A deeper look into the use of substances in spiritual practice today.
How would it feel to be born again? If you had the chance to fade back into the darkness of your mother’s womb, and to experience every human sensation again for the very first time, would you take it?
What if you had the chance to not only experience these sensations again, but to feel them in ways you could never imagine? And what if you were promised not only a highly intimate experience with the creator of your own belief, but also promised a kind of spiritual cleansing and release that could make you a better lover, friend, and being in this life and beyond?
For the cultures and subcultures of people in this world that choose to use substances for spiritual rituals and spiritual discovery, these experiences cannot only be life changing, but also deeply influential to their very being and existence.
In a special three part series from Spirituality at CULTURS, I will dive deeper into the world of three different subcultures and how some of their followers choose to use substances like Marijuana, Peyote, and DMT in order to expand their spiritual awareness, and/or to bring them closer to their creator. These are the stories and voices of people who believe that using these substances has given them some of the most profound and beautiful moments of their human experience.
PART I: Marijuana and Rastafarianism
Photo: Top, a close up of the plant that is often smoked or ingested, Wikicommons, and bottom a Rastafarian follower, Wikipedia
The use of Marijuana for recreation and for medicine, has been a hot topic recently, as some parts of the United States, like Colorado and Washington have legalized the formerly US DEA Classified schedule I drug. But the use of Marijuana for spiritual purposes, actually goes back to culture and spiritual practice of the Rastafarian religion.
Rastafaria was first developed in Africa during the 1930s, after the crowning of Haile Selassie I in Ethiopia. Followers came to view him as a God, and it is believed that he will return again one day to bring those who were exploited during the slave trade back to their homeland in Africa. While traditional beliefs included ideas of Black superiority to whites, and the idea that Blacks would one day rule the world, modern beliefs include respect for nature, the supremacy of life and the power of speech.
The use of Marijuana has been tied to the practice, and is actually called the “holy herb,” or “wisdom herb”. Today, a wide range of diverse people all over the world use the drug for spiritual reasons, and as a way to experience relaxation and closeness with others who partake in it’s use. It is used before any major ceremonies, and also used sometimes before meditation in order to encourage peaceful images in the mind.
Bob Marley and Rastafaria
Photo: Bob Marley, Flickr
One of the most famous figureheads of the Rastafarian movement, Bob Marley, a Jamaican born reggae musician popular in the 70s, famously said these things about the use of the drug, and to this day his words are seen as the best description of why many choose to use the drug in a spiritual sense:
– “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself”
– “Herb is the healing of the nation-alcohol is the destruction.”
– “To make Marijuana against the law is like saying God made a mistake.”
Quotes courtesy of BrainyQuote
For more information, check out the links below! Especially the video below by CCTV Africa, about the Rastafarian movement in Africa today.
On Marijuana: NPR, The Mysterious History of Marijuana
On Bob Marley: Bob Marley Offical Website