Home Marijuana The Hashish infused Wine of Dionysus? | Hashish Tradition

The Hashish infused Wine of Dionysus? | Hashish Tradition


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 job as effectively?

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 identified for his or her use of hashish in historic instances, will probably be examined, equivalent to proof of the Dionysian cult among the many Scythians, Thracians, historic Jews and worshippers of Shiva in India who have been mentioned to have acknowledged Dionysus as their very own God Shiva, when Alexander the Nice rolled into India!  We’ll observe the path again additional to the claims of a connection between Dionysus to the Vedic Soma which quite a few students have steered for over a century. Lastly, new archeological proof of wines infused with hashish in addition to henbane, opium and different substances, in areas identified 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 in depth travels via 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 choice:

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 the earth 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 have 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, also referred to as Bacchus, is believed to go have originated round 1500-11000 BCE with Mycenean Greeks. His cult was identified 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 delusion was carefully linked with spiritual expertise, and ritual.  It offered a constitution and sanction for an ecstatic cult.  That the ecstatic spiritual expertise described was a actuality in historic Greece is just not disputed.  As with ecstatic rituals of India and the Mid East the place individuals slash themselves with knives, or stroll on coals in ecstatic states, or the behaviour of Evangelicals beneath the affect of the Holy Spirit talking in tongues, the ecstatic and frenzied behaviour of the followers of Dionysus was interpreted as a form 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 delusion was a part of the rites of Dionysus, whose most important followers have been girls, identified beneath the title 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 through 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 ultimately 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 cause, and likewise just like the ganja smoking saddhus and fakirs of India, additionally identified for his or her wild antics, that they have been revered figures of spiritual devotion by different members of the tradition. As Plutarch describes, the townswomen have 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 have 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  have 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. Once we come to see a number 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, wherein the alcohol served as a preservative, relatively 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 drugs and pharmacology of antiquity, has additionally famous that “Dionysus really possessed his followers, and Euripides’ Greek viewers clearly equated this act with using mind-altering medicine” (Hillman, 2008).

Extra not too long ago 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 related concepts in earlier works, equivalent to 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 individuals have been fascinated by herbs and their therapeutic powers and knew far more about them than we do; no less than about mixing herbs to launch their efficiency.

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

A lot of their information, handed down via an oral custom, has been misplaced and to some extent it’s the trendy prejudice towards medicine that has stopped us in search of it…”

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

The Greeks have been effectively 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 medicine may safe the passionate love of one other. Indian hemp, mandrake, opium, strychnos varieties, and others have been vastly used as love charms and as stimulating aphrodisiacs (Parsons, 1899)”

Pliny, the Roman author, says the properties of those medicine turned manifest even when merely taken into the hand, however extra so when taken in dry wines; and that “overindulgence in them will trigger loss of life.” This proves that the majority of those substances have been little question stimulants and narcotics.(Parsons, 1899).

We have now to contemplate the natural information of humanity of this period, no less than on par of the information of different indigenous individuals, such because the tribal individuals of South America, who realized tips on how 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 energetic medicinal vegetation within the jungles they dwell in.  One of many lovely issues about hashish, is its lack of lethal results, and we could be positive this was famous by historic psychonauts with reference to a number of the extra lethal issues like mandrake and henbane, that we all know have been in use. As Luigi Arata famous in ‘Nepenthes and Cannabis in Ancient Greece’:

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

Once we contemplate that almost all of students establish Nepenthe with hashish, a hashish infused wine actually, 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 induced many researchers to establish it with hashish. Opium has been discounted right here, because the Greeks of this time have been effectively conversant in 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 convey 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 might be therapeutic within the cup, and plenty of baneful. There every man is a leech expert past all human variety…”

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, “individuals 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 combined ‘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 extensively 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 steered 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 varied. By Th. Zwinger, and… by Sprengel, in his historical past of botany, it’s purported to be opium… However the most effective authorities, with whom our writer 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 alleged 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 after 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 through the wine making course of, which itself signifies no less than 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 have been identified in historic Greece, and these as effectively are typically believed to have contained hashish, beneath the names “thalassaegle,” “potammaugis” and “gelotophyllis” which have 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 effectively be an identical 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 flamboyant 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 varieties current themselves, excite essentially the most excessive laughter.

