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Re: [sig] Use of Intoxicants in Indo-European Religious Practice

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  • Dawn aka Achaxe
    Greetings Jade: The use of hallucinogens to enhance spiritual experiences is common to many ancient cultures. Scytho-Sarmatian cultures (700bc-200bc or so)used
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 9, 2001
      Greetings Jade:
      The use of hallucinogens to enhance spiritual experiences is common to
      many ancient cultures. Scytho-Sarmatian cultures (700bc-200bc or so)used
      Cannabis in some sort of ritualistic way. Herodotus documents this in his
      Histories, saying "the scythians howled with delight" after inhaling steam
      from the burning plant. Rudenko and other archeologists have found small
      braziers with scorched hemp seeds in them, and a teepee frame with felt (or
      leather) appliqu�d covering, to support Herodotus' accounts. Imagine a small
      teepee, about 6' high, with a small brazier (in which hemp burned)set in the
      middle of it. One would stick one's head into the opening of the teepee and
      inhale deeply of the vapors, to promote spiritual visions or hallucinations.

      For further information on this subject as it relates to "ancient cultures
      of eastern europe", I would also suggest you do some research into the
      ancient Zoroastrian faith. Their use of an hallucinogenic substance they
      called "soma" in rituals has been related by some to the Scythian use of
      marijuana. There are many varied opinions on what exactly Soma was made
      with, whether it be cannabis, a mushroom, other herbs, or some combination.
      There have also been finds of ritual use of herbs that did not have any
      hallucinogenic properties. For example, residue of ma huang, a stimulant
      often used in china (ancient and modern day) has been found both in
      combination with valerian,(a hallucinogen) and on its own. The theory is
      that as populations and cultures migrated into different areas, supplies of
      plants, herbs or mushrooms that were easily obtainable in one geographical
      area, became scarce in another, and a substitute had to be found for the
      rituals, or done without.
      I fear I have begun to blather on about this. There are many resources on
      this subject out there, and the more you read about ancient cultures in
      specific, the more information you will unearth. ;-)
      I hope these words have been in some way helpful.
      Achaxe


      >Subject: [sig] Use of Intoxicants in Indo-European Religious Practice
      >Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 19:29:32 -0800
      >
      >Hello list members,
      >
      >
      > > I've recently been reading some archaeological papers concerning digs in
      >Eastern Europe. It seems that they are finding large quantities of hemp
      >residue in what are thought to be ritual sites. Evidence seems to be
      >pointing to the ancient Slavs having been heavy consumers of "herb" for
      >religious purposes.
      > > Anyone else know of similar practices in your cultures?
      >
      >my appologies to those of you who have recieved this post multiple
      >times...I
      >am interested in this topic and wanted to check to see if anyone else had
      >heard of Slavs using hemp for religeous purposes...the idea of ancient
      >Slavs being a bunch of pot-heads is funny to me (no offense intended! ;)
      >and
      >I have never heard of this.
      >~Jade
      >


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    • Jenne Heise
      ... The Scythians (who were not Slavs, as far as I know) were known for using indian hemp as an intoxicant-- they supposedly closed themselves up in a tent
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
        > > I've recently been reading some archaeological papers concerning digs in
        > Eastern Europe. It seems that they are finding large quantities of hemp
        > residue in what are thought to be ritual sites. Evidence seems to be
        > pointing to the ancient Slavs having been heavy consumers of "herb" for
        > religious purposes.
        > > Anyone else know of similar practices in your cultures?

        The Scythians (who were not Slavs, as far as I know) were known for using
        indian hemp as an intoxicant-- they supposedly closed themselves up in a
        tent with burning hemp.

        However, I don't find any mention of burnt hemp (or hemp ashes) in
        books and articles in English covering Eastern Europe in period.

        Certainly hemp was widely used as a cloth and for food in Central and
        Eastern Europe in period: what do the books mean by 'hemp residue'?

        --
        Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise jenne@...
        disclaimer: i speak for no-one and no-one speaks for me.
        "So we gathered up our differences and threw them in the air
        And gave them to the wind that shakes the barley..."
      • MHoll@aol.com
        I have never come across any mention of hemp used as intoxicant in any sources. Hemp was used, even in the early XX century, in the south of Russia, much as
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
          I have never come across any mention of hemp used as intoxicant in any
          sources.

          Hemp was used, even in the early XX century, in the south of Russia, much as
          linen was used in the north. Hemp produced cloth (both fine and coarse),
          rope, etc. Climate and soil conditions determined where linen was grown and
          where hemp was cultivated.

          On the other hand, the Russian Chronicles, for one, denounce drunkenness in
          ways that seem to imply that ritual drunkenness was a part of pre-Christian
          religious observances, as well as dancing and singing. The Domostroi also
          takes dim view of these things, suggesting that they were still practiced in
          the XV century, at least.

          But no hemp.

