From the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Eucharist, a wholly unconvincing denial of similarity to sacred food and drink in other religions:
o The ambrosia and nectar of the ancient Greek gods
o The haoma of the Iranians
o The soma of the ancient Hindus
The passage is a flat assertion that serves only to raise the suspicions it is meant to quell.
The modern science of comparative religion is striving, wherever it can, to discover in pagan religions "religio-historical parallels", corresponding to the theoretical and practical elements of Christianity, and thus by means of the former to give a natural explanation of the latter. Even were an analogy discernible between the Eucharistic repast and the ambrosia and nectar of the ancient Greek gods, or the haoma of the Iranians, or the soma of the ancient Hindus, we should nevertheless be very cautious not to stretch a mere analogy to a parallelism strictly so called, since the Christian Eucharist has nothing at all in common with these pagan foods, whose origin is to be found in the crassest idol- and nature-worship. What we do particularly discover is a new proof of the reasonableness of the Catholic religion, from the circumstance that Jesus Christ in a wonderfully condescending manner responds to the natural craving of the human heart after a food which nourishes unto immortality, a craving expressed in many pagan religions, by dispensing to mankind His own Flesh and Blood. All that is beautiful, all that is true in the religions of nature, Christianity has appropriated to itself, and like a concave mirror has collected the dispersed and not infrequently distorted rays of truth into their common focus and again sent them forth resplendently in perfect beams of light.
"... the Christian Eucharist has nothing at all in common with these pagan foods..."
"Jesus Christ responds to the craving after a religious food, a craving expressed in many religions, by providing his human, literal flesh and blood."
Notice the attempt to remove entheogens, which any religion can use, and substitute something that has a franchisable artificial scarcity: the literal flesh of a literal historical savior.
"All that is beautiful and true in other religions, Christianity has appropriated to itself, and has focused their truths into perfect beams of light."
Would this appropriation, or would it not, include the use of entheogens, psychoactive sacraments, allegorized as the flesh of the mythic godman such as Dionysus? It logically would include that. Has Christianity focused the use of entheogens into perfect beams of light? No, the self-serving liars that lead Christianity have muddled, distorted, obscured, lied, and deceived the world about the nature of the godman's flesh and its manner of operation on the inner person to effect regeneration.
>>it appears that their message is not always interpreted or received the same way universally.
>Facts and literal understanding is not what is important. But there are general spiritual experiences that are pretty universal, and all the "avatars" and "prophets" and "heretics" all point in pretty much the same direction -- if you can read between the lines.
The fountainhead of religions is metaphorical allegories of mythic experiencing, experiencing that follows upon the sacred meal.
>There is no particular action that will *guarantee* Gnosis. Otherwise, all this would have been sorted out millennia ago.
Sacred meals in conjunction with esoteric studies could come close to guaranteeing Gnosis.
Greek symposion/symposium/sumposion "A convivial meeting for drinking, music, and intellectual discussion among the ancient Greeks." From syn-posis, "together-drinking" or "at-the-same-time drinking". "A meeting or conference for the public discussion of some topic especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations."
Agape - "In the early Christian Church, the love feast accompanied by Eucharistic celebration." "The love feast of the primitive Christians, being a meal partaken of in connection with the communion." "A religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship."
Love feast - "A meal shared among early Christians as a symbol of love." "A religious festival, held quarterly by some religious denominations, as the Moravians and Methodists, in imitation of the agap[ae] of the early Christians." "A religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship."
Seder - "The feast commemorating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, celebrated on the first night or the first two nights of Passover." "The ceremonial dinner on the first night (or both nights) of Passover."
Sacred meal - not found in dictionaries or theological dictionary. Belongs near entries "sacred lotus", "sacred mushroom" and "sacred text". http://www.farvardyn.com/mithras4.htm
If all theologians agree upon only one thing, it's the centrality of the Eucharist in Christian salvation. Sacred meals were common in the early Christian era. The Eucharist is directly connected to the sacred meals. Researchers of religion need to look much closer at sacred meals in all religions of antiquity. Every religion had its sacred meals, including the Gnostic religions. The mood of the sacred meal is that of metaphorical allegories of mythic experiencing.
