MARIJUANA IN JAMAICA
This chapter on Jamaica is included as the Jamaican Rasta religion is where the author first came across the idea of marijuana as a Christian sacrament and a tool to know the God or Goddess within.
According to Jamaican folk beliefs, Ganja has divine origin. It is the source of “wisdom” and of “peace”; its use is both sacred and secular. Some tradition maintains that it was the Arawak Indians who first used ganja in Jamaica. These Indians were known for their peacefulness and were completely wiped out by persecution, slavery and disease brought by the Spanish invaders and later the English.
Jamaica was to become a trade center for African slaves. It was the ancestors of these slaves that went on to found the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church- A Rasta Christian Church.
Jamaica also has an East Indian population which were undoubtably aware of ganja's spiritual uses. In fact the Jamaican name for marijuana (Ganja) comes from India.
And the name for the chillum pipe that was used in church services also came from India.
In 1979, Dennis Forsythe, Ph. D., presented a report to the department of sociology at the University of the West Indies, in Jamaica. Here is part of that report.
“Rastas come together around the usage of ganja, which they use for smoking, eating, drinking, sniffing and massaging. For them, ganja is not a drug, but a 'Holy' herb. So omnipotent is the ingredient of their culture and so positive is their estimation of its value to man that they call it the 'wisdom weed' and the 'spiritual meat' of the movement. Symbolically, herb for Rastas grew out of the grave of King Solomon, and because of its wholesome effects, has the power to 'heal the nations' by bringing every man to the self-knowledge appropriate and fitting for 'Ever-living Life'.
The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church (with chapters in Jamaica and Miami) reveres Ganja as the 'Holy' Eucharist and 'spiritual intensifier' with biblical, historical and divine associations. Biblical justification for its usage is found on the first page of the Bible (Genesis 1:29). For the brethren, ganja is the mystical body and blood of 'Jesus'--the burnt offering unto God made by fire—which allows a member to see and know the 'living God', or the 'God in Man'. Presently, the Ethiopian Zion Coptic organization is fighting to get U.S. officials, as well as the Jamaican government, to 'free up' the plant on religious grounds. They derive their moral authority to use the herb from their personal experiences with the plant and also from the Book of Genesis which approves the usage of 'every herb bearing seed.'
Rastas, through the usage of ganja, feel themselves to be divinely inspired; experiencing the same magnificence of spirit and oneness with nature which Moses must have experienced 'high' on the mountain top in the form of the 'burning bush', as did Jesus 'high' on top of Mount Sinai.
Barbara Blake Hannah, a Jamaican journalist, wrote a book entitled 'Rastafari-The New Creation”. In one of the chapters entitled “The Holy Herb” is the following:
Herb smoking enhances intellectual powers; it can speed up thinking on one particular subject, isolate those thoughts from everyday reality, and place the user in a world of his own, rather than the society in which he must function. This, at the same time, does not remove the user from the midst of reality—thus enabling him to function on three levels of existence at once; physical, mental and spiritual.
THE USE OF MARIJUANA AS INCENSE
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “Pharmacological Cults”:
“. . . the ceremonial use of incense in contemporary ritual is most likely a relic of the time when the psychoactive properties of incense brought the ancient worshiper into touch with supernatural forces.”
The following piece was taken from “Licit and Illicit Drugs”, page 31.
“In the Judaic world, the vapors from burnt spices and aromatic gums were considered part of the pleasurable act of worship. In Proverbs (27:9) it is said that ‘Ointment and perfumes rejoice the heart.’ Perfumes were widely used in Egyptian worship. Stone altars have been unearthed in Babylon and Palestine, which have been used for burning incense made of aromatic wood and spices. While the casual readers today may interpret such practices as mere satisfaction of the desire for pleasant odors, this is almost certainly an error. In many or most cases, a psychoactive drug was being inhaled in the islands of the Mediterranean 2,500 years ago and in Africa hundreds of years ago. For example, leaves and flowers of a particular plant were often thrown upon bonfires and the smoke inhaled; the plant was marijuana.” (Edward Preble and Gabriel V. Laurey 1967, ‘Plastic Cement: The Ten Cent Hallucinogen,’ International Journal of the Addictions 2, Fall 1967, pages 271-272)
According to the book, “the Great American Hemp Industry”, Pipe Bowls found in Palestine and Syria dating 1000 to 600 B.C. match an illustration from National Geographic (April 91) showing Ramseys making an incense prayer offering.
