Penumbra interviews Chris Bennett about his book Liber 420: Cannabis, Magical Herbs and the Occult
Chris Bennett, a Canadian historian and marijuana legalization activist, redefined the history of the role of psychoactive substances in magic with his book Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal Herbs and the Occult.
Lua Valentia: In your article “Cannabis the Once and Future Tree of Life”, you quoted Diana Stein’s work in which she writes that the ancient Mesopotamian Tree of Life resembles a cannabis plant. In her work that are some images of the ancient drawings versus the actual plant. You also said that you had come to the same conclusion, and that the connection between the Assyrian Tree of Life and cannabis first came to you in a dream. These facts were erased from history. Only now we are able to understand the importance of Cannabis, thanks to your work. Could you tell more about this dream? Were there others? Have you felt spiritual guidance to continue your work?
Chris Bennett: Well, my whole interest in cannabis’ role in magic and religion, was actually inspired by a powerful experience I had in late 1989 early 1990, randomly reading the book of Revelation, from the Bible one night while smoking a joint in an empty lunchroom at a fishplant I worked as nightwatchman one night at about 3am. which I describe in this 2003 video:
But like my dream, and other powerful experiences I have had along my path, I would never expect anyone else to put much weight into my personal experiences, for the same reason I don’t pay much attention to people who claim to channel spirits and get picked up by UFO’s and that sort of thing. I prefer things like archeology, etymology, ancient textual references and that sort of thing to make my cases.
Lua: In your book Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible, you claim that cannabis, in fact, also appeared in the Christian Holy book: the Hebrew word “kaneh bosm” was later mistranslated as other plants such as calamus. Could you tell us more about the use of cannabis back then, and how did you reach the conclusion that cannabis is the main ingredient of the sacred anointing oil the Lord asked Moses to produce?
Chris: The initial research regarding Kaneh Bosm and cannabis, was put together decades before I was born. This excerpt from Liber 420 explains the situation:
The idea that the Old Testament prophets, may have been using psychoactive substances in order to attain a shamanic trance in which the revelations of Yahweh could be received, is as troubling for modern day believers, as Darwin’s theory of Evolution was to their 19th century counterparts, as just as Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged the myths of creation from the Books of Genesis, this entheogenic origin for the Jewish religion, indicates a scientifically and anthropologically based theory on the origins of the Bible itself through shamanism and psychoactive plants. As Professor Georg Luck has noted “The idea that Moses himself and the priests who succeeded him relied on ‘chemical aids’ in order to touch with the Lord must be disturbing or repugnant to many. It seems to degrade religion — any religion — when one associates it with shamanic practices…”(Luck, 1985/2006). Luck experienced these reactions himself, when his decades of research into magic rites in the ancient world, drew him to such a hypothesis. “As I was doing research on psychoactive substances used in magic and religion and magic in antiquity, I happened to come across chapter 30 in the Book of Exodus where Moses prescribes the composition of sacred incense and anointing oil. It occurred to me , judging from the ingredients, that… [these] substances might act as ‘entheogens,’ the incense more powerful than the oil. …”(Luck, 1985/2006)
Professor Luck pointed to the alleged mild psychoactive effects of myrrh and particularly Frankincense, as has been suggested by a number of recent studies, (Drahl, 2008; Khan, 2012). Frankincense contains Trahydrocannabinole, which is similar in molecular structure to Tetrahydrocannabinol the psychoactive component of cannabis. And it has been suggested that even in modern church rituals, the mild mood elevating effects of this may help to create a religious state of mind in parishioners close enough to inhale its effects. However, this alleged effect has been hard to reproduce in any notable way under clinic conditions. Luck noted this, explaining that “No two kinds of frankincense… have exactly the same effect. There are many varieties, coming from different regions along the ancient incense route, and some of the more potent ones may not be available any more. The blends used in churches today, seem rather mild, if they can be called psychoactive at all” (Luck, 1985/2006).
What Luck, and Johnson both seem to have been unaware of in their comments about the shamanic nature of the Israeli prophets and their potential use of psychoactive substances, is the evidence indicating a role for cannabis amongst the ancient Jews in this exact context.