The entheobotanist Christian Ratsch supplied the next recipe: “Democritus’s well-known recipe for a hemp wine is appropriate for inner 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 consuming.”(Ratsch, 2005)

Curiously, Bactria, talked about within the quote from Pliny, is a part of the Bactria Margiana Archeological Complicated (BMAC) a website 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 constructed from hashish and ephedra, and in some circumstances, opium containing poppies. Sarianidi suggests this website was an outpost for the preparation of haoma, the sacred drink of the Avesta, in Persia and an identical 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 steered 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 primarily based his view on later Zoroastrian accounts, such because the Book of Arda Wiraz, has hashish (bhanga, or mang) combined 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 certainly automobile for haoma, it was beneath the idea that the Margiana websites have been inside the sphere of the wine tradition that’s so effectively 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, no less than 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 have been combined 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 should 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, quite a few researchers have steered a connection between soma/haoma and Dionysus.

The quote from Pliny as effectively 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 confer with a substance variously often called bhanga, or in Pahvlavi as mang. Bhanga remains to be utilized in Persia to establish hashish and the associated Indian time period bhang remains to be used for hashish as effectively. It’s this similar 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 completed… by administering to the officiant a dose of mang (hemp), combined with wine” (Shaked, 1999). “Zoroaster is usually 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 nice, and the punishment awaiting the  sinner are right here described in a imaginative and prescient induced by cannabis” (Campbell, 2000). Referring to this similar 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 combined with hōm (Dēnkard 7.4.85) or wine (Pahlavi Rivayat 47.27). It was an integral a part of the ecstatic follow aimed toward opening the ‘eye of the soul’ (gyān čašm….)” (Gnoli, 1979). In relation, in India the consuming 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 establish references to cannabis infused wines and beers. “…wines could be made in a mess of the way, [as shown]via 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 varied spices like palm, hashish seed, and so forth …”; “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]contains: 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 identified 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 using hashish and darnel in potions by magicians!” (Hatsis, 2016).

I ought to be aware right here with reference to hashish, it’s typically seeds which might be 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.

Styles of psychoactive vegetation have been utilized in such infusions. In keeping with Dioscorides, and his commentator Matthiolus, one may “boil the foundation of mandrake in wine right down to a 3rd half, and protect the decoction, of which they administer a cyathus (a few fluid ounce and a half), to provide 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 immediately  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 varieties” and “photos of not disagreeable variety”, however he provides {that a} double dosage can convey psychological disorientation for 3 complete days.

A number 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 must be famous that Dionysus’ origins are unsure, and his cults took many varieties within the varied 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 in every of Greece’s oldest attested gods. Dionysus’ attribute of “foreignness” as an arriving outsider-god could also be a necessary 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 house 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 via Central Asia and the Caucasus.  A…related route might have been adopted by the grapevine…It’s…attainable that…Dionysus carried not solely the vine however ganja as effectively” (Pendell 1995).

Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)

Pendell is in no way out on the perimeter with this view, Professor Mircea Eliade, a revered supply on the historical past of religions, referred to components of shamanism within the Thracian cult of Dionysus, and steered 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 long run in ‘ecstasy’, just like the Pythia at Delphi.

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

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

Shamanistic ecstasy is described as ‘one wherein the spirit leaves the bodily physique’ and it has been extensively steered 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 quite a few methods. A reality demonstrated by the Thracian connections to 2 figures distinguished 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 purple haired, truthful skinned individuals, the Thracians have been a well-organized group of horseman and hunters who held “a perception within the soul and a hereafter akin to the Christian heaven…Their shamans, often called Kapnobatai, used hemp smoke to induce visions and oracular trances” (Emboden 1972). Such a method 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 considered because the magic treatment…, a treatment in a position to 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 inside 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, identified immediately 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 may well hardly be doubted the gamers themselves have 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 ability of constructing its hearers ‘stuffed with the god’, the verities whirl of the dance—all these might very effectively, in suitably disposed natures, have rally led to a state of visionary exaltation wherein impressed individuals noticed all exterior objects in accordance along with his fancy and creativeness. Intoxicating drinks, to which the Thracians have been addicted, might have elevated the thrill; maybe they even used the fumes derived from sure seeds, with which the Scythians and Massagetai knew tips on how to intoxicate themselves. Everyone knows how even to day within the East the smoke of cannabis might make males visionaries and excite spiritual raptures wherein the entire nature is reworked for the enthralled dreamer….

Each element confirms the image of a situation of untamed pleasure wherein limitations of extraordinary life appear to be abolished. These extraordinary phenomena transcending all regular expertise have been defined by saying that the soul of an individual thus ‘possessed’ was now not ‘at house’ however ‘overseas’, having left its physique behind. This was the literal and primitive that means understood by the Greek when he spoke of ‘ekstasis’ of the soul in such orgiastic circumstances of pleasure. This ekstasis is ‘a quick insanity’, simply as insanity is extended ekstasis. However the ekstasis, the short-term 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 wherein the soul, leaving the physique, winged its method 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 revel in to the complete the infinite energy of all life. (Rohde, 1925)

In foot notes to the above part, Rohde additional explains that there could be “little question” 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 immediately refers to how “sure seeds are heaped on the fires” and the fumes ensuing bringing on a state of “drunkenness” and “good cheer”.