“It is recorded that the Chinese Taoist recommended the addition of cannabis to their incense burners in the first century as a means of achieving immortality.” (Marijuana, the First Twelve Thousand Years” by Earnest Abel, page 5)
“There is a classic Greek term, cannabeizein, which means to smoke cannabis. Cannabeizein frequently took the form of inhaling vapors from an incense burner in which these resins were mixed with other resins, such as myrrh, balsam, frankincense, and perfumes.” (Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L)
Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. observed the Scythians throwing hemp on heated stone to create smoke and observed them inhaling this smoke. Although he does not identify them, Herodotus states that when they “have parties and sit around a fire, they throw some of it into the flames. As it burns, it smokes like incense, and the smell of it makes them drunk, just as wine does us. As more fruit is thrown on, they get more and more intoxicated until finally they jump up and start dancing and singing.” (Herodotus, Histories 1.202)
Tracing the history of hemp in terms of cultural contacts, the Old Testament must not be overlooked since it provides one of the oldest and most important written source materials. In the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant (Benet, Sula, 1936).
Cannabis as an incense was also used in the temples of Assyria and Babylon “because its aroma was pleasing to the Gods”. (Meissner 1925 [II]:84).
As George Andrews, editor of the classic texts, THE BOOK OF GRASS, (1967 and DRUGS AND MAGIC, (1975\1997), wrote after some thirty years of research into the subject; “In recent years many eminent scholars have expressed the opinion that, far from being a minor or occasional ingredient, hashish was the main ingredient of the incense burned in temples during the religious ceremonies of antiquity, and was also routinely used in Hebrew ceremonies until the reign of King Josiah in 621 B.C., when its use was suddenly suppressed in the Hebrew tradition (Andrews 1997).
The 1902 INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF REFERENCES VOL. III, states under fumigae and fumigation: “to apply smoke to; to expose to smoke or gas; to purify from infection; to medicate or heal by vapors...In this manner the burning of incense....belong[s] to the class of what are called agents of fumigation.”
Incense, used religiously by the ancient Babylonians, was made from cannabis psychoactive resins collected by hand from the flowering female cannabis plants. This highly fragrant sticky entheogenic resin was rolled into balls and short finger-shaped rods that were traded throughout the ancient world since the remotest of times. The ancients called it incense; we call it hashish. It is still traded throughout the world, still prepared in the same manner- collected by hand and rolled into balls, short rods or pressed into thin slabs. The legendary hashish balls are still called Napalese temple balls. For thousands of years temple balls have been used for religious contemplation burned in ornate incensors by devotees in temples. (Chris Bennett, Lynn Osburn and Judy Osburn-Greengold The Tree of Life. )
Among the goods of the caravan trade between Babylonia, Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor was incense for the 'delection of gods and man'. (Historian M. Rostovtzeff CARAVAN CITIES, London:Oxford, 1932, as cited by Sula Benet in Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp at p.42; also, Schultes and Hofmann, PLANTS OF THE GODS.)
EVIDENCE INDICATING THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF CANNABIS
In 1903, British physician and biblical scholar Dr. C. Creighton released a book entitled “Evidence of the Hashish Vice in the Old Testament”. In this volume, Dr. Creighton put forth a theory that cannabis was the grass eaten by Nebuchadnezzar, was responsible for Jonathan and Samsons' strength and the Prophet Ezekiels vision (“ 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).
Like the ancient Greeks, the Old Testament Isrealites were surrounded by marijuana-using peoples. Dr. C. Creighton, concluded that several references to marijuana can be found in the Old Testament. Examples are the “honeycomb” referred to in the Song of Solomon, 5:1, and the “honeywood” in I Samuel 14:25-45. (Others have suggested that the “calamus” in the Song of Solomon was in fact cannabis).
Mention of Creighton's book can be found in “Licit and Illicit Drugs”, by the Editors of Consumer Reports and “Marijuana Reconsidered”, by Lester Grinspoon.
Cannabis use in the Old Testament was again looked at in 1936, by Sula Benet, who stated that the original Hebrew text contains references to hemp as both an intoxicant and incense. Similar results were found in 1946 by Sara Benetowa [Sula Benet], of the Institute of Anthropological Science in Warsaw, Poland referring to the Old Testament word “kaneh bosm” (fragrant reed).
