The Scholomance Project

Entheogens in Religious History with Chris Bennett

February 28, 2022 Troy the Devil-man Season 1 Episode 10
The Scholomance Project
Entheogens in Religious History with Chris Bennett
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Chris Bennett has been researching the historical role of cannabis in the spiritual life of humanity for more than three decades. His the author or co-author of four books including Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal Herbs and the Occult (2018). Bennett’s research has received international attention from the BBC, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Vice and other media sources. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

His passion for this subject matter is obvious!  I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. 



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Troy Spreeuw:

Welcome to The Scholomance Project I am your host, Troy the Devil-Man. Keep up with the show at our website scholomance.ca. You can sign up for our newsletter, support our Patreon and get exclusive content, and ask our future guests questions. Scholomance. Aspire. Explore. Inspire. Chris Bennett has been researching the historical role of cannabis in the spiritual life of humanity for more than three decades. He is the author or co-author of four books including "Liber 420 Cannabis, Magickal Herbs and the Occult". Bennett's research has received international attention from the BBC, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Vice and other media sources. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His passion for the subject matter is obvious. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Welcome, everybody. This is Troy the Devil-Man. Today we're sitting with Chris Bennett, formerly of the urban shaman, and currently of the Soma Institute. Chris, thank you so much for joining us today.

Chris Bennett:

Hey, my pleasure, Troy always great to rap with you.

Troy Spreeuw:

And I know we were just having like a 30 minute conversation before the interview. This is the kind of things that we do when we get together and start talking. Normally, on The Scholomance podcast, we're interested in talking to practitioners, and I'm really interested in hearing about some of your background and history, and why it might be of interest to some of the people that would listen. Yeah, other practitioners. So why don't you give me a little bit of background about yourself?

Chris Bennett:

Sure. You know, I had a religious experience about 32 years ago. And then from that religious experience, I started a study of how other people might have had something similar from using cannabis and trying to understand if there was just my personal trip, or if there was any sort of power to this in the magical and religious realm. And over the last 30 years, I've written four books on the topic of this and I've studied, you know, I've written about it in numbers of historical religions, and the ancient Vedic religion and the the ??? religion and then Zoroastrian and Hinduism that grew out of that, in Taoism, and Sikhism in Judaism and Christianity, which is surprising to most people, but is now documented by archaeological evidence. And I've also studied it in the realm of the occult, and called figures like Alistair Crowley, Helena Blavatsky, and Ren Gunon and the list goes on and on and on of occult figures that used cannabis and found some sort of spiritual benefit out of it. And so as well, I've taken a look at its role in magic and alchemy, and found alchemical references and grimoires with recipes and techniques Incorporated, and as well as secret societies that use it for initiatory purposes. And I think that there's a real interface that could be garnered by both, you know, people that use cannabis and people in the occult. There's like a crossover there, that that's just waiting to be really tapped into in a bigger way. I think you know what I mean, a lot of these magical techniques were used in conjunction with psychoactive plants in history. And I think they're an excellent interface for the use of psychoactive plants gives them some direction and purpose, you know, what I mean? Things like mirror scrying, particularly, have an association with psychoactive substances. And really what this is about and you know, the kind of initiatory realm, I would say is it's bringing up elements of the unconscious into the consciousness and this is, you know, in the alchemical perspective, this is the marriage of the Sun of the moon, the the present daytime consciousness and our nighttime silver poetic consciousness. And the one that tells us the dreams at night, you know, we you know, when you dream, you're in a dream. And you're the other characters in the dream. So you're like, the whole orchestra. That's all you and that's that's an evidence of the two selves, right? And cannabis is really a powerful tool for the uniting of those two selves and even the identification of what's called the unconscious and the subconscious originated with the study of cannabis and trying to understand how it was affecting consciousness. We could take a look at Dr. JJ Moreau who was in "La Club du Hashischins" Club in 1850s, Paris, France, with members like Victor Hugo Alexander Dumas, Thophile Gautier, Honor de Balzac, Geraldine Revalle (?) etc. Were all members, you know, and Moreau's interest was because he was trying to understand insanity. And he felt that, you know, there was a relationship between insanity in the dream state because you you act like an insane person often in your dreams, right, you know, and he thought that cannabis may have had some kind of relationship with this right? Now, it's interesting how cannabis interfaces with dreaming because I read a book on melatonin. And it says that cannabis daytime use of cannabis was based on scientific experiments done in the 1980s. I don't think anybody's reproduced them since. But they found that people using cannabis in daytime use immediately their melatonin levels would spike by like 2000 times regular daytime levels. And this may be a reason why many cannabis users report that they don't dream very much people that use a lot of cannabis report that and for some people, this is a desirable effect. People with post traumatic stress syndrome often don't want to drink because they have nightmarish dreams, you know what I mean? They stay stoned all day they sleep at night and when when for them, right. But I've noticed this alternative effect, I've woken up at four or five in the morning and smoke a joint or a bowl of cannabis, and then gone back to bed and had the most intense vivid dreams I've ever had. And I'm attributing this effect to this same spike in melatonin. And melatonin is got a huge effect in dreaming. And I think this is the effect that people were seeking when they use it with things like magic mirrors, because who is it that speaks to you from the magic mirror, but the one that tells you that your dreams at night, you know what I mean? It's all about accessing that area of your own kind of consciousness, the reflection, you reflect itself, your shadow self, you know, and I think this is really the goal of initiation. And the goal of magic, the goal of alchemy, as I said earlier, the marriage of the sun and the moon. And I think that certain initiatory practices can highlight this because this isn't necessarily something that people are always tapping into when they use cannabis. You know what I mean? But I think that's why like things like, you know, hip hop music, for instance, is where cannabis use is so popular kind of brings out that, that that that that same sort of poetic vibe, that's the Muse man, that's the that's how you kind of bring it up, you know, and I think this is true of its use in religion and magic. That's what what the use of it was all about.

Troy Spreeuw:

I think it's particularly poignant that, you know, it's May 2021. And we're living in a world where The Man, you know, has has backed off somewhat on his persecution in some places, and with some with some people around cannabis use. And yeah, I think it's exciting because for during the, as you pointed out, historically, during the the Renaissance, there was quite a bit of science going on studying all sorts of different materials, and it was super easy, Until prohibition, In the early 20th century, it was easy to go down to the chemist and get not just hashish and other marijuana products, but you could get mescaline you could get cocaine you could get morphine, you get all these different materials and people were experimenting for, good or ill. Surely overuse has its difficulties

Chris Bennett:

Well, some of these things can be deadly, you

Troy Spreeuw:

But I think it's it's fascinating. Now that know what I mean? It's definitely use of opium resulted in deaths in the occult ??? and one of Irwin's sons, I think died using opium will scrying you know, so, you know, there could potentially be deadly in some cases, right. there's now with the slightly open hand of regulation, and for good or ill, on the freedom side, that we're gonna see a lot more of this material be studied for this not just application for spiritual expansion but for application for psychiatry and for for mental health and for for health and wellness in a wider perspective. Now, can you can you comment on that, where that's going at? Yeah. And what your what your role might have been

Chris Bennett:

there and how far it's come. You know, I became I mentioned I had like a religious experience with 32 years ago, that was like 1989. And I became I formed a little group I found out about the industrial uses of hemp and I formed this group of patriotic Canadians for hemp, and was promoting hemp for paper and stuff like that I lived out on the West Coast and the Claquot sound logging controversy was going on. And I was using this as a way to have both jobs and save the environment, you know, and at that time, you know, you couldn't even have like a headshop it was illegal to sell High Times magazine or bongs or anything like that. You get $100,000 fine here in Canada. And now on the street I live on out here in Princeton, there's a $20 million factory growing marijuana and magic mushrooms., legally. You know, so I went from like, not even being able to find other cannabis activists to seeing this this incredible, blossoming sscene now, I think the corporatization is disappointing. You know, initially, when Canada legalized the you got this huge takeover, we had like, as a cannabis activist 30 years, I was very familiar with the opponents of cannabis legalization. And one of the great ironies of cannabis legalization was that so many of the opponents of legalization cashed in and got jobs with big corporate marijuana grows, and we're talking cops and politicians that we argued against for decades. And, you know, and initially I was, you know, feeling very disappointed. Now, here we are, a couple years later, a lot of these big corporations have gone belly up, because they were not able to push the buyer who had been buying off friends and people like that for for so long. On to the corporate agenda, we've high priced marijuana in very strictly licensed shops, you know, and that's been kind of starting to fall by the wayside, and they realize that that's not not going to happen. So they've been kind of progressing more towards a kind of craft beer kind of industry. And and now I started to see some of my friends get licensed and stuff like that. Whereas before you need millions of dollars before you behind you'd even start, right. So we're seeing progress there. And I think it's kind of like, the end alcohol prohibition was like 100 years ago, and we're still messing around with alcohol laws. Now with psychedelics, it's moving much, much quicker, and I have kind of deeper concerns there. Um, and, you know, it's amazing how fast you know, the the move to towards legalizing psychedelics has been following the legalization of cannabis in Canada. And my concern is, in many ways, the gatekeeper sort of mentality that might take into effect where you have to take it with a therapist, or you have to take it with a licensed religious practitioner, because I think those those systems are open to abuse, you know, and we've seen cases like that here in Canada, there was the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a very well respected group was able to procure care permits for a study on MDMA. And in that study, the therapist and the, the, the patient ended up having a romantic tryst, and you know, the whole thing fell apart, right. And this is the type of kind of power situations you can kind of get into with these things. And likewise, with Shamanic practitioners in South America sometimes some of these people are less than honorable that are that are putting on Ayahuasca circles. They can do things like add more potent plants like that during the week brews to make it strong enough, and they can also be the some sort of sexual abuse that can happen between the guides and stuff like that. So my view on these things is I'm more of an adult decriminalization type of person. And I think you know, like I'm not against people doing You know, therapy and holding religious practices. And I do think that should be a heavily regulated industry. But as far as the plants themselves go, my view is these are natural, right. And the these are the substances that people have used for millennia, as spiritual tools. And that that so that what we have to have is educated and responsible adult access to these substances, but not with any sort of a patenting of plant matter, or anything like that. I don't know exactly what the system of distribution would be like that this case, but there's already people trying to patent the chemicals and the psychoactive substances, and patent techniques of extraction, and all that type of stuff. And this is all human human history, you know, what I mean? It's like, it's a big problem,

