Where is hemp mentioned in the bible
THE HIDDEN STORY OF CANNABIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
By Chris Bennet
Part 3 in a series on the
History of Cannabis and
T HEN GOD SAID, I GIVE YOU EVERY SEED-BEARING
PLANT ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE
E ARTH, AND EVERY TREE THAT
HAS FRUIT IN IT.”
Those words seem straightforward enough, and yet cannabis and most other psychoactive medicine plants are outlawed in our society. Those who use these plant gat eways to other states of consciousness are jailed for doing so.
Ironically, the major force for continuing this plant prohibition is a group referred to as the Christian Right. They claim to believe in both the Bible and old Yahweh, yet Yahweh’s opinion on the matter is stated quite clearly in the above quotation.
This article shows how the Old Testament Prophets were none other than ancient shamans, and that cannabis and other entheogens played a very prominent role in ancient Hebrew culture.
THE ROOTS OF KANEH-BOSM
The first solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis was established in 1936 by Sula Benet, a little known Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw (1).
The word cannabis was generally thought to be of Scythian origin, but Benet showed that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, and that it appears several times throughout the Old Testament. Benet explained that “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 (2).”
Benet demonstrated that the word for cannabis is kaneh-bosm , also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kaneh or kannabus . The root kan in this construction means “reed” or “hemp”, while bosm means “aromatic”. This word appears five times in the Old Testament; in the books of Exodus, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
The word kaneh-bosm has been mistranslated as calamus , a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to kaneh-bosm. The error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and was repeated in the many translations that followed (3).
THE HIDDEN STORY
When we take a chronological look at biblical references to kaneh-bosm, we reveal more than just the story of cannabis in the Old Testament. Another exciting and concealed story emerges as well, that of the suppression of the worship of Astarte, also called Ashera, known t o the ancient Semites as the Queen of Heaven .
The First Reference
MOSES & MARIJUANA
The first mention of kaneh-bosm in the Old Testament appears with the prophet-shaman Moses. At the beginning of his shamanic career, Moses discovered the angel of the Lord in flames of fire from within a bush .
It is later in his life however, that a definite reference to cannabis is made. Sula Benet explains this reference as follows:
The sacred character of hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:22-33, 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.
This first reference to kaneh-bosm is the only that describes it as an ointment to be applied externally. However, anointing oils made with cannabis are indeed psychoactive and have been used by such seemingly diverse groups as 19th century occultists and medieval witches (4).
Closer to Moses’ own time, cannabis was used as a topical hallucinogen by the ancient worshippers of Asherah , the Queen of Heaven. Asherah has also been referred to as the Hebrew Goddess (5).
The shamanistic Ashera priestesses of pre-reformation Jerusalem mixed cannabis resins with those from myrrh, balsam, frankincense, and perfumes, and then anointed their skins with the mixture as well as burned it (6).
T HEN THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, “TAKE THE FOLLOWING FINE SPICES: 500 SHEKELS OF LIQUID MYRRH, HALF AS MUCH OF FRAGRANT CINNAMON, 250 SHEKELS OF KANNABOSM, 500 SHEKELS OF CASSIA – ALL ACCORDING TO THE SANCTUARY SHEKEL – AND A HIND OF OLIVE OIL. MAKE THESE INTO MAKE THESE INTO A SACRED ANNOITING OIL, A FRAGRANT BLEND, THE WORK OF A PERFUMER. IT WILL BE THE SACRED ANNOITING OIL.
T HEN USE IT TO ANOINT THE TENT OF THE MEETING, THE ARK OF THE TESTIMONY, THE TABLE AND ALL ITS ARTICLES, THE LAMPSTAND AND ITS ACCESSORIES, THE ALTAR OF INCENSE, THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING AND ALL ITS UTENSILS, AND THE BASIN WITH ITS STAND. YOU SHALL CONSECRATE THEM SO THEY WILL BE MOST HOLY, AND WHATEVER TOUCHES THEM WILL BE HOLY.
A NOINT AARON AND HIS SONS AND CONSECRATE THEM SO THEY MAY SERVE ME AS PREISTS. SAY TO THE ISRAELITES, “THIS IS TO BE MY SACRED ANOINTING OIL FOR THE GENERATIONS TO COME. DO NOT POUR IT ON MEN’S BODIES AND DO NOT MAKE ANY OIL WITH THE SAME FORMULA. IT IS SACRED, AND YOU ARE TO CONSIDER IT SACRED. WHOEVER MAKES PERFUME LIKE IT AND WHOEVER PUTS IT ON ANYONE OTHER THAN A PREIST MUST BE CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE.”
THE PRIESTS OF POT
The above Old testament passage makes the sacredness of this ointment quite clear. Moses and the Levite priesthood jealously guarded its use, and enforced this discriminatory prohibition with God’s commandment that any transgressors be ‘ cut off from his people ‘. This law amounted to a death sentence in the ancient world.
SMOKE IN THE TENT
Lacking the invention of pipes, it was the practice of some ancient peoples to burn cannabis and other herbs in tents, so that more smoke could be captured and inhaled. In the last installment of this column we discussed such a group, the ancient Scythians. The Scythians were a nomadic people who travelled and settled extensively throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Russia. They burned cannabis inside small tents and inhaled the fumes for ritualistic and recreational purposes.
Moses and his priests burned incense and used the holy ointment in a portable ‘tent of meeting’, the famous Tent of the Tabernacle . As cannabis is listed directly as an incense later in the Bible, it seems likely that Moses and the Levite priesthood would have burned cannabis flowers and pollen along with the ointment and incense which God commanded them to make.
A ND AARON SHALL BURN INCENSE EVERY MORNING: WHEN HE DRESSETH THE LAMPS, HE SHALL BURN INCENSE UPON IT. AND WHEN AARON LIGHTETH THE LAMPS AT EVEN, HE SHALL BURN INCENSE UPON IT, A PERPETUAL INCENSE BEFORE THE LORD THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS.