If anyone thinks they are investigating the religions of antiquity, they ought to start with sacred meals, including the mythic-experiencing meals known as the Greek sumposion such as Odysseus returned to, killing the drinkers at the feast competing for his faithful wife on that very night.
"mixed wine" greek
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22mixed+wine%22+greek -- 500 hits
It's pivotally important that we show that "mixed wine" 500 BCE-500 CE was understood to be an entheogenic mixture. It would be good if people could start searching the Web for confirmation.
Blaise Staples wrote:
>>With regard to your question about the psychoactive nature of 'ordinary' Greek wine, I suppose you are looking for further scholarly confirmation. You might contact Michael Rinella, who is one of the acquisition editors at SUNY Press. He has written several quite good papers on the subject.
Done. I asked Michael Rinella if he could provide pointers to chapters or articles that directly present evidence that ancient 'wine' altogether was likely typically entheogenic -- not just kykeon, but 'wine' in general.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
>>>Some entheogen scholars have stated that ancient 'wine' meant visionary-plant mixtures. What [or where] is the evidence for that? If we can round up the evidence, we can then plug it into Smith's research to suddenly reveal the high plausibility of heavy, standard, universal use of entheogens in ancient culture.
Carl Ruck wrote [paraphrased]:
>See my writings, going back to The Road to Eleusis. A couple of years ago, the Athens Archaeological Museum produced a public TV program, without acknowledgment, presenting what is now the widely accepted idea. Dennis Smith might be quoting from my works in his book From Symposium to Eucharist.
I doubt it; see below.
Entheogen scholars need to credit each other generously. Entheogen scholars should be less reluctant to credit and praise John Allegro's work on entheogens in Christian origins. Allegro deserves accolades from entheogen scholars for his work that refutes the historicity of Jesus and proposes that the Jesus figure is largely based on psychoactive mushrooms just as the Dionysus figure was largely a personification of 'wine'.
For example, even though some of these books need editing, they contribute valuable and helpful perspectives representing innovative work by the authors; if taken together, a more powerful and coherent paradigm results:
Entheogen theory of the origin of religions
Posting and thread about entheogens in ancient religion.
That posting includes pointers to Carl Ruck's chapters that may cover ancient 'wine'. I will look for the coverage of 'wine' in these books. I am not looking just for kykeon references: I dislike the tendency to think that entheogens were only present in one mystery religion, experienced once in a lifetime. Instead, I'm targeting 'wine' overall, keeping in mind per Smith that 'wine' was the basis for all variants of the "common banquet tradition".
I'm trying to round up the evidence that ancient 'wine' altogether was entheogenic, or prototypically entheogenic. Smith seems to be perfectly ignorant of entheogens and Ruck's work. His contribution is to show that 'wine' was the basis of all types of ancient banquets (sacred meals, drinking clubs, Seder, agape meals, Mithraic eucharist, sacrificial meals, etc.). He appears to assume that this ancient 'wine' was the same as modern wine.
I read Smith's book from cover to cover, looking for any potential hooks for the entheogen theory, but there was no mention of the remarkable visionary effects of 'wine', or the addition of "herbs and spices" to 'wine'. The bibliography, which I read most of, shows no awareness of any entheogen research. I should check the index, but after having read the full body of the book, I don't expect the index to cover entheogens (drugs, psychedelics, psychoactives).
I should check for "kykeon" and look again for awareness of the entheogen theory, but I'm sure I won't find such awareness, because I carefully looked for it while reading the body.
Smith provides a "Death Star vulnerability" effect, though he is ignorant of entheogens: because he shows that the overall culture was based around banqueting of various types, and he reveals that all ancient banquet types have the same form and are based on and centered around 'wine', this provides the opportunity for entheogen scholars to postulate that this 'wine' was generally and typically entheogenic. As a result, we can find the presence of entheogens not just in kykeon, but in ancient 'wine' altogether.