Troy Spreeuw:

I think it's important to note that we this podcast support adults rights to make their own choices in their own body. And, you know, as a, as a free thought, individual, you know, people should have the ability to make their own choices, you know,

Chris Bennett:

I do have concerns like things like peyote can be over harvested. And I think that, you know, there there you have to respect indigenous access to their own plant medicines, right. But all plants for all people, it doesn't mean that people should be able to grow their own of it. But you know, maybe going harvesting peyote in the wild isn't a thing we want people to go out and do. Because it's already over harvested. And there's indigenous practitioners that count on that medicine, what we need to do is have, you know, being able to grow peyote, and other cactuses, and things like that, so that people can produce their own sacramental medicines,

Troy Spreeuw:

Right. I had Nat Jack from Lucid Afterlife on the podcast recently, and I mentioned that we were talking about entheogens. And I mentioned I was gonna have you on and he's like, Well, there's a guy who's gonna know his stuff. In your opinion, is it is it sensible to experiment this stuff, without with with with these materials without guidance?

Chris Bennett:

I think you know, like, you want to, like take steps, you know, what I mean? Like, you know, reading books is guidance, right? So anything that I'm interested in, you want to start by reading up on it, watch videos of people's experiences, read about the dosages, find out if there's anything that you're taking, like a medicine that maybe you rely on, that may conflict with that type of thing, you know, what I mean? And do that there's great websites for that type of stuff like arrowhead.org, is a very well known site for that type of information. And, you know, treat it with respect, if, you know, if you have access to somebody that's willing to guide you on these things. Sure. And you feel more comfortable doing that. I'm not saying not do that, right. But if you've been using cannabis, and if you've, you know, used mushrooms, and a few things like that yourself already, you know, you could probably, within reasonable dosages, experiment with other more powerful psychedelics, without yourself, you know, it's not always like some things you definitely want a guide for, right? Like, it depends what second psychedelic, you're talking about, something like 5-MEO DMT, which is very popular these days, and probably a, you know, an amazing transpersonal experience, you know, that people can have instantaneously and I would say, this is almost across the board, that that people have transpersonal experiences they have a unification with with with a greater consciousness, you know, there's not you in it, there's just what the experience you know, and that's a very powerful mystic experience, you know, but there can be dangers with dosage and everything on this type of thing. And you know, you go a little bit over and it can be quite people have died taking some of these substances. So, if you're going to get into something like that, for that very, very, very powerful experience, you know, that that you may not even want more than once or twice this is the, the drug that the the great boxer, what's his name? The the the famous black boxer there.

Troy Spreeuw:

Muhammad Ali,

Chris Bennett:

no talks with a lisp.

Troy Spreeuw:

Oh, yeah. Mike Tyson.

Chris Bennett:

Mike Tyson talking about this substance changed his whole life, right? Turn them right around. He sees things differently ever since then, you know. And so something like that, you know, you don't want to do that by yourself. You want to have somebody there watching over your mortal body. You know, some things are like that, where you want somebody there with your immortal body. Similarly with something Like ayahuasca, you know, I think that, you know, you could probably make an Ayahuasca analogue like ??? roux. And if you have a lot of psychedelic experience, you probably be fine. But if you're going to really have a full, powerful experience, anything that's like, going to cause purging is probably a good idea to have some other somebody else around, you know, because if you're like in a state where you're not able to control yourself, and you're purging and that type of thing, you can run into difficulty, you know, and people have, you know, like people have done things like ketamine, in a bathtub and you know, drowned in a bathtub, I had a very good friend, Ian Hunter, and he was very interested in DMT. And he had taken to trying to find very quiet places with a lot looking out at not any other psychic energy around. So he would go out and lie in a canoe in the middle of a body of water, and then smoke the DMT lie back and meditate, we ended up drowning, you know, died that way, you know what I mean? And you got to remember, like, you know, when you're tripping in some of these realms, you're not maybe making the best decision for your mortal body. And so when you're going to be doing that type of powerful psychedelic experience, then sure, you definitely want to have somebody there. But at the same time, I've done things like drop acid by myself and eat mushrooms by myself and go hiking on a trail I'm very familiar with or sit on a beach under a full moon. And I've had very, very, very powerful experiences. I think that would be hard to achieve. If I was constantly in conversation with somebody else, instead of just focusing on my own consciousness,

Troy Spreeuw:

...but maybe not your first time. Maybe not for your first time. No, right. And, and this is not what I want this conversation to be about. But I think it's interesting. We're talking about it right up front, because it's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on and I think it's important that I note, anybody who knows me knows I'm damn near teetotaler, I've been experimenting with like five milligram edibles for sleep for a few months. That's it. And I grew up in a small town on the coast of British Columbia, which is notorious for its marijuana output. And I, I just had no interest, I had a hard enough time, beating myself sober. And so. So it wasn't within my interest, but I was surrounded by people, you know, who are interested in it, and a number of people who are interested in in using all sorts of materials for for spiritual transformation. Can you can you tell me a little bit about your history of spiritual transformation with with these materials?

Chris Bennett:

Yeah, I mentioned earlier that I'd had this religious experience in around 1989. And I think like a lot of religious experiences, there was a series of events that led up to this, you know, and for me, the first of these was the mount Cashel orphanage was in the press at those days of the big Catholic controversy where these monks were getting outed for molesting kids and I was like, you know, I wasn't really brought up with religion. And my mom was more like the horoscope type and tea leaves and that sort of thing. And but I think just because of the cultural imprinting of Easter and Christmas and vampire movies, I kind of accepted the overall cosmology I was being sold of Jesus is the Savior the devil's bad and, and all that type of stuff. When these priests were outed for this, I was like, what's with this man? These are the guys are supposed to be there. The great people are molesting kids thats terrible. And I thought I would get a Bible and read it at that time. I had a nightwatchman job and a fish plant out in Ucluelet. I was a surfer. I grew weed. And I'd read at night, you know, when I did this nightwatchman job and and then a few other things coincided with this one of these was the logging of the the last old growth coastal rainforest Clayoquot sound and my brother was a logger, I'd worked in saw Mills, my brother was the camp for the IWA out there, the union, the loggers union, right. And all of a sudden, all these environmental started showing up and I hadn't even really conceived of the idea of environmentalism or there was any issue with logging or anything like that just hadn't even come up for me in my life out ain Ucluelet at that time, you know, and so that started really changing the vibe of that area. And then, a couple of other things happened. The Gulf War started in Iraq and Saddam Hussein had fired a Scud missile into Israel. Because of this. They were comparing him to the king of Babylon, because Iraq and Babylon are on the same piece of real estate. And so one night I was in this fish plant about three in the morning smoking a joint it was empty fish plant in the lunchroom, and reading this newspaper back then they had television stuff, the timetables for television and newspapers for the internet. And I'm reading along and there's an advertisement for a sermon. And it's pat robertson revelations 18, the fall of Babylon, there's Robertson at the pulpit. And behind him, he's got tanks and jets. And I knew about this Iraq thing where they were calling him Nebuchadnezzar and comparing. So I was like, Oh, wow, these guys are comparing the book of Revelation to this war in Iraq. And you know, there was like, Jehovah's Witnesses in the fish plant. And they were always preaching apocalypse and Revelation, right. So I had some ideas about this and seeing the Omen as a kid. So I knew that too, right? So I got the book of Revelation. And I started reading the beginning of the book. Jon's given the scroll and puts it in his mouth to taste the sweetness, honey, and then it turns bitter in his stomach, and he begins to prophesize. And so my first thought was like, what did he eat you know? As it took them. Sorry, the ingestion of that, you actually begin to prophesize, right? And I got a little further and it's talking about billowing clouds of smoke, so of incense, and the incense has the prayers of the saints, and they're wearing sackcloth, but I'm going this is trippy shit. I get to the end of the Bible. And I read Revelation 22. And it says, on either side of the river of life, to the Tree of Life, very 12 manners of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And when I read that I had this powerful, life changing religious experience. This is a light switch of my life. It was like the existence before that and the existence after that, it set the course of my life, I felt like light just poured into me. And that this was a reference to this plant, cannabis, and its industrial uses. You know, around this time, I had just found out about the industrial applications of cannabis, that you could make all your paper out of cannabis, you know, one acre of ample produce as much paper as four acres of trees over the same 20 year period, you can replace fossil fuels with biomass fuels are making incredible batteries out of cannabis building houses out of cannabis. We replaced soil depleting cotton with cannabis, we could feed the world with the essential fatty rich seed of cannabis. So this is like an incredible miracle plant. And I was like, this is what they're fucking talking about. And I started thinking about Bob Marley and people like that. They're kind of on my periphery. I wasn't really interested in that stuff. But I go, that's let's be what these Rastafarian dudes are talking about, right? And so I called my wife up at the time my first wife and she thought I was having some sort of mental breakdown. And she started bawling you, you were though? Yeah, you know what? I could have easily been a psychotic break. But yeah, I could have easily been hospitalized. Right. Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's how these things can go. Say that. I've gone home to my family, and they're going, we're sending you to the hospital. And I get medicated and shit like that my life would have been on a totally different path. Right. Right. Right. But as it happened, that's not what happened. And so the next day, I got up, you know, and I was like, looking at these clear cut mountains. And I was like, Well, I don't know, man, like, that was fucking weird. I know, this hemp stuff is legit, though. You know, I had been looking it up and encyclopedias, and I'm gonna promote that for sure. Because I know about that. But if there's anything to this religious stuff, then other people will have had an experience like this, some, some other other people will know about this. And so that was when I began collecting everything I could on on cannabis and magic and religion, and then slowly started writing art. And I was like a high school dropout, right? You know what I mean? And it's like, you know, last month, I gave a lecture at a university of religious studies, they, you know, so it's like, I had to learn all that type of a sort of study that was a way to present information and write things from from that moment on, just to prevent the ideas that I was, I was coming across, you know, and I'm going to tell you, like, 32 years later, I'm quite convinced of legitimacy of that religious experience that I have, you know, last year, around this time, there was a news stories about archaeological evidence out of Israel, that they found cannabis resins on an altar in Israel 2800 years old. And this is something that I've been suggesting, specifically, in exactly this context, based on etymological research regarding the Hebrew term, Canneh Bossom. And now it's historical fact. You know, and I think other elements of this are coming to historical facts. You know what it's like? I had a hunch. There's references in alchemy and Sure enough, you know, I was able to find recipes from some of the greatest names in alchemy, Paracelsus, Abba Sienna, Cardano, The Wellian(?) corpus, you know, and other texts as well. So you know, it's quite clearly there because a Latin name for cannabis is the same as our English name for cannabis. And so you can see the actual recipes and text where they wrote about these things. And, you know, it's amazing how much of it's been validated in such solid fact, based on some sort of mystical experience, that that it would lead to that, you know,