THE SCYTHIAN CONNECTION
Given that the Scythians and Israelites were involved in a trade of goods and knowledge, it is not surprising to find the similar technique of using tents to retain smoke. Benet commented on the often overlooked connections between these two groups.
The Scythians participated in both trade and wars alongside the ancient Semites for at least one millennium before Herodotus encountered them in the fifth century BC. The reason for the confusion and relative obscurity of the role played by the Scythians in world history is the fact that they were known to the Greeks as Scythians but to the Semites as Ashkenaz.
The earliest reference to the Ashkenaz people appears in the Bible in Genesis 10:3, where Ashkenaz, their progenitor, is named the son of Gomer, the great-grandson of Noah.
GOD WITHIN A CLOUD
A reading of the Old Testament reveals that Yahweh “came to Moses out of the midst of the cloud” and that this cloud came from smoke produced by the burning of incense. As scholar Ralph Patai commented in his book The Hebrew Goddess , “Yahweh merely put in temporary appearances in the tent of meeting. He was a visiting deity whose appearance in or departure from the tent was used for oracular purposes.”
One is reminded of the ancient Persian sage Zoroaster, another monotheist like Moses, who heard the voice of his god, Ahura Mazda, while in a state of shamanistic ecstasy produced by cannabis. The Greek oracle of Delphi also revealed her prophecies from behind a veil of intoxicating smoke.
The insights achieved from the use of cannabis, whether inhaled in the Tent of the Tabernacle or applied topically, could have been interpreted by Moses as messages from God. This is similar to modern shamans who interpret their experiences with plant hallucinogens as containing divine revelations.
In issue #1 of CANNABIS CANADA , we discussed a book by Julian Jaynes called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind . Jaynes offers an interesting explanation of how the development of consciousness may have taken place. Although he failed to fully recognize the strong role that plant-drugs may have played in the development of consciousness (7), Jaynes did come up with a most revolutionary theory.
In his book, Jaynes claims that ancient people were not as fully conscious and self-aware as modern humans. Being unable to introspect, they experienced their own higher cognitive functioning as auditory hallucinations – the voices of gods, actually heard as in the Old Testament or the Iliad – which told a person what to do in circumstances of novelty or stress.
G OD SAID TO MOSES, I AM THAT I AM. THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY TO THE ISREALITES: ‘I AM HAS SENT ME TO YOU.’
I AM THAT I AM
Could the commandments given by God to Moses and other Biblical prophets have been the early beginnings of full human self-awareness? Cannabis has its own unique receptor sites in the human brain, located in the areas governing higher thinking and memory. Could it be that deep interior thought grew out of language and the use of psychoactive plants like cannabis? And that the first prototypes of this ability for deep interior thinking, an ability we now take for granted, would have been considered Prophets? Would this make God’s commandments any less sacred?
In light of this information, is not the above statement more believable as the birth words of Judaic consciousness, rather than as the commandment of an omnipotent God?
The Second Appearance
The next Biblical account of cannabis comes under the name kaneh and appears in relation to King Solomon. In Solomon’s Song of Songs , one of the most beautifully written pieces in the Old Testament, Solomon mentions kaneh in describing his bride.
C OME WITH ME FROM LEBANON, MY BRIDE, COME WITH ME FROM LEBANON. DESCEND FROM THE CREST OF AMANA, FROM THE TOP OF SENIR, THE SUMMIT OF HERMON. . .
H OW DELIGHTFUL IS YOUR LOVE, MY SISTER, MY BRIDE! HOW MUCH MORE PLEASING IS YOUR LOVE THAN WINE, AND THE FRAGRANCE OF YOUR OINTMENT THAN ANY SPICE!. . .
T HE FRAGRANCE OF YOUR GARMENTS IS LIKE THAT OF LEBANON. . .
Y OUR PLANTS ARE AN ORCHARD OF POMEGRANATES WITH CHOICE FRUITS, WITH HENNA AND NARD, NARD AND SAFFRON, KANEH AND CINNAMON, WITH EVERY KIND OF INCENSE TREE.
SONG OF SONGS 4:8-14
THE GARDEN OF THE GODDESS
The ancients worshiped the Goddess as a nude female image, the earth they lived on and the nature around them. The fertile rays of the sun on the earth was thought of as God’s fertilization of the Great Mother. In light of this symbolism, it is not surprising to find Solomon’s Song to be full of both erotic and vegetative imagery (8).
In The Woman’s Book of Myths and Secrets , Feminist Scholar Barbara Walker explains
the Old Testament ‘Ashera’ is translated ‘grove’, without any explanation that the sacred grove represented the Goddess, genital center, birthplace of all things. In the matriarchal period, Hebrews worshiped the Goddess in groves (1 Kings 14:23), later cut down by patriarchal reformers who burned the bones of Ashera’s priests on their own altars (2 Chronicles 24:4-5).
SOLOMON AND THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
In The Temple and the Lodge by Baigent and Leigh, the authors state that Solomon’s ‘Song of Songs’ is a hymn and invocation to the Phoenician mother goddess Astarte. Astarte was known as “Queen of Heaven”, “Star of the Sea” and “Stella Marris”.
The authors show us that Astarte was conventionally worshiped on mountains and hilltops, and then point to a quote from I Kings 3:3.
S OLOMON LOVED YAHWEH; HE FOLLOWED THE PRECEPTS OF DAVID HIS FATHER, EXCEPT THAT HE OFFERED SACRIFICE AND INCENSE ON THE HIGH PLACES.
I Kings 11:4-5 offers an even more explicit example of Solomon’s ties to Astarte.
