MARIJUANA AND THE BIBLE
by The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church
OFFERINGS OF DEVOTION
With offerings of devotion, ships from the isles will meet to
pour the wealth of the nations and bring tribute to his feet. The
Coptic Church believes fully the teachings of the Bible, and as
such we have our daily obligations, and offer our sacrifices, made
by fire unto our God with chants and Psalms and spiritual hymns,
lifting up holy hands and making melody in our hearts.
Herb (marijuana) is a Godly creation from the beginning of
the world. It is known as the weed of wisdom, angel’s food, the
tree of life and even the "Wicked Old Ganja Tree". Its purpose in
creation is as a fiery sacrifice to be offered to our Redeemer
during obligations. The political worldwide organizations have
framed mischief on it and called it drugs. To show that it is not
a dangerous drug, let me inform my readers that it is used as food
for mankind, and as a medicinal cure for diverse diseases. Ganja
is not for commerce; yet because of the oppression of the people,
it was raised up as the only liberator of the people, and the only
peacemaker among the entire generation. Ganja is the sacramental
rights of every man worldwide and any law against it is only the
organized conspiracy of the United Nations and the political
governments who assist in maintaining this conspiracy.
The Coptic Church is not politically originated, and this was
firmly expressed when we met with the political directorate of the
land during the period of pre-incorporation. We support no
political organization, pagan religion, or commercial institution,
seeing that religion, politics, and commerce are the three unclean
spirits which separate the people from their God. Because of our
non-political stand, the church has received tremendous opposition
from the politicians, who do not want the eyes of the people to be
opened. Through its agency, the police force, the church has been
severely harassed, victimized, and discriminated. Our members have
passed through several acts of police brutality, our legal
properties maliciously destroyed, members falsely imprisoned,
divine services broken up and all these atrocities performed upon
the Church, under the name of political laws and their justice.
Walter Wells — Elder Priest of the
Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of
Jamaica, West Indies
THE USE OF MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT TIMES
The use of marijuana is as old as the history of man and dates
to the prehistoric period. Marijuana is closely connected with the
history and development of some of the oldest nations on earth.
It has played a significant role in the religions and cultures of
Africa, the Middle East, India, and China
Richard E. Schultes, a prominent researcher in the field of
psychoactive plants, said in an article he wrote entitled "Man and
"…that early man experimented with all plant materials that
he could chew and could not have avoided discovering the
properties of cannabis (marijuana), for in his quest for seeds
and oil, he certainly ate the sticky tops of the plant. Upon
eating hemp the euphoric, ecstatic and hallucinatory aspects
may have introduced man to an other-worldly plane from which
emerged religious beliefs, perhaps even the concept of deity.
The plant became accepted as a special gift of the gods, a
sacred medium for communion with the spiritual world and as
such it has remained in some cultures to the present."
The effects of marijuana was proof to the ancients that the
spirit and power of the god’s) existed in this plant and that it
was literally a messenger (angel) or actually the Flesh and Blood
and/or Bread of the god’s) and was and continues to be a holy
sacrament. Considered to be sacred, marijuana has been used in
religious worship from before recorded history.
According to William A. Embolden in his book Ritual Use of
Cannabis Sativa L, p. 235:
"Shamanistic traditions of great antiquity in Asia and the
Near East has as one of their most important elements the
attempt to find God without a vale of tears; that cannabis
played a role in this, at least in some areas, is born out in
the philology surrounding the ritualistic use of the plant.
Whereas Western religious traditions generally stress sin,
repentance, and mortification of the flesh, certain older non-
Western religious cults seem to have employed Cannabis as a
euphoriant, which allowed the participant a joyous path to the
Ultimate; hence such appellations as "heavenly guide".
According to "Licit and Illicit Drugs" by the Consumer Union,
"Ashurbanipal lived about 650 B.C., but the cuneiform
descriptions of marijuana in his library "are generally
regarded as obvious copies of much older texts." Says Dr.
Robert P. Walton, an American physician and authority on
marijuana, "This evidence serves to project the origin of
hashish back to the earliest beginnings of history."
THE USE OF MARIJUANA AS INCENSE
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: "Pharmacological
"…the ceremonial use of incense in contemporary ritual is
most likely a relic of the time when the psychoactive
properties of incense brought the ancient worshipper in touch
with supernatural forces."
In the temples of the ancient world, the main sacrifice was
the inhalation of incense. Incense is defined as the perfume or
smoke from spices and gums when burned in celebrating religious
rites or as an offering to a deity. Bronze and gold incense
burners were cast very early in history and their forms were often
inspired by cosmological themes representing the harmonious nature
of the universe.
The following piece was taken from "Licit and Illicit Drugs",
"In the Judaic world, the vapors from burnt spices and
aromatic gums were considered part of the pleasurable
act of worship. In proverbs (27:9) it is said that
‘Ointment and perfumes rejoice the heart.’ Perfumes were
widely used in Egyptian worship. Stone altars have been
unearthed in Babylon and Palestine, which have been used
for burning incense made of aromatic wood and spices.
While the casual readers today may interpret such
practices as mere satisfaction of the desire for pleasant
odors, this is almost certainly an error; in many or most
cases, a psychoactive drug was being inhaled. In the
islands of the Mediterranean 2,500 years ago and in
Africa hundreds of years ago, for example leaves and
flowers of a particular plant were often thrown upon
bonfires and the smoke inhaled; the plant was marijuana."
(Edward Preble and Gabriel V. Laurey, Plastic Cement: The
Ten Cent Hallucinogen, International Journal of the
Addictions, 2 (Fall 2967): 271-272.
"The earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia brewed
intoxicating beer of barley more than 5,000 years ago;
is it too much to assume that even earlier cultures
experienced euphoria, accidentally or deliberately,
through inhalation of the resinous smoke of Cannabis?"
(Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L, p. 216.)
"It is said that the Assyrians used hemp (marijuana) as
incense in the seventh or eighth century before Christ
and called it ‘Qunubu’, a term apparently borrowed from
an old East Iranian word ‘Konaba’, the same as the
Scythian name ‘cannabis’." (Plants of the Gods — Origin
of Hallucinogenic Use by Richard E. Schultes and Albert
"It is recorded that the Chinese Taoist recommended the
addition of cannabis to their incense burners in the 1st
century as a means of achieving immortality." (Marijuana,
the First Twelve Thousand Years by Earnest Abel, page 5)
"There is a classic Greek term, cannabeizein, which means
to smoke cannabis. Cannabeizein frequently took the form
of inhaling vapors from an incense burner in which these
resins were mixed with other resins, such as myrrh,
balsam, frankincense, and perfumes." (Ritual Use of
Cannabis Sativa L)
"Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. observed the
Scythians throwing hemp on heated stone to create smoke
and observed them inhaling this smoke. Although he does
not identify them, Herodotus states that when they "have
parties and sit around a fire, they throw some of it into
the flames. As it burns, it smokes like incense, and the
smell of it makes them drunk, just as wine does us. As
more fruit is thrown on, they get more and more
intoxicated until finally they jump up and start dancing
and singing." (Herodotus, Histories 1.202.)
EVIDENCE INDICATING THE SEMITIC ORIGIN OF CANNABIS
The name cannabis is generally thought to be of Scythian
origin. Sula Benet in Cannabis and Culture argues that it has a
much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, occurring
several times in the Old Testament. He states that in Exodus 30:23
that God commands Moses to make a holy anointing oil of myrrh,
sweet cinnamon, kaneh bosm, and kassia. He continues that the word
kaneh bosm is also rendered in the traditional Hebrew as kannabos
or kannabus and that the root "kan" in this construction means
"reed" or "hemp", while "bosm" means "aromatic". He states that
in the earliest Greek translations of the old testament "kan" was
rendered as "reed", leading to such erroneous English translations
as "sweet calamus" (Exodus 30:23), sweet cane (Isaiah 43:24;
Jeremiah 6:20) and "calamus" (Ezekiel 27:19; Song of Songs 4:14).
