Moses the Psychonaut: From Entheogens to Biblical Bioterrorism

Moses the Psychonaut:

From Entheogens to Biblical Bioterrorism

by : Cody Noconi

 

All of the Abrahamic traditions hold the character of Moses to one degree of reverence or another. Regardless of where one lands in terms of the factual historicity of the story of Moses and the emancipation of the Tribes of Israel, it is a compelling and thrilling narrative to say the very least. What should be of particular interest to the psychedelic community, is that no matter who originally compiled the story, and for whatever reason, evidence for the employment of psychedelic substances by the Israelites is quite substantial. “Admittedly, the smoking gun is not available to us. However, so many clues present themselves which, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, seem to cohere into an intriguing unified whole. I leave it to the reader to pass his or her judgment.” (Shannon, 2008)

Of course, not every culture recognizes or avails themselves of every psychotropic in a given epoch or environment. Some groups can remain ignorant of highly psychoactive substances, seemingly right under their collective noses. There are dozens of such plants which were endemic to the Sinai region at the professed time of Moses, and this paper rather conservatively highlights only those which adequately fit the descriptions given in the sacred texts.

Moses was allegedly born during during a period of Hebrew enslavement at the hands of the ancient Egyptians. The Pharaoh at the time decided that the enslaved Israelite populations had grown too large, and rather than just free the lot of them, he ordered the execution of newborn Hebrew boys in the region. Sounds a lot easier, right? In order to save her newborn from this massacre, Jochebed, Moses’ mother, secreted him away and placed the wee babe in a reed basket along the Nile. In a wonderful twist of fate, the daughter of said murderous Pharaoh, miraculously finds the baby Moses and adopts him into the royal household. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV)

As an adopted member of the Egyptian royal family, growing up right alongside the Prince, Moses would have been familiar with the esoteric ceremonies and higher orders of learning of at least the some of the priest-class. As such, he would have been well familiar with the use of medicated alcohols and beers, not to mention the wide ranging and well documented pharmacopeia. (Shultes, Hoffman, Ratsch, 1992) When Moses later fled across the Red Sea after killing an Egyptian slave master, he arrived in Midian with what we can only assume, was at the very least a cursory understanding of the medicinal, intoxicating and potentially entheogenic effects of some plants and fungi.

 

Misty Mountains and Burning Bushes

After joining up with the priest Jethro and his band of Midianite shepherds, the next major event in the life of Moses is his experience of theophany and vision of the burning bush. This experience takes place atop Mt. Horeb; a place which will prove of paramount importance to Moses and his early abilities to communicate with Yahveh.

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. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 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. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV)

Interesting to note that during the experience, the burning bush was not consumed by the holy fire. Such visions of divine fire, ego dissolution, time dilation and periods of theophany are regularly reported in the DMT experience. (Strassman, 2000) It is during this experience that Moses has a radical epistemological shift in worldview, realizing his ability and obligation to liberate the tribes of Israel from Egyptian bondage.

Edward Knippers, Moses and the Burning Bush.

The sacred staff that Moses receives from Yahveh at this time, with which he and Aaron perform most of their miracles, comes from the same source as the ever-burning bush. Upon receiving said staff, it immediately transforms into a snake, and then back into a staff once more. Visions of transmorphic snakes, are one of the most commonly reported motifs among DMT induced visions. (Shannon, 2008) Apparently this was a reliably reproducible experience, one that Moses and Aaron will repeat later on. This staff has been identified as chitim wood. The same chittim wood that is later used to meticulously construct the tabernacle, and which is more commonly known today as the species acacia. (Orr, 1915)

This overt veneration of acacia is a trope we will see over and over throughout the tale of Moses. One reason for this reverence, could be that there are over 80 varieties of acacia that contain significant quantities of dimethyltryptamine, or DMT in their root bark. Many of these varieties are endemic to the Sinai region in which Mt. Horeb is located.

Dimethyltryptamine can be taken in a variety of ways in order to induce entheogenic effects. Some varieties of acacia contain sufficiently high amounts, that the root bark can be vaporized and inhaled, or fumigated. Benny Shannon suggests that this first communication with Yahveh was brought on by some kind of ayahuasca analogue, which included the incorporation of peganum harmala as the necessary monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitor. (Shannon, 2008) Although Shannon’s hypothesis comes across as unnecessarily over complicated, Moses would have still needed to build a fire to make the tea. The case for fumigation seems much more likely given that such an experience could have hypothetically occurred unintentionally, such as by carelessly collecting firewood from a dead acacia. It is certainly worth noting that the practice of ritual fumigation pops up some time later inside the tabernacle ceremonies.

John Everett Millais, Victory O Lord (1871)

John Everett Millais, Victory O Lord (1871)

Further on in the story, when the host of Israel flees Egypt, it seems no mere coincidence that the first place the group heads for is Mt. Horeb, otherwise known as the Mountain of God due to the burning bush scenario. Once more, we see Moses making repeated trips up and down the mountain in order to commune with Yahveh. When he does so, “...all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking.” (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV) They saw thunder and the noise of a trumpet? This peculiar choice of language is suspiciously similar to psychedelically induced experiences of synesthesia, wherein the input signals from an individual's sensory organs become confused. For example, one begins to see sound, or feel colors. Clearly there was much more at play at the Mountain of the Lord, than scholars have so far accounted for.

Regardless of the catalyst and delivery method for this first set of communications with the Israelite thunder god, the recurring combination of acacia worship, and a smoking Mt. Horeb in conjunction with a direct experience with Yahveh can no longer be ignored by theologians.

 

Biblical Bioterrorism

After being told that it is his duty to free the enslaved Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, Moses high-tails it back to Egypt to confront his adoptive step-brother, and we get the famous “Let my people go” scene. Yahveh even instructs Aaron and Moses to transform the staff of acacia into a snake once more, which ignites a sort of magical battle with the Egyptian priests. Pharaoh is unimpressed with Moses and Aarons ethnobotanical prowess when the Egyptian priests immediately produce the same ‘miracle’, and as such he refuses to release the Hebrew slaves. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV)

It is important to keep in mind that there is not one shred of tangible evidence to support this supposed period of Hebrew enslavement in Egypt, especially when we take into account the social and structural devastation that the Ten Plagues must have brought on. This lack of evidence however, may simply be due to a long standing misinterpretation of the legend.

Ergot is a fungus that grows on cereal grains, most notably rye, and barley. Ergot poisonings were common in the pre-industrial period and it’s use can be traced back several thousand years. (Shultes, Hoffman, Ratsch, 1992) In Europe, during the Middle Ages, Ergot poisoning was known as St Anthony’s Fire, and was responsible for mass hallucinations and the death of countless individuals who had eaten bread or other foods which had been prepared from ergot infested grains.

...from which LSD and its psychoactive relatives are derived. Ergot is the...mushroom Claviceps purpurea, which is parasitic on rye, wheat, barley and other cultivated grains, and which also infests wild grasses. After infection of the host grass with spores (technically ascospores), the mushroom forms purplish sclerotia, which project from the husk of the ripening grain. Some...may be harvested with the grain and ground into flour, which they then contaminate with toxic alkaloids. (Ott, 1993)

Ergot infestations are easily identified and isolated among cultivated barley and wheat fields. As the alleged slave class, the Hebrews would have been ingrained into every level of Egyptian society. They would have worked the grain fields, threshed out those harvests, then run the bakeries and breweries which supplied the rest of Egypt with its staple commodities, and finally delivered those commodities to the ruling class. The series of plagues that terrorize the Egyptians after Pharaoh's refusal to free the Jewish peoples, can all be interpreted as a prolonged ergot poisoning.

James J. Tissot, The Signs on the Door

The final plague, the death of the firstborn of Egypt, is eerily analogous to the late stage symptoms of long term ergot poisoning. Symptoms of ergot poisoning, are absolutely devastating on the body and include intense, alternating feelings of heat and cold, the development of gangrene sometimes resulting in loss of limb, delirious hallucinations, and severe gastric disturbances usually ending in death.(Ott, 1993)

The ‘mark across the threshold’ that spared the angel of death from entering Jewish homes, would also work to alert the breweries and bakeries of which homes to deliver the edible or ‘safe’ batches. (Heinrich, 1995) The Hebrew community in Egypt would have certainly had the means, method, and motive to administer a truly biblical onslaught onto Pharaoh and his people. Immediately after the death of the Egyptian first born, Moses parts the Red Sea and leads the Israelite people out of Egypt, presumably while the Egyptians are still mourning their dead and/or strung out from Yahveh knows how long of ergot exposure. The tribes of Israel certainly had enough time to gather the herd animals and a good portion of Egyptian loot as well, before leaving the area forever.

Once more, if we take into account that there has yet to be any archaeological evidence found to substantiate any of these events (rivers flowing red, locusts, toads, boils, fire from the sky, ending in mass die offs, etc.), the plagues of Egypt sound a lot like hallucinations rather than the epic events described in the texts.

 

Myco-Manna – The Bread from Heaven

While the tribes are on their way to the Mountain of God, the provisions were running scarce. Moses then produces the miracle of Manna. Every morning, Yahveh would bless the people with what is described as a bread or wafer of sorts, which would miraculously appear and satiate the people's hunger. The word manna comes from the name given to it by the Israelites themselves upon first encountering the mysterious and miraculous bread, which can be roughly translated into “what is it?”

And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud...At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV)

Since Yahveh also blessed the children of Israel with quails to eat, must we assume that manna was to feed the belly as well, or is this an illusion to spiritual hunger?

The people of Israel are then given specific instructions as to the method and amount harvested each day. Each was to collect an amount ‘according to what he eats’. If more is collected than is needed, the bread is infested with maggots when the next day comes. Moses then goes on to assert that the host of Israel, after ingesting the miraculous bread from heaven, envisioned the glory of god, all at the same time. This is one of the only scenarios in the texts of simultaneous hallucinations en mass.

“The miraculous capacity of manna to satiate, in all quantities great or small, may be understood not as a fabulous motif, but as a straightforward discussion of the recommended dosage...‘Gather of it, every man according to what he eats.’ He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that had gathered little had no lack. Each had gathered according to what he ate.” (Merkur, 2000)

The popular interpretation of Manna emerging at this point, is that it is another direct reference to ergot. (Merkur, 2000) Ergot mushrooms fitting nicely into the general description of ‘small as hoar frost’, whereas most psilocybin varieties are often much larger. The problem with this idea, is that the Israelites would have worked the grain fields and processed those harvests as mentioned earlier, and so would have been well familiar with ergot infestations. If so, then why name the new bread from heaven, ‘what is it’?

JamesTissot, The Gathering of the Manna

JamesTissot, The Gathering of the Manna

While the host of Israel, and in particular the priest class, likely held the secrets of ergot alkaloids as illustrated by the ten plagues, psilocybin or panaeolus mushrooms are a far better candidate when it comes to the descriptions given of manna. Panaeolus varieties in particular can be quite small, and also decay extremely fast when left out in the sun without employing proper harvesting and drying techniques. (Stamets, 1996) Both psilocybin and panaeolus varieties are safer in almost every respect, and also have a better reputation for positive experiences.

There is another reason that psilocybin varieties should be re-examined when it comes to this hypothesis. According to the King James Version of the Bible, the Israelite camp contained approximately 600,000 people along with the cattle and sheep herds. Even if the true population size were a fraction of that number, that is a lot of human and animal excrement to contend with on a daily basis in a desert environment. Where and how did these people deal with their literal shit? Also consider the dung that must have been left by the quail landing next to the camp every evening. The mind reels at the amount of waste that must have been produced every day by this host.