W HEN SOLOMON GREW OLD HIS WIVES SWAYED HIS HEART TO OTHER GODS; AND HIS HEART WAS NOT WHOLLY WITH YAHWEH HIS GOD AS HIS FATHER DAVID’S HAD BEEN. SOLOMON BECAME A FOLLOWER OF ASTARTE, THE GODDESS OF THE SIDONIANS.
THE SPIRIT OF THE SCYTHIANS
Solomon’s practice of burning incense on high to the Queen of Heaven may have been a custom done in the same spirit as that of the Scythians, who burned cannabis in mountain caves and consecrated the act to their version of the Great Goddess, Tabiti-Hestia (9).
Archeological finds show that the worship of the old Canaanite gods was an integral part of the religion of the Hebrews, through to the very end of Hebrew monarchy. The worship of the Goddess played a much more important role in this popular religion than that of the gods.
The Third Reference
GOD WANTS HERB
The next direct reference to kaneh-bosm appears in Isaiah, where God is reprim anding the Israelites for, among other things, not supplying him with his due of the Holy Herb.
Y OU HAVE NOT BROUGHT ANY KANEH FOR ME, OR LAVISHED ON ME THE FAT OF YOUR SACRIFICES. BUT YOU HAVE BURDENED ME WITH YOUR SINS AND WEARIED ME WITH YOUR OFFENCES.
A HOUSEFUL OF SMOKE
An excerpt from earlier in Isaiah indicates that God’s appetite had previously been appeased, and “the house was filled with smoke. “
A ND THE POSTS OF THE DOOR MOVED AT THE VOICE OF HIM THAT CRIED, AND THE HOUSE WAS FILLED WITH SMOKE
T HEN SAID I, WOE IS ME, FOR I AM UNDONEL BECAUSE I AM A MAN OF UNCLEAN LIPS, AND I DWELL IN THE MIDST OF A PEOPLE OF UNCLEAN LIPS; FOR MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE KING, THE LORD OF HOSTS.
T HEN 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,
A ND HE LAID IT UPON MY MOUTH AND SAID, LO, THIS HATH TOUCHED THY LIPS; AND THYNE INIQUITY IS TAKEN AWAY, AND THY SIN PURGED.
In The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross , Scholar John M. Allegro points out that ancient peoples believed psychoactive plants to be living gateways to other realms, and thought of them as angels . The Greek and Hebrew equivalent of the word angel literally means messenger or worker of miracles .
SHAMANS IN DISGUISE
It seems much more believable that the winged beings which appeared to Isaiah and other Biblical prophets were not actual angels (10), but rather ancient shamans, wearing elaborate costumes and enacting trance inducing rituals, all enhanced by the use of cannabis smoke and psychotropic compounds like anamita muscaria, mandrake, and others.
This type of ritual initiation was common in the ancient middle east, and often involved the use of winged costumes and masks like those the early European explorers would find the aboriginal peoples of the world still using thousands of years later.
DRINKING IN THE HOLY SMOKE
Seraphim translates as “smoke drinker,” and those of us familiar with hashish know that it burns in a similar way to both incense and coal. It isn’t hard to imagine an ancient shaman lifting a burning coal of hashish or pressed bud to the lips of the ancient prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah, upon having the coal lifted to his lips, had his iniquity taken away and his sins purged. This is comparable to the way in which the Hindu sadhus lift their chillums to their third eye and exclaim “Boom Shiva,” an act indicating their loss of ego and oneness with Shiva.
KANEH FROM A DISTANT LAND
The fourth appearance of cannabis in the Old Testament is in Jeremiah, by which time it seems that Yahweh’s taste for the herb had declined. In the same way that God rejected Cain’s offering of grain in favour of Abel’s blood sacrifice, the cannabis also is rejected.
W HAT DO I CARE ABOUT INCENSE FROM SHEBA OR KANEH FROM A DISTANT LAND? YOUR BURNT OFFERINGS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE; YOUR SACRIFICES DO NOT PLEASE ME.
TRADING WITH TYRE
The final Biblical reference to kaneh appears in Ezekiel 27, in a passage called A Lament for Tyre . The kingdom of Tyre had fallen into disfavor with Yahweh, and cannabis appears as just one of many of the wares received by Tyre, the merchant of peoples on many coasts .
Both of these passages refer obliquely back to the story of King Solomon. The mention of Sheba brings to mind Solomon’s love affair with the Queen of Sheba, and the King of Tyre played a pivotal role in Solomon’s building of the temple.
D ANITES AND GREEKS FROM UZAL BOUGHT YOUR MERCHANDISE; THEY EXCHANGED WROUGHT IRON, CASSIA AND KANEH FOR YOUR WARES.
FROM FAVOUR TO DISFAVOUR
Of these five references to kaneh and kaneh-bosm, the first three have cannabis appear in Yahweh’s favour, the fourth definitely in his disfavour, and the fifth on a list from a kingdom that had fallen from grace in the eyes of the Israelite God. One might wonder at the reason for these apparent contradictions, and the answer can be found within the story of the suppression of the cult of Ashera, or Astarte, the ancient Queen of Heaven .
In The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler explains this as follows:
There are of course some allusions to this in the Bible itself. The prophets Ezra, Hosea, Nehemiah, and Jeremiah constantly rail against the “abomination” of worshipping other gods. They are particularly outraged at those who still worship the “Queen of Heaven”. And their greatest wrath is against the “unfaithfulness of the daughters of Jerusalem,” who were understandably “backsliding” to beliefs in which all temporal and spiritual authority was not monopolized by men. But other than such occasional, and always pejorati ve, passages, there is no hint that there ever was – or could be – a deity that is not male.
The ties between cannabis and the Queen of Heaven are probably most apparent in Jeremiah 44, where the ancient patriarch seems to be concerned by the people’s continuing worship of the Queen of Heaven, especially by the burning of incense in her honour.
