|MARIJUANA AND THE BIBLE
by Jeff Brown and the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church
OFFERINGS OF DEVOTION
With offerings of devotion, ships from the isles will meet to pour the wealth of nations and bring tribute to his feet. The Coptic Church believes fully the teachings of the Bible, and as such we have our daily oblations, and offer our sacrifices, made by fire unto our God with chants and Psalms and spiritual hymns, lifting up holy hands and making melody in our hearts.
Herb (marijuana) is a Godly creation from the beginning of the world. It is known as the 'weed of wisdom', 'angels food', the 'tree of life' and even the “Wicked Old Ganja Tree.” Its purpose in creation is as a fiery sacrifice to be offered to our Redeemer during oblations. The political worldwide organizations have framed mischief on it and call it drugs. To show that it is not a dangerous drug, let me inform my readers that it is used as food for mankind, and as a medicinal cure for diverse diseases. Ganja is not for commerce; yet because of the oppression of the people, it was raised up as the only liberator of the people, and the only peacemaker among the entire generation. Ganja is the sacramental right of every man worldwide, and any law against it is only the organized conspiracy of the United Nations and the political governments who assist in maintaining this conspiracy.
The Coptic Church is not politically originated, and this was firmly expressed when we met with the political directorate of the land during the period of preincorporation. We support no political organization, pagan religion, or commercial institution, seeing that religion, politics, and commerce are the three unclean spirits which separate the people from their God. Because of our non-political stand, the church has received tremendous opposition from the politicians, who do not want the eyes of the people to be opened.. Through its agency, the police force, the church has been severely harassed, victimized, and discriminated. Our members have passed through several acts of police brutality, our legal properties maliciously destroyed, members falsely imprisoned, divine services broken up, and all the atrocities performed upon the Church, under the name of political laws and their justice.
Elder Priest of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of
Jamaica, West Indies (deceased)
First of all I want to thank the Jamaican elders of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church for revealing to me that marijuana is the sacrament that was used by Christ and his disciples. And also for the revelation that God lives in us.
I am a white American and grew up in Miami, Florida in a middle class family. Miami was the place I heard about and joined the church.
All the Jamaican elders have passed away. For various reasons, including persecution the church has broken up and no organized prayer service is being conducted. .
For this second edition of Marijuana and the Bible special thanks to Chris Bennett
who was inspired by the first edition, written back around 1985. Chris went on to further research the religious use of marijuana and wrote Greengold The Tree of Life Marijuana in Magic and Religion; Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible; and Cannabis and the Soma Solution. Some of his work has been incorporated in this new edition. At one time Chris worked for Cannabis Culture magazine and pottv.com out of Vancouver, Canada. He currently runs his shop The Urban Shaman in Vancouver.
Special thanks to Joan Bello for granting me permission to use some of her ground breaking work, The Benefits of Marijuana: Physical, Psychological and Spiritual.
Joan has a Master's Degree in Holistic Health and Psychology. In Benefits she explores holistic healing strategies and unifies ancient wisdom with modern science. In her ground breaking work Joan shows how THC integrates with the autonomic nervous system, restoring balance to the body, mind and spirit. A very special thanks to Joan for volunteering to format this second edition. Joan recently published Cannabis Cures Cancer and is working on the Yoga of Marijuana. Am looking forward to reading both.
Special thanks to Michael Alberto-Puleo, M.D for his ground breaking work, The Anointed Ones, Secrets of the Messiah Medicine. In his groundbreaking work Michael makes the case that the holy anointing oil of the bible contains a psychoactive drug, although he does not make the direct connection with cannabis. Most of his work has been incorporated in the chapter entitled Holy Anointing Oil. Michael graduated with a degree in Creative writing and his goal was to become a mythobonatist, someone who investigates the role of plants in ancient myth and religion. He later became a doctor.
Special thanks to all who liked the first edition, who posted it all over the web so that others could read it. Around 1985 I originally produced 1,000 copies of Marijuana and the Bible. I sold some and the rest were given away. It was 2011 when I first put the first edition on Amazon Kindle with a few minor changes. .
Special thanks to all who have recognized the greatness of the marijuana plant, throughout the ages. .