Troy Spreeuw:

yeah, it's, it's interesting how your academic work has been. was somewhat prescient, I would say, Yeah, especially with some of the archaeological evidence that's come forward since. And, I mean, one one could look at it be like, well, here's a here's a stoner, who's just really keen to get his cannabis justified. But you don't you don't need to justify your cannabis over here. And it now I mean, historically speaking, it looks like you are correct. But I, I find your historical work and discussions of this historical evidence. Fascinating. Do you want to go over a couple of things you've presented as ideas that people might find part of like,

Chris Bennett:

the cannabis stuff, um, in regard to like, the the the use of it in biblical times. And this has to do with research, I came across this entomologist and anthropologist who was writing in the 1930s. And her name was Sula Benet. And she was Polish but left Poland, chased out by the Nazis as she was Jewish. And she suggested this Hebrew term that appears in Exodus in Isaiah in Ezekiel, in Jeremiah, and in the Song of Songs, was a reference to cannabis and the Hebrew term was Canneh and Canneh bossom also. And in these references, there's a very interesting conflict, because the initial references are very positive. But the last references are very negative, right. And so to understand what this meant, I had to like fully get into the Bible and understand the Old Testament texts. And so I could put these references into the historical context that they belong. And it tells a really radical and fascinating story. And so in the first of these references in Exodus 30:23, God commands Moses to make a holy anointing oil with about , six and a half pounds of this canneh bosom in which she said was cannabis, mixed with myrrh and cinnamon and Cassia into about a gallon and a half of olive oil. And every time that Moses is to speak to the Lord, He's to put this oil on himself and your body, your skin is a big organ, and THC can actually pass through the skin, but he also takes some of this oil, and he places it on the altar of incense. And then he speaks to the Lord in the pillar of smoke over the altar of incense now, Sula Benet said that when the Hebrew texts were translated into Greek, initially, the first language that they're translated into about 300 BC in the Septuagint, they made a mis translation of this term, and it was Miss translated as calamus. And this mis translation followed through into later English Bibles. Although some English Bibles translate the term is fragrant cane, which is kind of what canneh bosom means, right? And so he said, You know, so when you change that, and you put cannabis in there, it makes it pretty radical, because now you have Moses, inside a smoky little tent, the tent of the meeting, burning cannabis, and that's how he communicates with God, because in the story in Exodus, none of the other Israelites ever see or hear the Lord, they could just see when Moses is talking to the Lord, when he's in the tent of the meeting and smokes pouring out of the tent. So had to be pretty smoky in there. And so Moses comes out and says, This is what the Lord your God has said. And so this kind of brings us into what's called the stoned ape theory. And the stoned ape theory is that, that drugs lead to thinking and the first people that experience thinking, believe they experienced that kind of like a schizophrenic does is something coming outside of themselves speaking to themselves from outside of themselves. And this goes back to the research and work The brilliant psychologist Julian Jaynes, in his famous book, the The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. And so his theory was that humanity ancient humanity did not think in the same way that we did were more like animals that we were the victim of circumstance, we were so consumed with a struggle to survive, we didn't have a lot of time for reflective thinking, and that the first people that experienced thinking experienced in the voice of their ancestor, or the voice of their imagined God or something like that, right? And so they would kick in at times of stress, upheaval, fever, things like that. They'd hear the voice of their father or their chief, and we'd tell them what to do. And they would say, Did you hear that? Nobody else heard it? Oh, wow, he's got some magic power. Here's the voice. What's the voice tell you, you know, and this led to to religion. Now, Terence McKenna added to this theory immensely by suggesting the use of psychoactive substances also was an avenue to facilitate this product of inner speech, right. And so this is what the kind of is indicated in the story of Moses initially, that it was used in temples to initiate the voice of God and prophets and priests right. Now in the next reference to cannabis and occurs in the Song of Songs. And in there, it's listed, you know, it talks about your ointments more pleasing than wine talking about the same anointing oil, I'm assuming it's Exodus 3023. And it has cannabis appear in a garden of incense trees, right. And what's interesting about the Song of Songs is Solomon even in the biblical description is a polytheist. And a polytheism, is as people that worship more than one god. Solomon\ was particularly known in the Bible for burning incense on high to Queen of Heaven, going up on the mountains and, and burning incense to the Queen of Heaven. This is a big problem in the Old Testament texts of Kings and Chronicles. Now, archealogy that refer to a goddess Ashura actually being worshipped within the temple of Jerusalem, right? in Kings and Chronicles, and now archaeology has shown this was a predominant method of worship throughout much of the Old Testament period, because they found all sorts of artifacts, attesting to the worship of this Hebrew goddess, including inscriptions, which refer to Yehwah and his Ashura as if they were husband and wife. So this is a historical fact now that for large parts of Jewish history, God had a wife. And so this is what the song of songs is thought by some scholars to represent Marvin H Pope, in his great study of the songs, these are a scholar of the Bible. He said, this was the Hebrew representation of the Heiros Gamos the sacred marriage, you know, like the marriage of Ishtar and Tummuz and it was the combination of the god and the goddess together, that that that brought fertility to the land right. Now, um, so so we know that in this time period that this was the case. Now interestingly, William Imboden, a botanist, he had suggested that Ashera's Cult burnt cannabis as well as anointed their skins with it in the same manner as the Hebrew. And so since Ashra, likely predates the worship of Yahweh. It's like that goes back and we know this is true of other Near Eastern goddesses. There's an Assyrian word that's known for being cannabis Kinabu and Kinabu was used by the cult of Ishtar and she had a perfume of cannabis ointments and this goes also back to the another Eastern goddess whose very old ish share and it's likely Astra and Ishtar all grew out of this earlier Near Eastern goddess this cannabis use had continued from the earlier matriarchal period. Right? And so this is kind of a interesting subject now in Ezekiel. The reference to cannabis it comes in on on a caravan of trade. Now what they've said about this evidence of archaeological evidence out of Arad, Jerusalem, where they found a temple and in this temple, there were two altars and they believe that one was for worshiping Yahweh. And when was for worshiping Ashera one when all your had cannabis resins and the other one had frankincense resin on it right? And they say that the cannabis is there but cannabis was not growing in the Holy Land. And that that it was important and this is what the Ezikiel reference describes, is cannabis coming in as an item of trade, and we know that one particular group and this time period was very well known for cannabis is Scythians. They would burn cannabis, they heat up hot rocks and throw cannabis on that they go inside a tent and they inhale the fumes, much like Moses was doing and the Exodus story. And their word for cannabis was canneh , same word the Hebrews had. So it came in as an item of trade, carry the name over into this culture carry the same sort of ritual use, that goes back to this much more old indo European use that I was talking about, before we did the interview. And this is so this again, fits with this archaeological evidence right now in the Isaiah reference to No, no Ezekiel. He doesn't get high in that reference. But there is a reference where Ezekiel does get high, much like the book of Revelation, where John has given a scroll Ezekiel given a scroll, he eats it it tastes sweet in his mouth, swallows it, his stomach gets upset, it turns bitter in his stomach, and then he begins to prophesize. And that's when he saw his vision of the wheel. Now, it's hard to say what sort of entheogen that was, but it was clearly some sort of substance. If he didn't need to eat it to have the vision, he would have just had the vision, you know what I mean? Oh, they made it clear, he ingested something right. Now,

