November 16, 2007
"Cannabis religion", wat would that be? you might ask...
Well, for one, nothing new. Cannabis has been used in religious rituals by many cultures since the beginning of human kind.
Cannabis, has been, and still is, a Holy plant in many cultures on all the continents that it grows on, and it grows in nearly every continent on our beautifull planet, and in nearly every country. Tradition in India maintains that the gods sent man the Hemp plant so that he might attain delight, courage, and have heightened sexual desires. When nectar or Amrita dropped down from heaven, Cannabis sprouted from it. Another story tells how, when the gods, helped by demons, churned the milk ocean to obtain Amrita, one of the resulting nectars was Cannabis. It was consecrated to Shiva and was [the godess] Indra’s favourite drink.
After the churning of the ocean, demons attempted to gain control of Amrita, but the gods were able to prevent this seizure, giving Cannabis the name Vijaya (“victory”) to commemorate their success. Ever since, this plant of the gods has been held in India to bestow supernatural powers on its users.
Cannabis sativa played a major role in every religion in the Old World from the dawn of civilization until the Dark Ages when its sacramental use was prohibited by Emperor Theodosius of the Holy Roman Empire. Today multitudes are rediscovering the spiritual virtues of this most useful of all plants.
Before the Dark Ages people accepted the cannabis/hemp plant as a special gift from the gods, a sacred medium for communion with the spiritual world. It played a prominent role in the development of the religions and civilizations of Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The insights gained from the cannabis high by the ancient worshippers were considered to be of divine origin, and the plant itself an “angel” or messenger of the gods.
SHINTOISM (Japan) Cannabis was used for the binding together of married couples, to drive away evil spirits, and was thought to create laughter and happiness in marriage.
HINDUISM (India) The God Shiva is said "to have brought cannabis from the Himalayas for human enjoyment and enlightenment." The Sardu Priests travel throughout India and the world sharing "chillum" pipes filled with cannabis, sometimes blended with other substances. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna states, "I am the healing herb" (Ch. 9:16), while the Bhagarat-purana Fifth Canto describes hashish in explicitly sexual terms.
BUDDHISTS (Tibet, India, and China)From the 5th Century B.C.E. on ritually used cannabis; initiation rites and mystical experiences were (are) common in many Chinese Buddhist Sects. Some Tibetan Buddhists and lamas (priests) consider cannabis their most holy plant. Many Buddhist traditions, writings, and beliefs indicate that "Siddhartha" (the Buddha) himself, used and ate nothing but hemp and its seeds for six years prior to announcing (discovering) his truths and becoming the Buddha (Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path).
ZOROASTRIANS or Magi (Persia, circa 8th to 7th Centuries B.C.E. to 3rd to 4th Centuries C.E.), it is widely believed by many Christian scholars, commentators, etc., that the three "Magi" or Wise Men who attended the birth of Christ were cult references to the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian religion was based (at least on the surface) on the entire cannabis plant, the chief religious sacrament of its priest class, and its most important medicine, (e.g., obstetrics, incense rites, anointing and christening oils), as well as lighting or fire oils in their secular world. The word "magic" is generally considered derived from the Zoroastrians "Magi."
The ESSENES (ancient Israeli sect of extreme Hebrewites approx. 200 B.C.E. to 73 C.E.) used hemp medicinally, as did the THERAPUTEA (Egypt), from whom we get the term "therapeutic." Both are believed by some scholars to be disciples of, or in a brotherhood with, the priests/magician of the Zoroastrians.
EARLY JEWS As part of their holy Friday night services in the Temple of Solomon, 60-80,000 men ritually passed around and inhaled 20,000 incense burners filled with kaneh bosm (cannabis), before returning home for the largest meal of the week.
SUFIS OF ISLAM (Middle East)Moslem "mystical" priests who have taught, used, and extolled cannabis for divine revelation, insight, and oneness with Allah, for at least the last 1,000 years. Many Moslem and world scholars believe the mysticism of the Sufi Priests was actually that of the Zoroastrians who survived Moslem conquests of the 7th and 8th Centuries C.E. and subsequent conversion (change your religion and give up liquor or be beheaded).
COPTIC CHRISTIAN (Egypt/Ethiopia)Some sects believe the sacred "green herb of the field" in the Bible ("I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." Ezekiel 34:29) and the Biblical secret incenses, sweet incenses, and anointing oils to be cannabis.
The BANTUS (Africa) had secret Dagga Cults,* societies which restricted cannabis use to the ruling men. The Pygmies, Zulus, and Hottentots all found it an indispensable medication for cramps, epilepsy, and gout, and as a religious sacrament.
*Their "Dagga" cults believed Holy Cannabis was brought to earth by the Gods, in particular from the "Two Dog Star" system that we call Sirius A and B. "Dagga" literally means "cannabis." Interestingly, the surviving Indo-European word for the plant can also be read as "canna," "reed" and "bi," "two," as well as 'canna,' as in canine; and 'bis,' meaning two (bi) ß "Two Dogs."
The RASTAFARIANS (Jamaica and elsewhere) are a contemporary religious group that uses "ganja" as its sacred sacrament to communicate with God (Jah).