THE USE OF MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT TIMES
MARIJUANA IN AFRICA
MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT EGYPT
MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT IRAN
MARIJUANA IN INDIA
MARIJUANA IN CHINA
MARIJUANA IN JAPAN
MARIJUANA IN EUROPE
MARIJUANA USE BY THE MOSLEMS
MARIJUANA IN THE NEW WORLD
MARIJUANA IN JAMAICA
THE USE OF M ARIJUANA AS INCENSE
EVIDENCE INDICATING THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF CANNABIS
THE ISRAELITE USE OF INCENSE
HOLY ANOINTING OIL
THE SYMBOLISM OF FIRE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
MARIJUANA AS THE CHRISTIAN SACRAMENT
THE SPIRIT OF GOD
THE TREE OF LIFE FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS
THE GODMAN AND REVELATION OF JES-US
MAN AN ANGEL
THE USE OF MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT TIMES
Ancient and modern historians, archaeologist, anthropologist, philologists, and the physical evidence they produce, (artifacts, relics, textiles, cuneiform, languages, etc) indicate that cannabis is one of mankinds oldest cultivated crops. The weaving of hemp fibre began 10,000 years ago, at approximately the same time as pottery making and prior to metal working. (Columbia History of the World, Harper and Row, N.Y., 1981)
Mircea Eliade, along with Sir James George Frazer (author of the
“Golden Bough”), have both advocated the theory that early religions were derived from agricultural cults.
Carl Sagan proposes evidence using the Bushmen of Africa, to show hemp to have been the first plant cultivated by man dating to when he was a hunter-gatherer. In his book “Dragons of Eden”, Carl Sagan has speculated that marijuana may have been the first crop planted by Stone Age Man, using the Pygmies as an example. The Pygmies were basically hunter-gatherers until they started planting the marijuana, which they use for religious purposes.
In defense of the Pygmies, perhaps I should note that a friend of mine who has spent time with them says that for such activities as the patient stalking and hunting of mammals and fish, they prepare themselves through marijuana intoxication, which helps to make the long waits, boring to anyone further evolved than a Komodo dragon, at least moderately tolerable. Ganja is their only cultivated crop. It would be wryly interesting if in human history, the cultivation of marijuana led generally to the invention of agriculture, and thereby to civilization.” Carl Sagan
The use of marijuana is as old as the history of man and dates to the prehistoric period. Marijuana is closely connected with the history and development of some of the oldest nations on earth,. It has played a significant role in the religions and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, India, and China.
Richard E. Schultes, a prominent researcher in the field of psychoactive plants, said in an article he wrote entitled “Man and Marijuana”:
“That early man experimented with all plant materials that he could chew and could not have avoided discovering the properties of cannabis (marijuana), for in his quest for seeds and oil, he certainly ate the sticky tops of the plant. Upon eating hemp, the euphoric, ecstatic and hallucinatory aspects may have introduced man to an ‘other-worldly’ plane from which emerged religious beliefs, perhaps even the concept of deity. The plant became accepted as a special gift of the gods, a sacred medium for communion with the spiritual world and as such it has remained in some cultures to the present.”
The effects of marijuana was proof to the ancients that the spirit and power of the god(s) existed in this plant and that it was literally a messenger (angel) or actually the Flesh and Blood and/or Bread of the God(s) and was and continues to be a holy sacrament. Considered to be sacred, marijuana has been used in religious worship from before recorded history.
According to William A. Embolden in his book Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L, p. 235:
“Shamanistic traditions of great antiquity in Asia and the Near East have one of their most important elements the attempt to find God without a vale of tears; that cannabis played a role in this, at least in some areas, is born out in the philology surrounding the ritualistic use of the plant. Whereas Western religious traditions generally stress sin, repentance, and mortification of the flesh, certain older non-Western religious cults seem to have employed cannabis as a euphoriant, which allowed the participant a joyous path to the ‘ultimate’; hence such appellations as ‘heavenly guide’.”
According to “Licit and Illicit Drugs” by the Consumer Union, pages 397-398:
“Ashurbanipal lived about 650 B.C., but the cuneiform descriptions of marijuana in his library are generally regarded as obvious copies of much older texts,” says Dr. Robert P. Walton, an American physician and authority on marijuana. “This evidence serves to project the origin of hashish back to the earliest beginnings of history.”
“The earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia brewed intoxicating beer of barley more than 5,000 years ago; is it too much to assume that even earlier cultures experienced euphoria, accidentally or deliberately, through inhalation of the resinous smoke of cannabis?” (Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L, page 216)
There is a myth that pot is a mild and minor drug. Usually in context of American usage it is, but it doesn't have to be. The hard part about expressing this, however, is that the anti-marijuana people who pose visions of disaster about “hashish” or about “legalizing the stronger forms of cannabis” are also wrong. In and of itself there's nothing wrong with cannabis being a potent hallucinogen; this has certainly accounted for its vast popularity through these many centuries. When one seeks a shaman's drug one generally wants something more powerful than a “mild hallucinogen.” Of course, knowing when and where to use cannabis at a dosage or strength suitable for real visions is also important. It's obviously not a good idea to try in an unrefined social context, or when working in the fields or factory. This use of cannabis has traditionally been confined, by rational custom in ancient societies, to rituals which help define and control, measure and magnify, the raw experience. -Dr. M. Aldrich quoted in High Culture, by William Novak.
