Something heavy went down…

The ancient Persians considered Balkh the “mother of all cities,” which may be why something heavy went down 5,000 years ago. Balkh was the largest, richest and most important oasis on the road connecting China and India to Europe. In fact, the trail split not far from the city’s immense walls, the southern route tailing off towards the Khyber Pass, while the northern led into the Hindu Kush to Kashgar.

Just as in Sumer, Turkey and Egypt, irrigation methods soon created immense gardens and orchards to support a growing population, and most crops were planted safely inside the city walls. Priests were placed in charge of water and seed distribution, as well as prayers and divinations for a good harvest.

One day there appeared a prophet in the city who instigated a major shift in cosmology. Up until his arrival, it had been assumed the universe was dominated by a vast multitude of greater and lesser spiritual energies, and each community had been free to make up their own pantheons.

When he first appeared on the scene, Zoroaster was a very controversial figure. He apparently accused some of the priests of practicing the dark arts and claimed their magic was fraudulent. It’s strange how today Zoroaster is known as “the first magician,” when, in fact, he seems to have gotten his start by exposing fake magic. During this time, an evil eye accusation could result in an execution. So if a priest accused you of giving someone the evil eye to explain why disaster had befallen them, you were pretty much a lost cause. I’m speculating here, but I believe Zoroaster may have put an end to such superstition.

One thing for sure, Zoroaster obliterated the ancient pantheons that had stood for millennia, replacing them with two forces, one good, and the other evil. It’s gone down in history as the origin of monotheism, even though in practice there were many lesser spirits in play. The other important contribution was the creation of a epic hero involved in seeking enlightenment, which supplemented the prior epic hero involved in feats of heroic strength. It was the first time a philosopher/scientist/astrologer emerged to replace the warrior avatars.

A number of epic hymns were written to celebrate Zoroaster’s quest for enlightenment. Some even attribute the first half dozen to Zoroaster himself. In a nutshell, he went to the top of smokey mountain, communicated with a magic plant, and came back down with the good god’s official rule book.

One day, a new young king of Balkh decided this new prophet Zoroaster was onto something heavy. And that’s when fire temples began sprouting all along the Silk Road serving a mixture of cannabis and milk with spices. This was Zoroaster’s Eucharist for healing the blind and lame, as well as curing depression, a magic staircase to the mind of the good god.

Known as soma in India, haoma in Persia, and shuma in China, the medicine helped transform Zoroaster into becoming the most famous prophet of his time. And, of course, after his death, magical stories about him increased and rapidly erased any human figure. This is the natural trajectory any mythic figure must undergo simply because people want to take their religion with a heavy dose of enchantment. So the debunker of fake magic became the world’s greatest magician.

There’s also been a lot of hoodwinking going on about when he really lived. Lately, there’s even been an attempt to date Zoroaster after Moses, when, in fact, Moses was obviously based on Zoroaster because it was the first Zoroastrian king of Persia (Cyrus the Great) who defeated the corrupt Babylonian empire and freed the Jews. Not only did Cyrus free the Jews, he gave them funds and instructions to rebuild Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. This all happened before the Jews had a written language, and in gratitude, Moses was fashioned as the Jewish Zoroaster, and most of the cosmology lifted right out of the Avesta.

And, of course, in short order, something heavy went down in Jerusalem.

Forever Fun

It’s unfortunate how little video footage got captured during the first Whee! festival outside Eugene, Oregon. The entire adventure had begun as my plot to establish a Weed Woodstock. (Although, in truth, the original was funded almost entirely by weed money, and the event helped cement Woodstock as a weed distribution center.)

I remember taking the trustees to lunch at some five-star restaurant and saying, “You have to be committed to a new event for five years, because that’s how long it may take to break even.” But I assured them after five years, my Whee! fest would be as big if not bigger than Woodstock. And I believed this because the event was promoted as a prayer for world peace, a serious non-denominational ceremony recognizing cannabis as the sacrament of peace culture.

Of course, Whee! exploded immediately, drawing 20,000 to the event, most of whom got in for free and were fed free by a non-stop crew kitchen, and anyone could volunteer to be crew.

After the OM circle, someone handed a bottle of whiskey to Felipe and said he was done with this. Felipe and I did a bunch of powerful ceremonies together, and that was certainly one of the best.

