Sunday, June 6, 2010

wise womyn and the wondrous weed...

little did i know that sitting down to read my latest edition of the NORML newsletter today would take me on a journey back through centuries of herstory to the christian inquisition...

i started with the article "Latest Research On Pot and Schizophrenia Runs Contrary to Mainstream Media Hype", moved on to "Marijuana Prohibition Corrupts; Absolute Marijuana Prohibition Corrupts Absolutely", read a few more articles, checked out the NORML Women's Alliance page and then ventured over to the site "mums for marijuana" where i watched this very interesting video:


that then led me to more research and the most interesting (and stimulating) reading of the day -the use of cannabis by womyn throughout the centuries - and the outlawing of it by the catholic church...

"During Europe's dark ages, pagan herbalists and witches - mostly women - used cannabis in their ointments and cures. During a time when illness was equated with evil, these pagans attracted a devout following for their miraculous healing lore.

The Catholic Church, threatened by the resurgence of ancient religions and by forms of medicine that challenged their exclusive right to perform healings, gruesomely tortured these women to extract confessions of supposedly satanic allegiance, and then burned them to death in public forums.

Cannabis was a common feature of pagan fertility celebrations in the first 1000 years AD. Like Ostara, the love goddesses Freya and Venus were also often worshipped with cannabis offerings.

Pagan healers, mostly wise women, used cannabis for a number of medicinal benefits. Curiously, some of the earliest evidence of medical-cannabis using pagans comes from the writings of famous Catholic nun and herbalist Hildegard von Bingen of Germany (1098-1179). Hildegard's self-education included ancient Greek medicine and local pagan folk remedies. From her education with pagan wise women, she learned of cannabis' healing powers. In her famous work Physia, in an entry titled "Of Hemp", she writes that "hemp is warm - it is wholesome for healthy people to eat - it can be easily digested, and it diminishes the bad humours and makes the good humours strong."

Curiously, Hildegard also wrote poetry to the "Green Power," and had strong visions, similar to Joan of Arc, who was accused of using the psychedelic mandrake plant and then burned as a witch. Hildegard von Bingen's unprecedented influence on the early German pharmacopoeia ensured that cannabis remedies would eventually become common across Europe - especially as the terrors of the Black Death crept up from European sewers and into the homes of millions, making the purveyors of mainstream medicine seem like helpless fools."... you can read more at cannabis culture

i did a bit more reading and came across a few references to a book called "The emperor wears no clothes" by Jack Herer, an american cannabis activist... and discovered the book online on his website... the following excerpt is from chapter 10 -  "Myth, Magic & Medicine: A Look at the Sociology of Cannabis Use Throughout World History"...

"From at least the 27th century B.C. up until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all the cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe, and Africa for its superior fiber, medicines, oils, food and for its meditative, euphoric, and relaxational uses.

Hemp medicine was found effective as wound healer, muscle relaxant, pain reliever, fever reducer and unparalleled aid to childbirth, not to mention hundreds of other medicinal applications.

Hemp was a major industry in biblical times. As in other cultures throughout the Middle East, the Hebrew tradition of mysticism (e.g., Cabala) was aware of, and entwined with, regional sects using natural intoxicants in their rituals. As usual, they hid this knowledge behind rituals, symbols and secret codes to protect natural sacraments like “sacred mushrooms” and mind-elevating herbs, including cannabis."

With constantine’s eventual (strategic) conversion to Christianity – hence the merging of church and state – "in the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries A.D., pagan religions and all the different Christian sects, belief systems, knowledge, gospels, etc., such as the Essenes, Gnostics and Merovingians (Franks), were either incorporated into or edited out of official doctrine and hierarchy.

Finally, in a series of councils, all contrary dogmas (e.g., that the Earth was round, and the sun and stars were more than five to 17 miles away) were summarily outlawed and driven underground during the Dark Ages, 400 -1000+ A.D.

By the early Middle Ages, at the beginning of the 11th century A.D., virtually all powers were placed in the hands of the Church and Pope" - the divine right to rule had become their dogma and the pope had become infallible!!!!

"To prohibit knowledge, people were literally kept in the dark, without a piece of paper to write on. The monasteries preserved and guarded hemp’s secrets. They saw that cannabis held two threats to this policy of absolute control: papermaking and lamp oil.

While embracing wine as a sacrament, and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th century, and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp to communicate, heal, etc. was labeled “witch.”

Virtually the only legal medical cures allowed the people of Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church Fathers at this time were:

1. (a.) Wearing a bird mask for plague. (b.) Setting fractured bones or cleaning burns.

2. Bleeding pints and even quarts of blood from all flu, pneumonia or fever patients (victims) which was the most used treatment in Europe and America by doctors until the beginning of the 1900s. It does not work! And did not work no matter how much blood they took.

3. Praying to specific saints for a miraculous cure, e.g., St. Anthony for ergotism (poisoning), St. Odilla for blindness, St. Benedict for poison sufferers, and St. Vitus for comedians and epileptics.

