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Alcohol


Guest Aronwy
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Hi

I just wondered what people's thoughts were about alcohol in ritual. From what I know Alcohol is consumed at the end of rituals and then poured as libation onto the ground, usually in the form of wine. However, I also understand some drugs are used to help ASC's and wonder whether alcohol can be used in the same way. I used to think it disrespectful to have a drink before ritual but if it is used for the specific purpose of creating an ASC - is it really wrong or disrepsectful? I'm not saying go out and get completely pissed before a rite, but maybe have a glass or two to loosen up. I am well aware of the adverts that say Alcohol makes you think your are invincible, but surely this is a good thing and surely this is no worse than hallucinogenic drugs?? Thoughts please? I have not yet had a drink before going out to ritualise. Oh also, I would not drink or take drugs if I was just going out to chat with the old ones, but for ritual I would consider it, depending on the rite. :rolleyes:

Edited by Aronwy
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Well, there's ritual toasting and boasting in the Heathen world, usually with mead. I don't know about other paths. I usually toast the ancestors/gods with alcohol during rituals. ;) :rolleyes:

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Well, it's actually rather hard to hold a Vodou ritual without alcohol! The Loa (spirits) demand a drink or two as part of their ritual offerings and they all have their favouites. Erzulie Freda, spirit of love and beauty likes champagne - those rituals get rather expensive :o_wave: - Agwe, deity of the sea likes clear liquors or those flavoured with aniseed such as absinthe, but most of them go for rum.

 

My friends and I usually end up passing a bottle or two around during ritual; it's not at all disrespectful but is definitely a way of getting a celebratory vibe going as we dance for the loa and feel their presence in the room.

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I've heard of pouring a glass of wine onto the ground, as an offering. I somehow get the feeling that our gods rather like wine, especially the Roman ones.

 

I have taken a sudden liking to Red Wine lately (I don't drink unless I want to get Pie-eyed :o_wave: ) and I do find that it helps me to relax more and open-up easier during a Ritual (you would think that I was going to the dentist!)

 

I've only heard about the use of drugs for rituals in some tribes. Some eat Cannabis leaves and others use opium (and i'm sure that somebody will sure enough, post in some links about this particular subject).

I know of some herbs that are burned before sleeping, to help with dream magick.

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Wine is an important part of Roman ritual as Athena said, offerings are made at the start of the rite to Janus, Jupiter and Vesta, as well as to the deity you're working with.

 

It's considered sacred and so must never be poured down the sink.

 

Once the Gods have had their share, it's perfectly acceptable to partake yourself :o_wave:

 

Bacchanalian rites very much involve wine and a degree of drunkeness as part of the ritual, and many of the festas involve feasting and drinking as part of their honouring the gods.

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The way I work, no alcohol at all is to be used before or during a working, but after, as a form of celebration then it's cool. As to the asc issue, we use herbs on the fire and all inhale which works well. Again though, this tends to be after whatever work that needs to be done has been completed.

I guess it depends what path you follow, what you rituals are intended to do etc.

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Pomona, is there not a ritual carried out every year to do with trees and the orchards? I thought I remembered watching a Hugh Fernly W. covering a ritual in or near where he has the cottage? Something to do with singing to the trees or someting and pouring cider over the tree roots?

 

I remember thinking what a beautiful thing that was. The idea of man taking something good and wholesome and fortifying (as it would have needed to have been for man in the past) and offering it back to the tree from whos fruit you made it.

 

Meh.. maybe I'm getting soppy in my old age. :)

 

I personally dont drink. But my ambition is to live somewhere I could have a nice little garden and some fruit trees. I remember we used to have fruit trees when I was a kid of 5 or 6. I LOVED those trees. I think I could enjoy making an offering to my own trees if I ever got them.

 

Sorry... maybe that was off topic? :o_wave:

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Pomona, is there not a ritual carried out every year to do with trees and the orchards? I thought I remembered watching a Hugh Fernly W. covering a ritual in or near where he has the cottage? Something to do with singing to the trees or someting and pouring cider over the tree roots?

 

I remember thinking what a beautiful thing that was. The idea of man taking something good and wholesome and fortifying (as it would have needed to have been for man in the past) and offering it back to the tree from whos fruit you made it.

