Eight Great Heroes of Cannabis

Zoroaster circa 600 BC This Iranian prophet may have been among the earliest magician/astrologers. He also popularized the drinking of the sacred Haoma, a plant that grew wild along the riverbanks and was mixed with milk to achieve psychoactive results. Today, many informed scholars would admit this plant was cannabis, although traditionalists still dispute the considerable evidence. The three kings visiting the mythical birth of Jesus were Zoroastrian priests, and would have been bringing cannabis, not gold, to the ceremonies.

Moses circa 500 BC According to the Torah, Mount Sinai was enveloped in a cloud of smoke and a fire burned at its peak. It was here that Moses discovered the burning bush, which was undoubtedly cannabis. After inhaling the smoke, Moses was convinced he heard the voice of God. Unfortunately, after the Roman Empire seized control of Christianity, all references to cannabis were removed from the Bible, and though the story of the burning bush remained, its true identity was obscured. The mana that saved the tribe during famine was actually immature cannabis seeds, correctly described as looking like “tiny, white, coriander seeds.” It’s seems apparent today Moses was also a mythical creation and based largely off Zoroaster.

Gautama Buddha circa 486 BC The founder of “The Middle Way” which avoids the extremes of behavior that the east has become famous for, Buddha allegedly lived for years on cannabis leaves and seeds while meditating on the true nature of enlightenment. In the Tara Tantra, Buddha claims cannabis is “essential to ecstasy,” something that is now a scientifically-proven fact. Buddha, by the way, was probably Scythian, although like Jesus, any real person has been wiped away with magical, mythical fables. Elements of several religions may have been seeped into the Jewish tradition to construct Christianity.

Herotodus circa 440 BC The original Greek historian may never have imbibed cannabis in any form, but he did write the only surviving accounts of the history of the Scythians (aka Sakas), who were named after the tool they devised to help them harvest their beloved cannabis crop. The Sakas were nomadic people who roamed from Europe to the Far East, spreading cannabis seeds wherever they traveled. They began by inhaling cannabis smoke in small tipis, but eventually learned to mix the flowers with hot milk to make Soma or Hoama. Without the efforts of Herotodus, little would be known about this early stoner culture. They likely domesticated the first horses, invented the wheel and the covered wagon, created the Silk Trail to China, and spread cannabis and hemp wherever they went. Pythagoras soon became the first Greek to visit Persia and study with Zoroastrian magicians.

Jesus circa 1 AD Jesus was unknown in his lifetime, so he’s most likely another mythic creation, unlike John the Baptist and James the Just, who have come down as his cousin and brother. The Christian movement involved a return to the use of a holy anointing oil employed to inspire early Jewish leaders and guide them on a sacred path, a practice they learned and likely adopted from Zoroastrians, who picked it up from Scythians. “Christ” means “anointed” in Greek, and applied to anyone wearing the oil. Whether it was by healing glaucoma or multiple sclerosis, the Christian miracles were the miracles of cannabis. The truth about Jesus was not revealed until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, the only remaining texts from the period not corrupted by Roman influence. Christians were vegetarians who objected to animal sacrifice in the Temple. After James created the Christian Church, unifying elements of many known religions, the Romans killed him and scattered his followers to the wind.

Mani, circa 216-274 AD The most overlooked figure in history and the key to understanding how and why the eradication of cannabis from recorded history took place. Born into a Christian sect in Persia, Mani was widely considered the greatest avatar of his time, a Buddha in India, Zoroastrian priest in Iran, Christian prophet in Judea, and significant influence on spirituality in Greece, Italy and Africa. He was the greatest painter, poet, magician and healer of his time. Unique temples were constructed by his followers in China, India, Persia, Africa and Europe, and each one contained a copy of his own bible written in a unique calligraphy. Mani employed cannabis oil as his primary medicine and attempted to unite all religion to end war, which he considered the greatest evil on earth. Mani believed Jesus was the light of the moon and Jehovah the light of the sun. He was banished from Persia and lured back under false pretenses, and then tortured, skinned alive, decapitated and put on display above the city gates as a warning to anyone who’d seek to bring peace on earth. His murder served to make him more famous and when his religion (Manichaeism) began making significant inroads among Rome’s legionnaires, Constantine created his own version of Christianity, while systematically destroying Mani’s temples and murdering all his followers. Not a single poem, painting, nor copy of his bible survived.

