CANNABIS CULTURE: Was Dionysus a God of Wine in addition to Hashish, and different Psychoactive vegetation?

Dionysus was the traditional Greek God of Intoxication, and this has typically been assumed to have been restricted to his apparent relationship with the Grape, however may hashish and different components have performed a task as properly?

This text will discover the proof that signifies simply that, with a radical dialogue of historic Greek references to such infusions, and a take a look at the historical past of the cult within the historic world.  Indications of Dionysus worship with different cultures and sects recognized for his or her use of hashish in historic instances, can be examined, reminiscent of proof of the Dionysian cult among the many Scythians, Thracians, historic Jews and worshippers of Shiva in India who had been mentioned to have acknowledged Dionysus as their very own God Shiva, when Alexander the Nice rolled into India!  We are going to observe the path again additional to the claims of a connection between Dionysus to the Vedic Soma which various students have advised for over a century. Lastly, new archeological proof of wines infused with hashish in addition to henbane, opium and different substances, in areas recognized for the worship of Dionysus, shall be examined.

The Fantasy and Cult of Dionysus

Dionysian Procession Mosaic depicting a Maenad adopted by Dionysus on a lion and Satyrs, 2nd century AD, within the Archaeological Museum of El Djem, Tunis

The mythology has it that Dionysus appeared within the Grecian provincial city of Thebes, after intensive travels by way of Central Asia and the much more mysterious India.  The effeminately dressed, lengthy haired youth, angered metropolis officers by proclaiming himself a god, however much more by introducing unusual rites and initiating others with the sacraments he introduced again from the East.  Horrified by rumours of frenzied orgies happening amongst Dionysus followers, the Maenads, the dour king, Pentheus, had the youth despatched to jail.  Shortly after a messenger from distant snow peaked mountains [the land of the Scythians?]approached Pentheus, and bade him to rethink his determination:

O King, obtain this Spirit, who’er he be,

To Thebes in glory. Greatness manifold

Is all about him; and the story informed

That that is he who first to man did give

The grief-assuaging vine. Oh, let him dwell;

For if he die, then Love herself is slain,

And nothing joyous on this planet once more!

Dionysus was not imprisoned lengthy earlier than a magical incantation was heard from behind the jail partitions; “Kindle flame of blazing lightning – Burn, burn, the home of Pentheus to the bottom!”  Inside an on the spot lightning pierced the jail-house, destroying it with a thundering explosion.  Dionysus casually walked out unharmed, and invited the now curious Pentheus, to view for himself the key rituals carried out within the mountain woods.  After dawning girls’s garments in order that he may view the rites undetected amongst the all feminine worshippers, Pentheus was led by Dionysus, who assumed the type of a Bull.  They stumbled on a clearing within the woods the place Dionysus’s devotees had been singing and dancing ecstatically.  Interrupted, within the midst of their frenzied ritual, the Maenads, now together with the king’s personal mom, set upon Pentheus and tore the unrecognized politician into items.

The worship of the fertility god Dionysus, often known as Bacchus, is assumed to go have originated round 1500-11000 BCE with Mycenean Greeks. His cult was recognized for ritual insanity, and spiritual ecstasy, and these states have typically been attributed to the cults use of wine. Nonetheless, quite a few sources agree that Dionysian wine was greater than pressed grapes from the descriptions recorded.

This fable was carefully linked with non secular expertise, and ritual.  It supplied a constitution and sanction for an ecstatic cult.  That the ecstatic non secular expertise described was a actuality in historic Greece shouldn’t be disputed.  As with ecstatic rituals of India and the Mid East the place folks slash themselves with knives, or stroll on coals in ecstatic states, or the behaviour of Evangelicals below the affect of the Holy Spirit talking in tongues, the ecstatic and frenzied behaviour of the followers of Dionysus was interpreted as a kind of divine possession, right here by the God of Intoxication. Plato attributed such ‘insanity’ to poets impressed by the Muses, and to the priestess possessed by Apollon when she delivered her prophesies in trance.

Maenads worshipping Dionysus

A ritual reenactment of his fable was a part of the rites of Dionysus, whose important followers had been girls, recognized below the identify Maenads. Plutarch, the first century C.E. thinker and Delphic priest, who was additionally mentioned to have been initiated into the cult if Dionysus, refers back to the “divine  possessions” and “frenzy” of the Maneads throughout the rites of Dionysus, the place potent Greek wine was consumed in honour of the God. Plutarch’s Mulierum Virtutes, makes it clear this was not a continuing state for these girls, describing the ladies finally falling asleep in unison after a frenzied evening of Bacchnallian festivities, in a market place in Amphissa. Once they awoke it was clear they’d returned to motive, and likewise just like the ganja smoking saddhus and fakirs of India, additionally recognized for his or her wild antics, that they had been revered figures of non secular devotion by different members of the tradition. As Plutarch describes, the townswomen had been eager to take this second of sobriety to make choices of kindness to the Maenads.

The wives of the boys of Amphissa, fearing, as a result of their metropolis had turn out to be  allied  with  the  Phocians,  and  quite a few  troopers  of  the  despots had been current there, that the Thyads [another name of the Maenads]is perhaps handled with indignity, all ran out  into  the  market-place,  and,  taking  their  stand  spherical  in  silence,  did  not go  up  to  them  whereas  they  had been  sleeping,  however  when  they  arose  from  their slumber, one devoted herself to one of many strangers and one other to a different, bestowing attentions on them and providing them meals. (Plutarch)

‘The Girls of Amphissa’ serving the Maenads by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Clearly the results of the Dionysian infusion wore off. After we come to see a few of the wine infusions in use in historic Greece, we will higher perceive their potential to induce such states.

The Encyclopedic  ethnobotanist Jonathan Ott states that Dionysus is “erroneously regarded to be the god solely of alcoholic inebriation owing to a misunderstanding of the natures of Greek Wines, potent infusions of quite a few Psychoactive vegetation, through which the alcohol served as a preservative, fairly than as inebriating precept, and which regularly required dilution to be drunk safely” (Ott,1995). Dr. David Hillman, who holds the mixed levels of a Ph.D. in Classics and a M.S. in Bacteriology from the College of Wisconsin, the place he studied the medication and pharmacology of antiquity, has additionally famous that “Dionysus truly possessed his followers, and Euripides’ Greek viewers clearly equated this act with the usage of mind-altering medication” (Hillman, 2008).

Extra lately Brian Muraresku has made a lot of an entheogenic “the spiked grape elixir of Dionysus”, following within the footsteps of his mentor Professor of Classics, Carl Ruck, suggesting in The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name an affect of such a potion on not solely the Greek, however even the Christian Mysteries, “with Dionysus’s wine because the automobile for the psychedelic kick” (Muraresku, 2020). I’ve checked out comparable concepts in earlier works, reminiscent of Cannabis and the Soma Solution (2010), and Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (2001) and it’s from these books this text was tailored, with the addition of some new analysis materials.

Infused Wines in historic Greece

Because the Classics Professor, and entheogenic historical past pioneer, Carl Ruck has famous:

Historic folks had been fascinated by herbs and their therapeutic powers and knew far more about them than we do; at the least about mixing herbs to launch their efficiency.

Historic wines had been at all times fortified, just like the ‘robust wine’ of the Previous Testomony, with natural components: opium, datura, belladonna, mandrake and henbane. Widespread incenses, reminiscent of myrrh, ambergris and frankincense are psychotropic; the straightforward availability and lengthy custom of hashish use would have seen it included within the mixtures. Fashionable medication has seemed into utilizing hashish as a ache reliever and in treating a number of sclerosis. It might be that historic folks knew, or believed, that hashish had therapeutic energy.

A lot of their information, handed down by way of an oral custom, has been misplaced and to some extent it’s the trendy prejudice in opposition to medication that has stopped us searching for it…”

Was There a Whiff of Cannabis About Jesus?The Sunday Occasions, Jan. 12, 2003

The Greeks had been properly conscious of the vegetation round them, and the concept that they contained not solely medicinal however magical properties, was widespread. As a result of it was believed that “that sure medication may safe the passionate love of one other. Indian hemp, mandrake, opium, strychnos varieties, and others had been tremendously used as love charms and as stimulating aphrodisiacs (Parsons, 1899)”

Pliny, the Roman author, says the properties of those medication turned manifest even when merely taken into the hand, however extra so when taken in dry wines; and that “overindulgence in them will trigger dying.” This proves that almost all of those substances had been little doubt stimulants and narcotics.(Parsons, 1899).

We’ve got to contemplate the natural information of humanity of this period, at the least on par of the information of different indigenous folks, such because the tribal folks of South America, who realized the way to combine a robust mixture of in any other case non-psychoactive vegetation, into the potent medicinal brew often called ayahuasca, in addition to figuring out numerous lively medicinal vegetation within the jungles they dwell in.  One of many lovely issues about hashish, is its lack of lethal results, and we may be certain this was famous by historic psychonauts with regard to a few of the extra lethal issues like mandrake and henbane, that we all know had been in use. As Luigi Arata famous in ‘Nepenthes and Cannabis in Ancient Greece’:

“Greek folks knew about its fumes, clearly, and about its results. The truth that virtually no one instantly described abuse of this stupefacient was maybe attributable to its rarity (hashish was not a Greek product, it appears) or its uncommon utilization. But, it isn’t in any respect unusual if we keep in mind the silence of our sources concerning the medication that had been utilized by the Maenads in Bacchic mysteries and by the initiates in Orphic mysteries. We all know that these individuals who discovered their method of happiness celebrating these rites tried to return into communion with gods by way of orgies and narcotics. Intercourse and medicines had been thus the media by way of which women and men turned gods or, higher, much like gods…. Who is aware of? Maybe, nepenthes or hashish had been the medication that had been utilized in these rites, and this is able to be the explanation why we all know so little of them and about how they had been used.” (Arata, 2004)

After we think about that almost all of students determine Nepenthe with hashish, a hashish infused wine in truth, this suggestion for Dionysian infusions, turns into even stronger.

Nepenthe was an historic natural infused wine, that seems in Homer’s well-known story The Odyssey. Its use to quell grief in a funerary setting has prompted many researchers to determine it with hashish. Opium has been discounted right here, because the Greeks of this time had been properly accustomed to its use and results.

The Odyssey of Homer (Ninth-Eighth century BC) describes the Nepenthe which got here to the Greeks from Egyptian Thebes:

“Then Helen, daughter of Zeus… forged a drug into the wine whereof they drank, a drug to lull all ache and anger, and produce forgetfullness of each sorrow. Whoso ought to drink a draught thereof, when it’s mingled within the bowl, on that day he would let no tear fall down his cheeks, not although his mom and his father died, not although males slew his brother or expensive son with the sword earlier than his face, and his personal eyes beheld it. Medicines of such advantage and so useful had the daughter of Zeus, which Polydamna, the spouse of Thon, had given her, a lady of Egypt, the place earth the grain-giver yields herbs in biggest loads, many which are therapeutic within the cup, and plenty of baneful. There every man is a leech expert past all human form…”

The historian Diodorus Siculus, who lived within the 1st century B.C., famous that also in his time, greater than 7 centuries after the composition of Homer’s Iliad, “folks say that the Egyptian girls make use of the powder (of this plant, scil. the nepenthes) and so they say from historic instances solely these girls who lived within the ‘City-of-Zeus’ [i.e. Thebes, which was also known as Diospolis] had discovered medicines which treatment wrath and grief”.  Later, “within the second century AD, Plutarch would say that it was in imitation of Homer’s Helen that individuals in his day blended ‘ox-tongue’ plant [unidentified]in wine to trigger cheerfulness and happiness’ (Nelson, 2005).

As Prof. Carl Ruck has famous “It’s typically assumed that the drug, which Helen is meant to have realized in Egypt, was opium, however the results as described within the poem are far more like Hashish, which was additionally broadly employed in Egypt and all through the Close to East” (Ruck, et al., 2007). Quite a few researchers have seen nepenthe as a hashish concoction. An concept first put forth by the French Pharmacist Joseph Virey (1775—1846) who advised in 1813 that hasheesh was Homer’s nepenthe (Bulletin de Pharmacie). Many others have since concurred: “The opinions entertained by the realized, on the character of the Nepenthe of the ancients have been numerous. By Th. Zwinger, and… by Sprengel, in his historical past of botany, it’s imagined to be opium… However one of the best authorities, with whom our creator coincides, are of opinion that the Nepenthe was derived from the Hashish sativa of Linnaeus” (Christen, 1822); “the well-known nepenthe of the ancients is claimed to have been ready by decocting the hemp leaves” (Watt, 1853); “nepenthe which can moderately be surmised was bhang from the far east” (Benjamin, 1880). Because the authors of The Manners and Customs of the Historic Egyptians additionally concluded: “Nepenthes… Maybe the Bust or Hasheesh, a preparation of the Hashish sativa” (Wilkinson & Birch, 1878). See additionally (Walton, 1938; Burton, 1894; Lewin, 1931; Singer and Underwood, 1962; Oursler, 1968; Wills, 1998). It’s clearly the Nepenthe that Prof Richard Evans Schultes and Prof. Albert Hofmann are referring to once they wrote in a chapter on hashish “In historic Thebes the plant was made right into a drink with opium like results” (Schultes & Hofmann, 1979). Historic Egyptian wine amphorae have been recovered from Sˇaruma, which held black natural residues inside containing the pollen of hashish, however it’s unclear if that is indications of an infusion, or merely picked up within the air throughout the wine making course of, which itself signifies at the least the presence of hashish within the space (Rosch, 2004).I’ve mentioned this and different potential linguistic proof additional connecting nepenthe with cannabis in another article.

