Living in the 21st century, we dare to think of ourselves as the generations of highly advanced, prosperous, and intelligent human beings who are blessed with numerous benefits that our ancestors could only dream of.
However, trapped in the busy pace of life, we also tend to forget that we would have never made it to the 21st century if it wasn’t for the people who inhabited Earth long before we were born.
What’s more, it is important to highlight that the mighty ancient civilizations were well-familiar with the health and mental benefits of cannabis use. As a comparison, we are still at the very start of expanding our collective understanding, awareness, and acceptance of using weed for both medical, as well as recreational purposes. This is exactly why it is worth getting acquainted with the way cannabis plants were treated and utilized for their sacred powers by the ancient folks.
Cannabis and Spirituality: It is Written in the Stars…
One of the best ways to change the unfair, ugly, ruthless marijuana stigma that somehow continues to linger in the air is to look deeper at the legacy the ancient civilizations have left behind for us to learn from.
Because, even though we should not stick with what happened in the past and we should always look for new horizons and new discoveries, we cannot possibly neglect the lessons we can embrace in order to grow and develop by exploring the profound, infinite wisdom of the ancient folks.
If nowadays we are proud to think of ourselves as the generations who are soon about to tame the wind and water to produce 100% clean, green energy, and if we are proud to think of ourselves as the generations who are soon about to conquer space, and if we are proud to think of ourselves as the generations who are the first ones to have an endless source of information available at the very tips of our fingers, then we must also not forget that the most essential things in life are actually the ones that remain invisible to the eye.
The divine, invisible forces of the Universe are hidden deeply in your consciousness, and it is only through an increased understanding of spirituality how one can learn to tune in with the infinite intelligence of the Universe.
And while the mighty ancient civilizations did not have access to the cut-edge technologies we currently have in our modern-day world, they did have access to the most advanced “technologies” that will ever exist.
These “technologies” were not man-made but instead, they have always existed in the boundless Cosmos. As it turns out, these ancient “technologies” might be the key to decoding the secrets of the Heavens because it was through these “technologies” how the mighty ancient civilizations managed to understand the cycle of Life in a superbly intimate, highly enlightened way by being able to interpret the “language” of the Stars, the animals, and the plants.
Sadly, in present days, we seem to have long forgotten that we, humans, are an intricate part of the living nature, and not separate from it. But the following decades are about to make us learn that mankind cannot possibly exist in the absence of living nature.
On the search for the long-lost balance with Mother Nature, one misunderstood plant the cannabis plant has been patiently holding ancient messages which were written somewhere in the Stars. Yet, we have forgotten that we are nothing more but stardust.
The 5 mighty ancient civilizations that were well familiar with the health and mental benefits of cannabis use can teach us incredible lessons about spirituality, as well as living in peace, balance, and harmony with the wildlife creatures.
But even more importantly, comprehending that these ancient civilizations treasured cannabis as a pure gift from the living nature that serves as a bridge from the visible to the invisible realms can help us realize how cannabis consumption should be treated in our highly advanced society. Because, despite calling ourselves highly advanced, it really seems that we are lacking far, far behind in our development, at least when it comes to the relationship and attitude we share with and towards cannabis spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Cannabis &the Ancient Scythians
The Scythians are often depicted as blood-thirsty barbarians. But the truth is, there is much more about the ancient Scythians that is worth focusing on than their undisputable status of fierce warriors.
The Scythians were masters of fine golden artwork. Originally inhabiting what is now Southern Siberia, the Scythian culture flourished within the period of between 900 BC and 200 BC. Their elaborate golden artwork is estimated by some of the most highly respected historians as having a profound effect on the art of ancient Europe, as well as to the art of ancient China.
Yet it was not only the extraordinary masterpieces of golden artwork that the Scythians are well-known for. It was none other but the Scythians to bring marijuana from Central Asia to Eastern Europe and Egypt. Because of this, some experts humorously call the Scythians the first weed dealers.
In fact, cannabis was a huge part of the Scythian belief system, as studies have confirmed that soothsayers used cannabis in order to reach a trance-like state, as well as divination.