 

Meh.. maybe I'm getting soppy in my old age.  :)

 

I personally dont drink. But my ambition is to live somewhere I could have a nice little garden and some fruit trees. I remember we used to have fruit trees when I was a kid of 5 or 6. I LOVED those trees. I think I could enjoy making an offering to my own trees if I ever got them.

 

Sorry... maybe that was off topic?  :o_wave:

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It's the Wassail, hon, and yes, I do it every year even though it's a West-country kind of thing and not really Scottish, but I make offerings of cider to the trees, dip toast in it and hang from the branches, and, since it would be a bit anti-social to bang saucepans etc around, clap and talk loudly to the trees to wake them up :)

 

It IS lovely, but I do feel very fond of my fruit trees anyway :) Which reminds me - I gave them a short-back-and-sides yesterday so I promised them a wee treat so I must get some on the way home... :)

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I didn't know what Wassail was so I Wikipedia'd it!!

 

The customs that Pomona described are explained in the link and if you can't bang yer pots'n'pans around, you could try 'Wassail door to door' or Wassailing in the hall, or should that be, Walzing in the Hall :o_wave:

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It's the Wassail, hon, and yes, I do it every year even though it's a West-country kind of thing and not really Scottish, but I make offerings of cider to the trees, dip toast in it and hang from the branches, and, since it would be a bit anti-social to bang saucepans etc around, clap and talk loudly to the trees to wake them up  :o_claps: 

 

It IS lovely, but I do feel very fond of my fruit trees anyway  :o_claps:  Which reminds me - I gave them a short-back-and-sides yesterday so I promised them a wee treat so I must get some on the way home...  :o_lol:

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Dats der bunny! Wassail.

 

I love trees. All shapes and sizes, but I have to confess that fruit trees are my favourites. They's so full of.. personality :o_lol:

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Here's a link to the Wasail pages of the local Morris in north Herefordshire, that is courted by the orchard farmers to come and do the annual wassail in their orchard.

 

It's a big tradition here, with 200 to 300 turning up every year, or more if 6 January falls at the weekend. :o_claps:

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I use wine appropriate to the season rather than eg French etc ones.

 

HOWEVER (!!!) I much prefer to use whisky. It is Scottish, and from the grain, peat (fire) and water. The earth aspect goes without saying. It speaks to me and opens me and before anyone sniggers about this - please - bear with me. Those who have drunk with me will know I can't handle wine! Spirits yes, but any mixtures = "stupidity/reckless mode"! :o_claps:

 

There is a WORLD of difference in drinking whisky as a part of "being Scottish" and getting rat-arsed, and connecting with one's inner self and that of one's ancestors. The use of ANY mind altering substance will have a profound effect on the work in hand. Why else do we sometimes fast? The distinction between drunk and knowing is one that words can't fully explain. It is (like one's ability to focus when inebriated) blurred.

 

There is a marvellous (LONG) poem called "A Drunk Man Looks At The Thistle".

 

http://www.englit.ed.ac.uk/studying/underg...on_drunkman.htm

 

It comes close to an understanding.

 

I may come back to this one with some examples of what happens (sometimes) with me when I am "under the affluence" ...

Edited by Tas Mania
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I think that alcohol is an essential part of most of the ancient cultures and practises we (generic) follow. Wine was considered precious in many places, Egypt, Rome, and Britain too, made from sacred celtic ogham trees and their fruits(mistletoe/elder etc..). Meed and ales also in the Norse and celtic cultures and mythology. Its a traditional offering to the Gods of many of us and until the days of anaesthetic was often used in conjunction with other herbs and plants known for their medicinal properties in medicines, pain relief and the cleaning of wounds.

 

I think it has as much a place in our rituals now as it did then. Through personal choice I don't drink very often (having once been married to an alcoholic I know only too well the dangers of drinking in excess and avoid those that do). I do almost always have a bottle of wine or ale for rituals though and like many of you have a couple of glasses myself after the ritual toasting and offerings have been made. As for drinking before hand this is not something i would choose to do before performing any ritual or casting. I think alcohol can impair our judgement and reactions and can therefore lower our psychic defences and protection which should be in place when undertaking any work of this kind.