But the day after the event ended, we invited the Pranksters to our motel room to celebrate and eat pizza. Only Ken Babbs showed up, and this is what transpired. The next day, we went to see Kesey, and he introduced me to non-linear video editing, just going prosumer. I had been a devoted follower of improvisational ritual theater as practiced by the Pranksters, and took this direction very seriously, devoting the rest of my life to capturing video of the ceremonies I was staging. Sure glad I kept these memories, and if you want to know what Hager ceremonies look and feel like, this will clue you in.

As soon as I got back to New York, the trustees informed me that Whee! had been a financial failure. Although I knew that was a lie. Through immense efforts I manage to resurrect one more Whee! at the same site the next year before my precious Whee! ceremony was cast to the winds, and thus ended my longstanding campaign for the recognition of spiritual rights for cannabis users.

 

Chef Ra Escapes Babylon

Tom Forcade had multiple film projects in the works when he committed suicide. He’d recently bought controlling interest of a smuggling project, and went to show a rough cut to Robert Evans in Hollywood. Forcade had just paid an editor to whip the chaotic footage into a story. He put a lot of effort into trying to make sense of that footage, some of which involved footage of a real smuggling operation, but Evans sadly told him the edit still wasn’t working.

Apparently, Forcade’s moves into Hollywood contributed to two things: cocaine and guns. According to Gabrielle Schang, Forcade didn’t carry a pistol until after being introduced around Hollywood. He’d been a dealer and distributor and magazine publisher, but was also branching into smuggling and film at the same time. His most precious documentary project involved filming the Sex Pistols historic tour of America. Forcade bought a plane and sent Jack Combs on a mission. He never recovered from Jack’s fatal crash at the end of that ill-fated mission. And that also ended any High Times forays into the film world until I arrived.

Before coming to High Times, I’d launched a moderately successful film project called Beat Street, and never lost sight of expanding my efforts into the world of film and video. When prosumer equipment finally reached the realms of the masses, I began documenting everything, quickly evolving into the most video-centric magazine editor on the national stage. I shot thousands of hours of footage, and often assembled 7-person crews to do four-camera edits with live switching of my major events. All this was working towards the creation of a counterculture television network.

The first project I pitched to the trustees was a Chef Ra travel guide to Jamaica. I was creating an entire galaxy of High Times stars and Ra was intended to be one of the brightest.

Imagine my surprise when the trustees tell me they are putting up thousands of dollars to make the Chef Ra film. That was the good news. The bad news was the project was being given to the aspiring filmmaker son of the head trustee. I didn’t get to play any role in the film until the end. They spent a week in Jamaica and shot a lot of random footage and needed Ra to help work it into a story.

That’s not the best way to make a great documentary and it showed in the final product. But it remains the best portrait of Jim Wilson we have, and since Jim co-wrote the script used to stitch the scenes together, it carries his creativity and compassion.

The first documentary on the emerging hemp movement

Modern life is evolving so fast it’s hard to imagine the vibes going down 30 years ago. Which is why it’s so entertaining to check out a documentary I produced early in the 1990s titled Let Freedom Ring: the Origins of the Hemp Movement. It came out just after my discovery of 420, but three years after I’d created the Freedom Fighters with the help of Rodger Belknap of West Virginia, who quickly became our organization’s chief funder and spiritual advisor.

The Freedom Fighters went from a handful of High Times staffers to the biggest cannabis legalization group in the world in two years, while the Ann Arbor Hash Bash went from a dozen hardcore devotees to many thousands cramming the diag at the University of Michigan. Marching into rallies in our Freedom Fighter outfits was the ritual that helped galvanize a national movement.

Shortly after the film was released, however, Rodger was railroaded into jail, while High Times forced me to disband the group, allegedly because NORML was unhappy about the competition, which seemed weird since our newsletter had been recognizing and supporting NORML chapters from inception, and many Freedom Fighter state groups were also affiliated with NORML, including the chapter in Boston that created the Boston Freedom Rally.

Our big campaign was bringing activists together for major rallies. We organized free campgrounds with free food and a free bus ride to the rally. When Rodger asked me what was needed for the organization, I told him we needed a school bus and council tipi. Within a few weeks we had both and took off for the Rainbow Gathering in Ocala, Florida, where I flew a High Times flag and nobody cared.