Different such infusions had been recognized in historic Greece, and these as properly are typically believed to have contained hashish, below the names “thalassaegle,” “potammaugis” and “gelotophyllis” which had been recorded by Democritus (c.a. 460 b.c.) and later referred to by Pliny. “The gelotophllis of Pliny… a plant drunk in wine among the many Bactrians, which produced excessive laughter, might very properly be similar with hemp, which nonetheless grows willd within the nation across the Caspian and Aral Seas” (Houtsma, et al., 1936/1993).  Pliny (23-79 a.d.) quotes the following description from Democritus:

Taken in drink it produces delirium, which presents to the flowery visions of a most extraordinary nature. The theangelis, he says, grows upon Mount Libanus in Syria, upon the chain of mountains referred to as Dicte in Crete, and at Babylon and Susa in Persia. An infusion of it imparts powers of divination to the Magi. The geolotophyllis, is a plant present in Bactriana , and on the banks of the Borysthenes. Taken internally with myrhh and wine all kinds of visionary kinds current themselves, excite probably the most excessive laughter.

The entheobotanist Christian Ratsch supplied the next recipe: “Democritus’s well-known recipe for a hemp wine is appropriate for inside use: Macerate 1 teaspoon of myrrh… and a handful of hemp flowers in 1 litre of retsina or dry Greek white wine… pressure earlier than ingesting.”(Ratsch, 2005)

Curiously, Bactria, talked about within the quote from Pliny, is a part of the Bactria Margiana Archeological Complicated (BMAC) a web site the place the Russian archeologist Victor Sarianidi has claimed to have discovered ancient temples where there was evidence of the preparation of a sacred drink which was made out of hashish and ephedra, and in some circumstances, opium containing poppies. Sarianidi suggests this web site was an outpost for the preparation of haoma, the sacred drink of the Avesta, in Persia and similar with the soma of the Vedas, of historic India.

Professor Patrick McGovern

Prof. Patrick McGovern, a Professor of Anthropology and Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Delicacies, Fermented Drinks, and Well being on the College of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, referring to the work of Sarinainidi on the Bactria Margiana Archeological Complicated has advised in Uncorking the Previous: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Different Alcoholic Drinks (2009) that soma/haoma was doubtless a wine or mead like infusion. McGovern based mostly his view on later Zoroastrian accounts, such because the Book of Arda Wiraz, has hashish (bhanga, or mang) blended into wine, or in some accounts has haoma. “From a chemical standpoint, the benefit of utilizing an alcoholic beverage is that it dissolves the plant alkaloids” (McGovern, 2009).

After I first thought-about wine because the almost definitely automobile for haoma, it was below the belief that the Margiana websites had been throughout the sphere of the wine tradition that’s so properly attested to within the Fergana Valley, even deeper in Central Asia…. The archeological and botanical proof from the… excavations present new clues for figuring out haoma, at the least in prehistoric Central Asia. If we settle for Sarianidi’s premise {that a} particular beverage was being ready… with the studying that wine and a hallucinogen had been blended collectively within the Arda Wiraz story, then the proof of  ephedra, hemp and poppy pollen within the pottery vessels… begins to make sense… these vegetation… have been well-known since antiquity as medicinal and narcotic brokers in Central Asia…. With extra archeological and chemical investigation, we must always be capable to re-create the traditional haoma/soma or central Asian grog, which was in all probability a lot stronger than trendy variations. (McGovern, 2009)

Curiously as we will see later, various researchers have advised a connection between soma/haoma and Dionysus.

The quote from Pliny as properly mentions Persia, and notes that such an “infusion of it imparts powers of divination to the Magi” a reputation typically related to the traditional Zoroastrians, who grew out of the Avestan faith which used haoma, and who we all know from surviving texts, infused hashish resins into wine, leading to very potent results. The Zoroastriasn texts discuss with a substance variously often called bhanga, or in Pahvlavi as mang. Bhanga remains to be utilized in Persia to determine hashish and the associated Indian time period bhang remains to be used for hashish as properly. It’s this identical concoction that McGovern referred to regarding the Book of Arda Wiraz.

In reference to Zoroastrian expeditions into the world of the afterlife, Shaul Shaked famous that “The preparation of this journey was accomplished… by administering to the officiant a dose of mang (hemp), blended with wine” (Shaked, 1999). “Zoroaster is often mentioned to have spiked the haoma with mang, which was in all probability cannabis. It will have extended the intoxication and additional stimulated the creativeness of the drugged man. Of such are the wonders of Heaven” (Oliver, 1994). Within the Zoroastrian story “…the Artak Viraz Namak… Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, the rewards bestowed on the great, and the punishment awaiting the  sinner are right here described in a imaginative and prescient induced by cannabis” (Campbell, 2000). Referring to this identical account, van Baaren and Hartman, of their Iconography of Religions, additionally famous the hero “imbibes an intoxicant composed of wine and cannabis and after this his physique sleeps for seven days and nights whereas his soul undertakes the journey” (van Baaren & Hartman,1980).

Gherardo Gnoli, a famous skilled on the historical past of religions, and Iran,  recorded: “bang was… an ingredient of the ‘illuminating drink’ (rōšngar xwarišn) that allowed Wištāsp to see the ‘nice xwarrah’ and the ‘nice thriller.’ This mang ī wištāspān (Pahlavi Vd. 15.14…) was blended with hōm (Dēnkard 7.4.85) or wine (Pahlavi Rivayat 47.27). It was an integral a part of the ecstatic apply geared toward opening the ‘eye of the soul’ (gyān čašm….)” (Gnoli, 1979). In relation, in India the ingesting of bhang, a hashish beverage, by devotees remains to be believed to open up the “eye” of Shiva, i.e the “third-eye.” I’ve offered a extra thorough evaluation of the Zoroastrian references within the article The Herb of the Magi: Zoroaster’s Good Narcotic.

The Egyptian-born Greek alchemist and Gnostic mystic, Zosimos of Panopolis who lived on the finish of the Third and starting of the 4th century AD. was additionally mentioned to have made reference to such infusions. surviving translation of Zosimos work, have the traditional sage determine references to cannabis infused wines and beers. “…wines may be made in a large number of how, [as shown]by way of many accounts that authors have left to us, and nature, and artwork such issues, that’s, grown wines from the winery and medicinal, or by including numerous spices like palm, hashish seed, and many others …”; “Definitely brewers of Egyptian beer [‘zythi’], which is extra highly effective [then our beers]should not missing within the false and depraved arts, and is perhaps higher used for intoxication. This [concoction]consists of: borage, hashish seeds and leaves, helenium, ivy leaves, strychnine, and darnel.”

As Tom Hatsis, who translated the above quotation, has famous of this :

“Curiously, he makes use of “lolium temulentum” for “darnel” (a recognized psychoactive), which particularly attracts consideration to the intoxicating powers of the plant (temelentum means “intoxication”)! He’s additionally evaluating the addition of issues like hashish, darnel, and strychnine to the magical arts!!! I imply, he calls them “false and depraved arts,” however that’s EXACTLY how writers commented on magical works. He’s OPENLY recognizing the usage of hashish and darnel in potions by magicians!” (Hatsis, 2016).

I ought to word right here with regard to hashish, it’s typically seeds which are famous in each texts and archaeological proof, and seeds themselves should not psychoactive. What was doubtless recognized in historic descriptions was seeded buds, or seeds with the brackets nonetheless intact, that are psychoactive. With reference to archeological finds, with the way in which that plant matter deteriorates, seeds, are sometimes what proof is left, particularly burnt seeds.

Sorts of psychoactive vegetation had been utilized in such infusions. In line with Dioscorides, and his commentator Matthiolus, one may “boil the foundation of mandrake in wine all the way down to a 3rd half, and protect the decoction, of which they administer a cyathus (a few fluid ounce and a half), to supply sleep, and to allay extreme pains of any half; and likewise earlier than operations with the knife, or the appliance of the particular cautery, that the operation shouldn’t be felt.” Theophrastus and Dioscorides are thought to have been the the primary to instantly  point out the aphrodisiac and soporific properties of mandrake (Atropa mandragora). Dioscorides additionally informs us that one dram of the foundation of “manic” nightshade (Atropa belladonna), taken in wine, elicits “empty kinds” and “photographs of not disagreeable form”, however he provides {that a} double dosage can deliver psychological disorientation for 3 complete days.

A few of the extra frenzied behaviour of the Maenads might be defined by the inclusion of such potent infusions.

The Kapnoabtai ’smoke walkers” of Thrace and the Cult of Dionysus

It needs to be famous that Dionysus’ origins are unsure, and his cults took many kinds within the numerous areas he got here to be worshipped.  Some sources declare  historic Thrace because the origins of his worship, others as Greek. Nonetheless most accounts say Dionysus  arrived in Greece as a foreigner, proof from the Mycenaean interval of Greek historical past point out that he’s one among Greece’s oldest attested gods. Dionysus’ attribute of “foreignness” as an arriving outsider-god could also be a vital a part of the parable to his cults, as he’s a god of epiphany, generally referred to as “the god that comes”.

Renaissance man, ethnobotanist and poet, Dale Pendell famous of this; “Dionysus’s residence was often assumed to be Thrace… whose shamans used hemp smoke to induce visions and oracular trances.  Hemp in all probability got here to Thrace by way of Central Asia and the Caucasus.  A…comparable route might have been adopted by the grapevine…It’s…potential that…Dionysus carried not solely the vine however ganja as properly” (Pendell 1995).

Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)

Pendell is not at all out on the perimeter with this view, Professor Mircea Eliade, a revered supply on the historical past of religions, referred to parts of shamanism within the Thracian cult of Dionysus, and advised their use of hashish:

Prophecy in Thrace was linked with the cult of ‘Dionysus’, a sure tribe, that of the Bessi, managed the oracle of ‘Dionysus’, the temple was on a excessive mountain, and the prophetess predicted the longer term in ‘ecstasy’, just like the Pythia at Delphi.

Ecstatic experiences strengthened the conviction that the soul shouldn’t be solely autonomous however that it’s able to unio mystica with the divinity.  The separation of soul from physique, decided by ecstasy, revealed…the elemental duality of man…[and]the opportunity of a purely, religious post-experience…Ecstasy may…be introduced on by sure dried herbs… (Eliade,1982)

In a foot word to dried herbs, Eliade referred to the usage of hemp among the many Thracians, stating that the Kapnobatai (Those that stroll in Smoke) had been “dancers and ‘shamans’ who used the smoke of hemp to deliver ecstatic trances” (Eliade, 1982).

Shamanistic ecstasy is described as ‘one through which the spirit leaves the bodily physique’ and it has been broadly advised that hashish was utilized to induce this state on the Thracian plains virtually 3,000 years in the past. The Thracians deeply influenced Greek tradition in various methods. A truth demonstrated by the Thracian connections to 2 figures outstanding in Greek mythology; the god of intoxication, Dionysus and the shaman-prophet, Orpheus, the founding father of Mysteries and earthly excessive priest of Dionysus.   A crimson haired, truthful skinned folks, the Thracians had been a well-organized group of horseman and hunters who held “a perception within the soul and a hereafter similar to the Christian heaven…Their shamans, often called Kapnobatai, used hemp smoke to induce visions and oracular trances” (Emboden 1972). Such a way of ecstasy amongst a gaggle that held a lot of an affect over the Greek Magical Philosophies may hardly have gone unnoticed. Andrei Oisteanu, a researcher on the Romanian Academy of on the Institute for Historical past of Religions, additionally wrote about hallucinogenic, psychotropic vegetation amongst the Thracians and different teams, noting the ritual fumigations with hashish, which he seen because the magic treatment…, a treatment capable of heal the soul, and used within the quest for immortality (Oisteanu 1997).

The Kapnobatai ‘smoke walkers’

The Kapnobatai, or Smoke-walkers,  burned hashish believing that the dwelling entity throughout the plant reassembled itself inside their our bodies to offer divine revelations.  Within the 1925 English translation, of the German work, Psyche, Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen (1890–1894);  Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality Among the Greeks, in a chapter on ‘The Thracian Worship of Dionysus’  Erwin Rohde, factors to their doubtless use of hashish. Rodhe was one of many nice German classical students of the nineteenth century, recognized at the moment mainly for his friendship and correspondence with fellow-philologist Friedrich Nietzsche. [Nietzsche’s own troubled relationship with hashish is discussed here].

Referring to the set and setting of Dionysian ritual, Rohde described that it was “one thing greater than a mere drama, for it will possibly hardly be doubted the gamers themselves had been possessed by the phantasm of  dwelling the lifetime of a wierd particular person”:

The awe-inspiring darkness of evening, the music, particularly that of the Phrygrian flute, to which the Greeks attributed the facility of constructing its hearers ‘stuffed with the god’, the verities whirl of the dance—all these might very properly, in suitably disposed natures, have rally led to a state of visionary exaltation through which impressed individuals noticed all exterior objects in accordance together with his fancy and creativeness. Intoxicating drinks, to which the Thracians had been addicted, might have elevated the joy; maybe they even used the fumes derived from sure seeds, with which the Scythians and Massagetai knew the way to intoxicate themselves. Everyone knows how even to day within the East the smoke of cannabis might make males visionaries and excite non secular raptures through which the entire nature is remodeled for the enthralled dreamer….

