going to kill her?
EG: We invited her. We brought her into the group.
JW: We used a stuffed pig we bought at the toy store.
You’re skipping a lot of steps. Let’s go back. So tell me about the planning stages.
EG: Jaime had a lot of experience, so she knew exactly what we needed and she knew the process of the sacrifice.
JW: I essentially just modified what we would do in my high school and made it fit into Emma’s dorm room.
EG: Originally, we wanted to find an outdoor location, to light a fire, and —
JW: — to pour libations, but we didn’t want to break any laws.
EG: Against alcohol, or bonfires, or whatever. So we decided to just do it in my room. In Hewitt.
Do you have a single?
JW: We were going to use my room, which is a double, but my roommate came back from her meet.
How did you decide on the date?
EG: I think, we — so, basically, when we thought we were going to do it outside, we knew we were going to have to do it in the warmer time of the year. So we set the date before we had the location.
So you’ve known.
EG: For, like, two weeks.
JW: We meant to do extended preparation for this, involving research and writing nice prayers, but we ended up doing all the prep the day of.
EG: One day.
So, where did you get the supplies? And what were they?
EG: The toy store. And Metro.
JW: We got breakfast in Middletown, at Brew Bakers.
Was this a whole-day event?
JW: Kind of.
EG: There was a break in the middle. But yeah.
JW: We got a bottle of surprisingly cheap but very good Moscato at Metro. Because it was red. But not gross.
EG: We needed the red.
Did you dilute the wine with water? You know you’re supposed to dilute the wine with water. So you’re not barbarians.
EG: Okay, hold on. We just drank it.
JW: Emma and I literally just split the whole bottle.
EG: There was a point where Jaime referred to the Moscato as “mosquito”. And that was my favorite moment of the sacrifice.
JW: Okay, so we got the wine, and then we went to the toy store, and we found the cheapest small pig. It was very cute. We named it Martin after we killed it. That was literally it.
I heard there was fake blood.
JW: Oh yeah. We went to Rite Aid and got a bottle of Dasani flavored fruit drops. And then I ended up mixing it with some green tea for the color. That’s it.
EG: We made a shrine. Which included my table, some pillowcases, flowers.
JW: Two candles, a pig, a bowl.
What was the bowl for?
JW and EG together: The blood.
EG: And a rock. That my friend drew an owl on for my birthday. We thought it was, like, shrine-like.
JW: There was also one of those plastic finger puppets with arms because we thought it would fit with the theme.
EG: We turned off all the lights and just had the candles and the string lights. It was very dim.
JW: And for music, to help set the mood, we played just the instrumental soundtrack for Hamilton. It worked surprisingly well.
EG: It was the most perfect soundtrack. And we put it on loop.
JW: We rehearsed several times while [Emma and I] drank the wine.
EG: Yeah. We also had a photoshoot.
JW: We wanted to drink the wine. And also figure out what we were doing. And mentally get ready for the sacrifice.
EG: We also wore clothes that were, like, sacrifice-y. Catherine wore a bathrobe. I wore a tunic-y toga-looking coat. Jaime wore a dress.
JW: I wore this priestly dress that was kind of modernized. It was light grey. And then we did it.
Okay. Tell me exactly the whole process.
JW: It’s a modified version of what we would do at my high school. It was in an auditorium. With lighting effects. We didn’t have that. We set all the instruments on Emma’s desk. And then there was the altar, which was near Emma’s bed. We first did a slow walk around the altar, to demarcate the space.
EG: Wait, there were more materials. We had a box cutter. And rice-cake bits, to use as barley. And water.
What’s the significance of barley?
JW: All I know is that there’s a part where everyone would get barley and throw it at the bowl. And I can’t remember why. Okay — we walked around to demarcate the space. And we did a lap where we each dipped our hands in the bowl of water to purify. Then we went around again and got the barley. And we each took position by the altar. We didn’t throw it. We placed it gently on the head. Because we didn’t want it to go into the candles.
CK: I had to put water on the pig. And then make it nod, like it was accepting that this was going to happen.