Benet argues from the linguistic evidence that cannabis was known
in Old Testament times at least for its aromatic properties and
that the word for it passed from the Semitic language to the
Scythians, i.e. the Ashkenaz of the Old Testament.
Sara Benetowa of the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in
Warsaw is quoted in the Book of Grass as saying:
"The astonishing resemblance between the Semitic ‘kanbos’
and the Scythian ‘cannabis’ leads me to suppose that the
Scythian word was of Semitic origin. These etymological
discussions run parallel to arguments drawn from history.
The Iranian Scythians were probably related to the Medes,
who were neighbors of the semites and could easily have
assimilated the word for hemp. The Semites could also
have spread the word during their migrations through Asia
Taking into account the matriarchal element of Semitic
culture, one is led to believe that Asia Minor was the
original point of expansion for both the society based
on the matriarchal circle and the mass use of hashish."
The Ancient Israelites were a Semitic people. Abraham, the
father of the Israelite nation, came from Ur, a city of Babylonia
located in mesopotamia. The Israelites migrated throughout Asia
Minor and could easily have spread the religious use of marijuana.
THE ISRAELITE USE OF INCENSE
It was said that Moses, at the direction of Almighty God,
first brought in the use of incense in public worship, and that
the other nations of antiquity copied the practice from him. It
was however a practice that began with Adam. The "Book of
Jubilees", an Apocryphal book, (the Apocrypha was considered
canonical by the early church and is to this day by the Ethiopian
Zion Coptic Church) states that "on the day when Adam went forth
from the Garden of Eden, he offered as a sweet savour an offering
of frankincense, galbanum, and stacte, and spices, in the morning
with the rising of the sun, from the day when he covered his
shame." And of Enoch we read that "he burnt the incense of the
sanctuary, even sweet spices, acceptable before the Lord, on the
Incense was assigned miraculous powers by the Israelites. It
was burned in golden bowls or cauldrons placed on or beside the
altar. It was also burned in hand-held censers. In the Blessing
of Moses, a poem belonging to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and
written about 760 B.C., the sacrificial smoke is offered to the God
Let them teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law;
Let them offer sacrificial smoke to thy nostrils, and
whole burnt sacrifice upon thy altar.
Throughout the Bible the ancient patriarchs were brought into
communion with God through smoking incense and at Mt. Sinai God
talked to Moses out of a bush that burned with fire (Exodus 3:1-
12). After Moses brought the Israelite people out of Egypt he
returned to Mt. Sinai at which time God made a covenant with Moses
in which the Ten Commandments were revealed. Exodus 19:8 describes
the conditions at the time of this covenant.
Exodus 19:8 "And Mount Sinai was altogether on smoke,
because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke
thereof ascended as smoke of a furnace, and the whole
mount quaked greatly.
The Mysterious smoke mentioned in the covenant on Mt. Sinai
is also referred to as a cloud.
Exodus 24:15 "And Moses went up into the mount, and a
cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the Lord
abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six
days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of
the midst of the cloud.
Scriptures make it abundantly clear that the clouds and the
smoke are related to the burning of incense. Exodus 40:26
describes Moses burning incense, a cloud covering the tent of the
congregation and the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle.
Leviticus 16:2-13 describes how God appeared in a cloud and refers
to it as the clouds of incense. Numbers 16:17-19 describes how
every man of the congregation had a censer full of burning incense
and that the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation.
Isaiah 6:4 describes how Ezekial saw God in a smoke-filled inner
court. Numbers 11:25 describes how God was revealed to moses and
the seventy elders in a cloud; that the spirit rested upon them and
that they prophesied and ceased not.
The Book of Grass by Andrew and Vinkenoog includes a section
on Ancient Scythia and Iran by Mircea Eliade, one of the foremost
experts on the history of religions. On pages 11 and 12 is the
"On one document appears to indicate the existence of a
Getic shamanism: It is Straho’s account of the Myssian
KAPNOBATAI, a name that has been translated, by analogy
with Aristophanes’ AEROBATES, as ‘those who walk in
clouds’; but it should be translated as ‘those who walk
in smoke’! Presumably the smoke is hemp smoke, a
rudimentary means of ecstasy known to both the Tracians
and the Scythians…"
This passage should be carefully noted. Biblical passages
make it abundantly clear that the ancient Isrealites also walked
in clouds and in smoke. In fact it was in the clouds of smoke that
God was revealed to the ancient Isrealites. The words "smoke" and
"smoking" appear fifty times in the King James Version of the Bible
and two separate times the Bible says of the Lord, "There went up
a smoke out of his nostrils." II Samuel 22:9, Psalms 18:8.
There are numerous other places in the Bible that mention the
burning of incense, the mysterious cloud, and smoke. This common
thread is found throughout the Bible, including the New Testament.
St. Matthew 24:30 "And then shall appear the sign of the
Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of
the Earth morn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming
in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory."
Revelations 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every
eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and
all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.
Even so, Amen."
Revelations 8:3 "And another angel came and stood at the
altar, having a golden censer: and there was given unto
him much incense, that he should offer it with the
prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was
before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which
came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before
God out of the Angel’s hand."
Revelations 15:8 "And the temple was filled with smoke
from the glory of God, and from his power."
THE SYMBOLISM OF FIRE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
The word "fire" is mentioned several hundred times in the King
James version of the Bible. The sacrifice of the Lord is made by
fire (Exodus 29:18, 25; Leviticus 2:10-11; Leviticus 6:13; Numbers
28:6; Deuteronomy 4:33; Joshua 13:14; I Samuel 2:28; II Chronicles
2:4; Isaiah 24:15; Matthew 3:11; Luke 1:9; Revelations 8:4-5)
Abraham, the father of the Israelite nation, came from Ur
which was a city of Ancient Sumer in South Babylonia. For the
Babylonians, fire was essential to sacrifice and all oblations were
conveyed to the gods by the fire god Girru-Nusku, whose presence
as an intermediary between the gods and man was indispensable.
Girru-Nusku, as the messenger of the gods, bore the essence of the
offerings upward to them in the smoke of sacrificial fire.
At Babylon: "The glorious gods smell the incense, noble
food of heaven; pure wine which no hand has touched do
they enjoy." (L. Jeremias, in Encyclopedia Biblica, i.v.
4119, quoting Rawlinson, Cuneif. Inscrip. IV, 19 (59).)
The most important of the ancient Indian gods was Agni, the
god of fire, who like the Babylonian god Girru-Nusku acted as a
messenger between men and the gods. The fire (Agni) upon the altar
was regarded as a messenger, their invoker.
"…For thou, O sage, goest wisely between these two
creations like a friendly messenger between two hamlets."
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the section on
"The Vedas (Hindu sacred writings) are hymns to the
mystic fire and the inner sense of sacrifice, burning
forever on the ‘altar Mind’. Hence the abundance of
solar and fire images: birds of fire, the fire of the
sun, and the isles of fire. The symbol system of the
world’s religions and mysticisms are profound
illuminations of the human-divine mystery. Be it the
cave of the heart or the lotus of the heart, ‘the
dwelling place of that which is the Essence of the
Universe, "the third eye", or the eye of wisdom’ — the
symbols all refer back to wisdom entering the aspiring
soul on its way to progressive self-understanding. ‘I
saw the Lord with the Eye of the Heart. I said, "Who
art thou?" and he answered, "Thou"’."
The ancient Indian mystics said,
"…that in the ecstasy of bhang (marijuana) the spark
of the Eternal in man turns into light the murkiness of
matter or illusion and the self is lost in the central
soul fire. Raising man out of himself and above mean
individual worries, bhang makes him one with the divine
force of nature and the mystery ‘I am he’ grew plain.
(Taken from the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report which
was written at the turn of the twentieth century.)
