Previous Jewish hashish use for shamanic ecstasy confirmed by archaeological proof


For more than a quarter of a century I have been writing about a theorized role of cannabis in the worship of the ancient Jewish temple. Cannabis Culture published one of my first articles in 1996, Kaneh Bosm: Cannabis in the Old Testament. Many contested these claims and rejected my work, but others accepted it, and enough was said that the work took on a life of its own. Now, with new archaeological evidence, the theory has become a historical reality.

The Journal of the Institute of Archeology at Tel Aviv University, Volume 47, 2020 – Issue 1, published the work Cannabis and Incense in the Judahite Shrine by Arad by Eran Arie, Baruch Rosen & Dvory Namdar, on the analysis from unknown dark Material preserved on the upper surfaces of two monoliths used in a Jewish temple complex. The residues were submitted for analysis in two unrelated laboratories that used similar established extraction methods.

Residues of cannabinoids such as Δ9-Teterahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabinol (CBN) as well as a number of terpenes and terpenoids were found on the smaller altar, which indicates that cannabis inflorescences were burned on them. Organic residues have also been found attributed to animal manure, suggesting that the cannabis resin had been mixed with manure to allow mild heating. The larger altar contained a collection of indicative triterpenes such as boswellic acid and noruratratria, which come from frankincense. The additional presence of animal fat – in related compounds like testosterone, androstening, and cholesterol – suggests that resin has been mixed with it to facilitate evaporation. These well-preserved remains shed new light on the use of 8th-century Arad altars and incense offerings in Judah during the Iron Age.

This research has made international headlines and shakes the scientific and religious world with this amazing revelation. Newsweek – Cannabis discovered in the shrine of the Biblical Kingdom of Israel may have been used in hallucinogenic cult rituals; BBC – "Cannabis Burned During Worship" by Ancient Israelites – Study; Popular Archeology – New Research Reveals Cannabis and Incense in Biblical Arad Judahite Shrine; The Times (UK) – Judean worshipers had a lot of cannabis, archaeologists reveal. Haaretz – Ancient Israelites used cannabis as a temple offering, study results: analysis of the remains of the altar shows that worshipers burned a pot in a Jewish desert sanctuary – and possibly did so in the First Temple in Jerusalem. Countless other news sources have confirmed this study.

A reconstruction of the temple complex at the center of this controversial discovery.

As described in the Newsweek article:

"We can assume that the scent of incense gave the cult in the shrine a special ambience, while the burning of cannabis brought at least some of the priests and worshipers into a state of religious consciousness or ecstasy," said Arie. "It is logical to assume that this was an important part of the ceremonies that took place in this shrine."

“The new evidence from Arad shows for the first time that the official cult of Judah – at least in the 8th century BC. Chr. – Hallucinogenic ingredients contained. We can assume that the religiously altered state of consciousness in this shrine was an important part of the ceremonies that took place here, ”he said.

Recently, in April, as part of their censorship campaign, YouTube removed my 2014 Pot TV documentary “Kaneh Bosm: The Hidden History of Cannabis”, which had over 600,000 views to get “wrong or dangerous” information. Fortunately, others copied and shared it, so it's still available.

This excerpt from my most recent book, Liber 420, gives you an idea of ​​the context of this ancient Jewish use and how it was banned and lost:

Kaneh Bosm: Cannabis in the Bible?

Prophets practiced states of ecstasy and may have used incense and narcotics to achieve impressive effects. The Israelite prophets … acted as media. In a state of trance or frenzy, they told their divine visions in a song, sometimes a cry. These conditions could be caused by music … But the prophets also used incense, narcotics and alcohol and sometimes abused it … (Johnson, 1987) -Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