Keep in mind the documented use of cannabis by the shamanistic Ashera priestesses of pre-reformation Jerusalem, who anointed their skins with cannabis mixtures as well as burning it as incense.
T HUS SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS, THE GOD OF ISRAEL; YE HAVE SEEN ALL THE EVIL THAT I HAVE BROUGHT UPON JERUSALEM, AND UPON ALL THE CITIES OF JUDAH; AND BEHOLD, THIS DAY THEY ARE A DESOLATION. . .
B ECAUSE OF THEIR WICKEDNESS WHICH THEY HAVE COMMITTED TO PROVOKE ME TO ANGER, IN THAT THEY WANTED TO BURN INCENSE, AND TO SERVE OTHER GODS. . .
T HEREFORE NOW. . . WHEREFORE COMMIT YE THIS GREAT EVIL AGAINST YOUR SOULS. . . IN THAT YE PROVOKE ME TO WRATH WITH THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS, BURNING INCENSE UNTO OTHER GODS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT?
T HEN ALL THE MEN WHICH KNEW THAT THEIR WIVES HAD BURNED INCENSE UNTO OTHER GODS, AND ALL THE WOMEN THAT STOOD BY, A GREAT MULTITUDE, EVEN ALL THE PEOPLE THAT DWELT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, ANSWERED JEREMIAH, SAYING,
A S FOR THE WORD THAT THOU HAST SPOKEN UNTO US IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, WE WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO THEE.
B UT WE WILL CERTAINLY DO WHATSOEVER THING GOETH FORTH OUT OF OUR OWN MOUTH, TO BURN INCENSE UNTO THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, AND TO POUR DRINK OFFERINGS UNTO HER, AS WE HAVE DONE. WE, AND OUR FATHERS, OUR KINGS, AND OUR PRINCES, IN THE CITY OF JUDAH, AND IN THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM: FOR THEN WE HAD PLENTY OF VICTUALS, AND WERE WELL, AND SAW NO EVIL.
Jeremiah’s reference to the previous kings and princes that burned incense t o the Queen of Heaven can be seen as referring to King Solomon, his son Rehoboam, and other Biblical kings and prophets.
Other key Biblical figures in the prohibition of cannabis use and the worship of the Queen of Heaven include King Hezekiah and his great-grandson Josiah.
II Kings 18:4 reports of Hezekiah that:
H E REMOVED THE HIGH PLACES, AND BRAKE THE IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THE ASHERAS, AND BRAKE INTO PIECES THE BRAZEN SERPENT THAT MOSES HAD MADE; FOR UNTO THOSE DAYS THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID BURN INCENSE TO IT:
A ND HE CALLED IT N EHUSHTAN.
BREAKING THE SERPENT
The interesting thing about this passage is that the Ark of the covenant does not contain the ten commandments of the law of Moses, rather it holds Nehushtan, a brass serpent. The serpent is a frequent component in early representations of the goddess.
The Bible reports that the kings before Hezekiah “set up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree; And there they burnt incense in all the high places. “(1Kings 17) So did the kings who reigned after Josiah, who was killed in battle in 609 BC. According to The Columbia History of the World , Josiah’s defeat seems to have been taken as proof of the error of his ways. the later prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel show polytheism back in practice.”
A FORGED BOOK OF LAW
The Book of the Law , which makes up most of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, was used to prohibit the worship of the Goddess and instill the death penalty for the burning of incense. Although it was supposedly written by Moses, it was not discovered until some 600 years after Moses’ death.
In Green Gold, Judy Osburn follows the suggestion that the Book of the Law may have been a forgery committed by the Hebrew priesthood with the hope of eradicating the competing temples and their deities, which were getting more sacrifices from the people than was the temple of Yahweh.
Osburn quotes Occidental Mythology by theologian Joseph Campbell, as stating that, before the discovery of the Book of the Law,
neither kings nor people had paid attention whatsoever to the law of Moses which, indeed, they had not even known. They had been devoted to the normal deities of the nuclear Near east, with all the usual cults.
Up until that time the Hebrew people worshiped in the old ways, practicing their cult in open places on peaks and hills and mountains, and even caves below.
The mysterious discovery of the Book of the Law took place during the reign of King Josiah. Once informed of the new regulations, Josiah’s wrath against the incense burners was far harsher than that of his great-grandfather Hezekiah. The Bible describes his actions as follows.
A ND THE KING COMMANDED HILKIAH THE HIGH PREIST. . . TO BRING FORTH OUT OF THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD ALL THE VESSELS THAT WERE MADE FOR BAAL AND FOR ASHERAH, AND FOR ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN: AND HE BIRNED THEM OUTSIDE JERUSALEM IN THE FIELDS OF KIDRON. . .
A ND HE PUT DOWN THE IDOLATROUS PRIESTS, WHOM THE KINGS OF JUDAH HAD ORDAINED TO BURN INCENSE IN THE HIGH PLACES IN THE CITIES OF JUDAH, AND IN THE PLACES ROUND ABOUT JERUSALEM; THEM ALSO THAT BURNED INCENSE UNTO BAAL, TO THE SUN, AND TO THE MOON, AND TO THE PLANETS, AND TO ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN.
A ND HE BROUGHT OUT THE ASHERAH FROM THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, OUTSIDE JERUSALEM. . . AND BURNED IT AT THE BROOK KIDRON, AND STAMPED IT SMALL TO POWDER. . . AND HE BROUGHT ALL THE PRIESTS OUT OF THE CITIES OF JERUSALEM, AND DEFILED THE HIGH PLACES WHERE THE PRIESTS HAD BURNED INCENSE. . .
