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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Holy Moses!

"As he lay there, dying in the sun, the sand of desert all around him, Petaris spoke to the rock, not with his lips, but with his mind, and the rock wept tears of fresh water and his thirst was quenched." - Origin

"Moses 'looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed,'" Shanon quotes from Exodus 3:2. Time passes differently when under the influence of the plant, he notes. "That's why Moses thought the bush was not consumed. It should have been burned in the time he thought had passed. And in that time, he heard God speaking to him." - The Bible


High on Mount Sinai, Moses was high on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claims in a study published this week.

The substance is a drink called Ayahuasca, and is today still used by Amazonians in Brazil for their religious rituals.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy. The professor came up with the theory when reading the Bible and deciding the events described were similar to visions he had after trying this drink 15 years ago.

"The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon," he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to "see music."

Shanon, former head of the Hebrew University psychology department, said his first experience with ayahuasca was in 1991 when he was invited to a religious ceremony in the northern Amazon in 1991 in Brazil. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," he says. Since that time, he has used it hundreds of times, and has published a book about the plant.

"Hypotheses have been around for 20 years connecting the beginning of religions with psychoactive materials," Shanon says. He believes the Israelites used two plants in Sinai and the Negev: one of them is wild rue, a hallucinogen used by the Bedoin to this day. However this plant is not identified with any plant mentioned in the Bible.

The acacia tree also has psychedelic properties, Shanon says, which the Israelites could have used. The acacia is mentioned frequently in the Bible, and was the type of wood of which the Ark of the Covenant was made. According to Shanon, he drank a potion prepared from a species of acacia while he was in South America, which caused similar experiences to those produced by the ayahuasca.

Desert Girl, from Kuwait, just got stoned. Before jumping to conclusions, read this post.

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