JW: [Emma] did another lap, and I got the knife, and she got the blood. I got our written prayer. We assembled, and we cut a little bit of hair off the top. You’re supposed to throw it in the fire. We didn’t throw it in the fire, because we were in Hewitt. And then we said an address, in Latin.
EG: In Latin. We translated it into Latin.
JW: It was one sentence, that may or may not have been constructed incorrectly.
What was the sentence?
EG: It was basically, like, “O Goddesses, Diana and Venus, listen to our prayers.”
JW: We used a subjunctive. Like, “May you hear our prayers.”
EG: “May you hear our prayers.” It was like: “Oh Deae, et Diana et Venus, tibi preces…”
JW: There was a lot of discussion about how to construct this prayer. I haven’t done Latin in awhile. And you guys have.
EG: I think it ended up being the right word.
Did it feel like it was right? Did you feel like you had invoked the goddesses?
EG: I mean, it was spiritual. It was right. No, it was right.
JW: Earlier in the afternoon, I had written a prayer. We were each going to write one, but [Emma and Catherine] forgot, so then we just used mine for all of us.
EG: It worked well.
JW: I was asking for us. So it worked for all of us. Anyway. So we did it.
The prayer was to…?
JW: Artemis and Venus.
JW: Right. Diana and Venus.
This was a Latin sacrifice?
EG: It was hybrid.
JW: Then Catherine went to Emma’s dresser and began to drum on it with increasing speed. I was holding a box cutter, and I acted out, like, a felling blow to the back of the head. And then Emma gave it a final hit. And it was over.
EG: And I poured the fake blood.
JW: And then we yelled “Euoi.”
EG: We took the cup of blood outside and dumped it over my balcony and screamed “Euoi.”
And that means…?
JW: “Hooray!” in Latin. Or Greek. No. Greek.
It was a hybrid.
EG: It was a hybrid.
JW: They do that in the Bacchae, I think, and I was like, “That seems legit.” Then we realized we didn’t put any wine in the blood, so it wasn’t really libations. So we put a drop of wine in the blood bowl. Because we drank the rest. And we were originally going to say the address in Latin again, but there were other people on the balcony. Then it was a no-go.
EG: Then it was over.
How did that impact your night? What did you do after that?
EG: I had a good night. We went to WestCo Disco. And I saw a lot of people that I knew. And it was working.
Did you tell people that you had just done a sacrifice?
EG: But I posted about it on my finsta. And a lot of people saw, and they were asking me questions about it the next day.
But you had a good night. The goddesses were watching over you.
JW: It was not, like, amazing. But, like, immediately after we did the sacrifice, I felt empowered.
Why Venus and Diana?
EG: For love and friendship.
JW: We decided that Artemis [Diana] is the OG girl squad leader, and we were like, “Oh, she can help us out.” But she’s also, like —
EG: She’s badass. But, you have to combat the whole no-sex thing with the love goddess.
JW: So Aphrodite [Venus].
Would you do it again?
When are you doing it again?
JW: Undecided. We wanted to do one where it was just us, in case it went badly, in case we weren’t able to get the mood or anything to work. But now I think if people wanted in on the sacrifice, they coudl be brought in.
A separate question: Are you open to people reaching out to you if they want to hold their own sacrifices but need advice?
JW: They should know that our judgement is questionable at best, but we will give advice.
Will you write some fucked up Latin prayers?
EG: Yeah. Oh my god. If people want things translated into Latin, they could pay me like three dollars and I’d do it.
Do you have any final thoughts about the sacrifice?
EG: It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever done.
Do you feel closer?
JW: I think it was important. It’s important to do weird shit with your friends, and we hadn’t crossed that boundary yet.
Final question: how are all the professors in the Classics department going to feel about this?
EG: They are going to feel very weird. Like, maybe in a bad way?
JW: I feel like I’m not going to be able to look at [Professor W] during our seminar.
EG: I would feel very uncomfortable if they knew.
JW: But I also am looking forward to it.
EG: I think [Professor X] would appreciate it. I think [Professor Y] would —
He would probably be glad that you translated stuff into Latin, don’t you think?
EG: He would, actually.
CK: But he would be confused.
JW: I think [Professor W] would find it highly amusing, but she might be scared. [Professor Z] would probably say “no comment.”