 

There are however many shamanistic practices that use various drugs to "open the mind" and to connect to higher energies and frequencies. Particularly look at native american spirit journeying (astral travel), fire scrying/dancing etc.. No one knows how they'll react to drugs unless they've done them before and even then you have to know about quantities, strength of the plant, side effects etc. They too can lower your protection and are therefore probably safer used by the experienced in safe surroundings with others present to keep an eye on each other. Preferably at least one "sober" adult monitoring the others just in case...

All that said I don't think there's anything wrong with using certain plants for these purposes so long as its in moderation and we're sensible and research first.

 

Just my thoughts.

BBs Lantern_Light

 

P.S. Do you think when Jesus turned water into wine he had come over here in his years travelling and been taught the art of distillation by our ancestors? :lol:

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It did cross my mind that if someone should 'over do' it with the alcohol, that your guard could be let down a little during a Ritual.

Drinking 2 glasses of red wine a day with your meals, helps with cholesterol levels (just thought i'd put that in here!!)

 

I don't drink really (and was joking about getting Pie-eyed b4-just incase!!) , but alcohol even in little quantities, has different effects on different people. I suppose it would be okay to substitute the traditional wine for a non alcoholic one or even a nice rich fruit juice like blackcurrant or Apple during a ritual or ceremony, if you have to drink it yourself.

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As for drinking before hand this is not something i would choose to do before performing any ritual or casting. I think alcohol can impair our judgement and reactions and can therefore lower our psychic defences and protection which should be in place when undertaking any work of this kind.

 

Our Heathen Ancestors would have disagreed, I'm sure !!

 

 

dorstig6wi.gif

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True Wolvie its just personal choice, everyone works differently but that's why i explained my reasons for thinking that way. Also i never said i didn't have a drink or two afterwards :lol:

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Alcohol does not impair *my* judgement and does not lower my psychic defences and protection when undertaking any work of this kind.

 

 

Wassail!

 

wolverine.

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You're lucky then...and can obviously hold your drink. I on the other hand.... by glass 3 i'm tipsy and by glass 5 ...... lolol. Its fair to say my judgement could be impaired ..... :o_beer: :o_bounce3: :o_bounce: :P :o_roflmao:

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Ah well, everyone has different tolerance levels.

 

If we're doing a ritual with friends (not very often) we tend to have a few beers beforehand, a meal (with wine or beer depending on individual choice), followed by the ritual with more beer (or mead) and then beer afterwards to relax. Sometimes we have the meal afterwards.

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Whether I use alcohol or not depends on the spirits I'm working with. Some have clear preferences, for example a local wight likes a drop of milk rather than alcohol.

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Whether I use alcohol or not depends on the spirits I'm working with. Some have clear preferences, for example a local wight likes a drop of milk rather than alcohol.

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attention9ha.gif

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I've never used wine or any alcohol either before during or after. just never seemed to come up.

 

I can't drink alcohol at all though. I was wondering whether the wights, ancestors and so on, maybe know this so don't bother either? your thoughts on this are welcome.

 

fizz

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I've never used wine or any alcohol either before during or after.  just never seemed to come up.

 

I can't drink alcohol at all though.  I was wondering whether the wights, ancestors and so on, maybe know this so don't bother either? your thoughts on this are welcome.

 

fizz

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I would think that if the Wights, Ancestors or Spirits are aware of this, then there shouldn't be a problem.

 

However, some Solutions maybe:

 

 

A strong herbal Tea which carries some of the essence of the Wight/s etc.

 

Water from a natural source near to your place of workings, ie for a Local Wight.

 

Use your Imagination :D

 

 

Wassail!

 

wolvie.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In Heathenry it is an offering to the gods, not the form of it which is important.

 

In ancient times this was normally an animal sacrifice.

 

Today most of us use mead or ale but it could be 'anything' - from dance, poetry to litter clearing or coins.

 

Whether you drink to acheive to correct state of mind to join in a ritual is up to both (1) you, and (2) the group you are working with.

 

I would advise against heavy drinking before a ceremony but it affects us all in different ways. In my experience it makes people either silly or violent - neither of which are very helpful.

