Soma and Sacred Cannabis. Story of marijuana
A green lifestyle
It is not easy to find people as consistent in their thinking and behavior as Soma. This sixty-year-old rastafari, of shamanic tradition, is in a constant search for connection with nature and for this it uses plants and crystals that provide a better ecological understanding. Beisdes that, he is a member and minister of the Church of the Universe, an entheogenic religion (that is, using psychotropic plants) that uses marijuana for the sacraments and defends nudity as a symbol of honesty.
For Soma, Cannabis is not only a plant that serves for recreational purposes but has a spirituality and transcendence that goes much further. For him, marijuana is a master plant which teaches us about ourselves and our planet. It is a sacred plant, symbol of light.
The first joint would change everything
All this began at age 18 when Soma worked at IBM in a suit and tie. Never before had he tried marijuana until one good day (never better!) a companion passed him a joint and decided to smoke it quietly on the bank of the river. The feeling of calm that invaded him made him feel so good that he started to walk a path that has been walking for almost half a century. And so he discovered that Cannabis was one of the most positive forces in his life.
And although it is often said that marijuana discourages, Soma proves that this does not have to be true. In fact, in his case, marijuana has opened his mind and encouraged him to learn and explore a myriad of activities. In his way of seeing life, marijuana is a fundamental element to which he is not willing to give up in any way being present in his clothing, food, paper, medicine, etc.
Organic Marijuana Growing
Soma has dedicated more than 45 years of its life to marijuana, its cultivation and study. It started to grow Marijuana by the year 71 while still living in its native country, the United States. At that time he had a vegetarian restaurant and as he became aware of his diet, he was diving more and more into this organic way of life in harmony with nature and ecology.
From this awareness, he began using ecological methods in his marijuana crops and has not stopped until now. As a result of his philosophy of life, Soma only cultivates with natural methods. He prefers the sun to the foci, the guano or the algae to the chemical fertilizers, the earth to the hydroponics. Besides that, he points out that plants absorb a huge amount of energy, not only the sun but all of its environment. That is why he strongly discourages feelings like hatred or fear, which are at least counterproductive, unlike the feelings of love and gratitude that make plants thrive.
In ’96 he decided to move to Holland and settled in Amsterdam, where a year later he founded his own company of marijuana seeds, Soma Seeds. The main feature of Soma Seeds is that it dedicates purely and exclusively to medicinal Cannabis, for which part of plants that have proven to have therapeutic effects, explores their genetics and produces seeds until he manages to stabilize a certain strain and from there throws them to the market.
Soma Seeds rose to fame in ’99 when its Reclining Buddha won the second prize in the Indica category at the HTCC. After that, other cannabis strains of his own also won important prizes year after year in this and other competitions, as the indicas Buddha’s sister (2002), SoGouda (2004) and Lavender (2005 and 2007); the sativas NYC Diesel (2001 and 2002), Amnesia Haze (2003, 2004 and 2005) or the hash Rock Bud (2004), Big A’s Special (2005). This success, coupled with his deep knowledge of marijuana and its applications, earned him the nickname “Guru Ganja”.
The Sacred Cannabis, a Way of Life
Soma is not only dedicated to growing and creating new medicinal marijuana strains, but everything around him bears the Cannabis brand. For starters, almost all of his clothing is handmade based on hemp fiber. But in addition to his personal life, Soma is a pro-marijuana activist and participates in conferences around the world. In its own Youtube channel he writes articles for several cannabis magazines and has written his book “Organic Marijuana Soma Style”.
For Soma, it is essential to realize that we are one with the universe, to work with each other, to care for the planet and to achieve a harmony and brotherhood. And Cannabis is a way to access this state, to share and be at peace. Or, in his own words, marijuana is a tool to save the world.
First-person medical marijuana
Soma is not only an advocate of medical marijuana, but also a patient who witnesses the healing effect of this plant. Almost a decade ago, and because of a problem of aortic calcification, he had to undergo open heart surgery. For 6 months he was under the effects of cocktails of medicines prescribed by the doctors but he could not feel good until he decided to leave them. Since then, his only medication has been marijuana and he is in excellent health. In fact, it has a medical prescription of 10 to 15 grams daily, that consumes them not only smoking, but also with vaporizers or in foods.
As a result of all these experiences and personal experiences, of the spiritual value of marijuana, of the states of consciousness that it opens and of its capacity to twin people, Soma defines himself as the “cannabis bodyguard”, with the mission of defending it before the threat of annihilation on the part of the states and their laws, even if in them the life was left to him.
Soma is a cannabis activist focused on medical marijuana but above all on Cannabis as a source of wisdom, love and light.
Are there any sound historical proofs that soma contained cannabis?
Michael Wood says in his documentary The Story of India first episode:
Soma is still used as a medicine in Central Asia. The active element in the plant is ephedrine, and the effect that it has, according to the Rig Veda is, well, if you take too much of it, it can cause nausea, it can be frightening, it can give you vertigo, sickness, vomiting. If you take it in the right measure, it enlivens the senses, sharpens you up, keeps you awake. The poets in the Rig Veda compose their songs often at night having drunk Soma, and, of course, Indra, King of the Gods, drinks vast quantities of this perhaps because it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac as well. [. ] But Soma’s not an Indian plant.It doesn’t grow in the humid plains. And today, it’s no longer part of Hindu religion. It came from outside.