In a culture that venerated cleanliness and hygiene to such a degree, the majority of the herd animals would have been set to graze on the outskirts of the camp so as to keep the walkways relatively clear of fecal matter. The human waste would similarly be reserved for, or transported to the outskirts of the camps. This seems like a great way to establish steady nutrient sources for the fungal colonies. Not only would the mushrooms help break down hazardous materials, but would produce prolific amounts of hallucinogenic material as a miraculous byproduct. What an otherworldly occurrence it must have seemed that the sacred food source which induced visions of god, followed the camp wherever it went, appearing every morning on the outskirts of camp speckled and crowned in precious dew. This would conveniently explain the traveling miracle of Manna and it’s regular appearance ‘round about the host.’ (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV)

 

The Tabernacle – A Hot Box Powered Line to Yahveh

After descending the Mountain of the Lord for the first time since freeing the host of Israel, Moses instructs the tribes to build the tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant. Prominently featured in the instructions is the chittim wood, which has been confidently identified as a species acacia. The acacia is not only a motif on the main panels of the ark, but also the wood used to build and transport the object, which were afterward inlaid with gold. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV) The tabernacle itself, the large tent structure in which the Ark rested, was constructed with acacia wood as well. Once again, the veneration of acacia to this degree strongly supports the DMT/acacia hypothesis.

The holy of holies was the room at the back of the tabernacle in which the high priests would commune with Yahveh. Before entering the holy of hollies, these priests would be ‘anointed’ or massaged in a psychotropic oil. Author Chris Bennett makes a convincing case for cannabis being a key ingredient in this oil, which would certainly account for both it's psychoactive and healing properties. (Bennett, 1996) Although the precise contents and recipe for this oil is hotly debated at times, (Bienenstock, 2013) the oil is psychoactive whatever the case, it would have been to one degree or another, a relaxing and euphoric quality to it. (Loftis, 2015)

Another practice that has yet to receive the attention it deserves, is that the priests would also ingest pellets of frankincense alongside the showbread during these rituals in the tabernacle. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV) Frankincense, when ingested in larger quantities, will begin to kill off the natural bacterial flora found in the gut. (de Rapper S, 2012) Scholar must then reconsider it’s role in the tabernacle ritual, and frankincense should certainly be scientifically reanalyzed as a potential monoamine oxidase inhibitor.

High priest offering incense on the altar; illustration from Henry Davenport Northrop, "Treasures of the Bible," published 1894.

High priest offering incense on the altar; illustration from Henry Davenport Northrop, "Treasures of the Bible," published 1894.

After the high priest was suitably ‘anointed’ in psychotropic oil, and had ingested a possible MAOI, he was then ready to enter the holy of holies and commune with Yahveh. As the name suggests, this room was of paramount importance to the Israelites. It was separated from the rest of the tabernacle by a very heavy cloth (the thickness of a man’s hand), which effectively shut out a good deal of light and sound. Once inside, the priest would then burn incense in huge quantities, turning the holy of holies into an effective hot box of sorts. (Nemu, 2016) It is more than just mere coincidence, that only after all of these ritual preparations, cleansings, anointings, and fumigations, that the priest could properly commune with Yahveh on behalf of the tribes. While thus anointed and receiving instruction from a thunder god, the priests were not allowed to leave the tabernacle, under pain of death.

Lastly, a careful reader must take note that the texts describe the tribes of Israel following the guidance of Yahveh for forty years, in the form of a pillar of cloud or smoke. (The Holy Bible, 1611 KJV) When one considers that the tabernacle must have looked like a Dr. Dre video when the priests finally emerged from the holy of holies, madly dictating their communications from the thunder god, this description of the pillar of smoke seems transparently obvious.

Although our ancestors did not use the same words as we do today, they clearly appreciated the variables dose, set, and setting. The tabernacle is a prime example of absolutely masterfully crafted execution of those variables, specific to that culture and time.

 

 

Thus far, this hypothesis has been largely limited to one substance or entheogenic catalyst, which is ludicrous considering the wide-range of applications and side effects described by the Abrahamic traditions. If the greater academic world is to take this reanalysis seriously, then psychedelic researchers need to be particularly wary of one answer solutions and parroting information without first evaluating its merit.

Once the entire story of Exodus has been reanalyzed from a multidisciplinary and open minded perspective, the birth of the Abrahamic traditions begins to take on a new light. Clearly the tribes of Israel had adopted and incorporated a well observed and broad ranging pharmacopoeia. Whoever first wrote this story of Moses, and for whatever purpose, what is interesting is that intoxicating plant medicines made their way into the narrative nonetheless. The constant themes of acacia veneration, in conjunction with the consumption of other psychoactive plants such as cannabis or mandrake have gone unappreciated for far too long. When one takes into account Yahveh the thunder god giving guidance through pillars of smoke, the chain obvious motifs should be too obvious to ignore or glaze over any longer. Theologians and researchers of religious history must take a calculated step backwards and begin to fairly reexamine these metaphorical breadcrumbs which were left behind in the major religious texts of the world.

 

 

References:

  1. Shannon, B (2008). Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis. Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology Consciousness and Culture, 1(1), pp. 54-74.

  2. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Exodus 2:3.

  3. Shultes R, Hoffman A, Ratsch C, (1992) Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester: VM: Healing Arts Press.

  4. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Exodus 3:2-4

  5. Strassman, R (2000). DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Rochester, VA: Park Street Press.

  6. Shannon, B (2008). Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis. Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology Consciousness and Culture, 1(1), pp. 54-74.

  7. Orr, J (1915). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: Howard-Severance Co. Entry for ACACIA.

  8. Shannon, B (2008). Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis. Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology Consciousness and Culture, 1(1), pp. 54-74.

  9. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Exodus 20:18.

  10. Ibid. Exodus 17:10.

  11. Shultes R, Hoffman A, Ratsch C, (1992) Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester: VM: Healing Arts Press, pp. 102-105.

  12. Ott, J (1993). Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History. Occidental, CA: Jonathan Ott Books, pp. 120.

  13. Ibid. pp. 121.

  14. Heinrich, C (1995). Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy. Rochester, VA: Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, pp. 75-78.

  15. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Exodus 16:10-14.

  16. Ibid. Exodus 20:18.

  17. Merkur, D (2000). The Mystery of Manna. Rochester, VA: Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, pp. 14.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Stamets, P (1996) Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide. Emeryville, CA: Ten Speed Press.

  20. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Exodus 16:10-14.

  21. Ibid. Exodus 26:37.

  22. Bennett, C (1996) Kaneh Bosm: Cannabis in the Old Testament. Cannaculture [online] Available at: http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/1996/05/01/1090 [Accessed October 10, 2017]

  23. Bienenstock, D (2013) The Anointed One: Did Jesus Perform His Miracles with Cannabis Oil? Vice [online] Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/bn5z7v/did-jesus-perform-his-miracles-with-cannabis-oil [Accessed October 10, 2017]

  24. Loftis, K (2015) Psychoactive Plants in the Bible. Waking Times [online] Available at: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/05/30/psychoactive-plants-in-the-bible/ [Accessed October 10, 2017]

  25. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Leviticus 24:7.

  26. de Rapper S, Van Vuuren SF, Kamatou GP, Viljoen AM, Dagne E. (2012). The additive and synergistic antimicrobial effects of select frankincense and myrrh oils--a combination from the pharaonic pharmacopoeia. Lett Appl Microbiol, 54(4) : 352-8

  27. Nemu, D (2016). Entheogens in the Bible. Beyond Psychedelics 2016 [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaf1nrN51N8 [Accessed October 10, 2017]

  28. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Exodus 13:21.

Ep028 - Noumenautics with Peter Sjostedt-H

This week Amanda is joined by neo-nihilist philosopher and noumenaut Peter Sjöstedt-H . They discuss everything from Peter's new book to the history of psychedelics in philosophy. This is a dense one even for philosophers, so get ready to take some notes. Peter's bio from Philosopher.eu:

Peter Sjöstedt-H is an Anglo-Scandinavian philosopher of mind and a metaphysician who specialises in the thought of Whitehead, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, with special regard to panpsychism and altered states of sentience. Peter received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Continental Philosophy from the University of Warwick, where he was awarded a first-class distinction for his dissertation on Kant and Schelling in relation to ‘intellectual intuition’. He subsequently became a Philosophy Lecturer in London for six years but is now engaged in his PhD at Exeter University where he also teaches philosophy modules and writing skills. Peter is the author of Noumenautics and an inspiration behind the inhuman philosopher Marvel Superhero, Karnak.

In the words of futurist, philosopher and pop star Alexander Bard: ‘One of our favourite contemporary philosophers, Peter Sjöstedt-H…think a psychedelic Nietzsche’.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Show Notes:

High Existence article - The Hidden Psychedelic History of Philosophy: Plato, Nietzsche, and 11 Other Philosophers Who Used Mind-Altering Drugs by Peter Sjöstedt-H

Psychedelics Today interview with Peter Sjöstedt-H

Philosopher.eu - Peter Sjöstedt-H's website.

@ PeterSjostedtH - Find Peter on Twitter.

 

Thank you to Savannah Em for the wonderful art featuring Alcabiades and the Dick Breakin' Brigaide! If you would like to see the very NSFW logo for yourself, just click here.

Thank you to LoveBomb Go-Go for the new exit music! Be sure to check out their SoundCloud page for more great ear candy.

Ep027 - Liber 420 with Chris Bennett

This week we are joined by acclaimed author on all things cannabis, the very knowledgeable Chris Bennett. Cody and Chris discuss the history of cannabis in anticipation for Mr. Bennett's upcoming book Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal Herbs and the Occult. Chris takes us through approximately 8,000 years or more of human history with cannabis in just about an hour. From Chris' bio at CannabisCulture:

Chris Bennett has been researching the historical role of cannabis in magic and religion for over a quarter century, his books include 'Green Gold the tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion' (1995); 'Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible' (2001); 'Cannabis and the Soma Solution' (2010. He Currently resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where he runs his ethnobotanical shop The Urban Shaman.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep026 - Everything Cannabis with Emma Chasen

This week Amanda is joined by the wonderful Emma Chasen, Director of Education for the Sativa Science Club. The conversation ranges from cannabis basics such as chemical/strain breakdowns, to policy reform and the benefits of whole plant medicines. From Emma's bio at Sativa Science Club:

Emma Chasen has a mission to educate people on the science behind Cannabis so that they may take charge of their own healing.  After graduating from Brown University in 2014 with a degree in Medicinal Plant Research, Emma went on to coordinate Clinical Oncology trials with the Brown University Oncology Research Group. When her supervisor refused a Cannabis trial in favor of another expensive pharmaceutical drug, Emma quit and headed across the country to Portland, OR. She found her way to Farma, the popular Portland dispensary that takes a more scientific approach to Cannabis; rejecting the Indica/Sativa binary and instead focusing on chemotypes to determine effect. There she has been able to study the plant and help patients reframe their relationship with Cannabis as medicine. She is now the Director of Education at Sativa Science Club and seeks to spread the educational program through teaching, writing and consulting. 