Jean Fumeux circa 1340 After the Roman Empire established a monopoly on religion throughout Europe, it took a long time before any stoner culture was allowed to emerge, so persecuted was the use of cannabis throughout the Christian empire. But in France and Northern Italy, a creative band of eccentrics began calling themselves “The Society of Smokers” and they were devoted to writing songs that celebrated their love of hashish. The poet Eustace Deschamps was a leading member of the society. These smokers were undoubtedly persecuted by the Catholic Church, which wanted a monopoly on written music. Soon all the midwives of Europe (who used cannabis as a medicine) would be killed as witches and possession of cannabis would be considered proof of witchcraft.

Francois Rabelais circa 1500 Educated as a monk, Rabelais eventually became one of the leading doctors and alchemists of his time. Aleister Crowley would take much from his work, including “Do What Thou Wilt.” Because of the intense persecutions of the Catholic Church, Rabelais had to hide most of his knowledge and beliefs in allegories and fictionalized fantasies. At the time one could not even speak the word “cannabis,” as it was forbidden to mention the plant, even though hemp rope and cloth were ubiquitous throughout Europe. Rabelais got around this ban by referring to the plant as “the Herb Pantagruelion.”  So important was this plant that Rabelais named the hero of his book, Pantagruel. At the end of his life, however, he finally revealed what must have been obvious to many: “the good Pantagruel…is hemp.”

10 Non-fiction Masterpieces

Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neighardt

You have to give props to Native culture, which has always had a tremendous influence on the history of the counterculture, starting with the Tuscarora at Congo Square in New Orleans, birthplace of the improvisational culture we know today as the counterculture. Even though the Natives were much more advanced spiritually, European culture certainly did its best to destroy their vibrant and vibratory ceremonies. Black Elk was one of the most enlightened holy men to ever come down the pike in any culture and this book is a good place to start if you want some idea of how their ceremonies actually work.

The Yankee and Cowboy War by Carl Oglesby

Oglesby was the most articulate and intelligent leader to emerge from the SDS movement, and this book blew conspiracy theory wide open when it traced the links between the Kennedy assassination and Watergate very early in the game. Oglesby tried to penetrate the conflicts inside the Oligarachy that controls America. Especially groundbreaking was Olgesby’s analysis of the war between the Rockefellers and Howard Hughes that probably resulted in Hughes being neutralized. Whether they killed him and put a puppet in his place, or whether they just kidnapped and drugged him into submission is a question that may never get answered.

America’s Secret Establishment by Antony Sutton

This book got completely ignored by the mainstream, and for good reasons. Sutton was a leading economist at the Hoover Institute when he stumbled onto one of the greatest secrets in the world: The Oligarchy controlling America was involved in setting up Hitler and Communism in order to milk war for profit. Sutton detailed how a secret society at Yale University played a key role in transforming our country into a highly-centralized and heavily-controlled state. But then societies like Skull & Bones exist at every major university where the Oligarchy sends its kids to prepare them on how to run the world.

Terror or Love? by Bommi Baumann

Was the 1960s counterculture revolution intentionally led into violence in order to neutralize the hippie movement? Germany’s leading revolutionary certainly thinks so. It’s a toss-up which book will be harder to find, this one or Carl Oglesby’s. Bommi became a successful capitalist and landowner in Germany. Unfortunately, he passed away before we could meet. I would certainly have loved to meet this guy, since he remains one of the greatest unsung heroes of our time, someone who turned away from terror to embrace the core values of the spiritual revolution of the 1960s.

Wilderness of Mirrors by David C. Martin

Just how crazy are the people who run the CIA? They don’t get any crazier than James Jesus Angleton, the super paranoid king of spooks. Martin is a true insider: Yale grad, Navy vet, and Newsweek correspondent, and I spoke to him after reading this stunning book. I wanted to know if Angleton conspired with William Harvey to assassinate JFK. Martin was strenuous in denying any such connection, but now I know better: Angleton, Harvey and Johnny Rosselli were undoubtedly among the key players in that crime.