          Predslava
        • Jenne Heise
          ... A potent brew made from birch sap and various additives for beer to make it stronger (which might have produced psychoactive effects) seem to indicate that
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
            > On the other hand, the Russian Chronicles, for one, denounce drunkenness in
            > ways that seem to imply that ritual drunkenness was a part of pre-Christian
            > religious observances, as well as dancing and singing. The Domostroi also
            > takes dim view of these things, suggesting that they were still practiced in
            > the XV century, at least.

            A potent brew made from birch sap and various additives for beer to make
            it stronger (which might have produced psychoactive effects) seem to
            indicate that the favored intoxicant was alcohol.

            --
            Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise jenne@...
            disclaimer: i speak for no-one and no-one speaks for me.
            "So we gathered up our differences and threw them in the air
            And gave them to the wind that shakes the barley..."
          • Alastair Millar
            ... ancient ... Which sites? And what, exactly, is meant by hemp residue ? How is it preserved? and where? If this refers to the results of chemical analyses
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
              >It seems that they are finding large quantities of hemp residue in what
              >are thought to be ritual sites. Evidence seems to be pointing to the
              ancient
              >Slavs having been heavy consumers of "herb" for religious purposes.

              Which sites?
              And what, exactly, is meant by "hemp residue"? How is it preserved? and
              where?
              If this refers to the results of chemical analyses of residual material on
              the walls of ceramic vessels, then the 'large quantities' claim is
              immediately put into doubt...

              I'm also intrigued to know from what parts of pagan Slavic sanctuaries
              (which tended to be large-ish, open-air things) these "residues" came. If,
              as I suspect, the evidence is actually from vessels retrieved from burials,
              then the assumption of a religious connection is just that - an assumption,
              not supported by clear evidence.

              There is certainly _other_ archaeological evidence (which I'll look up the
              references for when I'm back in the office with my books) that the
              Scythians inhaled hemp - censers - but as far as I know no such objects
              have been found on pagan Slavic sites. I'll be happy for someone to correct
              me if I'm wrong, of course, but there is no strong belief in this part of
              the Slavic world that their predecessors were heavy consumers (tho' I make
              no comment when it comes to some of my archaeological colleagues...)

              There IS, however, a growing body of feeling that the distinctive shapes
              adopted by Celtic art were designed to be appreciated under the influence
              of drugs; those who have experimented claim that when under the influence,
              these shapes seem to move... As I recall, though, the evidence here is from
              narcotic residues (presumably from mushrooms) on grindstones, rather than
              for hemp consumption.

              Be careful, by the way, in what is translated (technically correctly) into
              English as "hemp" - it may just be the (non-cannabis) fibrous stuff that
              rope is made out of! Example: I know of a Palaeolithic site in Moravia
              where burnt clay contained "hemp impressions" that were the equivalent of
              string.

              Yours aye

              Alastair

              ---------------------------
              Alastair Millar, BSc(Hons)
              Consultancy and translation for the heritage industry
              e-mail: alastair@..., http://www.skriptorium.cz
              P.O.Box 685, CZ 111 21 Prague 1, Czech Republic
            • VDNovach@aol.com
              For on thing Hemp as you all may or may not know is made from a different part of the marijuana plant than the smoked drug. And I have some knowledge of
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
                For on thing Hemp as you all may or may not know is made from a different
                part of the marijuana plant than the smoked drug. And I have some knowledge
                of Archaeology and Anthropology. I know that some pagan cultures gave as
                offerings to their deities. The Norse gave burnt offerings of unknown
                substances to their Deities. It is possible that other cultures did equally
                do the same I do not know of thw source of these findings of which are being
                spoke of but would like to know more.


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • douglas petroff
                Just as an aside, I do not believe there is a difference between rope hemp and the more adventurous sort, other than one is male and the other is female. uses
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
                  Just as an aside, I do not believe there is a difference between rope hemp and the more adventurous sort, other than
                  one is male and the other is female. uses may include cordage, sealants ala oakum, or any type of sweetgrass incense,
                  not unlike the plains Indians. A very useful plant, as it was grown in the US since colonial times"not just for stoners"
                  Sergei B. >
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                • VDNovach@aol.com
                  There is definitely it is part of the same plant but does not give the high [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 10, 2001
                    There is definitely it is part of the same plant but does not give the high


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Jenne Heise
                    ... Um. Hemp is made by retting the fibers of the leaves of the cannabis plant, I was under the impression that the part of the plant that is currently smoked
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 11, 2001
                      > For on thing Hemp as you all may or may not know is made from a different
                      > part of the marijuana plant than the smoked drug.

                      Um. Hemp is made by retting the fibers of the leaves of the cannabis
                      plant, I was under the impression that the part of the plant that is
                      currently smoked was the leaves. Hashish is the resin produced by the
                      plants but I'm told it's a bit different? However, before the turn of this
                      century herbals referred to two strains or varieties of hemp, marijuana
                      being 'cannibis indica' and hemp being cannabis sativa. Now biologists
                      classify them as the same strain but one wonders whether 'cannabis indica'
                      was a specialty variety bred by the Arabs for its intoxicating properties?