And then afterward in the documentary someone suggested that it can contain also cannabis. Someone on the PBS site asks a similar question:
Is there any historical proof either primary or secondary other than the above mentioned that the Vedic Soma might have contained cannabis or even ephedrine?
4 Answers 4
Cannabis is just one of the candidates for soma, other candidates including fungi, namely Amanita Muscaria which seems to be the best candidate according to Wikipedia wisdom, and Papaver. A synonym for soma is Amrita, which is a also a synonym for the Hellenic Ambrosia. There is an entire book dedicated to the topic.
There is also a free accessible online article about the complicated question.
There have been a number of archeological finds that indicate this. As I have shown in my book, Cannabis and the Soma Solution, there is new archeological evidence that indicates the ancient Soma and Haoma was likely a preparation that included cannabis. A wide variety of Indian scholars have also suggested the Vedic Soma, was a cannabis based beverage, (Bennett, 2010). The connections with cannabis have been further strengthened by the archeological finds of cannabis present at a 4000 year old Temple site in the ancient Bactria and Margiana region, known now as BMAC (The Bactria Margiana Archeological Complex) that was devoted to the preparation of the Haoma, by the Russian archeologist Victor Sarianidi, where evidence of cannabis, ephedra, and in some later cases opium being ground and strained for the preparation of Haoma have been found.
Noted cannabis historian, Dr. Mike Aldrich notes that ephedra, which contains ephedrine was likely added to the sacred beverage for its stimulating effects, enabling the partakers to stay wide awake through the night in singing and dancing festivals. “… this was handed out in the public room of these sanctuaries, and drunk by the people in the form of a libation. and then they would have all night singing and dancing festivals, just as they still do at the Kumbha mela for soma in India” (Aldrich, 2012). The cannabis beverage bhang is consumed freely throughout the Kumbha Mela, , but in modern times, more commonly the chillum filled with ganja (marijuana) or charas (hashish) are used in its place. On the topic of BMAC, it is interesting to note that Prof. Victor Sarianidi states that it has been a longstanding theory with some historians that the “nomadic Scythians/Saka from ancient times had made attempts to settle on the fertile lands of Margiana. This assumption is now fully supported by… archeological facts…” (Sarianidi, 1998).
The Scythian relationship with Haoma, was indeed close, so much so, that they were widely known as the “Haoma-Gatherers”. Referring to the Scythians under their Persian name of the ‘Sakas’, Guive Mirfendereski notes that the Scythians of eastern Central Asia are called ‘Homa Saka’ and ‘haumavarka’ (Haoma-gatherers) (Mirfendereski, 2005). Like Mirfendereski, who believes the title Haomavarga came to the Scythians through their use of hemp, archaeologist Bruno Jacobs has likewise suggested that the name was derived from the Scythian practice of laying cannabis on hot stones to release its intoxicating vapours, (Jacobs, 1982).
More recently, the subject of Scythian gold cups, and cannabis beverages has re-emerged again, after an exciting archeological find, and the analysis of ancient residues. A collection of gold cups and bowls found at a Scythian burial site in Southern Russia, were tested for the residues which had solidified in them, and revealed they had been used for drinking a preparation of cannabis and opium, (Curry, 2015). These contents fits with the findings of cannabis and opium residues of Sarianidi at BMAC, although it is unclear if they tested for other plants, such as ephedra that was found at BMAC, in regards to the gold cups. This find was widely reported as the discovery of “golden bongs” used for “smoking” cannabis in the mainstream press, a bong being a cannabis smoking device, that was not invented till centuries if not millennia after the time of the Scythians. But as archeologist Professor Anton Gass, who was involved with the analysis of the gold cups and bowls has noted “the difficulty was due to the translation. It is not a bong, but ritual vessels for Haoma.” (Gass, 2015).
Interestingly, the identification of cannabis with soma and Haoma, was popular in the 19th century. This may have been due in part to George W. Brown`s Researches in Oriental History: “. Haoma . an intoxicating beverage, prepared from the green stalks of the moon-plant. Cannabis Indica, or Indian hemp. was tasted by the priests on sacrificial occasions, whilst hymns were sung in its praise. Its action was that of hashish. It produced intoxication and stimulation of the senses, which were taken for inspiration” (Brown, 1890)
Cannabis has been similarly tied with Haoma Indian counterpart Soma for more than a century as well. 1894 Edition of North Indian Notes and Queries, Vol. 4 contains an essay by John Cockburn, Hemp and the Soma, similarly concluded “…There can be no reasonable doubt that soma was bhang” (Cockburn, 1894). Edward Albert Gait refers to “hemp (Soma) in Vedic times” (Gait, 1902), and in a 1921 an article by Braja Lal Mukherjee, The Soma Plant, appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (which was a response to an earlier paper on the identity of Soma) also put forth a theory presenting cannabis, ‘bhang’, as a serious candidate for the Soma.
Are there any sound historical proofs that soma contained cannabis? Michael Wood says in his documentary The Story of India first episode: Soma is still used as a medicine in Central