This article was originally published on Reality Sandwich, and appears here with permission.
Among Buddha, Muhammed, and others, Jesus remains the most prolific religious figure in modern history. However, it’s important to note that Bible stories are but one interpretation of his life and times. There are many other theories on his life’s happenings than what exists inside the Christian church’s teachings. Was Jesus into psychedelics? Some say yes. Let’s stretch the corners of our minds, and explore the connections between psychedelics and religion.
Was Jesus Christ sent to Earth to forgive us of our sins? Well, that one might be up for debate depending on the audience. We do know that Jesus was a profoundly spiritual man who devoted his life to delivering messages of love and peace. Long before mankind turned him into the figurehead of the world’s largest religion, Jesus was the original hippie. With his long hair, beard, robe, and sandals, he not only looked the part but walked the walk. He communed with beggars, prostitutes, lepers, and adulterers. Society ignored these people, or publicly stoned them to death for their “sins.” And Jesus loved them.
He was a mystic, a seer, a lover of all humanity. However, he wasn’t entirely well-liked throughout his community. Not thrilled with his claims to be “the son of God,” the Romans brutally crucified him. However, perhaps there is more to this claim than the obvious interpretation. Maybe Jesus had experienced scenarios that brought him so close to God that he became one with Source.
JESUS AND MAGIC MUSHROOMS
What evidence do we have that might support the theory that Jesus ate magic mushrooms? Certainly, the church won’t talk about it. And even the most progressive-thinking follower of Jesus might bat an eye at the idea. But if you think about it, it’s quite logical and even probable that consuming entheogenic mushrooms was much more common than we may have guessed.
Feasting on Fungi
Mushrooms have been around for millennia, dating back to some of the earliest civilizations in the world. They were likely a common food source during Jesus’ time on Earth. They grow wild across the globe, so it’s not unusual to assume that Israelites were feasting on fungi. It is likely safe to say that they picked up pretty quickly which mushrooms were great to munch on for nutrition, versus which ones had them seeing burning bushes.
Considering the likelihood that time was on their side, thought devoted to spiritual evolution was left to the imagination. The Israelites were looking for a deeper spiritual system than what the Romans were offering in their many gods and goddesses that they borrowed from the Greeks. Jesus filled that role from the moment he was born. His entire life story was something magical. From the narrative of his immaculate conception to being born in a stable in Bethlehem, walking on water and healing the sick, he was a miracle worker. And then, as his ultimate act, he was resurrected from the dead before ‘ascending’ into heaven.
Now, give this a thought for a moment. The notion of rising from the dead insinuates that Jesus may have been one of the first people to explore the concept of life after death. Not the whole heaven and hell scenario, but the theory that we have all been here before. Furthermore, the idea that we will be again. For those that have experience with psychedelics, this is not a far-fetched concept.
Mushrooms in Christianity
One of the most sacred Christian holidays is Christmas, the birth of Christ. The correlation between ancient shamanic practices and what we know to be “the spirit of Christmas” points to images of mushroom collection in the old world. Take, for example, the harvesting of the Amanita muscaria mushroom by the Siberian tribe called the Evenki. Now, the Evenki were hunters and gatherers, and they also just so happened to ride reindeer. Amanita muscaria grow only underneath evergreen trees. As the Evenki harvested the mushrooms, they’d lay them to dry on the branches of the trees. Round, bright-red mushrooms were drying all across the evergreens just like Christmas decorations. Read more about the connection to Christmas in the Shaman Clause.
In his book, The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion With No Name, Brian Muraresku explores the use of psychoactive substances from prehistory to the present day. His ideas suggest that psychedelics were used as religious sacraments, having been preserved in ancient Greece and interwoven into early Christianity. Muraresku provides evidence of his theories by way of archeo-chemical analysis of archaic vessels. Some contain remnants of ergot, a fungus that led to the discovery of LSD. Ancient texts and murals also support this theory.
Time and again, psychonauts chronicle their tales of experiencing God while deep in a psychedelic trance. From visions of Jesus himself, to encounters with “Source”, we know that many entheogens produce profound otherworldly, spiritual awakenings. Therefore, it is plausible to assume that Jesus himself was consuming psychedelic substances. Furthermore, this may have led to his awakening as the putative son of God, and led him on his life’s mission to connect humanity in the name of love, forgiveness, and unity.
While it’s impossible to verify that Jesus did in fact eat psilocybin mushrooms, there is compelling evidence to suggest that he in fact did. Early shamans used psychedelics for healing, and Jesus was known as a powerful healer. For example, there is the story of Jesus healing a leper. In The Great Canterbury Psalter, a masterpiece of medieval poetry and prayers, this story is different than the version in the Bible. Here, the leper holds a scroll in his left hand, which translates as “Master, if you want you may cleanse me,” but rather than pointing the scroll at Jesus, he points to Jesus’ scroll. Jesus’ scroll says, “I want to be cleansed.” Similarly, the author of The Great Canterbury Psalter used other instances of psychedelic mushrooms. It is thought that perhaps this story indicates Jesus has realized the healing powers of the magic mushrooms.