Emma Chasen was recently named Portland’s Best Budtender of 2016 and featured in Newsweek, MG Magazine, Stoner Magazine, High Times Magazine, The Oregon Leaf and Teen Vogue for her work with Cannabis and patients. Her mission is to educate people on the science behind Cannabis so that they may take charge of their own healing as well as to address the need for training and education of budtenders, medical professionals, and the general public.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Show Notes:

Sativa Science Club - A collaborative effort from cannabis business owners, scientists, and entrepreneurs to uplift and uphold quality standards industry wide.

Erowid : Cannabis Vault

Thank you to Daniel Caine for the new exit music! You can check out his work at: Dancaine.bandcamp.com & Caine Digital Arts.

Santa Claus, Krampus and the Magic Mushrooms

Santa Claus, Krampus and the Magic Mushrooms

by : Cody Noconi, (Ed.) Amanda Noconi

Mushrooms are by their very nature mercurial, and traditionally hard to define or study. No other variety better exemplifies this quality than the iconic fairy tale toadstool known as the Fly agaric or Amanita muscaria. Just about everyone in the world has at some point seen the classic red capped mushroom, speckled in cotton-like white dots. Amanita muscaria is a cosmopolitan variety of ectomychoryzzhal fungi native to conifer and deciduous woodlands, meaning that is can be found just about anywhere in the world where the appropriate environmental conditions are found. Thus far, it’s role in the birth and evolution of what most Americans associate with the Christmas holiday, has been underappreciated and sadly overlooked. The character of Santa Claus and his dualistic counterpart Krampus, is particularly worth further inquiry and speculation. That is not to suggest that Amanita muscaria directly inspired the characters Klaus and Krampus, but the subtle influences the mushroom has had on the holiday can certainly be traced to the post-Reformation period and reanalyzed from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Typically not used as a foodstuff, Fly agaric is most often harvested for it’s hallucinogenic or intoxicating properties. Evidence in the form of cave paintings and linguistic analysis suggest that this mushroom has been used as such, conservatively for at least five millennia. In modern times it has gained a poor reputation for unreliable or dangerous experiences, especially among the mycophobic European and North Americans. As ethnobotanist Jonathon Ott pointed out, “A saying in German, "er hat verriickte Schwammerln gegessen" ("he has eaten crazy mushrooms") is still sometimes used in Austria, as is the corresponding phrase in Hungarian, employing the term bolond gomha ("fool's mushroom").” 1 This sometimes infamous association is likely due to some common misconceptions about mycology, combined with a serious lack of education regarding the various delivery methods, chemical constituents and dosages.

Amanita muscaria contains a high amount of ibotenic acid, a powerful hallucinogen that also causes tremors, chills, gastric distress and nausea as a side effect in even relatively low doses. In order to avoid these negative side effects, Ibotenic Acid must be broken down, or decarboxylated into the compound muscomol. While some methods are more effective than others, this transformation can take place through the drying process, via alcohol extraction, or by passing through the digestive system of another animal (we’ll get back to this shortly). The resulting muscomol is roughly four to five times more psychotropically potent than its chemical precursor, and causes little or no physical side effects. The mushroom contains small amounts of muscomol naturally, but generally not in significant enough amounts to reliably produce hallucinations or euphoria. 2

In order to better understand the emergence of the characters Klaus and Krampus in the Christmas mythos and to their curious relationship to the Amanita muscaria, one must first analyze the folk traditions of the cultures bordering and trading around the arctic circle.

 

Siberian Shaman and Magical Reindeer

Sometime between 5000-3000BcE, one can trace the earliest linguistic evidence of Amanita muscaria use as an intoxicant. Around approximately 4,000 BCE, the Uralic language split into two branches, both of which contain similar root words for intoxication. Curiously, in some of these languages the root "pang" signifies both 'intoxicated' and the A. muscaria mushroom simultaneously. These linguistic similarities suggest that A. muscaria was known to be intoxicating before the languages split around 4000 BCE. 3

Further evidence suggests that Siberian shaman have been using the fly agaric since approximately 3500 BCE. Petroglyphs along the Pegtymel River which drains into the Arctic Ocean in northeastern Siberia, seem to depict anthropomorphic figures with mushrooms attached to their heads. The Pegtymel river area is currently inhabited by the Chukchi culture, who are known to have used A. muscaria as a traditional intoxicant. The Chukchi people were one of the main subjects of 18th-and 19th-century reports on Siberian mushroom use in association with folk medicine and shamanic rites. The very first artistic depictions of Siberian shaman published in an academic sense, clearly depict the mystics wearing a caribou headdress and a drum, presumably made from the same animal. One can also observe what is clearly group intoxication within the huts of the sketches background. 4 It may be therefore supposed that knowledge of intoxicating mushrooms survived in this one region for at least five thousand years. 5

Caribou, or reindeer as they are often called, enthusiastically seek out Amanita muscaria, as the specimens are one of the ruminants most treasured food sources. Nomadic tribes of reindeer herders throughout the region have regularly observed caribou intoxication after the animals ingest, at times huge amounts of the hallucinogenic mushroom. 6 Reindeer herding extends beyond the same 5000-3500BCE timeline established by the linguistic evidence. Therefore it cannot be considered mere speculation to suggest that reindeer herding, shamanism and amanita muscaria intoxication were all deeply intertwined, if not totally inextricable from one another for thousands of years within those regions.

An interesting habit of caribou which has been regularly observed, involves reindeer drinking the urine of fellow herd members. Hunters have noticed this habit occurs most readily when males are in rut, as they likely use this technique to test females fertility. This practice also happens to coincide with Amanita muscaria season. Although not yet thoroughly documented, the traditional folklore suggests that when Reindeer X ingests and becomes intoxicated by Fly agaric, other caribou in the herd will then greedily drink the urine of the intoxicated Reindeer X. These other caribou then subsequently begin to show signs of inebriation as well. The reason for this behavior involves the decarboxylation process mentioned earlier, wherin ibotenic acid is transformed into it’s much more hallucinogenic counterpart muscomol while passing through the digestive tract of Reindeer X. The resulting muscomol laced urine from Reindeer X would theoretically be much more hallucinogenically active than the fresh mushrooms alone, and offer little or no negative side effects.

It is unknown if the nomadic herders of Siberia were inspired by their observations of the natural world or otherwise, but this practice of drinking the urine of an individual intoxicated by Amanita muscaria seems to have survived in the region by both reindeer and humans until modern times. The drinking of urine for health benefits may seem like an odd practice by today’s standards, but it has a long and well established history in the folk remedies along the Eurasian continents. Interestingly, it was also observed that the drinking of muscomol laced urine could continue for up to five cycles, passing from one individual to another before the urine lost its capacity for intoxication. 7 By some reports in Siberia during the 18th and 19th centuries, a single Amanita muscaria specimen could be traded for a whole reindeer! 8 This practice may have been perpetuated in order to further stretch such a precious commodity circulated within a traditionally poor region. Whether out of ritual, scarcity or sheer economy, the native tribes of Siberia regularly practiced this rustic form of myco-alchemy for thousands of years, most frequently during the Autumn and Winter seasons.

As reindeer urine is no doubt harder to obtain than from a humanoid friend, Shaman today still regularly use their own bodies to process ibotenic acid into muscomol. The person actually eating the mushroom would not only be subject to the considerable risk of gastric distress, nausea and vomiting, but would not get as hallucinogenically ‘stoned’ as his urine drinking cohorts. The shaman sacrifices themselves, handing out steaming cups of hallucinogen laced sacrament to willing and often enthusiatic initiates. In order to better illustrate this practice, Jonathon Ott keenly put forward the following account:

In 1730 a Swedish colonel named Filip Johann von Strahlenberg, who had been for twelve years a prisoner of war in Siberia; published a detailed account of life among the Siberian peoples. In a discussion of the Koryaks of the Kamchatka Peninsula (on the Bering Sea), von Strahlenberg stated: “When they make a Feast, they pour Water upon some of these Mushrooms, and boil them. Then they drink the Liquor, which intoxicates them...He further stated: The poorer Sort, who cannot afford to lay in a Store of these Mushrooms, post themselves, on these Occasions, round the Huts of the Rich, and watch the Opportunity of the Guests coming down to make Water; And then hold a Wooden Bowl to receive the Urine, which they drink off greedily, as having still some Virtue of the Mushroom in it, and by this way they also get Drunk.” ...Steller went so far as to say: "the urine seems to be more powerful than the mushroom, and its effect may last through the fourth or the fifth man.” 9

One would do well to take note of the authors use of the word liquor when referring to a freshly boiled mushroom tea, not any kind of alcoholic beverage. As Carl Ruck pointed out in Road to Eleusis, some wines of ancient Greece were so powerful that they had to be diluted with twenty parts water or else they induce madness or death. 10 Clearly the idea of intoxicating beverages has evolved over time, and it seems apparent that our ancestors did not make the same distinctions we make today about the alcoholic content of a beverage. The important variable that judged the merit of a given intoxicating substance, was instead its ability to intoxicate in the first place.

There are many who would quickly dismiss this heap of circumstantial evidence as correlation mistaken for causation, mere conjecture or irrationality. As Andy Letcher pointed out in his book Shroom, “a modern urban myth that shamans or anyone else drank reindeer urine: an intoxicated deer would be slaughtered and eaten, by which means the effects would be passed on...the majority of Siberian shaman had the discernment to avoid it [Amanita muscaria] all together.” 11 Andy also points out one of the main contentions to this hypothesis connecting Christmas symbolism to Amanita muscaria use, regarding the exact role of reindeer in Siberian cosmology. 12 This critique of the hypothesis is not wholly accurate however, and is itself mere conjecture. 13 Andy himself was later forced to change his position on the topic when faced with tangible connections to reindeer herding, shamanism and Amanita use. From Letcher’s blog in 2011:

I met a reindeer herder, with herds in both Britain and Scandinavia. We got chatting and I asked him whether it was true that reindeer have a taste for human urine. Quite true. They'll lap it up from the snow. And then, unprompted, he told me the following story. Once, while living amongst the Saami, his hosts started feeding reindeer with fly-agarics, which the deer consumed with some relish. Waiting for nature to take its course, the fruits of micturition were collected in a bucket (strapped to the animals' flanks perhaps?), boiled up in a pot (I'm guessing to concentrate the brew or perhaps to make it more potable) and shared round. "I don't drink and I've never taken any drugs" he told me. "But I took some when they passed it round. Well, you have to, don't you? They expect it. Anyway, I was high as a kite I was, high as a kite. There was an old eighty year old grandmother with us, and I fancied her, that's how high I was. High as a bloody kite!" 14

Despite a lack of cave paintings, given the ritual use of reindeer carcasses in the form of regalia or costume, spirit traps, and exorcisms, it is clear that the veneration of caribou has so far been wholly underappreciated. Letcher very admirably ended his 2011 blog post with, “A report from a credible witness that some Saami do drink fly-agaric-imbued reindeer urine and that the effects are palpable. I stand corrected.” 15 So far, this hypothesis has been limited to just the reindeer herders of Siberia, but it is becoming more and more apparent that this practice extends all along regions surrounding the arctic circle. Aside from Siberia, urine drinking induced intoxication is found in Scandanavia, old Germania, and even into North America. Magical reindeer that can provide a journey through the heavens is certainly an interesting connection to the later emergence of the Santa character which conveniently coincides with the cultural immigration of these traditions to colonial America.

