And it is also probable that certain persons combined in their own individuality the functions of magician and sacrificer as well as soothsayer.
This, according to Westermarck, is the central idea of human sacrifice: the victim is substituted for the sacrificer, to deliver him from perils by disease, famine or, more indefinitely, from the wrath of the god in general.
Sometimes the sacrificer's hands are laid on the victim before it is slain, or he may be smeared with its blood; in other cases the blood is smeared on the door posts, or the sacrificer is touched on every part of the body with the victim's body.
And Mauss describe a sacrifice as "a religious act, which, by the consecration of a victim, modifies the moral state of the sacrificer or of certain material objects which he has in view," i.e.
In the former case the sacrificer is raised to a higher level; he enters into closer communion with the gods.