Each element confirms the image of a situation of untamed pleasure through which limitations of abnormal life appear to be abolished. These extraordinary phenomena transcending all regular expertise had been defined by saying that the soul of an individual thus ‘possessed’ was not ‘at residence’ however ‘overseas’, having left its physique behind. This was the literal and primitive which means understood by the Greek when he spoke of ‘ekstasis’ of the soul in such orgiastic situations of pleasure. This ekstasis is ‘a quick insanity’, simply as insanity is extended ekstasis. However the ekstasis, the momentary alienatio mentis of the Dionysian cult was not regarded as once more purposeless wandering within the area of pure delusion, however as a hieromania, a sacred insanity through which the soul, leaving the physique, winged its strategy to union with the god. It’s now with the god, within the situation of enthusiasmos ; those that are possessed… have their being within the God. Whereas nonetheless retaining the finite ego, they really feel and luxuriate in to the complete the infinite energy of all life. (Rohde, 1925)

In foot notes to the above part, Rohde additional explains that there may be “little doubt” that it was hashish utilized by the Thracians. Referring to historic Latin references from the first century recorded by Pomponius Mela: “epulantibus ubi tremendous ignes quos circumisident quaedam semina ingesta, similis ebrietati hilaritas ex nidor contingit“, which instantly refers to how “sure seeds are heaped on the fires” and the fumes ensuing bringing on a state of “drunkenness” and “good cheer”.

There may be little doubt it was hemp-seed [ie seeded buds]… which had this impact… the Thracians knew hemp. It was thus with a kind of cannabis that they intoxicated themselves… The Thracians… might very properly have used intoxication by way of hashish-fumes as a way of thrilling themselves to their ecstatic non secular dances.—The Ancients had been fairly accustomed to the apply of inhaling fragrant smoke to supply non secular hallucinations….

We’ve got solely to learn the accounts derived from private expertise of the hallucinatory states accompanying hashish-smoking… to have an entire parallel to the situation which underlay Bacchic pleasure… It solely requires the particular tone and character given the hallucinations and illusions by deep-rooted non secular or fanciful conceptions—and the exterior equipment for cultivating such illusions—to make an actual equal of the delirious situation of… the nightly competition of Dionysus. (The helpless state of impressionability to outward—e.g. musical—and inward influences is a marked function of the intoxication and fantasia of cannabis.) Different narcotics even have comparable results. (Rohde, 1925)

Erwin Rohde (1845-1898) was one of many nice German classical students of the nineteenth century.

Different proof of Thracian use of hashish may be present in Sophocles (496-406), who used “the phrase Hashish, apparently so as to add ethnic element for his Thamyras tragedy, which tells the story of the Thracian shaman-singer who contested the Muses …” (Ruck, et al. 2007). As additionally famous of this by Professor Jan N. Bremmer, a Dutch educational and historian, who served as a professor of Non secular Research and Theology on the College of Groningen, specializing in historical past of historic faith, particularly historic Greek faith and early Christianity.

In line with a Greek dictionary in Roman instances, the Antiatticista, which recorded phrases acceptable to make use of by those that wished to write down right Greek, Sophocles talked about the phrase kannabis in his tragedy Thamyras… This drama concerning the defeat of the Thracian singer Thamyras in a singing match in opposition to the Muses incorporates references to ecstatic dancing… however sadly we will hardly make sure a few single scene, besides that apparently Thamyras broke his lyre after his defeat… As… the dictionary explicitly mentions that the phrase kannabis occurred in Herodotus and Sophocles, the latter’s debt to Herodotean ethnography is appreciable and the Antiatticista would hardly choose kannabis as a routine reference for clothes, the conclusion appears affordable that Sophocles by some means linked the Thracian Thamyras with an ecstatic use of hashish. It suits in with this conclusion that Posidonius mentions Thracian ‘smoke-walkers’ (kapnobatai) and that Pomponius Mela experiences the usage of sure seeds by the Thracians which ends up in a similis ebriatati hilarities… (Bremmer, 2002)

Archeological proof from throughout the space which Thrace occupied, signifies hashish was used within the area in funerary rituals way back to 5,000 BCE, by way of a discover of skeletal stays and burnt cannabis seeds recovered at a burial mound at modern day Gurbăneşti, Romania. (Rosetti, 1959). Comparable practices may be discovered amongst quite a lot of historic Indo-European teams, such because the Gushi in Central China, and the Scythians, as shall be mentioned. 

Orpheus, the Excessive Priest of Dionysus

Orpheus was mentioned to man and beast alike with the music of his lyre. Orpheus surrounded by animals. Historic Roman flooring mosaic, from Palermo, now within the Museo archeologico regionale di Palermo. Image by Giovanni Dall’Orto.

In line with the Orphics, Orpheus was mentioned to be Dionysus’ chief priest, and their robust connection is attested to in different sources as properly. Some sources additionally suggesting it was the lyre enjoying poet Orpheus who first brought the Mysteries of Eleusis to the Greeks.

As, the first century BCE  Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, defined Orpheus had realized the rites of Dionysus from earlier Thracian kings, who themselves had obtained them instantly from Dionysus, whom had been amassing these initiatory rites on his personal travels by way of the Mid East and India. Since Orpheus later modified and handed them on to all, Dionysiac rites are sometimes called ‘Orphic’.   

As  Diodorus Siculus, who was referred to earlier regarding the Egyptian natural wine infusion nepenthe,  recorded:”This god (Dionysus) was born in Crete, males say, of Zeus and Persephone, and Orpheus has handed down the custom within the initiatory rites….” (Diodorus Siculus V, 75). In addition to this Thracian connection by way of Orpheus, there might be different cultural influences, reminiscent of Egyptian. Diodorus, following the works of Herodotus, recorded that the rites of Osiris had been similar to these of Dionysus whose priestly consultant was Orpheus. Comparable claims had been made about  the Eleusinian Mysteries concerning the commonalities with the rites of Isis and Demeter. That is attention-grabbing regarding the sacraments of infused drinks utilized in these cults and what was mentioned earlier concerning the nepenthe. As Diodorus explained:

Orpheus, for example, introduced from Egypt most of his mystic ceremonies, the orgiastic rites that accompanied his wanderings, and his fabulous account of his experiences in Hades. For the ceremony of Osiris is similar as that of Dionysus, and that of Isis similar to that of Demeter,  the names alone having been interchanged; and the punishments in Hades of the unrighteous, the Fields of the Righteous, and the improbable conceptions, present among the many many, that are figments of the creativeness, all these had been launched by Orpheus in imitation of Egyptian funeral customs.

The musician prophet Orpheus was thought-about to be the hero-incarnation of Dionysus. Grecian relics present Orpheus surrounded by Thracian followers. The “Dionysiac faith, like Orphism, was of northern Thracian provenance, and was fraught with orgiastic-mystic parts, on which Orphism mounted, adopting its emotionalism, its doctrine of Enthousiamos, and of possession by the deity, rejecting its wild frenzy, and reworking its savage ritual right into a sacramental faith” (Angus,1975).

The Lyre enjoying poet-hero, Orpheus, was mentioned to have descended to the underworld, searching for his spouse, Eurydice, who ended up there after being bitten by the proverbial ‘snake within the grass’.  Though he failed to avoid wasting his beloved, Orpheus returned from his sojourn in Hades with a few of the secrets and techniques on which he based mostly his system of initiation. Picture Orpheus, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1636-38

From the sixth century BC onward, Orpheus, was often called the ‘founding father of initiation’. “Orphism was steeped in sacramentalism, which flooded the later Mysteries and flowed into Christianity.  Salvation was by sacrament, by initiatory rites, and by an esoteric doctrine….Orphism was probably the most potent solvent ever launched into Greek non secular life” (Angus,1975). Not like the placebo-sacraments of later Christianity, the Orphic references to the ecstatic state of Enthusiamos (from the place we get the phrase enthusiasm), was clearly produced by a robust entheogen. Such ecstatic rites go away little surprise why Orphism competed with Christianity for reputation with the lots by way of the primary few centuries AD.

Orphics believed in reincarnation, educating launch from ‘the sad wheel’ of life by way of ascetic contemplation and astral-projection kind journeys, i.e.-shamanistic ecstasy. Ward Rutheford commented, “[H]istory gives a number of examples of…ritualized shamanistic initiation.  Typical is the case of Orphism…derived from the…musician-prophet Orpheus. He was virtually actually a Kapnobatai…who induced trance by smoking presumably hemp” (Rutherford 1993).

‘Smoke’ was apparently a component within the Thriller initiation of the Orphics. Most explicitly in Euripides’ Hippolytus tragedy, Theseus in accusing his son of perfidy, saying, “You who’ve Orpheus on your lord: go on, get ecstatic, owing your allegiance to the smokes of their many scriptures.” There have been certainly quite a few holy scriptures amongst the Orphics, however ‘smoke’ within the context of ecstasy actually doesn’t imply that they had been unsubstantial or nugatory… (Ruck, et al., 2007)

Referring to Orphic worship, researcher Frederick Dannaway means that pagan parts of Greco-Roman worship had been significantly “infused with psychoactive smoke rituals… as a result of closely ‘shamanic’ element… [of]a lot of their thriller traditions… The Orphic hymns include a extremely systematic array of fumigations containing some extremely pungent, psychoactive substances that will synergize to be stronger together…” (Dannaway, 2009). We may be certain by way of the Thracian origins of Orpheus, that his cult would have included hashish in such preparations. That such combos would have come to be mixed within the sacramental wine of Dionysus, appears all to doubtless.

The Thracians might have been influenced by one other tradition with regard to their use of hashish, the nomadic Scythians who’ve been largely accredited with spreading the usage of hashish round a lot of the traditional world. The 2 cultures had centuries of interactions, and it was not at all all hostile, and their influences on one another are properly established. The Scythians burned hashish and inhaled the fumes in enclosed tents, however they had been additionally recognized to have drank infusions of hashish in  a ritual setting as properly.

The Scythian connection

An typically referred to story referring to the Dionysiac cult among the many Scythians is Herodotus’ tragic story of the Scythian king Scyles. He had a Greek mom, was keen on Greek customs and finally selected to be initiated into the mysteries of Dionysus. The story is mostly seen as an illustration of the reservations of the Scythians in the direction of Greek tradition, nonetheless as informed by a Greek creator, the reverse may equally be seen as true. Because the story goes, when the Scythians study whom their king has been worshipping, Scyles is compelled to flee to Thrace, solely to be rendered again and executed. Herodotus shouldn’t be notably exact as to the character of the initiation, nonetheless it has been advised that Scyles was almost definitely initiated into Dionysiac mysteries of the so-called Orphic kind, which was common in lots of elements of the Greek world within the Classical age. Herodotus additionally recorded that the Geloni, a half-Greek and half-Scythian folks, did worship Dionysus.

…for there are temples of Greek gods amongst them, furnished in Greek model with photographs and altars and shrines of wooden; and so they honor Dionysus each two years with festivals and revelry…  and so they communicate a language half Greek and half Scythian. (Herodotus 4.108)

Now, I needs to be clear right here, the identify ‘Scythian’ and its Persian counterpart ‘Saka‘ have been utilized to a really broad group of interacting Indo-European tribes, and these folks had been under no circumstances dogmatic of their beliefs as a complete, and totally different views got here to be held in several areas, in several time intervals. Simply as some Scythian teams turned related to the Persian Haoma, thus the regional identify ‘haomavarga’ (haoma gatherers) so to in some areas the worship of Dionysus was embraced. Proof of Dionysian worship has been discovered on the historic Israeli web site of Scythopolis, named after the God’s Scythian followers, and now the location of the trendy metropolis, Beit She’an. In addition to in relics reminiscent of a Rhyton with Dionysus head discovered at a Scythian tomb, in addition to different Dionysian relics.

Hashish was an integral a part of the Scythian cult of the useless whereby homage was paid to the reminiscence of their departed leaders. In a well-known passage written in about 450 B.C., the Greek historian Herodotus describes the funeral rites that passed off when a king died among the many Scythians. After burial, he recorded, the Scythians would purify themselves by organising small tepee-like constructions lined by rugs which they might enter to inhale the fumes of hemp seeds (and the resinous flower calyxes surrounding the seeds) thrown onto red-hot stones.

The burial accomplished, the Scyths cleanse themselves within the following method. They cleaning soap their heads and wash their hair, after which to cleanse their our bodies they do as follows: they arrange three sticks leaning collectively which they cowl with woolen felts, and within the round shelter created as greatest they will they put stones heated in a fireplace right into a vessel set inside a shelter… In Scythia they develop hemp…After which the Scyths take a few of its seeds, creep below the felt and scatter the seeds over the recent stones, which supplies off larger clouds of steam than in any Greek steam tub. The Scyths delighted by the steam, are loudly exultant. (Herodotus)

It’s almost definitely the seeds described by Herodotus, had been seeded buds, and the charred carbonized seeds discovered by archaeologists, what was left over from the burnt buds. Archeological proof of this ritual has been recovered from various Scythian websites.

Within the frozen Paryzyk tombs, the Russian archeologist Sergei Rudenko discovered some steel censors designed for inhaling smoke which didn’t seem like linked with any non secular ceremony. As Rudenko famous in Frozen Tombs of Siberia: The Pazyryk Burials of Iron Age Horsemen  “smoking hemp, like smoking cannabis, passed off for sure not simply as a ceremony of purification after burial however in abnormal life; cannabis was used as a narcotic. Not with out motive Hesychius of Alexanandria in his Lexikon… calls hemp ‘the Scythian smoking which has such power that it brings out in a sweat anybody who experiences it. They burn hemp seeds’” (Rudenko, 1970). From the accounts of Herodotus and Hesychius it appears doubtless that the Scythians launched their technique of intoxication to quite a lot of totally different cultures all through the traditional world.

