Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible: Moses and Hallucinogens
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Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible: Moses and Hallucinogens

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Moses and Hallucinogens: ...

Moses and Hallucinogens:
Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible

The worldwide media interest in Benny Shanon's paper about Moses and entheogens, is encouraging us to take a good and hard look at the roots of religions and the notion that they were based on fertility cults, and shamanic practices such as Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritual communion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God.

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Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible: Moses and Hallucinogens Document Transcript

  • 1. Plant Spirit Shamanism from the BibleMoses and Hallucinogens Moses and Hallucinogens: Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible The worldwide media interest in Benny Shanons paper about Moses and entheogens, is encouraging us to take a good and hard look at the roots of religions and the notion that they were based on fertility cults, and shamanic practices such as Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritual communion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God. 1
  • 2. Moses and Hallucinogens - Plant Spirit Shamanism from the Bible "Moses was high on drugs”: Claims Israeli researcher JERUSALEM (AFP) - High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published in recently. Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy. "As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which Idont believe, or a legend, which I dont believe either, or finally, and this isvery probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under theeffect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio.Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggestedShanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances."The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a classic phenomenon," he saidciting the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs areused that induce people to "see music."Shanon mentions his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerfulpsychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazils Amazon forest in1991. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanonsaid.He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to thoseproduced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree that is frequentlymentioned in the Bible.2
  • 3. The worldwide media interest in Benny Shanons paper about Moses andentheogens, is encouraging us to take a good and hard look at the roots ofreligions and the notion that they were based on fertility cults, and shamanicpractices such as Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritualcommunion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God.John Allegro, in his book "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of theNature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient NearEast", postulated through the etymology of words and relates how thedevelopment of language indicated that the roots of the religions emanatingfrom the Middle East were based on fertility cults, and shamanic practices suchas Entheogens (or hallucinogenic) plants as a source of spiritual communion with the universal consciousness, or the mind of God.. Back in the 1960s the reaction against these ideas was so strong that it destroyed Allegros career, the book was not published in the UK as it was regarded as blasphemous, and blasphemy was still a crime then. Its good to think that we have made some progress in recent years. Allegros theory was visionary and ground- breaking. He was the first to propose in some detail that two major religions Christianity and by extension Judaism wereentheogen-oriented and that the entheogen was Amanita Muscaria. His bookwas published at a time when there was little or no awareness about the useof entheogens, and was indeed a courageous act to publish this book.Another great explorer and pathfinder in human consciousness was TerenceMcKenna, in his book "Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree ofKnowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution", proposedthat hallucinogenic plants, in this case Psilocybin mushrooms, were at theastounding and unexplained evolution and development of the human brain insuch a short time of the evolutionary time scale (just 500,000 years from thehominids), in other words how we developed from our ape relatives . Histheory also encompasses the development of linguistics, and the subsequentdevelopment of human civilisation.3
  • 4. Meanwhile..... returning to Moses and the Acacia Tree, let’s look at the details of the construction of the Ark of the Covenant that was designed by God and the blueprint being given to Moses during his 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai as described in the Old Testament Exodus 37. As you can seeAcacia wood was an essential component of the Ark of the Covenant.From Exodus: 37 (New International Version)The Ark Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood - two and a half cubits long, a cubit and ahalf wide, and a cubit and a half high. 2 He overlaid it with pure gold, bothinside and out, and made a gold moulding around it. 3 He cast four gold ringsfor it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and tworings on the other. 4 Then he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid themwith gold. 5 And he inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark tocarry it.The Table10 They made the table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and acubit and a half high. 11 Then they overlaid it with pure gold and made a goldmoulding around it. 12 They also made around it a rim a handbreadth wideand put a gold moulding on the rim. 13 They cast four gold rings for the tableand fastened them to the four corners, where the four legs were. 14 Therings were put close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying thetable. 15 The poles for carrying the table were made of acacia wood and wereoverlaid with gold. 16 And they made from pure gold the articles for thetable—its plates and dishes and bowls and its pitchers for the pouring out ofdrink offerings.4
  • 5. The Altar of Incense25 They made the altar of incense out of acacia wood. It was square, a cubitlong and a cubit wide and two cubits high - its horns of one piece withit. 26 They overlaid the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, andmade a gold moulding around it. 27 They made two gold rings below themoulding - two on each of the opposite sides - to hold the poles used to carryit. 28 They made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.Sacramental use of the Acacia Tree.Acacias contain a number of alkaloids that have a profound Hallucinogeniceffect on humans. These alkaloids include Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Theleaves and stems are brewed together with an effective monoamine oxidaseinhibitior (MAOI) containing plant typically Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala) thatalso grows in the same region (southern Israel and the Sinai Peninsula). Thisbrew is taken orally similar to the Amazonian brew Ayahuasca that is also acombination of at least one other plant, typically the leaves of the Chacrunaplant (Psychotria Viridis) that contain the vision-inducing alkaloids (DMT) andthe Ayahuasca vine itself (Banisteriopsis caapi) that acts as an inhibitor toprevent the body’s enzymes from neutralising the Tryptamine alkaloids. This isknown as the MAOI effect that was discovered by Western science in the1950’s and forms the working basis for pharmaceutical products such asProzac. The biblical scholar Arthur W. Pink (1886 – 1952), wrote; While the miraculous preservation of Israel during all their fiery trials is no doubt the prominent thought here, there are others equally significant. The symbol selected by God was most suggestive. It was not in a majestic tree of the forest that God appeared to Moses, but in a humble acacia, or thorn- bush of the desert.5
  • 6. According to Eastons Bible Dictionary, the Acacia tree may be the “burning bush” (Exodus 3:2) which Moses encountered in the desert. Also, in the Christian tradition, it is thought that Christs crown of thorns was woven from acacia. It is of great interest and significance that the ‘humble acacia’ is so prominent in these two biblical narratives. These narratives have formed the nucleus of these religions and shaped the destiny of hundreds of millions of people. I know it is only speculation, but to me there could be more than just a reference to an available wood but symbolic or coded reference to an entheogenic experience that is at the heart of religions as Dr Shanon conjectures. It is an irony that these religions have long and forcefully denied an individual’s right to seek and access the divine directly through sacramental entheogens. Howard G Charing: is an accomplished international workshop leader on shamanism. He has worked some of the most respected and extraordinary shamans & healers in the Andes, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Philippines. He organises specialist retreats to the Amazon Rainforest. He is co-author of the best-selling book, ‘Plant Spirit Shamanism’ (Destiny Books USA) 2006. He co-authored the ‘Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’ (Inner Traditions USA) 2011.Howard’s Blog:www.shamanism.wordpress.comThe Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo:www.ayahuascavisions.comHoward’s Visionary Art Gallery:www.flickr.com/photos/hgcharing/sets/72157620870862800/ 6
  • 7. Photos:Page 2: Poster from ‘The Ten Commandments’ by Cecil B. DeMillePage 3: Acacia TreePage 4; Acacia LeavesPage 5: Acacia thorns.7