Although there have been a variety of suggestions regarding references to cannabis in scripture, which i have explored elsewhere, the most convincing evidence for cannabis in the Bible, comes via the Polish Anthropologist Sula Benet’s etymological investigations into the Hebrew word Kaneh Bosm. In her essays ‘Tracing One Word Through Different Languages’ (1936) and ‘Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp’ (1975), Benet demonstrated that the Hebrew terms ‘kaneh’ and ‘kaneh bosm’ (also translated ‘qaneh’, and ‘qaneh bosm’) identified cannabis, by tracing the modern term back through history, noting the similarities with the later Mishnaterm for cannabis, kanabos, as well as comparing it to the ancient Assyrian word kunubu (also translated qunubu) which has long been regarded as identifying cannabis, and which was used in an almost identical ritual context as kaneh bosm was by the ancient Jews. The root “kaneh” in this construction means “cane~reed” or “hemp”, while “bosm” means “aromatic”. This word appeared in Exodus 30:23, whereas in the Song of Songs 4:14, Isaiah 43:24, Jeremiah 6:20, Ezekiel 27:19 the term keneh (or q’aneh) is used without the adjunct bosem. As Sula genet has explained, the Hebrew word kaneh-bosm was later mistranslated as calamus, a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to kaneh-bosm. This error occurred in the oldest of the Greek translation of the Hebrew texts, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and then repeated in following translations.
As Prof. Carl Ruck, of Boston University explains:
Cannabis is called kaneh bosem in Hebrew, which is now recognized as the Scythian word that Herodotus wrote as kannabis (or cannabis). The translators of the bible translate this usually as ‘fragrant cane,’ i.e., an aromatic grass. Once the word is correctly translated, the use of cannabis in the bible is clear. Large amounts of it were compounded into the ointment for the ordination of the priest. This ointment… was also used to fumigate the holy enclosed space. The ointment (absorbed through the skin) and the fragrance of the vessels (both absorbed by handling and inhaled as perfume) and the smoke of the incense in the confined space would have been a very effective means of administering the psychoactive properties of the plant. Since it was only the High Priest who entered the Tabernacle, it was an experience reserved for him… (Ruck, 2009)
Noted cannabinoid researcher and historian, Dr. Ethan Russo, also notes:“I think it is absolutely clear that cannabis was in the Holy Land, we have archeological proof dated to the 4th century [AD] there was this carbonized fragment of cannabis that was found in a cave at Bet Shemesh in Israel. Additionally, I firmly believe that kaneh bosm in the Hebrew was cannabis, so I am absolutely convinced it was there. …its mentioned in Exodus that kaneh bosm was part of the Holy Anointing Oil, also used as an incense and it really makes sense.” (Russo, 2003) As Ruck and co-authors have noted the term “occurs also in Song of Songs 4.14, where it grows in an orchard of exotic fruits, herbs, and spices… It occurs also in Isaiah 43,24 where Yahweh lists amongst the slights received in sacrifice, the insufficient offerings of kaneh bosm; and Jeremiah 6,20, where Yahweh, displeased with his people, rejects such an offering; and Ezekiel 27.19, where it occurs in a catalogue of the luxurious items in the import trade of Tyre…. This conclusion has since been affirmed by other scholars. It is ironic that calamus “sweet flag,” the substitute for the alleged cannabis, is itself a known hallucinogen for which TMA-2 is derived” (Ruck et. al., 2001).
Kaneh bosm is connately similar sounding to the Assyrian name for cannabis, qunubu. And this connection is taken further by the identical use of qunubu incenses and ointments for spiritual purposes, to that of the Holy oil and Incenses of the Old Testament Jews and kaneh bosm.
