Jan 31 2010

The Celestial Drink 3: The Wine Press

Published by at 11:02 am under Celestial Drink,Poetry


/ Photo by d-man / Carpe diem /

If we want to truly get drunk on the wine of union, then we have to understand how the wine appears…

The grapes of my body can only become wine
After the winemaker tramples me.
I surrender my spirit like grapes to his trampling
So my inmost heart can blaze and dance with joy.
Although the grapes go on weeping blood and sobbing
“I cannot bear any more anguish, any more cruelty”
The trampler stuffs cotton in his ears: “I am not working in ignorance
You can deny me if you want, you have every excuse,
But it is I who am the Master of this Work.
And when through my Passion you reach Perfection,
You will never be done praising my name.”

- Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 – 1273)

The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi
by Andrew Harvey

This verse by Rumi says so much. Here he is telling us that the wine of the mystic is really the refined essence of oneself. It is formed from “the grapes of my body.” The wine is the juice emitted by the ego, the selfish, separate idea of the self when it finally surrenders, crushed into non-existence.

Of course, working toward that complete surrender can be terrifying… so long as we identify with the ego. There are times when the seeker calls out, “I cannot bear any more anguish, any more cruelty.” But the Winemaker, caring for us too much to let us remain comfortably unfinished, continues with the work, knowing the pure sweetness of completion.

When we finally free ourselves from identification with the ego-self and reverently place it as a sacrifice upon the wine press, the identity is emptied of self and collapses into nothing. The old “you” becomes nothing – it dies, but something new is born. From the death of the grape, the juice appears!


Empty Me of Everything But Your Love

Lord, send me staggering with the wine
Of Your love!
Ring my feet
With the chains of Your slavery!
Empty me of everything but Your love
And in it destroy and resurrect me!
Any hunger You awaken
Can only end in Feast!

- Sheikh Ansari (1006 – 1088)

Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from the Sufi Wisdom
by Andrew Harvey / Eryk Hanut


Vladimir Solovyov, Vladimir Solovyov poetry, Christian poetry Vladimir Solovyov

Russia (1853 – 1900) Timeline
Christian : Eastern Orthodox
Secular or Eclectic

That morose despot, the cold ego,
Sensing its death, trembles.
As soon as it sees you approaching from afar
It grows silent, pallid, and then flees.

Let it perish, arrogant fugitive!
In free bondage and in living death,
I am the sanctuary, I am the sacrifice and the priest.
Tormented by bliss, I stand before you.

- Vladimir Solvyov (1853 – 1900)

Vladimir Solovyov’s Poems of Sophia
Translated by Boris Jakim / Translated by Laury Magnus

Through the action of the wine press, we ourselves have become the sacrificial offering. The juice of that troublesome ego has become the sanctifying element.


/ Photo by roblisameehan /

You are the wine.

Because of this, some even flip the metaphor about and say that the individual doesn’t taste the wine. Who is left to even taste the wine? Does the wine enjoy itself?

Lalla (Lal Ded), Lalla (Lal Ded) poetry, Yoga / Hindu poetry Lalla (Lal Ded)

India (14th Century) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Shaivite (Shiva)

I searched for my Self
until I grew weary,

but no one, I know now,
reaches the hidden knowledge
by means of effort.

Then, absorbed in “Thou art This,”
I found the place of Wine.

There all the jars are filled,
but no one is left to drink.

- Lalla (1320? – 1391?)
Translated by Coleman Barks

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Edited by Jane Hirshfield

Still there is sweetness. Still there is drinking. Still there is bliss. You might say that “you” don’t taste the wine, but the wine is tasted through you.

Finally freed from the limitations of the little self, it is the immense, formless Self who drinks. It is the Heart of hearts that tastes and enjoys. Whatever can be said to remain of the individual mind grows drunk through nearness.

