Cannabis Ritual: Smoking Weed for Spiritual Growth
Magic Mushrooms, Ayahuasca, 5-MEO-DMT and Peyote (Mescaline). By now you've likely heard of at least two of these ancient psychedelics being used in contemporary times for deep inner transformation.
Whether you have a friend who's visited Peru to undergo a traditional Ayahuasca ceremony or friends eating copious amounts of mushrooms in the forest claiming to have communicated with advanced intelligence from an alien dimension, the popularity of these substances has exploded in recent years due to their rediscovery as tools for inner healing and exploration of consciousness.
Perhaps trapped by the stigma of stoner-culture, humble Cannabis doesn't seem to be receiving the same recognition as a serious tool for spiritual growth despite being one of the first used psychoactive substance known to man.
Cannabis use is anything but a modern trend. Dating as far back as 8000BC, cannabis was revered for it's powerful ability to cure number of ailments in ancient Chinese medicine and as a powerful spiritual tool that allowed humans to connect with divine realms beyond ordinary consciousness in ancient Indian.
Don't get us wrong, we love smoking a joint and kicking back to some mindless entertainment once in a while, however in this article we aim to outline some ways you can elevate your cannabis use to Ritual or Ceremony status and uncover some incredibly beneficial properties for your mind, body and soul.
Entheogenic Use of Cannabis
Entheogens are psychoactive substances that induce alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behaviour for the purposes of spiritual development or otherwise in sacred/religious contexts.
Magic Mushrooms, Ayahuasca, 5-MEO-DMT and Peyote (Mescaline) are all common entheogens used throughout history by cultures across the globe.
The use of cannabis originated in central Asia or western China. The first documented case of its use dates back to 2800 BC, when it was listed in the Emperor Shen Nung's (regarded as the father of Chinese medicine) pharmacopoeia.
In the Ancient Indian religious texts known as the "Vedas", written between 2000 BC and 1400 BC, cannabis was described as a “source of happiness”, a “joy-giver”, and “bringer of freedom” that was compassionately given to humans by the gods to relieve them from anxiety and help them achieve delight, as well as fearlessness.
Also noteworthy during this period is its usage by the ancient Egyptians, with the medical text known as the Ebers Papyrus from 1550 BC detailing its usage for treating inflammation.
A little later on during the Greek and Roman period around 450-200 BC, cannabis was widely prescribed to sooth pain from toothaches and earaches, with Roman women among elite circles reportedly using it to alleviate labor pains.
Cannabis Ritual 101
Many of the ancient rituals surrounding Cannabis use have not made it through the sands of time for us to replicate, so we intend to set up a basic ritual structure using fundamental ceremony principles that will act as a framework for you to embellish with your own personal flavour or direction.
Create a relaxed and safe set/setting
Set and setting refer to the nature of one's mental state (set) and physical environment (setting) prior to consuming a psychoactive substance. A feeling of safety, calm and openness are imperative to a fruitful cannabis ceremony.
Take some time to ensure that you won't be distracted during your ceremony, or at least minimize this possibility and be ready to accept the possibility of distractions and meet them with a feeling of acceptance and equanimity if they do arise.
Some ideas for creating a soothing and conducive setting:
- Dim/Ambient lighting (candles or soft warm lights)
- Relaxing/Meditative music (John Hopkins Medical School has a playlist on Spotify they use during their Psilocybin Mushroom sessions which is fantastic)
- Incense or essential oils which you find pleasant or induce a feeling of calm
- Religious/Spiritual iconography, this can be crystals, statues, pictures of your guru or someone you revere as a wise being.. anything which may induce thoughts/feelings of higher consciousness and peace/security
- Comfortable clothing and a pillow/blanket always come in handy
Intention is arguably the cornerstone of any ritual or ceremony as seen throughout millennia in most cultures. Setting intention simply involves explicitly outlining what you wish to experience and/or achieve throughout and as a result of the ritual.
The importance of this process can be understood if we use the analogy of programming a computer. Before we enter an altered state we deliberately condition/program our conscious and subconscious mind with our intended goal.
The subconscious mind has infinite organizing ability, if we provide it with a vision of the end destination it will work in the background to find a way to reach it (this could be seen as a large proponent of what many call "manifestation" programming our subconscious to lead us towards taking action in the direction of a desired object or outcome).
Some examples of an intention for a cannabis ceremony may be to:
- Uncover the negative thought processes and belief systems which are preventing me from experiencing self-acceptance and self-love on a daily basis
- To gain clarity and understanding of where I wish to direct my life's work and purpose, what actionable steps are needed to make this new direction a reality
- Contemplate the nature of consciousness and reality as I experience it, open-ended exploration of the mechanics behind all of creation
Once you have decided upon an intention you can choose to write it down and/or repeat it to yourself as if it were a mantra, gently meditating on it as a concept. This is the programming aspect and we would recommend doing this step consciously and with focus.
Show some Gratitude
Before we consume the sacrament it's always a beautiful gesture and positively programs our mind (practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to boost serotonin levels in human brains) to direct some gratitude towards the cannabis plant we are about to consume.
If you're new to consciously practicing gratitude it's a fantastic way to increase our general mood and has been scientifically proven to increase serotonin levels in human brains (the hormone responsible for feelings of love, happiness and contentment).
Simply look at the form of cannabis you are about to consume and contemplate how incredible it is that nature has designed this perfect herb that we can use to heighten our consciousness and in-turn the level of joy and satisfaction we can experience on a day-to-day basis.
Many individuals are already aware of their tolerance to cannabis and will be able to ascertain their own dosage. For those new to this plant we recommend starting slow and increasing as needed, as is recommended with any plant medicine.
As someone who has always been extremely sensitive to cannabis, with an inclination towards anxious thought loops and mild paranoia if my dosage is too high, I can not recommend having CBD oil or a CBD vape on hand enough. CBD acts as an anti-psychotic with a proven ability to reduce anxiety and the mitigate any negative side effects of THC you may encounter.
In many traditions a shaman is employed in a ritual or ceremony to guide the experience in the right direction through the singing of icaros "medicine music" or other traditional practices.
We're assuming like us you don't have a shaman on-hand, so go ahead and use some self-guided techniques such as mediation or breathwork to guide the experience in the direction of your choosing.
Remember that often with plant-medicine the less we "try" the better, if you subscribe to the belief that these plants contain a spirit of their own you can relax into the knowledge that this medicine knows exactly what you need and will guide you in the right direction.
Often all you have to do is "get out of your own way" in which case simply following your breath or mentally repeating a simple mantra such as "Om Namah Shivaya" may prove enough to focus your mind and allow the medicine to do it's work.
Contemplate and Integrate
You've had the experience and you're now filled with more questions than when you entered, perfect! Right down everything you experienced and felt, allow yourself to non-judgmentally contemplate what came up and expand on it when you see fit in your journal.
Amidst your personal discourse we encourage writing down actionable items that are tangible and can be executed upon. These may not always be physical things, they can be things such as "being conscious of my emotional reactions and redirecting the energy of my anger towards understanding and compassion". This ensures that the lessons we have encountered on our medicine journey are alchemized into a positive shift in our day-to-day consciousness rather than remaining a fleeting sense of enlightenment.
We hope you were able to gleam some insight into how you can take your Cannabis use to a new level and start exploring the transformative capabilities this plant has to offer.
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