Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Great Holy Anointing Oil Debate: Calamus or Cannabis?

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In the Sacred Law, the Creator/God gave Moses a recipe to make the Holy Anointing Oil.  The recipe consisted of: myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil.  This Holy Anointing Oil was so sacred, that it became a major offense for anyone to make it, or use it, for common or unauthorized purposes.

Exodus 30:23-25 tells us:

As for you, take to yourself the choicest perfumes: myrrh in congealed drops five hundred units, and sweet cinnamon in half that amount, two hundred and fifty units, and sweet calamus two hundred and fifty units and cassia five hundred units by the shekel of the holy place, and olive oil a hin. Then you must make out of it a holy anointing oil, an ointment, a mixture that is the work of an ointment maker.  It is to be a holy anointing oil.

Once the measurements are converted, the recipe seems pretty straightforward; so what’s all this debate about?  The oriental plant Calamus, is Latin for cane; in Hebrew, the word is Kaneh.  It is one of the ingredients in the Holy Anointing Oil.   When we linguistically trace the Hebrew word Kaneh, we are introduced to the idea that the term Calamus was mistranslated in the earliest Greek Bible, the Septuagint.

Dr. Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist (1903 – 1982), asserted that the word kaneh-bosm actually referred to cannabis. In 1980, Israel’s Hebrew University, confirmed her linguistic explanation as being a valid interpretation. 

To help us ascertain which herb was actually used, let us look quickly at what the resultant oil was used for. The Holy Anointing Oil was used during sanctification rites and/or ceremonies, e.g.,  to designate and/or dedicate something as sacred and holy, baptismal, ordination, and/or unction (healing) ceremonies.
When a person was anointed with the Holy Anointing Oil, the oil was poured onto the top of his head and allowed to run down his beard, to his collar.
It is like the good oil upon the head, That is running down upon the beard, Aaron’s beard, That is 
running down to the collar of his garments. Psalm 133:2
And you must set the turban upon his head and put the holy sign of dedication upon the turban.  
And you must take the  anointing oil and pour it upon his head and anoint him  Exodus 29:6-7
And you must take … some of the anointing oil, and you must spatter it upon Aaron and his garments
and upon his sons and the garments of his sons with him, that he and his garments and his sons and 
the garments of his sons with him may indeed be holy. Exodus 29: 21 
After that Moses took some of the anointing oil …and spattered it upon Aaron and his garments and upon his sons and the garments of his sons with him. Thus he sanctified Aaron and his garments and his sons and the garments of his sons with him.  Leviticus 8:30
Things dedicated as sacred and holy were also anointed with this oil.  The Creator/God gave Moses the following directions for its use:

And you must anoint with it the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils and the lampstand and its utensils and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils and the basin and its stand. And you must sanctify them that they may indeed become most holy. Anyone touching them is to be holy. And you will anoint Aaron and his sons, and you must sanctify them for acting as priests to me.  Exodus 26-30

Last, but not least, the apostles, under the direction of the Divine Light, personified as Jesus, greased many that they had healed, with the Holy Anointing Oil.  Although the oil did, in fact, possess some beneficial healing properties, it is important to remember that it was the Creator’s/God’s Holy Spirit that actually healed people, not the oil.

and they (the apostles) would expel many demons and grease many sickly people with oil and cure them.  Mark 6:13

Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, Luke 4:18

Then he (Jesus) called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure sicknesses  Luke 9:1 
So he approached him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine upon them. Then he mounted him upon his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  Luke 10:34

Now let us briefly look at each herb in question.  


To date, there is an increasing interest in Calamus as a hallucinogenic recreational drug.  Fresh or “recently 
dried” Calamus root is held as a sacred herb, by many Native Americans, and is often used in religious 
ceremonies as a Spiritual Hallucinogen. It has been said that it helps one see/enter the Spiritual World/Realm.

The structure of alpha and beta asarone molecules, found in Calamus, bear some resemblance to the structure 
of "ecstasy,"   commonly known as "Adam." Ecstacy often produces an altered state of consciousness which   
promotes contemplation of divine things, introspective personal insight and self-disclosure, together with a deep 
love of self and others. 

According to The Shulgin Rating Scale, the affects of Ecstacy produce:
A rare and precious transcendental state, which has been called a 'peak experience', a 'religious experience,' 'divine transformation,' a 'state of Samadhi' and many other names in other cultures. It is a state of bliss, a participation mystique, a connectedness with both the interior and exterior universes, which has come about after the ingestion of a psychedelic drug, but which is not necessarily repeatable with a subsequent ingestion of that same drug. 

