Drinking Mead among the Northern European Tribes
Because of my tribe's Bard who makes the most delicious mead that I've EVER tasted, I wanted to write about mead. Not only is it all through the stories drank by the Gods and the peoples, it has a past of magickal power. Lets explore further;
Mead is not a beer nor is it a wine as both involve processes and ingredients not used in the making of it. Sadly, some mead makers, along with those who sell to liquors stores, use ingredients unneccesary and the taste is just not the same at all. Mead was an ancient drink that was much beloved by all Northern European tribes and the peoples of Europe. You don't need any of those and its shelf life is for years. Liquor store mead IS not will not ever be the same, neither is the crap that some pagan groups make - fortified mead, or the other that tastes like turpentine lol!!
If we look at the history of wine it goes back 6,000 years, but mead goes way back. We can trace it to approximately between 20,000 to 40,0000 years to Africa by following the honey bee which has been around for at least 1,000,000 years. We know that nectar can experience spontaneous fermentation as a result of the action of wild yeast so who knows when the ancients discovered this.
Now lets talk about customs, celebrations and times when mead was used. Mead had fantastic healing properties, once thought as myth but now these 'myths' are slowly being proven today as fact. They also believed that mead helped fertility. Did you know where the word honeymoon comes from. Yes mead. The couple would go for one full moon cycle drinking mead together after the rite of marriage, to make sure they would conceive.
Contrary to popular belief, many modern pagan groups seem to think that May was popular for marriage, it was not. In fact May was very unlucky if one were to actually read the stories. June is the month considered to be the luckiest and its moon is called the honey moon. May marriages always end in disaster. Even in Queen Victoria's time, she believed it was a bad omen to marry in this month. This myth is repeated throughout Northern European culture from Norse to Ireland and in the Arthurian areas, where the Winter God always wins the spring Goddess away from the Summer God.
Mead was made of water and honey only. Today, this is called a Traditional mead and some persons call it a sack mead but Sack mead is sweeter than traditional using more honey. The practice of adding herbs to it only came about in the middle ages as far as I've found so far. Please remember in every article I write, more and more knowledge will surface as more texts are still being translated and as archeaology discovers more with DNA testing and so on. We do know that they did add fruit to it, as we can see this in Roman areas.