The concept of spiritual or inner light was found throughout
the ancient world. As we shall see that spiritual light was
directly related to the burning of incense. According to Lucie
Lamy in "Egyptian Mysteries", page 24:
"The Pharaonic word for light is akh. This word, often
translated as ‘transfigured’, designated transcendental
light as well as all aspects of physical light; and in
the funerary text it denotes the state of ultimate
"The word akh, first of all, is written with a glyph
showing a crested ibis, ibis comata. This bird — the
name of which was also akh — lived in the southern part
of the Arabian side of the Red Sea (near Al Qunfidhah)
and migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) during the winter.
Both these places are near the regions from which sacred
incense came, and were called the "Divine Land". The
bird’s crest, together with its dark green plumage shot
with glittering metallic specks justifies the meanings
‘to shine’, ‘to be resplendent’, ‘to irradiate’; of the
root akh in the hieroglyphic writing.
"Akh indeed expresses all notions of light, both
literally and figuratively, from the Light which comes
forth from Darkness to the transcendental light of
transfiguration. It is also used to designate the ‘third
eye’, the ureaeus, related in old tradition to the pineal
body and to the spirit."
In the next chapter we will see that the sacred cloud of
incense was instrumental in the transfiguration of Christ.
Note that Ethiopia was referred to as the "Divine Land" and
that it was the source for the sacred incense. The ancients also
referred to Ethiopia as the "Land of God".
The ancient Egyptians believed that they had received their
divinities from Ethiopia and have always held to the ancient and
honored tradition of their southern origin. Ethiopia is so
important in ancient history that it is mentioned as being in the
Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:12).
The ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote:
"The Ethiopians conceived themselves to be of greater
antiquity than any other nation; and it is probable that,
born under the sun’s path, its warmth may have ripened
them earlier than other men. They supposed themselves
to be the inventors of worship, of festivals, of solemn
assemblies, of sacrifice, and every religious practice."
MARIJUANA AS THE CHRISTIAN SACRAMENT
According to Jack Herer in The Emperor Wears No Clothes or
Everything You Wanted to Know About Marijuana But Were Not Taught
in School, "The Essenes, a kabalistic priest/prophet/healer sect
of Judaism dating back to the era of the Dead Sea Scrolls, used
hemp, as did the Theraputea of Egypt, from where we get the term
The Theraputea of Egypt were Jewish ascetics that dwelt near
Alexandria and described by Philo (1st century B.C.) as devoted to
contemplation and meditation. Alexandria is where St. Mark is
traditionally held to have established the Coptic Church in 45 A.D.
The Coptic Church has been neglected by Western scholars
despite its historical significance. This has been due to the
various biases and interest of the Catholic Church which claimed
Christianity for its own. The result is that for the Coptic Church
there is very little history. It is however assumed that the
Coptic religious services have their roots in the earliest layers
of Christian ritual in Jerusalem and it is known that the Coptic
church is of ancient origin going back to the time of the first
Christian communities and even before.
Tradition states that "Coptic" was derived from "Kuftaim",
son of Mizraim, a grandchild of Noah who first settled in the Nile
valley, i the neighborhood of Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt.
At one time Thebes was the greatest city in the world and history
records that by 2200 B.C. the whole of Egypt was united under a
Theban prince. The splendor of Thebes was known to Homer, who
called it "the city with a hundred gates". (Richard Schultes
states that in ancient Thebes marijuana was made into a drink.)
According to E.A. Wallis Budge in The Divine Origin of the
Herbalist, page 79, "The Copts, that is to say the Egyptians who
accepted the teachings of St. Mark in the first century of our era,
and embraced Christianity, seem to have eschewed medical science
as taught by the physicians of the famous School of Medicine of
Alexandria, and to have been content with the methods of healing
employed by their ancestors."
The Essenes were an ascetic sect closely related to the
Theraputea that had established a monastic order in the desert
outside of Palestine and were known as spiritual healers. It has
been suggested that both John the Baptist and Jesus may have been
of the Essene sect as they were both heavily dependent on Essene
teachings. The scripture makes no mention of the life of Jesus
from the age of 13 to 30. Certain theologians speculate that Jesus
was being initiated by the Essenes, the last fraternity to keep
alive the ancient traditions of the prophets.
Every prophet, however great, must be initiated. His higher
self must be awakened and made conscious so that his mission can
be fulfilled. Amongst the Essenes’ ritual lustrations preceded
most liturgical rites, the most important one of which was
participation in a sacred meal — an anticipation of the Messianic
Throughout the ancient world sacrifice was a sacramental
communal meal involving the idea of the god as a participant in
the meal or as identical with the food consumed. The communion
sacrifice was one in which the deity indwells the oblation so that
the worshippers actually consume the divine. The original motive
of sacrifice was an effort toward communion among the members of
a group, on one hand, and between them and their god, on the other.
At its best, sacrifice was a "sacrament" and in one form or another
The central focus of the early Christian church was the
Eucharist or the "body and blood" of the Lord. This was
interpreted as a fellowship meal with the resurrected Christ. In
meeting the Resurrected One in the Eucharist meal the Christian
community had the expectation of the Kingdom of God and salvation.
Christ communicated life to his disciples through the
Eucharist or Christian sacrament. Christ said in describing the
sacrament, "Take, eat, this is my body, this is my blood. Do this
as often as you will in remembrance of me." (I Corinthians 11:24-
Baptism is defined as the Christian sacrament used in
purification and the spiritual rebirth of the individual. I
Corinthians 10:1 makes it clear that the smoking cloud of incense
was directly related to baptism.
I Corinthians 10:1 "Moreover, brethren, I would not that
ye should be ignorant, how that our fathers were under
the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all
baptized unto Moses in the Cloud and in the sea; 3 And
did all eat the same spiritual meat: for they drank of
that Spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was
In the Biblical story of Creation, God said, "Behold, I have
given you every herb bearing seed and to you it will be for meat."
(Genesis 1:29) Marijuana is technically an herb and was considered
a spiritual meat in the ancient world.
From this passage in Corinthians we see that the spiritual
cloud resulting from the burning of incense was instrumental in
the baptism of the Israelites. This baptism is also compared to
the "eating and drinking" of the spirit of Christ.
Spirit is defined as the active essence of the Deity serving
as an invisible and life-giving or inspiring power in motion.
Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the sacrificial cloud or
smoke contained the Spirit of God (Christ) and was instrumental in
inspiring, sanctifying, and purifying the patriarchs.
In Numbers 11:25 the cloud results in the Spirit resting upon
Moses and the seventy elders. This passage indicates that they
prophesied ecstatically. "Prophesy" is defined as follows: to
utter or announce by or as if by divine inspiration; to speak for
God or a deity; to give instruction in religious matters.
Throughout the Holy Bible prophets of God spake as they were moved
by the Holy Spirit. The smoking burning cloud of incense contained
the spirit and was instrumental in bringing about the spiritual
revelations of the prophets. In the ancient world marijuana was
used to reveal the future. The virtues of marijuana include
speech-giving and inspiration of mental powers.
"Psychoactive" is defined as effecting the mind or behavior.
When we of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church think of mind or
behavior we think of that inward essence or element that makes up
the individual. This is the person’s spirit. We are all spiritual
beings. It is just as important to keep the spiritual part of a
person healthy as it is to keep the physical body healthy and in
fact they are related. Hence marijuana and its relationship to
In the Apocrypha (Book of Jubilees), Chapter 10, God tells an
angel to teach Noah the medicines which heal and protect from evil
spirits. Surely God taught Noah about marijuana. In the ancient
world marijuana played an important role in purification and
protecting from evil influences.
Note the following concerning the transfiguration of Christ:
St. Matthew 17:1 "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter,
James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into
a high mountain apart. 2 And he was transfigured before
them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment
was white as light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto
them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered
Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to
be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three
tabernacles; one for thee, one for Moses, and one for
Elias. 5 When yet he spake, behold a bright cloud
overshadowed them; and behold a voice out of the cloud,
which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased; hear ye him."
The Bible Dictionary by John McKenzie, page 898, says
concerning the transfiguration that the cloud and the formula of
the utterance of the Father are derived from the baptism of Jesus.
