In the West, the discovery of distilled alcohol was attributed to the alchemist Raymond Lully, about whom little is known, then to his contemporaries and associate in the alchemical research Arnold de Villanova. The search for a true elixir led Lullia to the manufacture of “aqua vini” – the first brandy. According to Maitson, Llull was so amazed at the wonders of aqua vini. that the discovery considered this to be a clear harbinger of the end of the world. True to his alchemical roots, Lully created his universal panacea by fermenting horse manure wine in a double retort for 20 days before distilling it with a rough condenser from cold water (ill. 18). Lully did not hide his discovery; on the contrary, he invited others to make this elixir for themselves and praised the product proposed by Villanova, as being quite comparable with his own. On alcohol, he wrote: “The taste surpasses it all other tastes, and the smell – all other smells”. “It’s amazingly convenient,” he says, “to consume it before a fight to inspire the spirit of the soldiers.”
The discoveries of an intoxicating chemical agent that lies behind the fermentation of fruit juices, honey, and grain were made by alchemists in both China and Europe. Alchemy developed slowly and became a free group of Gnostic and Hermetic theories regarding the origin of man and the dichotomy of spirit and matter. Its roots stretch far back in time, at least to dynastic Egypt and the era of the gradual accumulation of jealously kept secrets of dyeing fabrics, metal minting and mummification.
Based on this ancient knowledge, the building of the philosophical ideas of the pre-Socratics, the Pythagoreans and the Hermeticists, ideas that ultimately began to revolve around the concept of “alchemy” as a task to somehow put together and thereby save the Divine Light, which was dispersed in due to the fall of Adam. The natural world began to be perceived by the Late Roman period as a demonic, depriving liberty shell. It was the spiritual legacy of the destruction of the partnership model of itself and society and its replacement by the model of dominion. Nostalgia for Mother Earth Gee was crushed, but could not and cannot be eliminated permanently. Hence, it reappeared with time in an illegal form as the alchemical theme of magma mater, the mysterious maternal matrix of the world, one way or another residing everywhere as invisible, but in principle universal panacea inherent in nature, condensed into visible manifestation.
In such an atmosphere of confused and ontologically naive speculations, alchemy was able to flourish. The categories relating to “ego” and matter, subject and object, have not yet been fixed by the rules introduced by the phonetic alphabet, in order to be especially emphasized in printed form. It was not clear to alchemist researchers that fantasy was in their work, and that fact or hope.
The irony is that this was the context in which the discovery of a powerful means, changing the state of consciousness; that alcohol is palpable and delivers joy in beer and wine produced over the centuries, has become a demon in the alchemical laboratories, a spontaneous and fiery quintessence. And like the other quintessences that will come into being after it — morphine and cocaine — the quintessence of the vine, passing through the hearth and the retorts of the alchemists, has lost its natural soul. This transformed it from carrying the joy of life into something unprocessed, unrestrained, which ultimately rebelled against human nature.