Shall we take some time this week to discuss the real reason for the season – the winter solstice? OK, the Return of the Light here in the Northern Hemisphere may be a bit conceptually remote to fit within the framework of modern American life, so perhaps we should jump through human history to the layer of Christianity that has been superimposed over the older pagan sun worship festival. Let’s talk about Jesus – the guy who said that “the Kingdom of God is within” each of us.
Hometown: Nazareth, Galilee (now the largest city and capital of the Northern District of Israel, where some of the best cannabis research on the planet is currently happening)
Not born in December.
Not pronounced “Hay Zeus”.
Son of Mary (a Great Mother archetype reborn from the old religions to dovetail with the culture built around a Middle Eastern sun god called “I Am Who I Am” who had risen to great prominence).
Historical name Yeshua, a child born of the lineage of the Hebrew King David through the forefathers of Joseph, his father.
Middle name not beginning with the letter H. I don’t know where he picked up “Harold” as a possible middle name, but I am willing to wager my favorite earthly possession, my wood stove, that it was not, in fact, the additional moniker his mother added when she was angry with him. In that same vein, I am here to report that “Christ” was, you guessed it, not his surname, but rather a title and it is in this title that we draw our cannabis connection.
Kaneh Bosm (the letter m at the end indicates the plural); kaneh bos = cannabis (how’s that for a homophone?), the ancient Hebrew anointing oil from the Old Testament days of Moses through the time of Saul and David. It’s a mixture within which, according to ancient recipes, two gallons of olive oil would include more than 10 pounds of the fragrant flowering tops of the cannabis plant along with a variety of other aromatic herbs and spices including frankincense, myrrh (sound familiar?), and cinnamon. Those chosen as anointed ones (which translated from the Hebrew for “messiah” to the Greek “christos”) would be literally drenched in this oil, as Jesus was believed by some to be by John the Baptist, an undertaking which is noted in Biblical accounts to create an intense psychological experience likened to a “descending of the spirit” upon the likes of Jesus and Saul, each of whom lit out to the desert to be alone for an extended period following their kaneh bos experiences.
Much of the information regarding the anointing of Jesus with this cannabis oil is derived from the Gnostic tradition, a an early Christian sect (whose Gospel of Thomas holds a place among the oldest surviving Christian texts) with some opinions regarding the historical role of Jesus that diverge from what has come to be considered mainstream Christianity, the tradition that derives from the Roman Catholic Church and the splintering which occurred as a result of the Reformation; they believed that baptism by water was an essentially empty act and preferred anointing as their method of initiation.
Part of Jesus’ running afoul of the Hebrew power structure of his day could have been his decision to not only undertake this initiation (part of older, banned traditions) but to then use the oil to heal, treating conditions like epilepsy, seen then as demonic possession, and skin diseases (stop me when this sounds familiar).
As we celebrate this Season of the Return of the Light, let’s consider the idea that Yeshua, the Anointed of Nazareth was one of us, a man who learned by way of the entheogenic properties of cannabis and, in that blissful connected state that we gain by the grace of Merry Jane, reach out and touch the Kingdom Within.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].