A powerful complex of herbal psychoactive drugs that connects the frontiers of the separation of cultures is alcohol. Alcohol has roots in the deepest layer of the Archaic culture. The ancient civilizations of the Middle East were engaged in the preparation of beer; it must be, at a very early stage of human culture, if not even earlier, the intoxicating effect of fermented honey and fruit juices was noted.
Honey is a magic substance, a substance used in all traditional cultures for treatment. As we have already seen, it was used to preserve both the bodies of the dead and the mushrooms. Honey drink, that is, fermented honey, was apparently a refreshing, rejuvenating remedy for Indo-European tribes. They shared this cultural characteristic with mushroom-using cattle-breeding tribes of the ancient Near East. One of the most amazing rock paintings found in Chatal-Hüyuk undoubtedly depicts the life cycle and metamorphosis of honey bees.
The widespread belief in the classical world that bees originated from livestock carcasses makes more sense if it is considered as an attempt to link bees (as a source of honey and honey drink to supplant it) with livestock and a more ancient mushroom cult. It is possible that honey drink cults and mushroom cults that used honey for storage developed in close connection with each other.
Honey is closely associated with the rites of the Great Goddess in the archaic Minoan civilization and is a prominent motive in the myths concerning Dionysus. Dionysus, in the words of the Roman poet Ovid, opened the honey / Fasti III 736 /, and the sacred site where the menadas, his maidservants, performed their ritual dance were filled with milk, wine and “nectar of bees.” It was also said that honey dripped from the tirsa-wands that the menadas carried with them. Talking about honey offerings in the Minoan religion, Kereny remarks: “Honey offerings made to the“ maze mistress ”bear the style of a much earlier period: the stage at which the Minoan culture was still associated with the“ honey epoch ”.
Each intoxicating drug, each attempt to re-discover the symbiotic harmony of the “man-mushroom” relationship in the lost paradise of Africa is a paler, more distorted image of the original Mystery. The degeneration of the elements of the sacrament in the religion of the ancient Near East should have led from mushrooms to fermented honey and fermented juices, and then — to grapes as the preferred wine plant. Over time, often in the same cultures, fermented cereals and grain were subjected to experimental manipulation for the production of the first types of beer.