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.
When I came to High Times, most of the pro-marijuana rallies originally organized in the seventies had died out. There was one flame left, however, in Ann Arbor, and it was flickering.
Soon after becoming editor, I got a plea from some students living in a dorm at the University of Michigan, asking High Times to come out and rejuvenate the annual event, which had shrunk to a handful of die-hards. I’d recently been introduced to an unpublished manuscript, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, and soon flew out to the valley where Jack lived. I wanted Jack to co-found a new legalization group with me. (NORML was not really interested in rallies at the time, as the images of old hippies created an image problem for them. NORML had also passed on Jack’s manuscript, which he’d offered to let them publish, and thought Jack’s claims were exaggerations.)
Of course, I wanted High Times to publish the book and Jack agreed I was the ideal editor. Jack also agreed to my plan of creating the Freedom Fighters. The idea of wearing tricorner hats as a publicity stunt to draw attention to hemp and away from recreational cannabis use was a big part of my initial vision. It also solved the “image problem” and added a fun element to the rallies. I wanted the Freedom Fighters to march into the rallies in a ceremonial fashion, in an attempt to take the flag back from the right wing. It was a very obvious attempt to flip the switch on the sigils they had been working by claiming the founding fathers as ours. At that first meeting, Jack and I discussed a Hemp Tour across the Midwest, that would start with the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, and include my ala mater, the University of Illinois, once the center of hemp processing in Illinois, and then home to a very strong NORML chapter led by Debby Goldsberry, (current Freedom Fighter of the Year).
Jack and I created the organization and held our first national convention a day before the next Hash Bash. How many attendees can you identify? And how many of the state chapter heads from the convention went on to do big things in the cannabis reform movement?
Every now and then, something really heavy goes down in the telepathic energy fields we call spirituality or magic, since they’re both the same thing. I noticed that in the mid-1960s. Although I’d been raised in the Lutheran faith, I rejected Christianity at the age of 14 and never looked back. In my quest to uncover the real meaning of life, I began experimenting with cannabis and LSD, after which I was never the same, as these substances helped deprogram me. Soon, I had a whole new field of sigils cooking in my psyche, one of the most important of which was the Prankster Magic Bus Furthur.
Since these sacraments had a profoundly positive effect, helping to strip away years of brainwashing, I could see why they were so prohibited. Something heavy went down in California in the 1960s, and a lot of the New Age cults (like Scientology) got their start off that energy, yet broke the cannabis connection almost immediately. I remember reading Tom Wolfe’s account of the Merry Pranksters. Wolfe was a Yale grad, a real oligarchy insider who could never connect with a scene so steeped in new telepathic energies, so he just made fun of hippie spirituality because those energies never reached his soul. But there was something real and heavy going on, even if Wolfe couldn’t make contact. Just like something heavy went down in old Jerusalem.
Did you ever consider cannabis was the spark of both spiritual revolutions? I remember when I first met Jack Herer. He was obsessed with decoding the Bible, a trick he’d recently learned from reading John Allegro’s work. Jack would read a verse from the Old Testament, and then explain how it was really just a code for an old priest about to sodomize a young initiate. I never got into this research because I view the Bible as science fiction anyway, so why would I pay much attention to any of its possible underlying meanings?
I wonder, though, why haven’t some Muslim activists taken Allegro’s work and made a YouTube video about the potential spiritual corruption embedded in Judaism and Christianity?
Funny thing about the spiritual revolutions of both Jesus and Johnny Griggs: one took place 2,000 years ago, and the other took place nearly 50 years ago, but they both could have easily been ignited by cannabis. And somewhere along the line, the corrupt priesthoods (because all power centers start corrupt or corrupt over time) broke this link between cannabis and this great spiritual awakening and the two sides have been at war ever since. And it wasn’t until my generation that massive amounts of young people began slipping off the mind control orchestrated by that corrupt priesthood. And it all started with cannabis, rock’n’roll and Jack Kerouac.
I didn’t plan to take over High Times, in fact, I was a sporadic user of recreational drugs most of my life. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City in 1979 that I got really tempted. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum; I got empowered and began manifesting ceremony and ritual like crazy.
My initial vision was constructed around hemp being essential when this country was founded, yet the symbols (or sigils) of our founding fathers were under the control of the radical right wing, unfair and inaccurate to say the least.