Troy Spreeuw:

it's interesting, it's interesting, I hate to interrupt you. But it's interesting that in the Hebrew mystical tradition, words themselves language is magical. And it's interesting that they're consuming a scroll, because that could just as easily been a rolled, joined. But it's interesting that they would say it's a scroll that they're taking this written word inside and that word changes in them. And there's a lot of Jewish myth of Hebrew mysticism around language well, that's the the Kabbalah is all about. Yeah, language and letter and number and the mystical interpretation. I find that fascinating. And then anybody who's read easy Ezekiel and other parts of the Bible, I mean, you clearly easy he'll was high on something, a lot of people use it as examples of, of contact with with intelligent aliens, like, like, like, praeterhuman entities, or intelligent alien life. But I think it's much more interesting that both revelation and Ezekiel. And while throughout the Old Testament, you find examples of, of entheogens being used. And I think it's his he feels much better. It probably more convincing story for the use of what we would call drugs this but you know, plant entheogens at the time, whether that's yeah. And make a very convincing case that it's Cannabis

Chris Bennett:

an interesting thing is in Isaiah, is God gets mad at Isaiah, because he doesn't bring any cannabis. He says, You have not brought any Canna for me. But you have burden me with your with your with your iniquities. And you know, it doesn't give him any advice because he shows up empty handed. And this is likely due to the polytheistic situation that was going on where cannabis was being used at different temples and this was a hot commodity. Because if you had it at your temple service, you're more likely to get a response from the God right so God gets mad at Isaiah when he shows up empty handed. In another account though, it's pretty clear that Isaiah did not only show up empty handed because in another account, it describes how one of the Seraphims flew on to me with a live cool he had taken with tongs from off the altar, and he held it to my lips and lo my iniquity was taken away and my sin purge so the the figure basically gets with tongs, drabs, a hot coal a burning incense and holds it right up to Isaiah smells like eat like, like a hot knife and his inequity is taken away in his sins purged and then he can prophesize for the Lord. Right. So that's how important it was. And there was a competition for its use. And this brings us to the last of these biblical references, and the story of what happened to both the goddess and cannabis. Because you have to remember, Ashera his main symbol was the tree of life. And we've already seen how she was, you know, her court was using this same cannabis and the Eden mythology in the Bible is thought to have been one of the last things written in the Old Testament texts. And scholars now believe that that are following this material about a Ahera emerging out of the desert sands in the forms of inscriptions and statues, etc. are saying that the whole Eden mythology is a reversal of the earlier polytheistic mythology where God had a wife and entheogen was a mainstay of the religion in Jeremiah says, What do I care for your incense, incense of Shiva, your Canneh from a distant land and it's rejected. Incense of Shiva brings to mind Solomon's wives almonds worship of the Goddess and the burning of incense on high. And then later in Jeremiah is made perfectly clear because this is at a time period, when Israel is under attack by numerous foreign kingdoms, Assyrians Babylonians, it's when they lost their independence as a nation, right. And they blame this on the improper worship that was taking place with what the Yahwey is called the polytheistic. You know, worship they what they saw as a great aberration. But the great aberration was actually monotheism because monotheism was a new concept may have been around before, but it never taken hold of the Empire fully. There's only two monotheistic kings, even in the Books of Kings and Chronicles and in the Bible, Hezekiah and Josiah. And Josiah, he destroyed the brazen serpent that Moses made. Because the people of Israel were burning incense to it beside the Ahsera and the temple that Solomon built the polytheistic King, you know, so this was all this monotheism and this fight against polytheism and Ashera, it was the new development and it may have been the result of a need to consolidate the of that country, because politics and religion knew no separation in those days. And so any sort of like a, you know, any, any cult that had the ear the king was, was dominating the area. And so they needed to consolidate all cults. And so this may have been that part of the drive for monotheism that was taking place. But Jeremiah, who's escaping this onslaught in Israel ends up in Egypt, and he confronts Jews, they're blaming them for the fall of Israel, because they burned incence to the Queen of Heaven, He says, and poured out drink offerings to her, and they rejected Him, they said, we will continue to burn incense to the Queen, queen of heaven, and pour out drinking offerings to her as did our kings, and our princes and our fathers and our mothers before us. So that's clear that what's taking place there? This is the final kind of edit of the Old Testament is kind of happening around this time period shortly after Ezra I guess. But the goddess goes by the wayside, and so does the cannabis. And it's interesting because her symbol was a tree of life. And what's that symbol at the end of the book of Revelation, the tree of life again? Yeah, and there's this massive feminine power awakening in the world right now. You know, many people interpret Babylon in Revelation as the return of the goddess Ishtar, the queen of Babylon is the, the Babylonian counterpart of the Canaanite Ashera. And there does seem to be some powerful feminine Mojo awakening around this plant the cannabis move, but it's full of powerful female figures. So there's something happening here with this herb, man.

Troy Spreeuw:

Yeah. So before we get off this topic, which of your multiple books published would be best for people who are very interested in this sort of religious history material? Which of your book would you recommend for? Because we're gonna go more into the occult direction.

Chris Bennett:

if you're purely interested in these drug references that I'm talking about, you know, to canneh bosom and and stuff like that? Probably cannabis in the soma solutions, the best one, I deal with a number of ancient cultures in that one. If you're interested specifically in biblical references, my book sex drugs, violence in the Bible also explores explicitly the fertility cults of Canaan and the Gnostic sex cults of the first few centuries AD, probably more than any book in print.

Troy Spreeuw:

So where's the best place for people to buy?

Chris Bennett:

Want to get cannabis and the soma solution? Or Lieber 420, my book on cannabis and it called Amazon's best plate. If you want to get "Sex, Drugs, Violence in the Bible" you're going to want to they're gonna want a couple 100 bucks on Amazon, find me on Facebook or Instagram or someplace like that. And I'll set you up with a copy for 75 bucks.

Troy Spreeuw:

Excellent. So yeah, so we've we've established the sort of involvement with the rise of monotheism. Let's talk more recent history and occultism esotericism and the use of entheogens, and then I want to talk about your use of entheogens. And, and how your practice has evolved. Yeah. Is that enough of a question? Do we should do we need to talk specifically, I mean, you. Every time we get together, we talk more about Crowley? Because, of course, I'm interested, very interested in Thelema, but my interests are very broad.

Chris Bennett:

You know, like a will say, like a call, you know, like, you know, probably the foundational document of the Western magical tradition, is the Picatrix. That was put out in the 12th century it's a translation of an Islamic magical grip. Are the guy that allocated that was written in the 10th century, in the 12th century King Alfonso of Spain, he translated this book into Latin, and it went over and it inspired Agrippa and Paracelsus and all these other figures later on, you know what I mean? But it's a very powerful magical document and there's a recipe in there for a cannabis incense use for invoking the angel of the moon that would appear in the pillar of smoke much like for for Moses in the tent of the meeting the pillars smoke there, you know, one of the things about like fumigation rituals that involve smoke, the smoke itself can actually help facilitate the visionary process because people start to see things in the smoke under the influence of these, even without the influence. It's like seeing images in clouds, you know, more so when you do a psychoactive substance, you know, there's also efforts as to opium Mandrake other substances in there. So right at the beginning of the magical tradition, in the western Western thing, you know, it's right there. And we see in the 16th century, there's at least three English grimoires that have references to cannabis for mirror scrying. Sepher Raziel. Liber Solomonis the grimoire recently published as The Book of Oberon, and the Cunning Man's Grimoire all have references to canabis for mirror scrying and also have other drug references in there for other magical purposes. And this is interesting because this is right in the time period of John Dee. There is, without a doubt, he would have had his hands on these grimoires this is just the type of information that he was looking for in regards to mirror scrying and John Dee's actions, the recordings of his his visionary mirror experiences with Edward Carroll Kelly the scryer, it's clear that some sort of drugs were used. Some of the descriptions involve very smoky rooms and other action describes him drinking a vial of liquid and making him drowsy like drinking some opium or something. And in another hilarious exchange, Edward Kelly is attempting to talk to a spirit in the mirror. And the mirror is saying, Well, why didn't you bring any drugs and he opens his apothecary box and goes, Look, my apothecary box is empty. And the Spirit responds, well, what do you have any ointments, and this is, you know, Kelly talking to Dee writing it all down, in my opinion, that's kind of Kelly jonesing it for some drugs and putting some pressure on Dee to procure some drugs because the mirror scrying going to go a lot better. And, you know, I think it's important to remember with some of these substances, you could develop a real taste from things like opium and stuff like that, we see this and now in regards to alchemy, you know, we could go back to the beginning of alchemy with Zozimos in the fourth century, the famous Greek Alchemist he wrote specifically about cannabis and Darnell infused beers and wines used for magical purposes, right. And then in the 10th century,??? putting out the cannabis recipes they would call cannabis in in Europe ??? cannabis because he was so associated with this medicinal medicinal plant in alchemy particularly seems to have been used in substances that were referred to as Quintessence and arcanums. And these are basically what we would call tinctures And what they would do is they would take wine buried in a vessel for a week or something like that, I forget the exact amount of time, it would separate or maybe it was a month or something it would separate, they'd keep the clear water, dump the dirty water and repeat that process five times so they get quite a clear alcoholic solution from all this this process. And this was considered a chemical heaven. And they felt that they could absorb the quintessence, the fifth essence of the plant the soul of the plant into this chemical heaven by saturating the chemical in this process a number of times until it would not take any more of the plant matter. And Paracelsus wrote how you can increase the potency of plants up to 20 times and it's likely that his own Philosopher's Stone was based on this Paracelsus is very well known for a laudenum, tincture of opium that he prepared and he attributed great powers to it. And he made a solid form of this tincture he probably just let the alcohol or whatever it was evaporate out of it until he got a solid form, and it was said of Paracelsus that he would keep most turd size pieces of opium in The pummel have is sword in a secret compartment. And I can't imagine Paracelsus after years of using this substance, he'd start to feel the desire for it because he's not had it for a while. jonesing for it from actual addiction, and then he take it and all, I feel better my power has been restored by my Philosopher's Stone. And he apparently used opium for magical purposes as well, Paracelsus also had a cannabis recipe, an Arcanaum that was used for the treatment of epilepsy. And this is interesting because it's a very potent epileptic medicine today. And so, other Alchemists is well, Rabelais as well. He called himself a master of the quintessence and his famous parody of church and state that incorporated occult secrets, Gargantua and Pantagruel, and he incorporated Three Secret chapters about cannabis into the Pantagruel books under the name The Herb Pantaguelia. And so we know he was using this as well. This is something that Crowley picked up on in his own study of Rabelais. So, you know, there's a number of alchemical things for it there. And like I said, earlier, I think in alchemy, it was considered a great tool for the marriage of the Sun of the moon, bringing the unconscious and the conscious together to form genius.