Gold Warriors by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave

For decades the hidden gold from WWII has been the CIA’s most closely guarded secret. Rather than return all the gold stolen by the Nazi’s and Japanese, certain highly-placed individuals inside the Oligarchy decided to secretly move the gold into secret funds that could be used to manipulate world events. Nixon probably ran afoul of the CIA when he returned one of these multi-billion dollar accounts back to the Japanese, which may be why the CIA decided to take him out of power through Watergate. You need to read this book to discover how the world really works.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe was a Yale grad sent straight from the heart of the establishment to report on the emergence of the second counterculture messiah, Ken Kesey (who was already in jail by the time the book came out). Wolfe never connected with the cosmic side of the movement, and, in fact, made fun of its spirituality, but he was a good enough journalist to get the basic story right. Today, I view Kesey as our Odysseus and the magic bus ride as a prophetic message. Perhaps we need to band into tribes and become more migratory as the earth changes set in (just like the original Sakka’s who spread cannabis across the globe). This book remains the best portrait of Kesey and his merry band, and I love the fact my copy is signed by many Pranksters, including the Great Kenmaster Kesey himself.

Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins

Calvin Tomkins was one of my biggest early influences as a writer. I just love his approach to art, which concentrates on personalities instead of theories. Gerald and Sara Murphy led enlightened lives and you can learn a lot by reading about them. This book begins as a fun read but ultimately turns tragic. And at under 150 pages, it will go very, very fast.

Chronicles by Bob Dylan

As if becoming the leading poet of his generation and then leading the folk movement into rock and becoming the first counterculture messiah (and then turning that job down emphatically and going into hiding) wasn’t enough, Bob Dylan had to unveil an entire new dimension of his artistic abilities with the release of this masterpiece of counterculture literature in 2004. I especially like the encounters he had with Skull & Bones member Archibald MacLeish, who positively drips with evil vibrations as he tries (unsuccessfully) to pull Dylan into a Broadway production he’s developing. This book has a unique perspective on the sixties from the very tip of the lightning rod.

The Man Who Knew Too Much by Dick Russell

One of the most insightful books every written about the Kennedy assassination, Russell figured out there were plenty of people willing to talk about the case who had important info to share, especially the sons and daughters of CIA agents who felt their parents were somehow involved. Even more important, Russell made contact with the one undercover agent who tried very hard to blow the whistle and prevent the assassination, Richard Case Nagell. Russell is now a co-author with Jesse Ventura.

Additional shout-outs to: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Treason in America by Anton Chaikin, The Franklin Scandal by Nick Bryant, A Terrible Mistake by H.P. Albarelli and Octopus Conspiracy by Steven Hager (that’s me!)

10 Literary Masterpieces

Really the Blues by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe

Can anyone explain why this book never won any awards or even had a film adaptation, considering it’s the greatest work on the origins of the counterculture that gave birth to blues, jazz and rock’n’roll? The answer, of course, is that Mezzrow had the audacity to marry a black woman at a time when it was illegal in most states for whites and blacks to mix. Mezzrow goes into great detail on the use of sacramental substances for enhancing ceremonies (jam sessions), and concludes that marijuana is the best and safest. Mezz was one of the first three inductees into the High Times Counterculture Hall of Fame and his only child (Milton) attended the ceremony and accepted a Cup on his father’s behalf.

Fat City by Leonard Gardner

You may be familiar with the John Huston film of the same name (also scripted by Gardner), but the book is even more powerful. Set at the crossroads of harsh migrant labor versus even harsher boxing realities, this short, tightly-constructed novel is impossible to put down once started. It also takes the reader on a voyage to some of the deeper parts of the human soul. Born in Stockton, CA, (where the book is set) Gardner now lives in Marin and has become something of a recluse. In my opinion, his masterpiece is a far more mature artistic statement than say, the more popular The Catcher in the Rye.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The book that kick-started the hippie movement, a deeply spiritual prose-poem that took the improvisational energy of jazz and transformed it into literature. No one understood the importance of untampered improvisational energy better than Jack and this book also introduced the concept of marijuana as a spiritual tool that could lead one towards enlightenment. A generation hit the road, many traveling to Mexico to find marijuana, after reading this masterpiece, which was actually inspired by a long letter from Neal Cassady. If you can’t appreciate the book’s wild improvisational nature, try Dharma Bums or Big Sur.

It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina

Farina and Bob Dylan were two titans of the early folk scene. They collaborated at first and eventually battled it out for supremacy at one point. But Farina certainly took the crown on fiction. After On the Road, this was probably the most influential book for intelligent teens in the sixties and it really opened some major doors revealing secrets, including the hidden hand of intelligence agents in the worlds of drugs and revolutions, and the dark side of unrestricted behaviors.

