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Exploring The Ancient Roots Of Cannabis and Spirituality

cannabis-and-spirituality

The longstanding relationship between cannabis and spirituality is one that is deeply embedded in the history and cultural foundation of civilizations around the world.

In India, the spiritual uses of cannabis can be traced as far back as 1500 BCE, when cannabis was used by religious groups to enhance meditation and enter a state of profound stillness. Because of the plant’s perceived spiritual properties, cannabis is also considered the favorite herb of Shiva, one of the Hindu gods, and followers have been known to use cannabis as an aid to their spiritual practice.

This trend could also be traced back to Semitic cultures in the Middle East, like the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Hebrews, where they were recorded to have burned cannabis as an incense as early as 1000 BC.

Cannabis was similarly used for spiritual practice across the Asian continent as well. In ancient Japan, early Shintoists believed cannabis would drive away evil spirits. With the belief that evil and purity could not exist alongside one another, priests would use a stick with hemp fibers called a gohei to purify a space. Hemp clothing was also worn during formal and religious ceremonies for this purpose. In China, Taoists believed cannabis had the capability to alter time and reveal future events. They would later seek immortality by adding cannabis to their incense.

Spiritual Uses of Cannabis in the Modern World

Ancient Cannabis

More recently, cultural and religious movements like Rastafarianism have touted cannabis’ entheogenic benefits, believing that it can help increase awareness and promote a sense of community.

Today, people continue this rich tradition by incorporating cannabis into their own health and wellness routines. It is still regularly used to enhance a wide range of spiritual practices such as meditation.

Thoughtfulness, often considered a basic tenet of a spiritual lifestyle, can play a large part in helping one approach new concepts and ideas with an open mind. The shifting perspectives on cannabis has helped people understand how the plant can factor into their own spiritual routine.

This relationship between cannabis and spirituality is nothing new. It’s just now being rediscovered.


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