Recipes for cannabis, qunubu, incense, regarded as copies of much older versions, were found in the cuneiform library of the legendary Assyrian king Assurbanipal (b. 685 — ca. 627 BC, reigned 669 — ca. 631 BC). Cannabis was not only sifted for incense like modern hashish, but the active properties were also extracted into oils. “Translating ‘Letters and Contracts, no.162’ (Keiser, 1921), qu-un-na-pu is noted among a list of spices (Scheil, 1921)(p. 13), and would be translated from French (EBR), ‘(qunnapu): oil of hemp; hashish’” (Russo, 2005). In Babylonian religious rites, “inspiration was derived by burning incense, which, if we follow evidence obtained elsewhere, induced a prophetic trance. The gods were also invoked by incense” (Mackenzie, 1915) Records from the time of Asurbanipal’s father Esarhaddon, cannabis, ‘qunubu’ as one of the main ingredients of the “sacred rites”. In a letter written in 680 bc to the mother of the Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, reference is made to qu-nu-bu. In response to Esarhaddon’s mother’s question as to “What is used in the sacred rites”, a high priest responded that “the main items…. for the rites are fine oil, water, honey, odorous plants (and) hemp [qunubu].” (Waterman, 1936) Cannabis was clearly an important ritual implement from early on in Mesopotamia. Professor George Hackman referred to 4000 year old inscriptions indicating cannabis in Temple Documents of the Third Dynasty of Ur From Umma, which described a “Memoranda of three regular offerings of hemp” (Hackman, 1937). Evidence indicates that in ancient Mesopotamia cannabis was also ingested in foods for ritual purposes as well as consumed in beverages, akin to the haoma/soma preparations as well, as rubbed on topically. (Bennett, 2010)
I also put together this Youtube documentary that goes into more detail on this:
Lua: Why do you think that history has tried to erase the importance of cannabis and wipe it from the Bible?
Chris: Well, i think the initial situation regarding the alleged mistranslation of kaneh bosm as calamus, could be explained by the fact that a translator is not necessarily a botanist, and there are other mistranslation of plants and other words in the various translations of the Bible. However, with the rise of the Catholic Church later, there was a concerted effort to ban all forms of entheogenic initiation that were a part of pagan and gnostic cults, it was considered sorcery. In fact whenever you read sorcery in the old testament, it is translated from the Greek term “pharmakeia” a word where we get the modern term pharmacy from, and which relates directly to the use of herbs in magical rites. Thus not surprising, the use of these substances often in combination with the beliefs they travelled with, was forced underground, becoming “occult”, meaning “hidden”.
Lua: It’s hard for the majority of the population to accept that Moses and the Israelites used cannabis. I’ve also read that Jesus, the historical figure, could have used it to perform his miracles. What is the historical evidence that could argue in favor of this hypothesis?
Chris: The very term ‘Christ’ is derived from the Greek “Khristos” , and had the same meaning as the Hebrew word “Messiah”, and these translated literally into English, would refer to the “Anointed”, a term that makes reference to the Anointing oil of Exodus 30:23, which contained Kaneh Bosm — cannabis.
It is worth noting in this context, that Jesus baptized no one in the New Testament account, but instead, in the oldest of the synoptic gospels, Jesus sent out the Apostles with this Holy Oil, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:13). This passage shows us two things, that Jesus was ignoring the rules about the anointing oil of previous times, that limited its use to priests, and then later kings (Exodus 30:33), and that the Holy oil was being used for medical purposes. Diseases like epilepsy, were considered demonic possession up until the medieval ages, and in our modern day, cannabis has been shown effective in treating sever forms of epilepsy, that even pharmaceutical drugs have been unable to remedy safely. Many of the other healing medical miracles, described in the New Testament, as well, seem to be ailments which have been effectively treated with medical marijuana, skin diseases, stiffened limbs, uterine problems, etc. both before the time of Jesus, and in our modern day. Considering the Gospels themselves are thought to have been first recorded, years after the time of Jesus himself, it seems plausible, that the New Testament miracles may be fanciful versions, embellished through time and imagination, of actual medical treatments. This hypthothesis, has received international attention in the media.(BBC, Guardian, Washington Post, London Times, 2003, Vice 2013).
As well, the New Testament, gives us some evidence that this same Holy oil, may have been used for enthoegenic purposes. “. . . you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. . . . the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.” (1 John 2: 27). Through this open distribution the singular Christ, “the Anointed”, was extended to become the plural term “Christians”, that is, those who had been smeared or anointed.
Although there is some evidence of Jesus’ use of this Judaic cannabis oil in the traditional New Testament, we get a clearer picture of its importance when we also look at surviving Christian Gnostic documents. For the first four hundred years after Jesus’ birth, the term “Christian” was used to describe a wide variety of sects and a large volume of different documents. Through the acceptance of one of the more ascetic branches of Christianity by the Roman ruling class, Christianity eventually became the state religion of its former persecutors. In an effort to unify the faith into a controllable mass, the newly formed Roman Catholic Church held a number of councils. These councils prohibited not only pagans, but also differing Christian sects, and in the 4th century edited a wealth of Christian literature down to the few meeger documents which have survived as the modern New Testament.
