“Here right… I should be in Hollywood. Me and Harvey Weinstein producing, Tarantino directing, Ben Kinglsey as Pharaoh… … Tom Hardy as Moses.”
(The Hebrew Bible NEVER states ‘thou shalt not kill’, it states ‘thou shalt not murder’… there’s a big difference)
According to Professor Benny Shanon at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it’s likely that Moses’ encounter, as written in the Bible, with the burning bush and his conversation with Yahweh happened while he was under the influence of DMT.
“It seems logical that something was altered in people’s consciousness. There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden,” said Shanon. “The use of such substances, most of which fall in our contemporary Western culture under the label “drug,” has in many traditions been considered sacred.”
Professor Shanon argues that Israelites may have used acacia and peganum during religious ceremonies that involved DMT. Acacia is mentioned frequently in the bible, as it was used to construct the Ark of the Covenant.
Of course, all of this is based on the assumption that Moses actually existed. The Bible is simply not a reliable source of historical evidence. It is still a fascinating hypothesis as to why Moses would have experienced a burning bush that spoke to him as the voice of God.
What is likely is that someone had the experience with the burning bush, and a reasonable theory is that that person was on DMT.
The Bible tells us that when the Children of Israel left Egypt, they had a 40-year trip through the desert before reaching the Promised Land. Now a leading Israeli academic has a new theory about exactly what kind of trip it was.
In the philosophy journal Time and Mind, Benny Shanon states that key events of the Old Testament are actually records of visions by ancient Israelites high on hallucinogens. Shanon is a professor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, where he used to head the psychology department.
The psychedelic substance is a drink called Ayahuasca. It is extracted from plants that grow in the Holy Land and in the Sinai peninsula and is still used today by Amazonians in Brazil for their religious rituals. Shanon came up with his theory when reading the Bible. The events described reminded him of the visions he had after trying this drink 15 years ago. So, when Moses first encountered God, he was high. “Encountering the divine is one of the most powerful experiences associated with high-level Ayahuasca inebriation,” claims Shanon.
At the Burning Bush, covered in flames but mysteriously not consumed, there was no miracle, just a drug-induced “radical alteration in the state of consciousness of the beholder – that is, Moses”. The account of the Children of Israel hearing God while camped at Mount Sinai is about a mass drug-taking event – giving a whole new explanation for the reported “cloud of smoke” that settled on the mountain. And when Moses climbed Sinai and received the Ten Commandments and the Bible, he was tripping.
Hardly an incident in the Bible is spared Shanon’s drug-focused reading. Acacia trees, used by Noah to build the ark, were revered because some varieties contain the psychedelic substance dimethyltryptamine (DMT). In Shanon’s opinion, the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden offered something far more tempting than an apple.
Rabbis in Israel and the UK are largely ignoring Shanon’s theories, and those who have spoken out have been dismissive. “The Bible is trying to convey a very profound event. We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science,” Rabbi Yuval Sherlow told Israel Radio. Israeli internet chatrooms, though, are buzzing with condemnations of “heresy”, endorsements, and charges that Shanon, not Moses, must have taken drugs. One poster writes: “Maybe it is true – then religion really is the opiate of the people.”
A growing number of Jews are using psychedelics to reach spiritual highs, and you might be surprised to learn some Orthodox don’t frown upon the practice
The Bible’s Moses Was On DMT Says Hebrew Professor
March 20, 2016
It’s not only possible, but plausible that Moses’ legendary encounter with the ever burning bush, his conversation with Yahweh, and the bestowing of the Torah could have happened to him while he was under the influence of DMT, according to professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Benny Shanon.
“It seems logical that something was altered in people’s consciousness,” explains Shanon. “There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. The use of such substances, most of which fall in our contemporary Western culture under the label “drug,” has in many traditions been considered sacred.”
Shanon argues that the acacia tree and the peganum harmala bush, both native to the Negev and Sinai, may have been used in a brew that the Israelites during religious ceremony. There is also frequent mention of acacia through out the bible and it was wood from the acacia that was used to construct the Ark of the Covenant. What we know now is that the native acacia trees are particularly high in DMT content and the peganum harmala is rich with MAOI, a DMT inhibitor which allows the DMT compound to be activated orally. The ceremonial potion the Israelites were consuming likely produced experiences very similar to that of ayahuasca.