The name cannabis is generally thought to be of Scythian origin. Sula Benet in Cannabis and Culture argues that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, occurring several times in the Old Testament. He states that in Exodus 30:23 that God commands Moses to make a holy anointing oil of myrrh, sweet cinnamon, kaneh bosm, and kassia. He continues that the word kaneh bosm is also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kannabos or kannabus and that the root “kan” in this construction means “reed” or “hemp”, while “bosm” means “aromatic”. He states that in the earliest Greek translations of the Old Testament “kan” was rendered as “reed”, leading to such erroneous English translations as “sweet calamus” (Exodus 30:23), sweet cane (Isaiah 43:24; Jeremiah 6:20), and calamus (Ezekiel 27:19, Song of Songs 4:14.) Benet argues from the linguistic evidence that cannabis was known in Old Testament times at least for its aromatic properties and that the word for it passed from the Semitic language to the Scythians, i.e. the Ashkenaz of the Old Testament.
Sara Benetowa [Sula Benet]of the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw is quoted in the Book of Grass as saying:
“The astonishing resemblance between the Semitic ‘kanbos’ and the Scythian ‘cannabis’ leads me to suppose that the Scythian word was of Semitic origin. These etymological discussions run parallel to arguments drawn from history. The Iranian Scythians were probably related to the Medes, who were neighbors of the Semites and could easily have assimilated the word for hemp.
Taking into account the matriarchal element of Semitic culture, one is led to believe that Asia Minor was the original point of expansion for both the society based on the matriarchal circle and the mass use of hashish.”
Another piece of evidence regarding the use of the word kaneh in the sense of hemp rather than reed [or calamus] is the religious requirement that the dead be buried in kaneh shirts. Centuries later linen was substituted for hemp (Klein 1908) (Benet, 1975).
Calamus is not a fibre plant. We have also noted the association that hemp fibre has with purity in other religious traditions and in funeral rites. .
Anthropologist Vera Rubin noted, that cannabis 'appears in the Old Testament because of the ritual and sacred aspect of it. (Rubin 1978)
The ancient Israelites were a Semitic people. Abraham, the father of the Israelite nation, came from Ur, a city of Babylonia located in Mesopotamia. .
THE ISRAELITE USE OF INCENSE
In the temples of the ancient world, the main sacrifice was the inhalation of incense. Incense is defined as the perfume or smoke from spices and gums when burned in celebrating religious rites or as an offering to a deity. Bronze and gold incense burners were cast very early in history and their forms were often inspired by cosmological themes representing the harmonious nature of the universe.
It was said that Moses, at the direction of Almighty God, first brought in the use of incense in public worship, and that the other nations of antiquity copied the practice from him. It was however a practice that began with Adam.
The “Book of Jubulees”, an Apocryphal book, (the Aprocrypha was considered canonical by the early church and is to this day by the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church) states that “on the day when Adam went forth from the Garden of Eden, he offered as a sweet savour an offering of frankincense, galbanum, and stacte, and spices, in the morning with the rising of the sun, from the day when he covered his shame”.
And of Enoch we read that “he burnt the incense of the sanctuary, even sweet spices, acceptable before the Lord, on the Mount”.
Incense was assigned miraculous powers by the Israelites. It was burned in golden bowls or cauldrons placed on or beside the altar. It was also burned in hand-held censers. In the Blessing of Moses, a poem belonging to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and written about 760 B.C., the sacrificial smoke is offered to the God of Israel.
“Let them teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law; Let them offer sacrificial smoke to thy nostrils, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.”
King Solomon, who reigned from 960-925 BCE, made 20,000 gold censors for the temple of Jerusalem and 50,000 others in which to carry burning incense. (International Library Reference (1902) at p.609, citing the writings of Josephus).
Throughout the Bible the ancient patriarchs were brought into communion with God through smoking incense and at Mt. Sinai God talked to Moses out of a bush that burned with fire(Exodus :1-12). After Moses brought the Israelite people out of Egypt he returned to Mt. Sinai at which time God made a covenant with Moses in which the Ten Commandments were revealed. Exodus 19:8 describes the conditions at the time of this covenant.
(Exodus 19:8) And Mt. Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
The mysterious smoke mentioned in the covenant on Mt. Sinai is also referred to as a cloud.
