The new wordpress UI sucks and ate one of my posts.
So the long and short of it is we’re going to be doing more arts and crafts, which has been part of the two week plus quiet period on the blog. I joined the OTA, and while it’s not 100% a fit for me and I have no idea how I’m going to get to Georgia to get promoted (or worse, California), they’re still a decent good folk. Poke is one of the few people who have made changes to the Gnostic Mass or the grimoires and I feel like they’re reasonably well done. Case in point, he substitutes wine, which he says is the symbol of death, with honey, which he says is a symbol of life. I tend to agree, and I really like the symbolism of the beehive (for masonry). Also been a long time fan of the hermetic hour. We’ll see how much tread the OTA has on it. This isn’t to say it’s not worth studying the crap out of the grimoires. It’s entirely worth it, and it’s entirely rewarding to understand the cabalistic symbolism in, say, the circle of solomon. I will probably continue doing traditional work along those lines by putting tape on the floor. To that end, I wanted to throw together some mead that wasn’t just honey mixed with Bicardi 151. That’s gross, don’t make that.
We have a few options. In the Eddas, and I recently bought Northern Planet Lore, we have the mead of poetry, the mead of inspiration, the mead of song, and so on. I could make this mead according to the guide in the book and come up with something similar to the Black Arts Foundry, but I strongly object to the use of drugs among the people who don’t expect to be intoxicated in that way. One of the local wicca groups here adulterates their wine, and one of the longrunning facebook lols has been a few folk who think that being a druggie makes someone a sage. Nope. While it could be done by making a mugwort tea, that might be for inner circle, fully informed and consenting adult stuff later. While making a mead of song might be appropriate later, I’m trying to keep it mainstream enough folks will willingly drink it.
So what I really need to make is a melomel. There’s about 20 types of mead and all of them are house blends, but if you pick up a homebrew book, you’re going to run into Braggots (Honey + Beer), Mead (Honey, or Honey+Water), Cyser (Honey + Apples), and Melomels (Honey + Fruit, but sometimes called cyser anyway). I actually don’t like cyser, every one I’ve run into in homebrew circles has been a result from someone trying to ferment cheap honey and boosting it with cane sugar. Cane sugar actually makes really good cider which tastes exactly like Woodchuck when force carbonated, which I suppose says a lot about Woodchuck. Cysers like this usually come from honey-bear mead, which is mead made with the ubiquitous North American Honey Bear.
That stuff is usually honey flavoring and water and sugar, with no actual honey. What sort of magickal stuff will this produce? Nothing at best, and it won’t taste very good to boot.
What do you really need to make sacramental honey beverages?
For starters (lol brewing joke) you need a fermentation vessel that’s food safe. I got this years ago for making giant batches of wine, it’s a 15 gallon trash can, but what’s neat about it is I wrote “food safe” on the side, so it’s food safe. No actually it’s #4 plastic. If it just has the recycling symbol on it, avoid it, but if it has the recycling symbol on it and a number from 1-6 inside of it, then it’s food safe-ish. #4 just means it’s more prone to taking on odor than I would like but given sufficient time to air out, it’ll be OK. What’s that gross looking pint? That’s Wyeast 1272, out of an IPA I just made. If there’s one thing you want to splurge on for this, it’s the yeast. Trust me. Buy one packet of Wyeast 1272 either mail order or from your homebrew store, buy a big spoon from the homebrew store (top right) and a packet of champaign yeast (or bread yeast).
Hm, what else do we need?
OK I know I just admonished everyone for using honey bears, but read the label, sometimes you find a deal. In this case, the honey on the left is actually legit honey, 3 lbs per bottle. The label says “Ingredients: Honey” and nothing else. It also had the crystal stuff on the bottom (I didn’t take a picture of) which means it’s legit and a pain to work with. Going left to right, you’ll see name-brand juices. This is important, as name-brand juices tend to have a lot more juice. If I wanted to go all out, I could have bought frozen fruit and mashed it up, but that’s expensive and time consuming and usually promotes mold. Don’t do it until you understand the brewing process.
Wash and clean the fermenter (trashcan), throw the yeast in first, and get pouring.
It’s a lovely color. Look at how I’m pouring it, this adds oxygen. Your yeast are going to need as much as they can get in this particular situation. I’m not above using an aquarium pump and stone to add oxygen, but since we’re making fairly well rounded, slightly watered down stuff, it’s probably OK to just pour aggressively. We’ll stir it up in a minute.
Alright so now you’ve got all the juice in there, the yeast you want to use, but we need the honey. Add it now. When you’re done with a bottle, put a pint glass of water in the microwave for a minute or so to make it warm but not hot, and add it to the bottle of honey. Put the cap on and shake it up. You’re getting the honey into suspension and adding oxygen. Pour those into the mix.
Yike, what’s this? Yup, it’s a mix of the yeast on the bottom, the honey, and the juice on top. You can see that the juice looks like a blush wine at this point, but we need to get that honey up. Use the big spoon to aggressively stir. This is going to be a theme of the week, the secret to making decent mead is to keep stirring it the first week. Once a day, open the top of the fermenter, and stir the crap out of it so it doesn’t look like this. If you see a colored band on the bottom, open it and stir it.
This will be ready in one month, so October is going to have a nice fall mead to drink.
Finally, taste it. If you like how it turned out, run with it. It should be (depending on the yeast) about 5% ABV. If you think it’s too sweet, or syrupy, add the champaign yeast and stir the crap out of it again. This will cause it to foam, but this will also dry it out in about a week. This will also double the alcohol. Bread yeast will add appley flavors to it, champaign yeast tends to be pretty neutral stuff.
I blessed the mead when I finished it as a new child would be baptized.
The mead was brewed up on Monday during the hour of Sol. If that doesn’t get the juices flowing for pagan sorts of stuff, I don’t know what will.
The lunar day is 8. Per Globa:
Symbol – phoenix. The day of penance, absolution, purification by fire, alchemy. One can fast, purge one’s stomach and intestine. It is good to prepare remedies for all illnesses. One should not be dissolute or egoistic.
The moon is currently in Sagittarius:
Generosity, openness, optimism and the desire to give advice and share experience are all increased. There is a heightened interest in travel and foreign countries, and any activities and recreations taking place in the open air. You may, however, be over-confident and may not have a good grasp of practicalities. It is a suitable time for large-scale plans but not for any occupations which require attention to detail.
In the body, Saggitarius rules hips and thighs.
Because mead, especially sack mead, makes you fat.
The lunar mansion is 20, which is ruled by Venus, so this is an excellent time to make a sweet drink for this. The aspect of God is the “Life Giver”, which I particularly read as a fortunate time to take on this project.
We also have fairly nicely balanced occult ingredients here. We have clover honey, which in three leaves is the scale of the trinity, and with four leaves is the elements themselves. We have the apples, which traditionally represent life and sustenance. We have grapefruit, which isn’t winey, but it is citrusy, which represents the sun itself. Finally we have cranberries, which I was trying to avoid wine while still having something tannic. I think I’ve managed to make a decent compromise between winey (death) and blood (the carrier of life) without getting too close to the death side.