The notion that the Old Testament prophets may have used psychoactive substances to achieve a shamanic trance in which the revelations of Yahweh could be received is just as unsettling for modern believers as Darwin’s theory of evolution is for them counterparts from the 19th century. Century, just as Darwin's theory of evolution questioned the creation myths from the Genesis books, this entheogenic origin of the Jewish religion points to a scientifically and anthropologically based theory about the origins of the Bible itself through shamanism and psychoactive plants. As Professor Georg Luck remarked: "The idea that Moses himself and the priests who followed him relied on" chemical tools "to get in touch with the Lord must be disturbing for many or to be repulsive. It seems that religion – any religion – deteriorates when you associate it with shamanic practices … ”(Luck, 1985/2006). Happiness experienced these reactions himself when his decades of research into ancient magical rites led him to such a hypothesis. “When I was dealing with psychoactive substances that were used in magic and religion as well as in ancient times in magic, I came across Chapter 30 in the book Exodus, in which Moses prescribes the composition of sacred incense and anointing oil . Judging by the ingredients, it occurred to me that … [these] substances could act as "entheogens", the incense that is stronger than the oil. … ”(Luck, 1985/2006)

Professor Luck pointed out the allegedly mild psychoactive effects of myrrh and especially frankincense, as emerges from a number of recent studies (Drahl, 2008; Khan, 2012). Frankincense contains trahydrocannabinol, which in its molecular structure is similar to tetrahydrocannabinol to the psychoactive component of cannabis. And it has been hypothesized that even in modern church rituals, the mild mood-enhancing effects can help create a religious state of mind among church members who are close enough to breathe in its effects. However, this alleged effect was difficult to reproduce in any significant way under clinical conditions. Luck noticed this and explained: “No two types of incense … have exactly the same effect. There are many varieties that come from different regions along the old frankincense route, and some of the stronger ones may no longer be available. The blends used in churches today seem to be rather mild, if one can call them psychoactive at all ”(Luck, 1985/2006).

What Luck and Johnson apparently did not know in their comments about the shamanic nature of the Israeli prophets and their possible use of psychoactive substances is proof that cannabis plays a role among the ancient Jews in this precise context

Although there have been numerous suggestions for references to cannabis in the scriptures that I have examined elsewhere, the most convincing evidence of cannabis in the Bible comes from the etymological research by the Polish anthropologist Sula Benet on the Hebrew word Kaneh Bosm. In her essays "Pursuing a Word through Different Languages" (1936) and "Early Diffusions and Popular Uses of Hemp" (1975), Benet demonstrated that the Hebrew terms "Kaneh" and "Kaneh Bosm" (also translated "Qaneh" and "& # 39; qaneh bosm & # 39;) identified cannabis by tracing the modern term back through history, finding the similarities to the later Mishna term for cannabis, Kanabos, and identifying it with the ancient Assyrian compared] Word kunubu (also translated qunubu), which has long been considered identifying cannabis and was used in an almost identical ritual context as kaneh bosm by the ancient Jews. The root "kaneh" in this construction means "reed" or "hemp" while "bosm" means "aromatic." This word appeared in Exodus 30:23, while in Song 4:14, Isaiah 43:24, Jeremiah 6:20, Ezekiel 27: 19 the term Keneh (or Q & # 39; aneh) is used without the addition of Bosem. As Sula genet explained, the Hebrew word Kaneh-Bosm was later misinterpreted as Calamus, an ordinary swamp plant with little monetary value that does not have the characteristics or the value attributed to the Kaneh-Bosm. This error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew texts, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and was then repeated in the following translations.

As Prof. Carl Ruck of Boston University explains:

Cannabis is called Kaneh Bosem in Hebrew, which is now recognized as the Scythian word that Herodotus wrote as cannabis (or cannabis). The translators of the Bible usually translate this as a "fragrant cane", i.e. H. As an aromatic grass. Once the word is translated correctly, the use of cannabis in the Bible is clear. Large amounts of it were mixed into the ordination ointment. This ointment … was also used to fumigate the sacred closed space. The ointment (absorbed through the skin) and the scent of the vessels (both absorbed by handling and inhaled as perfume) and the smoke of the frankincense in a confined space would have been a very effective means of administering the psychoactive properties of the plant. Since only the high priest entered the tabernacle, it was an experience reserved for him … (Ruck, 2009)

