These days it seems that the social media world is all often about meme! People happily pass on ‘memes’ that sound pithy, witty, funny or wise in the hope that some of their dubious glory (despite sketchy or unconfirmed provenance) might reflect positively on them through the receipt of numerous ‘thumbs-up’ and ‘hearts’ on their personal timeline! One such meme I recently encountered suggested that the word ‘alcohol’ derived from the Arabic words ‘al kuhl’ (which is true, it seems) and it went on to suggest that ‘al kuhl’ itself originally referred to a ‘body eating spirit’ (which it appears is not quite so true)… Nonetheless, erroneous or not, the meme spurred-me-on to do some very brief research which then prompted this reply which I thought I would share here:
“…Whilst not denying that it might be wise to keep your head straight, and unaffected by any noxious substances (if you want to meditate at a meaningful vibration), this explanation of the derivation of the word alcohol seems sketchy and unsubstantiated.
Various online sources suggest (in keeping with and as summarized by etymologyonline) that alcohol as word derives thus:
“alcohol (n.)1540s (early 15c. as alcofol), “fine powder produced by sublimation,” from Medieval Latin alcohol “powdered ore of antimony,” from Arabic al-kuhul “kohl,” the fine metallic powder used to darken the eyelids, from kahala “to stain, paint.” The al- is the Arabic definite article, “the.”
Paracelsus (1493-1541) used the word to refer to a fine powder but also a volatile liquid. By 1670s it was being used in English for “any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything,” including liquids.
The sense of “intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor” is attested by 1753, short for alcohol of wine, which then was extended to “the intoxicating element in fermented liquors.” The formerly preferred terms for the substance were rectified spirits or brandy.”
It is an intriguing thought that before being referred to as ‘alcohol’ such distillations where (as stated above) called ‘rectified spirits’ …and that rectified itself implies “purified or refined by repeated or continuous distillation.”For me this is actually the process we are going through as we undertake our Soul’s journey… we are vessels of distillation, and our ‘purpose’ is to ‘purify and refine’ our spiritual essence until the point that it might pass through the pleroma back to Source…
(author’s note: Naturally for us each ‘distillation’ is what we refer to as a ‘lifetime’ and it will likely take many repetitions before our spirit is truly rectified and begins to shine to its greatest potential!)
Of course…imbibing too much alcohol may severely impede an individual’s spiritual growth, if one falls into addiction for the substance that relaxes inhibitions, allows you to ‘forget’ about your troubles, and makes you feel ‘warm and fuzzy’! But this is more of an issue about learning to deal with temptation, and to appreciate that alcohol should only be consumed in moderation.It amused me to realize, in checking this out, that as the term ‘alcohol’ actually, purportedly, derives from ‘al kuhl’= khol = eyeliner… such as the famous black eyeliner used by the ancient Egyptians to enhance their appearance (and indeed still used today for the same purpose) that whether referring to kohl that makes someone look ‘more attractive’ than they might really be, or whether influenced by ‘beer goggles’… ‘alcohol’ either way seems potentially to have the same effect!…”
In closing one might also observe:
Of course, that great ‘philosopher’ Homer*, as ever, sums up the issue of alcohol most succinctly as follows: