Last week we talked about Hemp/Cannabis and the rites of Spring of the ancients. This week is Easter Weekend. Today is Good Friday. I mean, lets face it, all Fridays are good. But this one is extra. This is the Friday that leads us to Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday with the giant rabbit that likes to hide eggs, the egg rolling, the Easter egg hunt and waaay too much candy, are all the key elements of the holiday. The combination of elements the rabbit, the eggs, the candy might seem a little weird but its legit. You can read more about it here in last years blog. It all makes sense, I promise.
For the Christians among us this is a really big deal. Easter Sunday celebrates the transformation of one of the most prominent religious figures in human history, Jesus Christ, from the semi-human state of demigod to an actual representation and manifestation of the Christian God Yahweh. Needless to say, its a big day for faithful Christians the world over and we will all join them in welcoming the Spring and the idea that life is eternal.
As we have been writing the blog we have been attempting to increase the general awareness of cannabis and hemp in history and its role in our development.
We now know that Hemp and cannabis have been with us for literally thousands of years. In the whole of recorded human history humans have known and accepted hemp and cannabis as natural parts of our lives and tools for our betterment and development.
We have spent a great deal of time looking to Africa, China and India for cultures that had very strong traditions with hemp and cannabis for medicinal, functional, and recreational purposes.
But today we would like to take a quick look at a place that we have not addressed before. The birth place of Jesus who’s resurrection and ascension we will be celebrating on Sunday, the Middle East.
We know that cannabis and hemp were prevalent in the areas surrounding the Middle East. Most notably in Egypt and in all probability in Babylon. But did it ever make it to the biblical area known as the Levant? The answer is, emphatically, yes.
The Levant covers the area in the Old Testament of Israel, Ammon, Moab, Judah, Edom, and Aram. These are the modern states of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories. It is estimated that Cannabis came to the Levant region somewhere between 2000 and 1400 BC roughly around the time that Abraham, patriarch of Judaism and by default Christianity, arrived from the city of Ur. Mere coincidence? Maybe.
So we know that cannabis made it to the Levant at roughly the same period of time as Abraham. But how was it used? We have evidence that it was used as an offering on the altar in the Temple. According to this article by the BBC:
“A well-preserved substance found in a 2,700-year-old temple in Tel Arad has been identified as cannabis, including its psychoactive compound THC.”
This means that cannabis had a place in Middle Eastern culture and was considered to be a sacred plant that embodied mystical/magical properties.
Others believe that the term kaneh bosm found in the Torah specifically refers to cannabis. In the book of Exodus there is a recipe for an oil used to anoint calling for 9 pounds of kaneh bosm to be combined with olive oil, cinnamon, myrrh and cassia. “The oil was thought to transmit the experience of YHWH, the Lord, Adonai,” (ref)
The Here and Now
Whatever the case in ancient history it is clear that there is some connection between cannabis and the Levant or ‘Holy Land’. In modern times the Israelis have been at the forefront of cannabis research as led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.
Cannabis has also gained some popularity in the ultra orthodox Jewish community where it is used as a means of focusing ones intention during prayer.
Jesus as a follower of the Judaic religion and was himself considered to be a Rabbi of sorts. It is not too difficult to imagine that he and his followers knew cannabis as a sacred plant. Whether or not they would have incorporated it into their own religious practices and rituals may never be known. But we do know that the plant in ancient culture was associated with healing, longevity and immortality as was Jesus.
So that is our Easter blog for this year. We will continue exploring the connection between cannabis and early Christianity in future blogs but for now we wish you all a very happy Easter!! See you next week.