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 An Introduction to French Sauvignon Blanc | JJ Buckley Fine Wines


Pagans being pagans, we like to drink, and we like to get drunk. When we are, we like to sing about it.

So pagans have lots of drinking songs.

But, of course—pagans being pagans—it's not quite that simple.


Dewi Brown—Dewi is “David” in Welsh—was an early, founding member of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland, one of the earliest (and most influential) New Pagan organizations in the West. His poem “The Drunkard” was first published in the PM's quarterly, The Waxing Moon, in the Lughnasadh 1971 issue, which is where I first came across it. The poem impressed me at the time; 50 years on, it still does.

(Here let me mention that this particular issue of TWM was my personal introduction to the Pagan Movement, a group that would shape my own nascent paganism and, indeed, the rest of my life—you're reading this now because of it—but that's another story for another night.)

Brown's poem is cast in traditional form: four stanzas, each arranged in two couplets. This form, the poem's rather archaic diction (“sup,” “from out”), and its willingness to controvert standard grammar for the sake of rhyme (“Nor of your beauty can he tell”) give the poem a sense of agelessness, of the pre-modern; almost it reads like one of the 17th century Cavalier poets, perhaps a Robert Herrick.

This dislocation in time is fully intentional. Bad poetry sacrifices anything, even clarity and grammatical integrity, to clinch that rhyme. Brown, though, is fully in control of his medium.

On the surface, “The Drunkard” reads as a secular drunk's tribute to his drug of choice. “Screw 'em all,” he sings to his glass of wine, his sole drinking companion.

But, of course, it's not that simple. That's what makes this such a good poem.


The Drunkard

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 Image: Ripe merlot wine grape clusters on the vine High-Res Stock Photo -


Why did Allah prohibit the drinking of wine to believers?

According to the Yezidis, it was out of jealousy and fear.


Islamic law generally prohibits the use of intoxicants to Muslims—not that this has slowed the use of drugs such as qat and hashish in the Muslim world, mind you—and Wine is regarded as the first, the chief, the Mother of all Intoxicants.

(When coffee was first discovered, Muslim religious authorities ruled it an intoxicant, and its use therefore forbidden to Muslims. This ruling was so universally rejected by the 'umma that in the end the mullahs just had to suck it up.)

Known euphemistically in Arabic as the Red One—as if even to pronounce its name would be dangerous—wine is specifically forbidden in the Qur'an. Though the book itself provides no reasons for this prohibition, the Yezidis—a Kurdish-speaking religious minority centered in Iraq, whose worship of the Peacock Angel would seem to have arisen in the 13th century in antinomian protest against the tyranny of the Mosque—do.


(That, in Europe, what we now know as Old Craft also arose in antinomian protest against a tyrannical Church, at roughly the same time, must be considered, at very least, a striking coincidence, if not the actual Hand of some god.

Presumably, the Left Hand.)


When Allah saw how much humanity loved the Red One, they say, he feared that they would always love and worship it more than himself.

Therefore, in jealousy, he did what those unequal to the race—just as Republicans in the US are trying to do today—always do.

He banned the competition.


(That Islamic mystical tradition has always equated Wine with Divine Love tells a truth both older and deeper than any Revelation.)


The blood of the grape is the blood of a god, Red Blood of a Green God. Before any others, the Green Man first wore vine leaves.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thanks, as someone who adds a jigger of red wine to his dinnertime glass of lemonade I appreciate this blog.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On the Sanctity of Drinking Bowls

When you pour out sacred drink, what do you pour it into?

If you're Wiccan, probably a chalice.

If you're heathen, probably a horn.

Now, I've got nothing against horns. (Some of my best friends wear them.) Nor, for that matter, chalices, although it's a matter of history that they derive their current stemmed shape from Christian liturgical necessity: not that there's anything wrong with that.

But when it comes to sacred drinking, as for me, I like to stick with ancestral precedent. Make mine a drinking bowl, please.

Drinking bowls tend to be smaller than bowls that you eat from, but that's the main difference, really. Whether richly carved or elegantly plain, drinking bowls read as “archaic,” ancestral, dating from a time when one single, undifferentiated vessel served all functions. It's interesting to note that while “bowl” is an indigenously Germanic word, “cup” was originally a Latin import.

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The Thirteenth Treasure

On first Mother Night, we tapped the box of red.

It was a nice wine for winter: chewy, hearty, a little leathery.

Next day, there was still wine left.

On second Mother Night, we drank more from the box of red.

Next day, there was still wine left.

Tonight, Thirteenth Night, we'll keep on drinking.

As for tomorrow, we'll see.

I'm beginning to wonder if what we've got on our hands here may not be that legendary box of wine that, no matter how many rituals you take it to, never runs dry.

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Liquid Glow: A Brief History and Myths Surrounding Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a staple beverage throughout Europe during the winter season. I remember Christmas shopping in Wϋrzburg as a kid and passing by vendors selling the beverage, the blend of cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, and other spices wafting through the crisp, cold air.

Mulled wine has a long history, dating back to at least as far as the 2nd or 3rd century BCE, when the Greeks and Romans would boil wine, then add honey and spices to the concentrated beverage. They called it by a variety of names, including mulsum, rapa, carenum, and defrutum (Fosbroke).

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My first batch of lavender wine made my lips go numb after a single sip. I shared it with other heathens and they found it quite strong also. So of course the next time I had a crop of lavender from my garden, I made lavender vodka.  

In the summer and fall of 2016, I drew on Sigyn’s patience almost every day to get me through a particularly difficult time in caring for my mom. Often, when I went outside for some reason, even just to take out the garbage, I would see one of Sigyn’s butterflies, and I would relax. In the evening, in gratitude to her, I raised a toast with tonic water flavored with my lavender vodka.

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It's the Wine Talking

There are two ritual activities we can be pretty sure the Minoans practiced: libations and divination.

We have lots of pictures of libations (poured offerings of liquids) in the frescoes, seals, and other art from ancient Crete. As for divination, besides the fact that pretty much every civilization has done its best to foresee the future, there are some interesting “floating organs” (hearts, livers, bones) on some of the seals that suggest the Minoans took part in the same kind of animal-organ auguries that many other ancient cultures used.

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