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Plants and Spirituality: Cannabis, Ayahuasca, and other plants


Plants provide us with food, shelter, clothing, medicine, fuel, and provide oxygen to breathe. Perhaps the foremost potent gift of the plant world to humans has been the invention and utilization of psychoactive plants. The use of plants that alter the human mind dates back thousands of years to the earliest composition of human society into tribes, bands, clans, sects, and other cultural associations. Over the millennia, people discovered, used, and shared ever-increasing knowledge of psychoactive plants and their effects on the physical body, mind, and spirit.

Psychoactive plants, particularly people who alter perception were and still be considered sacred in many societies. They are often mentioned as plants of the gods, plant teachers, or magical and healing plants. These plants are sacred because they permit the living to contact and commune with gods (entheogens) or drive out evil spirits. Many cultures believe these plants to be sacred due to the spirits that dwell within the plants themselves. Religious and spiritual leaders use these plants, their compounds and mixtures to bring balance to the physical and unseen, heal mind and body, and supply for spiritual awakening.

Spiritual practitioners from all over the world are trying to use plants in many different ways. Some use cannabis spirituality whereas others opt to keep weed separate as for defined practices. While many use cannabis for both its medicinal and mind-altering properties, it also assists us in gaining more inner perspective when used in spiritual practices.

Spirituality is our relationship to the divine, the creator, god, the universe however we so choose to identify it. It’s a profound understanding, an all-knowing, and birthright and at times it’s a gut feeling, a power pose, a sign, intuition.

Cannabis

You are familiar with cannabis as a medicinal and recreational substance, but did you know it also has a great and has varied history as a spiritual herb?



This plant has been a key component in the rituals and ceremonies of religions spanning the globe for several thousand years. Its spiritual characteristics have been recognized by societies.

The many spiritual uses of marijuana are no doubt related to its psychoactive compound Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When consumed, this chemical causes many physiological and psychological effects, including relaxation, euphoria, and a sense of general well-being.

Since various civilizations have utilized these properties to aid rituals, ceremonies, and meditation.

Just as cannabis use was becoming more common in China, the spiritual use of marijuana was also becoming widespread elsewhere in Asia, especially India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. As it spread across the subcontinent, cannabis began to play a significant role in Hinduism.

It is mentioned in the Atharva Veda, an important Hindu text compiled between 1200 and 1000 BC. Marijuana is often associated with the Hindu god Shiva, who is said to use the herb to aid his meditations.

Whether you use cannabis for religious, recreational, or medicinal purposes, it certainly is an extraordinary herb. So next time you light up, why not take a moment to think about the more spiritual side of cannabis, and how it has truly stood the test of time.

Ayahuasca

In a cultural context, ayahuasca beverage is traditionally recognized as a “master plant” that provides a framework for an encounter with the mythic, dramatic, and psychological perspective of humans. According to this, master plants have been used to heal physical, emotional, spiritual imbalances as well as connecting with deep internal resonances, giving the user direct access to the spiritual world and to the storehouses of wisdom, which, otherwise, would have no access, facilitating existential intelligence.


As a religion, ayahuasca is still a central component of many healing ceremonies in the Amazon Basin. Ayahuasca use amongst the autochthonous people of the Amazon could be a style of ancient drugs and cultural medicine.

Currently, its use is spreading everywhere within the Western world. As studies completing it indicate that the psychotherapeutic potential of ayahuasca is based mostly on the strong serotonergic effects. However, within the right therapeutic or ritual setting with correct preparation and mind-set of the user, followed by the ensuing integration of the expertise, ayahuasca has tried effectively within the treatment of substance dependence.

Due to the growing quality of the religious ritual, lots of individuals from all elements of the globe trip the Amazon to participate in ayahuasca rituals. This unique phenomenon is characterized by some as “drug tourism” since a large number of travelers looking for spiritual and therapeutic opportunities.

Health benefits of Ayahuasca

Evaluating the health benefits and risks of a remedy of plant origin is more difficult than that of assessing synthesized compounds. In the case of ayahuasca, such an evaluation is also complicated by the admixture nature of the brew, the strong psychoactive effects, the setting of its typical administration, and the legal and financial impediments. As far as the plant components of the brew are concerned, significant differences in health potentials may stem not only from the particular species but from the variety in the mixture.

The wide spectrum of ayahuasca’s effects—as was outlined in the text—from biological to psychosocial (even spiritual) may also complicate the issue, but on the other hand, it makes this plant remedy more interesting and promising for future explorations.

Plants usually anchor their teachings through an area of sunshine, or darkness which merely indicates illumination in mind. It is a massive spotlight that illuminates the hidden things within us. And it knows the more that we face those demons and move through the energies, the more empowered, loving, and joyful we will be.

Marijuana might trigger a rough night too; however, that’s a rare case. What it does is completely the opposite. If we are using it unconsciously – to escape our lives, whether we know it or not – will support that desire by slowly veiling our motivation, our drive, and our life force. It can happen that over months or even years into the abuse we stop consciously showing up for our lives.

If you're working with any plant spirit, cultivate a deep connection, a space of listening, and trust them from above all. After that, if you feel not supportive, think over it and try to change your ways to consume it.

Jurema


This one’s interesting because it’s the only known plant that can be used for an orally ingested brew that, without the use of another plant, induces visionary experiences along the lines of ayahuasca.

A psychoactive liquid also can be made up of jurema alone. Between 10 and 35g of the powdered root bark can infuse in 125 to 175ml of cold water for an hour; squeeze and stir the powder a couple of times. Strain and keep the liquid, and use the remaining powder for a second run, repeating the method.

To make ayahuasca, M. hostilis is used primarily in combination with jurema. The effects can best be described as a physical and mental purge, combined with a few hours of connections with the otherwise imperceptible.

Betel nut (Areca Catechu)

Although not well known in the West, betel chewing is a habit of an estimated one-tenth of the world’s population, and betel is considered to be the fourth most-common psychoactive drug in the world (following nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine). Betel nuts grow on the areca palm and are cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. For chewing, a betel quid is formed by wrapping a small piece of the areca palm seed (the betel nut) in a leaf of the unrelated betel pepper plant, along with a pellet of slaked lime. Betel chewing releases many addictive alkaloids that cause sensations of mild euphoria, and regular users often have red-stained teeth and lips. Although it's important in many cultural traditions of southern Asia, betel chewing is linked to a variety of great health problems, including oral and esophageal cancer, and is of growing concern for health officials.


There’s this idea that all things which are alive are also aware, that they have consciousness about themselves and their environment. This supports the understanding that plants communicate with us based on how we interact with them.

Plants, and nature in its entirety, represents all there is and all there will ever be. And we are a part of it. We exist within this interdependent ecosystem together, and the more we nurture, care for, listen to, and work alongside nature, the stronger, healthier, and more aware of self we are. We are not at all surprised to learn that our ancestors knew this. I assume they also knew that nothing so authentic to which we are could be lost.

Conclusion

There are many other plants that we have not covered in this blog. But we shall be covering them in other blogs soon. Human beings have lived their lives deeply associated with their environment, with no disengagement between themselves and nature. A deep insight into nature was the foundation of people’s survival and well-being. We, humans, tend to enjoy one over the other, but healing is healing. However, we at Himalayan Hemp tend to increase awareness and expand our consciousness. Join us if you wish to.