The well-known cannabinoid researcher and historian Dr. Ethan Russo also notes: “I think it is absolutely clear that cannabis was in the Holy Land. We have archaeological evidence from the 4th century. [AD] There was this carbonized fragment of cannabis found in a cave in Bet Shemesh in Israel. Also, I firmly believe that Kaneh Bosm was cannabis in Hebrew, so I am absolutely convinced that it was there. … In Exodus it is mentioned that Kaneh Bosm was part of the holy anointing oil, which is also used as incense and really makes sense. "(Russo, 2003) As Ruck and co-authors have found, the term" also occurs in Song of Songs 4.14, where it grows in an orchard of exotic fruits, herbs and spices … It also occurs in Isaiah 43.24 , where Yahweh lists the inadequate offerings of the Kaneh bosmos among the victims; and Jeremiah 6:20, where Yahweh, dissatisfied with his people, rejects such a sacrifice; and Ezekiel 27:19, where it appears in a catalog of luxury goods in the import trade of tires … This conclusion has since been confirmed by other scientists. It is ironic that Calamus "sweet flag", the replacement for the alleged cannabis, is itself a well-known hallucinogen for which TMA-2 is derived "(Ruck et al., 2001).

Kaneh bosm sounds similar to the Assyrian name for cannabis, qunubu. And this connection continues through the identical use of Qunubu incense and ointment for spiritual purposes than that of the Holy Oil and Incense of the Old Testament Jews and the Kaneh bosmos.

Recipes for cannabis, qunubu, frankincense, which were regarded as copies of much older versions, were found in the cuneiform script of the legendary Assyrian king Assurbanipal (born 685 – approx. 627 BC, reg. 669 – approx. 631 BC) Chr.) Found. Not only was cannabis sifted for incense like modern hashish, but the active properties were also extracted into oils. "The translation of" Letters and Contracts, No. 162 "(Keizer, 1921), qu-un-na-pu is mentioned in a list of spices (Scheil, 1921) (p. 13) and would be translated from French (EWC) & # 39; (qunnapu): hemp oil; Hashish ”(Russo, 2005). In Babylonian religious rites, “inspiration came from burning incense that, when we follow other evidence, evoked a prophetic trance. The gods were also invoked through incense. "(Mackenzie, 1915) Records from the time of Asurbanipal's father Esarhaddon, cannabis," Qunubu "as one of the main ingredients of the" sacred rites ". In a letter from 680 BC To the mother of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon, reference is made to qu-nu-bu. When Esarhaddon's mother asked "What is used in the holy rites", a high priest replied that "the main objects … because the rites are fine oil, water, honey, fragrant plants (and) hemp [qunubu]." ( Waterman, 1936) Cannabis was clearly an important ritual tool in Mesopotamia from the very beginning, and Professor George Hackman referred to 4000-year-old inscriptions that refer to cannabis in Urm Umma's temple documents of the third dynasty, in which a “Memoranda of three regular hemp victims.” (Hackman, 1937) There is evidence that cannabis in ancient Mesopotamia was also used for ritual purposes in food and in beverages, similar to the Haoma / Soma Preparations that were rubbed in topically (Bennett, 2010)

As the 19th century scholar Francois Lenormant observed in Le Magie chez les Chaldean: “The Chaldean magus used artificial means, for example intoxicating drugs, to achieve [a] states of arousal. Cleaning acts and mysterious rituals increased the power of mantras. These mysterious rituals include the use of enchanted potions that undoubtedly contained medications that were medically effective ”(Lenormant 1874).

An Assyrian medical tablet from the Louvre collection was transliterated: "So that the god of man and man is in a good relationship: – You will rub it with hellebore, cannabis and lupine." (Russo 2005). Similar current preparations containing cannabis, as will be discussed later, occur in the Sepher Raziel from the 16th century: Liber Salomonis and other grimoires and were also used by later occultists such as LA Cahagnet and PB Randolph together with others used. Other intercultural references to such current cannabis preparations have been identified (Bennett & McQueen, 2001; Bennett, 2006).

