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.

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.

Herodotus 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.”