Monday, November 22, 2010

Myths, Folklore & Symbolism: Wine


"Because of its color and the fact that it is made of the 'vital sap' of the grapevine, it is often a symbol of blood (for the Greeks it was the blood of Dionysus). It is frequently regarded as an elixir of life and a potion of immortality (as, e.g., among Semitic peoples, the Greeks, and Taoists). In Greece, wine sacrifices to underworld gods were forbidden, since wine was the drink of the living. Because of its intoxicating effect, it was sometimes regarded as a means of attaining esoteric knowledge. In Islam wine is, among other things, a beverage of divine love and a symbol of spiritual knowledge and the fullness of being in eternity; hence in Sufism the soul was imagined to be surrounded by the wine of immorality before the creation of the world. According to Biblical tradition, wine is a symbol of the joy and abundance of God's gifts. In the transformation of the Eucharist in Christianity, wine has its most sacred and deepest significance as the blood of Christ." (Herder)

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