Blog Entries

Connecting to the Divine

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I'm no Wade Davis (also known as a brilliant ethnographer), but like many of you, I love to travel and learn about cultural traditions, including those related to religion and spirituality.  No matter what my personal beliefs are, I am always fascinated by the way different cultures connect to the Divine.
I own a little boutique that is across the street from a marijuana dispensary (it's the Bay Area, what can I say?) and sometimes I see people walk out of the dispensary with big tall plants covered in brown paper. I often wonder what a person does with a 5 foot marijuana tree, but I guess I can figure it out.  I  know that there are those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes and others use it for recreation, but we also know that historically, there are a number of cultures that use marijuana, mushrooms and/or opiates for religious purposes too; again to connect to the Divine.
Ayahuasca cooked in Ecuador
Source: Wiki
In fact, one of my friends went to the Rain Forest in Ecuador and on his sojourn with a shaman drank ayahuasca as some sort of ritual. Ayahuasca is a brew concocted from vines and plants and is used in spiritual ceremonies in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil. I don't kow about you, but I’m WAY too scary to do something like that. “Many indigenous and shamanistic religions of the Americas, Asia and other continents use entheogens to make contact with the divine as part of their religious rituals. Most commonly, these are used in shamanistic practice involving healing rituals.” [Wiki]  Check out the video below to see an ayahuasca (aka daime) ritual in Brazil from the National Geographic Channel.  You can also check out the Wade Davis link above to learn more about ayahuasca (at the 11:45 mark). 

Cannabis sativa from
Vienna Dioscurides, 512 AD
I don't know if I have ever met anyone that uses daime to connect, but I have met many a Rastafarian that uses cannabis for religious/spiritual purposes. My understanding is that it is meant to bring them closer to God. “Rastafari see cannabis as a sacramental and deeply beneficial plant that is the Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible. Bob Marley, amongst many others, have quoted Revelation: 22:2, ‘... the herb is the healing of the nations.’” [Wiki] Ancient Africans, Ancient Chinese, Ancient Central Asians, Ancient and Modern Indians, and many modern religions (including the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church) also used/use marijuana. “Cannabis is widely used in India by Hindu gurus and Middle Eastern sufis” not to mention the numerous cultures all over the world that use various hallucinogenic mushrooms, cacti and various Nightshades (Solanaceae) like Datura, Brugmansia and Belladonna.” [Wiki

I have always had an open mind about religious and spiritual choices and I am truly fascinated by the ways of the indigenous although taking something that is going to make me hallucinate (even though it is meant to get closer to the Divine) just isn't in my repertoire.  I'm just not that girl.  (I even threw away a bunch of coca tea bags that someone once gave me that came from Peru.)  But hey, writer Kira Salak says that the ancient ayahuasca helped her combat her lifelong bout with depression.  You can read her [kinda scary] story here.

What are you willing to do (or not do) to connect to the Divine?  Do tell.

Note:  This post is a learning opportunity.  OBG does not condone drug use of any kind...ever.



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