Troy Spreeuw:

And have you had an interest in lab alchemy and done any of that yourself?

Chris Bennett:

I you know, only because I've written about it, but I've been in contact with lots of alchemists and there's a Alchemist in California, Warren G, evolved alchemy and he's been trying to make the an actual Philosopher's Stone of cannabis. By doing the five extraction you know, the the earth Water, Air spirit extraction, and then bringing it all back together. I haven't talked to him for a while, but he's done a number of the different ones. And it's slowly been working to reconstituting an actual Philosopher's Stone and I think you can make philosopher's stones you know, of any number of plants, you know, and Paracelsus particularly seems interested in in opium in his time, but I think Rabelais was more of a cannabis connoisseur his interest laid there.

Troy Spreeuw:

It's interesting because Crowley has a different conclusion about alchemy, particularly from a sex magical perspective. And its interest interesting how the things the where you start kind of informs your opinions about where you are. Yeah, but I, I find your your ideas about this fascinating. Sorry, writes

Chris Bennett:

about cannabis and alchemy as well. You know, he talks in his psychology of hashish. You know, there's a story told over and over where somebody pursuing knowledge meets and initiate and is given an elixir, that's how the whole thing starts, you know what I mean? Sexual alchemy, though, of course, you know, that's another, you know, the quintessence of the human is, of course, you know, you know what that is, right? You know, that's, that's the essence of the human what makes humans you know, um, so that that that fits with the same concept of Quintessence. But in this case, he's talking about the quintessence of the individual human being.

Troy Spreeuw:

And I find it also interesting how the same group of symbols can be interpreted so many different ways from different lenses, you know, what the whole "As Above, So Below" and it doesn't make any one of them particularly true, or not true. It's just a matter of where you're at, and what to apply. So now, now, I'd like to talk about a practical application. So we were talking before the interview. And this podcast is mostly concerned with, with individual practitioners and personal practice, and you're like, Well, you know, I don't know what my personal practice is like. But you started off, like getting high and you had this spiritual experience. You've spent all this time doing this, this academic work, which, at the beginning was like, the ravings of a stoner but evolved into some very serious academic work. I think anybody who reads it will argue that it's very serious academic work. What is your what is your How is your personal practice evolved? And by that, I mean, well, you know, what you get up to?

Chris Bennett:

Yeah, you know, I definitely had in the 90s, I was pursuing a lot of magic and this is actually one of my magical diaries from the 90s.

Troy Spreeuw:

Oh, see? That's the first advice I give to any student of the work that's good. You took somebody asked you to do that, or did you just spontaneously spontaneously

Chris Bennett:

you know what happened? Um, you know, I giving start you my account of I should maybe I should talk about in my whole occult connection here. Um, I had given you my account, my religious experience. 1989 And initially, I thought that was weird. My religious experience starts, right. But then I'd had, you know, I started to think about things. And when I was a kid, I had a couple of dreams that stuck with me. And that I kind of started to see relevance to as I began to study this occult stuff, and one of these dreams, I was flying through space. And a voice was telling me that stars and atoms were the same thing, you know, and when I read about the microcosm, and macrocosm, I was like, oh, that's like that fucking dream I had when I was a fucking kid. And then the other dream, I was shown plant just sprouting out of the earth, and was told that this was going to be this great, incredible plant and cure cancer and do all this stuff. And I, when I later on got into cannabis, like, well, that's like that fucking dream I had. And so I kind of started to realize, you know, that there was some sort of like, something earlier than my other thing, something that was leading me up to my religious experience. And when I say so I started on this path of collecting information about people that experimented with cannabis that I collect quotes and things. And I vaguely knew of Crowley, right? Because I kind of thought of Crowley as kind of a demonic figure. And but I had read this one book by Crowley. And that was when I was watching Before all this that was Diary of a drug feat. And I thought as kind of a campy, crappy book and I was didn't think it was that great or anything, you know. But then, when I started researching the history of cannabis, a lot of books on the history of cannabis, they talk about Francois, Rabelais because of these chapters of cannabis incorporated into Pantagrulian as the Herb Pantagrulain. And so I thought, I'm gonna read this guy, he sounds like a good lead. He was a monk, you know, and he wrote about secretly about cannabis, there must be something in there. And so I started reading it, and I got to read Gargantua and I got to the abbey of Thelema and the law of the abbey of Thelema "Do as thou wilt". And I was like, Oh, that was in that fucking Crowley guy's book that I read. He must know about Rabelais you know, I didn't know much about him at all right? You know, just what I'd read in the diary of a drug fiend and different bits I'd read in magazines over the years and that sort of shit I hadn't, hadn't followed up on and I got to find a quote about cannabis from this guy. And almost right away, I was at a garage sale and ended up with four books, a Crowley "Magic in Theory and Practice", the "Book of Lies" a couple of others and I started reading "Magic in Theory and Practice". And by this time, I had already kind of clued in to the Templars connection with the hashishin. And we they're on my list of you know, potential sources. And he's talking about them and I'm like, Well, this cruelly guy's fuckin right on. And I was really digging the book, until I got to this paragraph, where he talks about sacrificing a male child, he's like, I've done this myself. 150 times, Oh, my God, I read it. I was like, This is so evil. I can't read anymore. I'd been seduced by the devil. Because I'd had this religious experience reading the book of Revelation, I kind of consider myself a bit of a Christian Right. And I was involved with some Christian cannabis using groups by this time, Ethiopian and Zion Coptic Church and other other other people, you know, that I come across while I was researching. And so I put it down and I was like, fucking man, I couldn't believe I've been dragged into it. And this led to this wild series of synchronistic events. So I'd gone down to Victoria to go to some pot protests, and I was visiting this buddy of mine. And he had an issue of Gnosis magazine on their special issue on psychedelics. And so So that's cool. I open it up, and there's a letter to the editor. And it's child sacrifice. And the guy they done an issue about Crowley, and somebody, he's a kid a child sacrifice, you know, blah, blah, and I was like, Holy shit, this is this fucking shit. I'm just struggling over and they go, Oh, that's just a puckish reference to his sex magick. Right? And so I fuckin thought, Okay, I'm gonna find you. There was a couple of quotes about cannabis in there. But it was like, you know, in the magic and theory and practice, but it was like, stuff like where it's placed on the tree of life. And I didn't really have the contextualization to really make much of what he was saying there. I need some more meat. I need a better quote than this. And so I went to Avalon books in Victoria. And there was a new book there. Liber Aliph Book of Wisdom before never seen that one before. On the shelf. There was a bookstore I went to regularly and I look up but cannabis, nothing. I look up ah, for half there's hashish there's like six pages. And I read it and it's like a bunch of fucking gobblygook and I'm like, I can't make I don't know what he's fucking talking about. Well, you know, that's currently for you. Yeah, I'll read you like the beginner book. Like that. For

Troy Spreeuw:

The Book Of Lies was like that for me. It was my first real book of Crowley and I was like, there's a lot more going on here than I have any idea. Liber Aleph. The second book I read and also it was I read it but you don't grok the vast majority of what's in there you just like yeah, okay, clearly this is for initiates,