Health Canada has carried out scientific tests that show that transdermal absorption of THC can take place. The skin is the largest organ in the body, so obviously a lot more cannabis is needed to be effective in this way, much more than if swallowed or smoked. The people who used the sacred oil literally drenched it. Based on a 25 mg / g oil, Health Canada found THC skin penetration (33%). "The high concentration of THC outside the skin promotes penetration, which is a function of the difference between the outside and the inside (where the concentration is essentially zero)." Health Canada, who was concerned that humans benefit greatly from hemp body products, concluded that even with a THC content limited to 10 ppm, "there are insufficient safety margins between potential exposure and side effects of cannabinoids cosmetics, Food and nutraceuticals made from industrial hemp. “(Health Canada, 2001) * I personally met Dr. Geiwitz spoken and he told me that this is strong evidence of the possible psychoactive effects of the Holy Oil.

* as quoted in (James Geiwitz, Ph.D., 2001)

Only those who were "consecrated by God's anointing oil" (Leviticus 21:12) were allowed to appear as priests. In the “holy” state caused by the anointing oil, priests were forbidden to leave the sanctuary areas (Leviticus 21:12), and the passage from Exodus above illustrates the sanctity of this ointment and its use is used The priests guarded jealously. These rules were probably passed so that other tribesmen would not find out the secret behind Moses and the newly discovered shamanistic revelations of the priesthood. Or worse, take on a similar preparation. An event that would likely cause Moses and his Levites to lose their authority over their old tribal colleagues. Those who broke this strong tribal taboo risked being punished "cut off from their people", a virtual death sentence in wild antiquity. Revealed secrets are synonymous with loss of power, a rule of thumb common to shamans and magicians worldwide, and the ancient Hebrew shamans have kept their secrets as strict as anyone else. "The words the Lord spoke to Moses …" where I will meet with you "should be understood in the strictest literal sense. God will appear to the priest who uses the substance in the right way. But the sanctions against every reckless, occasional use is immense… An "entheogen" is naturally surrounded by taboos because it offers access to the deity and the enormous power that it converts has to be controlled. "(Luck, 1985/2006)

In addition, this sacred oil should be used specifically in the tent of the congregation, where the angel of the Lord would "speak" to Moses from a column of smoke above the altar. According to what is described in Exodus, Moses and later high priests would cover themselves with this ointment and also pour something on the altar of incense before they burn it and during the ritual. "In addition to his role in anointing, the holy oil of the Hebrews was burned as incense and its use was reserved for the priestly class" (Russo, 2007).

the Assyrian King Essarhaddon in a tent to catch incense, a Scythian fumigation tent and the smoke-filled biblical "tent of encounter"

In the Torah, the pillar of smoke that appeared before Moses in the "tent of the assembly" is referred to as "Shekinah" and identified as physical evidence of the presence of the Lord. None of the other Hebrews in the Exodus account sees or hears the Lord, they only know that Moses speaks to the Lord when the smoke comes out of the assembly tent. It is hard not to see all the classic elements of shamanism in this description of Moses' encounter with God, and like Zoroaster, Moses can be seen as an ecstatic shamanic figure who used cannabis as a means of seeking heavenly advice. Such techniques of invocation certainly occur in later magic.

The magician Moses saw his messages from the Lord in an act of biblical capnomancy, and this was a traditional use of cannabis in magical rituals that continued in occult circles until modern times. Like Ernest Bosc De Veze, who also wrote a treatise on hashish, in Petite Encyclopedie Synthetique des Sciences Occultes in relation to "Kapnomantie … fortune telling … the smoke that is extracted from psychological plants such as verbena, hashish or Indian hemp … [are] used ”(Bosc, 1904). In such cases there was not only the psychoactive effects of the smoke used, but the smoke also provided the partially material basis on which the entity or vision called could be viewed. "The magician … burned aromatic substances and anointed his body with perfumed ointments. The entire structure for a revelation was there: now only the deity had to appear ”(Brashear, 1991).

… [T] he smoked himself was the revelation. The smoke was inhaled by the wizard and his client and the vision came into a trance. The smell of psychoactive substances … acts very quickly and predictably on the human brain.