Rudenko factors to each leisure and ceremonial use of hashish amongst the Scythians. Others have commented extra on the ritualistic implications of the hemp-rite, reminiscent of Geo Widengren, who was a Swedish historian of religions, professor of historical past of religions at Uppsala College, specializing as a orientalist and Iranist. “…[T]his purification had no mundane which means, fairly it corresponds to a shamanistic ritual, by which the shaman escorts the useless soul to the underworld. Actually the shaman shouldn’t be talked about in Herodot’s [sic] description, however all of the essential particulars recur in any other case within the Scythian purification: cult of the useless, use of hemp, ‘baths’ and howling collectively represent a posh ritual whose intention is ecstasy” (Widengren, 1965).

 “…[T]he ecstasies and trances produced by intoxication among the many adepts of Bachus, and the delirium of the Corbybantes once they celebrated the Nice Goddess of Phrygia and Asia Minor, had their equal in these provoked by Indian hemp within the vapour baths through which Scythians indulged.” (Charriere, 1979)

braziers like these had been crammed with heated rocks, after which positioned in an enclosed teepee like construction, the place hashish can be thrown on the recent stones, and the vapours produced inhaled by the Scythian worshippers.

In addition to their use of hashish, the Scythians had been well-known for his or her love of wine and extreme ingesting. As famous within the Guardian story of the British Museum’s Scythian exhibit, it was “wine, weed and war” that’s most identifiable within the relics of the traditional tradition.

The Scythians should not unknown to historical past – or fable. They flourished from about 900 to 200BC, starting from their Siberian homelands to the Black Sea and China, a nomadic individuals who pioneered subtle saddles that permit them battle extra successfully on horseback than any of the settled civilisations they encountered. They fought off the Persians and scared the traditional Greeks. It’s even potential they impressed the Greek fable of the centaur, a half-horse, half-human creature.

The thought turns into far more plausible while you see the flowery armour and helmets they created for a horse to put on, to hold its proprietor into the afterlife… a Scythian using into battle actually may need seemed to awestruck witnesses like a centaur.

In Greek mythology, centaurs go mad once they drink wine. Objects recovered from their tombs reveal how the Scythians realized about wine from Greece and obtained hooked on it. If heavy ingesting was massive of their tradition, so was smoking weed. The Greek historian Herodotus, who wrote within the fifth century BC, is usually accused of constructing up his outlandish tales. One story he tells concerning the Scythians is that they beloved to smoke hemp, which they burned below a form of tent that you can put your head into. One such system is on this exhibition, recovered from a Scythian tomb. Herodotus obtained this one proper. (Jones, 2017)

A Scythian hashish fumigation construction, which might have been lined with felt rugs, that was on show on the the British Museum’s exhibit of Scythian artwork and artifacts.

In The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe (2005) Max Nelson explains:

Hieronymus of Rhodes in his work On Intoxication wrote that ‘”to do the Scythian’ is “to turn out to be intoxicated’” because the Scythians had been recognized for his or her overindulgence, and additional advised that the ingesting cup recognized in Greek as skyphos was initially the skythos…. we study… from Strabo within the first century BC that nomads… in Scythian territory… purchased wine from Greeks, and presumably this commerce had been occurring for a lot of tons of of years, as is maybe confirmed by greek Vessel finds in Scythian tumuli as early because the seventh century BC. (Nelson, 2005)

on this context, the concept that the Scythians might have mixed the 2 intoxicants they enjoined, appears not solely doubtless, however possible. The Scythians might have been training the Previous World custom of blending fragrant vegetation reminiscent of hashish, with wine. “…[T]he mixing bowl… had,… among the many Scythians, ceremonial and funerary capabilities… [T]he nomads approved to participate in royal libations had been those that had scalped enemies and will produce the heads as proof. Then,… the heroes poured themselves nice drafts… and drank them at one go—Russian vogue… Spectacular receptacles had been due to this fact wanted for mixing water with a powerful, full bodied wine that was often flavoured with resin and fragrant vegetation” (Charrier, 1979). It is a suggestion I have noted elsewhere, and has additionally been proposed by different researchers, notably Prof. Patrick McGovern, who commented on the Scythian proof unearthed by Rudenko “They’d have had entry to a few of the historic substances doubtless utilized in historic haoma/soma. At Pazyryk, the popular beverage thus seems to have mixed a marijuana excessive with an alcoholic buzz” (McGovern, 2009).

Gold plate from the Chertomlyk kurgan, presumably depicting Tabiti, the queen of the Scythian pantheon, and a devotee partaking of a sacred beverage. Scythians “used an intoxicating drink in non secular rituals, harking back to the Zoroastrian haoma (in truth, Persian sources outright name one of many Scythian tribes “haoma drinkers”), Indian soma and wine in greco-roman Dionysian mysteries, although the substance involved seems to have been derived from marijuana” (Albuquerque, 2018).

If the belief that the Scythians had been ingesting hashish infused preparations is true it could provide an evidence to the inclusion of formality cups and vessels in Scythian tombs as described by V.A. Kisel in Herodotus’s Scythian Logos and Ritual Vessels of the Early Nomads.  Kisel means that there was a mode of formality cup utilized by the Scythians, that was based mostly on the form of braziers they burnt hashish in:

Some censers are small. Subsequently, fairly than being receptacles for heated stones, they served a special function. Probably they had been used for burning crushed dry vegetation or for ritual drinks. That is fairly doubtless because the perform of vessels modified with time or comparable specimens might have been functionally totally different. (Kisel, 2007)

A gold cup, with handles on the perimeters, in the same model to a few of the Scythian braziers that had been used for burning hashish.

A Scythian brazier used for burning hashish in, which might later encourage a mode of ingesting cup.

Kisel factors to a Scythian legend involving Dionysus’ father, the god Zeus, a few fiery golden cup which fell from the sky and that will burst into flames when approached until the recipient was the longer term king, who within the fable is the progenerator of Scythian tradition and the direct ancestor of Scythian royalty.

Kisel concluded that regardless of having a typical mythological heritage, the ritual lifetime of European and Asian Scythians held some variations, notably involving their purification rites and objects of adoration. “European Scythians didn’t apply the vapour tub described within the Scythian logos, and their principal sacral vessel was a spherical bowl or a dipper, which regularly had segment-shaped handles. Asian nomads generally practiced purification with hemp-vapor, and their most sacral vessels had been a cauldron, a dipper, and a censer, most of that are vessels utilized by giant teams of individuals, presumably clan members…” (Kisel, 2007). Kisel additionally famous it was doubtless “that saucers, like most nomadic stone altars, served as press stones for expressing Soma-Haoma, as a result of on this case, too, each vegetation and fireplace may have been used” (Kisel, 2007).

On this regard, it needs to be famous that each Scythians and the cult of Dionysus, as shall be mentioned, have their very own connections to the soma/haoma drinks of the Vedic and Avestan religions, with the identify Haumavargā ‘haoma gatherer’ utilized to some Scythian teams, and the accusation they each burnt and drank haoma.

The Russian archeologist referred to earlier in relation to the Soma cult proof to be discovered within the Bactria Margiana Archeological Complicated, Victor Sarianidi pointed to the Scythian’s different identify of, “‘Saka-Haomovarga’ or in different phrases ‘Saka who put together haoma’… in line with Helanik they lived within the environs of Margiana…. The traditional Persian scribes knew… the distant and legendary Saka… ready haoma….” (Sarianidi, 1978).

This can be very essential so as to add that within the temples of Margiana… particularly within the tremenos of Gonur, [particularly associated with large finds of cannabis evidence]typical Andronovo vessels (or their fragments) had been discovered within the rooms related to the preparation of the soma-haoma kind drinks…  the presence of those articles in all three temples confirms the conclusion that the predecessors of Scythian-Sakas, that’s the Andronovo tribes, had been accustomed to the ritual drink as early because the second millennium B.C.

… Herodotus witnesses that Scythians used to make fireplace of their tents and threw hemp on the scorching stones after which “the Scythians screamed loudly within the pleasure of inhaling it”… The identical customized was practiced by the Altai Scythians (the Pasyryk tombs).Which means Scythians used narcotics that had been conventional for these Andronovo tribes that had shut contacts with the Margiana tribes which apparently may have borrowed this tradition from them. (Sarianidi, 1978)

In “a once-in-a-century discovery,” archaeologists excavating within the Caucasus Mountains of Russia have found two intact, strong gold vessels utilized by the Scythians, an historic nomadic individuals who dominated elements of Eurasia between the Ninth century BCE and 4th century CE. The vessels, which date again 2,400 years, had been present in a big grave mound together with gold cups, rings, necklaces, and bracelet — and so they had been used for medication.” (Steinhauer, 2015)

Ritual cups had been an enormous a part of Scythian worship in truth, and golden cups that contained residue of both cannabis and opium have been recovered from a Scythian site. Not less than one of many Russian archeologists concerned within the discover, advised these had been ritual cups for consuming haoma. In relation a bone cup was found in a Paryzyk tomb, picture under, which botanist Robert C. Clarke describes as “8 inches tall, crafted from neatly sewn plates of steamed and bent horn – contained ceremonial drink *consists of hashish, -light, -portable, unbreakable” (Clarke, 1998).

A horned cup “8 inches tall, crafted from neatly sewn plates of steamed and bent horn – contained ceremonial drink *consists of hashish, -light, -portable, unbreakable” (Clarke, 1998).

This brings to thoughts a vessels found by the Russian archeologist Rudenko, described as a “leather-based flask containing hemp” (Rudenko, 1970). Flasks are typically used for storing liquid, however Rudenko is unclear as to the type of the hemp within the flask. Sadly there’s additionally no reference to any evaluation of any residue discovered within the accompanying vessels. Rudenko suggests a milk infusion or milky vodka, sadly the opposite finds don’t talk about what liquid was used for the infusions.

Flask found by Rudenko in a Scythian tomb, that contained proof of hashish.

A gold Scythian rhyton with the top of Dionysus on its tip.

This 4th century BC Scythian rhyton with the top of Dionysus on its tip affords bodily proof that the hashish consuming Scythians, like their shut kinfolk the Thracians, additionally included Dionysus of their pantheon. Because the March, 2009 eBay description of this priceless antiquity (which held a beginning bid of $10,500,000.00) described this: “Scythian, Greek gold Rhyton…  depicting Greek God Dionysus is among the rarest privately owned treasures on this planet! Half of the Rhyton is made out of pure gold with most lovely ornaments at each ends. The opposite half is a silver alloy within the type of magnificent botanic stem that turns into a head of Greek God Dionysus. The cultural side of this artefact can’t be measured. That is a world rarity that transcends borders and continents. Rhyton is in excellent situation contemplating it’s 2400 years previous!”

In The Immortality Key, Muraesku makes a lot of an historic Israelite web site know for the worship of Dionysus, and named after his Scythian followers, noting that on this space “Dionysus collectible figurines have been unearthed”. In relation to infused wines, it needs to be famous that the traditional Jews appear to have had some acquaintance with these preparations as properly. Just like the potent Greek infusions talked about above is the Biblical “robust drink” (shekar): “An inebriating Potion described within the Previous Testomony; however distinct from Wine; in all probability a Soporific or visionary vinous infusion, analogous to historic Greek Wines, of 1 or many Psychoactive vegetation”(Ott 1995).

With reference to Scythians and Hashish, it needs to be famous that there was a probable a cultural alternate right here that resulted within the the archeological discover of burnt cannabis resins on a temple altar in Arad, Jerusalem. A Scythian affect has additionally been recognized with regard to a Hebrew phrase, that has been advised as identifying cannabis, ‘Kaneh Bosm’. Additionally, of curiosity are the connections between historic Jewish tradition and Dionysus, and the usage of infused wines.

The Jews and Dionysus

In A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature. Kitto famous: “The palm wine of the East… is made intoxicating… by an admixture of stupefying substances, of which there was an abundance… Such a apply appears to have existed amongst the traditional Jews…” (Kitto, 1846). Talmudic reference point out this use as properly: “The one on his strategy to execution was given a chunk of incense in a cup of wine, to assist him go to sleep” (Sanh. 43a). A nineteenth century version of The Medical News defined additional:

Jews had been extra humane of their technique of coping with condemned criminals than the Greeks or the Romans. In the Talmudic writings there are a number of passages which appear to indicate that it was the practise to ease the ache of torture and dying by stupefying the victims. Thus: “If a man is led forth to dying, he’s given a cup of spiced wine to drink, whereby his soul is wrapped in evening;” and once more: “Give a stupefying drink to him that loseth his life, and wine to those who carry bitterness of their hearts.” In line with custom, whereas the Roman conqueror held sway in Palestine, and crucifixion was a typical punishment of malefactors, the Jewish girls, with the sanction of the Sanhedrin, had been wont to ease the dyingagony of the victims by giving them one thing in the nature of a “wine of the condemned “upon a sponge. It’s possible that the wine mingled with myrrh,” which, in line with St. Mark (xv. 23), was supplied to Christ whereas he was hanging on the cross, was a narcotic draft supposed to make dying painless.