For thee I shall lay golden couches in my chamber
I shall spread for thee a table, I shall make ready for thee my bread
I shall fill for thee a bowl, from the clusters of my vineyard –
Drink to thy heart’s delight, may my taste be pleasing to thee
for with thee I shall rejoice…

– Shelomo ibn Gabirol (1021? – 1058 )

Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems
Translated by Bernard Lewis

The wine, then, press is this: all the sufferings of life and the strivings of spiritual practice, especially when we encounter them with openness and awareness. The wine press is everything that deflates the ego, releasing the spiritual “juice” it has kept trapped for so long.

Emptying ourselves of self, slowly, sometimes painfully, we gather juice for the celebration. It requires steadiness, patience, sometimes gentleness, sometimes fierceness. It requires a certain amount of pressure, but it should inspire a joyful sense of anticipation. A reminder to us all that spiritual practice sets the table and fills the flagon for the wild feast of divine union!

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “The Celestial Drink 3: The Wine Press”

  1. leila mehron 31 Jan 2010 at 4:59 pm

    hello dear Ivan:)
    I was just thinking that most of these recent posts about “The Celestial Drink “are from persian poets!…
    Seems they used this example more…
    Rumi has a poem i love so much,with somuch music in it..i used to play this with my Tanboor and sing with it…so many of his poems r basicaly so musical have rythem..i will write 3 verse…

    Hilat raha kon ashegha, divane sho divane sho
    (Oh lover,drop deceiveing ,become crazy become crazy)

    Andar del-e atash dara, parvane sho parvane sho
    (jump to the fire, become Butterfly become Butterfly)

    Ham khish ra bigane kon, ham khane ra virane kon
    (Destroy yourself(ego) ,same time your home)

    Vangah bia ba Asheghan ,ham khane sho ham khane sho
    ( Then come to other lovers and , become homemate become homemate with them)

    Ro sine ra chon sineha, haft Ab shu az kineha
    ( Go & wash your heart seven times from All hatred)

    Vangah “Sharab-e Eshgh” ra, peymane sho peymane sho
    (Then for “wine of love”,become a cup(bowl) become a cup)
    /or maybe can mean ( then come and drink this wine of love cup after cup)

    my translation for sure is not professional!! i just wanted to share feeling of his words with this great passion and energy in its original form:)
    Thanks again …..

  2. aparnaon 31 Jan 2010 at 9:54 pm

    O Leila, That’s really beautiful, beautiful. This Ivan’s place, is so beautiful,…… angah bia ba Asheghan ,ham khane sho ham khane sho!! :-)

  3. leilaon 02 Feb 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks Aparna,
    yes i have same feeling about Ivan’s Place!…so magical!!..give me so much peace…
    and yes i hope we all be in the way of love…maybe & hopfuly be from those “asheghan(lovers) “who honestly drop all deceiveing and bravely face ourself ,and became “ham khane(homemate)” with eachother!…but so difficult it is!…this “way”…..so many ups and down..atleast for me..i don’t know maybe for someone else be easy…for me it was and it is very painful process!!..now much better.!!and it is very difficult to keep staying on the way..!!yes and sometimes honestly i could see i am deceiveing mysaelf in thousands way …mind just moving and moving…even when we know what is the way!!..took me so many years to understand some concepts…and sometimes just knowing too much become a wall itslef!!but i think after all when someone could feel it or even have a glimpse of it,then it seems so easy! so close..!always close & still far (maybe like a picture of moon on water, finaly u can see it & it is so close, but when u want to catch it,there is nothing there!)…!!that is the irony i think….
    thanks for ur happiness…………

  4. artemison 05 Feb 2010 at 6:37 pm

    again, thank you for the references to the Orthodox Church ( wiki).So much here ..we would have found Greek school very intresting if some of this material had been presented to us..never too late..to learn and enjoy the depth of the Orthodox and other faiths.I liked the idea of Sophia as presented by Vladimer Solovyov.

  5. jim sulivanon 31 Mar 2010 at 11:40 am

    Is Andrew still married to Eryk. They are such a wonderful loving couple?
    email me at above email address

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