… [T] Inhaling the sacred incense could create a powerful vision of the deity in the priest. Other factors were probably involved too, the smell of the sacred oil used to anoint the priest, the altar and other sacred objects in the temple, the golden surface of the altar reflecting the glow of lamps … The shiny surfaces reflecting the nearby sacred lamps could help the priest get trance while breathing smoke. (Luck, 1985/2006)

Just when Moses received his answers in a rising cloud of smoke from cannabis resin, we can see from a reference in Isaiah that it was more difficult to get the answers sought if the cannabis was missing! The gentleman complains that his cannabis supply has been neglected. When the prophet seeks advice, the Lord complains: “You didn't buy me a sweet cane (kaneh) with money, nor did you fill me with the fat of your victims; but you made me serve with your sins, you tired me with your misdeeds. "

Other textual evidence from Isaiah, although they do not identify cannabis by name, provide clear evidence that the Lord's hunger for his favorite smoke has sometimes been quenched and that hemp has been used extensively as shamanic incense in the districts of the temple: shamanic ceremonies:

And the door jambs moved with the weeping voice, and the temple was filled with smoke.

Then I said: “Woe to me, because I have not happened; because I am a man with unclean lips and I live in the midst of a people with unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the king, the lord of hosts. "

One of the Seraphim flew to me and had a living coal in his hand, which he had taken off the altar with tongs. And he put them on my mouth and said, Behold, that touched your lips; and your iniquity will be taken away and your sin will be removed. "(Isaiah 6: 4-7)

Those of us who are familiar with hashish know that it burns like incense and coal, and it is not difficult to imagine an elaborately dressed old shaman with a mask and artificial wings lifting a burning hashish coal. or pressed bud to the lips of the old prophet Isaiah. Interestingly, the pliers holder is called "Seraphim", which means "fiery snake", and was associated with the Nehushtan that Moses made and later destroyed King Hezekiah during his own religious reforms because the Israelites burned incense in the temple itself.

Kaneh (cannabis) can also be found in the most beautiful prose in the whole Bible, Solomon's Song 4.14, where it grows in an orchard of exotic fruits, herbs and spices:

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon … How much more pleasant is your love than wine and the smell of your ointment than any spice! … The scent of your robes is like that of Lebanon … Your plants are an orchard made of pomegranates with exquisite fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, Kaneh [cannabis] and cinnamon, with every kind of frankincense tree … (Song of Songs) 4: 8-14)

Solomon has often been associated with magic, and this is particularly true of medieval European magical traditions, in which magic books such as Clavicula Salomonis, "The Key of Solomon" (14th-15th centuries) and Clavicula Salomonis Regis from the 17th Century "Solomon's Little Key is a typical example of Renaissance magic. The most interesting of these magical manuscripts is the Sepher Raziel: Liber Salomonis from the 16th century, which was discussed because of its use of cannabis ointments to see visions in magical mirrors.

Solomon's reputation for magic goes back much further. The testament of Solomon, which probably dates back to between the first and third centuries AD, is one of the oldest magical texts about the old Jewish king. This text is a pseudo-graphical catalog of demons summoned by King Solomon and how to counter them by calling angels and other magical techniques. Solomon's will refers to a story in which the magician king forces a demon to spin hemp! "So I ordered her to spin hemp for the ropes used in building the house of God ;; and accordingly, when I sealed and bound her, she was so overwhelmed and free that she stood and turned the hemp day and night ”(The Testament of Solomon, 100-300 AD)

Ingested cannabis references have also long been suggested, such as that in an essay from 1903, references to the Hachish vice in the Old Testament, Dr. Creighton was referred to reports in the books of Daniel, Samuel and especially Ezekiel in this regard. Son of man, eat what is in front of you, eat this scroll; Then go and talk to the house of Israel. “ So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. So I ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Then the spirit lifted me up and I heard a loud rumble behind me – May the glory of the Lord be praised in his apartment! – the sound of the wings of living beings grazing against each other and the sound of the wheels next to them a loud rumble. The spirit then picked me up and took me away… ”(Ezekiel 3: 4-14).