If Calamus and Ecstacy share the same transcendental state of consciousness; it is  entirely logical to assume 
that Calamus, is indeed, the herb used in the Holy Anointing Oil.  

No plant comes to mind that has been as maligned and persecuted as Cannabis (marijuana, hemp).  In present day, many/most people believe that Cannabis only has medical, industrial and/or recreational applications, but the use of Cannabis has a long history in religion/spirituality. 

The use of marijuana is as old as the history of man and dates back to the prehistoric period.  Marijuana is closely connected with the history and development of some of the oldest nations on earth.  It has played a significant role in the religions and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, India, and China.  

There are many ancient religious and spiritual uses of cannabis.  Indigenous healers (medicine men/women/shamans/shamanesses), utilized Cannabis during Sacred rites, rituals, and healings.  Sometime between 550 & 600 BC, the Zend-Avesta, a sacred text, listed Cannabis 1st out of 10,000 herbs; the Assyrians used Cannabis as an incense as early as the ninth century B.C. It appears that these healers were concerned with the hallucinogenic, trance and medicinal value of the plants. 

Researchers claim that in the 5th century BC, Siddhartha consumed only hemp seeds for six years, prior to becoming the Buddha. Cannabis continues to play a significant role in the meditation ritual of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, and has been a practice since 500 BC when cannabis was regarded as a holy plant.  A fairly recent archeological discovery of a shamanistic tomb, scientifically dating back 2,500 years ago, revealed a leather basket, containing almost 1.75 pounds of well-preserved cannabis, as well as a wooden bowl containing traces of cannabis.

Ancient spiritual healers employed the ritualistic burning of Cannabis leaves, seeds and flowering tops.  Shamans, in the Zambesi Valley, performed a ceremony in which participants inhaled Cannabis smoke; the Tepecano Indians of northwest Mexico occasionally substituted Cannabis for Peyote; some Mexican Indians performed a communal healing ceremony with a plant called Santa Rosa, also known as Cannabis sativa. This Sacred incense served as a Shamanic tool for spiritual exploration, and provided an opportunity for the user to “Commune” directly with the Creator. 
Hmmm … now things are getting a bit tricky.  Both Calamus and Cannabis can be seen as gateway drugs; that
 is, gateways for spiritual exploration, and Communion with the Creator/God; for thousands of years; both have 
been a trade item, within and across cultures.
At this point, some of you may be thinking, if both herbs are gateways for spiritual exploration, and Communion 
with the Creator/God, either one would be an appropriate ingredient to use in the Holy Anointing Oil, right? 
For the answer to this question, we must dig deeper, as there is some confusion regarding the taxonomy of  
Acorus calamus; two species have been identified: Acorus calamus, an introduced species and Acorus 
calamus americanus, the native Sweet Flag, which is often mistakenly identified as Acorus calamus.  There 
is a big difference between Acorus calamus and North American calamus (Acorus calamus americanus). 

Despite some minor safety concerns, Acorus calamus americanus, is used for a variety of conditions, e.g., as both a stimulant and a sedative, a hallucinogen, a diaphoretic, gastrointestinal disorders, and as a topical to treat some skin conditions.  Additionally, it is used as a spice.

Neither Acorus calamus americanus  nor Acorus calamus  are native to Palestine;  the Calamus used in Palestine was Acorus calamus; it was imported from either Arabia Felix or India.   
Acorus calamus is not used as a  gateway for spiritual exploration or Communion with the Creator/God. 
Acorus calamus does not share the same transcendental state of consciousness as Acorus calamus
 americanus and Ecstacy; furthermore, Acorus calamus is generally not considered to be safe. This Calamus 
does not have any alpha asarone molecules; beta asarone molecules alone are poisonous.
Typical adverse reactions to Acorus calamus include: fever/flu like sympoms, e.g., feelings of shakiness, 
weakness, headache and/or shivering, combined with repeated vomiting (every 5-15 minutes) for 4 or more 
hours.  Some become severely dehydrated from excessive vomiting and wind up in the hospital for a few days.   Additionally, beta-asarone has been shown to cause cancer in experimental lab animals.
Food for thought:  Do you believe that the Creator/God would give Moses a recipe for the Holy Anointing Oil, which was to be poured over someones head to designate and/or signify sacredness and holy dedication to the Creator/God, and also used in healing, that contained an ingredient that hampered spiritual exploration or Communion with the Creator/God, made people sick and was carcinogenic? 

So it is, sealed in trust, faith and truth, in the Sacred Divine Light (Jesus Christ). Amen

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