A ND THE HIGH PLACES THAT WERE BEFORE JERUSALEM. . . WHICH SOLOMON THE KING OF ISRAEL HAD BUILDED FOR ASHTORETH THE ABOMINATION OF THE ZIDONIANS. . . DID THE KING DEFILE. AND HE BRAKE IN PIECES THE IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THE GROVES, AND FILLED THEIR PLACES WITH THE BONES OF MEN.
A ND HE SLEW ALL THE PRIESTS OF THE HIGH PLACES THAT WERE UPON THE ALTARS, AND BURNED MEN’S BONES UPON THEM, AND RETURNED TO JERUSALEM. . .
A ND LIKE UNTO HIM WAS THERE NO KING BEFORE HIM, THAT TURNED TO THE LORD WITH ALL HIS HEART, AND WITH ALL HIS SOUL, AND WITH ALL HIS MIGHT, ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF MOSESL NEITHER AFTER HIM AROSE THERE ANY LIKE HIM.
SEPERATION FROM THE SHEKINAH
The Goddess returned to the Hebrew faith somewhat later in a form of Jewish mysticism called the Cabala. This teaches that the Shekinah is the female soul of God, who couldn’t be perfect until he was reunited with her. Cabalists believed that it was God’s loss of his Shekinah that brought about all evils. In some traditions the Shekinah is seen as the pillar of smoke that guided the wandering nation of Israel during its Exodus from Egypt.
THE RETURN OF THE GODDESS
Our separation from the ancient Goddess and the denial of her ecstasies could well be seen as the root cause of humanity’s separation from nature, both our own and that of the world around us. Perhaps the Goddess’ ancient spirit won’t fully be restored until her children begin to respect and heal her abused body the Earth, return to her sacred groves in dance and worship, and are free to once again burn the holy incense of kaneh-bosm in her honor and praise.
It would seem that the spirit of Ashera’s ancient incense burners has returned, in the form of the modern-day smoke-in. Once again people of all ages, races, and creeds are gathering together illegally, to celebrate the many benefits and uses of the sacred tree, and to burn holy incense in protest, as did the defiant crowd before Jeremiah so long ago.
CANNABIS AND THE CHRIST?
But what of the Bible’s new Testament? Was Jesus a secret imbiber of the herb, or did he continue on with the harsh prohibition of cannabis, instituted with the zeal of Hezekiah, Josiah and Jeremiah? For the answer to those questions, you’ll have to order a copy of Green Gold, or wait for a distant installment of When Smoke gets in my I.
BOOM SHIVA! BOOM SHAKTI!
HARI HARI GUNJA!
The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler; Harper Row; 1987.
Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp by Sula Benet; Reprinted in Cannabis and Culture edited by Vera Rubin; Mouton; 1975.
Flesh of the Gods edited by P T Furst; Praeger; 1972.
Green Gold the Tree of Life; Marijuana in Magic and Religion by Chris Bennet, Judy Osburne, & Lynn Osburne; Access Unlimited; 1995.
The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai; Avon Books; 1967.
Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years by Ernest Abel; Plenum Press; 1980.
Marijuana and the Bible edited by Jeff Brown; The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church; 1981.
Occidental Mythology by Joseph Campbell; Penguin Books; 1982.
The Origins of Consciousness in the Break down of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1976.
The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross by John M. Allegro; Double day; 1969.
Techniques of High Magic, by King and Skinner; Destiny Books; 1976.
The Temple and the Lodge by Baignet and Leigh; Corgy Books; 1989.
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker; Harper Collins; 1983.
1 In 1903, British physician Dr. C. Creighton wrote Indications of the Hashish Vice in the Old Testament, in which he concluded that several references to cannabis 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. Creighton also suggested that Saul’s madness, Jonathan’s and Samson’s strength, and the first chapter of Ezekiel are all to be explained by the use of cannabis. (back)
2 All quotations from Sula Benet in this article are taken from Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp, reprinted in Cannabis and Culture, Vera Rubin, Ed. (back)
3 At this same point in history, 300 BC, a group which would become known as the Gnostics was formed. The Gnostics (meaning knowledge) were a symbiosis of Judaic, Zoroastrian and Neo-Platonic thought, and claimed direct knowledge of the divine.
The Sufis, a group that is said to be an offshoot of Gnostic knowledge, use a similar term for cannabis: khaneh. (back)
4 In Techniques of High Magic, authors King and Skinner list the following astral projection ointment from the 1890’s: lanolin – 5 ounces; hashish – 1 ounce; hemp flowers – 1 handful; poppy flowers – 1 handful; hellebore – 1/2 handful. In 1615, Italian physician and demonologist Giovanni De Ninault listed hemp as the main ingredient in the ointments and unguents used by the “Devil’s followers”. (back)
5 As in Raphael Patai’s The Hebrew Goddess, published by Avon Books in 1967. (Quoted in The Once and Future Goddess, by Elinor W Gadon, Harper & Row, 1989.) (back)
6 William A.Emboden Jr., Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L.: A Historic-Ethnographic Survey, printed in Flesh of the Gods, edited by P.T.Furst, published by Praeger in 1972. (back)
7 An idea which is fully explored in Terence McKenna’s Food of the Gods, published by Bantam in 1992. (back)
8 For more information on Bible erotica see The X-Rated Bible; An Irrevent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures, by Ben Edward Akerley. (back)
9 For more information on the Scythian use of cannabis see the second installment of this series in Cannabis Canada number 2. (back)
10 Wings on gods or angels can be seen as symbolizing the ability to travel between the ‘two worlds’. For example, the Greek god Hermes, who’s winged feet enabled him to act as messenger between men and gods. (back)Where is hemp mentioned in the bible THE HIDDEN STORY OF CANNABIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT By Chris Bennet Part 3 in a series on the History of Cannabis and Human Consciousness T HEN GOD
Where is hemp mentioned in the bible
A Bible Full of Cannabis
3rd ed., Copyright version August 12 th 2016
By Rev. Dr. Anne Armstrong, Deaconess, & Rev. Dr. Alan Gordon, Canon
The Healing Church. . . IN R.I. annearmstrongri[at] gmail.com 401-304-6543
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Angel saving Isaac’s life by showing Abraham a ram trapped in a cannabis plant
Stained glass, the Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul, Providence, IN R.I.