After having read most of Ruck's chapters in various books, I didn't come away with a clear idea that he proposes that all ancient 'wine' may have been entheogenic or typically entheogenic. I didn't get the impression that Ruck's proposal was so widespread -- as extremely widespread as Smith's work would imply if you reconceive Smith's ubiquitous 'wine' as typically a visionary plant mixture.
Robert Forte wrote:
>>"This thread has mercifully petered out?" I just returned from a couple days off to find my box jammed full with exciting discussion on what i've come to learn is one of the most most vexing modern and historical religious questions.
>>i was preparing a response to all of you who have participated when P T Rourke's missive came in. i think we are all grateful for the ease with which the internet furthers communication. i am. but sometimes i fear it reduces dialogue to soundbites. surely we have not exhausted the mysteries of eleusis. seems to me we've just broached the topic.
Can someone please post some pointers (thread titles) to more postings near the above posting? (else I'll dig through these later)
So far I only found 1 other post on entheogens in classics:
You can omit :8080, so the link is on one line and therefore works. These are the previous links I posted:
The geography of pharmacopiety
TAN: how psychoactive drugs work
The Road to Eleusis
There is so much speculation about entheogens with respect to kykeon and soma, but what about the entheogenic nature of ancient 'wine' in general?
You can search at
From Symposium to Eucharist: The Banquet in the Early Christian World
Book list: Ancient wine as visionary plant beverage
The book is recommended for entheogen scholars. Smith shows that the banquet tradition was the common basis for Jewish feasts (Seder), agape meal, sacred meals, religious clubs, philosophical symposia, sacrificial meals, festive banquets, and so on. Covers era from Alexander to Constantine (300 BCE - 300 CE). Shows that all these groups were essentially religious wine-drinking gatherings. I had recently come to this conclusion in reflecting on the cultural backdrop of the early Lord's Supper; this book more than confirmed my suspicion, fully extending the scope of the "common banquet tradition", including a chapter on "The Club Banquet" that is a particularly interesting version.
Smith does not mention visionary-plant additives (typically called "the addition of herbs and spices"). If entheogen scholars can show that for the ancient banquet tradition in general, 'wine' means visionary-plant mixture, in a single blow we are now set up to demonstrate the entheogenic basis for all of ancient culture, switching from the current paradigm of "entheogens were occasionally used" to "entheogens were ubiquitous and fundamental to the entire culture".
Some entheogen scholars have stated that ancient 'wine' meant visionary-plant mixtures. What is the evidence for that? If we can round up the evidence, we can then plug it into Smith's research to suddenly reveal the high plausibility of heavy, standard, universal use of entheogens in ancient culture.
The book contains various clues about 'wine' usage that are explained well by the assumption of 'wine' being a visionary-plant mixture. The author incongruously states that 'wine' was mixed with 3 parts water, and 4 cups of this 'mixed wine' would put people out of control and lead to fighting and disruptive behavior. There were orderly officers, and bouncers at these gatherings of 5-11 people. Punishment amounted to exclusion from the banquet.
Payment was mostly through contribution of 'wine' or 'amphoras of good wine'. All these gatherings included prayer for safety and protection -- which makes little sense for modern 'wine', but makes great sense for visionary-plant 'wine'. The regular dining was the first part of a banquet evening, and the philosophical-religious drinking party was the second part. The first part sometimes used a sitting posture, but the second was almost always reclining.
Candidates include henbane, datura, cannabis, opium, ephedra, psilocybin mushrooms, amanita, and other plants that could be a useful part of a more or less standardized optimized visionary mixture. Would "club members must donate an amphora of good wine" imply a mixture that already is entheogenic, or a base to which visionary plants are added during 'mixing' or prior to 'mixing'?
Does 'mixing' mean adding visionary plants and water, or just adding water to an already visionary mixture? Does 'good wine' mean visionary-plant mixture? Does 'strong wine' mean visionary-plant mixture? Would the mixture usually be alcohol and a single visionary plant, or alcohol and multiple visionary plants or multiple plants that, taken together, formed an ideal visionary combination?