There could be little question it was hemp-seed [ie seeded buds]… which had this impact… the Thracians knew hemp. It was thus with a form of cannabis that they intoxicated themselves… The Thracians… might very effectively have used intoxication via hashish-fumes as a way of thrilling themselves to their ecstatic spiritual dances.—The Ancients have been fairly conversant in the follow of inhaling fragrant smoke to provide spiritual hallucinations….

We have now solely to learn the accounts derived from private expertise of the hallucinatory states accompanying hashish-smoking… to have a whole parallel to the situation which underlay Bacchic pleasure… It solely requires the particular tone and character given the hallucinations and illusions by deep-rooted spiritual or fanciful conceptions—and the exterior equipment for cultivating such illusions—to make a precise 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 related 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 could 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 tutorial 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 keeping with a Greek dictionary in Roman instances, the Antiatticista, which recorded phrases acceptable to make use of by those that needed to write down appropriate Greek, Sophocles talked about the phrase kannabis in his tragedy Thamyras… This drama in regards to the defeat of the Thracian singer Thamyras in a singing match towards the Muses comprises 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 matches in with this conclusion that Posidonius mentions Thracian ‘smoke-walkers’ (kapnobatai) and that Pomponius Mela stories using sure seeds by the Thracians which leads to a similis ebriatati hilarities… (Bremmer, 2002)

Archeological proof from inside the space which Thrace occupied, signifies hashish was used within the area in funerary rituals way back to 5,000 BCE, via a discover of skeletal stays and burnt cannabis seeds recovered at a burial mound at modern day Gurbăneşti, Romania. (Rosetti, 1959). Related practices could 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 ground mosaic, from Palermo, now within the Museo archeologico regionale di Palermo. Image by Giovanni Dall’Orto.

In keeping with the Orphics, Orpheus was mentioned to be Dionysus’ chief priest, and their sturdy connection is attested to in different sources as effectively. Some sources additionally suggesting it was the lyre taking part in 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 acquired them immediately from Dionysus, whom had been gathering these initiatory rites on his personal travels via 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). Apart from this Thracian connection via Orpheus, there might be different cultural influences, equivalent to Egyptian. Diodorus, following the works of Herodotus, recorded that the rites of Osiris have been an identical to these of Dionysus whose priestly consultant was Orpheus. Related claims have been made about  the Eleusinian Mysteries relating to 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 in regards to the nepenthe. As Diodorus explained:

Orpheus, as an 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 implausible conceptions, present among the many many, that are figments of the creativeness, all these have 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 components, 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 taking part in poet-hero, Orpheus, was mentioned to have descended to the underworld, in the hunt for his spouse, Eurydice, who ended up there after being bitten by the proverbial ‘snake within the grass’.  Though he failed to save lots of his beloved, Orpheus returned from his sojourn in Hades with a number of the secrets and techniques on which he primarily based 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 essentially the most potent solvent ever launched into Greek spiritual 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 marvel why Orphism competed with Christianity for recognition with the plenty via the primary few centuries AD.

Orphics believed in reincarnation, educating launch from ‘the unhappy wheel’ of life via ascetic contemplation and astral-projection sort journeys, i.e.-shamanistic ecstasy. Ward Rutheford commented, “[H]istory supplies 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 to 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 have been unsubstantial or nugatory… (Ruck, et al., 2007)

Referring to Orphic worship, researcher Frederick Dannaway means that pagan components of Greco-Roman worship have been significantly “infused with psychoactive smoke rituals… because of the closely ‘shamanic’ part… [of]a lot of their thriller traditions… The Orphic hymns comprise a extremely systematic array of fumigations containing some extremely pungent, psychoactive substances that may synergize to be stronger together…” (Dannaway, 2009). We could be positive via 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 reference to their use of hashish, the nomadic Scythians who’ve been largely accredited with spreading using hashish round a lot of the traditional world. The 2 cultures had centuries of interactions, and it was in no way all hostile, and their influences on one another are effectively established. The Scythians burned hashish and inhaled the fumes in enclosed tents, however they have been additionally identified to have drank infusions of hashish in  a ritual setting as effectively.