As a natural progression in our case we will now give a short history of the religious use of marijuana in various cultures and countries of the world. The following information was taken from the most authoritative books dealing with the history of marijuana. They are listed in the bibliography and some in the work. .
MARIJUANA IN AFRICA
When white men first went to Africa, marijuana was a part of the native way of life. Africa was a continent of marijuana cultures where marijuana was an
integral part of religious ceremony. The Africans were observed inhaling the smoke from piles of smoldering hemp. Some of these piles had been place upon altars. The Africans also utilized pipes.
Their “Dagga” cults believed Holy cannabis was brought to earth by the Gods, in particular from the “two Dog Star” system that we call A and B. “Dagga” literally means “cannabis”. Interesting, the surviving Indo-European word for the plant can be read as “canna,” “reed”, and “bi”, “two,” as well as “canna” as in canine; and “bis”, meaning two (bi)- “Two Dogs.” (Jack Herer, THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES)
Jack is considered to be the father of the hemp movement in the United States and for a history on hemp and its many uses we highly recommend his book. .
In south central Africa, marijuana is held to be sacred and is connected with many religious and social customs. Marijuana is regarded by some sects as a magic plant possessing universal protection against all injury to life, and is symbolic of peace and friendship. Certain tribes consider hemp use a duty.
Pogge and Wissman, during their explorations of Africa in 1881 visited the Bashlinge. They found large plots of land around the villages used for the cultivation of hemp. Originally there were small clubs of hemp smokers, bound by ties of friendship, but these eventually led to the formation of a religious cult. The Bashilenge called themselves 'Bena-Riamba-the sons of hemp,” and their land “Lubuku,” meaning friendship. They greeted each other with the expression “moio,” meaning both “hemp” and “life”......the hemp pipe assumed a symbolic meaning for the Bashilenge somewhat analogous to the significance which the peace pipe had for American Indians. No holiday, no trade agreement, no peace treaty was transacted without it. (Sula Benet, Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp)
The earliest evidence for cannabis smoking in Africa outside Egypt comes from fourteenth century Ethiopia, where two ceramic smoking-pipe bowls containing traces of cannabis were recently discovered during an archaeological excavation. In many parts of East Africa, especially near Lake Victoria (the source for the Nile), hemp smoking and hashish snuffing cults still exist.
The ancient Egyptians believed that they had received their divinities from Ethiopia and have always held to the ancient and honored tradition of their southern origin. Ethiopia is so important in history that it is mentioned as being in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:12).
The ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote:
“The Ethiopians conceived themselves to be of greater antiquity than any other nation; and it is probable that, born under the sun's path, its warmth may have ripened them earlier than other men. They supposed themselves to be the inventors of worship, of festivals, of solemn assemblies, of sacrifice, and every religious practice.”
At one time Ethiopia referred to the entire continent of Africa. Throughout the ancient world Ethiopia was considered the home of the gods. It was referred to as the “Divine Land”. It was also referred to as the “Land of Incense” This is important as we shall see in following chapters. Marijuana was used as incense by many cultures and religions.
From Tales of Hashish/Francois Lallemand p.117.
Scientists from the Egyptian Expedition were of the opinion that hashish was nothing other than our hemp plant, whose properties are weakened in the north, and what seems to confirm that theory is the superiority of the hashish of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) over that of the Nile Delta. We know how much soil, temperature, humidity, and cultivation can change the appearance, and especially the properties of plants.”
Napoleon's Egyptian Expedition (1798-1799).
MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT EGYPT
Direct references to marijuana in ancient Egypt are hard to come by.
The ancient Egyptians believed that humans held the potential for becoming godlike. They maintained that a sacred plant was a major part of that transhumanization. It is written in the Harris Papyrus 501, dated 311 BC...and a like measure of the divine shrubs to prompt the speech of the star gods. (Translated by E.A. Wallis Budge (1910).)
