Paradoxically, the English word "alcohol" is derived from the Arabic name for the "kohl" tree, the bark of which was ground up and then distilled to produce collyrium, a fine metallic powder that was used as an eye shadow and made the wearer's eyes glisten. Islam, of course, prohibits the consumption of alcohol (as does Buddhism, which says we should refrain from intoxicants that dull the perceptive qualities of the mind). And turning "water into wine" was, of course, the first "miracle" that Jesus performed.
|Jalalludin Rumi (1207-1273)|
"God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.
God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.
God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought.
God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.
There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don't think all ecstasies
are the same!
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.
Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."
Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it;s been untied,
and is just ambling about."
We must recall that it was the alchemists who determined that "all that glistens is not gold." And, that the greatest of alchemists were the Sufis, who were concerned only with the "alchemy of the soul."