More solid evidence regarding the Scythians’ understanding and praise of marijuana comes from an ancient Scythian grave where archeologists found a stash of the herb. The marijuana stash was placed right next to the buried man’s head, and historians further claim the Scythians chose this particular placement as they believed that weed can ease the man’s passing into the afterlife (and possibly save him some headaches, right?)
It is important to highlight that Scythians’ burial practices were very elaborate. No objects could end up as part of someone’s burial if these objects or items were not saturated with a highly, profoundly spiritual meaning. For instance, in the grave of a Scythian nobility, archeologists found 400 horses which were buried in a geometric pattern. In a demonstration of their sorrow, the mourners would often cut off parts of their ears.
But what’s more, in one of the invaluable texts that Herodotus himself wrote about the Scythians, there is a description of a ritual which is only fair to refer to as the most ancient hotboxing style.
According to Herodotus’ writings, right after a burial, the Scythians would throw various parts of the cannabis plant onto red-hot stones. They did so in a very special manner which resulted in creating so much steam that Herodotus wrote no Greek vapor-bath could be ever capable of surpassing it. Finally, the Scythians would “howl in their joy” and “shout aloud” thanks to their indigenous vapor-bath, or the most ancient way of cannabis hotboxing. Well, this kind of explains how they managed to bear the pain from cutting portions of their ears as a sign of mourning, doesn’t it?
Cannabis and the Ancient Thracians
The ancient Thracians used to inhabit vast territories of the land of nowadays Eastern and Southern Europe.The Thracians belong to some of the least studied civilizations despite the fact that they are also known to be among the oldest civilizations established between 10 000 BC and keeping their positions strong up until about 1st century AD.
While Thracians were often described as ferocious, bloodthirsty warriors they were also highly advanced in terms of spirituality.
To illustrate this better, did you know that the Thracians were the ones who are believed to have used the world’s oldest writing system?
Indeed, the Thracians were stunningly advanced, or at least this is what the latest excavations in the Valley of the Thracian Kings in Central Bulgaria, Eastern Europe have revealed.
The land where the Thracians’ civilization is believed to have reached its most glorious years is also the homeland of unique golden treasures found in the Black Sea Coast city of Varna. Estimated to be 7000 years old, the Varna Gold Treasure is the oldest gold in the world.
The golden items were so finely crafted that the experts were simply amazed at how come an ancient civilization with such limited tools ever managed to create these fine, whimsical masterpieces. But there is something even more intriguing about the Thracians’ golden treasure, and this comes from the fact that each and every piece was made in precise accordance to following the geometric patterns of the number Pi – the mystical number of the Universe.
Thracians did not choose to settle and to establish their capital in just about any land as they possessed excellent astronomical knowledge. When choosing Central Bulgaria, the Thracians had something special in mind, and some historians believe Thracians’ settlement in former Mysia (nowadays central Bulgaria), had something to do with the Varna Golden Treasure legacy.
Experts believe that when the Varna Gold Treasure golden artworks were created, a mystical, important message to the next generations was made in a coded form made out of solid gold.
The Thracian culture is full of astounding customs, one of which is that the ancient Thracians cried when a baby was born because they believed people come to Earth with a mission that can never be deprived of suffering. Yet when they were to bury somebody, the Thracians would smile as they believed that once a man passed away, his soul was to finally enter a world of infinite joy where suffering does not exist – the afterlife world.
It was exactly in the lands of Bulgaria inhabited by the ancient Thracians where the oldest existing cannabis seed fossils were found by Palamarev. The fossil is estimated to date back to 7.5 – 5.3 million years ago!
The Thracian kapnobataiwhich translates into “those who walk in/on smoke,” or “those who walk in/on clouds” or “those who walk in/on clouds of smoke” represent the ancient link with cannabis. The kapnobatai refused to eat any living things, and their diet mostly consisted of honey and milk. They intentionally used cannabis in order to enter higher dimensions of consciousness. They were treated like holy people.
Cannabis and the Ancient Egyptians
The fact that the ancient Egyptians treasured cannabis is not a secret to most of the marijuana aficionados who carry a curious, hungry for hidden truths minds.