 

Old Germania, The All-Father, Elves and Slepnir

In what the Romans called Germania, the ritual use of Amanita as an intoxicating beverage is found among the famous warriors of the All-Father Wotan, or Odin. While evidence of native reindeer herders that continue through the region, there lies more aggressive or hedonistic traditions of Amanita muscaria use. The Berserkers, the infamous shock troops of the ancient Germanic and Scandivian societies, existed in small, animistic tribal communities which venerated and emulated one of three main animals. Svinfylking – the boar warriors, Ulfhednar – the wolf warriors, and by far the most famous, Berserkers - the bear warriors. The warriors wore the skins or furs of their given totem guardian and were known to engage in pre-battle ceremonies in which they believed they could transform into their given tribal deity, entering the battle field in a frenzied or primitive-like altered state.16

His (Odin's) men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild oxen, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon them. This was called Berserkergang.17

Though this theory is not well supported yet, a good deal of Scandivian historians believe that between approximately 500BCE and 1500CE, Viking 'Bezerker Warriors' ingested Amanita muscaria before going into battle. Mycologyst Gordon Wasson pontificated on the matter when he stated, “No one who discusses the fly agaric in Europe can ignore the debate that has been carried on for almost two centuries in Scandinavia on this issue. First Samuel Odman in 1784 and then Frederik Christian Schubeler in 1886 propounded the thesis that those Viking warriors known as 'beserks' ate the fly-agaric before they 'went beserk'; in short, that 'beserk-raging' was deliberately caused by the ingestion of our spotted amanita." 18

Wasson received heavy criticism for how he presented the Amanita - Berserker hypothesis. It is clearly apparent that they did not use the mushroom exclusively to reach their bestial altered states, as Wasson seems to suggest. Admittedly these totem warriors could have achieved these states endogenously by a variety of methods, or through a vast number of better documented herbs. While there is a definite lack of documented evidence to verify the theory, that does not necessarily mean that these cultures knew about Amanita muscaria intoxication. This argument against the hypothesis is akin to suggesting that oral sex was unknown at the time due to a lack of documented evidence for it’s existence. A lack of regular documentation does not conclusively rule out the use of Amanita muscaria by these cultures, simply that more work in this area needs to be done. In an accepted time frame of some two thousand years, it can be certain that these cultures availed themselves of every available and reliable vehicle for eliciting such ecstatic states.

These animistic totem tribes would hold large hedonistic feasts prior to battle, in which mixed meads were a staple commodity. Meads and wines have a suitable pH and alcohol content for the decarboxylation process to occur with relatively high efficiency. By simply soaking dried Amanita muscaria specimens in a wine or mead, one would very quickly produce an exponentially more potent beverage. During these pre-violence feasts, warriors could properly prep for battle with this liquid courage, while in the company of other like-minded individuals ritualistically achieving a shared altered state. Although the ancient tribes people of Old Germania did not use the same words that society recognizes today, these feasts are brilliant, though brutal, executions of dose, set and setting. If one were to remove the battle and bloodshed, it actually sounded like a pretty fun time.

The main reason for this digression being that the warrior initiates and hierophants of the All-Father would have similarly found a dependable source of their ritual intoxication through the World Trees. The local tree varieties associated with the universal archetype of the World Tree, are the same woods used by the Amanita as a suitable habitat for hallucinogenic fruiting bodies. A traditional harvesting and drying technique for nomadic reindeer herders around the Arctic Circle, involves running a string through the specimen, and hanging Amanita muscaria from vacant branch tips which are in closest proximity to the community fires. 19

Odin, often associated with the Father Winter archetype, often rides a mystical steed closely tied to mycological activity. Odin’s magical eight legged horse, Slepnir is said to have a red and white muzzle, zealously earned by devouring his enemies entrails and frothing from the speed at which the horse travels. It is sometimes circulated in folk traditions of Scandinavia and Old Germania, that when drops of this blood/saliva combination fall onto bare ground, Amanita muscaria mushrooms are believed to sprout quickly thereafter. The blood/saliva transformation into Amanita muscaria is the common running motif that links the areas, but the Slepnir version is by far the most metal. For instance, if Lemy were in the market for a holiday steed, he’d pick Slepnir. Slepnir is the brutal, Scandinavian equine god from which Rudolf the American pop star eventually coalesced. Although Rudolf was the sole conception of a mid 20th century Madison Avenue ad campaign, it is interesting that his motifs emerged independently yet still parallel to his predecessor.

Additionally, Scandinavian and Germanic folklore has a well established tradition of the feyfolk, otherwise known as pixies, elves, fairies, gnomes, and the like. The palpably mystical habit of Amanita muscaria to sprout in neat circles beneath the traditional World Trees, was often perceived as a physical gateway to other worlds. Given the mushrooms visionary qualaties, one can easily see where this perception emerged. These fungal circles are more commonly known as ‘fairy rings’ for their association with other realms and the feyfolk that were rumored to haunt the area. Another familiar element of this region includes the folk traditions of elfish humanoids, which bring precious gifts in the heart of winter. These small magical beings are often depicted near the mushrooms habitat, and actually in proximity to, or physically carrying Amanita muscaria specimens. In case there is any ambiguity left in regards to the creatures presence and demeanor, the wee persons are often highlighted with rosy cheeks and obviously intoxicated faces. The iconic mushrooms are also regularly represented as a gift on par with gold or lucky talisman such as horseshoes. These representations were commonly distributed during the winter holidays throughout the 18th through 20th centuries in the area.

The various ancient communities surrounding the Arctic circle were keen observers of their environment, and although they had some misconceptions regarding mycology, these communities certainly imprinted these fungal observations into their traditions and lore. It should be clear to even a casual observer at this point that these people clearly knew when to find these mushroom, where they could be located, and what affects they produced when ingested. The classic regional saying, “All mushroom are edible, but some only once,” suggests a well recorded history of experimentally and empirically derived knowledge. The impressive fungal pharmacopoeia these peoples gathered over the millennia and encoded into their culture, should be taken with more seriousness and better analyzed before the more esoteric aspects of that knowledge is lost forever.

 

Two Shaman, One Vessel: Krampus and Klaus

The ancient, non-Christian influences of Christmas’ emergence have been fairly well established at this point. What has been left largely untouched by historians regarding the groups discussed thus far, is that these groups of antiquity carried with them a nuanced perspective on plant medicines that the modern mind generally lacks. They appreciated the dualistic and at times troublingly introspective or frightening nature of the psychedelic experience. This perspective then lent itself to their cultural pantheon and iconography of the time and place, which was in turn later tossed into the cultural melting pot that was colonial America. That symbolism then lent itself to the evolution of the holiday Christmas, most clearly from the 17th century until today. An esoteric chain of breadcrumbs which should now begin to come into focus.

Slavic, Scandanavian, Germanic, and Dutch immigrants all made their way to colonial North America, bringing with them a deeply held veneration of Saint Nicholas. In what later became the United Sates, the Dutch Sinterklass was homogenized into Santa Klaus or Claus. 20 It is during this post-Reformation period in America that the tradition of Christmas as we might recognize it today begins to really take form. Consequently at this point, there also emerges a dualistic counterpart to the Father Winter archetype, in fiendish partner Krampus. Borrowed from previously established Dutch and Old Germaninic folklore such as Black Pete or Belsnickel, Krampus is the horned, anthropomorphic (most often depicted as part goat, part man) spirit of Winter that comes in the dead of night to punish the wicked. Worth noting, the Krampus figure is often carrying a birch switch to achieve these ends. This regular motif becomes obviously transparent when one considers that birch trees are one of Amanita muscarias favorite growth substrates. Although the figure goes by a myriad of names and titles, his role in the Winter season is long established in the tradition of Eastern Europe and into Siberia. The figure Krampus and his role in the winter holidays exited from the mainstream celebration in America through the 20th century, and has only recently begun to make a resurgence in conventional consciousness. If one has ever had a ‘bad trip’ then one might recognize the archetypal experience Krampus offers.

Juxtaposed with Father Winter who was later replaced by Santa Klaus, the benevolent, gift giving sage begins to appear as more a concept rather than a physical being. Shamanic practices around the Arctic Circle encorporate a variety of archtypal spirit helpers, and the Claus - Krampus archetype is often found within those cultrues traditions and folklore. This is once again, not to suggest that Santa was a mushroom or even directly influenced by mushroom use. However, the evolution of the Santa character was undoubtedly tied to the same mystical folklore and iconography which was brought to colonial America with the German, Scandinavian and Slavic immigrants.

Finally, the common motif of mystical, elvish attendants which appear bearing ethereal gifts, merriment and communal interconnectivity during the most turbulent time of the year is a stark commonality also found in a transformative psychedelic experience. These gifts are to be found most often beneath the venerated World Trees, such as pine or fir; a tree Americans spend billions on each year in turn venerating as an altar to family, fortune and the New Year. Trinkets and precious ornaments hung from a sympathetic substitute for the World Tree, they are even delivered by magical, sometimes flying steed. This symbolism emerged most starkly in the early 20th century Coca Cola advertisements, but the association of such to the Amanita muscaria mushroom predates that campaign by at least a half a century in the form of vintage holiday cards shown here.

When one combines the folklore from the cultures around the Arctic circle in conjunction with the evolution and emergence of the Christmas holiday in America, the entheogenic influences of Amanita muscaria in the holiday become equally apparent.

References:

  1. Ott, Jonathon, “Pharmocatheon.” Occidental, CA, Jonathan Ott Books, pg323-324

  2. Ibid, pg323-358

  3. Wasson RG. Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968

  4. Witsen, Nicholaas. Noord en Oost Tartarye, 1785.

  5. Wasson RG. Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968

  6. BBC Documentary, Magic Mushrooms & Reindeer. Wierd Nature. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkCS9ePWuLU. Accessed 11/15/2017.

  7. Ott, Jonathon, “Pharmocatheon.” Occidental, CA, Jonathan Ott Books, pg323-358

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ibid. pg324-325

  10. Wasson, R.,Hofmann, A., Ruck, C.P., Smith, H. The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries. North Atlantic Books, 2008.

  11. Letcher, Andy. Shroom, A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom. Faber and Faber, 2006.

  12. Ibid. p4, 139, 147.

  13. Greg. Taking the P*ss: Did Shamans Really Drink Reindeer Urine? Daily Grail artcile. [online] Available at: https://www.dailygrail.com/2012/09/taking-the-pss-did-shamans-really-drink-reindeer-urine/ Accessed 11/15/2017.

  14. Letcher, Andy. Taking the Piss: Reindeer and Fly Agaric. 2011. [online] Available at: http://andy-letcher.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/taking-piss-reindeers-and-fly-agaric.html Accessed 11/15/2017.

  15. Ibid.

  16. Sturluson, Snorri. Egil's Saga. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976. p.60-68

  17. Laing, Samuel. The Heimskringla or the Sagas of the Norse Kings. London, 1889.: John. C. Nimo. p. 276

  18. Wasson RG. Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968, pg 341

  19. Aurora, David. All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms. Ten Speed Press, 1991.

  20. Wheeler, J., Rosenthal, J. St. Nicholas A Closer Look at Christmas. Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005. Chapter 8

 

Additional Information:

Learn to properly identify your mushrooms!

  • Aurora, David. All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms. Ten Speed Press, 1991.

  • National Audubon Society. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides). Chanticleer Press ed edition, 1981.

For educational purposes only, and without advocating nor condemning, here are the approximate dosages for oral ingestion of dried Amanita muscaria specimen. Thank you to Erowid.org for providing this information. Please do your homework before conducting any alchemical experiments.