Scriptures make it abundantly clear that the cloud and the smoke are related to the burning of incense. Exodus 40:26 describes Moses burning incense, a cloud covering the tent of the congregation and the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. Leviticus 16:2-13 describes how God appeared in a cloud and refers to it as the cloud of incense. Numbers 16:17-19 describes how every man of the congregation had a censer full of burning incense and that the glory of the Lord appeared unto the entire congregation. Isaiah 6:4 describes how Ezekiel saw God in a smoke-filled inner court. Numbers 11:15 describes how God was revealed to Moses and the seventy elders in a cloud; and that the spirit rested upon them and that they prophesied and ceased not.
The Book of Grass by Andrew and Vinkenoog includes a section on Ancient Scythia and Iran by Mircea Eliade, one of the foremost experts on the history of religions. On pages 11-12 is the following:
“On one document appears to indicate the existence of a Getic shamanism: It is Strabo’s account of the Myssian KAPNOBATAI, a name that has been translated, by analogy with Aristophanes’ AEROBATES, as ‘those who walk in clouds’; but should be translated as ‘those who walk in smoke’! Presumably the smoke is hemp smoke, a rudimentary means of ecstasy known by both the Tracians and the Scythians . . .”
This passage should be carefully noted. Biblical passages make it abundantly clear that the ancient Israelites also walked in clouds and smoke. In fact, it was in the clouds of smoke that God was revealed to the ancient Israelites.
Hebrew scholar Ralph Patai (1967) points out that Yahweh traveled in a cloud which was produced from copious incense smoke; “that gods ride on clouds is an old mythologem, traces, of which can be found among many peoples. Among the Canaanites it is attested in the 14th century B.C.E. Vgarith myths, in which “Rider of the Clouds” is one of Baal's . The same epithet, “Rider in the clouds”, refers to Yehweh in one of the Psalms... In fact, the desert sanctuary was called the Tabernacle (Hebrew, mishkan; literally, “dwelling place”) because of the divine cloud that abode (Shakan) over it and in it.... It (Exodus40) says that God's presence in the Tabernacle was indicated by a cloud which both seemed to hover over the tent and to fill it, and which at night glowed like fire. This conception of the manifest presence of God in the Tabernacle closely parallels that of God's presence on Mt. Sinai: there too, cloud covered the mount, and in that cloud was God: “He came to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
The words “smoke” and “smoking” appear fifty times in the King James version of the Bible and two separate times the Bible says of the Lord, “There went up a smoke out of his nostrils.” II Samuel 22:9, Psalms 18:8.
In Isaiah 6:6 “Seraphim” means literally “Smoke Drinker”.
Sara Benetowa mentioned that in the Old Testament, Isaiah refers to hemp as coal or incense. It is in Isaiah we find the following; the setting is a temple filled with smoke.
Isaiah 6:4 “And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke; 5. Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.;6. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, 7. And he laid it upon my mouth and said, Look, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.”
Those of us who are familiar with hashish know that it burns in a similar way to both incense and coal. We have seen in previous chapters that in various religious traditions cannabis has been used to cleanse its users from sin.
There are numerous other places in the Bible that mention the burning of incense, the mysterious cloud, and smoke. This common thread is found throughout the Bible, including the New Testament.
(St. Matthew 24:30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
(Revelations 1:7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, amen.
(Revelations 8:-43) And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer: and there was given unto him much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
(Revelations 15:8) And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power.
HOLY ANOINTING OIL
God was not only found in the mysterious smoking cloud of incense but also in the Holy anointing oil. The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church did not use Holy anointing oil in its service or ritual. The author has been made aware of this by others. Special thanks to Chris Bennett and for a much more indepth discussion of Cannabis and its connection to Holy anointing Oil see Cannabis and the Soma Solution.
Also special thanks to Michael Alberto-Puleo, M.D., for this chapter. Michael Alberto-Puleo did not make a direct connection to cannabis, only that it was some mind altering substance that was in the holy anointing oil. For a more thorough understanding of the holy anointing oil see his book The Anointed Ones.
Holy anointing oil is cited throughout the Bible, the Apocrypha, the works of Josephus, the Talmud, Gnostic and post Apostolic Christian texts and many other Christian writings. For an inclusive list of ancient citations, see: (Kutsch, Ernst. Salbung als Rechtsakt. Verlag Alfred Topelmann, Berlin, 1963.pp. 73-78.
In some Gnostic texts like the Pistis Sophia and the Books of Jeu, the “spiritual ointment” is a prerequisite for entry into the highest mystery (Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, 1900)
No mention of the holy oil is made in the Bible prior to the book of Exodus, compiled after the Egyptian stay. This seems to indicate that this was a new way to invoke the spirit of God and that Moses learned it from the Egyptians.
