One of the most powerful icons at the Vatican is the Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Emperor Galus, known today by his hated childhood nickname, Caligula, which means “little boot” in Latin. History is written by the winners and just as the Spanish Borgias were savaged by the Italian rivals replacing them, so has Caligula been tarnished by the assassins who took his place.
Did anyone tell you Caligula ended persecution of religion in Rome and allowed the Eastern traditions back into the city to rebuild their temples? He also founded a parade to Isis that quickly became Rome’s favorite annual ceremony, held every March 5th. Isis was adored by the common people because she represented eternal life, having brought the dead Osiris back to life through her mastery of essential plant oils. Many Jewish and Christian myths were built on top of previous ones, either from the south (Egypt) or the north (Scythia), a trail of ceremonial tradition and myth that stretches back deep into the darkness of pre-history.
These myths first emerge in written form in Sumer, present-day Iraq, which is where the Garden of Eden first manifests in history, although the myth likely existed for centuries as a verbal tradition along the so-called Silk Road. And the symbol representing the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Knowledge, which also became known as the Tree of Life.
I don’t know why, but there’s been a tremendous effort to establish this as a reference to a mushroom? Tree…Mushroom…? Sorry, I can’t swallow that disinfo and I firmly believe the Tree of Life is cannabis. This was the central debate Jack Herer and I had for decades, almost from the moment we met as I’d already become convinced Soma from the Rig Veda was cannabis before I met Jack, while he always believed the lie spread by J. P. Morgan’s Vice President Gordon Wasson that Soma was Amanita Muscaria.
Here’s an early Egyptian depiction of the Tree of Life. Notice it creates either a seed oil or some sort of resin pouring into a bowl? Cannabis would have been known not just as a great source of food and seed oil, (and the best source of rope), but also a source of medicine and incense. Cannabis was probably the main ingredient in kyphi.
According to Plutarch, the Temple of Isis burned frankincense at dawn, myrrh at noon, at kyphi at sunset. And what plant do you think would have produced the most powerful incense after frankincense and myrrh? Why do those two resins come down through history without any confusion, while cannabis seems to have disappeared (or been purposely misidentified)? Many shamanic secrets were likely not depicted too close to reality in order to maintain a priesthood monopoly on ceremonial wisdom. So while I believe the Tree of Life is cannabis, I also believe depictions of the plant have been purposely coded and mystified simply because cannabis is the Queen of the Healing Plants and holds more power than any other plant. And to make matters even more difficult, there seem to have been serious attempts over the centuries to muddy these waters even further.
Here’s an earlier, Sumerian depiction of the Tree of Knowledge. You’ll notice the fruit of the tree contains seven segments or divisions and although this highly-stylized drawing looks nothing like a cannabis plant, the seven segments of the fruit may be a crucial clue to the plant’s real identity, as cannabis is famous for having seven fronds.
So seven may sometimes be a reference to cannabis, which would have been known to ancient healers as the number-one wonder medicine available. Seven can also be a reference to the seven chakras, the energy centers of the body. And wouldn’t you know, there’s an elemental power of cannabis that effects every chakra? So ask yourself: if knowledge of cannabis as an essential medicine for healing was known 3,000 years ago, why has it taken so long for this wisdom to re-emerge? Could it be there’s a force that doesn’t want people to have contact with this friendly, non-toxic medicine that can also open third eyes and raise telepathic energies while harmonizing cultures? Why has so much energy been raised to divert people away from user-friendly cannabis to more tricky and mind-bending mushrooms?
So Caligula brought back the worship of Isis to Rome and the two major icons from her temple (the obselisk and the pine cone fountain) ended up being co-opted by the Vatican and are still in ceremonial use today.
And somewhere deep inside the Vatican perhaps some ancient documents exist explaining how to use cannabis for healing and illumination, documents that will likely never see the light of day.
(Excerpted from my book, Magic, Religion & Cannabis, click link below the video to order.)