Ambrosia: Divine Nectar of Immortality in Mythology


The «supernatural red wine» of Mother Hera, which gave the Greek gods immortality. In the Vedas it was soma, in Persia haoma, in Egypt sa: was associated with the moon and the maternal «blood of life,» or menstrual blood. A.G.H.

 

Ambrosia, often referred to in ancient Greek mythology, holds a significant place as a symbol of divinity and immortality. This substance, closely associated with the gods of the Greek pantheon, is imbued with fascinating cultural and mythological meanings across various ancient traditions.

 

Greek Mythology

  • Food of the Gods: In Greek mythology, ambrosia is most famously known as the food or drink of the gods, conferring immortality upon those who consume it. It’s often mentioned alongside nectar, the drink of the gods.
  • Connection to Hera: Ambrosia is described as the «supernatural red wine» of Mother Hera. Hera, the queen of the gods and wife of Zeus, is a central figure in Greek mythology, often associated with marriage, women, childbirth, and family.

 

Cross-Cultural Parallels

  • Vedic Soma: In the Vedas, the ancient sacred texts of Hinduism, soma is a similar divine substance. It is both a ritual drink and a deity, symbolizing a powerful elixir that grants strength and possibly immortality.
  • Persian Haoma: In Persian tradition, haoma plays a role akin to soma. It’s a sacred drink with life-giving properties, used in religious ceremonies, and is also personified as a divinity.
  • Egyptian Sa: In Egyptian mythology, sa is associated with life and rejuvenation. The connection of sa to the moon and menstrual blood reflects the ancient Egyptians’ beliefs in the cyclical nature of life and the powerful life-giving properties of blood.

 

Symbolism and Interpretation

  • Immortality and Divinity: Across these cultures, ambrosia and its equivalents (soma, haoma, sa) symbolize the divine essence and the concept of immortality. They represent the gods’ power over life and death and their elevated status above mortals.
  • Association with the Moon and Feminine Power: The link to the moon and menstrual blood in some traditions underscores the connection between these divine substances and the feminine divine, as well as the cyclical nature of life and the concept of renewal.

 


 

Source:

Walker, Barbara G, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, p, 27