4. Alcohol for a variety of problems.

Saint Joan of Arc, for example, was accused in 1430-31 of using a variety of herbal “witch” drugs, including cannabis, to hear voices.

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of Satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years. Satanic knowledge and masses, according to the Medieval Church, came in three types:

• To summon or worship Satan;

• To have Witch’s knowledge (e.g., herbalists or chemists) of making, using or giving others any unguent or preparation including cannabis as medicine or as a spiritual sacrament;

• The Mass of the Travesty - doing irreverent, farcical or satirical take-offs on the dogmas, doctrines, indulgences, and rituals of the R.C.Ch. mass and/or its absolute beliefs.

Because medieval priest bureaucrats thought they were sometimes laughed at, ridiculed and scorned by those under their influence - often by the most learned monks, clerics and leading citizens - ingesting cannabis was proclaimed heretical and Satanic.

For cannabis-related knowledge, or hundreds of other “sins” - owning a devil’s tool (dinner fork), reading a sorcerer’s book or speaking in tongues (foreign language), having a different faith, having the witch’s habit (taking a bath or falling into a river), etc. - from 10% to as many as 50% of the people in Western Europe were tortured or put to death without trial during the medieval Roman Catholic Church’s 500-year Inquisition (12th to 17th centuries).

The Pope could declare anything “heresy,” and use it as an excuse to legally rob, torture and kill his enemies or anyone else accused. For over 300 years, inquisitors divided up the property forfeited to them by suspected witches and heretics. Whoever denounced you got 1/3 of your property, 1/3 went to the government and 1/3 went to the Papal hierarchy."

the government and church definitely had a vested interest in whipping up a frenzy of fear... and what an incentive - accuse or be accused!!!! fear compels some to do terrible things - and fear always reigned... poverty could be alleviated by an accusation – greed could be rewarded - jealousies could be assuaged and competition could be gotten rid of - of course the worst atrocities were brutally perpetrated by the witch-hunters, who could satisfy their misogynistic and sadistic desires through terrible tortures, with suffering and death the result... it's estimated that anywhere from hundreds of thousands, to millions, of womyn died - but no matter the exact number, it was without a doubt a holocaust...

a little bit more reading enlightened me to the fact that Bast is the most important "goddess of cannabis witchcraft"...

"Bast, or Bastet, is one of the oldest of the Kemetic neteru (egyptian deities). The city of Per-Bastet, capital of the Am Khent sepat (or state), was dedicated to the worship of Bast. Bast is a very complex and complete Goddess. She if often described as the Goddess of cats and usually depicted as a beautiful human woman with the head of a cat. She is also the Goddess of cannabis and every cannabis plant is a physical embodiment of Bast. All followers of Am Khent Kemeticism are required by their religion to honor Bast, cats, and cannabis.

The Greeks called this same Goddess Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek.. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world."

and then there is Diana, the Roman version of the magick Goddess of cannabis, also known as Queen of Witches... "One of the primary goals of the Christian Inquisitions was to stamp out worship of Diana. Some scholars think this was the original reason for the Inquisition. The Christian clergy proclaimed that Diana was the Queen of the Witches. Torquemada, an infamous witchhunter and grand Inquisitor, claimed that Diana was Satan."... she was also called Goddess of the Pagans and the Night Goddess...

you just never know where a newsletter will lead... and now i'm off to partake of the 'witches weed'...


Anonymous said...

ah, memories. I'd been initiated into the hemp in herstory connections by an old friend Shona. When she and her partner Aaron ran the Monash Mullers and PAckers union (I was a proud but inept member cause the green weed makes me melancholy) they sponsored JAck Herer to stay in their home so he could talk at the annual Bong Olympics and around campus. I met him at the share house, a man of mighty lung capacity indeed. He left them for dead. And the book is a fascinating study of the death of mainstream hemp usage in everything from paint and cloth to food and medicine. As for the rest of the blog- too much to comment on! cheers from the one who sat on the sidelines but cheered mightily as the majestically HUGE Aaron literally held the police back from the Monash'bong olympics of 1992'.
I also marched many times for legalization, our chant was the very catchy 'it's not wrong to bong'. The cops always thought it hysterical that so many of us would 'lose' the other marchers and meander around the CBD looking for each otehr...but that's just cause we were affable peacable types not into being herded! I'm going anon on this one to protect the innocent lovely people I've named.

Proud Womon said...

you namedropper you!!!

and memories indeed... ahh monash... in the late 70s early
80s - the early 'brann & me' years - we used to make bamboo and coconut bongs and take them to the monash uni market, sell them to one of the stalls, and then amble around the tables in the student cafeteria to see what was on offer - grass (bags, or 'buddha sticks') or hash (black, brown, 'lebanese gold' or oil) - all of the above if we were lucky - it was all so visually enticing, laid out on the tables in clear view - you could try more often than not, and then buy... my, those were the days!!!!