Was Uri Geller always a spook?

Puharich and Geller.

Geller arrived on the scene courtesy of Andrija Puharich, a U.S. Army officer from Edgewood Arsenal Research Laboratories and Camp Detrick, where he frequently consorted in secret with high-ranking officers from Pentagon, CIA and Naval Intelligence (perhaps the spookiest of all the spook agencies). Detrick was the heart of MK/Ultra, the CIA’s most closely guarded secret. Puharich organized seances for the oligarchy that really rules North America and he became Geller’s biggest champion.

The spoon bending trick was an obvious scam from day one. If he really had telekinesis, why not reveal multiple proofs, and not stick with metal spoons, something easily rigged with some deft slight-of-hand. Hard to fathom how he achieved such fame with such a lame trick, but perhaps the Mighty Wurlitzer assisted his rise as that sort of scam is standard procedure for spook ops, and certainly Blavatsky and Crowley come to mind in regard to phony claims of psychic powers made by obvious spooks.

A filmmaker from England just released a documentary on Geller claiming this magician—who claims telepathic powers were taught to him by aliens—was really doing a lot of work for national security as a psychic out-of-body voyager. My instant thought: is MI6 behind this in order to bilk profits from an old operation? That’s how cynical I am. Otherwise, why would the biggest newspapers in England be promoting this conspiracy film?

One wonders how much money Geller was paid by various intelligence agencies over the years and I can’t wait for the Hollywood movie, since this feels like an orchestrated follow-up to the movie about staring at goats that was so successful, the first peek onto psychic weirdness at the highest level of the Pentagon.

“We use footage from the CIA-funded film record of the Uri Geller experiments, and we then track stories about Uri’s involvement in events ranging from the Israeli commando raid on Entebbe through to his participation in the search for Osama bin Laden, with a mysterious sidebar as a federal agent for the Mexican government. Forty years of psychic operations,” writes Vikram Jayanti, in today’s Guardian, who goes on to assert: “In the film, someone well positioned to know suggests that rather than being shut down in 1995, the use of psychic operatives by the US government and military has merely gone deeper black. If that’s the case, then perhaps Geller is still at work in the shadows.”

Treasure of the Holy Grail

Act One: The Year is 5,000 BC

The Scythians are a bloodthirsty, slave-trading, warrior tribe and males and females use bows and arrows from birth with great accuracy. They travel in hemp-covered wagons, are fantastically tattooed all over from a young age, and wear golden armor. This is the tribe that invented the wheel, domesticated the horse, and forged the Silk Road from Europe to China.
Their coming-of-age ritual is to kill an enemy in battle and drink his hot blood from his skull cap. Not so difficult when you understand the enemy is on foot and carries a battle ax, while the Scythian rides a horse and shoots with a recumbent bow, the tommy gun of the steppes.
The skull cap is encased in gold and used for future ceremonies. The Scythians especially love sweat lodges fumigated with cannabis flowers. Herodotus documents their ritual of drinking blood from their enemy’s decapitated skull cap. Much later, this same grisley ritual will be observed in Italy, practiced by the pagan Lombards.
The Lombard skull cups had gold cradles and bases and were well-known and well documented.

The Scythians blind slaves they keep and send any offspring they produce to live with other clans. Children are raised in groups and do not know their actual parents, but treat all adults in the tribe as their parents. Anyone can make love with anyone, and a bow and quiver on the door of a wagon signifies copulation in progress.

One day, a young gay Scythian, who does not participate in battle, and who abhors the slave trade, discovers ground cannabis flowers mixed with hot milk has a greater effect than inhaling cannabis fumes in a sweat lodge, which is what everyone else is doing. He shares this concoction with his blind father and his father’s sight miraculously returns.
Golden cups are soon filled with cannabis and milk and not blood, thanks to revelations achieved through this new sacrament. The gay Scythian becomes the head Enaree, or shaman.
Act Two: The Year is 5,000 AD
The secrets of the young gay Scythian have long been lost, and the kingdom has been in perpetual war ever since. The king assembles his best knights and commands them to find the secret that will bring peace to the kingdom, which according to ancient legends is a golden grail held captive in a blackened forest.
The black forest is surrounded by a vast oil-drenched wasteland, guarded by a custodian called the Fisher King, who suffers from poisonous fumes emanating from the wasteland. One of the young knights manages to cross the wasteland alive without succumbing to its effects and gains entrance to the mysterious estate and soon discovers a princess bringing a golden cup to the ailing king in order to keep him alive. He discovers it is not really the cup that is important, but the medicine that goes inside.
The knight returns with the recipe for the sacrament and the concoction soon brings peace to the kingdom, while inspiring great creativity and frivolity.

