Cannabis legend and consumption are fundamental aspects of many of the worlds great religions.
SHINTOISM (Japan)Cannabis was used for the binding together of married couples, to drive away evil spirits, and was thought to create laughter and happiness in marriage.
HINDUISM (India)The God Shiva is said to have brought cannabis from the Himalayas for human enjoyment and enlightenment. The Sardu Priests travel throughout India and the world sharing chillum pipes filled with cannabis, sometimes blended with other substances. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna states, I am the healing herb (Ch. 9:16), while the Bhagarat-purana Fifth Canto describes hashish in explicitly sexual terms.
BUDDHISTS (Tibet, India, and China)from the 5th Century B.C.E. onritually used cannabis; initiation rites and mystical experiences were (are) common in many Chinese Buddhist Sects. Some Tibetan Buddhists and lamas (priests) consider cannabis their most holy plant. Many Buddhist traditions, writings, and beliefs indicate that Siddhartha (the Buddha) himself, used and ate nothing but hemp and its seeds for six years prior to announcing (discovering) his truths and becoming the Buddha (Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path).
Regarding the ZOROASTRIANS or Magi (Persia, circa 8th to 7th Centuries B.C.E. to 3rd to 4th Centuries C.E.), it is widely believed by many Christian scholars, commentators, etc., that the three Magi or Wise Men who attended the birth of Christ were cult references to the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian religion was based (at least on the surface) on the entire cannabis plant, the chief religious sacrament of its priest class, and its most important medicine, (e.g., obstetrics, incense rites, anointing and christening oils), as well as lighting or fire oils in their secular world. The word magic is generally considered derived from the ZoroastriansMagi.
The ESSENES (ancient Israeli sect of extreme Hebrewites approx. 200 B.C.E. to 73 C.E.) used hemp medicinally, as did the THERAPUTEA (Egypt), from whom we get the term therapeutic. Both are believed by some scholars to be disciples of, or in a brotherhood with, the priests/magician of the Zoroastrians.
EARLY JEWSAs part of their holy Friday night services in the Temple of Solomon, 60-80,000 men ritually passed around and inhaled 20,000 incense burners filled with kanabosom (cannabis), before returning home for the largest meal of the week (munchies?).
SUFIS OF ISLAM (Middle East)Moslem mystical priests who have taught, used, and extolled cannabis for divine revelation, insight, and oneness with Allah, for at least the last 1,000 years. Many Moslem and world scholars believe the mysticism of the Sufi Priests was actually that of the Zoroastrians who survived Moslem conquests of the 7th and 8th Centuries C.E. and subsequent conversion (change your religion and give up liquor or be beheaded).
COPTIC CHRISTIAN (Egypt/Ethiopia)Some sects believe the sacred green herb of the field in the Bible (I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Ezekiel 34:29) and the Biblical secret incenses, sweet incenses, and anointing oils to be cannabis.
The BANTUS (Africa)had secret Dagga Cults,* societies which restricted cannabis use to the ruling men. The Pygmies, Zulus, and Hottentots all found it an indispensable medication for cramps, epilepsy, and gout, and as a religious sacrament.
*Their Dagga cults believed Holy Cannabis was brought to earth by the Gods, in particular from the Two Dog Star system that we call Sirius A and B. Dagga literally means cannabis. Interestingly, the surviving Indo-European word for the plant can also be read as canna, reed and bi, two, as well as canna, as in canine; and bis, meaning two (bi) Two Dogs.
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