Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wine of life - freeing the spirit.

I found these flasks lying at the side of the local wine co-op in Casorzo, Piedmont. I'm at the limit for distortion on the wide angle lens but I didn't feel like cropping the image too much. The flasks looked a useful size for taking home. Here, you can roll along to your local co-op, buy wine in bulk then bottle it yourself. It's a civilised approach to wine. The symbolism of wine is very much about intoxication - not the general drunkenness that bedevils cities of northern Europe on a Friday night, but the sacred intoxication of the Gods. Blake said that the path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. I believe that's a knowledge and wisdom, imparted through the sacred aspects of wine. As usual symbolism is uneven and even contradictory. Wine in most cultures represents strength and life but sometimes it can represent God's wrath. "He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword." And wine is also a symbol in Islam with many references in the Koran. "Choice wine shall be given to them to quaff." [76:21]. In general, wine is a positive life-giving symbol, The Sufi believe in the pre-existence of souls and moreover that "these souls we intoxicated with immortal wine." (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī). We arrive with the natural mysticism of the drink! But not the Gods of the Underworld. They are disallowed wine - as are the Muses, who rely on memory. And dreams of wine? It all depends. It could be a very positive pointer to transformation. Wine liberates the earthly and frees the spirit.