Others suggested that the important biblical and apocryphal figure Esra consumed a wine infused with cannabis. Esra was a key figure in the Jewish monotheistic reformation after the Persians brought her back home. Interestingly, at least two researchers who are more than a century apart and who live in different parts of the world have come to the conclusion that Ezra got his inspiration for this act from the same source of inspiration as his Zoroastrian overlords… .. a wine infused with cannabis! Here is Ezra's own account of it. Esra told people not to seek him for forty days, and he went into the desert and took five people to act as his scribes:

“The next day, see, a voice called to me. Esdras open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink! Then I opened my mouth and, behold, it reached me with a full cup filled with water, so to speak, but the color was like fire. I took it and drank; and when I had drunk of it, my heart expressed understanding, and wisdom grew in my chest, for my spirit was strengthened and my memory; and my mouth was no longer opened and closed; and they sat for forty days and wrote in the day, and ate bread at night. I spoke during the day and did not hold my tongue at night. In forty days they wrote two hundred and four books. “2 Esdras 14:38 to 44.

As Georg W. Brown stated more than a century ago:

“A voice made his mouth open, he – the voice of course – reached Esdras a full cup. It would be interesting to know whose voice had such unnatural powers; However, we believe that the reader is much more concerned with knowing the contents of the cup … which had such a miraculous ability, probably the same, that had the "fruit of the tree" that grew "in the middle of the garden" and their food opened the eyes of our first parents and enabled them to “see as gods who know good and bad”. Wir glauben, dass wir diese gewünschten Informationen liefern können, um dies zu tun, was wir gezwungen sind, einige Tatsachen zu antizipieren, die unter zoroastrischen Anbetern existieren; viele Jahrhunderte vor dem Datum, an dem Religionisten Abraham zuschreiben und das zu der Zeit in Persien, Assyrien und Babylonien praktiziert wurde, schrieb Esra jüdische Geschichte unter dem Einfluss des „feurigen Bechers“.

Neben anderen Pflichten, die für gelegentliche Opfer von Tieren an Ahura-Mazda erforderlich waren, war neben Gebeten, Lobpreisungen, Danksagungen und der Rezitation von Hymnen die Aufführung… einer merkwürdigen Zeremonie, die als die der Haoma oder Homa bekannt ist. Dies bestand aus der Extraktion des Safts der Homa-Pflanze durch die Priester während der Gebetsrezitation, der formellen Präsentation der dem Opferfeuer extrahierten Flüssigkeit,… dem Verbrauch eines kleinen Teils davon durch einen der amtierenden Minister und die Aufteilung des Restes unter den Anbetern…

Was war das Haoma oder Homa, die Produktion der Mondpflanze, die in diesen Regionen von Asien im hohen Norden für den erfolgreichen Anbau der Traube wuchs und dennoch solche berauschenden Eigenschaften hervorbrachte? Es ist in den medizinischen Büchern als Apocynum Cannabinum bekannt und gehört zur indischen Hanffamilie, wobei Cannabis Indica eine offizielle Zubereitung davon ist. Es ist heute in Indien als Bhang bekannt und bei uns im Volksmund als Haschisch bekannt, dessen stimulierende und berauschende Wirkungen den Ärzten gut bekannt sind. (Brown, 1890)

Mehr als ein Jahrhundert nach Brown stellte Vicente Dobroruka in seinem Aufsatz Vorbereitung auf Visionen in der jüdischen apokalyptischen Literatur des zweiten Tempels einen Vergleich zwischen der persischen Technik der schamanischen Ekstase und der von Esra fest „Ähnliche Getränke tauchen in der persischen Literatur auf… Vishtapa hat eine Erfahrung, die im Dinkard durchaus gleichwertig ist… wo eine Mischung aus Wein (oder Haoma) und Hanf mit Henbane erwähnt wird… Das Buch Artay Viraz erwähnt auch Visionen gewonnen aus mit Hanf gemischtem Wein und für die Zubereitung des Sehers… “(Dobroruka, 2002)

Dobroruka hat dieses Thema in seinem späteren Artikel aus dem Jahr 2006, Chemisch induzierte Visionen im vierten Buch Esra, im Lichte von persischem Vergleichsmaterial ausführlicher behandelt und erneut direkte Vergleiche zwischen Ezras Feuerbecher und den mit Mang-Mix infundierten Getränken gezogen der zoroastrischen Psychonauten. Interessanterweise bezog sich Rabbi Immanuel Löw auf ein altes jüdisches Rezept (Sabb. 14. 3. Aufl. Urbach, 9.-11. Jahrhundert) das das Mischen von Wein mit gemahlenem Safran, arabischem Gummi, forderte und hasisat surur, "Ich kenne 'surur' nur als Alias ​​für das Harz der Cannabis sativa" (Low, 1924).