Chris Bennett:

which they brought for from the city Babylon, how Nebucadnezzar the great king being afflicted in a spirit that departs from among men for seven years space, eating grass, I still have an ox. And I was like, I don't know. And that's not not what I'm looking for. So I didn't buy it at the time, I went to another bookstore, secondhand bookstore, and I got a couple of books. I got Ram Dass's "Be Here Now". And I got the "10th Mandela of the Ring Veda", which I ended up using for writing my book on the Soma many years later. And I'm, when I was going up to pay for the book, The woman said, Oh, look at the price of Ram Dass is be here. Now, it had been $3.33 when it came up. And so she ran out my books After saying this, and my change came back. $7.77 and me and her and the other person in line went Oh, wow, that's weird. Haha. And I thought, Okay, well, maybe I'll go get that book Libra Aleph in like Rabelais, which I had to read a new over and over to kind of get the gist of what he was talking about and understand it, because it's written. So esoterically I thought maybe if I read it a few times, like, like I did with Rabelais, I'll understand what it was. And so I got it. And then I sit down in my car, right. And I see, it's the Book of Wisdom or folly, in the form of an epistle of 666, the great wild beast to his son 777. And so I fuckin was like, well, that's fucking trippy. And then I ran into this whole series of 777 things, and I was became obsessed with it. And, and when I was reading magic in theory and practice to, when he gave the Oath of the Abyss, I took it right on the fucking spot. You know what I mean? And maybe that's how this all started, I don't know. But I saw I started, you know, noticing this 777 stuff. And everywhere, it was like the, the file number that the book Hanford victory was kept under seven, seven. And I had a bunch of stuff. And I was reading my first book, this time, "Green gold, the tree life, marijuana and magic and religion" came out in 1995. And this was a couple of years before that around 93. And I had run into some financial problems. And I did mushrooms, I begged the gods to help me out, right. And I ended up I had a business at that time making hemp seed food bars, first hemp seed food product in North America, actually, I sold them all over the place. And I had this guy buy into my company, and he paid me with a check. And even before he gave me it, I knew those numbers, were going to be on there. And I photocopied the check. So I have proof of this. And the check number was 077733308. So it had the 333, the 777 in there, and then the zero the number he attributes to cannabis in Libra Aleph in there as well. And so I was like, Well, you know, and he had written this book, I found out, you know, for a specific individual, Charles Stansfeld-Jones,

Troy Spreeuw:

that might have a connection for you.

Chris Bennett:

Yeah. So at that time, you know, they talked about the guy living in Vancouver, and I was like, Oh, cool. I'm from Vancouver. But you know, in those days, there was no internet. So I couldn't really find I was living in Ucluelet, you know, what I didn't have access to other people interested in this type of thing or books. And I kind of left it at that. And I had a really like, I got that money I mentioned, you know, begging to the gods kind of doing a magical invocation to kind of get some money and on mushrooms. And I got really ripped off on my first book, The gods granted the money to publish the book, but it was kind of a monkey's paw type of situation, where, you know, the woman wants her dead son back, and then he comes back as a zombie, where I got my wish, but I didn't, I wasn't specific enough. I got totally ripped off on that fucking book. And I ended up doing some black magic to, like, I spent five years on this book, right? And the people that rip me off, totally took me in, and then they fucking totally just burned me on my book. And I tried doing everything I could through legal means. And I realized that couldn't and I was in a fury I was as mad as I've ever been at anybody. And I did some black magic, you know. And this is kind of where I fell away from magic because I did this black magic. And then the next day, I got up and I had this thing, Bell's Palsy. I didn't know what it was at the time. I just didn't have the use in the left side of my face. And I went into a really, really deep depression over that and I decided that I would never use magic again to try to achieve my will. And I would always you know, if I wanted to build a fucking house, I get a hammer nail and I'd start with a piece of wood and I'd hammer another piece of wood to it. Another piece of wood, and another piece of wood another piece of wood, because that's the way you build a house because you use magic to fulfill your will in that way. It's like throwing a rock into a pond. And the ripples of effect that that can happen from that interaction out of place interaction with no building up to it has repercussions as I learned, right, and sent me into a very deep depression. And I crawled out of that writing my next book, "Sex, Drugs, Violence in the Bible". And so for about the next 10 years or so I was purely a, taking kind of like just a historical, I'm just going to write history study history, not really pursuing any sort of magical practice or anything like that. But before I get away from that time period, I do want to talk about one magick ritual that I did that was particularly astounding, I think. And this was in 1996, and it was on my birthday, my 34 birthday. And I my problem is with people that say they channel or anything like that is you have to really put your faith into them, that they're not like, gonna drag any of their own bullshit into whatever message they're getting. And I was trying to come up with a way, even my own message, you know, I mean, even my own message about the tree of life. And I wrote my books, because of doubt, I couldn't accept that that was real enough. If it was real, there'd be proof of it some right, you know what I mean. And so that's kind of like a theme of a lot of my stuff. And so I wanted to come up with a way of channeling that wasn't reliant on any one individual, right. And so I came up with this thing I called the invocation of Anthropos. Now, initially, I was thinking that we created a computer program or something, and it would, you know, flashing a pattern that threw it into alpha brainwaves. And then every seven seconds, somebody would push a letter on the keyboard, and then whatever letter was pushed the most it would be courted up top, you know, and you'd see if you start getting any words or anything, but I just didn't have the ability to do that in those days. 1996. So I came up with a wet barn version. And I got together 12 individuals that I know that were into psychedelics and cannabis at that time, and also kind of spiritually minded, right. And I brought them out to Ucluelet it for my birthday, which was on a full moon that year. And I told them all what we're going to do before we did it, so that they had to agree to it and commit to it with their will and, and hold through the ritual. And I got them all to write out a question, right, I put all these questions in the hat. And then we did mushrooms, bless them mushrooms, and we did mushrooms. And then I did a banishing ritual, to clear the air. I bless the sacraments. And after we adjusted the mushrooms, I had all these people in a circle around me and I was in the center. I took them through a they could only look directly at me never from side to side, right? Only directly at me. And I took them through a series of exercises through Christopher Hyatt's "Undoing Yourself" reenergize meditation, that took about a half hour we'd hop up and down for a minute there on chatter our teeth for a minute, you know, until we were very high. And then I used a invocation from the the Nag Hammadi library the the "Perfect thunder, perfect mind". And this has become a very interesting topic for other people. There's a book out about Dee, where they talk about thunder perfect mind in relation to John Dee and Crowley and Jack Parsons. And I use that same invocation for this exercise. And then after doing the invocation, I took a question out of the hat. And I touched one person, and that person was to say a word. And then the next person wants to follow around the circle. And I was in the center and I wrote it down in this book, this is the actual book, the actual thing that I wrote down in the very source document, the first question, and it's funny, because the two questions that I picked were questions that I wanted to ask, but I didn't, because I thought I'd wait a try it a few times. And then I'd ask those questions. And the first question was, are the forces of light going to triumph over the forces of evil? And the answer came back when this came back, it was as fast as I'm speaking to you. Now I had a race to write this down. It is not likely that we should see the way to understanding freely and completely, that his knowledge and power is left to one's discretion. If you seek to what I have given, then we shall know if everything will be forever best together realize and that we move towards ever thrust to be in complete faith, harmony and understanding, respect for us. That's a whole paragraph with sentence structure. That answers a question that nobody said Only One In 12 words of that. One person said, You know what I mean? And so and it's relevant to the question, you know, it is not likely that we're going to see our way to see understand it freely and completely. And knowledge and power is left to one's discretion. You can have knowledge and not act on it. It's pretty fucking useless. But the problem with our world is all the power without knowledge, you know what I mean? And if you see what I have given, there's not a problem in the world today that we have, that we don't have an answer, the fucking struggle is trying to implement that shit in this system that we're stuck in. And so that that I think was very on target. The next question was, where on earth? Will it be a safe place for humans to live into the future? How can we find appropriate living conditions on Earth after events breaking apart, which can't move towards resolution spinning comfortably? The problems that we face in this world today will get you no matter where you're at? Spinning comfortably. We're all caught up in Maya, man, we're like making our mortgage payments and, and doing all this shit. We're, we're cleaning the chairs and the Titanic as the ship sinks. And then my question was a test question. And I wanted something that I knew about that these other guys didn't know about something that would mean something to me that they just would have no, not what the hell I was talking about. And around this time, they had found this new form of life on the ocean floors around volcanic vents that are like 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and heat and they found life in these vents, worms and things like that life that did not depend on the sun, like all other life on Earth, right. And because of this, there's developed an idea that life may have come to Earth on a meteor, like a sperm, puncturing a giant egg, and blasting off and then, you know, taking off from there from that moment, right. And I said, Tell me about the worms on the ocean floor. They responded. They were born apart with time, past and future. Wow. And at that moment, somebody started laughing. And I was like, you fools. I sent up, you blew it, you blew it, you know that we stopped the ritual and just kind of partied. Right? Laughter is a perfect release.

Troy Spreeuw:

Grounding exercise. Yeah.