Freedom Fighter Reunion?

Back in 1987, the marijuana rally scene had long since faded away, and it wasn’t until a group called the Freedom Fighters appeared that the modern rally scene took off. That’s because in the late 1970s, the media was using smoke-ins to mine images of hippies smoking joints in public, and these images were greatly alarming mainstream America, and were helping turn people against legalization.

Because it was so difficult to distinguish hippies from burnt-out drug fiends on looks alone, NORML began a policy of not supporting smoke-ins. It was the birth of what became known as “the suits versus the stoners.”

I thought it was a silly policy by NORML because you can’t have a culture if you don’t congregate and hold ceremonies. So when I got a letter from some students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor saying their legendary Hash Bash founded by John Sinclair was down to less than a dozen die-hards and about to die, I took action by creating the High Times Freedom Fighters.

The concept of wearing tricorner hats and Colonial outfits was to help carry the new message about hemp and our founding fathers, while also costuming the members so that their appearance could not be held against them. The Freedom Fighters became instant magnets at every rally because news crews seek people in colorful costumes. Members were trained to start talking about George Washington and hemp as soon as any cameras were rolling on them.

To encourage participation, members were given pins at every rally they attended and there was even one letter-writing campaign where you could get a pin with a blue Liberty Bell for every response you got from Congress. John Birrenbach gathered so many responses his tricorn became smothered in pins. I didn’t initially realize the implications of what we were doing, but the magic began manifesting on a big scale right away, and the costumes and Betsy Ross flags were certainly helping.

Within two years, the Freedom Fighters became the largest legalization group in the country and only required $15 to get a lifetime membership that included the Freedom Fighter Newsletter edited by Linda Noel, who was the original brains behind the Boston Freedom Rally. From their inception, the Freedom Fighters were wired into my Cannabis Cup, and a member elected by open council to attend the Cup all-expenses paid every year, an honor won by luminaries like Jack Herer and Gatewood Galbraith. It was bizarre when High Times told me to give up the organization saying it conflicted with my editorial duties. I’d amassed a volunteer army of over 10,000 members, and many were enthusiastic supporters pouring immense energy into creating new rallies and other cannabis events all over the country. It was certainly snowballing.
This background is all in the way of announcing my hope that someday a Freedom Fighter reunion takes place at the Hash Bash and Rodger and I are put in charge of a few of the ceremonies.

True Origins of the Holy Grail

Strange the Holy Grail remains our central myth, yet few pay attention to its origins. Probably because those origins are steeped in cannabis.

Herodotus, the father of western history, first documented the three sacred golden gifts (plow/yoke, axe and cup) bequeathed to Greece’s ancient northern neighbors, the Scythians, who had divided into a caste system based around those three gifts.

Herodotus also documented the culture’s great affection for cannabis sweat lodges. By his time, they had already built the (poorly-named) Silk Road. (In truth, it was cannabis that built their highway; silk came along later in the game.)

Another myth is the Scythians conquered cultures with brunt force, when in reality, despite their superior weapons and highly militarized society, their culture was so incredibly advanced it was readily absorbed into the many cultures they traded with. And because they traveled from Europe to China and India, the Scythians absorbed elements from both east and west. Scythian priests (many of whom were transsexual) had best magic because their primary sacrament was the greatest medicine on earth.

A few hundred years after Herodotus, Quintus Curtius Rufus documented those same three sacred gifts as essential to the Zoroastrians, although the weapon had morphed into a spear and arrow.

In later Nart versions, it became a golden sword.

However, throughout history, the golden cup retained its importance in Zoroastrian and Gnostic traditions, and this cup was a symbol of spirituality long before the arrival of the cross.

Interestingly, the grail appears on Templar tombstones as well, indicating the powerful secret society had an early association with the grail.

In fact, issues with the Templars may have originated with their defense of the Cathars, and there is speculation that two of the original nine Templar knights were Cathars.