Such preparations had been apparently utilized by the traditional Jews, for ritual intoxication, and for alleviating ache. A Reverend E. A Lawrence, in an essay on ‘The wine of the Bible’ in a nineteenth century version of The Princeton Review famous that:

It seems to have been an historic customized to offer medicated or drugged wine to criminals condemned to dying, to blunt their senses, and so reduce the pains of execution. To this tradition there’s imagined to be an allusion, Prov. xxxi. 6, ‘Give robust drink unto him that is able to perish,’ …To the identical customized some suppose there’s a reference in Amos 2:8, the place the ‘ wine of the condemned’  is spoken of… The depraved right here described, along with different evil practices, imposed unjust fines upon the harmless, and spent the cash thus unjustly obtained upon wine, which they “quaffed in the home of their gods”…

Combined wine is usually spoken of in Scripture. This was of various sorts… generally, by lovers of robust drink, with spices of assorted sorts, to offer it a richer flavour and larger efficiency (ls. v. 22; Ps. lxxv. 8). The ‘ royal wine,’ actually wine of the dominion… Esther i. 7), denotes most likely one of the best wine, such because the king of Persia himself was accustomed to drink. (Lawrence, 1871)

This was a significantly widespread view within the nineteenth century, The New York Dental Journal reported: “Among the many Hebrews and Egyptians, it was customary to offer a preparation of hemp to a condemned prisoner, simply earlier to his execution; a few of the Biblical commentaries assert that the gall and vinegar, talked about in Scripture as having been given to Christ on a sponge, was in actuality what the Prophet Amos calls  ‘wine of the condemned,’ likely the Bhang of the Hindoo Suttee at this time day” (Roberts, 1862). 

This connection was not restricted to nineteenth century fancy both, as Kenneth Walker famous in The Story of Medicine, the “drug, cannabis… is of venerable age, and when Amos wrote (round 700 B.C.) with reference to the ‘wine of the condemned’, he was in all probability referring to it” (Walker, 1955).

That this this infused wine, not solely had ache numbing qualities, however was additionally “quaffed in the home of their gods” provides clear indication it was wanted for entheogenic results as properly. That it’s in comparison with the wines of the King of Persia, additionally brings us again to the hashish infused wines of the Zoroastrian interval, reminiscent of that taken by Arda Viraf, referred to earlier. It has been advised by students, that the Biblical Prophet Ezra, used this implies of Persian entheogenic induction (Brown, 1890; Dobroruka, 2002).

In The A to Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, Scott B. Noegel, Brannon M. Wheeler “The usage of medication, particularly alcohol… as a way of inducing or enhancing the prophetic expertise is attested periodically all through the traditional Close to East, and might be associated to the mantic’s position as an herbalist and medical practitioner” (Noegel & Wheeler, 2010). 

Proof for opium use has been discovered all through the traditional Close to East, particularly on Cyprus, thought its connection to Cypriot cults has been questioned. The apply of inhaling intoxicating substances like hashish and incense additionally seem… Texts from Mari show that at the least some prophets partook in extreme wine ingesting as a way of accessing the divine. Ugartic tablets additionally element the occasions of the marzeah feast, a repast through which… useless kings had been summoned to wine and dine with the dwelling… (Noegel & Wheeler, 2010)

Like Amos’ condemnation of those that quaffed such mixtures within the Home of the gods, Isaiah condemned those that search oracles from the useless  by way of inebriation (Isaiah 28:7-22). These references present, although in a adverse mild, that such cultic practices had been each recognized and happening within the area.

Curiously, hashish may very well be grown alongside grape vines. That is notable because it signifies that hashish didn’t violate the prohibitions of Kil’ayim  (Hebrew: כלאים‎, lit. “combination,” or “numerous sorts”) which outlined the prohibitions in Jewish regulation which proscribe the planting of sure mixtures of seeds, grafting, the blending of vegetation in vineyards, the crossbreeding of animals, the blending of wool with linen in clothes, and different particulars.

The Sages of Israel have described the prohibition of rising numerous sorts of crops in a winery, and referred to solely to 2 grain varieties (reminiscent of wheat and barley), or both to hemp and arum, or comparable vegetation which attain maturity with the grain, being permitted. [Aharon HaLevi (1958), mitzvah # 548; Meiri (2006), p. 94, Kiddushin 39a, s.v. וכלאי הכרם; Ishtori Haparchi (1999), chapter 56, p. 265] By a rabbinic prohibition, it was not permitted to plant or keep a winery whereas the winery shares the identical quick floor with any vegetable or seed-crop grown for meals. The permitting of hashish to be grown, would have been designated by some kind of shared affiliation with the vine, and certain on this case it was ‘intoxication’. 

Rabbi Immanuel Löw,  a rabbi and scholar, in Die Flora Der Juden, (1967); [originally published as Flora der Juden (1924)], referred to a later Jewish recipe (Sabb. 14. 3 ed. Urbach, Ninth-Eleventh century) that signifies the continued use of such infusions into the medieval interval, and which referred to as for wine to be blended with ground-up saffron, Arabic gum and hasisat surur, “I do know ‘surur’ solely as a alias for the resin the Hashish sativa,” (Löw, 1924). Löw made no touch upon the phrase “hasisat” which may be very harking back to the identify for hashish resins within the medieval Arabic world “hasis” (hash- ish), and the time period is mostly thought to have been derived in that interval. In Liber 420 I talk about thirteenth century Jewish alchemical references to varied natural wine infusions, often called a Quintessence.

Numerous historic sources recorded the widespread perception of their time, that the god worshiped by the Jewish folks, Yahweh, was identifiable as Dionysus. Notably, Tacitus, Lydus, Cornelius Labeo, and Plutarch all both made this affiliation, or mentioned it as an extant perception. The Jewish Encyclopedia makes it clear, that at instances, and certain below power for lots of the Jews did in truth worship Dionysus, notably throughout the time of the Maccabes.

The overall assertion in I Maccabees (i. 51, 54, 55) that Antiochus Epiphanes compelled the Jews to sacrifice within the Greek vogue, is amplified in II Maccabees (vi. 7; evaluate III Macc. ii. 29) into the assertion that the Jews had been compelled to participate within the festivals of Dionysus and to deck themselves with ivy (κίσσος); therefore Hippolytus (“De Antichristo,” pp. 33-35, § 49), a Church father of the second century, regards Antiochus Epiphanes because the prototype of Antichrist…  the Dionysia had been celebrated in each nation that had come below the affect of Greek tradition. Antiochus XI. even bore the by-name “Dionysus” (Josephus, “Ant.” xiii. 15, § 1; “B. J.” i. 4, § 7); and Nicanor, the final of Demetrius, threatened to consecrate a Temple at Jerusalem to Dionysus until Judas Maccabeus was delivered to him (II Macc. xiv. 33).

In line with Plutarch.

A fable of Dionysus is linked with the Palestinian metropolis of Scythopolis. Pliny (“Historia Naturalis,” v. 18, § 74) and Solinus (ed. Mommsen, ch. 36) derive the identify of this metropolis from the Scythians, who had been settled on that spot by Dionysus so as to shield the tomb of his nurse who was buried there. The Greeks and the Romans had been firmly satisfied that the Jews had a cult of Dionysus, basing this opinion on some exterior level of similarity. Plutarch thinks that the identify of the Jewish Sabbath is derived from σάβος, the cry of the ecstatic Bacchantes. Extra essential nonetheless is his additional assertion that the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, as celebrated within the Temple at Jerusalem, was actually a type of Dionysus worship. He causes as follows: “The Jews have fun their most essential feast within the time of the classic; they heap all kinds of fruit on their tables, and so they dwell in tents and huts made mainly from branches of the vine and from ivy; the primary day of this competition they name the Feast of Tabernacles. Just a few days later they have fun one other feast, invoking Bacchus not by way of symbols, however calling upon him instantly by identify. They, moreover, have a competition throughout which they carry branches of the fig-tree and the thyrsus; they enter the Temple, the place they in all probability have fun Bacchanalia, for they use small trumpets; and a few amongst them, the Levites, play on the cythara” (“Symposium,” iv. 5, § 3). Plutarch evidently had sure ceremonies of the Feast of Sukkot in thoughts. See Crown in Put up-biblical Occasions. The accusation of Tacitus (“Hist.” v. 5) is analogous:

“As their clergymen sing to the accompaniment of flutes and kettle-drums, and as they deck themselves with laurel, and as a golden vine was discovered of their Temple, many individuals imagine that they worship Bacchus, the conqueror of the East; however the two cults don’t have anything in frequent, for Bacchus has established an excellent and joyous ritual, whereas the customs of the Jews are weird and morose.”

Plutarch, moreover, deduces the Jewish worship of Bacchus from the garment of the excessive priest, who wears bells on his mantle, like people who had been used within the Bacchanalia at evening; he refers additionally in ambiguous phrases to a thyrsus and to drums (τνμπανα) which the excessive priest wears in entrance (on the frontlet or on the breastplate?) (ib.). Grätz (“Gesch.” second ed., ii. 254) assumes a barrel-opening competition (πιθογία = “vinalia”), which, nonetheless, can’t be substantiated.

In describing the garment of the excessive priest, Plutarch purposely makes use of expressions harking back to the Dionysus worship, and it’s possible that simply such equivocal expressions, which he might have learn in a Hellenistic work, led him to make the unimaginable assertion that the Jews had a cult of Dionysus. As a matter of truth the palm-branch prescribed for the Feast of Tabernacles was referred to as by the Hellenists θύρσος (Josephus, “Ant.” xiii. 13, § 5; II Macc. x. 7), which may simply remind a Greek of the Dionysia. He additionally intimates that he knew one thing concerning the “Feast of the Drawing of Water,” which in its free joyousness resembled the Bacchanalia (Suk. v. 2; Tosef.: iv. 1-5; Bab. 51b; Yer. 55b). Neither the statements of Tacitus nor these of Plutarch result in the conclusion, as some students assert, that they used as their sources anti-Jewish Alexandrian works, for his or her statements include nothing that’s hostile to the Jews. A Greek, quite the opposite, would think about it a vindication for the Jews if he may derive ceremonies of the Jewish worship from pagan practises. (Gottheil & Krauss, 1906)

A Corintian Capital of a pillar bearing the top of the Greek god Dionysus in Wager Shean Nationwide Park in Israel

This 4th century BCE coin, 4th century BC, on exhibit within the British Museum. The coin reveals seated , labelled both “YHW” (Yahu) or “YHD” (Judea) is assumed by some to be the one bodily illustration of the Jewish God, and it has been linked with Dionysus.

A 4th century BC, coin on exhibit within the British Museum.  Labelled both “YHW” (Yahu) or “YHD” (Judea), and considered the one bodily illustration of Yahweh from historic Israel, has been linked with Dionysus. Stephen Herbert Langdon, an American-born British Assyriologist, wrote in his  Mythology of All Races – Semitic (1931) explains:

“A coin from Gaza in Southern Philista, fourth century BC, the interval of the Jewish subjection to the final of the Persian kings, has the one recognized illustration of this Hebrew deity. The letters YHW are incised simply above the hawk(?) which the god holds in his outstretched left hand. He wears a himation, leaving the higher a part of the physique naked, and sits upon a winged wheel. The suitable arm is wrapped in his garment. At his toes is a masks. Due to the winged chariot and masks it has been advised that Yaw had been recognized with Dionysus on account of a considerably comparable drawing of the Greek deity on a vase the place he rides in a chariot drawn by a satyr. (Langdon, 1931)


One other coin that appears to attach the God of the Jews with Dionysus, dated to 55 BC depicts a kneeling king with the insription “Bacchus Judaeus” (BACCHIVS IVDAEVS)

In The Jews and their God of Wine, Jonathan Kirkpatrick explains:

Within the interval between the 2 revolts of the Jews of Palestine in opposition to Roman rule some non-Jews sought to determine the God of the Jews with their very own god of wine, Dionysus or Liber. The precise proof suggests three issues. The cult of the Temple at Jerusalem was seen by outsiders to be characterised by an affiliation with, and the usage of, wine, an impression Jews did nothing to counteract. Second, outsiders acted on this impression, each as a part of the cognitive step of figuring out the God of the Jews with Dionysus, and, presumably, making presents to the Temple, whereas it stood, of wine-related dedications. Third, this was a characterisation Jews had been prepared to embrace themselves, even at instances of revolt. (Kirkpatrick, 2013)

The Immortality Key has lately advised that Jesus was influenced by Dionysian rites that concerned infused wines, and made a lot of the Dionysus worship within the historic Israeli metropolis of Scythopolis, as a possible connection level. Muraresku shouldn’t be alone right here, numbers of students have made comparable strategies. Notably, In an article titled “The Wine God in Palestine,” Professor Morton Smith, who was an American professor of historic historical past at Columbia College, supplied appreciable proof for the affect of Dionysiac cult and fable on Jewish and early Christian materials. it’s value noting that indications of infused wines are indicated within the early Christian interval as properly, administered by Jesus himself within the 3-4th century textual content The Second Book of Jue, and recognized within the Church Fathers condemnation of the Gnostic determine Marcus, as I’ve mentioned in earlier books and within the article ‘Early Christianity’s Drug Fuelled Magic Rituals‘. It has even been lengthy advised that Jesus himself quaffed such a preparation in his own moment of doubt and pain.“

Some excessive biblical commentaries keep that the gall and vinegar or myrrhed wine supplied to our Saviour instantly earlier than his crucifixion was a preparation, possibly, of hemp, which was in these, in addition to in later instances, sometimes given to criminals earlier than punishment or execution–whereas 700 years beforehand it’s spoken of… by the prophet Amos because the “ wine of the condemned.”