Chris Bennett:

Yeah, you know, and it released it released whatever we brought into that circle. And I believe we brought into that something into that circle. I think that was the HGA (Holy Guardian Angel) you know, I think that's what that was man. And so anyways, after this around the same time, I had this bad experience, I got ripped off on my book, I did black magic, like a fucking idiot. I lost the use and left side of my face for a while, I crawled out of my depression, and became a solid historian and I didn't pursue magick. Now, after when I when I wrote my book, "Cannabis in the Soma Solution", which is all about the Vedic sacraments, Soma, that that led to the Vedic religion, to the Hindu religion and everything that sprouted forth from the Hindu religion. I had some chapters on there on some occult stuff relating to the Grail, because the Grail is interconnected with the with with the whole Soma mythology. And I had to pull those out, because the book was already so big. And so I pulled these two chapters out on the Occult, and I thought, I'll get back to work on those, at some point the next year or two, and I just let it sit there on my computer for like, eight, nine years. But I decided that around 2016 That I would write this book, I dug out those two chapters and all the research that I collected on this occult stuff, and I would revisit this material on the occult. And this brings me back to Charles Stansfeld Jones in this whole weird shit. That happened. Now, this was my Saturn Return this initial stuff that happened. For me happened. My original religious experience happened when I was 27. This is like 27 years later, I get back into this same magical current, right? And I was with this friend of mine, and she was talking about how she was interested in ghosts. And when I was a kid, I grew up in this little part of North Vancouver called Deep Cove. And when I was a kid, I was convinced I had seen the same ghost twice on my street. First time I was walking up the street, and I saw somebody you know, leaning back in a driveway, looking at me and I kind of looked up and he looked down. I looked up again and they were like a photo negative I can kind of see right through. And I was terrified after that. After that. It was like a one way street. Every time I'd go past this house. I'd close my eyes. Now rip up the middle of the street for as far as I could go. till I was sufficiently passed it on that I would not look back, I just look forward to get home. And so this went on for me for a couple of years. And one time, I was just about home when I had to look back, I was like, What the fuck, I look back, and I see the same apparition again, a behind me, you know, shortly after that I moved away from from deep Cove. And so I started telling her about this. And for some reason, this brought up this stuff about Charles Stansfeld-Jones, because right around this time, I had found out he lived in North Vancouver, deep coves in North Vancouver and I was like, Oh, cool. I'm from North Vancouver. That's even closer, right? And then I found out I was like, so I googled deep Cove, North Vancouver, and I found out he lives specifically in deep Cove. And I was like, Whoa, that is really weird. And so I googled around and I ended up on the steep Cove Historical Society page. And there's a letter from this guy Larry Brown that had been one of Charles stansfeld Jones's foster kids. He had a couple foster kids in the 40s with their with them for five years. And he talked about living and Jones said he lived in this place in Deep Cove called Tall Timbers. And I kept trying to find this place, Tall Timbers and Deep Cove and that's what I had been searching around on Tall Timbers Deep Cove Charles Stansfeld-Jones. And this guy had this in his his his his a message to the Historical Society. He said I lived in a house called Tall Timbers. No wonder I couldn't find it. That was on Caledonia Avenue deep Cove and I was like, Holy fucking shit. It was like literally, like three, four doors from my house, probably like, you know, across the street and the next house down back in that day in the 1950s. And I realized that I'm sure that I met his widow I as a kid, I had been saying that there was a witch living in this house and telling other kids on the street. It's this old lady watch his play from her window. And I was saying, Oh, she's a witch. And I got taken to meet her by my friend's mother to show me she was not a witch. And I'm quite convinced. This was fucking Ruby Jones and she was a fucking witch and somehow I fucking kind of tapped into it as a fucking kid somehow, you know, in that same way. And so, I you know, Croley wrote specifically, a whole essay on hash cheese for Charles Stansfeld- Jones, a De Herbal Sanctissima Aribica and the book that he wrote for Him Most Holy grass of the Arabs. You know, when he when he presents that same essay in the book of thought he proceeds it with a section He ends Liber Aleph with about ??? and "Trinc" and ??? rearranged is Francois Rabelais and Trink is he says the word of Rabelais. In Crowley's estimation, this has to do with potent psychoactive substances used as an entheogen he refers to the bottle of Trink when he takes ether as well you know he saw any sort of psychoactive taken with that sort of evidence is this this thing Trent, which is the the way that Rabelais ingested and infused in wine so I really believe there's some sort of connection between this work that I'm doing and this work that these guys do. And you know for for Achad you know, it was the incoming out of Maat and I have written you know, there there is evidence of a psychoactive elixir in the worship of Maat in Egypt. And I've written about this before, but I think it's more interesting is Maat of Goddess you know and and the interconnection of the goddess with cannabis in relation to this and that somehow I you know, like, I gotta be honest with you like I read you know, the "Incoming Aeon of Maat" and "Crossing the Abyss" both books about Achad that came out last year. And you know, I read Achad's own writings and I I'm not really that drawn to him find these like too obscure and a lot of the ways that he presents things and you know, reading so many letters and diary notes from from both Crowley and cod hasn't endeared them in my heart that much, you know what I mean? It's kind of hard to take you can see that the cruelness and pettiness of Crowley sometimes and then with with Achad throughout the incoming Aeon and Abyss there's this passive aggressive attempt to place himself as a successor of Crowley and trying to get both you know The people he's exchanging letters within there to agree with with this this assessment you know in this passive aggressive kind of almost whiny way of trying to lead them there continuously that really fucking drained on me so it's not like I'm you know claiming to be like any sort of like reincarnation or anything but something in regards to this will about accomplishing this thing you know with in relation to cannabis and you know cannabis was a big part of that relationship. The first 1910 document regarding Achad in relation to Crowley is an account of him being initiated with cannabis. And then in 1918 on April 20 is part of the, the, the stuff that invoke LAM they're using both can hashish and mesculine you know what I mean? And and Achad was dosing people with peyote in 1915 onLonsdale Avenue. Probably I'm the biggest seller and promoter of peyote in Vancouver since Achad because I had my store the urban shaman and I sold kilos and kilos and kilos of peyote as well as like Achad, you know. And so there's some sort of weird, weird connection there. I still haven't gotten to the bottom of it, I had been working on a book about Crowley and Thelema you know, up until a few months ago, but my publisher has me revisiting some of this ancient world stuff because of this new archaeology and wants to me to get a book out on that. So I had to put that on the back burner, but at some point, I'm really hoping to dig into this and you know, not just because I want to write the book, but because I want to understand what this connection is myself better.

Troy Spreeuw:

Do you have an ongoing, magical practice that's influenced by any of this work? Are you still, like that ritual sounded pretty fascinating. Have you continued on that kind of work even intermittently?

Chris Bennett:

Well, you know, like, anything,

Troy Spreeuw:

anything you dare speak about?

Chris Bennett:

Yeah, well, you know, I've definitely done psychedelics and I've had, you know, powerful, powerful entheogenic experiences. But I think I kind of went after that time period, I stopped kind of enjoying, you know, like a lot of psychedelics because I kept finding myself getting drawn into this trip about it, and myself in this message, and I felt it was almost kind of like a messianic trip. And so I kind of backed off most stuff except pot for a number of years. And then I once I started doing it again, I was using you know psychedelics more for like, ecstatic transpersonal experience rather than ego obliteration. So things like doing a very potent psychedelic, like 2CB, which is a lot like mesculine with a lover, and breaking that whole "You and them" completely, you know, blowing that out of the water. So you're just the whole experience that's taking place you can't even identify where you begin and the other person began, you know, you end and the other person begins, it can be so powerful if you use psychedelic substance that so it's more about getting into really high bliss states is what it's been about, right? Um, I couldn't say like, you know, like, I just think that, you know, the, the use of cannabis all the time, kind of brings that esoteric element into your life in a way, you know what I mean? Like, even just researching and writing while I'm using it, is, in a sense, a magical act, you know what I mean? And each book is a magical spell, you know, and these spells you know, they take a long time to do but they have an effect, you know, you could Google Jesus cannabis and you'll find endless endless pages about Jesus healing with cannabis is all grown from my, my religious experience and my use of cannabis and my research using cannabis. And so they can have a powerful and lasting effect. And that's my legacy. Right? That's what I'm working on. That's what really matters. Now in regards to myself, and I couldn't really say like, you know, like in the 90s, when I, when I when I did what I did that, that that ritual that I described, in those days, I would wake up every morning I would do pranyama I would fill out my dream diary, Salutations to the sun, then I would do a bunch of exercises from Pascal Beverly Randolph directed at mirror scrying. You know, every day I was like, did that and you didn't didn't know anybody else into that shit. I was just kind of doing it by myself out this little logging and fishing town, right? The odd time I'd meet somebody somewhere that do some stuff about it and pick up a bit more add to my practice, you know, um, but yeah, I couldn't really say, I'm doing that. But I do feel like a magical current, you know, ever since I, you know, found that Stansfeld-Jones lived on my street, you know, it was, it was already pretty powerful when I had the check with those exact numbers because I was talking about it telling my friends, and all of a sudden, I was like, See, I told you, this is a real check. See those numbers? You know, I've already been talking about it for years. So by that time, right, and I drifted away from that.

Troy Spreeuw:

That's a good story.