In the original Hebrew Bible, we see the word KNH BSM used to describe the aromatic flowering tops, or their extracted resins, of a Biblical fiber crop called KNH or kaneh . KNH was cannabis hemp — in the Bible, its description matches that of the species cannabis sativa l . , to which all hemp and medicinal cannabis belong.
In the Bible, the plant species called kaneh was multipurpose, a staple textile crop , and source of aromatic plant medicine used ritually to connect with God. It was burned for the “aroma soothing to the Lord, “ who was otherwise an angry, jealous God who brought fighting and disease without the soothing aroma . The word KNH forms the root of modern words “cane,” “canon” (meaning “standard of measure”), and “hemp,” among others. In the Bible, KNH was such a standard crop that the king’s KNH-staff was the kingdom’s standard of linear measurement, or “canon.” He who wielded it was called, in some cultures, the “khan” or “king.” Because the king wielded the realm’s staff of measurement, or ruler, he was called a ruler. KNH is also the root of the modern word “hemp”. Over time, it morphed as follows:
KNH, kaneh, qaneh proto- & modern Hebrew
hanf, hampf German
KNH was a textile plant, the cannabis species. BSM (bosim) is the Hebrew word for “sweet-smelling”, so KNH BSM refers to the sweet smelling flowering tops of KNH , or the resins of the flowers. In the Bible, KNH BSM was dissolved with other spices into olive oil, and this was the holy Anointing Oil , which was the center of Hebrew worship. When Anointing Oil was applied to the skin, it was medicinal and psychoactive — when applied it caused “the Spirit of the Lord” to settle upon a person . This effect (being overcome with the Spirit of the Lord) can be used to find veiled KNH BSM throughout scripture, even where it is not mentioned overtly.
Catholic Cross Station 14 showing the body of Jesus, with anointing spices which, as evidenced by inconsistencies within the 4 New Testament Gospels, were stolen, by the Phariasees Nicodemus and/or Joseph of Arimethea, 100 lbs of these spices — valuable enough to retire a young man — were put in Jesus’ tomb totally out of accordance with Jewish practice (Egyptians anointed the dead, but not Hebrews, despite a false claim to the contrary in the New Testament, which is an important clue unto itself), but were gone when it was opened. Note the stained glass masonic symbols associated with St. Joseph, despite a full ban on freemasonry in the Catholic Church which only the Pope himself can excuse.
Peace Dale Cathedral, Wakefield RI
CANNABIS AND THE MEANING OF SACRIFICE
Noah makes green plant-based aromatic smoke by burning animal flesh
Stained glass, the Cathedral of Mary our Queen, Baltimore MD
When Anointing Oil was burned, it made the “aroma soothing to the Lord,” ending war and disease (the consequences, it was written, of not producing the aroma soothing to the Lord in good faith).
When the ancient Hebrews selected from their herds the grazing animals in the most perfect of health , the fatty tissues made the same aroma on the fire as the KNH BSM-laced Anointing Oil. Think about that. KNH BSM-in-olive-oil made the same aroma on the fire as the fatty tissues of the tribe’s healthiest grazing animals. This was proof for the tribe that cannabis is what made the animals so healthy. For the poor, who could not afford a herd animal that had grazed upon KNH BSM, Biblical law said a wild dove was an acceptable sacrifice, for the dove made the same aroma. Doves, of course, prefer cannabis seed to any other food , feeding upon cannabis exclusively where it is available, and nesting in its tops whenever it can. Cannabis-fed fowl, as it turns out, has been known going back at least to 1675 to have a specially nice flavor as a result . The dove is also the international symbol of peace, and the bird’s role as a cannabivore plays a crucial role in the Bible.
Doves and KNH BSM anointing oil lamp. Fresco, National Franciscan Monastery Catacombs, Washington DC
DOVES AND CANNABIS IN THE BIBLE
Commercial hemp seed grower had to protect his crop from doves trying to eat their natural food source. When shot, such doves reveal the extent of their hunger for this superfood
The dove, like the other sacrificial animals, oils, incenses and vessels, made the aroma soothing to the Lord when heated. The Hebrews did not just burn these edible products and medicines just to praise God’s name while others went hungry or sick. God said the sacrifice laws were for human benefit, not His benefit .
At Jesus’ baptism, the “spirit of the Lord” descended upon Him in the form of a dove. Once, a dove sat on Carpenter Joseph’s staff, in the Infancy Gospel of James (an ancient Book technically excluded from the Bible’s official canon, but still recognized by Roman Catholics, Rastafarians, and other faiths as valid inspired scripture). Had a dove literally sat on Jesus’ head at His baptism , the Bible seemingly would have said so in plain language just as it did in the Infancy Gospel about Joseph’s staff. Instead, perhaps the Bible means only what it says, that the spirit of the Lord came upon Jesus in the same way (or form) that it settles upon a dove. By ingestion.
Jesus would have been breaking the law to use KNH BSM, since he was not legally a Priest entitled to. Still, we find Biblical justification for breaking KNH BSM statute, in the Book of Numbers. At 11:26-29, two men named Eldad and Medad unlawfully “put the spirit of the Lord upon themselves” (i.e. they anointed themselves without permission, since Isaiah (61:1) and David (1Sam 16:13)’s receptivity for the Spirit of the Lord came as a result of KNH BSM anointing). When the other elders tattled on Eldad and Medad, Moses acquitted them at trial, because they had prophesied better than those who tattled, upon whom the Lord’s Spirit did not stay for long.