He says that the change described in the appearance of Jesus
suggests the change which is implied in the resurrection
Some of the synonyms for transfiguration are transformation,
metamorphosis, transubstantiation, and avatar. These terms imply
the change that accompanies resurrection or deification. Across
the world, legends of godlike men who manage to rise, in a state
of perfection go back to an era before human beings had cast away
from the divine source. Hence the gods were beings which once were
men, and the actual race of men will in time become gods. Christ
revealed this to the people of his day when he told them to whom
the word of God came, "Ye are gods." (St. John 10:34)
St. Matthew 17:2 says that during the transfiguration of
Christ that his face did shine as the sun. The face of Moses also
shone when he returned from the cloud on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 30:34).
The shining countenances are the result of their resurrections, of
their being spiritually illumined in the cloud of smoking incense.
Most people are under the impression that Christ baptized with
water. As you can see from the following account of John the
Baptist this isn’t so. John the Baptist baptized with water and
Christ baptized with fire.
St. Matthew 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water into
repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than
I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize
you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
It is only logical that this baptism with the Holy Spirit and
with fire is related to the baptism of Christ in the burning,
smoking cloud of incense and to the baptism of the patriarchs in
which the patriarchs did all eat of the same spiritual meal
(incense). In the section dealing with the "Holy Spirit" the
Encyclopedia Britannica states that Christian writers have seen in
various references to the Spirit of Yahweh in the Old Testament an
anticipation of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It also says that
the Holy Spirit is viewed as the main agent of man’s restoration
to his original natural state through communion in Christ’s body
and, thus, as the principle of life in the Christian community.
The patriarchs were recipients of a revelation coming directly
from the Spirit (incense) and this was expressed in the heightening
and enlargement of their consciousness. It is clear from Scripture
that this spiritual dimension was also evident in the life of
Jesus, in whom the experience of the Hebrew prophets was renewed.
Through the Eucharist Christ passed this spiritual dimension on to
his apostles. One of the apostles even makes mention in
Philippians 4:18 of a sweet smelling sacrifice that is well
pleasing to God.
Christ compares this baptism to the drinking of a cup.
St. Mark 10:38 "But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not
what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?
and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized
This cup is referred to as the cup of salvation in Psalms
Psalms 116:12 "What shall I render unto the Lord for all
his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation
and call upon the name of the Lord.
It is called the cup of blessing in connection in connection
with the eucharist.
1 Corinthians 10:16 "The cup of blessing which we bless,
is it not the communion of the blood and the body of
Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body;
for we are all partakers of one bread.
Here we see a connection between the cup of blessing and the
communion of the blood of Christ. Blood is the life-giving
substance of the living being. Christ communicated life to his
disciples through the Eucharist or Christian sacrament.
In I Corinthians 10:16 we note the mention of bread as the
communion of the body of Christ and that we are all partakers of
one bread. This is the spiritual bread or food used by Christ and
his disciples. (A synonym for the Eucharist or the Body and Blood
of the Lord is the bread of life.) It is interesting to note that
the finest marijuana in Jamaica is called Lamb’s bread.
1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all
baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentiles,
whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to
drink into one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 11:25 "After the same manner also he took
the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New
Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it,
in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this
bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death
till he come.
If these passages are compared to 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, it is
plain that the "eating of one bread" is the same as the patriarchs
"eating the same spiritual meat" and the "drinking of one Spirit"
(the cup) is the same as the patriarchs "drinking of the Spiritual
Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." By making this
comparison we see that the terminology of the Eucharist is directly
related to the smoking cloud of incense used in the baptism of
Christ and the patriarchs.
It is interesting to note that smoking was referred to as
"eating" or "drinking" by the early American Indians. Peter J.
Furst in Hallucinogen and Culture states the following:
"Considering its enormous geographic spread in the
Americas at the time of European discovery, as well as
the probable age of stone tobacco pipes in California,
the inhaling (often called "drinking" or "eating") of
tobacco smoke by the Shaman, as a corollary to
therapeutic fumigation and the feeding of the gods with
smoke, must also be of considerable antiquity."
In Licit and Illicit Drugs, page 209, the following is quoted:
"Columbus and other early explorers who followed him were
amazed to meet Indians who carried rolls of dried leaves
that they set afire — and who then "drank the smoke"
that emerged from the rolls. Other Indians carried pipes
in which they burned the same leaves, and from which they
similarly "drank the smoke".
The Encyclopedia Britannica states in the section on
"Sacrifice" that the interpretation of sacrifice and particularly
of the Eucharist as sacrifice has varied greatly within the
different Christian traditions because of the sacrificial
terminology in which the Eucharist was originally described became
foreign to Christian thinkers.
We of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church declare that the true
understanding of the Eucharist has been passed down from generation
to generation so that we are able to give an accurate
interpretation of the sacrificial terminology used to describe the
Eucharist. We have shown, using history and Biblical passages,
that his terminology is directly related to burning smoking
incense. We have shown that the "eating" or "drinking" contained
in the terminology concerning the Eucharist is associated with the
inhalation of smoke. We have shown that marijuana was used as
incense and that it was the number one spiritual plant of the
We of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church declare that the cup
that Christ baptized his disciples with in the baptism of the Holy
Spirit and fire was in fact a pipe or chillum in which marijuana
was smoked. This is a bottomless cup and soon as it is emptied,
it is filled again and passed in a circle. There is a picture of
this cup or pipe below, as well as on the cover. Like the pipe of
the ancient North American Indians, this cup was a portable altar.
Christ was the Father of the doctrine of the Eucharist which
is the communion that Jesus gave his brethren. Jesus taught that
the communion is his body and blood. Jesus was not speaking of His
physical body and blood. He was speaking of His spiritual body and
spiritual blood that was the communion of his holy church. The
supper that Jesus celebrated with his disciples "on the night that
he was betrayed" (1 Corinthians 11:23) inaugurated the heavenly
meal that was to be continued.
1 Corinthians 11:23 "For I have received of the Lord that
which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night
in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given
thanks, he brake it and said, Take, eat, this is my body, which is
broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same
manner also he took the cup, which he had supped, saying, This cup
is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink
it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and
drink of this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27
Wherefore whosoever shall eat of this bread, and drink of this cup
of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of
the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and let him eat of the
bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh
unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not
discerning the Lord’s body.
Christ said, "Do this in remembrance of me." Here the
original unity of man with God is restored. In general the
reception of the Holy Spirit is connected with the actual
realization, the inward experiencing of God.
Marijuana has been referred to as a mild euphoric (the
producer of a feeling of well-being) that produces a profound
religious experience of a mystical and transcendental nature. This
religious experience is said to be brought about by the stirring
of deeply buried, unconscious sensitivities so that one experiences
ultimate reality or the divine and confirms the feeling of the
worshipper that he has been in the presence of God and has
assimilated some of His powers.
To be lifted above sense to behold the beatific vision and
become "incorporate" in God is the end sought in ecstasy. The
priest or mystic in enthusiasm or ecstasy enjoys the beatific
vision by entering into communion with God and by undergoing
deification. The experience of ecstasy, states Mircea Eliade, one
of the foremost authorities on religion, is a timeless primary
phenomenon. Psychological experience of rapture, he continues, are
fundamental to the human condition and hence known to the whole of
archaic humanity. (Some of the synonyms of rapture are bliss,
beatitude, transport, exaltation.)
Baudelaire, a member of the Club Des Hashichins (Hashish Club)
founded in Paris around 1835 and writer of Artificial Paradises
states the following about hashish: Hashish is the unadulterated
resin from the flowering tops of the female hemp plant.
"One will find in hashish nothing miraculous, absolutely
nothing but an exaggeration of the natural. The brain
and organisms on which hashish operates will produce only
the normal phenomena peculiar to that individual —
increased, admittedly, in number and force, but always
faithful to the original. A man will never escape from
his destined physical and moral temperament: hashish will
be a mirror of his impression and private thoughts — a
magnifying mirror, it is true, but only a mirror.