Angels by Denis Johnson

It’s ok this was written under the influence of Fat City (I know because Denis told me) because everybody has to be influenced by somebody and you might as well pick the best. This amazing novel, however, goes to even darker dimensions than Gardner’s masterpiece and is truly a walk on the wild side of life where morality becomes distorted almost beyond recognition. Just writing this book may have helped Denis get off junk forever and should serve as a warning to anyone wanting to travel down that road. And yes, I have a signed original edition.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

And speaking of traveling down that junky road, no one ever put more people on that path than Burroughs, who remains, after all, “The Man,” as Hunter S. Thompson always referred to him. Burroughs was simply the greatest literary stylist and most original thinker of all counterculture literary icons. You probably need to read this book several times during the course of a lifetime just to fully absorb the contents.

Journey to the End of the Night by Celine

In a way, this book got it all started in the first place. Written in 1932, Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s Bardamu was the original counterculture hero, dripping with cynicism and black humor. Naturally, it took years for anyone to recognize the genius of this book, and Celine never achieved anything close to the respect he deserved, mostly because of his unfortunate support for the Nazis. Politics, however, were really never an important issue in his work, since he viewed the world as a corrupt place run by idiots.

The Risk of Being Ridiculous by Guy Maynard

Maynard grew up in Urbana, Illinois, a year ahead of me, and was one of the leading figures in the garage-band movement that started around 1966. His book takes place in 1969 and really captures the intensity of the times. I gave it a rave review in High Times and it inspired me to dig up my own archives.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven

Is there a more mysterious figure in the history of counterculture literature than B. Traven, whose history and background have long been in dispute? Most of Traven’s books are set in Mexico and involve the conflicts between the Native population and the Spanish invaders who took over their lands. This book exposes the darkness of human greed better than any book in history. The film was great, but the book is even better.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

I promised to keep this list to ten, so I have to sign off on this one, even though there are lots of little-known masterpieces left to discuss. This book revealed many secrets from the intelligence community regarding brainwashing, only instead of ascribing the nasty business to our own CIA’s MK/ULTRA program, it placed all the blame on the North Koreans, Chinese and Russians. The world will never be the same after you read this book and you’ll suddenly know why F. Scott Fitzgerald said the rich were nothing like the rest of us.

Special shout-outs to: The Ginger Man by J.P. Dunleavy, The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis, and Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone.

Two Books Worth Checking Out

The Risk of Being Ridiculous by Guy Maynard got me interested in blogging about the 1960s. Maynard grew up in Urbana, Illinois, a year ahead of me, and was one of the leading figures in the garage-band movement that started around 1966. His book takes place in 1969 and really captures the intensity of the times. I gave it a rave review in High Times and it inspired me to dig up my own archives from the 1960s, especially a short story I wrote called “The Steam Tunnels.” I was surprised at how well my story had held up over the years. I’d forgotten most of the trauma I went through in the mid-’60s. People called it a “Generation Gap” but it was really a “Generation War.”

Well, there’s another novelist from my home town who wrote extensively about Carpenter and Cole, who (along with Guy and George Faber) had led the garage-rock movement in Central Illinois. Mandy Moores was actually one of my sister’s best friends in high school, and she ended up briefly married to Carp, and lived with him down in New Orleans when he and Cole were both deep-sea diving off oil platforms around the world. It was incredibly dangerous work, although the pay was pretty good.

Mandy’s book, Dream Palace, came out many years ago, but I just got around to reading it recently. Mandy’s brother, Brian, was the original drummer for my band, the Soul Assassins, as well as one of the drummers for a later incarnation of The Finchley Boys, the greatest garage band to emerge from Central Illinois. I’ve lost touch with both Brian and Mandy, so maybe this blog will bring them back into my orbits.