Many cannabis connoisseurs know fair well that it wouldn’t be a lie (or, by any chance, an offense) to call the Egyptians massive stoners. Yet apart from the funny side of discussing the ancient Egyptians’ use of cannabis, it is truly important to point out that the Egyptians did, indeed, praise cannabis, and they also had a very deep understanding of both the medicinal, as well as the spiritual value of weed.
Similarly to Scythians and Thracians, the ancient Egyptians considered the afterlife an incredibly important moment of their existence (or, to be more precise, the end of their pitiful existence as mortal humans on Earth and the beginning of their glorious life as immortals on the other side).
That’s exactly why the pharaohs spent their entire lives preparing for the day of their death when they could finally head to their journey into the afterlife. And a crucial part of this journey was, (guess what?!) cannabis.
The mummy of Ramesses II (dating back to 1231 BCE) has been found to contain cannabis pollen but this is not the only trace of cannabis in ancient Egypt. Many ancient Roman, as well as ancient Egyptian texts, mention that Egyptians did ingest cannabis.
In fact, what is considered one of the oldest documents discussing the medical applications of cannabis was written in Kemet all the way back in 2000 BC. According to the ancient text, cannabis was considered especially useful for the treatment of cataracts and sore eyes.
What’s even more amazing is that the ancient Egyptians did value the mental benefits of cannabis, too. Ancient Egyptian women made use of cannabis in order to treat depression and bad mood, according to Diodorus Siculus.
When it comes to the spiritual value of cannabis, the Egyptian goddess of knowledge, wisdom, and learning – Seshat – is depicted in ancient carvings with a marijuana leaf right above her head.
The truth is, cannabis was massively spread across Egypt, and it was not a reserved territory of the pharaohs or other members of the high classes in Egyptian society. Cannabis use was so popular in Egypt that in the 3rd century AD the Roman emperor Aurelian imposed a tax on it.
Well, that didn’t really work wonders, because, after all, imposing a tax over a plant which naturally grows in abundance has always been and will forever remain quite ridiculous.
Finally, the Egyptians were not only familiar with the psychoactive effects of weed but they were also well-familiar with the multiple beneficial uses of the low-psychoactive hemp plants (for the record, both psychoactive marijuana plants varieties, as well as low-psychoactive hemp plants varieties belong to the family of cannabis plants). They used hemp for the production of clothes, and paper, among others.
Cannabis and the Ancient Persians
One of the most important texts of ancient Persia is none other but the one written by Zoroaster. The Zenda-Avesta is not only one of the earliest examples of Persian literature which was supposedly compiled in the 7th century BC (although some historians believe it might have been compiled a century or two later) but was also transcribed on approximately 1200 cowhides which contained about 2 million verses!
As far as cannabis in ancient Persia is concerned, it is exactly in the Zenda-Avesta where marijuana is mentioned. More importantly, marijuana is called “good narcotic” in the ancient Zenda-Avesta text.
According to one of the global authorities on the history of religions – Professor Mirceau Eliade there is a huge probability that Zoroaster himself was using marijuana in order to jump over the “metaphysical gap” of consciousness and to create the unparalleled ancient Persian text Zenda-Avesta. So, if anybody trying to tell you that weed makes you stupid, feel free to use the example of Zoroaster who was most probably flying quite high when compiling certain parts of the brilliant Zenda-Avenda text.
Moreover, cannabis was used in Islamic Persia, too. There is an interesting legend regarding the first person to discover marijuana in Islamic Persia. The story goes like this.
Haydar (the ancient founder of the Sufis religious order) spent 10 years living in a Persian monastery. One day, Haydar felt very depressed. His depression and lack of good mood were so deep that Haydar decided to roam the fields as he didn’t want to speak to anybody of the monks.
While his fellow monks were worried about his condition, when Haydar came back, he seemed to be a completely different person. It was typical for Haydar to be rather reclusive and moody, and it was the norm for Haydar not to let anybody enter his chamber. However, after his walk alone in the fields, he looked happy like before.