Holy anointing oil was known in Egypt from the earliest of times.
The oil is represented by many ankhs, the hieroglyph for life and immortality (Wilkinson, J.G. A SECOND SERIES OF THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.)
The dead were anointed as well as the living, and the presence of the oil on their bodies was believed to assist their resurrection. [In Egypt} the anointed one became holy because a holy substance had been incorporated in him; among the Hebrews anointing was believed to endow the man chosen by them to be their King with the Divine Essence, and Jesus the “Messiah”, the Anointed One,” i.e. Christos, was endowed with the Holy Spirit. (Budge, E.A. Wallis. THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF THE CRAFT OF THE HERBALIST. Society of Herbalist, London, 1928.pp. 30-31.
However far we trace back religious ideas in Egypt, we never approach a time when it can be said that there did not exist a belief in Resurrection. (Budge Wallis, Egyptian Religion, London 1900)
From the earliest ages it was an article of faith amongst Egyptians that man existed after death. [Erman, Adolf. Life in Ancient Egypt. H.M. Tirard, trans. MacMillian and Co., London, 1894; p.306.
As early as 3500 B.C.the Egyptians believed that gods became incarnate in man. (E.A. Wallis Budge, OSIRIS AND THE EGYPTIAN RESURRECTION, Vol. I. Pp. Xxxiiixxv.)
The first century historian, Josephus, said the Pharoah took special interest in Moses and he was educated with great care. Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22)
It is very likely that the formula for the Holy Anointing Oil was revealed to Moses in Egypt and contained four medicinal herbs (myrrh, keneh bosem, cinnamon, and cassia.) mentioned in Exodus( 30:23)
We have noted that keneh, bosem has been identified by some as cannabis.
Considerable academic support has emerged for Benet's theory on the identification of kaneh bosem with cannabis. In 1980 the respected anthropologist Weston La Barre (1980) referred to the Biblical references in an essay on cannabis, concurring with Benet's earlier hypothesis. In that same year respected British Journal New Scientist also ran a story that referred to the Hebrew Old Testament references: “Linguistic evidence indicates that in the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the Old Testament the 'holy oil' which god directed Moses to make (Exodus 30:23) was composed of myrrh, cinnamon, cannabis, and cassia” (Malyon and Henman 1980). A modern counterpart of the word is even listed in Ben Yehudas Pocket Dictionary and other Hebrew source books. Further, online, the Internet's informative Navigating the Bible, used by countless theological students, also refers to the Exodus 30:23 reference as possibly designating cannabis. This online text is largely based on the very popular The Living Torah, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, a popular gift at bar mitzvahs, which correctly notes that “On the basis of cognate pronunciation and a Septuagint reading, some identify Keneh bosem with English and Greek cannabis, the hemp plant” (Kaplan, 1981).
As well, William McKim noted in Drugs and Behaviour; an introduction to behavioral pharmacology, “It is likely that the Hebrews used cannabis...In the Old Testament (Exodus 30:23), God tells Moses to make a holy oil of 'myrrh, sweet cinnamon, kaneh bosem and kassia: (McKim, 1986) A Minister's Handbook of Mental Disorders also records that “Some scholars believe that Gods command to Moses (Exodus 30:23) to make a holy oil included cannabis as one of the chosen ingredients”(Ciarrocchi, 1993). In the essay “Psychoactive Agents and the Self,” in The Lost Self: Pathologies of the Brain and Identity, (which deals with the biological basis of the human mind) Roy Mathews notes “The Holy oil God instructed Moses to make ….is believed to have contained cannabis. (Chris Bennett, CANNABIS AND THE SOMA SOLUTION)
Around 1980, etymologists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem confirmed that cannabis is mentioned in the Bible by name, Kineboisin (also spelled Kannabosm), in a list of measured ingredients for 'an oil of holy ointment, and ointment compound after the art of apothecary' to be smeared on the head. The word was mistranslated in King James version as 'calamus.-Exoduus 30;23 (Latimer 1988)
The sacred character of hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:22-23, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp. Anointing set sacred things apart from secular. The anointment of sacred objects was an ancient tradition in Israel: holy oil was not to be used for secular purposes.....Above all, the anointing oil was used for the installation rites of all Hebrew kings and priests. (Sula Benet, Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp)
Most recently, author and Professor of Classical Mythology at Boston University, Carl Ruck, who is also a linguist, has summarized:
Cannabis is called kaneh bosem in Hebrew....The translators of the bible translate this usually as 'fragrant cane,' an aromatic grass. Once the word is correctly translated, the use of cannabis in the bible is clear. Large amounts of it were compounded into the ointment for the ordination of the priest. This ointment was also used to anoint the holy vessels in the Inner Sanctum or Tabernacle ('tent'). It was also used to fumigate the holy enclosed space. The ointment (absorbed through the skin) and the fragrance of the vessels (both absorbed by handling and inhaled as perfume) and the smoke of the incense in confined space would have been a very effective means of administering the psychoactive properties of the plant. Since it was only the High Priest who entered the Tabernacle, it was an experience reserved for him, although as the chrism of priestly ordination it was probably also something experienced in a different way by the whole priesthood. This same psychoactive chrism was later used for the coronation of the kings.(Ruck, 2009) (Also taken from Cannabis and the Soma Solution by Chris Bennett.)
