Cannabis, a.k.a, the holy herb, is held in high esteem by millions who have accorded it mystical powers – powers that can enable people to commune with the divine.
Here are five religions with deep ties to cannabis –
- Hinduism – The oldest extant religion in the world, Hinduism accords a special place to cannabis. One of the four sacred Vedas, Atharvaveda was written nearly 2000 years before the Common Era. It mentions cannabis as a sacred plant and the favorite of Lord Shiva, the perfect yogi. In India, cannabis is consumed in copious amounts during Mahashivratri – the Night of Shiva. Bhang, ganja, and charas are the three forms in which cannabis is consumed.
- Buddhism – Heavily influenced by Hinduism, the teachings of Buddha have guided men for centuries. Buddhists, especially from Tibet, do not consider weed to be a forbidden intoxicant. Indeed, Tibetan monks consume marijuana for its calming effects that promote contemplation and marijuana. Followers of Mahayana Buddhism believe that Buddha fed on nothing but one hemp seed for six years during his quest for enlightenment.
- Rastafarianism – Rastafaris consider cannabis to be the biblical “tree of life” and a means to achieving oneness with Jah, the creator. The Rastafaris abhor anger, greed, and such negative emotions. They consider hemp as having the power to cleanse our minds of these harmful and debilitating feelings.
- Taosim – Taoists accord cannabis with the powers to give its consumers an ability to converse with spirits. The priests and shamans consumed weed and ginseng to try and get a peek into the future. They also partook cannabis because they believed that it cleansed them of baser thoughts and instincts that hold humans back from rising spiritually.
- Ancient Scythians and Assyrians – These cultures that were contemporaneous to Greek civilization used hemp in copious amounts for their religious ceremonies. Hemp was burnt like incense and eager folks inhaled the resulting smoke. Needless to say, euphoric rituals followed. There is historical evidence in the form of Herodotus’s writings. He tells us about how the Scythians used hemp in religious ceremonies.