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Table of Contents

  1. Cannabis Videos
  2. Christianity
  3. The Holy Bible
  4. Book of Mormon
  5. Islam (Arabic)
  6. Hinduism (India)
  7. Rastafarianism
  8. Shinto (Japan)
  9. Religious Resources

Related Resources

Religion, hemp and marijuana go way back - as in Before Christ (BC) way back. Keep in mind that, like scripture, everything is open to interpretation.

The FIRST Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp paper by Johannes Gutenberg circa 1455, so was the FIRST King James Bible begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

It is said that the Mexican word "marijuana" has a Christian origin. "Maria" (Mary) and "Juan" (John) are the names of the mother and of one disciple of Jesus.

Hemp has an important function in the mythology of Shinto, the "Way of the Gods", as the ancient indigenous religion of Japan is known. Hemp was used to purify, to drive out evil (exorcism). Hemp seeds were used in Shinto marriage ceremonies. In some ceremonies hemp leaves were burnt as an "invitation to the spirits". Even today there are shinto ceremonies at major shrines such as Ise Jingu in Mie prefecture and other shrines that involve the burning of taima (marijuana).

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Religious Use of Cannabis Sativa in Christianity

Moki Peublo - Native American Indian
There are no prohibitions against cannabis stated in the Bible, the holy book of Christians. According to the Book of Genesis which describes the creation of the earth, God created all plants, which would include cannabis. It states specifically that God gave humans "all plants bearing seeds" for their use.

It is said that the Mexican word "marijuana" has a Christian origin. "Maria" (Mary) and "Juan" (John) are the names of the mother and of one disciple of Iesus. When he was crucified they were the only people not to desert him. I think the idea behind this is that marijuana has often been used by poor and disadvantaged people to make tolerable what is otherwise hard to bear.

In many countries marijuana was a drug of the poor (e.g. Jamaica, South Africa, Egypt, USA before 1960s) while rich people drank alcohol. Rich and powerful people have always been suspicious of poor people and their habits.

 

Religious Use of Cannabis Sativa in The Holy Bible

Religion, hemp and marijuana go way back. As in Before Christ (BC) way back. Keep in mind that, like scripture, everything is open to interpretation. The FIRST Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp paper by Johannes Gutenberg circa 1455, so was the King James Bible begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."


GENESIS: CHAPTER 1

1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,
and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself
upon the earth: and it was so.

1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his
kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his
kind: and God saw that it was good.

1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which
is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every
thing that creepeth upon the earth wherein there is life, I have given every
green herb for meat: and it was so.

1:31 And God saw ever thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

 

The Book of Mormon: Doctrine & Covenants

89:8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and
is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle,
to be used with judgement and skill.

89:10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath
ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man~

89:11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season
thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving;

89:12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord,
have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless
they are to be used sparingly.

 

Religious Use of Cannabis Sativa in Islam

The Koran prohibits Muslims from drinking wine but it does not specifically mention any other intoxicants. While some Muslim liberals say that what the prophet really objected to was drunkenness, i.e. excessive drinking, other, very conservative scholars claim that the prohibition encompasses various kinds of substances, from opium to coffee. Hemp was prohibited in Egypt on that basis, and so was coffee in the Ottoman Turkish empire (see A Chronology of Psychoactive Substance Use). In 1925 the Egyptian government asked England to support adding Indian hemp to an international list of substances to be controlled. The Egyptian government was opposed to alcohol too, but that was not made illegal in Western countries. Opposition to cannabis on religious grounds in Islamic countries has essentially been based on narrow-minded dogma that seeks to regulate all private pleasure in the name of religion.

Many Islamic societies were tolerant of cannabis until international politics forced them to copy western prohibition laws. In Morocco cannabis became illegal in 1960 because the government was bribed through large payments from foreign governments. The new law hasn't stopped the cultivation, it has simply allowed the government and its officials to accepts bribes from both sides. Cannabis from Morrocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Persia (Iran), Afghanistan and India was widely used in the Muslim world. Soldiers of Napoleon Bonaparte brought back hashish from a war in Egypt to 19th century France. The Mogul emperors of India who left us the beautiful Taj Mahal were cannabis smokers too.