Besides its role in anointing, the holy oil of the Hebrews was burned as incense, and its use was reserved to the priestly class (Russo, 2007)
Moses' “Egyptian education must...have supplied him with much of the ritual of the Israelite religion (Smith, William. Ed. A DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE. The Penn Publishing Co. Philadelphia, 1884, p.585.
The Jews spent 430 years in Egypt.
The original priestly rites of anointing undergone by Aaron and his sons took seven days, and during this time they were instructed not to leave the tabernacle. “And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
That these ceremonies lasted seven days may at least in part, point to a peculiarity associated with the use of any medicine that relies on absorption through the skin. In all likelihood these ancient shamans were also breathing in the sacred incense and perhaps eating or drinking preparations of the cannabis plant.
Many pharmacologically active substances are readily absorbed through the skin. Contraceptic patches, testostorone gel and narcotic patches for pain are modern day uses.
Many plant essential oils possess marked pharmacological properties that can be readily absorbed through the skin. (THE ANOINTED ONES)
If this oil was heated and rubbed in (laying of hands) it would also increase the absorption. Cinnamon also an ingredient of the holy oil would also have helped in absorption.
The consequences of the anointing is a spiritual insight into Divine things. Marsh, F.E. EMBLEMS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 197. P.75.
After their Egyptian stay, the Jews maintained trade with India at least thru the reign of Solomon (2 Chronicles, 8:18; 1 Kings 9:26)
Solomon was anointed with oil (1 Kings 1:39). Solomon is known for his great wisdom. It has been hinted that Solomons great wisdom was due to the anointing oil (De Claremont, Lewis. LEGENDS OF INCENSE, HERB AND OIL MAGIC. Dorene Publishing Co. 1938. p.29.
The fact of the anointing made for many Messiahs. Moses, Aaron, Saul, David, Solomon-all looked upon as sacrosanct beings, in Hebrew, the “hakohen hamashia,” the Anointed One,”And which evolved into the English word “Messiah.” Hebrew word mashah means “to wipe or stroke with the hand,” a description of the manner in which the unguent was massaged into the skin, and preserved into the modern Christian era as “the laying on of hands” (THE ANOINTED ONES)
After the Isrealite nation rebelled against God they were taken into Babylonian captivity. The Messiah Medicine was, like many other “archaic mixtures lost to the fortunes of war. (Mathison, Richard. THE ETERNAL SEARCH. (THE SHOCKING HISTORY OF DRUGS) Ballantine Books, New York, 1958. p.17.)
In the Old Testament the holy anointing oil was reserved to the priest and the kings. When Christ came he reinstituted the holy anointing oil and opened it to all.
