2) Mead and Immortality of the Soul

a) Symbolical approach

When taking an interest in the elements composing mead, that is to say water, honey and the producers of the sweet nectar, i.e. the bees, it can be noticed that these three elements had a strong symbolism in ancient times. Throughout the world, the bee symbolized perfection, absolute knowledge, intelligence and poetry, and materially represented the Soul leaving the Body after death. Basically, the bee was the symbol of the passage to the otherworld or resurrection, which explains why bees were sometimes engraved on tombs or why their sweet production, honey, was offered in libation* to the gods.2372 Honey, seen as a divine product, was highly revered in Antiquity, for it was believed to confer mystical knowledge and wisdom. As for water, it symbolised the unconscious energies or powers of the soul and was a powerful means of purification (lustral water), repelling evil spells. Symbolically speaking, one can easily understand the mystical and spiritual importance of the combination of water and honey into a beverage ensuring the route to the otherworld.


Chevallier & Gheerbrant, 1991, p. 1 ; Ferro, 1996, pp. 11-15.