 

Having said that us Heathens have a ceremony called a sumble where everyone gets wasted!

 

Try drumming - just as effective as drugs and you can keep all you braincells too.

 

Skegga

Edited by Swanhild
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For me whilst enjoyable, alcohol is not a necessary part of ritual, it is the sincerity and intent of the ritual and offering that is important to me and I feel to the gods, elves, wights and ancestors.

 

It is better to make a small but highly sincere offering than to make a large offering without much sincerity, they all know when we are being truly sincere or not.

 

Storm Raven

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I drink very rarely (and only good scotch or grappa). Since I have been cut off from British culture i no longer feel the need to drink socially. Most other brits I know here are the same. We have all come to the conclusion individually (and that goes for the danes and germans etc. too) that it is a cultural thing. As a result it doesn't feature in my day-to -day life so I don't use alcohol in my rituals. Imagine the poor old gods, they'd have a mighty headache if everyone offered them alcohol. I tend to use fruit juice or spring water when it doesn't have dead boar in it.

I think purity is important in ritual a good bath, clean mind, clean clothes, teeth brushed, like a first date with a potential girlfriend. Alcohol seems out of place somehow as if ushering impurities into the body.

Edited by woozle
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Imagine the poor old gods, they'd have a mighty headache if everyone offered them alcohol.

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I can't help thinking of that myth about Thor where a giant turns the sea into ale and he tries to drink it. According to our myths that is why tides happen.

 

Keep the booze coming - he can take it! :lol: :D :lol:

 

Skegga

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I have been known to offer alcohol, and drink a wee drop after a ritual myself, but by a wee drop I do mean about three thimblefull - due to the fact that just being near alcohol makes me tipsy!

 

I would agree that the spirit in which the offering is made, and agreement between, erm, offerer and offeree is the most important thing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have friends who are involved in pagan spirituality who have had alcohol problems in the past and so don't drink at all. Some groups have a strict "no alcohol" policy, out of respect of the fact that even one cup of ritual wine shared amongst a group can make the circle an unsafe space for people. If you're working by yourself and it feels right, I would say go ahead and do it, but if you're working in a group it's important to check everyone's alright with it, and to take seriously anyone who says it makes them uncomfortable.

 

xx

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This is an odd one for me. When I began researching Paganism in general and the Norse path in particular I was quite low and my life was pretty sad. My health was poor, I had a lot of bad relationships in my life that were bringing me down and my finances were in a mess. A lot of this I still put down to drink. I was never alcohol dependent, but part of that British drinking culture which has to punctuate everything with a visit to the pub :) I just felt like I was rootless and drifting and I felt ashamed of myself a lot of the time.

 

When I read of the Nine Noble Virtues I decided to try and turn my life around and live according to that moral framework as much as I could beginning with a bit of self-discipline. So 5 years ago I gave up booze, fags, and caffeine all in one go (because they all kind of went together :D ) and started going to the gym, eating properly and trying to get strong and healthy. It did change my life 100% for the better. My health is very good, I got married, I told a lot of worthless people to get lost, and I gained hugely in confidence as my faith developed.

 

This became for me the basis of my faith - that I keep myself sober, disciplined and healthy so that I can be there for my husband and my son, be active and productive, be honest and loyal and a much better person. It works out well in my marriage too as my husband got drunk once when he was 15 and never touched another drop :ph34r: I feel like it's an outward commitment to my path; a sign of living life differently to the herd. I had lots more hostility aimed at me for giving up booze than I did for becoming a Pagan. My family described it as "social suicide". I think in Britain to be teetotal and not be in recovery is quite unusual and I like that.

 

I was somewhat dismayed to read later on that a lot of Norse and Heathen ritual involves drinking. I can see that this has its roots firmly in history and is an age old tradition, but it just isn't for me. I'm so much happier without alcohol that I'm not prepared to drink, even in a ritual context and I don't really like being around drunk folk any more. Apart from smoking a bit of weed in my teens I've never really done any drugs; I've seen them ruin my brother's life and have never been tempted to dabble. I sometimes wish that there was more space for meditation and contemplation in the Pagan movement and less party spirit, but that's because I'm an old curmudgeonly killjoy :)

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