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a
flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked,
and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush
was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this
great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see,
God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and
said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
-Exodus 3:2-4 Old Testament-
Had Moses partaken in the ancestral, ceremonial brew, it would have certainly induced a powerful, lengthy vision quest during which he could have experienced vivid hallucinations, revelational thoughts, internal struggles, and connectivity with the divine. A disassociation with the passage of time is also an experience commonly associated with DMT. Shanon suggests “that’s why Moses thought the bush was not consumed. It should have been burned in the time he thought had passed. And in that time, he heard God speaking to him.”
Shanon’s argument, formulated using the old testament, is based entirely off of the assumptions that the events of the bible are true and that a man named Moses existed. Unfortunately, due to historical inaccuracies, the bible is not a reliable source of evidence. The possibility is still fascinating because of how consistent some of the passages of the bible are to that of experiences involving entheogens during religious practice. “Hypotheses have been around for 20 years connecting the beginning of religions with psychoactive materials,” said Shanon.
Whether or not it was a person by the name of Moses, the tale of the Burning Bush is certainly a testimonial of somebody’s experience. Considering the accuracy of the events described in the bible have been under scrutiny since the time of its origin, Shanon’s hypothesis of biblical entheogens will likely remain yet another un-entertained theory of humanity’s theological roots.
Published in the Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture, Benny Shanon’s Biblical Entheogens: A Speculative Hypothesis offers additional evidence to support his claim and some more of the details of this argument.
Moses and the Israelites were on drugs, says Benny Shanon, an Israeli professor of cognitive philosophy.
Writing in the British Journal Time and Mind, he claims Moses was probably on psychedelic drugs when he received the Ten Commandments from God.
The assertions give a whole new meaning to Moses being “high” on Mount Sinai.
According to Shanon, a professor at Hebrew University, two naturally existing plants in the Sinai Peninsula have the same psychoactive components as ones found in the Amazon jungle and are well-known for their mind-altering capabilities. The drugs are usually combined in a drink called ayahuasca.
“As far as Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effects of narcotics,” he told Israel Radio in an interview Tuesday.
The description in The Book of Exodus of thunder, lightening and a blaring trumpet, according to Shanon, are the classic imaginings of people under the influence of drugs.
As for the vision of the burning bush, well obviously that too was a drug-fueled hallucination, according to Shanon.
“In advanced forms of ayahuasca inebriation,” he wrote, “the seeing of light is accompanied by profound religious and spiritual feelings.”
Shanon admits he took some of these drugs while in the Amazon in 1991. “I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations,” he said.
The initial reaction to this controversial theory from Israel’s religiously orthodox community and the powerful rabbis who lead it was less than enthusiastic.
Orthodox rabbi Yuval Sherlow, quoted by Reuters speaking on Israel radio, said: “The Bible is trying to convey a very profound event. We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science.”
For the Bible tells me so.
They don’t teach you in Sunday school that cannabis appears in the Old Testament but modern scholarship shows that cannabis was used sacramentally by Moses and the ancient Israelites. Cannabis appears by name five times in the original Hebrew text of the Bible according to research by Polish etymologist Sula Benet, whose work Chris Bennett later expanded on. The Hebrew word “kaneh bosm” is cannabis but was later mistranslated as other plants including calamus or aromatic cane.
The Old Testament tells the story of Jewish history and how over a thousand-year period the worship of the single Israelite god ultimately took hold over the indigenous polytheistic culture. The ancient Israelites at the time of Moses in 1500 BCE lived in the land of Canaan (modern day Israel and Palestine) among the broader Canaanite culture that worshipped the Mother Goddess and many gods.
Cannabis was well established in the region and had been used for thousands of years as fiber, food, ganja, and incense. In the early centuries of the Bible the Lord favors cannabis as the Hebrew culture was still Canaanite, but over time as the worship of the Mother Goddess is purged practices such as burning incense to her in the temple are purged as well.
The first and most significant reference to cannabis is in the story of Moses, where God gives him specific instructions for how to properly set up the Tabernacle for worship and includes a recipe for holy anointing oil that includes cannabis. The holy anointing oil was to be used to anoint the temple and the priests and is sacred, the recipe not to be shared.
Exodus 30: 23-25: 1446 BCE
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus [cannabis], 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.’”