ENTHEOGENS IN CHRISTIAN ART
Art from the ancient world has revealed much information about the culture of past civilizations. Before most people could read and write, they used art as the primary form of communication to share their stories. Consequently, these images became their history books. Thus, we’ve learned about rites of passage, formalities of war, and social customs through ancient artwork. Additionally, we have seen evidence of the use of magic mushrooms in Christian art, perhaps indicating their knowledge of entheogens’ connection to the divine.
In the book The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, authors Jerry B. and Julie M. Brown detail evidence of entheogens in Christian artwork. Their anthropological research trip to churches throughout Europe and the Middle East proved fruitful. The chief aim of this journey was to challenge the traditional understandings of Judeo-Christian religion. During a tour of the Church of Saint Martin in France, Julie first noticed the detailed, wall-length fresco of Jesus entering Jerusalem. There, above the men welcoming Jesus were five psilocybin mushroom caps. Consistent with Romanesque style, the mushroom caps were as large as the men’s heads, indicating their importance in the artwork.
Everything about the artwork indicated it was, in fact, Jesus riding through the gates of Jerusalem on a donkey during Passover. This is the holiday we now refer to as Palm Sunday. The fresco also depicts an angel purifying a man (thought to be the prophet Isaiah) with a mushroom, suggesting that it may have been psilocybin that inspired his prophetic visions. Additionally, the curious discovery of mushrooms is hidden in plain sight, even ornately decorating clothing.
As written by Jerry B. and Julie M. Brown:
“We contemplated the incontrovertible facts portrayed in the wall paintings before us: the pictorial fusion of Jesus entering Jerusalem with the purification of Isaiah; Jesus with arms outstretched toward the large psilocybin mushrooms in the Entry; the joyful youth cutting down mushrooms with a long knife on the towers of Jerusalem over the scene of the Last Supper; the otherworldly expressions of Jesus and his disciples leaning on the table; and the orderly row of mushrooms cleverly hidden in the hems of the disciples.”
The Mushroom Tree
Just west of the Church of Saint Martin is the famous Plaincourault Chapel. Here, mushrooms are much more obvious. In a piece entitled Temptation in the Garden of Eden, there are a man and a woman with a tree between them. The tree bears a striking resemblance to a tall-stemmed psilocybin mushroom, with several smaller mushrooms growing out to the side from the main stem. As with the mushrooms in the artwork at the Church of Saint Martin, these were in the Romanesque style as well—with the mushrooms much larger than the heads of Adam and Eve on either side.
There is some skepticism about the validity of this particular theory, arguing that the piece was unfinished. If the artist wished for the tree to be a mushroom, there would be no smaller mushroom-like branches. On the other hand, other people have suggested that the mushroom tree represents the serpent in the Garden of Eden, tempting Adam and Eve to eat of the tree and become like gods themselves, so they would gain infinite knowledge of good and evil.
Temptation in the Garden of Eden, Chapel of Plaincourault, Indre, Central France, ca. 1291 (photo by Julie M. Brown)
Mysticism is the belief that through surrender, devotion, and spiritual contemplation, you may commune with a deity, god, or be filled with spiritual knowledge. After Jesus’ death, the evolution of Christianity expanded rapidly across the globe. Early Christians had a strong desire to connect with the spirit of Jesus, as Christianity itself was a religion of the spirit. Undoubtedly, the longing to commune with Christ led to the writing of the Christian Bible, the writing of the Bible being a kind of holy communion in itself.
What’s In a Name?
The Bible references plant medicines that appear to be cannabis. Kneh bossem, kaneh-bosm, and kannabos are mentioned in the Book of Exodus and the Hebrew Bible as sacred plants used in holy anointing oil and sacred practices. The use of cannabis in religious ceremonies is evidenced throughout the world. Many anthropologists and etymologists have confirmed that they believe this to be true.
Mysticism evolved with religion, but proof of even the earliest stories in the Hebrew Bible give clues to the use of entheogenic substances. Professor Dan Merkur, a psychoanalyst and research reader in the department of the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, claims that the meaning of words has changed much since the time of Christ. He points to evidence that manna was actually an entheogen. Manna was the holy bread that sustained the Israelites as they wandered through the desert for 40 years. The Israelites claimed that manna was a gift from God. This points to an instance where early Jewish mysticism also indicates the use of psychedelics.
The connection between psychedelics and spirituality cannot be denied. While perhaps not publicized or condoned within the church, there is ancient evidence pointing to the use of psychedelics to commune with the divine and connect to Source. Did Jesus personally consume them? We don’t know for certain, but we’d like to think he did. Why don’t you ask him on your next journey?
Read the original Article on Reality Sandwich.
The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.
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