The Scythian connection

An typically referred to story regarding 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 ultimately selected to be initiated into the mysteries of Dionysus. The story is usually considered as an illustration of the reservations of the Scythians in the direction of Greek tradition, nonetheless as informed by a Greek writer, the reverse may equally be seen as true. Because the story goes, when the Scythians study whom their king has been worshipping, Scyles is pressured to flee to Thrace, solely to be rendered again and executed. Herodotus is just not significantly exact as to the character of the initiation, nonetheless it has been steered that Scyles was almost certainly initiated into Dionysiac mysteries of the so-called Orphic sort, which was well-liked in lots of components of the Greek world within the Classical age. Herodotus additionally recorded that the Geloni, a half-Greek and half-Scythian individuals, did worship Dionysus.

…for there are temples of Greek gods amongst them, furnished in Greek type with photos 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 must be clear right here, the title ‘Scythian’ and its Persian counterpart ‘Saka‘ have been utilized to a really broad group of interacting Indo-European tribes, and these individuals have been by no means dogmatic of their beliefs as an entire, and totally different views got here to be held in numerous areas, in numerous time intervals. Simply as some Scythian teams turned related to the Persian Haoma, thus the regional title ‘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 website of Scythopolis, named after the God’s Scythian followers, and now the positioning of the fashionable metropolis, Beit She’an. In addition to in relics equivalent to 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 coated by rugs which they’d 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 finest they’ll they put stones heated in a hearth right into a vessel set inside a shelter… In Scythia they develop hemp…After which the Scyths take a few of its seeds, creep beneath the felt and scatter the seeds over the recent stones, which provides off better clouds of steam than in any Greek steam tub. The Scyths delighted by the steam, are loudly exultant. (Herodotus)

It’s almost certainly the seeds described by Herodotus, have 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 quite a few 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 spiritual ceremony. As Rudenko famous in Frozen Tombs of Siberia: The Pazyryk Burials of Iron Age Horsemen  “smoking hemp, like smoking cannabis, passed off undoubtedly not simply as a ceremony of purification after burial however in extraordinary life; cannabis was used as a narcotic. Not with out cause 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, equivalent to 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 that means, relatively it corresponds to a shamanistic ritual, by which the shaman escorts the useless soul to the underworld. In reality the shaman is just not 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 fancy ritual whose purpose is ecstasy” (Widengren, 1965).

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

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

Apart from their use of hashish, the Scythians have been well-known for his or her love of wine and extreme consuming. 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 delusion. 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 allow 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 attainable they impressed the Greek delusion of the centaur, a half-horse, half-human creature.

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

In Greek mythology, centaurs go mad after they drink wine. Objects recovered from their tombs reveal how the Scythians realized about wine from Greece and acquired hooked on it. If heavy consuming was large 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 in regards to the Scythians is that they beloved to smoke hemp, which they burned beneath a sort of tent that you possibly can put your head into. One such machine is on this exhibition, recovered from a Scythian tomb. Herodotus acquired this one proper. (Jones, 2017)

A Scythian hashish fumigation construction, which might have been coated 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 have been identified for his or her overindulgence, and additional steered that the consuming cup identified 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 happening for a lot of a whole bunch of years, as is probably 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 practising the Previous World custom of blending fragrant vegetation equivalent to hashish, with wine. “…[T]he mixing bowl… had,… among the many Scythians, ceremonial and funerary features… [T]he nomads licensed to participate in royal libations have 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 style… Spectacular receptacles have been due to this fact wanted for mixing water with a robust, 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 number 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 spiritual rituals, paying homage to the Zoroastrian haoma (actually, 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 idea that the Scythians have been consuming hashish infused preparations is correct it could supply 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 primarily based on the form of braziers they burnt hashish in:

Some censers are small. Subsequently, relatively than being receptacles for heated stones, they served a distinct goal. Presumably they have been used for burning crushed dry vegetation or for ritual drinks. That is fairly doubtless because the operate of vessels modified with time or related specimens might have been functionally totally different. (Kisel, 2007)

A gold cup, with handles on the edges, in an analogous type to a number of the Scythian braziers that have been used for burning hashish.

A Scythian brazier used for burning hashish in, which might later encourage a mode of consuming 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 may burst into flames when approached until the recipient was the long run king, who within the delusion 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 follow 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 have been a cauldron, a dipper, and a censer, most of that are vessels utilized by massive 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 hearth may have been used” (Kisel, 2007).