You can pick up a copy of Dream Palace for around a buck on Amazon. I kinda wish I could have helped Mandy edit this project, because she’s clearly a very talented writer. This first novel could have been something spectacular, on a similar level as Maynard’s book, but it has some flaws. For one, Mandy was a little too close to the subject when she wrote this, and had a lot of issues she was working out. Carp had a well-known anger-management problem, and we all knew you didn’t push his buttons unless you were looking for serious trouble. But Carp could also be a heroic figure, and this side of him is mostly missing. I also would have loved to have gotten more details on his garage band origins in Urbana, as well as more details on the dangers of deep-sea diving. For example, When Doug Blair got beat-up for making fun of the football coach (Smitty),  it was Carp who went after Frank Sowers to take revenge. Reading the book, I couldn’t believe how tough Mandy was, pushing Carp’s buttons big-time, forcing confrontations with him, and basically not taking any shit at all. Unfortunately, their marriage was doomed because they were headed in completely different directions. Mandy had a fairy-tale view on life when in high school. I remember her many paintings that evoked this magical dream life. The book does a good job of capturing this side of her personality, but her fairy tale turned bad when Carp started getting violent.

Bugsy’s not in the book far as I could tell, although he was also part of that New Orleans crew, working as a deep sea diver. Carp always had some major schemes going on. Mandy goes into great detail on his 50-foot sailboat that he overhauled and eventually took to Jamaica for a load of pot. Unfortunately, this trip coincided with an anti-smuggling campaign supervised by then-Vice President George Bush. On their way back to the Florida Keys with a boatload of ganja, Carp and Bugsy were unexpectedly intercepted by a fleet of warships that had been deployed to root out drug smugglers. With the Coast Guard bearing down on him, Carp went into action-mode, and tried to dump all the bales before they were intercepted. Unfortunately, he wasn’t fast enough and the Coast Guard was able to pull a bunch of the bales out of the water.

In a most amazing coincidence, the head prosecutor in Florida handling their case was none other than Ralph Hersey, who’d been a columnist for my underground paper, The Tin Whistle. I tried to recruit all the best writers in my high school and Ralph had been suggested by one of the English teachers. Ralph was a good counterpoint to Charlie Gerron. They were both black, but Charlie was angry and confrontational, while Ralph was the model of common sense and morality. We also had a great poet in our class, Jim Guthrie, and I remember going to Jim’s house and trying to recruit him. Jim took one look at the first issue of The Tin Whistle, however, and decided it wasn’t for him. His work was considerably more mature than what most of us were doing at the time and Jim would go on to win many poetry awards in the 1970s.

Thoughts on 420 Eve

The first reference to 420 I ever saw was a flyer handed out at an Oakland Grateful Dead show that was designed to pull people across the Bay to participate in a 4:20 pm ceremony on Mt. Tam on April 20th. A short blurb was published in the news section of High Times in May, 1991, which, strangely, did not mention I had announced to my staff that 420 was proof of cannabis spirituality. From the day I saw that flyer, I began organizing 420 ceremonies in earnest, and the big ones were held by the national hemp legalization group I’d started a year earlier called The Freedom Fighters. There were 420 ceremonies at the Freedom Fighter conventions and at the Freedom Fighter encampments at the Rainbow Gatherings, both the regional in Ocala, Florida, as well as the Nationals.

The first 420 ceremony at the Cannabis Cup was in 1993 simply because after founding the Cup, I did not return to the event for four years, stung by comments that I’d created the event only as a excuse to get high, and not as a serious event. The Cannabis Cup 4:20 pm ceremony began as an open council that everyone attending the Cup was invited to. Council always began with an OM, the ancient prayer from the far east that harmonizes people. I’ve done a lot of research into the origins of the “OM” and come to the conclusion it was created by the Sakka’s (Scythians) and moved around the world. OM has two sounds, the “O” rings the rib cage, and the “M” (also known as a y-buzz) rings the facial bones and skull. I also believe “Amen” is a western adaptation of the eastern “OM.” After the OM, we’d pass Eagle Bill’s Native American wooden staff (in place of a feather), and the person who held the staff was allowed to speak. In this manner we discussed how to move forward with the Cup and our ceremonies. In 1994, Eagle Bill was the master of ceremonies and high priest of 420 council. Later, this function was taken over by whatever counterculture icon we were honoring. For example, when Bob Marley was inducted in our hall of fame, Rita Marley was the high priestess, and Ras Menelik was the high priest.

By 1995, there were numerous 420 pm and am ceremonies taking place at the Cannabis Cup. All the am ceremonies were held in the lobby of the Quentin Hotel, where the staff and performers stayed. I didn’t really organize 4:20 am ceremonies. The Temple Dragon Crew (protectors of the Cannabis Cup) began organizing those. Basically dozens of people would show up and chant and sing for hours until 4:20 am, and then everyone would line-up under a big clock in the lobby of the Quentin Hotel and have their picture taken at exactly 4:20. When I found out the crew was doing this, I joined that ceremony. I would credit Rocker T as a primary instigator of the 420 am’s.

