BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Jan. 17, 2016, Ottawa, ON - Pick up any spiritual text or glossary examining the various world religions, and one underlying, yet overlooked theme becomes undeniably clear: all religion aims to elevate one’s own consciousness and enlighten its practitioners towards a more harmonious perspective and way of living. It just so happens that certain cultures and religions have utilized sacred herbs, or technologies, to elicit these understandings of consciousness more explicitly than others.
Aboriginal peoples had peyote, the yogis of old had soma, the Rastas utilize ganja and the amazonian peoples partake in ayahuasca. The list, I assure you, goes on; but the commonality remains.
The key difference between these religious sects and that of today's uncouth house-party patrons leading to unrequited over-doses is: intention. Recreation versus sacrament. To the pious, these herbs were not a means for play; rather, a method or technique for learning more about themselves and the world around them.
Similar to meditation, trance or mantra (the self-induced forms of elevating one’s own consciousness), the purpose of these sacred technologies was to grow one’s consciousness of understanding and live by a better means through a realized truth of what the word reality really means. To express oneself in better conjunction with both their inner and outer worlds.
Now, I’m not necessarily advocating or pushing for the use of these sacred technologies, as I believe that it takes a thorough understanding and a great teacher in order to use them properly; what I’m saying is that we should begin to question the curious nature of why it is that these sacred technologies were made illegal in the first place, when, for thousands of years, they were used as a means for elevating one’s own perspective and consciousness in conjunction with various prominent world religions. Reaching far beyond the conventional aspirations of "getting high", these religious sects employed these herbs as a means for both healing and teaching.
In fact, recent evidence has shown the beneficial nature of these sacred technologies and the medicinal properties that they provide. Cannabis; Psilocybin; MDMA. Each of these sacred technologies has been found to aid in the treatment of cancer, depression, and PTSD, with staggering success rates. Research conducted and corroborated by Johns Hopkins University.
With so many elevating benefits and medicinal uses, it’s a wonder why any of these sacred plants could have ever achieved such a negative perception in the minds of the public. After all, what better way to police than to police one’s own consciousness?
- But, hey, wait a minute! - Didn’t you just mention various archaic religious systems of collective understanding? How can you actually think that any of these past spiritual doctrines are correct in their rites, rituals and perspectives surrounding our world? Ra. Jesus. Muhammad. Zeus. Buddha. Quetzalcoatl. Each of these great spiritual figures has forged a deep religious trust, complete with followers and disciples both committed and loyal towards their chosen doctrine. Yet, what is the one thing that each of these schools of thought has that both separates and joins these figures by witness of their pious? Belief. Belief is ultimately what drives forward our own call for duty (not Call Of Duty), action and habituation. So, who’s to say that any of these ancient, spiritual paradigms is either right or wrong when belief is the one thing that makes each of these doctrines real in the first place?
Sure, some religious understandings may have been more explicitly aimed at exploring consciousness through the use of these sacred technologies versus more self-induced methods of consciousness expansion, but that doesn’t mean that any one is more right than the other.
There are many paths to the top of the same mountain; just some paths have grown more mushrooms along the way, ripe for the picking.