Mead Magic: Magical Properties of Mead
Mead is one of the world’s oldest beverages. A fermented drink made from honey and water, mead has a long history of use beyond just viking mead, with ancient cultures across the globe using mead as a drink of the gods. Made from honey, mead is packed with history and magic that can still be used today. So why not add some mead magic to your life?
Despite its ancient history and longevity, mead is not as commonly known as other alcoholic beverages. Nevertheless, it is experiencing a modern resurgence by craft brewers, such as internationally award winning Moonlight Meadery. So, I recently grabbed a few bottles from Moonlight Meadery, and thought this would be a perfect time to explore the history and power of mead magic.
What is mead, what is it made from, and why is it special?
An alcoholic beverage made by fermenting a mixture of honey and water, mead is packed with magical energy and ancient lore. With its base ingredient (honey) as one of the oldest sweeteners known to humanity, it is of little surprised that mead was the first alcoholic beverage created and considered a sacred drink of the gods, infused with magic.
While it is made from honey, mead can have a wide range of sweetness depending on the process and ingredients added. To create mead, water is added to honey and a yeast is then (manually or naturally) introduced to convert the sugars into alcohol. Sometimes fruits, spices, or herbs are added to give the mead a unique and delightful flavor profile, as well as magical and medicinal properties. The spices, herbs, and fruits added give a diversity of flavor profiles to mead magic, and make it a perfect addition to celebrations and meals. After fermentation is complete, the mead can then be aged, and the resulting product is a crisp, lightly sweet beverage ranging anywhere from 5% to more than 20% alcohol.
Despite its long history, mead is not as well-known as other alcoholic drinks like beer or wine. However, there is a growing interest in mead among craft and home brewers. In fact, many places like Moonlight Meadery are on the rise today as they celebrate and revive the magic of mead, its plethora of flavors and ancient history.
A Brief History of Mead: Viking Mead and Drink of the Gods
To our ancestors, honey was sacred and magical, an elixir of healing and of the gods. The fermentation of honey, spiced and infused with other ingredients would be a natural integration. When you think about it, it is of little surprise that many cultures developed their own form of mead (which some refer to as honey wine). Simply put, mead was magic.
If you’ve read my book WitchCraft Cocktails, you’ll have read about the remains of a honey wine dating to 7,000 BCE found at Jiahu in the Henan Province of China. As mentioned in “The Importance of Honey Consumption in Human Evolution,” there is rock art dating anywhere from 40,000-8,000 years old, depicting the use of honey throughout places like Southern Africa, Spain, and even Australia. With new archaeological discoveries being made everyday, who knows how far back humans have been enjoying mead?
Viking mead is one of the most popular references to mead in modern culture. While many ancient peoples had their own mead variations and the vikings certainly enjoyed many other alcoholic beverages, there are various factors that have lead to the popularity of the idea of viking mead. In particular, the vikings were adept beekeepers and had a vast trade network that connected them with various spices, exotic fruits and herbs with which to flavor their mead. To harvest honey, they used coiled straw domes, and even placed honeycomb into a cloth bag in order to drain all the honey they could. This drained honey would be a higher quality mead, while the remaining honey comb would be crushed into water for a lesser quality variation. Viking mead was an especially sacred drink saved for special occasions, as due to ancient honey harvesting methods, it was certainly not the easiest to create.
In many cultures, honey wine or mead was often drunk at weddings to bless a marriage with its magical properties, and with fertility. In fact, the term honeymoon comes from mead. In nod to this history, Moonlight Meadery has “Romance by the glass” stamped on each bottle, and with the history of mead and the magical associations of its main ingredient (honey), I couldn’t think of a better use for mead than love magic. To understand more about mead magic, one only need to look into the magical properties of its base ingredient – honey.
Magical Properties of Honey Mead and Mead Magic
Beyond its magical uses in ancient cultures, honey is still important in modern magic – from honey jars to “sweeten” people up, to honey cakes served as an offering during rituals. Let’s dive into some of the magic properties of honey to understand more about the magical uses of mead.