So I launched a campaign to create a wave of awareness that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were devoted hemp farmers, and that hemp could save the world by replacing oil, a concept recently introduced to me by Jack Herer. I flew out to Jack’s home in the Valley and laid out a plan to create a national group called the Freedom Fighters, based around the Boston Minute Men, who would attend rallies across the country. The rally movement had basically died out and I felt between us, we might be able to rebuild that movement, with Jack as the leader, of course. “And I want you to come to the Rainbow Gathering with me,” I told Jack. You see, both Rainbow and the Dead scene had considerable overlap, but I knew Rainbow was the center of energy on the real spirituality, while the Dead scene was tainted around the edges. Probably, I also wanted to pull Jack out of hard drugs and bad food, only one of which I was successful at.
The first year I hit the rally circuit I was dressed in a psychedelic shirt and tri-corner hat and carried a snare drum, but by the time the next season came around, I was wearing a brain-tanned leather outfit made by Agatha, and, on my head was a huge top hat with a pink psychedelic peace sign painted on the front. (Later, Agatha became the seamstress of choice of the local Hell’s Angels, but the original leather jacket she created was a replica of the double-breasted black leather jacket I wore throughout the sixties.) I was wearing Agatha’s Native American warrior outfit and beating a round Native American drum with a peace sigil painted in psychedelic paint and chanting some Native American-type chant to Mother Earth (yes, I guess I was trying to move the energy from a father sigil to a mother sigil) and I was leading this immense parade down the main drag of campus-town in Madison, Wisconsin, one afternoon, when some student jutted up and asked, “Are you a shaman?”
See, a lot of us magicians are into magic long before we even realize what we’re doing. These energies move through us naturally, so as I stood there for a few extra beats, I was thinking, am I a shaman, political activist, or guerrilla street theater performer, or what they hell am I? Pretty soon, I decided if I was a shaman it was time for something really bold, something with even more immense vibe than this 30,000 person rally. If I could just reassemble the greatest magicians of the sixties revolution, you know, the Gaskins, the Pranksters, the Hog Farm, Paul Krassner, John Trudell, John Sinclair, and what if we called that ceremony Whee!?
People are bugging me. They want to hear stories about Whee! I dunno, I might, or I might move in new directions. Stay tuned for my next unexpected episode because I don’t know which way I’m going. Funny thing about the Freedom Fighters, though, we made a Tri-corner hat for Jack right away, and that very hat sits on my altar. And that, my friends, is what my magic is all about. Planting positive sigils in your orbit.
There was a huge failure of the American press after JFK was assassinated. Oswald’s connections to the FBI and Ruby’s connections to the mob went virtually unmentioned for decades. At first, President Johnson wanted no investigation beyond the Dallas police (just like G.W. Bush didn’t want a 9/11 Commission) but eventually Johnson created a commission he knew could be contained. Allen Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover controlled that investigation and both hated JFK with purple passion. Dulles was David Rockefeller’s cousin, and Hoover had ties to organized crime, which apparently possessed a photo of Hoover giving a blow job to Clyde Tolson. Immediately after the assassination, Dulles disappeared into the CIA special ops center and stayed there until the cover-up was completed.
Before the Warren Commission Report was published, however, three Commissioners disputed the “single bullet theory,” although only one of them would speak out publicly against the report: Hale Boggs, the House Marjority Leader, who also attacked Hoover on the House floor in April of 1971, accusing him of running an American Gestapo. After that incident, Nixon cut all ties with Boggs. On October 16, 1972, the plane Boggs was traveling in disappeared over a remote area of Alaska and was never found. As a result, Emergency Locator Transmitters were placed in all US civil aircraft.
The Warren Commission was initiated in November of 1963 and published in September of 1964. It had access to tremendous resources and easily could have revealed the true conspiracy behind the assassination. Today we know the nuts and bolts of that assassination were orchestrated by Allen Dulles, Ted Shakleford, and James J. Angleton, and that an assassination project initially aimed at Castro plotted by Richard Bissell, Bill Harvey and John Roselli was diverted to kill JFK. Four shooters were involved, including Roselli, whose first shot (from the front) went through the car windshield and into Kennedy’s throat. Coming through the windshield might account for the driver freezing and taking his foot off the gas just as the vehicle entered the kill zone. Or maybe the driver knew where and when to stop.
