Fermentation Mysteries

Fermentation Mysteries are an essential element of the Transformation Mysteries found in the esoteric teachings of Wicca/Witchcraft. The teachings of the grain are intimately connected to the Fermentation Mysteries; a good example is reflected in the Eleusinian Mysteries. The dried seed planted in the soil is symbolic of death, the descent into the Underworld.

The mystical meeting beneath the soil with the inherent properties of decay awakens new life within the seed. This principle is the meeting of the Goddess and the Lord of the Underworld. The emergence of physical life out of the seed is symbolic of the process of rebirth within the Underworld. This is the beginning of the ascent of the Goddess, her return to the world of the living.

Young sprouts that first appear, having broken through the soil, are symbolic of rebirth in the physical dimension, the return of the Goddess. The totality of this is two-fold. The plant itself is god, the Child of Promise, and the spiritual/mystical process described here is itself the Goddess.

She is the spirit and he is the body. So, in time, the newborn god eventually becomes the Harvest Lord, and his life energy in the form of new seed will be returned to the earth to impregnate the Goddess. From this sacred union new life comes forth again.

The very essence of the God is contained in the seed or grain (or in the grape-the blood) as in the case concerning Dionysus. The intoxicating power of the fermented grain was believed to be the very presence of the God within the person’s body.

This ancient concept is the basis for the Wicca/Witchcraft of cakes and wine. The consumption of the God was taking on his nature, which means aligning oneself with the God in order to inherit his power of resurrection. This union with the God dissipates the power of death and rebirth is assured. A.G.H.


Grimassi, Raven, Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft, St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2000, p. 131