On this regard, it must 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 title 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 title of, “‘Saka-Haomovarga’ or in different phrases ‘Saka who put together haoma’… in response to 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) have been discovered within the rooms related to the preparation of the soma-haoma sort drinks…  the presence of those articles in all three temples confirms the conclusion that the predecessors of Scythian-Sakas, that’s the Andronovo tribes, have been conversant in the ritual drink as early because the second millennium B.C.

… Herodotus witnesses that Scythians used to make hearth 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 that Scythians used narcotics that have been conventional for these Andronovo tribes that had shut contacts with the Margiana tribes which apparently may have borrowed this practice from them. (Sarianidi, 1978)

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

Ritual cups have been an enormous a part of Scythian worship actually, 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, steered these have 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 *contains 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 *contains 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 pinnacle of Dionysus on its tip.

This 4th century BC Scythian rhyton with the pinnacle of Dionysus on its tip presents bodily proof that the hashish consuming Scythians, like their shut family 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 the earth! Half of the Rhyton is constructed from 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 outdated!”

In The Immortality Key, Muraesku makes a lot of an historic Israelite website 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 must be famous that the traditional Jews appear to have had some acquaintance with these preparations as effectively. Just like the potent Greek infusions talked about above is the Biblical “sturdy 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 must 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 reference to a Hebrew phrase, that has been steered as identifying cannabis, ‘Kaneh Bosm’. Additionally, of curiosity are the connections between historic Jewish tradition and Dionysus, and using 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 follow appears to have existed amongst the traditional Jews…” (Kitto, 1846). Talmudic reference point out this use as effectively: “The one on his method to execution was given a bit 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 have 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 loss of life by stupefying the victims. Thus: “If a man is led forth to loss of life, 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 people who carry bitterness of their hearts.” In keeping 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, have been wont to ease the loss of lifeagony 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 response to St. Mark (xv. 23), was supplied to Christ whereas he was hanging on the cross, was a narcotic draft meant to make loss of life painless.

Such preparations have 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 loss of life, to blunt their senses, and so reduce the pains of execution. To this practice there’s purported to be an allusion, Prov. xxxi. 6, ‘Give sturdy 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 sturdy drink, with spices of varied sorts, to offer it a richer flavour and better efficiency (ls. v. 22; Ps. lxxv. 8). The ‘ royal wine,’ actually wine of the dominion… Esther i. 7), denotes most likely the most effective 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 number 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 regards 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” offers clear indication it was wanted for entheogenic results as effectively. 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, equivalent to that taken by Arda Viraf, referred to earlier. It has been steered 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 “Using medicine, 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 function 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 follow of inhaling intoxicating substances like hashish and incense additionally seem… Texts from Mari exhibit that no less than some prophets partook in extreme wine consuming as a way of accessing the divine. Ugartic tablets additionally element the occasions of the marzeah feast, a repast wherein… useless kings have 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  via inebriation (Isaiah 28:7-22). These references present, although in a damaging gentle, that such cultic practices have been each identified and happening within the area.

Curiously, hashish could possibly 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 “various 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 various sorts of crops in a winery, and referred to solely to 2 grain varieties (equivalent to wheat and barley), or both to hemp and arum, or related 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 form of shared affiliation with the vine, and sure 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 combined 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 could be very paying homage to the title for hashish resins within the medieval Arabic world “hasis” (hash- ish), and the time period is usually 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.

A lot of historic sources recorded the widespread perception of their time, that the god worshiped by the Jewish individuals, 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 sure beneath power for lots of the Jews did actually worship Dionysus, significantly through the time of the Maccabes.

The final assertion in I Maccabees (i. 51, 54, 55) that Antiochus Epiphanes pressured the Jews to sacrifice within the Greek style, is amplified in II Maccabees (vi. 7; evaluate III Macc. ii. 29) into the assertion that the Jews have been pressured 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 have been celebrated in each nation that had come beneath 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 keeping with Plutarch.

A delusion of Dionysus is linked with the Palestinian metropolis of Scythopolis. Pliny (“Historia Naturalis,” v. 18, § 74) and Solinus (ed. Mommsen, ch. 36) derive the title of this metropolis from the Scythians, who have been settled on that spot by Dionysus in an effort to defend the tomb of his nurse who was buried there. The Greeks and the Romans have been firmly satisfied that the Jews had a cult of Dionysus, basing this opinion on some exterior level of similarity. Plutarch thinks that the title 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. A couple of days later they have fun one other feast, invoking Bacchus now not via symbols, however calling upon him immediately by title. 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 Publish-biblical Instances. The accusation of Tacitus (“Hist.” v. 5) is analogous:

“As their monks 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 widespread, for Bacchus has established a superb 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 those who have 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 paying homage 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 unattainable assertion that the Jews had a cult of Dionysus. As a matter of reality 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 in regards to 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 comprise nothing that’s hostile to the Jews. A Greek, quite the opposite, would contemplate 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 pinnacle of the Greek god Dionysus in Guess Shean Nationwide Park in Israel

This 4th century BCE coin, 4th century BC, on exhibit within the British Museum. The coin exhibits seated , labelled both “YHW” (Yahu) or “YHD” (Judea) is believed 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 identified 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 best arm is wrapped in his garment. At his toes is a masks. Due to the winged chariot and masks it has been steered that Yaw had been recognized with Dionysus on account of a considerably related 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 towards Roman rule some non-Jews sought to establish 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 using, 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 have been prepared to embrace themselves, even at instances of revolt. (Kirkpatrick, 2013)

The Immortality Key has not too long ago steered 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 is just not alone right here, numbers of students have made related recommendations. 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 delusion on Jewish and early Christian materials. it’s price noting that indications of infused wines are indicated within the early Christian interval as effectively, 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 steered 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, perhaps, 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 related 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 individuals thought Jesus to be a wine-bibber (Matt 11:19). Using medicine was so carefully tied to mantic follow that the Greek phrase for ‘drug’ [Gk. pharmakea] ultimately 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 guide to resolve for themselves if there’s a connection.

Of the traditional Israelite house of Dionysus, Muraresku states “the traditional metropolis of Scythopolis was the legendary birthplace of Dionysus himself. For that cause it was additionally referred to as Nysa…” . In reality Scythopolis was later renamed Nysa after the world 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 beneath the title Shiva.

Dionysus and Shiva

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

A Northern Indian coin courting 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 aspect 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 courting 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 aspect a picture of a Kushan Scythian King, holding a trident of Shiva, in addition to different regalia of the Indian God. On the flip aspect  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 collection affords apparent and conclusive proof that in regards to the starting of the Christian period the religions of India and people of the neighbouring nations to the west have 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 along with his trident, and standing beside his sacred bull, is, maybe, the most typical mythological machine of the Indo-Scythian cash. However he’s not 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 exhibits that every one the Sanskrit performs are related to the worship both of Siva or his consort Gauri, and that they have 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 number of the honour because of 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 practically 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 via 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 question as to the unique unity of Shivaism and the broad 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 acquired the Indians drunk earlier than attacking them and used baccanatic orgies as a part of his navy technique for subjugating the entire Asian continent….

The remark that such historic writers did establish Dionysus with Siva has gained 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 offered 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 in every of Greek Pan’s Indian cousin.

Dionysus sporting the form of leopard pores and skin utilized in depictions of Shiva, along with his related raveled hair.

Dionysus and Shiva share the totem animals snake, lion, and bull in addition to sturdy components 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 driving a bull

Shiva driving his Bull companion, Nandi

Collier, John; Maenads; Southwark Artwork Assortment; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/maenads-193235

Shiva dancing ecstatically

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

A Shiva devotee consuming 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 palms 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 have 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 have been so largely present in later Greece, and that are associated by Nonnus. In reality it’s doubtless that the deity of Indian origin, whom the individuals of Cabul have been able to establish with Dionysus, was Siva.” (Jevons & Gardner, 1898)

We are able to make sure that Alexander was effectively 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 components have been hooked on the Orphic rites and theorgies of Dionysus from very historic instances”, imitating he recorded “the practices of the … Thracian girls”. It must be remembered that Dionysiac initiation right here, was restricted to the ladies for essentially the most half. As famous earlier,  Plutarch particularly  mentions  “divine  possession”, he additionally offers clear descriptions of the results of the sacraments sporting off and the ecstatic girls ultimately surrendering to sleep and waking to their senses.

It was recorded through 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 delusion, 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 kinds of human/animal cross breeds in photos of Dionysus, it does appear believable there might have been an earlier cross-cultural pollination of some type.

As famous on the historic web site Livius.org, the identification of Nysa with India, performed a big function 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 writer Philostratus (more). The story of the invention is informed by the Greek writer 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 the town of Nysa, purported 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 actually ought to hardly care to say if this Theban deity marched along with his military towards the Indians from Thebes or from Tmolus in Lydia, or the way it was that after passing; via the territories of so many warlike peoples unknown to the Greeks of that date, he fought and conquered solely the Indians. Nonetheless, one shouldn’t inquire too carefully the place historic legends in regards to the gods are involved; many issues which cause rejects purchase some coloration of chance when you convey a god into the story.