Converted into today’s measurements:
Liquid myrrh 500 shekels 5.75 kg (12.68 lbs)
Cassia 500 shekels 5.75 kg (12.68 lbs)
Cinnamon leaf 250 shekels 2.875 kg (6.34 lbs)
Cannabis flowers 250 shekels 2.875 kg (6.34 lbs)
Olive oil 1 hin 6.5 liters (1.72 gallons)
As you can imagine, an oil that contains more than 6 pounds of ganja steeped in less than 2 gallons of olive oil is going to be very potent. In ceremonies the oil would be poured over the head and body of the priest, drenching them. The skin readily absorbs THC and the effect of soaking in this oil would be very psychoactive, offering some serious communion with the Lord.
The second reference to cannabis is in the court of King Solomon, who ruled in the 10th century BCE. Solomon was known for his great wisdom and he built the first Hebrew temple in Jerusalem. But unlike his father, King David, Solomon fell out of favor with the Lord because King Solomon worshipped Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of his wives and he burned incense to her.
Solomon also wrote the Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon), a love poem that is considered the most beautiful text in the Bible and unique for being explicitly sexual. In chapter 4 the man describes the beauty of his lover, comparing her to the most beautiful flowers, including cannabis, among other flattery.
Song of Songs 4: 10-15 950 BCE
“How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice! Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus [cannabis] and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.”
As the tale of Jewish history moves on to the 8th century BCE and the prophet Isaiah, cannabis once again makes an appearance. Isaiah warned about the sinfulness and faithlessness of Israel and preached reform. Cannabis is referenced in the text as one of the offerings the Israelites have failed to bring to the Lord.
Isaiah 43:24 711 BCE
“You have not bought any fragrant calamus [cannabis] for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.”
The fourth reference to cannabis comes in the book of Jeremiah, where God is angry with the Israelites for their greed and deceit. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet who foresaw the coming destruction of Israel. In the passage, cannabis is referenced as among the offerings God rejects, reflecting a definitive shift in worship practices.
Jeremiah 6:20 627 BCE
“What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus [cannabis] from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”
In 586 BCE comes the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile. This is one of the most traumatic and important chapters in Jewish history. Tyre, in modern day Lebanon, was the wealthy capital city of Canaan and also besieged by the Babylonians. Cannabis is listed among the items of trade that passed through the great city in the fifth explicit reference to the plant.
Ezekiel 27:18-19 586 BCE
“Damascus did business with you because of your many products and great wealth of goods. They offered wine from Helbon, wool from Zahar and casks of wine from Izal in exchange for your wares: wrought iron, cassia and calamus [cannabis].”
Cannabis is ultimately rejected by the Israelites once and for all during the time of Babylonian exile along with the worship of the Mother Goddess Asherah, the Queen of Heaven. There is a long passage in Jeremiah where the prophet rails against Asherah while the women defend their practice of burning incense to her. I think we all know who won that conflict.
Jeremiah 44:15-23 588 BCE
“Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, ‘We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD! We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.’”
The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?”
Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, “Did not the Lord remember and call to mind the incense burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your ancestors, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? When the Lord could no longer endure your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became a curse and a desolate waste without inhabitants, as it is today. Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed him or followed his law or his decrees or his stipulations, this disaster has come upon you, as you now see.”
THEN GOD SAID, I GIVE YOU EVERY SEED-BEARING
PLANT ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE
EARTH, AND EVERY TREE THAT
HAS FRUIT IN IT.”
Those words seem straightforward enough, and yet cannabis and most other psychoactive medicine plants are outlawed in our society. Those who use these plant gat eways to other states of consciousness are jailed for doing so.
Ironically, the major force for continuing this plant prohibition is a group referred to as the Christian Right. They claim to believe in both the Bible and old Yahweh, yet Yahweh’s opinion on the matter is stated quite clearly in the above quotation.
This article shows how the Old Testament Prophets were none other than ancient shamans, and that cannabis and other entheogens played a very prominent role in ancient Hebrew culture.
THE ROOTS OF KANEH-BOSM
Doctor, mohel, and former IDF lieutenant Yosef Glassman finds surprising links between controversial plant and ancient Judaism.
I’ve covered my theory on why I think Moses actually stole the Ark from Egypt previously! … regarding Ancient Israelites and use of DMT, Cannabis etc… there is shit load of scholarly research on the subject. 😀