(Dried) Amanita muscaria – Oral Dosages

Light : 1 - 5 g (1 medium cap)

Common : 5 - 10 g (1 - 3 medium caps)

Heroic : 10 - 30 g (2 - 6 medium caps)

Ep025 - Psychedelics Today with Joe Moore

This week, Amanda is joined by Joe Moore, co-host of the Psychedelics Today podcast. They discuss permaculture, psychedelic ethics, and the distinctions between neoliberalism and capitalism. From Joe's bio on Psychedelics Today:

Joe studied philosophy in New Hampshire, where he earned his B.A..  After stumbling upon the work of Stanislav Grof during his undergraduate years, Joe began participating in Holotropic Breathwork workshops in Vermont in 2003. Joe helped facilitate Holotropic and Transpersonal Breathwork workshops while he spent his time in New England. He is now working in the software industry as well as hosting a few podcasts.  Joe now coordinates Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork workshops, in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Snapshots of White Supremacy in Mormonism

In Heaven, Whites Only:

Snapshots of White Supremacy in Mormonism

by : Cody Noconi, (Ed.) Amanda Noconi

The actual history of the Mormon church is stranger than fiction. The actual history of its founder, Joseph Smith Junior, is perhaps beyond adequate description; certainly beyond the scope of this paper. The present-day incarnations of the Mormon movement go to great lengths at times, in order to assure that this history is not made common knowledge, or even circulated within the organization itself. The following multi-part series is a smash cut of real Mormon history and theology, which even the LDS missionaries knocking on your door are likely to be unaware of.

The Mormon faith believes in continued revelation, wherein god can change his mind on a given topic so to speak, and instruct later generations differently than in previous ones. Unless a given set of revelations are corrected or clarified by the current ‘prophet’, or leader of the church, then one must assume that the previous revelations are canonized doctrine. Although current church leadership has attempted to white wash its wholly unsavory relationship to racism and white supremacist ideology, there are still a series of unresolved issues that desperately need to be addressed by the Mormon hierarchy. At the very least, parishioners within the organization need to call for a badly needed update or clarification to standing church doctrine and philosophy.

The following article, will cite only canonized Mormon scripture, and first-hand statements made by the church’s hierarchy. This is not an attempt to slander Mormonism. It is a snapshot of factually and historically based dogma, which much of the Mormon church is either willfully ignorant of, or which frantically grasps at weak rationalizations for it’s existence. In the current political and racial climate of the United States, it is more important than ever that this history and doctrine be brought more openly into the public forum so that can be fairly analyzed for it’s philosophical and ethical shortcomings. To hide and censor such history is unethical and does a great disservice to the spiritual advancement of the world.

 

In Mormonism, Melanin Content is a Hereditary Sign of Ancestral Wickedness

One section of current Mormon dogma which has yet to be revised, regards inherently racist doctrine which considers darker skin to be a caste like, divinely ordained form of segregation. For the vast majority of Mormon history, the church did not allow people of color, primarily African decent, to participate in temple endowment or sealing ordinances, which are the most important ceremonies in the faith. The unique exceptions to this being those of Australia and the Pacific Islands, which I discuss later. Justification for such practices came from an old Christian tradition that was used to justify slavery. That being, that god had marked Cain and his seed with a black skin for killing his brother Abel. This curse had been carried on through the Biblical flood with the wife of Ham, one of Noah's sons. This continuation of Abel’s curse was Ham's celestial punishment for the incident in which Ham had the gall to laugh at his naked, unconscious drunk of a father. 1 To quickly reiterate, early Christians believed that their god had a strange penchant for cursing ‘wicked’ individuals with black skin and the subsequent children that followed. A series of dogmatic events which shows up in currently published Mormon scripture.

For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the bareness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.2

A divine curse of high melanin content is repeated nearly a dozen times throughout Mormon scripture,3 and is featured as an actual foundation to the central narrative of the Book of Mormon. In this text, most Native American tribes are split into two main groups, Nephites and Lamanites; essentially righteous white Indians and the wicked dark skinned ones, “...he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”4

The Mormon god is not such a bad guy though, for he even removes said curse when his servants prove pious enough “...their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.”5 In case one has any residual misconceptions regarding the spirit of this language, consider the following: “...their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people.”6 Said passage was edited out in 1981 when ‘white’ was changed to ‘pure’, conveniently brushing under the rug a rather distasteful and bigoted history. Apologists will attempt to excuse this edit as a reference to spiritual purity, however this illusion is easily shattered with some careful reading. For example, “...the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins.” 7

In Mormon theology there appears a long standing arrangement with god in the pre-Columbian Americas, wherein an individuals melanin content is based directly upon their current piety. That is to say that at any point, righteous individuals who fall from grace, would apparently turn from light colored skin tones into darker ones very quickly. For example, “...after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”8 This sentiment of white supremacy was not just recorded in scripture. At one point in church history, Joseph received ‘revelation’ that the Mormons were to preach among the tribes of the Native Americans. In this divinely ordained proposal, the Mormon god decreed, “...it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just...”9

Although the church policy change in 1978 allowed for those of African decent to finally hold the priesthood and participate in temple ceremonies, this racist doctrine has never been adequately addressed or revisited. The Mormon church has done a great deal to quietly edit these sections out of it’s history and forget that it ever happened in the first place.

 

Mormonism, Slavery, and Heavenly Servants for Eternity

Joseph Smith was an average sort of 19th century racist that believed segregation was progressive thinking. In an 1845 publication, Smith was posthumously quoted as saying, “Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species...”10 Smith did allow ordination of the Mormon priesthood to at least three black men on record. However, these were likely performed as personal favors or oversights, and were by no means a normal practice at any point in the church’s history until the end of the 1970’s. Mormon apologists go out of their way at times to point out that much of the persecution the early Mormons experienced, came from Missouri slave owners who felt politically threatened by large populations of them moving into the Missouri area so quickly. Those same apologists will make the claim that said anxiety stemmed from Smith being an outspoken advocate of the abolitionist movement. Unfortunately those claims are historically unfounded.

Joseph Smith went far out of his way at times to excuse the heinous practice of slavery and protect his own skin. In a letter published in a church periodical, Smith affirmed, “I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall.... the first mention we have of slavery is found in the Holy Bible.... And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it [slavery] remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude."11 The only time Joe seems to have publicly reversed this opinion, came in February of 1844, when he ran for U.S. President on an anti-slavery platform. This was a rather late stage conversion to abolitionism, as it was just months before his death. It is therefore wholly inaccurate to label Joseph an abolitionist.

After Smith’s death in 1844 and the power schism that ensued, Brigham Young took control of the main faction of Mormonism, becoming it’s new President of the church. With the second generation of Mormonism, Brigham’s racism took the faiths already deplorable doctrine to new depths. Brigham not only published several articles defending slavery,12 but approved the trade of slaves in early Utah. Brigham and the Mormons under his command, even accepted slaves as an appropriate form of tithing or offering to the church.13 The level of Young’s disdain for those of African decent, can only be truly understood when one reads the mans own words:

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un-comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the 'servant of servants,' and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.14

To quickly clarify the statement above; people of darker skin colors will eventually have their ancestral curse removed after Judgment Day, and will thus find themselves white in heaven. That merits reiteration. Mormon heaven is an Aryan paradise. Even if it is not widely circulated or discussed, this dogma has never been clarified or renounced, so once more, it is current LDS doctrine! The evidence of Brigham’s racism and draconian dictatorship over the early Mormon church are beyond the scope of this work. In regards to matters of race, Young’s influence had a major impact on the LDS church which led to horridly exclusive and bigoted policies, some of which which lasted well into the 1970’s. Below are just a few examples of Mormon dogmatic folk beliefs that arise during and after Brigham Young’s time:

  1. Those of African decent were being punished in this life because in the 'pre-mortal' existence, theirs were the souls which were 'fence-sitters' during the war in heaven, refusing to take a side.
    There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits. 15
  2. While some individuals of African decent were permitted to join the church, they were denied access to the religions most sacred ceremonies. Most notably, the temple ordinances and the family sealings, which are used to ensure worthy families can spend the afterlife together. One woman, Jane Elizabeth Manning, was a faithful and lifelong member of the LDS church who crossed the plains and passed away in Salt Lake City in 1908. 16 She petitioned the church leadership many times with the desire to be sealed to her family for all of time and eternity. For no reason other than her skin color, she was denied repeatedly during her lifetime. Instead, as a consolation prize for her lifelong devotion to the church, she was sealed posthumously to Joseph and his family; not as a family member but instead as Smith’s servant in heaven. Jane Elizabeth Manning obviously did not give her consent for the leaderships concession, which once again, didn’t take place during her lifetime and has never been corrected or apologized for. To reiterate, Joseph Smith currently has a slave in Mormon heaven…and at some undisclosed date in the distant future, approximately just after Judgement Day, she too will at long last get to be ‘delightsome and white’. Surviving well into the 20th century, Mormon Apostle Mark E. Peterson went one step further with this concept of heavenly slaves when he stated, “If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get a celestial resurrection. He will get a place in celestial glory.” 17 In a religious cosmology consisting of several degrees of heaven, the celestial kingdom is the highest achievement in the Mormon afterlife. According to LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson, those of African decent can only attain this level of heaven as an eternal slave or servant. Peterson was never an acting prophet or president of the Mormon faith, but such statements coming from the lips of church hierarchy illustrates the prevalence of these dogmatic beliefs. As these have never been clarified or apologized for by a higher ranking church official, one is left to assume that this too is church dogma, if a generally undiscussed one.
  3. Intermarriage between different ‘racial groups’ was strictly forbidden. In a private journal entry dated well into the 20th century, fourth President of the LDS church Wilford Woodruff wrote, “...if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground - it would also take the life of his children.” 18 From LDS First Presidency member George Albert Smith. In a letter to Virgil H Sponberg, a critic of the anti-black ban dated May 5, 1947: “...contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs until now.... there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.” 19 Clearly still a sensitive topic to church officials in 2015, a Mormon Sunday school teacher was recently dismissed from his position for openly speaking about the church’s history regarding race. After being asked by his students, why his Nigerian wife would join a church with such racism in it’s foundational doctrine, the gentleman looked up the sanctioned church publications on the topic.20 He was subsequently fired from his teaching position for presenting that officially sanctioned material.21

As mentioned earlier, the native inhabitants of the Pacific Islands and Australia were somehow exempt from many of these restrictions and racist beliefs. The Mormon reasoning for this is rather confusing, as allegedly those of African decent (the seed of Cain) were cursed for their political stance during the pre-mortal existence and war in heaven. But indigenous descendants from the Pacific Islands and Australia (seed of Lehi), were simply cursed with the melanin, pigment swapping prevalent in the Book of Mormon in order to keep them in line. No need to get ones panties in a bunch though, as this curse will be lifted at Judgment Day and the afterlife will be as white as Steve Bannon’s most treasured fantasy!

It is utterly impossible to ignore the blatant racism embedded into Mormon doctrine and ideology. Despite the church’s many edits and attempts to cover up this unsavory history, the culture and principles of white supremacy still insidiously pervade the Mormon religion to this day. The only way these mistakes can begin to be remedied, assuming that it matters to a hierarchical pyramid of rich white men at all, is for the church to finally air it’s historical dirty laundry and offer up some kind of an apology.

 

The Policy Changes – Ethics or Just Good Business?