[5.1.3] The individuals of Nysa, upon Alexander’s strategy, 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 after 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. Finally, nonetheless, Alexander bade them stand up and never be alarmed; whereupon Acuphis addressed him within the following phrases.

[5.1.5] “Sire, it’s the request of the individuals 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 means 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 have been now not match for service – who have been additionally his Monks. He did however as you may have completed; for you too based Alexandria in the Caucasus and Alexandria in Egypt and plenty of different cities as effectively, and can discovered but extra hereafter, in that you’ll 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 title; and to the mountain close to the town he gave the title 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 outdated 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 a bit longer, in the event that they knew they have been in competitors with Dionysus. Accordingly he granted to the individuals 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 affect of the encounter between Alexander’s Greek military and the Indian world was monumental. 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 writer, 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 purported 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 house 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, significantly the Indian subcontinent, which was written by Arrian in 2nd-century CE and which coated 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 individuals, based cities and gave legal guidelines to those cities, and launched using wine among the many Indians, as he had completed 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 components, or this should have been some Dionysus who got here to India earlier than Triptolemus, and gave the individuals the seeds of vegetation introduced beneath cultivation. It is usually mentioned that Dionysus first yoked oxen to the plough, and made lots of the Indians husbandmen as a substitute 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 have 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 contains elephants and different unique animals present in India.

Shiva and associates 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 gorgeous girls… behaving towards 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 must be worshipped with uncooked meat and wines of various sorts. In keeping with Indian custom it’s Shiva who embellished the dramatic efficiency with dance” (Varadpande, 1981).

That is all very acquainted of the dancing, consuming, 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 house 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 frequently worshipped God on Earth, is well known for his fondness for bhang (cannabis) . This relationship could be very historic, and its ritual providing to Shiva has continued to the fashionable 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 amazing favorite of Siva, and… the drug in some type or different is… extensively used within the train of the spiritual practices linked with this type of worship… [R]eligious ascetics, who’re regarded with nice veneration by the individuals at massive, imagine that the hemp plant is a particular attribute of the god Siva, and this perception is basically shared by the individuals… There may be proof to indicate that on virtually all events of the worship of this god, the hemp medicine in some type or different are used… these customs are so intimately linked with their worship that they might 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 function in one of the crucial 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 well-liked festivals often called the Kumbha Mela, the place Shiva devotees could be seen parting of his holy hashish in chillum pipes full of ganja, and draughts of the cannabis beverage bhang.  Curiously, this historic delusion, composed inside about two centuries after the preliminary pogrom towards Soma, seemingly takes sacramental hemp use out of the cult of Indra, soma and instills it with the devotees of Shiva. Shiva’s function 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 in an effort 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. For example, 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 attain 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 delusion 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 might 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 wherein the Greeks included hemp into their pharmacopoeia” (Ruck, 2007).

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

As Shiva’s cult is just not solely identified for his or her use of hashish, but additionally at instances, wine and different potent narcotics equivalent to henbane and datura, it’s not shocking that many have steered such substances within the Dionysian infusions as effectively. In Shiva: The Wild God of Energy and Ecstasy (2004) Wolf-Dieter Storl means that “It’s attainable 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 medicine, have lengthy been used for ecstatic functions by Shiva’s devotees.

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

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

This historic sacred drink was more likely to resemble a drink what immediately is named bhang, constructed from the crushed leaves of Indian Hemp.  Each Shivaite has to eat bhang no less than annually.  The drink, which intensifies perceptivity, induces visions and above all results in excessive psychological focus.  It’s extensively 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 an identical to the strategy employed immediately. (Danielou 1992)

 Curiously, quite a few researchers going again greater than a century, have steered a possible widespread 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 attainable additional proof of an earlier widespread 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 fashionable 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 in no way 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 traditional Pharmacographia Indica: A History of the Principal Drugs of Vegetable Origin, Met with in British India:

In keeping 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 regular 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 varied similarities, by quite a lot of researchers going again effectively 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 gentle and glory. … make me immortal on the earth the place king Vaivasvata (Yama, the king of loss of life, 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 be aware “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 elements he ( Dionysus ) is the giver of pleasure , the healer of sicknesses , the guardian towards plagues” (Dhābhara & Dhabhar, 1955) Soma “had energy to raise the spirits, and produce a brief frenzy, beneath 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 strains 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 relatively was in former instances , the Indian Dionysus or Bacchus” (Garret, 1871).

Extra not too long ago Professor Patrick McGovern, as famous earlier, has steered that soma itself may have been an infused wine, and primarily based on the proof of Sarianidi, that hashish, ephedra and at instances opium, have been doubtless candidates of infusion.