The fatal shot came from the grassy knoll. A third shooter may have been located in the Dal-Tex building, although a rifle was thrust out of the “sniper’s nest,” it was likely not even fired. The fourth shooter was likely located either on the roof or another area of the School Book Depository. All four shooters were reportedly paid $50,000, money put up by the Texas oil barons, Murchison and the Hunts.
The original plan of blaming the assassination on Cuba was abandoned early on and the patsy became the typical “lone” assassin with zero ties to anyone. Many on the Commission understood dark details had to be concealed for reasons of National Security. Foremost among these was Oswald’s ties to Angleton. When the Zapruder film was first analyzed by CIA photo-expert (and trick-shot artist) Homer McMahon, he concluded there were 8 shots fired from three different directions. The Secret Service pressured McMahon to change this testimony to support the fiction only three shots were fired, all from the rear.
What this proves is that every book, every investigation, every published word in fact, can easily be manipulated and censored if one owns the means of production. If you owned all book companies, you could easily censor vital information concerning politics or even religion, and this corruption becomes even easier over time. After WWII there was a tremendous concentration of media companies into mega-corporations that purchased most newspaper, magazine and book publishing companies. This rapid concentration of power around the world may have been aided by plundered Nazi and Japanese gold, most of which “disappeared” after the war.
So when people tell me the Bible is the sacred word of God, and that there was zero attempt by the Roman Empire (or anyone else) to conceal the historical cannabis-Christian connection, I have to ask how reliable is the Warren Commission Report, written only a few years after JFK’s assassination? In the thousands of years that have transpired since the time of Christ, and considering all the wars that have been fought over this sacred land, can you really trust anything an establishment church has to say? Religion, like armies, police and politicians must be kept under the control of oligarchies that rule in secret. This has been true for a long, long time. Today, the multi-generational fortunes of the oligarchy are typically concentrated into trusts, like the Rockefeller’s, so their power can be wielded more effectively.
I was asked recently who JFK was talking about when he warned against secret societies. My answer was “probably Skull & Bones.” JFK knew about the secret societies of Harvard, which were run by the Boston Brahmins, and was not permitted into the Porcelian Club, Harvard’s equivalent to Bones. And he was talking to the media, which is dominated by Yale’s most prestigious secret society.
But Skull & Bones is a college fraternity (that now accepts some females), and while it offers a path to power for many, real power in banking and intelligence doesn’t reside in twenty-somethings. The most powerful secret society on earth right now is probably the Bilderberg Group, which is interesting because that society has links to stolen Nazi gold. Previous to the Bilderberg Group, the most powerful society may have been the Pilgrim Society. Either one of these groups, The Pilgrims or the Bilderbergers (and there is extensive overlap between the two) could have provided a fertile ground from which a conspiracy to assassinate JFK may have emanated. One thing is clear, James Jesus Angleton left his job in disgrace and powerless. He was not at the center of anything, but was merely working for the oligarchy that really rules America.
When I first met Jack Herer, he’d recently discovered John Allegro, and was obsessed with decoding the Bible, which he felt contained hidden messages about drugs and gay sex between priests and young initiates. Unfortunately, Allegro’s work was bunk, and constructed to conceal the truth, not unveil it, and the fact a corrupt version of Christianity used mushrooms and took power behind the scenes during the Templars, does not mean they were free of corruption. I always believed the true sacrament of Christianity (and most other major religions) was cannabis, not mushrooms. And the real Bible is one written in all our hearts. (Unless you’ve been abused, in which case your psyche has been likely twisted).
R. Gordon Wasson introduced the idea of Amanita Muscaria as the original sacrament of many religions at a critical time right before the psychedelic revolution was about to take off. In fact, Wasson tried to control and manage all the information concerning psychedelics and religion. Wasson was a Vice President of JP Morgan Bank and prominent member of The Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Club.
And that Emergency Transmitter system? That didn’t seem to work too well when JFK Jr’s plane went down, just before he was about to step onto the national stage and throw his hat in the ring in an attempt to derail George Bush Jr’s run at the Presidency. Strange, almost like Hale Boggs, that plane couldn’t be found for around 14 hours, by which time the co-pilot seat and flight log had mysteriously disappeared.