He cautions that the user must be in the right frame of mind
to take hashish, for just as it exaggerates the natural behavior
of the individual, so too does hashish intensify the user’s
immediate feelings. Baudelaire describes three successive phases
a hashish user will pass through. He says the final stage is
marked by a feeling of calmness, in which time and space have no
meaning, and there is a sense that one has transcended matter. He
says that in this state, one final supreme thought breaks into
consciousness. "I have become God."
Realization of one’s union with God is necessary in
understanding the true Christian sacrament. The understanding of
man’s relationship to God and God’s relationship to man (God in
Man and Man in God) was quite prevalent in the ancient world,
particularly among the religions that utilized marijuana as part
of their religious practice.
Said the great Hindu sage, Manu, "He who in his own soul
perceives the Supreme Soul in all beings and acquires equanimity
toward them all, attains the highest bliss." To recognize oneness
of self with God was contained in all the teachings of Gautama
Buddha. In the Liturgy of Mithra (the Persian god of light and
truth) the suppliant prays "abide with me in my soul; leave me
not," and "that I may be initiated and the Holy Spirit may breathe
within me." The communion became so intimate as to pass into
identity: "I am thou and thou art I." Athanasius, a theologian,
ecclesiastical statesman, and Egyptian national leader who was
closely tied to the Coptic Church in Egypt said, "Even we may
become gods walking in the flesh," and "God became man that man
might become God."
Western theology (Catholic and Protestant) teaches that the
spirit created matter but remained aloof of it. In Hinduism and
other Eastern religions, the spirit is the inside, the matter is
the outside; the two are inseparable. Eastern theologians hive
rightly perceived that the God one worships must posses all the
aspects of his worshippers’ nature as well as his own divine
nature. Otherwise, how can he create beings whose nature is
entirely foreign to his own? What, then, would be the meaning of
the Biblical phrase: "God made man in his own image"?
The fact that modern Christendom has no sense of union with
God has led to numerous churches without the understanding for
building a Christian culture and kingdom to replace the confusion
of modern politics. This lack of understanding was not lacking in
the ancient church and was a major source of enthusiasm for the
prophets of old. In fact, the power of the early church was
manifested due to this understanding of the spirit of God dwelling
in man, the temple of God. To the ancient prophets it was not a
God above, nor a God over yonder, but a God within. "Be still and
know that I am God" — for the visionaries and mystics of every
time and place, this has been the first and greatest of the
In 1 Corinthians 11:28 Christ said, "Let a man examine
himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup."
Probably the most relevant study to date about what might be
considered typical marijuana experience concludes that marijuana
gives spontaneous insights into self (Dr. Charles Tart, "On Being
Stoned: A Psychological Study of Marijuana Intoxication", Science
and Behavior, 1971).
The sacramentality of marijuana is declared by Christ himself
and can be understood only when a person partakes of the natural
divine herb. The fact is communion of Jesus cannot be disputed or
be destroyed. Marijuana is the new wine divine and cannot be
compared to the old wine, which is alcohol. Jesus rejected the old
wine and glorified the "new wine" at the wedding feast of Cana.
Cana is a linguistic derivation of the present day cannabis and so
it is. (Some Biblical scholars — and there is a certain amount
of support in early tradition of the view — have looked upon the
miracle of Cana as a sign of the Eucharist.)
Note the references to new wine in the Bible:
Isaiah 65:8 "Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is
found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for
a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servant’s sake"
Acts 2:13 "Others mocking said, "These men are full of new
Isaiah 65:8 declares that the new wine is found in the cluster
and that a blessing is in it. When one mentions clusters, one
thinks of clusters of grapes. Webster’s New Riverside Dictionary,
Office Edition, defines marijuana: 1. Hemp 2. The dried flower
clusters and leaves of the hemp plant, esp. when taken to induce
The Encyclopedia Britannica says the following about hemp:
Seed producing flowers form elongate, spike like clusters growing
on the pistillate, or female plants; pollen producing flowers form
many branched clusters or staminate, on male plants. Here and in
Webster’s, marijuana fits the description of the new wine and as
history has shown a blessing is in it.
Baudelaire said the following about the effects of hashish:
"This marvelous experience often occurs as if it were
the effect of superior and invisible power acting on the
person from without…This delightful and singular
state…gives no advance warning. It is as unexpected
as a ghost, an intermittent haunting from which we must
draw, if we are wise, the certainty of a better
existence. This acuteness of thought, this enthusiasm
of the senses and the spirit must have appeared to man
through the ages as the first blessing."
In the books of Acts the apostles were accused of being full
of new wine. Acts 2:13 was the time of pentecost when the Holy
Spirit descended upon the apostles. Numerous outpourings of the
Spirit are mentioned in the Acts of the apostles in which healing,
prophesy, and the expelling of demons are particularly associated
with the activity of the Spirit. Incense (marijuana) was used by
the ancients for healing, prophesy, and the expelling of demons.
When Christ ascended into heaven in the cloud (Acts 1:9-11)
he sent his disciples the Holy Spirit with the "gift of tongues"
(Acts 2:3) and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as a
fire, and it sat upon each of them, and they were filled with the
Holy Spirit and were given the power to prophesy or witness.
(Marijuana has been credited with speech giving and inspiration of
The first two gifts of the Holy Spirit are traditionally said
to be wisdom and understanding, which no doubt are the two things
most needed by the human race. In Jamaica today marijuana is
referred to as the "weed of wisdom" and is reputed to be the plant
that grew on Solomon’s grave, a man known for his great wisdom.
Marijuana expands consciousness and enhances the capacity for
mystical and creative inspiration.
In Acts 2:3 Fire speaks figuratively of the Holy Spirit. Fire
was also a means which to transport a saint to heaven.
2 Kings 2:11 "And it came to pass, as they still went
on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot
of fire, and horses of fire, and parted asunder; and
Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
Recent writers have speculated that this passage was in
reference to flying saucers. That is because they look at this
passage physically. This ascension of Elijah like the ascension
of Christ in the cloud into heaven is the "withdrawal" from the
external or physical world, to be the inmost reality of all. This
can be referred to as ecstasy, rapture, or transport and is a
result of the Holy Spirit. Ecstasy, rapture, or transport therefor
agree in designating a feeling or state of intense, often extreme
mental and emotional exaltation. Rapture is defined as ecstatic
joy or delight; joyful ecstasy. Some of the synonyms of rapture
are bliss, beatitude, transport, and exultation. The true rapture
is therefore one in which one is spiritually transported to the
heavens. Don’t expect to float up into the sky.
Marijuana as history has shown is the catalyst used to achieve
the spiritual journey into the heavens. That is why in India it
was referred to as the Heavenly-Guide, the Poor Man’s Heaven, and
the Sky-flier. That is why Professor Mircea Eliade, perhaps the
foremost authority on the history of religion, suggested that
Zoroaster may have caused hemp to bridge the metaphysical gap
between heaven and earth.
One dictionary defines marijuana as the leaves and flowering
tops when taken to induce euphoria. Euphoria is defined by the
same dictionary as great happiness or bliss. (In India, marijuana
has been referred to as the joy-giver and the soother of grief.)
Bliss is defined as the ecstasy of salvation, spiritual joy. Some
of the synonyms of bliss are beatitude, transport, rapture,
ecstasy, paradise, heaven.
Throughout the ancient world there is mention of "magical
flight", "ascent to heaven", and "mystical journey". All these
mythological and folklore traditions have their point of departure
in an ideology and technique of ecstasy that imply "journey in
The pilgrimage from earth to heaven is not a journey to some
other place or some other time, but is a journey within. One must
realize that "death" through which we must pass before God can be
seen does not lie ahead of us in time. Rather it is now that we
have a man of sin within us that must be killed and a new man free
from sin that must be born. This is actualized in baptism and the
sacramental life in the church. For as many of you as have been
baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). The
effect of baptism is spiritual regeneration or rebirth, whereby one
is "enChristened", involving both union with Christ and remission
of sins. In Titus 3:5 baptism is the "bath of regeneration"
accompanying renewal by the Spirit. Some of the synonyms of
regeneration are beatification, conversion, sanctification,
salvation, inspiration, bread of life, Body and Blood of Christ.