Lua: You have written about the relation of HP Lovecraft’s writing to the origin of the number 420. That was a big surprise. The main character of the story In the Walls of Eryx relating an experience of Cannabis at precisely 4:20. If that is correct, are all Cannabis users devoted to the Old Ones? How could chaotes incorporate cannabis into their rituals?
Chris: Well not sure if its origin of the whole 420 thing, more like synchronicity. Although Hashish does occur in Lovecrafts writings.
Lovecraft also worked hashish into the Necronimicon, in his 1926 classic, “The Call of Cthulhu,” in which he revealed that Abdul Alhazred, an opium and hashish user.
Lovecraft’s friends Robert E Howard’s (Conan the Barbarian author) and Clark Ashton Smith also made references to hash trips in their own writings. .
It has also been loosely suggested that the Picatrix may have played a role in pulp fiction horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s conception of the Necronimicon, ‘The Book of Dead Names’:
In his ‘Cthulhu Mythos,’ H.P. Lovecraft created The Necronimicon, a fictional book of the occult that appeared in several of his stories. Lovecraft introduced Abdul Alhazred, the ‘mad Arab,’ in his 1921 story ‘The Nameless City,’ and The Necronimicon in his 1922 tale ‘The Hound.’ He married the two in his 1926 classic, ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ in which he revealed hat Abdul Alhazred, an opium and hashish user, had written Al Azif, as the book was supposedly known in Arabic. The author’s fictional 1927 treatise, ‘The History and Chronology of the Necronimicon,’ led many readers to believe that the tome was genuine. (Lamberson, 2001).
Adding to Lovercraft’s mythos of the Necronimicon, and claims of its authenticity was the 1977 publication of a book that claimed to be the authentic version of ‘The Necronimicon’ through an anonymous figure known as ’Simon’, which was written in a manner and style that are in some ways similar to the Picatrix and other grimoires, and ancient books of magic. This styling caused occultist Owen Davies to deem it a “well constructed hoax” (Davies, 2010).
As the authors of a modern translation of The Picatrix have noted, claims of connections between The Necronimicon and Picatrix “gains a certain degree of credibility from the remarkable parallels between the two works. Like the Necronimicon, Picatrix was first written in Arabic, translated into Latin in the thirteenth century, and circulated superstitiously among Europeans occultists for centuries thereafter. Both books contain detailed instructions for rituals meant to call down inhuman powers from what we would now call outer space, and include malefic magical workings of terrific power” (Greer & Warnock, 2010). Such similarities are ever present, as Simon’s Necronimicon records: “ I learned of the powers of the astral Gods, and how to summon their aid in times of need. I learned, too, of the frightful beings who dwell beyond the astral spirits, who guard the entrance to the Temple of the Lost, of the Ancient of Days, the Ancient of the Ancient Ones, whose Name I cannot write here.” — Necronimicon (Simon, 1977).
Their is also a profound similarity in the style of the sigils in both works, and most importantly in relation to this tome, the use of certain drugs in the tale. The ingredients of the Mad Arabs incense is listed as “olibanum, storax, dictamus, opium and hashish” and all but dictamus can be found on the pages of the Picatrix, (and conceivably it too could be there under another name).
Simon’s Necrominicon describes the Mad Arab’s discovery of a “strange grass”, in what one can only conclude is veiled reference to cannabis:
In my solitary ceremonies in the hills, worshipping with fire and sword, with water and dagger, and with the assistance of a strange grass that grows wild in certain parts of MASSHU, and with which I had unwittingly built my fire before the rock, that grass that gives the mind great power to travel tremendous distances into the heavens, as also into the hells, I received the formulae for the amulets and talismans which follow, which provide the Priest with safe passage among the spheres wherein he may travel in search of the Wisdom. — Necronimicon, (Simon, 1977).
Interestingly, as we have seen with reference to cannabis, which was used in invocations of the moon, there seems to be a similar connection between this grass and the moon in Simon’s Necronimicon.
Now, there are Two Incantation to the Ancient Ones set down here, which are well known to the Sorcerers of the Night, they who make images and burn them by the Moon and by other Things. And they burn them by the Moon and by other Things. And they burn unlawful grasses and herbs, and raise tremendous Evils, and their Words are never written down, it is said. But there are… — Necronimicon, (Simon, 1977).
