Is Mount Sinai of the Old Testament a real place? All we know is that Moses got the inspiration to lead his people out of Egypt after traveling to the top of Mount Sinai, where he was confronted by a burning bush that spoke to him with the voice of God. When he came down, he made the first menorah, an oil lamp with seven flames. Later, the menorah would evolve to eight candles, but I wonder if the original seven flames was a reference to the seven points of a cannabis leaf. Later, after the Exodus began, Moses revisited the top of Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets. There has long been dispute over the origins of the words “Mount Sinai.” Some believe it’s a reference to the Sumerian Moon Goddess, others think it must be a volcano. Why volcano? Because Mount Sinai means “smokey mountains,” and its peak is always clouded in smoke, where a fire burns continuously.
I’ve come to believe the smokey mountain of Mount Sinai is actually a reference to cannabis intoxication. It was only after becoming intoxicated with cannabis smoke that Moses received the inspiration to make a menorah and lead his people out of slavery. Today, many people recognize the inspirational powers of cannabis. For example, Carl Sagan attributed some of his important scientific discoveries to inspiration he received after smoking a joint. Louis Armstrong and John Lennon also spoke of the inspirational powers of cannabis. And wherever you find cannabis use, you’ll find spiritual cultures seeking to throw off the chains of oppression, whether it be Rastas in Jamaica or hippies in North America.
Cannabis intoxication began thousands of years ago with the Saka culture from the Black Sea area, a culture that eventually spread from Europe to China to India. The Sakas domesticated horses, built the first covered wagons and spread cannabis seeds wherever they traveled. Their culture had an enormous influence on the development of spirituality around the world, and eventually replaced the concept of a world filled with spirits to a world dominated by a single energy field that flowed through all spirits. But because they had no written language beyond runes, little is known about them other than what outsiders like Herodotus observed.
Check out this incense burner from ancient China. Cannabis incense burners in China were often shaped to look like mountains, and the smoke emanated from holes in the top, as if coming from the top of a mountain. This is probably the Mount Sinai Moses visited. These bronze incense burners could be placed inside small tents in order to fill the tent with smoke. After a few minutes inside, one became intoxicated….or, as Moses would have referred to it….”one felt the power of the Lord…”
Later, cannabis use would change from incense burners in tents to a cannabis-infused milk beverage. This was a more healthy and effective way to consume the medicine. This beverage was called Huma in China, Soma in India, and Haoma in Iran.
In the 1950s, a banker working with J.P. Morgan, then the richest man in the United States, a man with very close ties to the Bank of England, wrote several books stating Soma and Haoma were made from a mushroom, Amanita Muscaria. This rabbit hole may have been created to lead people away from discovering the truth about the origins of cannabis use and its influence on the development of spirituality.
(This blog is an excerpt from my book, Magic, Religion & Cannabis, available as a paperback and on Kindle. Just click the following link.)