The product of bees endlessly harvesting pollen from flowers, a plethora of hard work goes into creating this natural sweetener. Just in how honey is even created in the first place, this ingredient is great for abundance and blessings. A sweetening addition to any kitchen witchery and made from the harvest of flowers (associated with beauty and healing), honey is often used to sweeten people up, whether for love, calling in clients, or for attracting one’s desires. With worker and queen bees being female, honey has naturally been associated with feminine power and a plethora of goddesses, such as Aphrodite (Greek), Oshun (Yoruban), and Freya (Norse). And with antibiotic and anti inflammatory properties, honey has a magnitude of health benefits, and is still used even in natural skincare as such.
The fermented product of honey, mead carries forth many of these magical properties and has the added power of various herbs, spices, fruits. For example, let’s look at the offerings I tried from Moonlight Meadery. Their Wicked mead has flavors like empowering ginger and sensual, soothing vanilla. Coupled with the loving energy of honey, this makes for a seductive and empowering beverage. Their cranberry mead No Need to Argue, (which I plan on enjoying through the holidays) adds the magic of cranberry: a protective and action-oriented ingredient, that as a berry, is also a symbol of abundance. This makes for a mead magic for reflecting and working on goals, and also sipping in celebration of hardwork and harvest energy. Furthermore, the process of fermentation (which even gives us mead in the first place) is a magical process of transformation already.
So how can you apply some Mead Magic in your life?
Mead Magic: Mead in Magic and Witchcraft
Enjoying mead is already magical. But intentionally enjoying it around the celebrations and themes of the year can make for impactful magic, and an overall magical experience. What we ingest is integrated into our body (alcohol especially so), so pairing a mead with a magical meal and intention really makes for a magical and delicious potion.
Just from the basis of how it is made, mead is wonderful for celebrating abundance. And with its base ingredient – honey – mead makes a perfect beverage to enjoy for love magic, whether self-love, or with a partner.
An ancient ingredient, it makes a great choice for connecting to ancestors and ancient wisdom. Of course, it makes for a grand offering (if you have any extra), whether for ancestors or gods and goddesses, for any magical purpose.
You can enjoy mead magic as an empowered beverage before beginning ritual work, as a potion in itself, or enjoying it after conducting a spell as a sacred beverage to integrate the magical energy into your very own being.
Where to Buy Mead and Moonlight Meadery Review
Mead isn’t something commonly found at most grocery stores. I was grateful to find Moonlight Meadery ships to a number of states, which makes it easy to grab a bottle. So for this blog, I decided to try their Wicked and No Need to Argue meads, but they offer a plethora of other flavors. Here is what I thought of them:
“Orange Blossom Mead with Jamaican Ginger and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla”
With flavors like vanilla and ginger, Wicked, makes for a perfect sweetening and soothing compliment to the magical energies of honey.
Aroma – lightly spiced, floral, reminiscent of elderflower
Taste – sweet floral flavors, spiced ginger, elegant and smooth
With its ingredients and sweet, lightly spiced palate, Wicked would be a great choice to enjoy after a meal or sipping on a spring afternoon – perfect for love, abundance, and empowering mead magic.
No Need to Argue
“Tart Cranberry Mead”
A tart, cranberry-red mead, No Need to Argue is a great choice for those that prefer tart berry flavors over sweetness.
Aroma – dark berry, aromatizing honey
Taste – tart, refreshing cranberry
With its crisp, tart berry flavor, this was definitely my favorite of the two, and makes a wonderful choice for enjoying through the holidays (I am definitely sipping this one for Capricorn season!).
Part of enjoying craft beverages to me, is fresh and natural flavors. And as someone who has worked deeply in the spirits industry for a distillery, I know how rare it is to find brands that are actually as “craft” and fresh as they claim to be. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Moonlight Meadery not only sources locally, but also doesn’t add things like sulfites or manufactured flavoring into their mead. This is really great for enjoying not only the authentic flavor of mead, but really sipping in that mead magic and the profile of theingredients.
Of course, there are many other meaderies, but with over 53 international awards, you can’t go wrong with trying this one out!
Have you tried mead before? I would love to know! And I definitely have some mead cocktails on the way, so stay tuned.
- Crittenden, Alyssa. (2011). The Importance of Honey Consumption in Human Evolution. Food and Foodways. 19. 257-273. 10.1080/07409710.2011.630618.
- Gately, Iain. Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. Gotham Books, 2009.
- “Viking Mead: The Oldest Alcoholic Drink in the World.” Nordic Culture, Skjalden, 18 July 2022, https://skjalden.com/viking-mead/.