I assume that the 'wine' in all these banquet gatherings had the same effect as modern wine to which powdered psilocybin mushrooms are added. Per McKenna, would the ancients use psilocybin mushrooms as their "ur-entheogen", because these grow on common cow dung and cattle feature prominently in Mediterranean myth-religion?
Can you point me to studies or a bibliography showing that ancient 'wine' may have normally meant a visionary-plant mixture? Which books or articles have the most compelling evidence for this increasingly common assertion that 'wine' may have normally meant a visionary-plant mixture? Hopefully some of the books on the history of wine may contribute information -- the books on mead propose this. My journal issues collection is limited.
http://www.eleusis.ws/en/number3.shtml -- Contents of vol. 3, new series -- 1999, 112 pp. -- C. Rätsch · From mead of inspiration to spirit of wine; alcoholic brews and folk medicine, medical science and pharmacology
It's a surprising proposal that *in general* 'wine' meant an entheogenic mixture, but the way the ancients talk about the effects and usage of 'wine', most of the time, their descriptions sound like the description of an entheogenic mixture, not like modern 'wine' that is greatly watered-down.
The Romans said "In Vino Veritas" -- In Wine Is Truth. Either this is a silly saying, or a profound saying. If they were talking about modern 'wine' greatly watered down, it is a silly saying and they were a frivolous culture. If they were talking about what was *normally* an entheogenic mixture, it is a substantial saying and they were a serious culture.
"... Greek wine was a sacred potion, like the god himself, bridging the frontier between cultured and natural toxins. The manufactured product of the vinter's art was only half of his identity; the other was the green world of Nysa. Wine was fortified with herbal additives, a custon still followed today in Greece with, what is only the best known example, the resin added to retsina. These additives were not only modifications of the flavor, but also of the wine's toxicity. In addition to deterrmining the number of draughts, the host chose the mix with which he would challenge his guests. Wines that needed eight-fold dilution were still drunk in the Roman era, a wine that back in Homeric times had required twenty parts of water, a truly heroic drink." (pages 7 - 8)
"The sacrificial meal was always an occasion for music and dance, as well. But the greatest of the god's achievements was the Theater, by its very name, a place for seeing something sacred. From origins that go back to displays of ecstatic shamanic possession at the tombs of heroic persons - with the spirit of the deceased overtaking the priest and speaking through him to tell his myth, his story, the drama as a ritual moved in the sixth century from the countryside into the very center of the city ... " (page 12)
"The nature of the Theater experience was one of mass spiritual possession with a positive or beneficial outcome. ... Since such was the meaning repeatedly given to the entheogenic experience of the god, it was inevitable that he who had shown his willingness top die as prelude to resurrection would also lead us all along the pathways he had established. So death itself was the final optimistic encounter with the god, the lethal potion, an orgasmic cosmic embrace. ..."
"Rather than leaving the drink meaningless, or of giving it the counter-cultural meaning of a criminal act, wine was a sacrament. Essential to the theme of the Mysteries we are pursuing in the ensuing essays is this central role of psychoactive herbalism in the religious and cultural life of pagan antiquity and its assimilation into Christian traditions." (pages 13 - 14)
In Greco-Roman context, always read "wine" first as "entheogenic beverage" or "visionary plant beverage".
Added these book lists to Egodeath website:
Ancient wine as visionary plant beverage
Ancient wine as visionary plant beverage (2)
Locally, I should at least keep a log of the ISBN numbers in case Amazon lists are losts.
Some of these books have bibliographies, to find other related books. For interpreting myth and religion, I simply assume "wine" means "entheogen". However, this should be proven.
This is the Star Wars-like "Death Star vulnerability": if we can show that "wine" in Greco-Roman times means, refers to, and symbolizes "entheogenic beverage", suddenly all existing scholarship that mentions "wine" -- including countless books about early Christianity, and Jewish religion -- is transformed to support the entheogen theory and the extreme entheogen paradigm of what ancient religion was about.