The comparisons between the Greek and Indian cults are simple to make right here, and if not a historic connection then no less than 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 via 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 steered 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 via 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 via 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 delusion originated, and that it was by their affect that it was subtle all through all nations of the traditional world…

…The Dionysiac delusion, 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 outdated customs of tribal concubinage, which existed earlier than marriage. Like that of the Soma competition, the historical past of the Dionysiac delusion is an epitome of that of the evolution of spiritual 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 unique worship of their closing 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… could be present in Greece and its neighboring lands. (Wohlberg, 1990)

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

(1) each cults had the identical purpose (to trigger ecstatic behaviour); (2) each cults required the attainment of the identical non secular state (purity); (3) each cults had an idiosyncratic delusion in widespread; (4) each cults confirmed the an identical phrase root within the title of the worshipped god; (5) each cults had an identical 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 gentle many Syriac Scriptures and different early paperwork. His Eucharistic Origins (1927), like Muraresku does later in The Immortality Key, means that this similar connection may additionally be the muse of the Christian Eucharist. With reference to Dionysus/Bacchus and Soma, Harris wrote :

….The nice Aryan sacrament is older than the invention of the vine. The primary Bacchae in Greek lands have 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 drugs 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 secure in our philology, if we clarify the primary syllable of nec-tar as that means loss of life (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 spiritual 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 effectively, 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 house 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 characterize 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 similar time destroying sense and cause—it helps associates, 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 way of indian hemp. Thus the principal of worship could 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 follow within the varied branches of aryan inventory; and to name consideration to their widespread 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 varied candidates equivalent to Syrian Rue and Fly Agaric Mushrooms, in addition to presenting archeological and textual evidence for cannabis on this regard, for these excited by studying extra about this historic entheogen.

Archeological proof for Dionysian infused wine?

Each infused wines and Dionysus play a substantial function, within the current New York Instances bestseller, The Immortality Key, and one of many extra intriguing items of proof put forth by the writer Brian Muraresku, was the invention of an infusion, that contained an entire host of substances, together with issues like opium, hashish henbane, alongside lizard and snake stays, walnuts, and different varied spices and herbs. Though the authors of the archeological examine 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 premise for later alchemical quintessences and arcanums, because of the space of preparation and the checklist of substances, Muraresku has steered this may occasionally have been the form of drink used within the Dionysian and doubtlessly different Greek Mysteries.

The placement of the archeological discover referred to was in glorious situation, because of its preservation beneath pumice from essentially the most well-known volcano eruption in historical past.  The construction on the positioning was a house that contained a wine press and threshing ground, wine cellar, and enormous vessels which contained thick natural deposits, which have been recognized as infusions of varied vegetation, widespread 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 equivalent to theriac or mithrediatnium, Muraresku does speculates and questions whether or not  this website may characterize “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 immediately concerned on the bottom stage of the discover, Muraresku garnered even additional proof than that put forth within the unique paper. The archeologist concerned steered the positioning was “particularly designed for the manufacturing of medicine”, and from the dialogue Muraresku says the ensuing combination   “appears to be a boutique home wine not meant for mass consumption” (Muraresku, 2020). Indications from the backyard stays outdoors of the construction, are that it was a website for producing a choose number of vegetation and herbs. Proof of a “maceration tank for hashish” would appear to point this was significantly a key part within the infusion.

There could also be different archeological proof as effectively. 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 price 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 courting 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 have been they excited by a extra, effectively, holistic expertise? Researcher Nicolas Garnier informed Unfiltered each “medicinal use or leisure use” have been attainable, and that the ethanol in wine made it a extra environment friendly substance for infusion than water. “The wine-based medicinal preparations are widespread,” he defined by way of e-mail. “Totally different recipes of many vegetation have been recognized in tombs.”


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

In keeping 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 effectively a Bacchanalian Mosaic has been discovered in France.

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

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

Probably the most spectacular finds has been a mosaic in a house that has been dubbed ‘The Bacchanalian Home’ and which incorporates 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 part 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 website 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 we now have been taking a look at. Maybe additional examine of such artifacts, equivalent to residue samples of cups and vessels related to the Dionysian cult, will sooner or later, reveal extra on this, because the have completed with artifacts at other ancient religious sites in recent years.


Clearly, as we now have seen there are a selection of cultural avenues via 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 equivalent to Shiva’s and soma/haoma, and this as effectively appears more likely to be linked with hashish in its origins.

Maybe it was a jade bud of holy hemp initially depicted on the tip of Dionysus’s magical rod, relatively 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 are able to 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?