The Encyclopaedia Britannica: Or Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature, Quantity 5 (1854): see comparable feedback in –The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (1860).

Accusations of utilizing such infusions might have even been directed at Jesus in New Testomony accounts. “The generally attested connection between mantic behaviour and alcohol in all probability explains the reference within the New Testomony that some folks thought Jesus to be a wine-bibber (Matt 11:19). The usage of medication was so carefully tied to mantic apply that the Greek phrase for ‘drug’ [Gk. pharmakea] finally got here to indicate witchcraft (Gal 5:19-21)” (Noegel & Wheeler, 2010). The Immortality Key sees such early Christian exercise as derived from the sooner Dionysian, and I’ll go away it to readers of that e-book to resolve for themselves if there’s a connection.

Of the traditional Israelite residence of Dionysus, Muraresku states “the traditional metropolis of Scythopolis was the legendary birthplace of Dionysus himself. For that motive it was additionally referred to as Nysa…” . Actually Scythopolis was later renamed Nysa after the realm Dionysus was raised as a baby, the god was not born there. This designation of Scythopolis as Nysa was was a later tribute and the mythology has the Greek god born born on Mount Pramnos on Ikaria.

In Greek mythology, the mountainous district of Nysa (Greek: Νῦσα) was variously recognized as Ethiopia, Libya, Tribalia, Arabia, and notably for our use India, by Greek mythographers. Nysa was the normal place the place the rain nymphs, the Hyades, raised the toddler god Dionysus, the “Zeus of Nysa”. Nysa was mentioned to have been named initially after Dionysus childhood nanny. Considerably, as we will see, Alexander the Nice thought he had rediscovered Nysa in India, the place it was believed Dionysus was worshipped below the identify Shiva.

Dionysus and Shiva

The Scythians dominated Northern India from concerning the first century BC to the Third century AD, leaving some to deem this The Scythian Period, often known as the because the Kushan period many of them adopted the worship of the Indian God Shiva, whose personal cult is understood for his or her ritual use of hashish. 

A Northern Indian coin relationship from the 2nd-Third century CE. Depicting a Kushan Scythian King, holding a trident of Shiva, and different regalia of the Indian God.

The reverse facet of the identical Indo-Scythian coin depicting the Indian God Shiva and his bull companion Nandi.

The above is a gold coin in my private assortment, from Northern India and relationship from the 2nd-Third century CE. The first century BC to the Third century CE in Northern India is called The Scythian Period. This coin has on one facet a picture of a Kushan Scythian King, holding a trident of Shiva, in addition to different regalia of the Indian God. On the flip facet  there’s a image of Shiva and his bull Nandi.

As famous by V. A. Smith of those cash in his essay ‘Greco-Roman Influences’ within the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Quantity 58 (1889).

“The Indo-Scythian coin sequence affords apparent and conclusive proof that concerning the starting of the Christian period the religions of India and people of the neighbouring nations to the west had been performing and re-acting upon one another. The worship of Siva was actually then established amongst different cults, in India, and the determine of the god, armed together with his trident, and standing beside his sacred bull, is, maybe, the most typical mythological system of the Indo-Scythian cash. However he isn’t precisely the Siva of the mediæval Puráņas, a Hinduized aboriginal demon… the Greek writers on India themselves perceived that he was akin to Dionysus. Dr. Windisch reveals that each one the Sanskrit performs are related to the worship both of Siva or his consort Gauri, and that they had been typically carried out, just like the Greek dramas, on the spring competition. It appears possible that the Hellenistic settlers in India transferred to Siva a few of the honour attributable to Dionysus, and the thought of the Indian deity should have been influenced by the Greek conception of these gods within the Olympic pantheon who most almost resembled him.” (Smith, 1889)

Since then, numbers of researchers have linked this Indian Lord of Bhang (hashish) with the Greek God of Wine, Dionysus, and this connection itself was apparently  made when the 2 cultures greeted one another by way of the expedition of Alexander the Nice.

In Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, the famous Orientalist scholar Alain Danielou, the primary Westerner initiated into the cult of Shiva, additionally factors to the similarities between Dionysus and the Indian god of hemp, Shiva, suggesting the 2 have their origin in the identical determine; “Greek texts communicate of Dionysus’ mission to India, and Indian texts of the growth of Shivaism to the West…Innumerable similarities in mythological accounts and icongraphic survivals go away little doubt as to the unique unity of Shivaism and the vast extent of its affect” (Danielou 1992).

Alain Daniélou and Swāmī Parvatikār in Vārāṇasī

As Robert Cowann famous in The Indo-German Identification: Reconciling South Asian Origins and European Destinies (2010):

Roman writers would affiliate the Greek god Dionysus with the Hindu Siva [Shiva]….  Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and mystical ecstasy was presupposed to have journeyed to India, subdued the Aryan and Dravidian peoples, absorbed their philosophies, and returned to Europe with their chief concepts. Euripides describes Dionysus in Bacchae (406 B.C.) as a supplier of information and the conqueror of Arabia, Persia and Bactria.

….Polyaenus goes as far as to say that Dionysus obtained the Indians drunk earlier than attacking them and used baccanatic orgies as a part of his navy technique for subjugating all the Asian continent….

The commentary that such historic writers did determine Dionysus with Siva has received the virtually unanimous approval of students… due to the numerous similarities between the cult of Dionysus and that of Shaivite devotees… each are mentioned to treatment the sick and to have supplied the Indians with weapons; each are related to plowing, with figs and vineyards, with mountains, and with dancing; and each are depicted as having lengthy, bushy hair and carrying a spear or trident. (Cowan, 2010)

Shiva blessing one among Greek Pan’s Indian cousin.

Dionysus sporting the kind of leopard pores and skin utilized in depictions of Shiva, together with his comparable raveled hair.

Dionysus and Shiva share the totem animals snake, lion, and bull in addition to robust parts of phallic (lingam) worship.  Likewise, Shiva’s blue pores and skin and holy markings have similarities among the many Thracians, as demonstrated by historic references to their tattooed shaman, and surviving artefacts depicting blue gods.  There may be clear proof that the mutual use of hashish might have been one other assembly level of the 2 Gods.


Dionysus using a bull

Shiva using his Bull companion, Nandi

Collier, John; Maenads; Southwark Artwork Assortment;

Shiva dancing ecstatically

Mosaic of Dionysus sitting on the again of a leopard, from Felix Romuliana-Gamzigrad web site, imperial residence of emperor Galerius buil in Third century AD, and named after emperor’s mom Romula. The location is situated in jap Serbia.

A Shiva devotee ingesting wine in a nineteenth century miniature from Pakistan.

As Percy Gardner and Frank Byron Jevons  defined in A Manual of Greek Antiquities (1898):

“The cultus of Dionysus turned within the fingers of Alexander the Nice a weapon of appreciable political avail. It served as a bond between Greek and Asiatic; for the Greeks nonetheless retained of their worship of Dionysus rites. Within the Cabul valley in North India the Macedonian military discovered a individuals who cultivated the vine and beloved its juice, and who had been prepared to let the Greeks imagine that they’d been settled there by Dionysus. With these tribes the Greeks appear to have turn out to be pleasant; and from this era there prevailed these tales of the Indian campaigns of Dionysus, which had been so largely present in later Greece, and that are associated by Nonnus. Actually it’s doubtless that the deity of Indian origin, whom the folks of Cabul had been able to determine with Dionysus, was Siva.” (Jevons & Gardner, 1898)

We will make certain that Alexander was properly acquainted with the ecstatic rites of Dionysus. Plutarch referred to the participation of Alexander’s personal Mom in Macedonia, to such actions, recording in his Lifetime of Alexander, “All the ladies of those elements had been hooked on the Orphic rites and theorgies of Dionysus from very historic instances”, imitating he recorded “the practices of the … Thracian girls”. It needs to be remembered that Dionysiac initiation right here, was restricted to the ladies for probably the most half. As famous earlier,  Plutarch particularly  mentions  “divine  possession”, he additionally provides clear descriptions of the results of the sacraments sporting off and the ecstatic girls finally surrendering to sleep and waking to their senses.

It was recorded throughout the time of Alexander, that when the cult of Dionysus travelled to India, the Greek god was acknowledged by the followers of Shiva, as one and the identical. Even in pre Alexandrian current Greek fable, it was seen that Dionysus might have been raised in India, with Alexander believing he had rediscovered the legendary place of Dionysus’ childhood, Nysa there. Nysa (Greek: Νῦσα),  was the normal place the place the rain nymphs, the Hyades, raised the toddler god Dionysus, the “Zeus of Nysa”.  Whenever you take a look at the wealth of animal/man metamorphosis in India this respect, in comparison with the types of human/animal cross breeds in photographs of Dionysus, it does appear believable there might have been an earlier cross-cultural pollination of some kind.

As famous on the historic web site, the identification of Nysa with India, performed a big position on the time of Alexander:

In 327/326, Alexander invaded the Indus valley, the place he found in Gandara a city referred to as Nysa that was devoted to the god Dionysus. (Most likely, this was the Indian god Shiva. The mountain Meru talked about under was the middle of the Indian universe.) The one description of the temple is to be discovered within the Life of Apollonius of Tyana by the Greek creator Philostratus (more). The story of the invention is informed by the Greek creator Arrian of Nicomedia, whose Anabasis (part 5.1.1-2.2) was translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt.

The parable of Nysa

[5.1.1] Within the nation on Alexander’s route between the river Cophen and the Indus lay town of Nysa, imagined to have been based by Dionysus, on the time of his conquest of the Indians.

[5.1.2] No one is aware of, nonetheless, who this Dionysus was, nor the date of his invasion of India, nor the place he began from, and I personally ought to hardly care to say if this Theban deity marched together with his military in opposition to the Indians from Thebes or from Tmolus in Lydia, or the way it was that after passing; by way of the territories of so many warlike peoples unknown to the Greeks of that date, he fought and conquered solely the Indians. Nonetheless, one mustn’t inquire too carefully the place historic legends concerning the gods are involved; many issues which motive rejects purchase some shade of chance when you deliver a god into the story.

[5.1.3] The folks of Nysa, upon Alexander’s method, despatched their chief, Acuphis, to him accompanied by thirty of their most distinguished males with directions to ask him to depart their metropolis to its god.

[5.1.4] The story is that once they entered Alexander’s tent, they discovered him sitting there dusty and travel-stained, nonetheless sporting his tools, his helmet on his head and a spear in his hand. The sight of him sitting thus shocked them a lot that they prostrated themselves upon the bottom and for a very long time spoke by no means a phrase. Eventually, nonetheless, Alexander bade them rise up and never be alarmed; whereupon Acuphis addressed him within the following phrases.

[5.1.5] “Sire, it’s the request of the folks of Nysa that you just present your reverence far Dionysus by leaving them free and impartial. For when Dionysus, after his conquest of the Indians, was on his method homeward in the direction of the Greek sea, he based this metropolis as a memorial of his lengthy journey and his victory, leaving to inhabit it these of his males who had been not match for service – who had been additionally his Clergymen. He did however as you might have accomplished; for you too based Alexandria in the Caucasus and Alexandria in Egypt and plenty of different cities as properly, and can discovered but extra hereafter, in that you should have surpassed the achievements of Dionysus.

[5.1.6] Dionysus named this metropolis Nysa and this land Nysaea in reminiscence of his nurse, who bore that identify; and to the mountain close to town he gave the identify Meru – or the Thigh – as a result of legend has it that he grew within the thigh of Zeus. Ever since that point Nysa has been free; we who dwell in it have made our personal legal guidelines – and obeyed them, pretty much as good males ought to. If you want for a proof that Dionysus was our founder, right here it’s: that is the one place in India the place ivy grows.”

[5.2.1] Alexander discovered what Acuphis mentioned extremely agreeable; he would have preferred very a lot to imagine the previous story about Dionysus’ journey and his founding of Nysa, for then he would have had the satisfaction of understanding that he had already penetrated so far as Dionysus did, and would presently advance but additional; he felt furthermore that his Macedonian troops would consent to share his hardships just a little longer, in the event that they knew they had been in competitors with Dionysus. Accordingly he granted to the folks of Nysa the continuance of their freedom and autonomy.

The Fantasy of Nysa, was not the one story impressed by Alexander’s travels in India. As famous by Blake Smith, in ‘When a Greek God Brought Wine to India: An ancient epic poem recounts the ‘Indian war’ of Dionysus‘:

The impression of the encounter between Alexander’s Greek military and the Indian world was huge. From the ‘Greco-Bactrian‘ kingdom of Central Asia to the legends of Alexander’s dialogue with a Brahmin, the Macedonian chief’s marketing campaign formed politics and tradition throughout the traditional world for hundreds of years to return. One of many strangest and most putting merchandise of that legacy emerged a number of hundred years later, within the type of historic Greek literature’s final and longest epic poem: the Dionysiaca… Its creator, Nonnus of Panopolis, wove dozens of myths round a central story: the conquest of India…. The India-conquering hero of Nonnus’s nice poem was not Alexander, however Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. Legends had lengthy linked Dionysus with Asia. He was imagined to have come to Greece from the East on a chariot pulled by unique panthers, after having taught the artwork of wine-making to varied Asian cultures

The story of the Dionysiaca begins with Zeus, chief of the Greek gods, ordering Dionysus to journey to India, whose inhabitants refuse to worship him…  Worse nonetheless, they refuse to drink wine, Dionysus’s “care-forgetting classic”….His foe is Deriades…scorns Dionysus’s beverage, insisting that “my wine is the spear”. Helped by Brahmins versed in sorcery, Deriades fights a number of battles with Dionysus earlier than lastly succumbing to the god’s energy. Like Alexander, Dionysus then returns residence after his victory… (Smith 2017)

In a ‘Translation of the Indica of Arrian’ revealed in Indian Antiquary, Quantity 5, the Greek view of Dionysus affect on India is evident. The Indica of Arrian, was an account of a brief navy historical past about inside Asia, notably the Indian subcontinent, which was written by Arrian in 2nd-century CE and which lined the expedition of Alexander the Nice that occurred between 336 and 323 BCE, about 450 years earlier than Arrian.