The biggest 420 am celebration was always the night of the awards show, as many would return to the States the next day and usually there was a lot of cannabis left to consume. Entire kolas would be set on fire in the hotel lobby and passed around and sniffed. Later on, the crew took slabs of waterhash and used them as papers, filling the insides with cannabis. Those hash/weed joints were each worth hundreds of dollars and would be consumed in a matter of a few minutes.

The Waldos contacted the Cannabis Cup in 1997. This is the same year 420 starts at Boulder, Colorado, although some try to claim there were 420 ceremonies in Boulder prior to 1997, I’d like to see some proof of those claims before I’ll swallow that story. I published the true origins of 420 in High Times after meeting the Waldos in 1998, around the same time I created the WHEE! festival in Oregon, which was ten times bigger than the Cup. Whee!, like the Cannabis Cup, used 420 as the central ceremony of the event.

http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Chakra-Candles/dp/B00BVMZ8U8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414931508&sr=8-1&keywords=steven+hager+candles

More thoughts on 420

I was contacted today by a reporter working on an article on the history of 420. I’m happy to help any researchers interested in this topic. There’s a big difference between using the word “420” as a code, and organizing a ceremony. The idea of 420 ceremonies really spread around the world primarily through the Cannabis Cup, which was attended by influential stoners from around the world. Below are some of the questions I was asked, and the answers I gave.

I have the HT edition with the flyer and in bold it states “Get together with your friends and smoke pot hardcore.”

HT didn’t publish the flyer, they published Bloom’s selective excerpts from the flyer. The purpose of the flyer was to attract people to an annual ceremony on Mt. Tam.

It’s abridged? I didn’t know that.

I saw the entire flyer. It was for a ceremony on Mt. Tam. At the time I was researching Soma and the Sakka culture, and shouted out “THIS IS IMPORTANT!” Bloom thought it was ridiculous. He wouldn’t even participate in my 420 ceremonies, which I began that very day. The most important thing to realize about counterculture ceremonies is they are always rooted in improvisation. The Waldos were masters of improvisation. But the Waldos did not create the Mt. Tam ceremony. That was created by the kids in their high school who came later on, their younger brothers and sisters created that ceremony, but it stayed on Mt. Tam and never moved…until the Cannabis Cup. Bloom started his campaign to write me out of the history of 420 last year. When he published his current story, I’d finally had enough. He was there, he knows the truth. He also knows that he resisted everything I was doing all along the way.

I guess he’s passionate about crediting the Deadheads.

Jack Herer was a lifelong Deadhead and sold most of his books on Dead Tour. Jack’s first 420 ceremony was at the Cannabis Cup.

I think Wavy-Gravy’s ‘eternity’ comment puts it in the longest term perspective. It’s his way of saying “so what?”

You can pick any form of spirituality, it all works. The secret, however, is that you have to believe. I wrapped my deepest beliefs around 420 from the moment I became aware of it. I remain very close with the Waldos, who deserve a place in history alongside the Merry Pranksters. The Temple Dragons should get more credit for spreading 420, especially Rocker T. So what? So what, Merry Pranksters? So what, Congo Square? So what, cannabis spirituality? There’s something deeper going on here than just having a party, that’s what. I was the first person to announce cannabis was Soma of the Rig Veda, at least in North America to my knowledge. It was during my investigations of the historical use of cannabis that I became aware of 420. Bloom handed me the flyer. He then wrote a story about how silly the whole thing was, after I already told him I was going to reorganize my spiritual beliefs and events around the concept of 420. Thousands of people came through these events for ten years. Yet today, Bloom asserts the ceremonies I created did nothing to spread 420? The people involved know better. I’m not trying to take credit for 420, and I’ve made it clear what I think 420 should be about: “A day of peace in the drug war,” but after Jack Herer died, in wishes with Jack’s family, I asked people to also remember Jack on that day. But if you are going to write the true history of 420, please never forget the Temple Dragon Crew!

http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Chakra-Candles/dp/B00BVMZ8U8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414931508&sr=8-1&keywords=steven+hager+candles

10 Most Sacred Spots in America

1) Congo Square, New Orleans. This is the actual birthplace of the counterculture, where Native Americans, African slaves, and a wide mixture of European whites first gathered to create an improvisational culture, blending elements of all their histories to create the popular, non-violent, hybrid-vigor culture we know today as the counterculture.