Another papyrus, No. 10,477, sheet 30, in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, states the speech of the star gods, was prompted by the Divine Shrub, adding:
I am Yesterday and Tomorrow, and have the power to regenerate myself....The hitherto closed door is thrust open and the radiance in my heart hath made it enduring. I can walk in my new immortal body and go to the domain of the starry gods. Now I can speak in accents to which they listen, and my language is that of the star Sirius. (Charles Muses, THE SACRED PLANT OF OF ANCIENT EGYPT, 1989)
It was the African tribes that said cannabis came from Sirius. Please keep in mind that the Egyptians traded with marijuana using peoples from the most ancient of times.
The sacred shrub used in the ancient Egyptian mysteries was believed to have come from that part of the world: “...cuttings from the shrub from the land of the gods, the home district of Sopdu. Geographically, this district covered Western Arabia and the East African coastland between the Nile and the Red Sea, i.e. Abyyssinia (Ethiopia) or Ancient Nubia. We read too of the substance from the land of the gods, also called celestial food and essence of being.” (Musaios, THE LIONS PATH, 1985: 84-85, “The Sacred Plant of Ancient Egypt,” Charles Muses).
The importance of the geographical position of Palestine cannot be overlooked when considering the trade routes through which caravans moved, laden with goods and precious “spices”. Palestine was situated along the two most vital trade routes of the ancient world. One was between Egypt and Asia and the other ran west from Arabia to the coastal plain, from there branching off to Egypt to Syria (Benet, 1975)
The Incense Road, like the Silk Road, was a conduit of exchange in the ancient world blending languages, religions, cultures and ideas with its spices and herbs. Linking Egypt and India with a route running right through the Holy Lands...., it is perhaps the oldest continuous trade route in history (Dannaway,Strange Fire, 2009).
There can be little doubt, that the Egyptians, who were among the foremost pharmacists of the ancient world, were completely familiar with every drug and poison then available (Genders, Roy. PERFUME THROUGH THE AGES. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1972, p.26)
Alexandria Egypt was a center of learning in the ancient world. Pythagoras and Aristotle both studied there. Pliny records that the Egyptians claimed the honor of having invented the art of curing disease. Interestingly Pythagoras (497 B.C.) is listed as number one of fifteen people who have taken hashish or marijuana In The Book of Lists.
“Pythagoras and Democritus journey to Egypt, Ethiopia, Arabia, and Persia, visiting sects of drug-using wise men, known as Magi: the very same religious group that visited Jesus according to the Gospels; and wrote extensively about their potent psychotropic substances with which they experimented” (Hillman, The Chemical Drug Muse, 2008).
Some sources have suggested that cannabis was an ingredient in the ancient incense and perfume of the Pharaohs, known as krphi. Kyphi as used as an offering to the Gods.....indicating its medical qualities, Kyphi was applied on the skin to heal wounds. (Chris Bennett, CANNABIS AND THE SOMA SOLUTION.)
“The clue to the secret of the ancient incense lies not in what we have been able to recover from the papayri, but in the word itself. Kyphi is recognized to-day in 'keef,' the popular name for the smokeable variety of the herb Cannabis Indica or Indian Hemp.
Cannabis Indica is none other than our friend hashish....It is not after all, a far cry from the mysteries of Osiris, in Egypt....Osiris... 'died' annually, and mimicry of the symbolic event was the basis of all ritual. In the mysteries the initiate 'died' too: but the death was no mere formula, but an actually induced state of stupor or deep trance brought about by the fumes of keef.” (Bland, The Adventures of a Modern Occultist, 1920)
In the book, Plants of the Gods: Origin of Hallucinogenic Use by Richard E. Schultes and Albert Hofman, page 72, it is stated that specimens of marijuana nearly 4,000 years old have turned up in an Egyptian site and that in ancient Thebes the plant was made into a drink.
Thebes was also the birthplace of Ahkenaton (died 1375 B.C.) who was the first known monotheist. Early researchers referred to him as “the first individual in history.” Hemp cordage dated from the time of Ahkenaton has been found in El Armane, the city of Ahkenaton. (T.E. Peet and C.L. Wooley, CITY OF AHKENATON)
The Egyptians spun hemp in the regions of Badarian around 4,000 B.C. (John Mercer, THE SPINNER'S HANDBOOK.)
“In ancient Egypt, hemp is noted as a drug in the Berlin and Ebers papyri. It was used internally, by smoking, and in a salve. It was called smsm t”. (THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ISLAM 1979)
“If the hieroglyph 'smsm.t' in the ancient medical papyri of Egypt indicates cannabis, it was used as an incense, as an oral medication for 'mothers and children', in enemas, in eye medications, and as an ointment in bandages. This may be its first mention in world literature as an eye medication. (Mathre, Cannabis in Medical Practice, 1997)
There is general agreement with the view of Dawson (1934a) that shemshemet means cannabis, and the identification was strongly supported by the use of hempen rope making. As a drug, it has remained in active use since pharaonic times. (Nunn, Ancient Egyptian Medicine, 2002)
MARIJUANA IN MESOPOTAMIA AND ANCIENT IRAN
Mesopotamia is largely regarded as the birthplace of civilization.
