In 1956, the National OA Committee, after consultation with medical advisors, determined that it was no longer safe to draw and exchange blood between two people in the “Blood-rite” of the Brotherhood Ceremony.
The ceremony was changed to only “symbolically” draw blood. Many lodges were very slow in changing this practice of actually pricking the thumb or finger (or in some cases the palm with a knife) and mixing blood between two Arrowmen. There are accounts well into the 1960s of the practice continuing.
Today all lodges understand that it is a significant health hazard to comingle blood between two people and it is not tolerated at any ritual. The August 1956 Brotherhood Ceremony pamphlet officially incorporated the change from drawing blood to symbolically drawing blood.
This change and one other minor edit were made as follows (script difference in the 1956 ceremony):
“…cheerfully suffer…” becomes “…suffer cheerfully…”
“…draw drops of blood… “ Was changed to read “…symbolically draw ‘blood’ so that you may mingle your ‘blood’ …”