The much belated change in church doctrine, policies and the subsequent edits to church materials were not initiated until 1978.22 No apology was ever issued by the church for it’s behavior in the past. The hierarchy simply decreed a new revelation from god, and that was it. There are a number of quaint stories which have emerged in the LDS church regarding this shift towards basic human equality. They refer to various ways the ‘spirit of the lord’ spontaneously dictated this epistemological shift in foundation doctrine and policy.23 Despite these unsubstantiated folk tales, when one takes into account the political and social events leading up to this ‘revelation’, then the whole event seems like good business sense rather than divinely ordained inspiration.

One of the LDS church’s considerable income streams stem from it’s flagship university, Brigham Young University, or BYU. In October of 1969, fourteen Wyoming Cowboys football players were kicked off the team by then coach Lloyd Eaton. The players were retired for threatening to wear black armbands in order to draw attention racist LDS doctrine and policy.24 This incident spiraled into a number of colleges boycotting athletic games against BYU, including Stanford and San Jose State. Additionally, there was also a great deal of pressure mounting in the early 1970's from the Boy Scouts of America over the Mormons withholding leadership positions to both adults and children of African decent.25

Adding to this tension, in 1975, the LDS church announced that a temple was to be built in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The church dumped millions into the temple grounds and the various buildings located at the complex. Much of the population that helped finance and build the temple were themselves of mixed African decent, and thus would be for all intents and purposes, banned from the temple after it’s completion. Previously, the church had publicly stated that people could not enter the temple if they "having the least particle of negro blood.”26 The Brazilian population was such a cultural melting pot, that it would additionally prove impossible to verify this insane policy, and leaders were finding it difficult to explain themselves.

Furthermore, there is substantial circumstantial evidence to suggest that during a 1977 meeting with LDS church leaders, then President Jimmy Carter threatened to withhold federal tax exempt status from the church for it’s racist and discriminatory policies. The year prior in 1976, BYU had been placed in similar peril, by possibly having Federal Student Loans withheld for the same reasons.27 This was a potential loss of millions in yearly, tax-free income. Retroactively, the Mormon church was in a position to lose billions of dollars.

The Mormon hierarchy had been unapologetically dragging their collective feet on the matter of race for well over a century at this point. Even a casual observer should find it suspicious that the Mormon god decided to reverse a deplorable and institutionalized caste system for slavery which had been in place since the proposed birth of creation, only when the LDS church was in danger of going bankrupt. In order to better illustrate this very business like approach to the subject, the following timeline has been provided in large part, courtesy of MormonThink.com:

  • March 11, 1977: At 12:03 pm President Carter met with Spencer W. Kimball, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Representative Gunn McKay (D-Utah), and Representative Jim Santini (D-Nevada) for approximately 20 minutes in the White House.28

  • June 1977: Church President Spencer W. Kimball asks three church officials to write memos about the implications of a possible lifting of restrictions.29

  • March 1978: At a joint meeting of the church hierarchy, the leadership decided that any change in church policy should be presented as revelation. Spencer W. Kimball decides later that month to go ahead with the changes, and is advised by his councelors to wait for the full support of the church’s main leadership.30

  • June 1978: Kimball initiates the drafting of an official declaration of the changes to church doctrine and policy. The statement is later presented to the larger body of the church’s leadership, and the press is informed.31

  • October 30, 1978: Sao Paulo Brazil temple is dedicated by Spencer W Kimball.32

And that was it. Nearly a century and a half of institutional oppression, bigotry and intolerance, was to be white-washed away with one press release and a supposed story regarding a ‘revelation from god’. After reviewing the previous timeline, take into account one last quote from Spencer W. Kimball regarding said ‘revelation’. “I offered the final prayer and I told the Lord if it wasn't right, if He didn't want this change to come in the Church that I would be true to it all the rest of my life, and I'd fight the world against it if that's what He wanted.” 33 Brushing right past what seems to be Kimball’s sincere desire to be a crusader for human inequality, if this is the standard by which we are to judge divine revelation, than can we not collectively decide to raise the bar a bit higher?

Understand that the world is not likely to ever hear an apology uttered from the lips of Mormon authorities for it’s unsavory history and inherently white supremacist ideology. Mormon leadership does not have a fabulous track record for being socially progressive or standing on the right side of history, and does not generally make a habit of openly addressing it’s mistakes. Unfortunately, that is not likely to change unless the Mormon hierarchy is openly and respectfully opposed for presenting such a farcical and white washed excuse for it’s history and doctrine. As this paper has clearly outlined, despite heavy edits to church policy and scripture in 1978, there are still a good number of unacknowledged issues regarding institutionalized oppression through race and white supremacist philosophy still present in the Mormon religion. The only way the faith will be held accountable, and made to stop deifying their hate-mongering patriarchs, is for the world to stop excusing and ignoring the fact that this problem that still exists.

 

References:

  1. King James Version (1611). The Holy Bible, Genesis 9:18-29

  2. Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses 7:8 [online] Available at: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp?lang=eng [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  3. MormonThink.com Article, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#doctrine [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  4. The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5: 21

  5. Ibid, 3 Nephi 2:15

  6. Ibid, 2 Nephi 30: 6

  7. Ibid, Jacob 3: 5

  8. Ibid, 1 Nephi 12:23

  9. Smith, Joseph Jr., 1831 revelation, recorded in a letter from W.W. Phelps to Brigham Young, dated August 12, 1861. Found at MormonThink.com – Quotes, Native Americans [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/QUOTES/native.htm [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  10. Smith, Joseph Jr., 1845, History of the Church, v. 5, pp. 21-218

  11. Smith, Joseph Jr., Letter to Oliver Cowdery as found in the Messenger and Advocate, Vol. II, No. 7, April 1836.

  12. See: Millennial Star, Vol. 25, pp 787; also published in Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, page 250

  13. MormonThink.com Article, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#doctrine [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  14. Young, Brigham. Journal of Discourses, v. 7, pp. 290-291

  15. Smith, Joseph Fielding. Doctrines of Salvation, pp. 65-66

  16. MormonThink.com Article, Race and the Priesthood - Response to LDS.org. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/essays-race-priesthood.htm [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  17. FairMormon.org Article, Mark E. Peterson claims that Blacks become servants in heaven. [online] Available at: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Mark_E._Petersen_claims_that_Blacks_become_servants_in_heaven [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  18. MormonThink.com Article, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  19. Quoted in Lester E. Bush, Mormonism's Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview, p. 42. Found at MormonThink.com – Quotes, Black Intermarriage [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/QUOTES/blackintermarriage.htm [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  20. LDS.org Article, Race and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  21. The Salt Lake Tribune Article, This Mormon Sunday school teacher was dismissed for using church's own race essay in lesson. [online] Available at: http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2475803&itype=CMSID [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  22. Statement of The First Presidency on the Negro Question, July 17 1947, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pp.46-7. Found at MormonThink.com, Race and the Priesthood - Response to LDS.org. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/essays-race-priesthood.htm [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  23. Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on the Priesthood" in BYU Studies v47 n8 2008, pp. 128, 133. Found at MormonThink.com, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  24. The Salt Lake Tribune Article, BYU Football: Remembering the Black 14 Protest. [online] Available at: http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/byucougars/ci_13728556 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  25. MormonThink.com Article, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  26. Apostle Mark E. Peterson, "Race Problems – As They Affect the Church," Address given at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, delivered at BYU, August 27, 1954. Found at MormonThink.com, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  27. MormonThink.com Article, Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  28. FAIRmormon.org, Did President Jimmy Carter threaten the church’s taxe-exempt status because of their policy on blacks and the Priesthood? [online] Available at: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_Did_President_Jimmy_Carter_threaten_the_Church%27s_tax-exempt_status_because_of_their_policy_on_blacks_and_the_priesthood%3F [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  29. MormonThink.com Article , Blacks and the Priesthood. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 [Accessed Oct 25th 2017]

  30. Ibid.

  31. Ibid.

  32. Ibid.

  33. Deseret News, Church Section, January 6, 1979, p. 4

Mormon Cosmology: Our Hollow Earth, Jews in Space, and Alien Gods

Mormon Cosmology:

Our Hollow Earth, Jews in Space, and Alien Gods

by : Cody Noconi, (Ed.) Amanda Noconi

The actual history of the Mormon church is stranger than fiction. The actual history of its founder, Joseph Smith Junior, is perhaps beyond adequate description; certainly beyond the scope of this paper. The present-day incarnations of the Mormon movement go to great lengths at times, in order to assure that this history is not made common knowledge, or even circulated within the organization itself. The following multi-part series is a smash cut of real Mormon history and theology, which even the LDS missionaries knocking on your door are likely to be unaware of.

The Mormon faith believes in continued revelation, wherein god can change his mind on a given topic, so to speak, and instruct later generations differently than in previous ones. For example, early Mormons were originally instructed simply, “hot drinks are not for the body, or belly.” 1 It was not until some years later, that this direction was redefined as coffee and tea, which lead to Mormons famous abstinence from such substances. 2 Unless a given set of revelations are corrected or clarified by the current ‘prophet’, or leader of the church, then one must assume that the previous revelations are canonized doctrine. Such is the case with the little known or discussed Mormon belief in a hollow earth, Jews in space, 3 and alien gods.

 

A Hollow Earth and Lost Tribes of Israel

There are numerous first hand accounts from early Mormons, which explicitly reference Joseph Smith, the founder and first ‘prophet’ of the church, preaching that the earth was hollow, and that some of the Lost Tribes of Israel had inhabited the earth’s hollowed core. Benjamin Johnson, an early member of some authority among the Mormon church who at one point acted as a private secretary to Joseph Smith Jr., quoted Smith with the following: “you remember the old caldron or potash kettle you used to boil maple sap in for sugar, don't you? …they are in the north pole in a concave just the shape of that kettle. And John the Revelator is with them, preparing them for their return.” 4

Oliver B. Huntington, another prominent early Mormon, reaffirmed this belief when he said, “I have heard Joseph say that ‘John was among the Ten Tribes beyond the North Pole.” 5 On another occasion, Joseph even, “...described the shape of the earth at the poles as being a round elongation and drew a diagram of it.” 6 Oliver did not offer up said diagram for publication, but he repeatedly parrots second hand testaments of Mormon officials describing the earth as being hollowed out at the poles.

The concept of a hollow earth with some type of a habitable center is a common trope among early cultures around the globe. However, it was not until the famous physicist Edmond Halley first put forward the hypothesis in the late 17th century, that the idea really took hold in an academic sense among the Western world. 7 How this relates to Joseph Smith Junior and his understanding of planetology, is that a particular version of this hollow earth idea was widely popularized in his time by one John Cleves Symmes Junior. A version which clearly influenced Jo Smith.

John Cleves Symmes was an American Army officer and academic, who was the first to postulate that openings to the center of the earth could be found through large openings at it’s polar regions. In April of 1818, Symmes published Circular No 1. in which he boldly proclaimed, “I declare the earth is hollow, and habitable within; containing a number of solid concentrick spheres, one within the other, and that it is open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees; I pledge my life in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the hollow, if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking.” 8 This document was republished and widely circulated around the area Joseph Smith and his family resided during his early adult life. Although he did not officially publish a book on this topic during his lifetime, Circular No. 1 was certainly recirculated, and Symmes himself regularly lectured around the country regarding his hypothesis. Even if he did not personally read Symmes material or attend a lecture, Joseph Smith was certainly influenced by Symmes’ work nonetheless.

