There’s a long passage in Exodus explaining how Moses made it through forty days in the desert while on the edge of starvation. Through the power of the Lord, a new food was delivered magically to Moses called manna.
The descriptions of this food are poetic and symbolic and somewhat contradictory. Apparently, manna was all things to all people, and tasted like honey to kids, and meat to adults, and bread to the elderly. Terrence McKenna was the first to theorize manna was a mushroom. When is the last time you heard of someone surviving on mushrooms? It’s well known, however, that the Russian peasants survived on cannabis seed in times of famine for millennia.
First, there was no exodus out of Egypt. That was a revenge fantasy created to give courage while the Jews were slaves for Babylon. (If there had been a massive exodus, the physical evidence would have been discovered long ago. The exodus is never mentioned in Egyptian history, which is quite extensive.)
The history of the Jews was not recorded until they had been annexed by Babylon and Moses was created as a composite of Cyrus the Great and Cyrus’s avatar Zoroaster. Both Moses and Zoroaster go to the top of the smokey mountain, meet the burning bush, and bring back the official laws of the one true god. The Moses myth was shaped immediately after Cyrus conquered Babylon and freed all the slaves. Cyrus not only freed the enslaved Jews, he gave them permission and funds to rebuild Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem provided they wrote down their laws. In gratitude is it any wonder many Zoroastrian elements were absorbed into Judaism?
The reason you add magical elements to myth is to provide the necessary sense of enchantment needed to penetrate and elevate the psyche. The evolution of religion was a complex process that built new layers on top of older concepts. Religion began as the fulcrum for convincing the population to go along with wars of conquest, and in many religions, this primary role remains untouched. First, a priest anointed some rich person king, and then the king anointed the priest pope. And then the pope gave the king permission to conduct holy war against the designated scapegoats, whose property could then be seized and divided between the king and pope. It was the original mutual-admiration society for profit.
At some point, cannabis was disappeared from all religious history, even though it had served as the principle sacrament for numerous religions for over a thousand years. An inconvenient truth is that soma and haoma are bhang.
We don’t know why cannabis was removed from history, but they couldn’t eradicate all references in the ancient texts because the burning bush and holy anointing oil all were referenced throughout. But they were able to completely obscure the truth. The disappearing act seems to have started when Constantine erased Mani and replaced him with a Jesus of his own devising.
In the 1990s archaeologists discovered a kilo of cannabis flowers inside a 2,500 year-old burial tomb in the Tarim Basin in northwest China. Clothing in the tomb was woolen and flax, and the rope and baskets were fashioned out of leather, not hemp. This means the plant was being harvested for medicinal purposes only.
Wu is the Chinese term for medicine man, and symbolized by a cross, usually worn on the forehead. The earliest Chinese shamans were mostly women who employed hu ma as their primary medicine. Hu ma is a reference to cannabis indica, introduced to the Chinese by the Scythians who arrived via the highway to China and India their ancestors had built. Cannabis oil was known as yu ma.
The word “cannabis” originated with the Scythians around the Black Sea and may have been their word for “hemp,” but it was in China that hemp paper was first produced. The technology took a long time to finally reach Europe. The term for cannabis in Chinese is “ma,” and it may have been in China where the momentous discovery was first made one could activate the power of cannabis by mixing flowers with hot milk, running the mixture through a sieve, and then drinking the liquid. Whoever discovered the technique, it quickly spread all along the so-called Silk Road and enormous fire temples were constructed to distribute this elixir to the masses.
In China this concoction became known as shuma; while in India it was called soma; and in Persia, hoama. The words “magi, magician, shaman” all have their root in the Chinese “ma.” So why wouldn’t “manna” be a reference to this same ma?
Since a wide variety of cultures have employed hemp seed to survive famine over millennia, it’s hard to understand why this scenario doesn’t even appear on Wikipedia as an explanation for manna.
In my version, the plants are just starting to sprout seeds that are best picked by the little fingers of children when the morning dew is upon them. The seeds are pulverized in stone mortars, and then the flattened wafers are baked like matzo.
Moses told everyone to pick only what they wanted to eat that day. Apparently baked manna did not keep well and attracted vermin.
But he also told them to put away a small sample of the seeds to show their ancestors, to let them know what kept the tribe alive in an hour of need.
And as my final point of proof, I show you the one identifying characteristic of manna from Exodus. Apparently, it bore a resemblance to coriander seeds. Here are coriander seeds.
31 The people called the special food “manna.” It was like small white coriander seeds and tasted like thin cakes made with honey. 32 Moses told the people what the Lord said: “Save a basket of this food for your descendants. Then they can see the food that I gave to you in the desert when I took you out of Egypt.”