Low made no comment on the word “hasisat” which is very reminiscent of the name for cannabis resins in the medieval Arabic world  “hasis” (hashish), and the term is generally thought to have been derived at in that period. However, the 19th century scholar John Kitto also put forth two different potential Hebrew word candidates for the origins of the term “hashish” in A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature. Kitto pointed to the Hebrew terms Shesh, which originates in reference to some sort of “fibre plant”, and the possibly related word,  Eshishah (E-shesh-ah?) which holds a wide variety of somewhat contradictory translations such as “flagon” “sweet cakes”, “syrup”, and also “unguent.” This last reference is interesting in relation to what we have already seen in regards to the cannabis infused Holy Oil, which was basically an unguent.  According to Kitto, this Eshishah was mixed with wine. “Hebrew eshishah… is by others called hashish…. this substance, in course of time, was converted into a medium of intoxication by means of drugs” (Kitto 1845:1856). With the cognate pronunciation similarities found between the Hebrew Shesh and Eshishah one can only speculate on the possibility of two ancient Hebrew references to one plant that held both fibrous and intoxicating properties. It seems likely that what is referred to is hashish resin, with the addition of the word “surur” indicating the possibility of hashish oil, (which the Arabs prepared by boiling the tops of the plant, and collecting the drops of oil that formed on top of the water). A very potent preparation. “The palm wine of the East… is made intoxicating… by an admixture of stupefying ingredients, of which there was an abundance… Such a practice seems to have existed amongst the ancient Jews…” (Kitto, 1861)

Talmudic reference indicate this use as well: “The one on his way to execution was given a piece of incense in a cup of wine, to help him fall asleep” (Sanh. 43a). Such preparations were used by the ancient Jews, for ritual intoxication, and for easing pain. A Reverend E. A Lawrence, in an essay on ‘The wine of the Bible’ in a 19th century edition of The Princeton Review noted that:

It appears to have been an ancient custom to give medicated or drugged wine to criminals condemned to death, to blunt their senses, and so lessen the pains of execution. To this custom there is supposed to be an allusion, Prov. xxxi. 6, ‘Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,’ …To the same custom some suppose there is a reference in Amos 8, where the ‘ wine of the condemned’  is spoken of… The wicked here described, in addition to other evil practices, imposed unjust fines upon the innocent, and spent the money thus unjustly obtained upon wine, which they quaffed in the house of their gods…

Mixed wine is often spoken of in Scripture. This was of different kinds… sometimes, by lovers of strong drink, with spices of various kinds, to give it a richer flavor and greater potency (ls. v. 22; Ps. lxxv. 8). The ‘ royal wine,’ literally wine of the kingdom… Esther i. 7), denotes most probably the best wine, such as the king of Persia himself was accustomed to drink. (Lawrence, 1871)

Thus, this infused wine, not only had pain numbing qualities, but was also “quaffed in the house of their gods” giving clear indication it was sought after for entheogenic effects as well. That it is compared to the wines of the Kind of persia, also brings us back to the cannabis infused wines of the Zoroastrian period, such as that taken by King Vishtaspa. In reference to “unguents” such as the Holy oil, placing “incense” into wine, we are reminded of the cannabis infused incenses and anointing oils referred to earlier, indicating these substances may have come to have been placed directly into wine.  In  regards to  myrrhed wine, it is worth noting that Dr. David Hillman, who holds combined degrees in Classics and Bacteriology, has suggested that ancient myrrh was often doctored with cannabis resins “The [ancient]Arabs… will take the rub, basically the hashish… they adulterate it with myrrh, so you end up with these combinations of plants that actually end up together… myrrh and cannabis, you see them associated… often” (Hillman, 2015).


Now what is the world going to say when they find out that some centuries after this Jewish use, Christians were using cannabis for its miraculous healing properties, as well as in entheogenic initiation rituals? Jesus took the restricted use of cannabis from the Priests and kings, and brought it to the people. Jesus was a Cannabis Activist.