In James 5:14, we find another example of illegal-but-justified anointing. There, the followers of “Christ” (“the Anointed One”, in Greek) go out and unlawfully heal people with Oil. Jesus the Anointed One presumably told his followers to use Anointing Oil when unlawfully healing people, since He is the Anointed One. Jesus, too, was ultimately acquitted, albeit posthumously and in the court of public opinion.
The story of cannabis pervades the Bible, from the first Book, Genesis, to the last, Revelations. For example, cannabis is present in Eden, in the first Book of the Bible. There, in the beginning, Genesis says man and woman were made side by side, as equals — on Day 6, which is important. Then, inexplicably, Genesis goes back and re-tells Creation a second time, and, on Day 3 (the day plants were Created), God creates Adam and Eve. These two were therefore plants. Suddenly, it finally makes sense how a male can drop a “rib” or “branch” — the same word in Hebrew — and sprout a genetically identical female right from the ground. No human has ever reproduced in this fashion, but a dioecious semi-hermaphroditic plant species like cannabis can do so, readily. Since Adam and Eve were created on Day 3, the day of plant Creation, and not on Day 6, when humans were made side by side as equals, they seem more likely to be cannabis than homo sapiens.
Jesus with cannabis leaf and dove.
Stained glass, National Basilica Shrine to
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC
THE TREE OF LIFE, AND ITS RESEMBLANCE TO CANNABIS
In the Bible, the Tree of Life, in its many references, is depicted as botanically quite similar to cannabis.
Scripture says the Tree of Life is a species, as opposed to just a single individual plant , for example in Revelations 22.
The Bible says this species has 2 forms, a tall/straight (sativa) variety, and short bushy/viney (indica) variety. These two Tree of Life forms, or phenotypes, says the Bible, can apparently be as easily crossbred as the 2 kingdoms, Israel and Judea, were at the time of Ezekiel .
The Tree of Life can even grow from cuttings , which can root directly in water like cannabis. In the Bible, the Tree of Life can root directly in water , just like cannabis is often grown hydroponically. As St. John prophesied, the Tree of Life would one day grow in cities with glass streets and glowing multicoloured gems, under a special sun which neither rises nor sets — this sounds startlingly like an ancient mystic’s frantic attempt to describe his vision of a future greenhouse supplemented by LED grow lights, in the era before glass windows or electricity by which he could have understood what he saw.
In the Bible, many species of birds shelter in the Tree of Life , just as in real life, cannabis seed is such an important bird seed that in 1937, birdseed companies lobbied for an exemption for its seed when cannabis was first banned, claiming that many birds simply will not sing without it. Animals give birth under the Tree of Life . Cannabis has long been associated with birth, due to its womb-relaxing properties, which were so noteworthy that midwives in ancient Israel used it routinely for that purpose. Its foliage is a medicine .
The Tree of Life produces food (seed), textiles (shelter), and medicine (healing) and joyous INEBRIATION.
“Inebriate” means, essentially, to “Hebrify”, i.e., make the aroma soothing to the Lord.
Cannabis, bright green, can be seen at the angel’s feet, with a ram trapped in it, as the angel points Abraham’s attention to heavenly golden Passionflower vines in the altar smoke. This may be a clue that other cannabis-like passionflower Bible art in that Cathedral, appearing where cannabis is listed in scripture instead, is a visual pun to that effect, or code. Note that the angel is pointing not to the ram which will save Isaac’s life, but instead to the golden celestial “passionflower” leaves rising in the sacrificial smoke. The ram, however, is not trapped in a passionflower thicket, but a cannabis thicket.
Stained glass, Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul, Providence RI
One of the Bible’s most striking and terrifying set of cannabis references are in the cosmic Book of St. John’s Revelation, which predicts the future, seemingly into the modern era of helicopters and flamethrowers. In the Bible’s most mysterious Book, it is revealed that the Tree of Life, appearing as an incredibly cannabis-like sacred plant, will be restored to mankind at a particular spot on Earth, a real place, a place famous unto its own right, but one precisely matching Revelations’ prophecy, to a tee. St. John’s Revelation says that the Temple of Solomon will be rebuilt, carefully measured with a golden KNH (golden rule). At that site, it says, is a Wellspring from which life and freedom spring, where the Tree of Life is to be given back to mankind. There, 12 Trees of Life will line the wellspring, their roots directly in the waters, staggered in growth to ripen once per month round the year, growing under a special sun which neither rises nor sets, in a city of glass panels, a city of God.
Tree of Life with both cannabis leaves and grapes. Grape leaves look completely different, as evidenced by the live grape vines kept in this church as if to show the difference. Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, Providence RI
RIGHT: Grapes, from stained glass in the same church LEFT: “Passionflower” leaves from the same stained glass window
Poor St. John, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. Those befuddled prophets sound as if they saw into the future, and saw a greenhouse hydroponic cannabis grow, under LED plant lights, in a tiny State with a 12-plant grow limit. The City of God they saw was Providence (IN R.I.), and the Wellspring they saw is the well from which the entire world’s religious freedom sprang. Providence, as it turns out, has a Sacred Well from which the whole world’s religious freedom springs, first in 1636 in the American colonies, then in 1787 US-wide as the right was Constitutionalized, then globally as the right was copied from there into the Constitutions of every modern nation on earth. There, says Revelations, at the Wellspring in the City of God, the Tree of Life’s healing leaves are to be given back to mankind, for the healing of nations.
The Sacred Well of the Promise and the Prophecy, from which the whole world’s religious freedom first sprang.
Roger Williams National Memorial, Providence, IN R.I.
