A brief history of religion

Study the Scythians to help navigate the missing history of religion. Their religion was documented by Herodotus, the father of Western history.

Scythians believed god sent them three golden objects: a golden cup, a golden plough, and a golden battle ax.

The cup was too hot too touch, but one day a boy was able to pick it up. His offspring became the royal Scythians, in charge of appointing the Enares, who ran the ceremonies. The family with the plough was put in charge of planting hemp and other crops in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. During the summer, they moved their herds up the mountain fields to graze, and returned to the banks of the Black Sea during the winter. I could write a long time about their customs, even though they had no written language and everything we know comes from Persia or from Greece, in other words, their enemies. The Scythians built and controlled the Silk Road, which meant they were also involved in the slave, drug and spice trades. Silk didn’t appear until millennia later.

When the straits of Bosphorus were first breached, possibly due to a meteor strike, sea water flooded into the Black Sea burying all the towns and villages on the shore, as well as several islands. The survivors move away, some to Turkey, some to Persia, some to Afghanistan. They develop flood myths.

Meanwhile, in Bactria a new avatar emerges, Zoroaster, who is using the Scythian sacraments, and popularizes drinking hot milk mixed with cannabis, which turns out to be the most effective delivery system, both for medicinal and inspirational purposes. Zoroaster is a barefoot holy man, not a warrior like Heracles, the previous avatar. He carries a magic stick instead of a magic sword. He saves the tribe through feats of magic, not through feats of strength.

The first Zoroastrian king of Persia (Cyrus the Great) defeats the corrupt Babylonian empire and replaces it with a more enlightened form of government. He frees the Jews enslaved by Babylon and says, “Take this money and go back to Jerusalem and rebuild your temple and write down the history of your tribe.”

Naturally, they create a new avatar to update Abraham, named Moses, who is a composite of Zoroaster and Cyrus. Like Zoroaster, Moses goes to the top of “smokey” mountain and comes back with god’s rules after conversing with a burning bush. Like Cyrus, Moses was a foundling whose real identity was kept hidden.

Alexander the Great’s father becomes the first to defeat the Scythians in battle, opening the way for his son to march across the Silk Road and conquer Bactria. Meanwhile a new avatar emerged in India and became popular in Bactria. His name was Buddha. The great pantheons of Indian, Greek, Egyptian and Persian gods had been rejected by Zoroaster, who created the first monotheistic religion, but Buddha creates the first “no gods” religion in which your fate is ruled by karma, not by whims of some god.

Alexander embraces Buddhism before he dies and for centuries afterwards the entire Middle East becomes Buddhist with a Greek flavor. Judea borders the Greco-Buddhist empire, and soon the most advanced Jews are working on a new avatar, inspired by Buddha. Stories and scrolls are written to celebrate this new movement, which is vegetarian and seeks to stop the slaughter of birds and animals inside the temple.

This is a small, tiny movement, but one that troubles Rome, so they send one of their citizens to persecute these new Christians causing trouble in the temple, interfering with the slaughter of animals and birds, which makes a lot of profit (and Rome gets a cut).

The persecutor is unable to wipe out the movement, so he joins it and becomes its biggest influencer after the movement’s leader, James, is thrown off a tower and murdered. Thus ends any talk of vegetarianism.

Two hundred years later, a boy is born of a Christian father and Zoroastrian mother in Persia, and develops unique theories on religion at a young age, amazing the Magi while only 12. He successfully merges all religion to end war, and becomes a hunted man in return. He is such a vegetarian he won’t eat roots, only freely fallen fruits, nuts and vegetables. Lured out of safe haven in India he is skinned alive and decapitated for the crime of trying to end war. His murder makes him famous worldwide and the mercenary army of Rome begins flocking to his religion in droves, reading the bible he wrote by himself in his own unique calligraphy. He was the greatest portrait painter of his time. His temples spread over the world, until it got so big, Rome got worried again.

That’s when Constantine embraces a small cult designed to give comfort to the poor, and transforms it into an imperial juggernaut to take over the world. Many elements of Mani’s life are incorporated into the story of Jesus.

Not a single temple, bible, nor painting of Mani’s survives the great Inquisition, although pockets survive in modified form, like the Cathars in France. Eventually the Pope will order them all slaughtered to stop the spread of Mani’s dualism.

Mani had been healing the blind and lame, not with magic, but with the original oil of Moses, a mixture of cannabis resin suspended in olive oil with some spices, and a tad of opium and ephedra if available.

Rome disappears Mani and disappears cannabis at the same time. The Scythian holy grail, which was about the substance inside the cup, is transformed into the Christian Eucharist.

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.

Manna is cannabis seed flour

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.

File:巫-bronze.svgWu 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.
CorianderAnd 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.

Look familiar?

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.”