It’s worth noting that the Cathar grail was called “Mani,” leading me be believe the Persian prophet Mani, who lived around the year 200, was the source of their dualistic beliefs. Mani attempted to unify all known religions and his followers built temples throughout the Silk Road, all of which were destroyed or absorbed by other religions.

Unfortunately, the version of the grail told today has been completely sanitized from any association with cannabis, when in fact, it’s the substance in the grail that carries the magic, and not the metal itself. I find it interesting Southern France became a center for mysticism, launching many occult societies, and the greatly persecuted Cathars were undoubtedly the inspiration behind much of that.

Meanwhile, the growth of Islam displaced the Zoroastrians, but the haoma cup was easily morphed into Islam’s Cup of Jamshid, said to contain the elixir of immortality. In early European mythology the grail contains the key to bringing peace to the kingdom. In reality, both claims are true: cannabis is the key to long-life, and it has a soothing effect that helps tamp down rage and violence.

Jordan Maxwell and the Anunnaki Hoax

“Magic wands were always made out of the wood of a Holly tree. It’s made out of Holly wood. Hollywood is a Druidic establishment and the symbols, the words, the terms, the stories, are designed.  Think about it. Think about how Hollywood does what they do. I’m not saying they’re evil, I’m just explaining how Hollywood works.” -Jordan Maxwell

Although Jordan Maxwell (real name Russell Pine) self-describes himself as the world’s leading expert in the occult, in fact, he is the historical equivalent of Lucy in Peanuts (just making up shit as he goes along). He claims there’s a star-gate in Iraq that instantly teleports anyone to a military base on Mars, and the world has been secretly run by lizards from another dimension for millennia. The amazing thing is some people actually fall for his hoodwinks.

I’d like to point out the use of magic sticks goes back into prehistory and the wood initially associated with wands was walnut, and later other nut trees, but never a holly tree. The origins of the name Hollywood are easily researched and has zero to do with Druids. I just want you to see how shallow Maxwell’s understanding of magic is, and how easily 99% of his “research” can be exposed by consulting the Internet.

So how does a transparent quack get propelled to the front lines of the conspiracy media and become an influential figure? I suggest the Tin Foil Hat Disinfo Matrix is well organized, composed of spooks, kooks, players and played, and it’s hard to tell the brainwashed true-believers (and MK/Ultra mind control victims) from the spooks. But I can assure you the crowd Maxwell runs with (Icke, Tsarion, Passio) are card carrying members of a managed dialectic whose primary purpose is spreading a tin foil blanket over events like 9/11.

The style of this op is to twist history into some wildly paranoid conspiracy involving good versus bad aliens or other such transparent hokum. Some of Maxwell’s dogma is extracted straight from Bible quotes, but his mainstays are direct from Manley P. Hall’s investigations into occult literature. But it doesn’t matter where your dogma comes from, it’s still just dogma and nothing more. Maxwell can rant for hours about solar cults and moon cults and astro-astrology, but doesn’t have a clue about the Scythian influence on mythology and religion. If you want to know what preceeded Sumeria and Egypt, look toward the Black Sea, and the people who first domesticated horses and invented the wheel.

Maxwell claims the winged globe of ancient times was a reference to a UFO spacecraft, which is absurd. The evolution of the winged globe and its importance in the Zoroastrian religion, and eventual morphing into the caduceus, is important, so I wonder why the Disinfo Matrix obscures its meaning with a UFO hoax. Could it be because the winged globe symbolizes the effects of cannabis? One thing you need to know about Scythians: they loved cannabis, which is why the Zoroastrian version of the Eucharist served cannabis and hot milk (often with a dash of opium, ephedra and spices).

Maxwell claims to have met a psychic early in life who foretold his destiny as a great person. That’s exactly what David Icke claims so I suspect this might be a reference to their MKULTRA hypnotherapist. He also claims to have spent his early years investigating Communism, and if that is so, I wonder why he says nothing about the vast intel penetration and manipulation of the communist networks. But some of his biggest blunders concern the Holy Grail and his belief that the myth is all about Jesus.

Trust me, any time someone tries to scare you with magic or religion, it’s always a hoodwink. Painting pictures of an alien boogie-man secretly running the world is a hoodwink because all it accomplishes is to let the real criminals off the hook, because none of them are lizard aliens.