The list of “Ancient Ones” in the hymn that follows, includes a number of Mesopotamian deities, and seems to pay special homage to Ishtar, whose cult did in fact use cannabis. As Assyriologist Erica Reiner noted “the herb called Sim.Ishara’armoatic of the Goddess Ishtar,’ …is equated with the Akkadian qunnabu, ‘cannabis’… and also calls to mind the plant called ki.na
Istar” (Reiner, 1995)
One who seems to have taken the stories of the Necronimicon quite literally, is M. Kienholz, who worked in the Spokane Police department for 18 years. In her book on the history of the opium trade, she ties the controversial grimoire with the 16th century magician John Dee, who she describes as “was Queen Elizabeth’s special agent” and his notorious scribe Edward Kelly a “charlatan and alchemist”, further suggesting Dee as a likely candidate for advising “the British to deal in opium”. In reference to the Necronimicon, she wrote that “While in Prague in 1586, Dee and Kelly searched out and plagiarized a copy of Necronimicon by Abdul Alhazred of Yemen, who developed a kind of incense containing ‘olibanum, storax, dictamus, opium and hashish’” (Kienholz, 2008). Although Kienholz’s claims don’t seem particularly credible, a case for Dee and Kelly’s use of psychoactive substances in their ritual scrying has been made.
Lua Valentia: Another interesting topic is about the use of cannabis in high magick. You wrote that, in the book Picatrix, the oldest one about Magick and Astrology, there is a “recipe for incense to invoke a ‘servant of the moon’” that included stag blood, amber, camphor and over a pound of cannabis resin”. Could you tell us more about this particular recipe and its use?
Chris: A certain avenue of the occult use of cannabis from the Mid East into Europe, came through The Ghayat AlHakim, ‘The Goal of the Wise’, which was an Arabic grimoire thought to have been written sometime between the 10th and 11th century. When it was translated into Latin and Spanish in the 13th century, it became known by the name The Picatrix, and serves as one of the founding documents of the Western magical tradition. During the 13th century reign of King Alfonso ‘the wise’, it was translated into Spanish and then Latin, and from there forward it became known in Europe by the title, Picatrix. Too controversial to ever have made it to the printing press prior to the 20th century, The Picatrix was passed around secretly, in sought after hand written manuscripts. Considering this mode of transmission, it is not surprising that there are number of differences between the Arabic Ghāyat al-hakīm and surviving European versions of the Picatrix, and it seems likely in copying, some things were lost, and some added by each additional transcriber, but over all there is enough in common to identify their relationship.
Recipes for elixirs, ointments, pills and incenses abound in the Picatrix, some being used to treat illness, others to cause harm, and interestingly for this study, still others, for seeing visions and contacting the astral realm. Although, cannabis, opium and other substances appear throughout the pages of the Picatrix, the identification of these substances in this medieval grimoire, has “hitherto received little attention from the scholars of medieval magic” (Attrell, 2016).
The most highly active and dangerous substances used in the Picatrix come from the family of solanaceous plants, such as Mandragora officinarum and Hyoscyamus niger which are infamous for their uses in European witchcraft… Mandrake and Henbane, like Datura Stramonium (jimsonweed, devil’s trumpet, or thorn-apple) or Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade), are known to provoke bizarre delirium, nightmarish hallucinations, out-of-body experiences and ‘flights.’ (Attrell, 2016)
Opium appears more readily than cannabis in the Picatrix, and includes medicinal references (“breast milk with opium brings sleep to the feverish and insomniacs”) as well as magical. One rather gruesome magical recipes calls for a recently removed human head, placed in a large jug with 8 ounces of opium, with equal parts human blood and sesame oil, to be sealed and slow cooked! The author of the Picatrix wrote “that there were many marvels in that oil, and the first is that it allows you to see whatever you want to see.” Another recipe calls for the magician to “Take a human penis, and chop it into pieces, and stir in powdered opium”!* Others recipes call for opium to be mixed with other psychoactive substances henbane seeds, nutmeg, calamus, wormwood, along with more mildly psychoactive ingredients, some for aid in producing smoke, like frankincense, myrrh and saffron, which aided in producing a more pleasant smelling smoke, and that was likely needed considering the use of blood, and other items like “the head of a black cat”.