Dionysus… when he got here and had conquered the folks, based cities and gave legal guidelines to those cities, and launched the usage of wine among the many Indians, as he had accomplished among the many Greeks, and taught them to sow the land, himself supplying seeds for the purpose-either as a result of Triptolemus, when he was despatched by Demeter to sow all of the earth, didn’t attain these elements, or this should have been some Dionysus who got here to India earlier than Triptolemus, and gave the folks the seeds of vegetation introduced below cultivation. It is usually mentioned that Dionysus first yoked oxen to the plough, and made lots of the Indians husbandmen as an alternative of nomads, and furnished them with the implements of agriculture; and that the Indians worship the opposite gods, and Dionysus himself specifically, with cymbals and drums, as a result of he so taught them ; and that he additionally taught them the Satyric dance, or, because the Greeks name it, the cordax, and that he instructed the Indians to let their hair develop lengthy in honour of the god, and to put on the turban; and that he taught them to anoint themselves with unguents: in order that even as much as the time of A lexander the Indians had been marshalled for battle to the sound of cymbals and drums. (Indica of Arrian, 2nd century CE)

The triumph of Dionysus, depicted on a 2nd-century Roman sarcophagus. Dionysus rides in a chariot drawn by panthers; his procession consists of elephants and different unique animals present in India.

Shiva and pals dancing just like the maenads of Dionysus with satyrs and nymphs

In Ancient Indian And Indo-Greek Theatre (1981) M.L. Varadpande has defined that like these of Dionysus, “the festivals and rituals related to the cults of Shiva and Krishna (whom the Greeks recognized with Dionysus and Heracles respectively) are stuffed with dance an music”:

The Pashupata Sutra …enjoins the devoteess to sing and dance with abandon and make love in public… loud laughter… singing songs to the glory of Shiva… dancing… and roaring like a bull… represent the… worship of Shiva. Making obscene gestures on the sight of lovely girls… behaving in opposition to social norms… and making meaningless vlgar speech… are prescribed for the devotees. The devotees are… supposed to hold a phallic image signifying… Shiva… dancing teams of Shiva’s attendants needs to be worshipped with uncooked meat and wines of various sorts. In line with Indian custom it’s Shiva who embellished the dramatic efficiency with dance” (Varadpande, 1981).

That is all very acquainted of the dancing, ingesting, erotic play, consuming of uncooked flesh and ecstasy of Dionysus own phallic procession. “The Dionysian cultic practices resemble Indian Tantric rituals and different rituals linked with the fertility cult” (Varadpande, 1981). Comparatively, Euripides The Bacchae describes:

…girls leaving residence to frisk in mock ecstasies among the many thickets of the mountain, dancing in honour of the newest divinity, a sure Dionysus. whoever he could also be: Of their midst stand bowls brimming wiht wine. After which, one after the other, the ladies get lost to hidden nooks the place they serve the lust of males. Priestesses of Bacchus the declare they’re…

Shiva, the oldest regularly worshipped God on Earth, is well known for his fondness for bhang (cannabis) . This relationship may be very historic, and its ritual providing to Shiva has continued to the trendy day. Within the Rudrayamal Danakand and Karmakand Shiva tells his consort: “Oh Goddess, Parvati, hear the advantages derived from bhang. The worship of bhang raises one to my place.” Because the 19th century Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report recorded of Shiva’s cultic connection to hashish:

It’s mainly in reference to the worship of Siva, the… nice god of the Hindu trinity, that the hemp plant, and extra particularly maybe ganja, is related. The hemp plant is popularly believed to have been an ideal favorite of Siva, and… the drug in some type or different is… extensively used within the train of the non secular practices linked with this type of worship… [R]eligious ascetics, who’re regarded with nice veneration by the folks at giant, imagine that the hemp plant is a particular attribute of the god Siva, and this perception is essentially shared by the folks… There may be proof to indicate that on virtually all events of the worship of this god, the hemp medication in some type or different are used… these customs are so intimately linked with their worship that they could be thought-about to type in some sense an integral a part of it. (IHDCR, 1894)

This relationship between God and Plant, has typically been traced again to Shiva’s position in probably the most essential myths of Hinduism the Samudra manthan or The Churning of the Ocean of Milk.  is among the most well-known episodes within the Puranas (500-300 BC) and the story remains to be celebrated within the common festivals often called the Kumbha Mela, the place Shiva devotees may be seen parting of his holy hashish in chillum pipes full of ganja, and draughts of the cannabis beverage bhang.  Curiously, this historic fable, composed inside about two centuries after the preliminary pogrom in opposition to Soma, seemingly takes sacramental hemp use out of the cult of Indra, soma and instills it with the devotees of Shiva. Shiva’s position within the story, additionally accounts for the origin of wine.

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk tells the story of the seek for the elixir of immortality, “amrita” by each the gods so as to restore their waning power. On this time period, typically related to soma, we additionally discover a connection to Greek myths, the place ambrosia is the meals or drink of the Greek gods. As an illustration, it was with ambrosia Athena ready Penelope in her sleep.

It’s well-known and accepted that the Amrita, of Hindu mythology, a drink which confers immortality on the gods, is a cognate of ambrosia. The Greek ἀμβροσία (ambrosia) is semantically linked to the Sanskrit अमृत (amṛta) as each phrases denote a drink or meals that gods use to realize immortality. The 2 phrases seem like derived from the identical Indo-European type *ṇ-mṛ-tós, “un-dying”. Right here once more, we might have indications of an earlier cultural connection in fable and etymology.

With the triumph of Alexander, as Prof. Carl Ruck has famous “Dionysus … was additionally mentioned to have returned triumphantly from travels to India, the place he would inevitably have been assimilated with the god Shiva, with whom he shares many iconographic similarities, to the extent that they could have been initially the identical deity, and each concerned with the hemp sacrament (Ruck, et al., 2007).

“Because the wine of Dionysus is a mediation between the god’s wild natural ancestors and the civilized phenomenon of his cultivated and manufactured manifestation within the product fermented from the juice of the grape, it’s most possible that this was the way in which through which the Greeks integrated hemp into their pharmacopoeia” (Ruck, 2007).

‘Shiva is usually portrayed holding a percussive instrument (a repetitive beats system!) and he’s generally related to bhang, a drink made with Indian hemp, and the apply of Tantrism, a practice of erotico-magic sexuality. On the opposite facet Dionysus is called the “god of dancing”, “the loud one” and “god of wine” (which was generally blended with totally different herbs to “deliver forth the gods and ancestral spirits”).’ – SHIVA AND DIONYSUS

As Shiva’s cult shouldn’t be solely recognized for his or her use of hashish, but in addition at instances, wine and different potent narcotics reminiscent of henbane and datura, it isn’t shocking that many have advised such substances within the Dionysian infusions as properly. In Shiva: The Wild God of Energy and Ecstasy (2004) Wolf-Dieter Storl means that “It’s potential that Shiva and Kali are traditionally linked with Dionysos and his mom—legend has it that the … of their cults. Extra doubtless, the tropane-alkaloid answerable for historic Greek Dionysian revelry was derived from mandrake or henbane.” (Wolf-Dieter Storl, 2004)

Shiva with datura flowers behind his ears. Datura, together with hashish, henbane and different medication, have lengthy been used for ecstatic functions by Shiva’s devotees.

After having reviewed the fabric, I can say that clearly, for properly over a century, various revered non secular students and historians have advised that the Greek Dionysus, within the final evaluation, may be linked to India, and that those that made the comparisons from the time interval of Alexander with Shiva,  weren’t essentially deluding themselves once they acknowledged Shiva as Dionysus, or that it was merely a handy type of cultural annexation which occurred by way of Alexander’s marketing campaign in India. There could also be an similar cross-cultural origin for Shiva and Dionysus in an earlier illustration of the Gods.

For additional studying on the varied connections between these Greek and Indian gods, I like to recommend Alain Danielou’s glorious e-book, Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus. Though Danielou doesn’t point out the usage of hashish by the cult of Dionysus, he does refer it with regard to Shiva’s cultic use of bhang, and connects it with the Vedic soma:

This historic sacred drink was prone to resemble a drink what at the moment is known as bhang, made out of the crushed leaves of Indian Hemp.  Each Shivaite has to eat bhang at the least annually.  The drink, which intensifies perceptivity, induces visions and above all results in excessive psychological focus.  It’s broadly utilized by Yogis.  Particulars regarding its preparation are to be discovered as early because the Vedic interval. The outline of the way in which soma was ready and its quick use with out fermentation, can solely apply to bhang and is similar to the tactic employed at the moment. (Danielou 1992)

 Curiously, various researchers going again greater than a century, have advised a possible frequent ancestry with the Dionysian cult, and the Vedic Soma cult, and in relation to Shiva’s personal connection to each hashish and soma, this can be a potential additional proof of an earlier frequent cultural origin for the Greek and Indian cults.

Dionysus and Soma

Because the German-American philologist, comparative mythologist and Indologist, Michael Witzel, Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard College and the editor of the Harvard Oriental Collection has famous:

When Alexander got here throughout the vines within the jap Hindu Kush, he instantly concluded that this space should have been that of Dionysus. Certainly, the inhabitants of Nuristan and Kashmir (each earlier than Islam) and of the trendy pagan Kalash Land (north-western Pakistan) nonetheless develop vines and press grapes there every fall. The brand new wine remains to be devoted to Indra” (Witzel, 2012)

Indra, being the God of Soma, and King of the Gods, (a determine that in some ways, Shiva would later supplant). As Dr. Richard Stoneman, a professor of classics and historic historical past, describes of the Greek connection in The Greek Expertise of India: From Alexander to the Indo-Greeks:

“It’s generally argued that this Dionysus is a type of Indra as first king, culture-hero of the Aryans, warrior-leader and bringer of agriculture. Martha Carter produces some compelling proof that Alexander’s expedition might have wandered into the Indrakun competition within the Kafir lands, in November or January, which concerned a dancer dressed as a horned goat, behaving lewdly, whereas wine was pressed and drunk.” (Stoneman, 2019)

The connection between Soma, Dionysus and the Christian mysteries are not at all new or novel.  nineteenth century historic world scholar François Lenormant, in The Beginnings of History According to the Bible and the Traditions of Oriental Peoples: From the Creation of Man to the Deluge referred to “the god Soma or Haoma, prototype of the Greek Dionysus” (Lenormant, et al., 1881). As William Dymock famous within the basic Pharmacographia Indica: A History of the Principal Drugs of Vegetable Origin, Met with in British India:

In line with Greek custom, Dionysus taught all nations to domesticate the vine and to drink wine The Dionysus of the Greeks and the Indra of the Hindus are symbolical of the productive, overflowing, and intoxicating energy of nature which regularly carries man away from his traditional quiet and sober mode of dwelling. The Soma of the Hindus and the unique wine of Greek custom was likely the celestial Amrita or Ambrosia. (Dymock, 1890)

The Delivery of Dionysus from the thigh of Zeus, has been in comparison with a Vedic account of Soma coming from the the thigh of Indra, and different numerous similarities, by quite a lot of researchers going again properly over a century and a half. Thomas Lumisden Strange (1808–1884) the English decide and author for the East India Firm, wrote of the nineteenth century view on the connection between Soma and Dionysus:

The intoxicating Soma juice is an early Aryan divinity. It was the beverage of the gods, and made males like them immortal (Muir’s Sansk. Texts, V. 258, 262). Soma is addressed because the god giving future felicity. “Place me, O purified god, in that eternal and imperishable world the place there’s everlasting mild and glory. … make me immortal on this planet the place king Vaivasvata (Yama, the king of dying, the son of Vivasvat) lives, when within the innermost sphere of the sky” (Muir in Journal of As. Soc. New Ser. I. 138). Soma, says Dr Muir, was the Indian Bacchus (Idem, I. 135). Its worship might be recognized with that of the Greek god Dionysus (Bacchus), who found and launched to mankind the juice of the grape for the alleviation of their sorrows (Muir’s Sansk. Texts, V. 259, 260).(Unusual, 1881)

In Essays on Iranian Subjects the authors word “Roman Bacchus or the Greek Dionysus bears a really shut resemblance to that informed of the Iranian Haoma or the Hindu Soma . In his gentler features he ( Dionysus ) is the giver of pleasure , the healer of sicknesses , the guardian in opposition to plagues” (Dhābhara & Dhabhar, 1955) Soma “had energy to raise the spirits, and produce a brief frenzy, below the affect of which a person was prompted to do, and located able to doing, deeds past his pure powers. Soma was due to this fact deemed divine, and have become a Deity, the parable operating on parallel traces to that of Dionysus or Bacchus, who got here from India into Hellas. (Cust, 1889). A Classical Dictionary of India Illustrative of the Mythology, Philosophy, literature of the Hindus, equally recorded “Soma is the god who represents and animates this juice , an intoxicating draught which performs a conspicuous half within the sacrifices of the Vedic age . He’s , or fairly was in former instances , the Indian Dionysus or Bacchus” (Garret, 1871).