If one requires more tangible proof that this belief was considered church doctrine, then one should look no further than the church’s own publications, the Articles of Faith and Doctrine and Covenants. “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel.” 9 Coupled with, “… the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.” 10

Also take into account the striking language found in a patriarchal blessing given to Joseph, by his friend and co-founder of the Mormon church, Oliver Cowdery. “[Joseph Smith] will go forth toward the north, and by the power of his word shall the deep begin to give way: and the ice melt before the Sun. By the keys of the kingdom shall he lead Israel into the land of Zion, while the house of Jacob shouts in the dance and in the song.” 11 Fairly stark and unambiguous language, that clearly illustrates the Mormons theological reimagining of Symmes hollow earth hypothesis.

Although it is not currently circulated or widely known by the majority of Mormons today, this doctrine has not since been readdressed or reclarified, and therefore we are only left to assume that this is still canonized belief by the church leaders.

 

Jews in Space and Mormon Moon-Folk

In what appears to be a dogmatic offshoot or misinterpretation of the hollow earth belief, is the idea that this hollow was created when a portion of the earth was removed by god. There were apparently more lost Tribespeople of Israel inhabiting this terrestrial chunk, which was now lost somewhere in space. It is currently unclear whether or not this particular bit of folklore was official revelation, or just Smith’s intimate musings, however it certainly interesting to take note of.

“I heard Joseph Smith preach baptism for the dead…. I heard him say, ‘the Ten Tribes were not on this globe, but a portion of this earth had cleaved off with them and went flying into space, and when the time comes when the “earth reels to and from like a drunken man and the stars from heaven fall,” it would join on again.'” 12

“The Prophet Joseph [Smith] once in my hearing advanced his opinion that the Ten Tribes were separated from the Earth; or a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off, and that the Ten Tribes were taken away with it, and that in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions. Whether the Prophet founded his opinion upon revelation or whether it was a matter of mere speculation with him, I am not able to say.” 13

Perhaps related, or at least tangential to his belief in an Israelite colony in space, is Joseph Smith’s conviction that the moon, sun and stars were inhabited as well. “‘Inhabitants of the Moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the Earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker Style & are quite general in Style, or the one fashion of dress. They live to be very old; ...generally, near a thousand years.'” 14

The Patriarch of the church even seemed confident that through either the power of god or science, that within that same generation of the early church, Mormon missionaries would actually be preaching their gospel off planet! “In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel before I was 21 years of age; that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and – to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes.” 15 Decades before Jules Verne and the commonly acknowledged birth of science fiction, Joseph Smith Junior must at least be credited with a wonderfully active imagination.

These beliefs seem to have survived at least into the days of the main church’s second leader and namesake of the Mormon college BYU, Brigham Young. 16 Young waxed on topic at some length regarding this topic:

“Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon?... When you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the ignorant of their fellows. So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain.” 17

In other words, the only conceivable purpose for a planet would be for god to inhabit that planet with sentient beings which then require His salvation. If there is any confusion as to whether or not this was indeed considered doctrine and not just ignorant conjecture, Brigham even doubled down on statements such as that when he said, “I have never preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture.” 18 Once more, unless clarified by current Mormon leaders, then the beliefs discussed thus far should be referred to exactly as Brigham suggested; Mormon scripture.

It should come as no great shock that this was a common belief at the time given that the Mormon’s canonized Book of Abraham, explicitly refers to a celestial body Kolob, as nearest the throne of God. 19 Mormons today generally consider it to be the literal residing place of their god. In addition, Mormonism also preaches a plurality of gods; an idea that through spiritual perfection, heterosexual human couples can themselves become gods, each couple managing their own planetary, Genesis style creation in turn. “Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth.” 20 An infinite process, which has been going on for untold eons. 21 A sort of interstellar, Manifest Destiny meets Divine Panspermia, so to say.

“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.... It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know... that he was once a man like us.... Here, then, is eternal life – to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves... the same as all Gods have done before you...” 22

Despite what many Mormons today would preach, and what they themselves likely believe, the faith is not monotheistic. This belief in an infinitely expanding, factory-line intergalactic god nursery is what would be more accurately categorized as monolatrism; the devotion to a single god, while neither acknowledging or denying the existence of other, sometimes greater divine beings.

Fans of Battlestar Galctica may already know that the show’s creator, Glen Larson was himself LDS, and that he obviously encoded Mormon symbolism and theology into the show’s narrative. The twelve lost ‘colonies’ that record their history in Egyptian-like hieroglyphics, the ‘gods’ were once humans that somehow perfected or advanced themselves to a god-like status, and all of whom originated from a planet Kobol. The parallels are simply too many to lay out here, 23 but by this time BSG fan or not, one should be able to appreciate that Mormon archetypes are certainly far out enough to have inspired one of the most successful science fiction shows of all time.

 

References:

  1. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants 89:9
  2. [online] Available at: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-student-manual/section-81-89/section-89-the-word-of-wisdom?lang=eng {Accessed Oct 21st 2017]
  3. History of the World, Part I, Mel Brooks. Universal Studios, 1981. Film
  4. Johnson, Benjamin My Life's Review, 1947, p. 93
  5. Huntington, Oliver B. Journal, under January 13, 1881; see Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, p. 528, footnote 100
  6. Huntington, Oliver B. The Inhabitants of the Moon, The Young Women's Journal, 1892, v. 3, p. 264
  7. Halley, Edmond, An Account of the cause of the Change of the Variation of the Magnetic Needle; with an Hypothesis of the Structure of the Internal Parts of the Earth, Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society of London, No. 195, 1692, pp 563–578
  8. Symmes, John Cleve. Symmes' Circular No. 1. St Louis, 1818
  9. Articles of Faith, #10, see History of the Church, v. 4, pp. 535-541
  10. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants 110:11
  11. Patriarchal Blessing from Oliver Cowdery to Prophet Joseph Smith, in Oliver Cowdery, “A Patriarchal blessing given by Oliver Cowdery to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland,” September 22, 1835, reprinted in Collier, ed., Unpublished Revelations, 1979, 2nd edition, 1981, v. 1, p. 76
  12. Smith, Bathsheba W. Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Juvenile Instructor, June 1, 1892, v. 27, p. 34
  13. Apostle Orson Pratt, Letter Box of Orson Pratt, LDS Church Historian's Office, letter to John C. Hall, December 13, 1875; see Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, p. 529, footnote 101
  14. Smith, Joseph Jr., in Journal of O.B. Huntington, Book 14, p. 166
  15. Huntington, Oliver B. The Inhabitants of the Moon, The Young Women's Journal, 1892. v. 3, pp. 263-264.
  16. “President Young said he heard Joseph Smith say that the Ten Tribes of Israel were on a Portion of Land separated from this Earth.” -Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, September 8, 1867, reprinted in Susan Staker, ed., Waiting for World's End, The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, 1993, p. 291
  17. Young, Brigham. Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 271
  18. Ibid, pp. 95
  19. The Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham 3:2-3
  20. Young, Brigham. Journal of Discourses, v. 7, p. 285
  21. “Worlds without number I have created.” -Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:33
  22. Smith, Joseph Jr., King Follett Discourse, Journal of Discourses, v. 6, pp. 3-4 Also: “The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like himself.” -Young, Brigham. Journal of Discourses, v. 3, p. 93. Also: “In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it.” -Smith, Joseph Jr., History of the Church, v. 6, pp. 307, 308
  23. [online] Available at: http://www.mormonthink.com/glossary/battlestargalactica.htm {Accessed Oct 21st 2017]
 

Additional Resources:

  1. MormonThink.com [online] Available at: http://mormonthink.com [Accessed 10 21st 2017]
  2. Wiki – John Cleves Symmes Jr. - [online] Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cleves_Symmes_Jr. [Accessed 10 21st 2017]
  3. OliverCowdery.com [online] Available at: http://olivercowdery.com/texts/1818symm.htm#item1 [Accessed 10 21st 2017]
  4. Wiki - Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series0 – [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlestar_Galactica_(2004_TV_series) [Accessed 10 21st 2017]

Ep024 - Social Engineering with Joseph Atwill

Today we are joined by Joseph Atwill, author of Ceasar's Messiah to talk about the Deep State, psychedelics, and methods of social engineering. This is a follow-up to the conversation Cody had with Alex Tsakiris from Skeptiko a couple of weeks ago wherein we discussed Joe's paper Manufacturing the Deadhead. Joe was gracious enough to come on the show in order to better explain his research and dispel some misconceptions about his work. It was a great interview, and we will certainly have Mr. Atwill back in the future.

Hope you all enjoy!

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep023 - Gnosticism with Miguel Conner

This week Cody speaks with Miguel Conner, host of the wonderful podcast Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio. Miguel expertly guides us through and introduction to the very nuanced and hard to get at topic of Gnosticism. He introduces us to the various emanations of the Gnostic god, the goddess Sophia and her relationship to humanity and Christ, and there's even some Simon Magus thrown in for good measure. For more information on Gnosticism or to find more of Miguels great work, visit TheGodAboveGod.com

We hope you enjoy!

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Voices of Gnosticism: Interviews with Elaine Pagels, Marvin Meyer, Bart Ehrman, Bruce Chilton and Other Leading Scholars
By Miguel Conner, Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman, Bruce Chilton, Marvin Meyer, Stevan Davies, April DeConick, David Fideler, Karen L King, Birger Pearson, John W Turner, Einar Thomassen, Jane Schaberg, Jason BeDuhn
Other Voices of Gnosticism: Interviews with leading writers and scholars including Tobias Churton,Nicola Denzey-Lewis, Richard Smoley, Gary Lachman, ... Daniel C. Matt, Willis Barnstone and others
By Miguel Conner, Gary Lachman, Stephan Hoeller, Tobias Churton, Nicola Denzey Lewis, David Brakke, Willis Barnstone, Robert M Price, Sean Martin, Erik Davis, Daniel C Matt, Eric G Wilson, Ismo Dunderberg, Richard Smoley

Ep022 - Deep State Psychedelics with Alex Tsakiris

This week Alex Tsakiris, host of the Skeptiko Podcast joins us to discuss psychedelics, social engineering, and the 'Deep State'. We get into the work of Joe Atwill, and his research regarding Gordon Wasson's CIA connections.

On Skeptiko, Alex interviews leading researchers and scientists looking into the different aspects of human consciousness; mainly near death experiences, parapsychology, and what Alex likes to call deeper spirituality. Last month, Alex was kind enough to have me on his show to chat about psychedelics, entheogens, and their intersection with this idea of deeper spirituality. During our conversation, Alex and I sort of glazed over this whole connection to the Deep State that continually pops up in the field of psychedelic research. Alex has since had Joe Atwill on the show to dive deeper into this concept of the Deep State and psychedelics, and my response to that follow-up episode is what inspired a lot of today's conversation.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Show Notes:

Skeptiko Podcast with Alex Tsakiris

Ep360 - Cody Noconi, Can Entheogens Lead to Deeper Spirituality?

Ep364 - Joe Atwill, Why is the Deep State Interested in Psychedelics?

Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering… by Joe Atwill and Jan Irvin

'Deep State' operations mentioned in the show:

Project MK-Ultra - Wiki

Operation Paperclip - Wiki

Stargate Project - Wiki

Skeptiko Ep341 - Ex-Stargate Head, Ed May, Unyielding Re Materialism, Slams Dean Radin

Pre-Wasson literature discussing 'entheogens' or psychedelic substances:

“When thy soul shall be made drunk by the divine ambrosial nectar, then shall thy understanding be more clear than the noontide sun; – then, by thy strong and spiritualized intellectual eye, shalt thou see into the great treasury of Nature, and thou shalt praise God with thy whole heart.” (Barrett, Francis. “The Magus, or Celestial Inteligencer.” London, England, 1801. pg58)

Such passions as these we can induce by magical vapors, confections, perfumes, collyries, unctions, potions, lamps, lights, etc.; likewise by mirrors, images, enchantments, charms, sounds, and music; also by divers rites, observations, ceremonies, religion, etc.” [emphasis in original] (Barrett, Francis. “The Magus, or Celestial Inteligencer.” London, England, 1801. pg33)

It is admitted that the texts and nomencleture of Midieval materials on Hermeticism were cryptic and queer; but for that there are several explinations for the need for secrecy, including the need to keep laymen from endangering themselves with drugs they could not understand. (Mackey, Albert Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1873. Found in Newman, PD Alchemically Stoned p47)

We shall then know the secret of those spongy excresences which draw their unused surplus from trees, and surcharge themselves from their tinctures and sap; the mushrooms, truffles, the galls of trees...Then we shall no more laugh at Paracelsus. (Waite, Arthur The History of Magic by Eliphas Levi p185. Found in Newman, PD Alchemically Stoned p85)

Thank you to Daniel Caine for the new exit music! You can check out his work at: Dancaine.bandcamp.com & Caine Digital Arts.

Ep021 - Women and Entheogens with Kilindi Iyi

Returning to the show this week, our very first guest Kilindi Iyi joins Amanda to discuss everything from simulation theory to the environment. Of course, high dose psilocybin and hyperspacial djinn make their way into the conversations as well.  Kilindi was kind enough to join us in order to help promote this year's 2017 Women and Entheogens Conference, being held in honor of Kai Wingo. From the Detroit Psychedelics Community website:

"The Women and Entheogens Conference is the brainchild of Psychonaught Kai Wingo. Continuing Kai's legacy we will continue with her vision in 2017 and beyond. The Conference will push the envelope into new and novel ideas. This year's theme will be Psychedelics in Birth and Pregnancy from Conception through Life. We will explore the concept of utilizing entheogens for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Come be part of the new paradigm and continue our beloved Kai's work with Women and Entheogens.

Whether it's the mystical herb Iboga of the African bush, or Ayahuasca, the brew from Amazon of South America, or the magic of Psilocybin Mushrooms from pretty much anywhere, the Women & Entheogens Conference has you covered! Dealing with topics like LSD, MDMA, cannabis and the most powerful hallucinogen known, DMT, The 2017 Women & Entheogens Conference is sure to be heavy hitting like only Women & Entheogens can. Inviting artists, advocates, activist, healers and scholars from around the world to join our biannual event! Buy your ticket now and book your reservations early, space is limited."

The conference will be held this weekend Oct 13th-15th at the Unitarian Universalist Society, Cleveland, OH. Should you find yourself in the Cleveland area, you can catch our co-host Amanda on a few discussion panels as well as delivering a presentation titled, Cannabis for Treatment of Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Mother Plant Medicine for Moms. Follow the links in the show notes for more information on the schedule and other wonderful presenters.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep020 - Alchemically Stoned with PD Newman

We have a particularly good episode for you all this week. We once more forgo our usual segments as Cody interviews beloved psychonaut, author and 32nd degree Master Mason, PD Newman. Just this last June, Newman released the absolutely wonderful book, Alchemically Stoned: The Psychedelic Secret of Freemasonry. Cody has been eagerly awaiting this conversation for some time, as Newman'a writings have influenced his work a great deal. Strap in and grab a notebook, because we dive deep into the history of psychedelic sacraments in Freemasonry.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep019 - Psychedelics Today with Kyle Buller

This week Cody is joined by the co-host of Psychedelics Today Podcast, Kyle Buller. Kyle and his talented partner Joe Moore, just launched a new online course Navigating Psychedelics, Lessons on Self-Care and Integration. We of course discuss psychedelics, as well as NDE's, holotropic breathwork, Stanislov Grof, shamanism, integration, and much, much more.

[From Psychedelics Today] Kyle’s interest in exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness began when he was 16-years-old, when he suffered a traumatic snowboarding accident. Waking up after having a near-death experience changed Kyle’s life. Since then, Kyle has earned his B.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, where he studied the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness by exploring shamanism, plant medicine, Holotropic Breathwork, and the roots/benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy. Kyle has co-taught two college-level courses. One of the courses Kyle created as a capstone project, “Stanislav Grof’s Psychology of Extraordinary Experiences,” and the other one which he co-created, “The History of Psychedelics.”

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep018 - Myco Deep Dive pt1 'Stametsian Philosophy'

A very happy, if slightly belated Mushroom Day! This week the gods had it in for us. Three major computer crashes, a few lost recordings, and several power outages. But, we cannot be stopped! Thank you for your patience.

This week we do things a little differently. As amateur mycologists, we join forces for the first episode in an ongoing series diving into the world of mycology. We cover the career of mycologist extraordinaire, Paul Stamets. We explore his unique method and regimen for microdosing psilocybin, and how his myco-philosophy can help save the world. We cover the varying strengths and preservation methods for different strains of hallucinogenic mushrooms, discuss the Psychedelic Science conference, and nerd out on the PSI-Vitamin presented there.

Particularly dense, but fun episode this week. Hope you all enjoy.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep017 - Everything Microdosing

No interview today. We jump right into a Feed Your Head segment on the very popular topic of Microdosing. Cody follows that up with an Epics and Entheogens segment covering some of the major godparents of psychedlia who had a major role in the development of various microdosing techniques. Keeping in line with the microdosing theme, Amanda finishes the show with a Psychedelic Feminism highlighting Amanda Fielding.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep016 - Psilly Review of Disjointed

For today’s episode, Amanda and Cody unite forces for an unorthodox episode, reviewing the new Netflix series Disjointed, starring Cathy Bates as an eccentric cannabis dispensary owner. This episode is just small teaser of the exclusive patreon content which will we will be releasing regularly in the future.

Late night recording + cannabis and tequila shots = very Psilly Rabbits. The explicit tag is there for a reason this week. If you are turned off by foul language, or find yourself easily offended, then this may not be the episode for you. You all usually get to hear us in a presentation mode, wherein we try to relay important information quickly and accurately. This episode is not that. Again, things got a little saucy whilst under influence of a unique blend of sleep deprivation, cannabis and tequila.

That all said, we hope you enjoy!

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Ep015 - Chaos Protocols with Gordon White

For our interview today, Cody speaks with author, magician, philosopher and permaculture guru from Down Under, Mr. Gordon White. We discuss a wide range of topics, from psychedelic sustainability, to the versatility of magical techniques in today’s modern world, and his wonderful book Chaos Protocols. Check out Gordon at RuneSoup.com. After the interview, I cover entheogens in comic books for Epics and Entheogens, and we finish today’s show with a Feed Your Head exploring the miraculous plant Iboga. We hope you enjoy!

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Show Notes:

Ep014 - Drunken Taoism with Daniele Bolelli

The Psilly Rabbits survived the Oregon eclipse! After a brief hiatus due to complications in hosting an eclipse event, we are back with the savage philosopher and Drunken Taoist extraordinaire, Daniele Bolelli. Daniele is a college professor, published author, martial artist, father and host of the podcasts The Drunken Taoist and History on Fire. We cover a wide range of topics in or discussion today, from how to Create Your Own Religion to the nature of dreams and psychedelics.

Following the interview, in our segment Epics and Entheogens, Cody gives an overview of entheogens and plant medicines used in Central and South America before the conquest and colonization at the hands of the Spanish. In Psychedelic Feminism, Amanda gives a detailed account of one Rosalind Franklin, our dark Lady of DNA, and the misinformation perpetuated regarding the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. We then close out today's episode with another Psilly Story. Eeeeenjoy it!

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.

Show Notes:

Daniele Bolelli - Podcasts: The Drunken Taoist and History on Fire

Taoist Lecture Series

Not Afraid - Audiobook

Poetry of Zen monk Ikkyo Sojun ( 1394–1481 )

*The Lady Mori was a blind minstrel with whom Ikkyo had a long standing relationship with*

Lady Mori's Gifted Touch:

My hand is no match for that of Mori. She is the unrivaled master of love play: When my jade stalk wilts, she can make it sprout! How we enjoy our intimate little circle.

I Hate Incense:

A master's handiwork cannot be measured But still priests wag their tongues explaining the "Way" and babbling about "Zen." This old monk has never cared for false piety And my nose wrinkles at the dark smell of incense before the Buddha.

Crazy Cloud speaks of Daito's unsurpassed brilliance But the clatter of royal carriages about the temple gates drowns him out And no one listens to tales of the Patriarch's long years Of hunger and homelessness beneath Gojo Bridge.

Monk Gantō practiced Zen while rowing a boat; Monk Chin gathered rushleaf to make sandals. I always praise the great worth of a single raincoat and straw hat - But who is there to appreciate their true elegance?

A Fisherman

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind. A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure. Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds; Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

A Hermit Monk in the Mountains

I like it best when no one comes, Preferring fallen leaves and swirling flowers for company. Just an old Zen monk living like he should, A withered plum tree suddenly sprouting a hundred blossoms.

A Man's Root

Eight inches strong, it is my favorite thing; If I'm alone at night, I embrace it fully— A beautiful woman hasn't touched it for ages. Within my fundoshi there is an entire universe!

Three Poems on Love and Longing

Day and night I cannot keep you out of my thoughts; In the darkness, on an empty bed, the longing deepens. I dream of us joining hands, exchanging words of love, But then the dawn bell shatters my reverie and rends my heart.

Women, lovely flowers that bloom and quickly fade; Flowery faces, in full flush, lovely as dreams. When flowers burst open they grow heavy with passion But once they fall, no one speaks of them again.

Even if I were a god or a Buddha you'd be on my mind. I sit beneath the lamp, a skinny monk chanting love songs. The fierce autumn wind nearly bowls me over And my heart is choked with thick clouds.

Farewell, Lady Mori

Ten years ago beneath the blossoms we began a fragrant alliance. Each stage was a delight, full of endless passion. How poignant, never again to pillow my head on her lap. Making sweet love together, we vowed to be together always.

Archeology News Network article - The Use of Hallucinogenic Drugs in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures

Sapo In My Soul - Peter Gorman

Dr. Bia Labate - Brazillian Anthropologist

Rosalind Franklin Society Website

Ep013 - Psychedelic Gospels with Jerry Brown

For lucky number thirteen, Cody interviews Jerry Brown, co-author of The Psychedelic Gospels, which covers evidence for the role of visionary plants in Christianity. Check out Jerry and Julie's website at thepsychedelicgospels.com. In Feed Your Head this week, following the conversation with Jerry, Cody explores the modern emergence of this mushroom-Jesus theory, highlighting John Marco Allegro and The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. Lastly, Amanda finishes out the show with a Psilly Story about Busta the Psychonaut Dog.

Please consider supporting us on patreon.com/psillyrabbits, or by giving us a five star review on iTunes, Stitcher, Libsyn or whatever your favorite podcast outlet may be. If you’re buying something from Amazon anyway, and you click through the links in this sentence, the show gets a small percentage of the total sale.