It was a religion of revelation for the common man and woman. All were considered equal, and they were equal by virtue of their possession of the Holy Spirit engendered by the oil, that “taught all things”. This was the pinnacle rite of consecration, reached only after each penitent had passed through manifold teachings, preparations and preliminary ceremonies. (THE ANOINTED ONES)
Jesus promised that his disciples would be equal to him-sons and daughters of God. He asks “Did I not say that ye shall be gods?” and, “The disciple is not above his teacher nor his servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master” (Matthew 10:16) For the early Christians, there existed no priestly caste, for all were considered to be priests and so had the right to anoint others and make new Messiahs. It was more then the authorities could stomach when Christ anointed every man and worse, every woman, for Christian documents prove that females were routinely consecrated as Messiahs. (THE ANOINTED ONES)
Faith in God, or faith in Jesus, was not enough to be a Christian. Reading scripture was likewise of no avail. The way to Oneness with God was through anointing with the Holy Spirit. Only by undergoing the experience of salvation with the unguent could one know the ineffable, an idea that persists in the fact that in modern times a number of Christian branches of the Native American Church identify peyote with the Holy Spirit. (La Barre, Weston. The Peyote Cult, Schocken Books, New York, 1959, 1964, THE ANOINTED ONES)
“But the anointing which you have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him” (1John 2:27)
At first salvation meant, quite literally, “the spreading of the ointment over the skin,.” In fact the English word “salvation” is not derived from a word-root meaning “to save”, but rather from one meaning “to anoint”. (Palmer, A. Smythe. FOLK ETYMOLOGY. George Bell and Sons, London, 1882. p. 338. “salve; to anoint, bears a deceptive resemblance to Latin salvus, sound well, salvare, to save, salvere, to be well, but is really akin to Goth, Salbon, German, salben....to anoint.”
A strict tenant of the early Christians was that unless one was anointed, and underwent a type of “death,” one could not be reborn to eternal life. At the core of this was the perceived death of the individual ego, and the identification of consciousness with the Infinite, resulting in a unshakable belief in the immortality of the soul. (THE ANOINTED ONES)
The idea of death and rebirth, of being “born again,” has long been a core tenant of Christianity. This concept emerged directly from the anointing experience, for a common theme in many psychedelic “trips” is the perceived “death” of the “normal” self and the “birth” of a new, enlightened being. (THE ANOINTED ONES)
Jesus said, “verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Anointing Oil was looked upon as the key to the Kingdom of God. It was the holiest of holies, the central sacrament, the magical God-given oil from the Tree of Life that infused the consecrant with the Holy Spirit of God (THE ANOINTED ONES)
The primacy of the unguent can be discerned throughout the New Testament. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. In Corinthians excessive use of the ointment prompted Paul to warn the Corinthian Christians to use caution lest people “think them mad.” (THE ANOINTED ONES)
The unguents medicinal properties were used to heal the sick and to reduce the agonies of dying.
And they caste out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them (Mark 6:13).
Is any among you sick: Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:14).
The words of scholar J.G. Davies, “If I am correct in characterizing unction as one of 'the powers of the age to come' [foretold in Hebrews 6:5], in that it is the means of restoration through the Spirit to wholeness, then it follows that unction is concerned with the whole person. It is a means of both bodily and spiritual healing and any attempt to confine it to either the physical or spiritual is to be rejected as unbiblical (Davies, J.G. THE SPIRIT, THE CHURCH, AND THE SACRAMENTS. The Faith Press, Ltd. Westminster, 1954. P. 208.
The East views optimum wellness as the ultimate state of alert calmness or “enlightenment,” the goal of yoga, meditation, and devotional service. Marijuana, with its simultaneous sedative and stimulant effect, has been the constant companion of these spiritual disciplines for as long as their recorded history-from 5000 to 10,000 years ago. (The Benefits of Marijuana, Physical, Psychological and Spiritual.)
As discussed at length in Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible with comparative medical documentation, cannabis has been shown to be effective in the treatment of not only epilepsy, but many of the other ailments that Jesus and the disciples healed people, such as skin diseases (Matthew 8, 10, 11; Mark 1; Luke 8:43-48), eye problems (John 9;6-15) and menstrual problems (Luke 8;43-48) (Bennett and McQueen, 2001).
“The oil as a sign of the gift of the Spirit was quite natural within a Semitic framework, and therefore the ceremony is probably very early....In time the biblical meaning became obscured” (Chadwick, The Early Church, 1967).
“The anointing with oil was the introduction of the candidate into unfading bliss, thus becoming a Christ” (Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, 1900)
The apocryphal book, the Acts of Thomas, refers to the ointment's entheogenic effects as being specifically derived from a certain plant: “Holy oil, given us for sanctification, hidden mystery....you are the unfolder of the hidden parts. You are the humiliator of stubborn deeds. You are the one who shows the hidden treasures. You are the plant of kindness. Let your power come by this [unction]. In reference to the 'plant of kindness' it is important to note that the account where the above reference occurs, takes place in India! (Cannabis and the Soma Solution)
The Greek term for ointment is enchrista, and so they were called Christians meaning “those who have been anointed. Greek Christos gives us “Christ”-meaning the anointed one. (THE ANOINTED ONES)