Sara Benetowa of the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in
Warsaw is quoted in the Book of Grass as saying:
"By comparing the old Slavic word ‘Kepati’ and the
Russian ‘Kupati’ with the Scythian ‘cannabis’ Shrader
developed and justified Meringer’s supposition that there
is a link between the Scythian baths and Russian vapor
"In the entire Orient even today to ‘go to the bath’
means not only to accomplish an act of purification and
enjoy a pleasure, but also to fulfill the divine law.
Vambery calls ‘bath’ any club in which the members play
checkers, drink coffee, and smoke hashish or tobacco."
St. Matthew’s account of the institution of the Eucharist
attaches to the Eucharist cup these words: "Drink of it, all of,
for this is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many
for the remission of sins (st. Matthew 26:27). Drinking the
sacramental cup therefor serves like baptism (Acts 2:38) where
Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in
the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. We of the Ethiopian Zion
Coptic Church declare a three-part doctrine of the Holy Herb, the
Holy Word, and the Holy Man (Woman).
The present and future benefits to the individual communicant
have their importance given them by Jesus, who said, "He who eats
my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise
them up at the last day." (John 6:54) As such we must see that the
divine person who is active in creation, in renewal, and in human
rebirth and resurrection, is also active in the Eucharist.
There was a profound change in America when marijuana smoking
started on a large scale in the late 1960’s. A large number of
people resisted the draft, resisted the war … started letting
their hair and beards grow … became interested in natural
foods… the ecology and the environment. What we really saw was
the awakening of our generation to the beginning of Christian
mentality through marijuana smoking. The earmarks of this
mentality are: I don’t want to go to war; I really don’t want to
be part of the political-military-economic fiasco you call society.
Like the Indians Hemp Drug Commission three quarters of a
century earlier, the Canadian Le Dain Commission conducted an
inquiry into the use of marijuana. On page 156 of the report is
"In the case of cannabis, the positive points which are
claimed for it include the following: It is a relaxant;
it is disinhibiting; it increases self-confidence and
the feeling of creativity (whether justified by creative
results or not); it increases sensual awareness and
appreciation; it facilitates self acceptance and in this
way makes it easier to accept others; it serves a
sacramental function in promoting a sense of spiritual
community among users; it is a shared pleasure; because
it is illicit and the object of strong disapproval from
those who are, by and large, opposed to social change,
it is a symbol of protest and a means of strengthening
the sense of identity among those who are strongly
critical of certain aspects of our society and value
On page 144 of the Report, marijuana is associated with peace.
"In our conversation with (students and young people)
they have frequently contrasted marijuana and alcohol
effects to describe the former as a drug of peace, a drug
that reduces tendencies to aggression while suggesting
that the latter drug produces hostile, aggressive
behavior. Thus marijuana is seen as particularly
appropriate to a generation that emphasizes peace and is,
in many ways, anticompetitive."
In a magazine article by G. S. Chopra entitled "Man and
Marijuana" on page 235 is a section dealing with Human Experiments.
One hundred persons with an established marijuana smoking habit
smoked marijuana. They described the symptoms as follows: "I have
done things today which I usually dislike but which I rather
enjoyed doing today." "Nothing seemed impossible to accomplish."
"I assumed a cool and composed attitude and forgot all mental
worries." "I behaved in a childish and foolish manner." "It
relieves sense of fatigue and gives rise to feelings of happiness."
"I feel like laughing." "My head is dizzy." "I feel like taking
more food." "The world is gay around me." "I feel inclined to
work." "I am a friend to all and have no enemy in the world."
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, in the section on
"To understand the meaning and use of the Eucharist we
must see it as an act of universal worship, of
cooperation, of association else it loses the greater
part of its significance. Neither in Roman Catholic nor
in Protestant Eucharistic practice does the sacrament
retain much of the symbolism of Christian unity, which
clearly it has. Originally, the symbolism was that of
a community meal, an accepted social symbol of community
throughout the whole of human culture."
Marijuana has been used as sacrifice, a sacrament, a ritual
fumigant (incense), a good-will offering, and as a means of
communing with the divine spirit. It has been used to seal
treaties, friendships, solemn binding agreements and to legitimize
covenants. It has been used as a traditional defense against evil
and in purification. It has been used in divinations (1. the art
or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or
discover hidden knowledge; 2. unusual insight; intuitive
perception.) It has been used in remembrance of the dead and
praised for its medicinal properties.
Most Christians agree that participation in the Eucharist is
supposed to enhance and deepen communion of believers not only with
Christ but also with one another. We must therefor ask the
question, "What substance did the ancients use as a community meal
to facilitate communion with the Lord?" The answer to that
question is marijuana. Hemp as originally used in religious
ritual, temple activities, and tribal rites, involved groups of
worshippers rather than the solitary individual. The pleasurable
psychoactive effects were then, as now, communal experiences.
Practically every major religion and culture of the ancient
world utilized marijuana as part of their religious observance.
Marijuana was the ambrosia of the ancient world. It was the food,
drink, and perfume of the gods. It was used by the Africans, the
Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Asians, the Europeans, and possibly
the Indians of the Americas. Would it be too much to suggest that
the ancient Israelites also utilized marijuana?
The following information was taken from the most
authoritative books dealing with the history of marijuana. They
are mentioned at the end of this work.
MARIJUANA IN INDIA
In Indian tradition marijuana is associated with immortality.
There is a complex myth of the churning of the Ocean of Milk by the
gods, their joint act of creation. They were in search of Amrita,
the elixir of eternal life. When the gods, helped by demons,
churned the ocean to obtain Amrita, one of the resulting nectars
was cannabis. After churning the ocean, the demons attempted to
gain control of Amrita (marijuana), but the gods were able to
prevent this seizure, giving cannabis the name Vijaya ("victory")
to commemorate their success.
Other ancient Indian names for marijuana were "sacred grass",
"hero leaved", "joy", "rejoicer", "desired in the three worlds"’
"gods’ food", "fountain of pleasures"’ and "Shiva’s plant".
Early Indian legends maintained that the angel of mankind
lived in the leaves of the marijuana plant. It was so sacred that
it was reputed to deter evil and cleanse its user of sin. In Hindu
mythology hemp is a holy plant given to man for the "welfare of
mankind" and is considered to be one of the divine nectars able to
give man anything from good health, to long life, to visions of the
gods. Nectar is defined as the fabled drink of the gods.
Tradition maintains that when nectar or Amrita dropped from
heaven, that cannabis sprouted from it. In Hindu mythology Amrita
means immortality; also, the ambrosial drink which produced it.
In India hemp is made into a drink and is reputed to be the
favorite drink of Indra (the King of Indian gods.) Tradition
maintains that the god Indra gave marijuana to the people so that
they might attain elevated states of consciousness, delight in
worldly joy, and freedom from fear.
According to Hindu legends, Siva, the Supreme God of many
Hindu sects, had some family squabble and went off to the fields.
He sat under a hemp plant so as to be sheltered from the heat of
the sun and happened to eat some of its leaves. He felt so
refreshed from the hemp plant that it became his favorite food,
and that is how he got his title, the Lord of Bhang.
Cannabis is mentioned as a medicinal and magical plant as well
as a "sacred grass" in the Atharva Veda (dated 2000 – 1400 B.C.)
It also calls hemp one of the five kingdoms of herbs…which
releases us from anxiety and refers to hemp as a "source of
happiness", "joy-giver" and "liberator". Although the holy books,
the Shastras, forbid the worship of the plant, it has been
venerated and used as a sacrifice to the deities.
