Alcohol has been with us probably since the very early magic cults and continues to be associated with a number of religious practices. It probably had multiple uses in ceremonies, not least of which was its ability of altering consciousness.
As humans settled and started practicing agriculture, grain was fermented and produced beer. Whether its use was purely for ceremonial purposes or for socializing, is unclear. It has been suggested that the necessity of fermenting grain as been the main driver behind sedentarization. In any case, alcohol certainly played an important role in socialization. Certain pagans even revered alcohol as it was believed to have aphrodisiac properties and was an adjuvant to fertility.
The Greeks used wine, together with other substances, to disinhibit those practicing the Dionysian mysteries. The very word ‘symposium’ meant a drinking party in ancient Greece.
Alcohol, whether in the form of wine or spirits, has permeated European culture. Both Christian and Jewish religions allow drinking while asking believers to avoid excesses. Consumption in the European Union is of 13 liters of pure alcohol per capita and per year and, corrected for non-drinkers, of 15 liters. Up to half of the alcohol is drunk by only 10% of the population.
Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!