And in real life, at that very Wellspring in downtown Providence RI, USA, a tiny Church prayed there with KNH BSM, was attacked by federal police on July 20, 2015. Later that night (in the wee hours of the morning of July 21, technically), against all odds, a literal earthquake struck the site, to prove God’s instructions, “leave alone the elect.” An earthquake, in Providence RI.
The ancient Hebrews knew a lot about cannabis, which is why the word “Hebrew” and “inebriate” share the same root. Note that the word is not “intoxicate” (for cannabis is simply not toxic). The latter word is for wine, but cannabis does something better. It Hebrifies, or, inebriates.
MOSES’ LEGAL ERROR, AND HOW WOMEN FIXED IT
Rev. Dr. Anne blows the ram’s horn shofar at the tomb of Roger Williams, who is credited with co-founding religious freedom in North America when he established Rhode Island c. 1636. Every synagogue has its own shofar, but most of them smell like musky ram, because theirs are not properly sanctified at each use with KNH BSM smoke. Rev. Dr. Anne’s shofar always smells clean and fresh, because it is being used correctly, and has been made incorruptible. Here at The Healing Church, we think our shofarim don’t stink.
A special hereditary male-only caste of Priests was given special Biblical legal protection to make and use KNH BSM oil and its smoky, God-soothing aroma heavily, day and night, morning to evening, evening to morning , under the law Moses transcribed from his conversation with God on Mount Sinai. And while the Hebrews knew that heavy daily cannabis use was hereditary and exactly how rare (occurring in 1 in 36 Hebrew males, according to the Bible ), the law describing this hereditary condition (“the Trait”), as Moses wrote it, had 2 major flaws:
- Women in Biblical law were wrongfully considered mere property of their father or husband, and so women who had the hereditary trait for KNH BSM were neither counted, nor given special rights (since women had to rights at all); and
- Only one woman (Mary) was ever recognized as having Priestly rights or capabilities, despite a number of women who the Bible depicts as prophetesses capable of handled anointing oil, and despite a Biblical narrative which clearly describes the KNH BSM (Priestly) Trait passing on the maternal and not paternal gene. The proof that the Trait passed maternally can be seen in the examples of both Tamar and Mary — Jesus was said, in Isaiah 1:11, to be from the genetic line (“root and stump”) of Jesse. The problem is that without Mary and Tamar, Jesus had no hereditary link to Jesse at all, even though the law did not recognize women’s lineage or title to be able to pass those holy genetics on to offspring.
Those who had this predilection for heavy cannabis use were called “Priests,” or, if someone arose with the Trait, but outside the patrilineal Priestly dynastic line, they were called “Prophets”. These Priests and Prophets were known as “Anointed Ones”, or, in Hebrew, Messiahs. The difference between the two was that a Priest had legal title to use cannabis, as did his sons , but a prophet was an Anointed One (cannabis user) who had no legal title, arising out of breeding lines excluded from the Priesthood by law — because the law did not recognize women as people, wrongfully. Moses’ Law correctly recognized the incidence the Trait in males, and created a safe exemptive office for them, but the Law failed to create any office for women to safely use cannabis, let alone serve as the tribe’s judges, doctors and decision-makers. The Law said simply that only men could use cannabis as Anointed Ones, and that their sons would also have the Trait and so should also be Priests — a paternal dynasty. Therein lay the error of Moses’ Law, because the Biblical narrative (the Bible’s story, beyond the Laws it sets forth) shows that women indeed had the Trait, and could be Prophetesses. Indeed, the Bible story also shows that Priests’ sons were no more likely than average (1 in 36) to have the trait, unless their mother had it. Five times in scripture, the Priestly Trait is only passed to a holy man’s son by virtue of a Prophetess: Ruth, Rahab, Tamar, King Zedekiah’s daughters, and Mary Mother of Jesus. This proves that Moses’ law for Priestly and kingly succession were in error . A holy man’s son, in the Bible, is not necessarily holy (though the Law says he is supposed to be), whereas a holy woman’s son is.
The Hebrew tradition says a boy’s religion is that of his mother, but their Old Testament Law was otherwise.
The Biblical narrative’s over-arching theme is that each new generation of priests or princes falls shy of their fathers’ holiness, lacking some crucial trait of leadership, unless his mother passed that trait on to him. It is probably time to give greater recognition to our Prophetesses, and create an office of High Priestess.
Burning Bush painting on altar ceiling, the National Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC , compared to cannabis flower from the authors’ garden
Cannabis, the Tree of Life whose branches are woven throughout Holy Writ from Genesis to Revelations, is returning into the world. As our understanding of this miraculous gift matures, those who formerly shrank away in fear when challenged over their cannabis use will rapidly find the strength and courage to stand up and defend themselves like free women and men. When word spreads that the cannabis plant and its miraculous effects were the basis for both Judaism and Christianity and that this truth has been painstakingly documented by a combined effort of the Catholic Church and the Masons in all the world’s cathedrals, the State’s ability to enforce statutory regulations or impose taxes melts away. Prohibition was enforceable only when the populace believed that cannabis was the stuff of “Reefer Madness”. The Lamb of God takes all that away. Help us to spread the Good News, so that we can unwind from this madness gently.
Mary, aged 3, fulfilling a prophecy by stopping to dance under the first KNH BSM oil lamp she encounters at the Temple, proving she is a Prophetess and Priestess, as portrayed in the Protovangelicum Jacobi. The National Franciscan Monastery, Washington DC.
Fresco exhorting viewers not to pay tax on KNH BSM sacrament for the Lord commanded its soothing aroma. National Franciscan Monastery catacombs, Washington DC.Where is hemp mentioned in the bible A Bible Full of Cannabis 3rd ed., Copyright version August 12 th 2016 By Rev. Dr. Anne Armstrong, Deaconess, & Rev. Dr. Alan Gordon, Canon The ]]>