Traditional sin-eating can be traced back with certainty to the early 17th century, although it is suspected to be much older, and likely a remnant of a mystery tradition from Egypt. Sin- eating at its core is the preparation of the dead for the afterlife. Although often associated with Christianity, it knows no religion and applies to anyone interested in both being trained in it, and providing sin-eating services.
The physical part of the ritual of sin- eating is a relatively simple one. It requires food, drink, salt, a wooden bowl, and a wooden plate. Charms would be said over the body of the deceased, or sometimes, over someone in the process of dying. The drink, usually ale, but sometimes milk or wine, would be drunk and the food, typically bread would be eaten after dipping it in the salt. The process of the physical consumption is both an extraction magic and a sympathetic magic employed by the sin-eater to consume the sins of the person.