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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Pot Book.

Lloyd, Pamela. (1976).
New York: Ridge Press and A & W Visual Library.

ISBN: 0-89104-051-X hardcover
0-89104-050-1 paperback
Description: Paperback, 95 pages.

Contents: Foreword, 6 chapters, glossary, index.

Excerpt(s): Enter written history, and the earliest surviving written reference to the intoxic ating effects of cannabis resin. In 600 B.C. the Sanskrit Zend-Avesta first described the pot high for posterity, and the sacred Athara-Veda called cannabis " heavenly" and a "liberator of sin." Indeed, the Indians were so impressed with the psychotropic effects of the plant that they made it sacred and used it for religious ceremonies in three basic forms: bhang, the dried powdered plant infused in milk and drunk (bhang was also sometimes mixed with sugar to make a candy known as majoon); ganga, the dried tops of the female plant, usually smoked, sometimes mixed with tobacco, and occasionally drunk as an infusion or eaten; and charas, the pure resin removed from the leaves and stems of the mature plant. Of all the ancient cultures to cultivate cannabis, the Indians were the most successful in developing the narcotic properties by selective breeding.

To the Indians, cannabis was a gift of the gods, and, as is often the case with hallucinogenic or narcotic plants, its religious significance combined with its physical effects to render it a "panacea." (page 14)

By the Middle Ages, the weed had become well entrenched among the followers of Mohammed. In 1271 Marco Polo described the use of hashish, a resinous extract of cannabis, by the supposedly secret political-religious order known as the Hashishins. Although hash smoking penetrated Africa partly under Moslem influence, the use of some very potent strains among the primitive native cultures of the Zambezi valley, the Congo, and parts of eastern and southern Africa predated the arrival of Islam. The present-day Kasai have revived an ancient cult in which pot replaces some of the ceremonial fetishes and becomes a god who protects the tribe from physical and spiritual danger. (page 15)

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