                      --
                      Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise jenne@...
                      disclaimer: i speak for no-one and no-one speaks for me.
                      "My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect
                      you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies
                      you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will
                      sicken and die of them, still in silence?" -- Audre Lourde
                    • Jade
                      ... different ... Sometimes the leaf is smoked, but I am told that this is an inferiour product to the flower buds. It is usually the buds that are smoked...up
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 11, 2001
                        > > For on thing Hemp as you all may or may not know is made from a
                        different
                        > > part of the marijuana plant than the smoked drug.
                        >
                        > Um. Hemp is made by retting the fibers of the leaves of the cannabis
                        > plant, I was under the impression that the part of the plant that is
                        > currently smoked was the leaves. Hashish is the resin produced by the
                        > plants but I'm told it's a bit different?

                        Sometimes the leaf is smoked, but I am told that this is an inferiour
                        product to the flower buds. It is usually the buds that are smoked...up here
                        in Alaska a variety of cannabis with very high levels of THC is produced in
                        the Matanuska-Susitna valley called "Matanuska Thunder *uck"....so named
                        because of the strength of it's narcotic and hallucinagenic effects. There's
                        a local producer of catnip with high essential oil content in it that
                        markets itself as Matanuska Thunder Struck...cats like to get high too, I
                        guess.
                        ~Jade
                      • Marilee Humason
                        ... Marijuana. Is there something we should all know about you guys???? Just kidding!!!! B. Anastasia ... told that ...
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 12, 2001
                          --- Jade <jadedusoleil@...> wrote:
                          > This is scary that you guys know so much about
                          Marijuana. Is there something we should all know about
                          you guys???? Just kidding!!!!
                          B. Anastasia
                          >
                          > > > > the plant that is
                          > > currently smoked was the leaves. Hashish is the
                          > resin produced by the
                          > > plants > Sometimes the leaf is smoked, but I am
                          told that
                          > this is an inferiour
                          > product to the flower buds. >
                          >
                          >
                          >


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                        • Jenne Heise
                          ... According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (look-- I m woefully ignorant about this sort of thing, so I have to go to the reference books): Marijuana,
                          Message 12 of 13 , Dec 12, 2001
                            > > > > > the plant that is
                            > > > currently smoked was the leaves. Hashish is the
                            > > resin produced by the
                            > > > plants > Sometimes the leaf is smoked, but I am
                            > told that
                            > > this is an inferiour
                            > > product to the flower buds. >
                            > >

                            According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (look-- I'm woefully ignorant
                            about this sort of thing, so I have to go to the reference books):

                            "Marijuana, hashish, charas, ghanja, bhang, kef, and dagga are
                            names that have been applied to various varieties and preparations
                            of the hemp plant. Hashish, named after the Persian founder of the
                            Assassins of the 11th century (Hasan-e Sabbah), is the most potent
                            of the cannabis preparations, being about eight times as strong as
                            the marijuana used in the United States. Very few geographic
                            areas are capable of producing a plant rich enough in resins to
                            produce hashish. Unless sifted and powdered, hashish appears in a
                            hardened, brownish form with the degree of darkness indicating
                            strength. The North African either eats it in a confection or smokes
                            it, the water pipe often being used to cool the smoke. The effects
                            are more difficult to regulate when hashish is either ingested as a
                            confection or drunk. In India, this resinous preparation of cannabis
                            is called charas.

                            Ghanja is a less active form of cannabis. Whereas hashish and
                            charas are made from the pure resin, ghanja is prepared from the
                            flowering tops, stems, leaves, and twigs, which have less resin and
                            thus less potency. Ghanja is nevertheless one of the more potent
                            forms of cannabis. It is prepared from specially cultivated plants in
                            India, and the flowering tops have a relatively generous resinous
                            exudate. Ghanja is consumed much in the manner of charas.

                            Bhang is the least potent of the cannabis preparations used in India.
                            It does not contain the flowering tops found in ghanja. As a result,
                            bhang contains only a small amount of resin (5 percent). It is either
                            drunk or smoked. When drunk, the leaves are reduced to a fine
                            powder, brewed, and then filtered for use. Bhang is also drunk in
                            Hindu religious ceremonials.

                            Marijuana is the variety of cannabis grown in the Western
                            Hemisphere. Considered mild in comparison to other forms of
                            cannabis, it is similar in potency to the bhang used in India.
                            Typically, it is smoked, but occasionally it is brewed as a tea or
                            baked into cakes. Marijuana varies considerably in potency."


                            --
                            Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise jenne@...
                            disclaimer: i speak for no-one and no-one speaks for me.
                            "My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect
                            you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies
                            you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will
                            sicken and die of them, still in silence?" -- Audre Lourde
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