Chris Bennett:

but when he when he turned up on my street, you know, after that, I was like, okay, that's too fucking weird for fucking coincidence. You know, there's obviously some sort of fucking thing going on here in relation to this, you know. So, I feel like I am connected to some sort of magical current. And the work that I'm doing, you know, is of great importance. I do believe cannabis is the tree of life, you know, and that, that is everything. Everything is there, you know, for that, and also soma and haoma, you know, and so this makes it the last sacrament of the ancient world, you know, when you're talking about and the evidence for it being soma and haoma, there's lots of archaeological evidence for that as well. A very, very powerful case. And people are really starting to accept that theory. You know, it's a growing, increasing theory, that that is, is being more and more widely accepted, I expect it will be established fact, at some point, there continues to be more archaeology turning up on this type of stuff. And so we're talking about something here, that is a last sacrament of the ancient world. And why I think this is so powerful, is that when I think about the study of entheogens, in the ancient world, particularly this material about cannabis, specifically, of this material about cannabis in the Bible, I think that when you really understand it, it's as much a threat to fundamental religion as Darwin's theory of evolution was to the myths of Genesis and creation of Adam and Eve because what it reveals is the plant based shamanic origins of religion itself, and that's a fucking incredible reset, you know, an incredible reboot of the religious life of man and I'm not just talking about Judaism, Christianity and and Vedic and Avesta. This blends over into the Hindu religion, where cannabis is still consumed in honor of Shiva, the oldest continually worship God on earth as well as Kali and tantric rites. It was long used in honor of Kali. And in Zoroastrianism cannabis infused wines were used this is without question. They left references to this in Zoroastrian text like the Denkard. And you know Sikhs use the Nihang Sikhs the guardians of the temple sites, they use a cannabis sacrament suka ???, Daoist magicians in four or 500 BC wrote about it as the plant of immortality. In Buddhist texts that refers to Buddha subsisting on one hemp seed a day before under the Bodhi tree, you know, and in later medieval Buddhist tantric Buddhism. There's references to cannabis for yogic powers and stuff in Tibetan Buddhist text. So here it is, man. This is the fucking law sacrament of the ancient world and not just the ancient world. This is a sacrament of Thelema and I think that's something that really went by the wayside in the Lima in the OTO. Particularly Crowley was really you know, we can be sure it was part of the original oto situation, because in the the last ritual are forgotten rich secret rituals of the OTO. They refer to the bitter cup. This is where all this stuff comes into masonry as well. It's got to do with the bitter cub of the cup of rememberance and the cup of forgetfulness, the sort of ritual drinks that were used in these initiatory ceremonies, they can be replaced by placebos, but I believe in the origins. We're talking about a psychoactive substance of some kind here, and certainly for Crowley, he had Stansfeld-Jones dosing people with the OTO with peyote. You know, it's in the in the Detroit stuff as well. And it was dosing people at the OTO lodge on Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver in 1915. First thing on the reading list was "Psychology of Hashish" for new students. You know, this is all all in the excellent book, The Unknown God, by Martin Starr, probably one of the best books written on the whole OTO time period, you know, and so this stuff kind of got lost by the wayside. There's problems in the 60s and the 70s with a lot of drugs being used some of these oto things that brought some police In interactions, and There ended up being kind of a official policy of not having these types of substances there. But I was quite shocked when I went to the Vancouver OTO one of the Gnostic masses, and they pulled out a joint after the after the mass and I was like, oh, yeah, I shouldn't do that. I was like, What the fuck? Because it was definitely would have been okay with AC, I guarantee you that. It was definitely part of the OTO of a of the Charles Stansfeld-Jones and also in California era. There's lots of references to this in there. I thought that was one of the good things about the the series on Parsons was they incorporated some of that into it into that, you know what I mean? And so it's the last sacrament of the OTO. And a lot of ways as well. And that's what I'm saying, man.

Troy Spreeuw:

You know, I hit the bottom of my list of stuff that I wanted to talk about, and you just kind of covered it all organically, but I was asked what are you excited about but I just excited of all this. And you know, I I'm glad you mentioned the unknown God, I'm such a fan of Br. Martin Starr. We brought him I brought him out here. Oh, cool. Love to speak about the new Scottish Rite temple that they built in the state where he's involved I can't remember was Detroit or Chicago, but it was a new, a new, new big Scottish Rite building he was involved in and I think he was happy to get asked to speak about something that wasn't occultism because he was known as this until he published "The Unknown God" very well known in Thelemic circles as a as a serious student of the Work but I was gonna mention before when you were talking about the reading the letters between Crowley and Achad it was it was the way that Crowley treated Wilfred Talbot Smith, who was who was a cod student, that that that separated Martin Starr from Thelema I believe,

Chris Bennett:

that was pretty harsh, you know, city to him, well, people that were love them terribly. You know what I mean?

Troy Spreeuw:

And I also and I don't want to get too involved in that because our time is winding down. But what I did, I did want to say is that I appreciate you also bringing up the "Strange Angel" the Jack Parsons TV series. I think there was 21 episodes or 18 episodes. I recently just watched them I avoided it when it was popular. And then I understand it was cancelled and I and probably because the next step in the story was to introduce L Ron Hubbard. The last scene in the show is L. Ron Hubbard knocking on the door to rent a room. He introduces himself, and it's like, well, now you wonder why they didn't continue. Maybe at some point they'll continue when Scientology doesn't have such a stranglehold.

Chris Bennett:

2004 L Ron Hubbard on drugs and I went into all the Parsons and Crowley stuff and all the drug accusations about Hubbard it's and I got a we got a full on Scientology attack. They created blogs in our names and they have let them Mark Emery's bust but they were definitely trying to get as busted after we did that. But they initially they had been handing out anti marijuana stuff in front of our our store. And I was like, What the fuck who are these fucking guys and then I started I went down the rabbit hole. And I put together this documentary L. Ron Hubbard On Druges actual has actual audio of Hubbard talking about Crowley. And Parsons says Crowley is his good friend and refers to Parsons as a brilliant man, he certainly held no hostility to them in the way he presented it. But you know, history is different. Yeah, you know, it's it's regards to masonry. Last month, I gave a lecture on cannabis history for the number one Washington, DC Lodge.

Troy Spreeuw:

I saw some good commentary on it. And and I think it's, it's, you know, we're gonna see a renaissance of this material. And I mean, you know, it's, it's fascinating to see decriminalization and now legalization and regulation and how that's going to change everything. And it's certainly, we'll definitely have you back to discuss your topics as they arise.

Chris Bennett:

I mentioned some earlier and in regards to masonry. It's interesting that both MacKey and Pike wrote extensively about Soma and what it possible identity could be and how it was you so there's definitely a keen interest in this type of stuff in those types of circles.

Troy Spreeuw:

Maybe we'll have you back later this year to talk strictly about that subject and possible references to entheogens in Freemasonry, because I know there's been a lot of work on that I could get ???

Chris Bennett:

a good one to have PD Newman on and on as well. He's written the book About Cagliostro, possibly using an occasion? Yeah, in rights, right. And he was a both him and even Dr. David Harrison, the British Masonic historian, both Newman who's 32nd degrees Scottish Right. And David Harrison is way up and masonry over in the UK acted as consultants when I was writing Liber for 420. So whenever I write anything about Freemasonry, I'd run it by them and try to keep the dates and and the information accurate as I could.

Troy Spreeuw:

We'll edit that out. Sorry, that was not on purpose. One One, still recording? Yeah, no, we're still recording one more thing. What have you got that you're working on right now that people should watch out for or be listening for? Or have you got anything you'd like to announce that's coming? What's next for you?

Chris Bennett:

Right now, I've started work on kind of a shorter version of my other books, my books are all really large books like 500 800 type of range, and my publisher wants me to get something that's kind of more accessible to the general reader, you know, I've really gone to extensive efforts to document my material, because I'm talking about such outrageous things, you know what I mean? And I don't want to, I don't want people to think I'm pulling it out of my ass on a ticker tape. So I've really gone to lengths to document on these things. But this new book is basically because of the popularity of this new book that's out "The Immortality Key", which is about the use of entheogens and Christianity. And, and the author borrowed I, in my opinion, heavily for my themes. He read a lot of my own work before he wrote his book. But it's, it's a best seller. So my there's a lot of interest in this material right now. And because of the new archaeology out of Israel, relating to things that I had written about before, he wants me to revisit that material, because now it's gone from a theory to fact and history and he wants to tap you know, establish that, that that that's our, our material.

Troy Spreeuw:

Are you talking about a revised edition? Or are you talking about a new book entirely

Chris Bennett:

new book, it's called cannabis, the last sacrament of the ancient world. And it'll be mostly about archaeologically evidence pertaining to both soma and the material out of Israel, and showing a solid case for that. And that being the foundation for the world's religions because of the Jewish religion group Christianity and Islam is great cases for the role of Cannbis and both Christianity and Islam. And out of the Vedic religion grew Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and all these other religions. So we're talking about the foundation of the world's religions, right. And that's what this book could be about establishing cannabis as a source and fount an inspirational font from which the world religion is from.

Troy Spreeuw:

Thank you for listening today. Upcoming podcasts include Cleo Bostic, talking about women Freemasons, and Dr. Richard Kaczynski. Talking about his work on the reissue of Crowley's sort of song. The day for grand may Sonic day 2022 Is March 26, and it will be held at the Agnes St. Freemasonic. Building in New Westminster. Several if not all of the presentations will be open to seekers and invited guests. Esotericism in Freemasonry conference 2022 will be October 1 and 2 in Seattle, Washington at a location to be determined. The Scholomance Project is hosted by Troy the Devilman. Our production technician is Clay Halak at screen Machine Productions, and our graphic arts and web hosting are provided by art Zobo creative. A special thanks to Moka Only for opening and closing music. Check out Scholomance.ca For more show related resources including notes and transcriptions, upcoming events, and our recently launched Patreon Scolomance. Aspire. Explore. Inspire.

Chris Bennett Self Introduction
Damn The Man!
Guidance with Entheogens
Some Personal Experiences
Revelation and the Tree Of Life
Stoned Ape Theory
Words and Letters are Magick!
Occultism and Drugs
Paracelsus and Quintessence
Crowley and Sex Magick
Asking about Magical Practice
Clearly, This Is For Initiates
Perfect Thunder, Perfect Mind
Trinc and Fracois Rebelais
A Continuing Personal Practice?
The Lost Sacrament
Strange Angel and L. Ron Hubbard
What's Next for Chris Bennett
Show Close