This is a paradigm shift even for entheogen scholars, changing from an assumption of rare usage such as 1 time during 1 initiation at Eleusis, to potentially ubiquitous usage all throughout Greco-Roman culture. And then, if entheogens and visionary plants were that ubuiquitous, we need to rethink concepts about ancient consciousness and initiation and modern notions about enlightenment.
If everyone was very familiar with the altered state, if the culture was founded on and thoroughly saturated with the visionary altered state, we should consider whether the modern idea of "enlightenment through entheogens" has to be heavily revised -- if the overall ancient world qualifies as what we call "enlightened" or "mystically illuminated", our dichotomy "unenlightened/enlightened" needs to be revised, and the notion of "enlightenment" as something rare and a glorified panacea needs to be sobered up and taken off its pedestal.
For the ancient Greeks, it was so natural that all adults are what we'd call "metaphysically and spiritually enlightened", being "enlightened" was such the universal norm, it was merely ordinary, normal adult consciousness. War, politics, sports, and all areas of culture were based on what moderns would label as "metaphysically enlightened consciousness", because the whole culture was based on everyday use of entheogens.
Discard the notion of rarity of entheogens, rarity of metaphysical or psyche enlightenment, and automatic panacea of metaphysical enlightenment and entheogens. This is a paradigm shift in contrast to current entheogen religion scholarship, and in contrast to modern-era notions about the difficulty and promise of metaphysical enlightenment and entheogens.
All that Huxley was amazed to find, and more, was routinely present as the norm or basis for the norm in Greco-Roman times. Every "banquet", all "wine", every "symposium", every "feast" and "agape meal" was normally or ideally about entheogenic or visionary plant usage, with myth, philosophy, literature, politics, war, and other fields using the phenomena of the what we moderns think of as the "mystic altered state" -- what Greco-Romans thought of as common, everyday divine inebriation.
The Romans were talking about entheogen mixtures, not alcohol alone, when they said "In Vino Veritas" -- In Wine Is Truth.
The most interesting-looking book in Smith's bibliography in From Symposium to Eucharist may be Sympotica, for which there is a detailed review online. Research of this led to another book he edited, In Vino Veritas.
Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion.
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/1991/02.05.13.html - review
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990 [the later 1994 paperback has addenda]. Pp.xii, 345; 24 plates. $96.00. ISBN 0-19-814861-5. 0198148615
Hardcover, Sep 1990
Paperback, February 1995
Format: Paperback, 392pp
Oxford University Press
Interesting resource leads to some info:
The symposion, or male drinking group of archaic and classical Greece, was an institution whose effects can be detected from the painted pottery and the poetry to many areas of ancient Greek social life. This book is a record of a symposion held in Oxford in 1984.
Rituals of commensality are fundamental to the understanding of human societies; the symposion or male drinking group of archaic and classical Greece was an institution whose effects can be detected in the painted pottery and the poetry created for its use, and in many areas of ancient Greek social life, from politics and warfare to sexual attitudes and conceptions of pleasure; Greek sympotic customs spread to other cultures throughout the Mediterranean, with important consequences for their development.
"Sympotica" is a book published on the symposion as a whole. It is the record of a symposium held in Oxford in 1984; the contributions discuss the importance of Greek drinking customs for anthropology, archaeology, art history, literary studies, history, and philosophy, and demonstrate the need for an inter-disciplinary approach.
The editor provides a historical introduction to the field of sympotic studies, and a general bibliography. Twenty-four plates illustrate the art of the symposion, and three concluding chapters consider the influence of Greek commensality on the Roman world. The work opens up a field of research into the cultures of the ancient world.
Search Web for "In Vino Veritas" "Oswyn Murray":
In Vino Veritas
ISBN: 0904152278 - Hardcover - List Price: $65.00
Publisher: Brown, David Book Company - Published Date: 06/01/1995
Edited by: Oswyn Murray
Edited by: Manuela Tecusan
Binding: Hardcover, 318 pages
This volume is the record of a four day international conference held in Rome in 1991.