Cannabis is still widely grown and used in Islamic countries, from the "kif" plantations of the Rif mountains in Morrocco to the jungles of Aceh in Indonesia. Even draconic laws at certain times and in certain countries have not been able to stamp out the custom.

 

Religious Use of Cannabis Sativa in Hinduism

There is so much to be said about Cannabis in Indian religion that we recommend studying the corresponding chapter of the Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, published by the British government when India was one of its colonies:

 

Religious Use of Cannabis Sativa in Rastafarianism

Rastafarianism is a biblical religion originating from Jamaica and the Caribbean. It was popularized across the world by reggae musicians, including Bob Marley (1945-1981). Cannabis was introduced into Jamaica by Asian Indian plantation workers brought there to work the sugar plantations after the end of slavery. Marijuana is still known by it's Indian name "ganja" in Jamaica. Rastafarians consider smoking marijuana a sacrament, like eating bread and drinking wine is during mass in Christianity. As Rastafarianism has been more accepted into the mainstream of Jamaican culture and has gained respect, the push for legalisation of ganja in Jamaica has grown in strength.

A 1975 study by Rubin and Comitas, "Ganja in Jamaica" found no demonstratable negative effects of cannabis use in Jamaica. Users were socially well integrated, productive and healthy.

 

Religious Use of Cannabis Sativa in Japan

Hemp has an important function in the mythology of Shinto, the "Way of the Gods", as the ancient indigenous religion of Japan is known. Hemp was used to purify, to drive out evil (exorcism). Hemp seeds were used in Shinto marriage ceremonies. In some ceremonies hemp leaves were burnt as an "invitation to the spirits". (Moore) Even today there are shinto ceremonies at major shrines such as Ise Jingu in Mie prefecture and other shrines that involve the burning of taima (marijuana).

The priests' clothes were made from hemp linen and and bell ropes in shrines (see image to the right) were made from hemp too. Hemp for bell ropes is still grown in Nagano prefecture today. Several hemp fields are cultivated on Shikoku (one of the four main islands of Japan) to make ceremonial linen clothes for the Imperial family and for Shinto priests.

Hemp fiber attached to a wooden stick called a gohei is used in Shinto cleansing ceremonies, such as Shichigosan. Hemp ropes and hemp paper are often seen as decorations in shrines as they are believed to keep away evil.

At Japanese weddings so called Shishimai dragon dances are sometimes performed. The thick white "hair" of these dragons is hemp fiber, and so is the "hair" of fox masks and other costumes worn at o-matsuri (festivals). The heavy carts pulled trough villages in o-matsuri are pulled on hemp ropes.

Believers in Shinto sought the protection of a certain group of gods, the Sahe no Kami: "Travellers prayed to them before setting out on a journey and made a little offering of hemp leaves and rice to each one they passed." (Moore) We are not surprised that rice was a standard travel fare, but this passage tells us that medieval Japanese used to travel carrying hemp leaves, nowadays called marijuana. If travellers were to practice their religion this way today they could face as much as 5 years in prison.

"Another Shinto tale tells that every October, all the dieties from around Japan gather at a sacred site in rural Shimane prefecture (Sea of Japan side of Honshu, south of Tottori) at Japan's largest jinja (shrine) called Iizumo taisha. During this month, the rest of the nation is left unprotected from calamity while the Gods hold a harvest and match-making ritual celebration. Shimane-ken is far out of the way of any urban center and, besides being "Home of the Gods," it was the home to bounteous hemp harvests up until about 50 years ago."

 

Resources about Hemp in Religion

"Marijuana and the Bible..."

"Southern Baptists Against AMA's New Marijuana Policy..."

"Shiva is the oldest known godhead figure in the world..."

"Hemp has an important function in the mythology of Shinto..."

"Hemp was traditionally used by Shinto priests..."

"To the Hindu the hemp plant is holy..."

"The Scythians: High Plains Drifters..."

"Wicca, the religion..."

 

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