Indian Tradition, writing, and belief is that the "Siddhartha"
(the Buddha), used and ate nothing but hemp and its seeds for six
years prior to announcing (discovering) his truths and becoming the
Cannabis held a preeminent place in the Tantric religion which
evolved in Tibet in the seventh century A.D. Tantrism was a
religion based on fear of demons. To combat the demonic threat to
the world, the people sought protection in plants such as cannabis
which were set afire to overcome evil forces.
In the tenth century A.D. hemp was extolled as indracanna,
the "food of the gods". A fifteenth-century document refers to
cannabis as "light-hearted", "joy-full" and "rejoices", and claimed
that among its virtues are "astringency", "heat", "speech-giving",
"inspiration of mental powers", "excitability" and the capacity to
"remove wind and phlegm".
Today in the Tantric Buddhism of the Himalayas of Tibet,
cannabis plays a very significant role in the meditative ritual to
facilitate deep meditation and heighten awareness. In modern India
it is taken at Hindu and Sikh temples and Mohammedan shrines.
Among fakirs (Hindu ascetics) bhang is viewed as the giver of long
life and a means of communion with the divine spirit. Like his
Hindu brother, the Musalman fakir reveres bhang as the lengthener
of life and the freer from the bonds of self.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Indian Hemp Drugs
Commission set up to study the use of hemp in India contains the
"…It is inevitable that temperaments would be found to
whom the quickening spirit of bhang is the spirit of
freedom and knowledge. In the ecstasy of bhang the spark
of the Eternal in man turns into the light the murkiness
"…Bhang is the Joy-giver, the Sky-filler, the Heavenly-
Guide, the Poor Man’s Heaven, the Soother of Grief…No
god or man is as good as the religious drinker of
bhang…The supporting power of bhang has brought many
a Hindu family safe through the miseries of famine. To
forbid or even seriously restrict the use of so gracious
an herb as the hemp would cause widespread suffering and
annoyance and to large bands of worshipped ascetics,
deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace
on discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose
gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil
MARIJUANA IN CHINA
Hemp was so highly regarded in ancient China that the Chinese
called their country "the land of mulberry and hemp". Hemp was a
symbol of power over evil and in emperor Shen Nung’s pharmacopoeia
was known as the "liberator of sin". The Chinese believed that the
legendary Shen Nung first taught the cultivation of hemp in the
28th century B.C. Shen Nung is credited with developing the
sciences of medicine from the curative power of plants. So highly
regarded was Shen Nung that he was deified and today he is regarded
as the Father of Chinese medicine. Shen Nung was also regarded as
the Lord of fire. He sacrificed on T’ai Shan, a mountain of hoary
A statement in the Pen-ts’ao Ching of some significance is
that Cannabis "grows along rivers and valleys at T’ai-shan, but it
is now common everywhere." Mount T’ai is in Shangtung Privince,
where the cultivation of the hemp plant is still intensive to this
day. Whether or not this early attribution indicates the actual
geographic origin of the cultivation of the Cannabis plant remains
to be seen. (An Archeological and Historical Account of Cannabis
in China by Hui-Lin Li)
A chines Taoist priest wrote in the fifth century B.C. that
cannabis was used in combination with Ginseng to set forward time
in order to reveal future events. It is recorded that the Taoist
recommended the addition of cannabis to their incense burners in
the 1st century A.D. and that the effects thus produced were highly
regarded as a means of achieving immortality. In the early Chinese
Taoist ritual the fumes and odors of incense burners were said to
have produced a mystic exaltation and contribution to well-being.
Webster’s New Riverside Dictionary defines marijuana: 1. Hemp
2. The dried flower clusters and leaves of the hemp plant, esp.
when taken to induce euphoria. Euphoria is defined as a strong
feeling of elation or well-being.
Like the practice of medicine around the world, early Chinese
doctoring was based on the concept of demons. The only way to cure
the sick was to drive out the demons. The early priest doctors
used marijuana stalks into which snake-like figures were carved.
Standing over the body of the stricken patient, his cannabis stalk
poised to strike, the priest pounded the bed and commanded the
demon to be gone. The cannabis stalk with the snake carved on it
was the forerunner to the sign of modern medicine (the staff with
the entwined serpents.)
MARIJUANA IN JAPAN
Hemp was used in Ancient Japan in ceremonial purification
rites and for driving away evil spirits. In Japan, Shinto priests
used a gohei, a short stick with undyed hemp fibers (for purity)
attached to one end. According to Shinto beliefs, evil and purity
cannot exist alongside one another, and so by waving the gohei
(purity) above someone’s head the evil spirit inside him would be
driven away. Clothes made of hemp were especially worn during
formal and religious ceremonies because of hemp’s traditional
association with purity.
MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT IRAN
Ancient Iran was the source for the great Persian empire,
Iran is located slightly to the northeast of the ancient kingdoms
of Sumeria, Babylonia, and Assyria. According to Mircea Eliade,
"Shamanistic ecstasy induced by hemp smoke was known in ancient
Iran." Professor Eliade has suggested that Zoroaster, the Persian
prophet, said to have written the Zend-Avesta, was a user of hemp.
In the Zend-Avesta hemp occupies the first place in a list of
10,000 medicinal plants.
One of the few surviving books of the Zend-Avesta, called the
Venidad, "The Law Against Demons", calls bhanga (marijuana)
Zoroaster’s "good narcotic", and tells of two mortals who were
transported in soul to the heavens where, upon drinking from a cup
of bhang, they had the highest mysteries revealed to them.
Professor Eliade has theorized that Zoroaster may have used hemp
to bridge the metaphysical gap between heaven and earth.
MARIJUANA IN ANCIENT EGYPT
In the book, Plants of the Gods: Origin of Hallucinogenic Use
by Richard E. Schultes and Albert Hofman, page 72, it is stated
that the specimens of marijuana nearly 4,000 years old have turned
up in an Egyptian site and that in ancient Thebes the plant was
made into a drink.
"Documented Written Egyptian Prescription"
For Medical Marijuana From 1,550 Years Before Christ
MARIJUANA IN EUROPE
According to Nikolaas j. van der Merwe (Department of
Archaeology, University of Cape Town, South Africa) the peasants
of Europe have been using cannabis as medicine, ritual material,
and to smoke or chew as far back as oral traditions go.
Marijuana was an integral part of the Scythian cult of the
dead wherein homage was paid to the memory of their departed
leaders. This use of cannabis was found in frozen Scythian tombs
dated from 500 to 300 B.C. Along with the cannabis a miniature
tripod-like tent over a copper censer was found in which the sacred
plant was burned.
It is interesting to note that two extraordinary rugs were
also found in the frozen Scythian tombs. One rug had a border
frieze with a repeated composition of a horseman approaching the
Great Goddess who holds the "Tree of Life" in one hand and raises
the other hand in welcome.
MARIJUANA IN AFRICA
The African continent is probably the zone showing the widest
prevalence of the hemp drug habit. When white men first went to
Africa, marijuana was part of the native way of life. Africa was
a continent of marijuana cultures where marijuana was an integral
part of religious ceremony. The Africans were observed inhaling
the smoke from piles of smoldering hemp. Some of these piles had
been placed upon altars. The Africans also utilized pipes. The
African Dagga (marijuana) cults believed that Holy Cannabis was
brought to earth by the gods. (Throughout the ancient world
Ethiopia was considered the home of the gods.)
In south central Africa, marijuana is held to be sacred and
is connected with many religious and social customs. Marijuana is
regarded by some sects as a magic plant possessing universal
protection against all injury to life, and is symbolic of peace
and friendship. Certain tribes consider hemp use a duty.
The earliest evidence for cannabis smoking in Africa outside
of Egypt comes from fourteenth century Ethiopia, where two ceramic
smoking-pipe bowls containing traces of excavation. In many parts
of East Africa, especially near Lake Victoria (the source for the
Nile), hemp smoking and hashish snuffing cults still exist.
MARIJUANA IN THE NEW WORLD
According to Richard L. Lingeman in his book Drugs from A to
Z, page 146, "Marijuana smoking was known by the Indians before
Columbus." After the Spanish conquest in 1521 the Spaniards
recorded that the Aztecs (Mayans) used marijuana.