“It is said that the Assyrians used hemp (marijuana) as incense in the seventh or eighth century before Christ and called it ‘Qunubu’, a term apparently borrowed from an old East Iranian word ‘Konaba’, the same as the Scythian name ‘cannabis’.” (Plants of the Gods – Origin of Hallucinogenic Use by Richard E. Schultes and Albert Hofman)
Marijuana may have been the first incense in the ancient Near East. (Edwin Morris, 1984, IN FRAGRANCE; THE STORY OF PERFUME FROM CLEOPATRA TO CHANEL)
From the remotest of times cannabis was used both medicinally and as a sacrament-oils and incenses were prepared from the plant because its “aroma was pleasing to the Gods” (Meissner, Babylon and Assyria , 1925)
Inspiration was derived by burning incense, which, if we follow evidence obtained elsewhere, induced a prophetic trance. The gods were also invoked by incense. (MacKenzie, 1915 BABYLONIAN RELIGIOUS RITES)
Cannabis, which figures prominently in healing in China and India, also would have been a major element of barter along the early trade routes leading into and out of Assyria. (Emboden, Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L , 1995)
Ancient Iran was the source for the great Persian Empire. Iran is located slightly to the northeast of the ancient kingdoms of Sumeria, Babylonia, and Assyria. According to Mircea Eliade, “Shamanic ecstasy induced by hemp smoke was known in ancient Iran.” Professor Eliade has suggested that Zoroaster, the Persian prophet, said to have written the Zend-Avesta, was a user of hemp. In the Zend-Avesta hemp occupies the first place in a list of 10,000 medicinal plants.
One of the few surviving books of the Zend-Avesta, called the Venidad, “The Law against Demons”, calls bhanga (marijuana) Zoroaster’s “good narcotic”, and tells of two mortals who were transported in soul to the heavens where, upon drinking from a cup of bhang, they had the highest mysteries revealed to them. Professor Eliade has theorized that Zoroaster may have used hemp to bridge the metaphysical gap between heaven and earth.
The most explicit detailed Iranian account of intoxication for religious purposes; is the Arda Wiraz Namag... [it] demonstrates the belief that pharmacologically induced visions were the means to religious knowledge and that they were the basis of the religion that the Magi claimed to have received from Zoroaster. (Flattery and Schwartz, Hoama and Harmaline, 1989)
Zoroaster, like Ahkenaton before him, was an initiator of monotheism, the worship of one supreme God. Zoroaster's faith was one of “Good Words, Good Thoughts, and Good Deeds.” His ancient followers and their modern counterpart, the Parsee, are known for their good nature and generosity. A basic tenent of Zorastrianism is that it is a sin to pollute land or water-something that should be a part of every religious faith. (Bennett, Greengold.)
Zoroaster envisioned an end to conflict and time called the great Renovation.
The Zoroastrian myth of Creation, Fall, and World Renovation fundamentally influenced the Messianic ideas of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The ancient Zoroastrians are associated with the ancient Magi. The Magi, the 'wise men' of the Gospel birth story (Matt. 2:1): The Magi were the pioneers of magnetism, science, and astrology. We get the modern words “magic” and “magician” from their name. They predicted the coming of Christ , and the “three Magi followed the star to Bethlehem.”
It has been suggested by many diverse authors that the star the ancient Magi followed was the same star the ancient Egyptians and Africans said their holy herb came from-the brightest star in the night sky, the sun behind the sun, Sirius. (Bennett, Greengold)
The Magi brought incense, myrrh, and gold as gifts for the new born king of the Jews. It is interesting to note that up until recent times in Latvia and the Ukraine a dish made from hemp was served for “Three Kings Day”.
(Sula Benet, Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp)
Pliny said, “Magic had its origins in medicine and came from the East, and was 'the most fraudulent of all arts, and the most universal; the magi used herbs, herbae mirabilis, [miraculous herbs] to invoke the gods and ….to expel evil spirits from the sick. (Pliny, NATURAL HISTORY).
Pliny refers to “the wonderful powers ascribed to plants by the Magi. According to Pliny, they possessed a certain miraculous plant that they would use “when they wish to call up the Gods.