Includes bibliographical references. Papers in English, Italian, or French
Wine and wine making -- History -- Congresses
Civilization, Ancient -- Congresses
Society - Role of Wines - History
This volume is a record of an international conference on the place of wine in ritual, culture and society in the ancient world (including Near Eastern culture, Greek culture, Etruria and Italy, and Republican and Imperial Rome).
Table of Contents:
Histories of pleasure, Oswyn Murray
le vin dans une civilization de la biere - la Mesopotamie, Jean Bottero
The "Symposium" in ancient Mesopotamia - archaeological evidence, Julian Edgewoth Reade
il vino nell 'Antic Egitto, Gabriella Scandone Matthiae
wine and death - east and west, Cristiano Grottanelli
rite cultuel et rituel social - a propos de manieres de boire le vin dans les cites grecques (Pauline Schmitt Pantel)
wine and truth in the greek "Symposium". Wolfgang Rosler
wine in old comedy, E.L. Bowie
un rituel du vin - la libation, Francoise Liscarrague
a symposium of gods?, T.H. Carpenter
il banchetto in Italia centrale - quale stile di vita? Annette Rathje
simposio e elites sociali nel mondo Etrusco e Italico, Angela Pontrandolfo
vino e ideologia nella Roman Arcaica, Filippo Coarelli
rituels Romains dans les vignobles, Olivier De Cazanove
in vino stuprum, M. Bettini
the decoration of Roman "triclina", Roger Ling
scenes from the Roman "convivium" - frigida non derit, not derit calda petenti, Katherine M.D. Dunbabin
il vino di orazio - nel modus e contro il modus, Antonio La Penna
regalis inter mensas laticemque lyacum - wine in Virgil and others, Jasper Griffin
le vin et l'honneur, Andre Tchernia
heavy drinking and drunkenness in the Roman world - four questions for historians, John H. D'Arms.
Dr Oswyn Murray MA, DPhil
Fellow, Balliol College, Oxford
CUF Lecturer in Ancient History, Faculty of Classics
Research Interests -- Greek and Roman History, Greek Cultural History; Greek kingship; Greek conviviality; the Greek polis; the history of pleasure ...
Recent Publications include:
1994: ''Nestor's Cup and the Origins of the Symposium'' in Apoikia: scritti in onore di Giorgio Buchner AION n.s. 1, AION, new series, Naples, 1, 47-54.
This is the first book I've been able to find on the subject of ancient religious banquets. It might have a bibliography leading to useful studies of Hellenistic philosophical-religious banqueting.
From Symposium to Eucharist: The Banquet in the Early Christian World
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0800634896 - Feb 2003 - check its bibliography
The social history and theology of table fellowship from Plato to the New Testament. Table fellowship in the ancient Mediterranean was more than food consumption. From Plato on down, banquets held an important place in creating community, sharing values, and connecting with the divine.
From chapter 9: "The primary change from symposium to eucharist is the evolution of the ritual from the dining table to the altar and from the social world of the banquet to that of sacred law. This change took place rather quickly and can be documented in early Christian literature. It represented a transition from the social code of the banquet to another social code. The banquet tradition was carried on somewhat longer in the form of the Agape, or fellowship meal. This ritual meal co-existed with the eucharist for some time and tended to carry the traditions of the banquet. The eucharist, on the other hand, soon lost its connection with banquet traditions. New Testament texts, however, still maintain that connection and provide a means for the church ever and again to reexamine its origins and renew its theology by recapturing and reconfiguring its own traditions."
Dennis E. Smith is Professor of New Testament at Phillips Theological Seminary (Tulsa, Oklahoma). He is an editor and contributor to the Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible series, as well as co-author of Many Tables: The Eucharist in the New Testament and Liturgy Today (1990). He is the editor of the forthcoming Chalice Introduction to the New Testament.
Also, this book about the book of Revelation might have a few roundabout clues about the Jewish entheogenic banquets:
Unlocking The Mysteries of Revelation: Using the Keys of the Feasts of the Lord
Ginger Carlton, Marilyn Mineer