The monks couldn’t help it but wonder what could have possibly lead this massive shift in Haydar’s sullen behavior which was even more exuberant by his deep depression on that day. And so when they asked him what happened, Haydar told them that he had consumed the leaves of an “unusual plant.” According to Haydar, the plant was “dancing” in the heat of the sun when he first saw it.
The monks were actually Haydar’s pupils, and so Haydar promised to show them the unusual, mystical plant, as long as they promise not to share this secret with anyone who is not part of the Sufis religious order. As you can already guess, this unusual plants was cannabis.
Upon his death, Haydar asked that his tomb was to be surrounded by cannabis seeds. His last wish was for his spirit to be able to roam freely in the shade of the magical plant that has given him so much joy.
The truth of the matter is, cannabis, and in particular, hashish was very widely used by the Arabs for centuries before Haydar was even born.
Cannabis and the Ancient Chinese
Similarly to ancient Egyptians, the Chinese did make use of both the psychoactive, as well as the low-psychoactive cannabis varieties. Hemp was a major crop in ancient China where it was cultivated for over 4000 years and used for the production of paper, clothing, and bowstrings, among others.
Cannabis plants were also an important source of food for the ancient Chinese who used the highly nutritious seeds in numerous recipes.
Nonetheless, cannabis was treasured for its medicinal properties, although, unfortunately, there are quite a few indigenous cannabis-based ancient Chinese recipes that have made it to present-day, mostly because of the perishability of the materials on which the associated cannabis knowledge of the natives was contained.
As to the way the ancient Chinese made use of the psychoactive properties of cannabis consumption, evidence also remains rather scarce.
However, a team of archeologists led by Hongen Jiang, an expert from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made an important discovery on that matter. They found 13 marijuana plants aged 2500 years as a part of a burial shroud.
Additionally, the team of archeologists found three more tombs in the same cemetery where marijuana seeds, fruits, stems, and leaves, were intentionally placed right alongside the buried people. According to experts, these significant discoveries make it clear that the ancient Chinese did use cannabis for its psychoactive effects, too, and that’s exactly why they placed cannabis plants as part of the afterlife items of their beloved ones.
5 Mighty Ancient Civilizations that Used Cannabis: Final Thoughts
There are so many beautiful yet little-known things about cannabis one can learn that it really seems as if a lifetime could barely be enough to understand the true meaning and the multiple uses of the versatile cannabis plants.
Even though nowadays we are still trying to find our way through the myriad of highly polarized information regarding cannabis use, and even though we have been fed with ugly lies for over a century, it seems that the snowball effect of marijuana legalization is simply unstoppable, and so is people’s awareness and acceptance of the ancient herb bound to expand and thrive in the foreseeable future.
Choked by the fast pace of life which marks that there are both pros and cons of living in the 21st century, we often tend to forget about the many amazing blessings of this unique era. One of these blessings is the gift of being able to grow our very own cannabis plants.
Just about a decade ago, it was extremely hard to lay your hands on high-quality seeds, and imagining the luxury of being able to choose the strains you prefer to grow was nothing more but a distant fantasy that seemed too good to be true. Yet look at where we are nowadays!
Picking the best cannabis varieties to grow has never been easier before; in fact, it is literally a click away. So, even though we need to walk a long way before society could finally become free from the grip of the marijuana stigma, we have already achieved much more than what our fellow’s cannabis connoisseurs from the glorious 1970s would have dared to believe.
Because of this, we are also responsible for what we do with the freedom and the advantages we have managed to win, and it is always good to remind to ourselves that we can give much in return, too. By growing cannabis, each of us can do his/her unique bit to regain the much-needed balance, as well as to deepen the ancient relationship with the living nature.
What we can learn from the mighty ancient civilizations who utilized cannabis for medicinal and spiritual purposes is that cannabis plants can be great teachers, friends, and companions, despite being demonized for far too long in our modern-day world. It is not that everybody is supposed to be consuming marijuana but it is truly necessary that society treats those who choose to do so with respect, tolerance, and understanding. Because while it is not a must to know where the marijuana came from, how it spread or how the ancient civilizations made use of cannabis, it is only through educating ourselves how we can become better people who are capable of building a better future.