Extra lately Professor Patrick McGovern, as famous earlier, has advised that soma itself may have been an infused wine, and based mostly on the proof of Sarianidi, that hashish, ephedra and at instances opium, had been doubtless candidates of infusion.

The comparisons between the Greek and Indian cults are straightforward to make right here, and if not a historic connection then at the least archetypical. Soma is god and elixir of life simply as “ Dionysus, himself a god, is poured out in providing to the gods, in order that by way of him mankind receives his blessing” as Eurpides  recorded in The Bacchae, and the parallel to the Vedic praises of Soma, each a god and a drink, is plain.

J.F. Hewitt advised in an article on Northern India and Scythian domination within the area , within the  Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 43, the unfold of the worship of Bacchus/Dionysus got here by way of the conquests of the nomadic Scythians, as did the Soma cult. Scythian involvement with soma/haoma is now well established as is cannabis as a candidate.

If the worship of intoxicating drink because the supreme god was…, launched into India by way of Scythian company, and if the Soma sacrifice was an altered type of the analogous animal sacrifice among the many Scythians, it essentially follows that it was amongst them that the Dionysiac fable originated, and that it was by their affect that it was subtle all through all nations of the traditional world…

…The Dionysiac fable, like Soma-worship, originated in phallic worship. The Dionysos of the Eleusinian mysteries was a phallic god, and Elerod. ii. 48 tells us that within the ceremonies of the Dionysiac festivals, the phallus was a conspicuous object. The Bacchic orgies of the ladies additionally level to the previous customs of tribal concubinage, which existed earlier than marriage. Like that of the Soma competition, the historical past of the Dionysiac fable is an epitome of that of the evolution of non secular thought. (Hewitt, 1890)

J. Wohlberg within the article Haoma-Soma in the world of ancient Greece. Wohlberg felt that:

Whereas Iranian and Indian peoples preserved their authentic worship of their ultimate settlements, Indo-European tribes, together with the Thracians, the Phrygians, and the Greeks, after settling in Europe and Asia Minor, deserted their ancestral worship of Soma (Sabazios) and substituted the Semitic (alcoholic) Dionysos. Nonetheless, they retained traces of the unique Soma worship in Dionysiac rituals. This modified Dionysiac worship unfold all through the Western world.  Proof of the worship of (nonalcoholic) Haoma-Soma in Iran and India… may be present in Greece and its neighboring lands. (Wohlberg, 1990)

Wohlberg used Six formal standards to determine the determine of Soma with Dionysus:

(1) each cults had the identical intention (to trigger ecstatic behaviour); (2) each cults required the attainment of the identical religious state (purity); (3) each cults had an idiosyncratic fable in frequent; (4) each cults confirmed the similar phrase root within the identify of the worshipped god; (5) each cults had similar zoological and botanical associations with their god; and (6) the alcoholic god (Dionysos) was depicted as having the identical bodily results on human beings as that of the traditional non-alcoholic god (Soma) (Wohlberg, 1990).

J. Rendel Harris,  was an English biblical scholar and curator of manuscripts, who was instrumental in bringing again to mild many Syriac Scriptures and different early paperwork. His Eucharistic Origins (1927), like Muraresku does later in The Immortality Key, means that this identical connection may be the muse of the Christian Eucharist. With reference to Dionysus/Bacchus and Soma, Harris wrote :

….The good Aryan sacrament is older than the invention of the vine. The primary Bacchae in Greek lands had been ivy-chewers or ivy-drinkers, in affiliation with a fermented honey-drink, which we additionally discover employed within the consecration of the Soma. For Graeco-Roman peoples, the Soma-plant is changed by the vine… We don’t, nonetheless, doubt that for the Indo-Germanic peoples, the unique medication which makes man immortal is the juice of the Soma-plant.

…. Since we discover the ivy divinised in Greece as Bacchos-Dionysos (for Dionysos was an ivy-god earlier than he was a vine-god), we might infer that the Soma of the Vedas, which can be the Haoma of the Zend-Avesta, is similar factor because the Nectar of the Greek gods. Nectar, additionally, is a drink which confers and sustains immortal life. We will in all probability be protected in our philology, if we clarify the primary syllable of nec-tar as which means dying (cf. the Greek… nekus) and the second syllable as linked with the Greek… teiro, to put on away, to destroy; the Nectar or Soma is the death-destroyer; its non secular use is, then, inevitable….The principle level to be remembered is that,for all our race, the drink means immortality; it makes us just like the blessed gods. The invention of this intoxicant is, due to this fact, an epoch. (Harris, 1927)

A century in the past, Frederick William Bussellreferred to “Soma-Dionysus” as properly, noting that “It’s now held by many who from he confines of the Caspain Sea the Aryans unfold eastward to Hindustan and westward into Phrygria which is par excellence the chief residence of the bacchic cult to which the Soma-draught bears undoubted resemblance…” (Bussell, 1918)

The Indian origin of Soma-Dionysus was held by Langlois (Memoire sur Soma Paris 1853) Maury (Hist. Relig. Gr. Paris 1857) and by Max Duncker the synoptic historian… Europe. (1.c.) is the primary Greek to symbolize Dionysus as coming from India… later writers give him an indian marketing campaign however maintain that he got here to India from Europe… Soma is a god of vegetation and ecstatic drunkeness within the older vedic stratum… c. 1300-1200 B.C…. the means of manufacturing bacchic frenzy or exaltation would differ in every nation… the vine is indigenous to the decrease ranges of the Himilayas and was launched thence into Europe as producing divine enjoymentand on the identical time destroying sense and motive—it helps pals, whereas it maddens and destroys foes. Orgiastic pleasure, a brief self oblivion, was each in East and West the very essence of the cult… Thracians appear to have produced ecstasy by means of indian hemp. Thus the principal of worship can be the identical however the means employed would differ: the hypnotic trance of the primitive shaman is the prototype for all. Very oriental are the magical results produced by the votaries and the hypnotic juggling with the senses of the viewers within the Bacchae of Euripides. It appears doubtless that thus technique of approaching the divine was blended a cult of plant-life and the god who promoted it…

It’s clear that this speculation of a real connexion with the East is provisional, and its arguments tentative. We could also be contented to notice merely the affinities of thought and apply within the numerous branches of aryan inventory; and to name consideration to their frequent perception in an influence to achieve communion with the divine by ecstasy or inebriation. A person turns into most like God (as in shamanism) not when he obeys an ethical or ritual regulation, however when (as far as he can) he ceases to be consciously human. (Bussell, 1918)

I’ve a 6 part series on Soma, that appears at numerous candidates reminiscent of Syrian Rue and Fly Agaric Mushrooms, in addition to presenting archeological and textual evidence for cannabis on this regard, for these serious about studying extra about this historic entheogen.

Archeological proof for Dionysian infused wine?

Each infused wines and Dionysus play a substantial position, within the latest New York Occasions bestseller, The Immortality Key, and one of many extra intriguing items of proof put forth by the creator Brian Muraresku, was the invention of an infusion, that contained a complete host of substances, together with issues like opium, hashish henbane, alongside lizard and snake stays, walnuts, and different numerous spices and herbs. Though the authors of the archeological research of this discover, Drug preparation in evidence? An unusual plant and bone assemblage from the Pompeian countryside, Italy  have recognized this as doubtless proof of a theriac, a potent medical infusion that was the idea for later alchemical quintessences and arcanums, as a result of space of preparation and the checklist of substances, Muraresku has advised this will have been the kind of drink used within the Dionysian and doubtlessly different Greek Mysteries.

The placement of the archeological discover referred to was in glorious situation, attributable to its preservation below pumice from probably the most well-known volcano eruption in historical past.  The construction on the location was a house that contained a wine press and threshing flooring, wine cellar, and enormous vessels which contained thick natural deposits, which had been recognized as infusions of assorted vegetation, frequent fruits and nuts, and even bones of lizards, “suggesting the mixture of vegetation, reptiles, and amphibians was steeped in wine” (Muraresku, 2020). As Muraresku notes nonetheless, “the actual kicker was the distinctive medley of opium (Papaver somniferum), hashish (Hashish sativa) and two members of the nightshade household, white henbane (Hysoscyamus albus) and black nightshade (Solanum nigrum)” (Muraresku, 2020). A potent infusion certainly!

Though acknowledging the shortage of clear context of the discover, and the proof it was for a medical preparation of the time reminiscent of theriac or mithrediatnium, Muraresku does speculates and questions whether or not  this web site may symbolize “a laboratory for the manufacturing of a Dionysian sacrament that would been used within the Villa of Mysteries that was inside strolling distance, simply West throughout Pompeii?” (Muraresku, 2020)

In discussions with a archeologist who was instantly concerned on the bottom degree of the discover, Muraresku garnered even additional proof than that put forth within the authentic paper. The archeologist concerned advised the location was “particularly designed for the manufacturing of medication”, and from the dialogue Muraresku says the ensuing combination   “appears to be a boutique home wine not supposed for mass consumption” (Muraresku, 2020). Indications from the backyard stays outdoors of the construction, are that it was a web site for producing a choose number of vegetation and herbs. Proof of a “maceration tank for hashish” would appear to point this was notably a key element within the infusion.

There could also be different archeological proof as properly. As Dionysian/Bacchic iconography on Roman silver cups and bowls have been unearthed in northern France, indicating that the god was well-known by the Gauls of the primary century A.D. it’s value noting the next French archeological discover reported within the Wine Spectator article ‘2,000-Year-Old Cannabis Wine Discovered‘:

The traditional partaker and his pot of hashish infused wine.

A 2015 excavation close to the city of Cébazat within the coronary heart of France (about 100 miles west of Lyon) of a tomb relationship to the 2nd century B.C., led by researcher Hervé Delhoofs, yielded an earthenware vessel that after held a most potent potable: Evaluation of plant materials confirmed the presence of “biomarkers” for wine, resin and THC. Did the Gauls merely just like the style, or had been they serious about a extra, properly, holistic expertise? Researcher Nicolas Garnier informed Unfiltered each “medicinal use or leisure use” had been potential, and that the ethanol in wine made it a extra environment friendly substance for infusion than water. “The wine-based medicinal preparations are frequent,” he defined through e-mail. “Totally different recipes of many vegetation have been recognized in tombs.”


Cantharus (ingesting cup) with Bacchus-like masks, A.D. 1–100, Roman. Silver. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques, Paris

In line with Strabo (C1st B.C.E. to C1st C.E.), a Greek geographer,thinker, and historian, there was a feminine cult devoted to Dionysus in Gaul, Southern France:

“Within the ocean, he [Poseidonios] says, there’s a small island, not very far out to sea, located off the outlet of the River Leigeros [in Gaul]; and the island is inhabited by the ladies of the Samnitai, and they’re possessed by Dionysos and make this god propitious by appeasing him with mystic initiations in addition to different sacred performances; and no man units foot on the island, though the ladies themselves, crusing from it, have intercourse with the boys after which return once more.”

As properly a Bacchanalian Mosaic has been discovered in France.

Found in Vienne on the higher Rhône, the archaeologists have been engaged on the location …excavated an exceptionally giant space the place the homes of a affluent group as soon as stood….

Courting to the primary century AD, it’s thought the realm was occupied for 300 years till a sequence of fires drove its inhabitants out. The ensuing layer of ash nonetheless, very like within the well-known Campanian city of Pompeii, has splendidly preserved elements of the buildings, and particularly the mosaics, down the centuries.

One of the crucial spectacular finds has been a mosaic in a house that has been dubbed ‘The Bacchanalian Home’ and which contains a dancing procession of ‘maenads’, the feminine followers of the god of wine Dionysus/Bacchus.

Translated actually, maenads means ‘raving ones’ and describes the frenzied and ecstatic state into which their devotion to the god supposedly drove them…. Additionally featured within the mosaic are satyrs, one other important element of Dionysus’ ‘thiasus’ – his euphoric retinue… The archaeologists imagine it in all probability belonged to a rich service provider and, given the subject material of the central mosaic, maybe he dealt in wine? (Millar, 2017)


One of many Mosaics that includes Dionysus discovered by archaeologists on the web site deemed ‘little Pompeii’ in southeast France.

The discover of hashish infused wines in two websites near areas related to the worship of Dionysus is attention-grabbing circumstantial proof, when mixed with the textual references now we have been taking a look at. Maybe additional research of such artifacts, reminiscent of residue samples of cups and vessels related to the Dionysian cult, will sooner or later, reveal extra on this, because the have accomplished with artifacts at other ancient religious sites in recent years.


Clearly, as now we have seen there are a selection of cultural avenues by way of which the cult of Dionysus may have come into contact with hashish, certainly, as some students have indicated, there could also be a way more historic Dionysian connection to cults reminiscent of Shiva’s and soma/haoma, and this as properly appears prone to be linked with hashish in its origins.

Maybe it was a jade bud of holy hemp initially depicted on the top of Dionysus’s magical rod, fairly than the pine cone often described?

As Dale Pendell poetically commented “The true dwelling Dionysus is hiding within the hemp plant not the wine bottle….we will spot the god’s younger companions by their flutes and drums, by their dancing and the tie-dyed colours.  We will watch the re-enactment of the traditional tragedy as we lock them away in our prisons” (Pendell 1995).

For extra on hashish in historic Greece see – Cannabis in Ancient Greece and the documentary, Cannabis in Ancient Greece: Smoke of the Oracles?