The present day Cuna Indians of Panama use marijuana as a
sacred herb and the Cora Indians of the Sierra Madre Occidental of
Mexico smoke marijuana in this course of their sacred ceremonies.
In the Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L by William A Emboden,
Jr., pages 229 and 231, is the following:
"A particularly interesting account of a Tepehua (no
relationship to "Tepecana") Indian ceremony with cannabis
was published in 1963 by the Mexican ethnologist Roberto
William Garcia of the University of Veracruz,
northernmost branch of the Maya language family.
"In his account of Teehua religion and ritual, Willianm
Garcia (1963:215-21) describes in some detail a communal
curing ceremony focused on a plant called santa rose,
"The Herb Which Makes One Speak", which he identified
botanically as Cannabis Sativa: According to Garcia it
is worshipped as an earth deity and is thought to be
alive and comparable to a piece of the heart of God."
MARIJUANA USE BY THE MOSLEMS
It is interesting to note that the use of hemp was not
prohibited by Mohammed (570-632 A.D.) while the use of alcohol was.
Moslems considered hemp as a "Holy Plant" and medieval Arab doctors
considered hemp as a sacred medicine which they called among other
names kannab. The Sufis (a Moslem sect) originating in 8th century
Persia used hashish as a means of stimulating mystical
consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah. Eating
hashish to the Sufis was "an act of worship". They maintained that
hashish gave them otherwise unattainable insights into themselves,
deeper understanding and that it made them feel witty. They also
claimed that it gave happiness, reduced anxiety, reduced worry, and
increased music appreciation.
According to one Arab legend Haydar, the Persian founder of
the religious order of Sufi came across the cannabis plant while
wandering in the Persian mountains. Usually a reserved and silent
man, when he returned to his monastery after eating some cannabis
leaves, his disciples were amazed at how talkative and animated
(full of spirit) he seemed. After cajoling Haydar into telling
them what he had done to make him feel so happy, his disciples went
out into the mountains and tried the cannabis themselves. So it
was, according to the legend, that the Sufis came to know the
pleasures of hashish. (Taken from the Introduction to A
Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Literature by Earnest Abel.)
Due to the prosecution of God’s church from the beginning of
the Christian era and due to the persecution against marijuana the
true understanding of the Eucharist has remained hidden from
Christendom and the world, only to be revealed in these times, the
culmination of all human history.
We of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church declare marijuana for
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and for the
resurrection of mankind. The fruits of the mystery are remembrance
of the passions and death of Christ, propitiation for sins, defense
against temptation, and the indwelling of Christ in the faithful.
Preparations for communion consist of confession of sins,
fasting from sin, and reconciliation with all mankind. As such
the participant in the Eucharist will be in a condition in which
prayer and meditation are easy and fruitful. He will find his
emotion purified and stimulated, his spirituality quickened and
his heart filled with love.
Richard E. Schultes, article: "Man and Marijuana"
Richard E. Schultes and Albert Hofman, Plants of the Gods — Origin
of Hallucinogenic Use (McGraw-Hill Book Co. [U.K.] Limited,
Maidenhead, England ).
G.S. Chopra, article: "Man and Marijuana", International Journal
of the Addict,1969, 4, 215-247.
Earnest L. Abel, Marijuana, the First Twelve Thousand Years (Phenum
Press, New York, 1980)
Earnest L. Abel, A Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Literature
Earnest L. Abel, Marijuana Dictionary: Words, Terms, Events and
Persons Relating to Cannabis(Greenwood Press, Westpoint,
Edward M. Breecher and the Editors of Consumer Reports, The
Consumer Union Report, "Licit and Illicit Drugs", (Little, Brown,
Louis Lewin, Phantastica, Narcotic and Stimulating Drugs: Their Use
and Abuse, (London: Kegan, Trench, Turbner and Co., Ltd. Translated
from the second German edition by P.H.A. Wirth, 1931) (N.Y.,
Dutton, 1964, reprint, 1924, trans. 1931)
Sula Benet, Cannabis and Culture, ed. V. Rubin (The Hague: Moutan,
Richard E. Lingeman, Drugs from A to Z, A Dictionary (McGraw-Hill
Book Co., 1969, 74)
John R. Glowa, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs (Chelsea
House Pub., N.Y., New Haven, Philadelphia, 1986)
George Andrews and Simon Vinkenoog, The Book of Grass: An Anthology
on Indian Hemp; Chandler and Sharp Series in Cross Cultural Themes
(N.Y., Grove Press )
Jack Herer, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, 1985, 90, 91, 92.
Peter T. Furst, Hallucinogens and Culture (Chandler and Sharp
Publishers, Inc., 1976)
Baudelaire, Artificial Paradises
Dr. Charles Tart, "On Being Stoned: A Psychological Study of
Marijuana Intoxication" (Science and Behavior, 1971)
William A. Emboden, Jr. Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L
S.I. Rudenko, Frozen Tombs of Siberia (Dent., London, 1970)
Edward Atchley, A History of the Use of Incense in Divine Worship
E. A. Wallis Budge, The Divine Origin of the Craft of the Herbalist
Egon C. Corti, A history of Smoking, by Count Corti; Translated by
Paul England (G.G. Harrap, London, England, 1931)
Francis Robicsek, The Smoking Gods: Tobacco in Mayan Art, History,
and Religion (University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1978)
Diodurus, Histories 1.97.7
Herman Scneider, History of World Civilization, 2v (New York, 1931)
M.N. Dhalla, Zoroastrian Civilization (Oxford University Press,
Sir Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism 3v. (Routledge & K. Paul,
A.A. McDonell, India’s Past (The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1927)
Charles Anthon, A Classical Dictionary (N.Y., Harpers and Brothers,
G. Maspero, The Dawn of Civilization: Egypt and Chaldea (London,
Lucy Lamy, Egyptian Mysteries
Friedrich Ratzel, History of Mankind (N.Y., Gordon Press)
R.H. Charles The Book of Jubilees, cap, iij, (London, 1902)
Alfred Wiedemann, Religion of the Ancient Egyptians (London, 1987)
Geoffrey Wainwright, Eucharist and Eschatology (Epworth Press,
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, 1966
The Book of the Dead, Edit. E.A.W. Budge, British Museum, 1895, p.
J. Jeremias, in Encyclopedia, Iv, 4119, quoting Rawlinson,
Cuneiform Inscription IV. 19 (59) Cnf. the story of Bel and the
John McKenzie, The Bible Dictionary (N.Y. MacMillan Pub. Co., 1965)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Holy Spirit" (15th Edition, 1978)
Micropaedia, Ready Reference and Index
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Sacrifice" (15th Edition, 1978)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Pharmacological Cults" (15th Edition,
1978), p. 199
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Coptic"
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Essenes"
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Theraputea"
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Sacred Pipe" (15th Edition)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Incense"
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Hemp" (Microppaedia Ready Reference and
Index, p. 1016)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Roman Catholicism, The Eucharist" (Volume
15, p. 998)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Mysticism"
King James version of The Bible
We hope you enjoyed this pamphlet. If you have any questions
or comments, we would like to see them. Send them to the Ethiopian
Zion Coptic Church, P.O. Box 1161, Minneola, FL 34755-1161.
We of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church decided to publish this
pamphlet in order to give the public an opportunity to study the
church and its doctrine; not from inflated and misleading media but
from historical and Biblical reference. The Church has received
extensive publicity as "60 Minutes" has done a segment; Life, Omni,
Science, Rolling Stone, and High Times magazines have all done
articles, countless newspaper articles have been written, and
various brothers have been on radio and TV talk shows around the
We of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church revere ganja
(marijuana) as our "holy" Eucharist and "spiritual intensifier"
with Biblical, historical and divine associations for its use.
Ganja is the mystical body and blood of "Jes-us" — the burnt
offering made by fire — which allows a member to see and know the
"living God", or the "God in man".