2) Hippie Hill, San Francisco. Located at the base of Haight Street, just steps from the corner of Haight/Ashbury, Hippie Hill was the ceremonial gathering place for the birth of the hippie movement.

3) Laguna Beach, California. Just as important as Hippie Hill was the influence of John Griggs and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. There is a little-known surfer-hippie connection that has not been fully explored yet. Surfers who took LSD early in the sixties were among the first people to reach true enlightenment. The real center of energy may have been the auditorium on Newport Beach, but unfortunately that temple of surf rock was torn down.

4) Woodstock Festival, Bethel, New York. The first Woodstock was a true gathering of the tribe, and a place where the counterculture first realized itself in enormous numbers. It was our hippie version of the Sermon on the Mount. Also worth mentioning is Magic Meadow, Woodstock, New York. Located near the start of the trail to Overlook Mountain, Magic Meadow is the main ceremonial location selected by early beatniks and hippies who flocked to Woodstock as a haven for counterculture spirituality. Overlook Mountain also had a long history of use by Native cultures as a primary site for vision questing.

5) Strawberry Lake, Colorado. Located on the continental divide, Strawberry Lake was the site of the original Rainbow Family Gathering. The authorities tried to close all access to the site when they learned ten thousand hippies planned on camping there over the week of July 4th, but despite the roadblocks and police presence, all the hippies managed to sneak into the site via the back trails.

6) Camp Winnarainbow, Laytonville, CA. Wavy Gravy is the foremost master of ceremonies of the counterculture and he built the second most successful counterculture community in America. Wavy is the master of improv energy and channeling the fun vibe. His camp is the perfect place to send your kids to learn about counterculture spirituality.

7) Ken Kesey’s farm, outside Eugene, Oregon. The original bus, Further (or Furthur) is parked here. Kesey is our counterculture version of Odysseus, and his magic bus ride was a seminal moment in counterculture history. Wherever that bus resides will always be a most sacred spot in counterculture history.

8) Mount Tamalpias, CA. The birthplace of 420 and the site of the original April 20th ceremonies. Since cannabis is the primary sacrament of the counterculture (and has been used since its birth in Congo Square), the birthplace of 420 will always be a most sacred location for the counterculture.

9) Owl Farm, Colorado. Located a short drive from Aspen, the home of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson radiates with intense vibrations from all the ceremonies held on the site.

10) National Rainbow Family Gathering. Every July 1-7, the gathering is held in a different National Forest so this is a mobile sacred spot that moves around every year. The Rainbow Family is the heart and soul of the counterculture. Everyone needs to make a pilgrimage to this event at least once in their life to see what a world without violence and bigotry actually feels like.

420 Disinfo Exposed

Steve Bloom continues his selective and self-serving history of 420. In his latest missive, Bloom says: “In 1996, a person calling himself Steve Waldo contacted High Times claiming he and five friends had coined the term while they all attended San Rafael High School in Marin Country north of San Francisco in the early 1970s. So High Times named the Waldos the founders of 420.”

In truth, Steve Waldo contacted the 420 Tours website, not High Times. I’d just recently resigned as editor-in-chief of the magazine so I could concentrate on building events and shooting video and had spent six years promoting 420 ceremonies at the High Times office, at the Cannabis Cup, and at the Whee! festivals I created. Bloom never participated in any of these 420 ceremonies and told everyone my “theory” about the Waldo’s inventing 420 was untrue. For many years Bloom insisted the Waldos were liars. All this was well documented in Mike Edison’s slimy book that details his conflicts with the High Times staff.

But the worst piece of disinfo promoted by Bloom is the idea that I had nothing to do with spreading 420 ceremonies around the world, when, in fact, I was the first person to announce that 420 was evidence of the spiritual powers of cannabis. Until I began organizing 420 ceremonies, the only 420 ceremony being held was in Marin County. Bloom claims that Deadheads created 420 ceremonies, which is not true. It was students at San Rafael High School that organized the first 420 ceremonies. The Waldos were fans of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, not “Deadheads.”