* As translated in (Warnock & Greer, 2015)
The main method of using these substances, was through “suffumigation” i.e. through burning incenses and other means of creating smoke. As the author of the Picatrix wrote of this method: “Great miracles and great effects, according to the Hindus, are in suffumigations, which they call calcitarat, and with them are worked the effects of the seven planets. These suffumigations ought to be used according to the nature of the planet to which the petition corresponds.”* Quoting Hermes Trismegistus, the author notes elsewhere that “Rituals performed with suffumigations and prayers are more effective than those in which suffumigations are lacking or the will is divided “ (Attrell & Porreca, 2018)
*As translated in (Warnock & Greer, 2015)
This ritual fumigation required the magician to often stand over the burning fumes of the preparation and inhale the smoke in a enclosed space, and from some of the ingredients and amounts used of these substances, we can be sure a ritual intoxications was received. “The purpose of most suffumigation magic in the Picatrix is for the sake of contacting the planetary spirits. When the adept wished to speak with a planet, he dressed himself in robes dyed with the colours of his chosen planet, he chose its hours, he prayed its prayers, and he suffumigated with its ingredients” (Attrell, 2016). The ingredients varied depending on the planetary aid which was invoked, and not all ingredients or recipes were composed of psychoactive substances.
In regards to celestial deities, the use of opium was used in an invocation to the Sun, whereas the use of cannabis appears in two magical operations which appeased the Moon. As translator Dan Attrell has noted, in the Picatrix“The blood of a stag, an animal governed by the Moon since antiquity, is ground together in a marble mortar with over a pound of hashish (which today might be valued on the streets at around $5,000). The user of this particular suffumigation is instructed to put the mixture into a censer, set it alight, then stand above it whilst making prayers and sacrifices to the Moon, and only then would the “servant of the Moon” (Lune servus) appear” (Attrell, 2016). As The Picatrix itself records:
When the Moon is in Pisces and you wish to draw upon her strength and power, take 1⅕ lbs. of cannabis resin and the same amount of plane tree resin and mix them together. Extract these resins while the Sun is in Virgo and Mercury is luminous and advancing directly. Grind them up in a marble mortar. When this is done, add 4 oz. of mastic gum, 2 oz. each of amber and camphor, 1 oz. of alkali and 10 oz. of sarcocolla. Blend everything very well, to which you should add ½ lb. of the blood of a stag decapitated with a bronze knife. When everything has been blended together, place it in a glass container. Go to a running spring, and position the glass vessel on its outer lip. Next, take a censer, and set it on a stone in the middle of the spring’s waters such that the censer be entirely surrounded by water. Then, light a fire in it. Once it is lit, open the mouth of the glass container and empty out the container into the fire little by little until the whole thing has poured out into the fire. Next, make your sacrifice. The servant of the Moon will appear to you, to whom you should state your request. It will be led to its effect. *
* As translated in (Attrell and Porreca, 2018).
Lua: You have said in an interview that with regard to Aleister Crowley, “Cannabis in particular was a key aspect of his ‘magick’ that is often overlooked”, as he, for instance, had used many substances and written about his conclusions. How do you value Kenneth Grant’s psychedelic research?
Chris: I have as of yet, not dug too deeply into Grant’s research, but I am currently working on a book about Crowley and the scene around him and the role of drugs. I actually pulled a very large chapter on Crowley out of Liber 420 due to space.
Lua: There is a lot of prejudice concerning the use of cannabis. We tend to think that occultists are more open-minded to its use, but the most conservative of us often say that the problem with it is that it could lead to other and more addictive drugs, and they also point out the short and long-term effects of the drug, claiming that is a risk for people’s health in general, excluding its benefits, even during the chemognosis process. Your work has shown the historical importance of this herb to the occult community. How would you answer this conservatism of approach? Would you say that the benefits of cannabis overcome its risk? How so?
Chris: The stepping stone theory holds no scientific validity. Many people use cannabis to get off hard drugs and alcohol. I think the wealth of evidence of the use of cannabis in the history of the occult, as well as religion, is the best testament that those who oppose its use in the chemognosis process, are just out of the loop. Cannabis is an excellent tool, for diving into the depths of the subconscious mind, and that is where magick takes place.