Shraavani Poonam: Full Moon of the holy month of Shraavan

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‘One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already  in the mind.’

– Alphonse Bertillon

Heavenly bodies influence the nature of a psychedelic trips

The month of Shravan is the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar, beginning from Chaitra and is considered the holiest month of the year. The Shraavana Month signs the blessings of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. This month is beneficial for those who believe in the glory of Lord Shiva.On Purnima or fullmoon day, or during the course of the month the star ‘Shraavan’ (Alpha Aquiloe) rules the sky, hence the month is called Shraavan. This month is spread out with innumerably religious festivals and ceremonies and almost all the days of this month are auspicious. The month of Shraavan begins with the Sun‘s entry into Leo.

The legend says that the churning of oceans – Samudra Manthan – took place in the month of Shraavan (for the story of this legend see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samudra_manthan)

I took Cannabis on this day to reaffirm my belief of influence of heavenly bodies our state of mind/consciousness especially when we take any psychedelic substance. I now firmly believe that the position of the heavenly bodies do have an influence on the nature of the  trip when taking Cannabis. I am sure that this is true for other psychotropic substances as well.

I remember reading somewhere that the planetary bodies were in favour of Aldous Huxley having a spiritual experience when he first took Mescaline on the fateful day of May 3rd 1953

For further reading on this topic please check out he following link:

http://www.altjn.com/archives/6.asp

My experience on this day was phenomenal, similar in nature to the one I had on Shivaratri (Please refer to my earlier posts titled – Mahashivaratri: Night of the great Shiva). Following are some of the thoughts/concepts/revelations that dawned on me, which can only partly be explained in words:

Individual Chimeras

This world is a projection of our own mind. There is some kind of a ‘chimera’ out there which we all perceive  according to our state of spiritual development, conditioning etc. and we project it on out and perceive it as the external world/reality. Hence we shall never be able to know/perceive what is ‘really‘out there under our present partially developed consciousness.

Leakage of Vitality

Whenever we are not in the present moment/awareness, when we do not respect the present moment by not giving ourselves completely to the present moment, our vital and mental energies leak out, and in fact some of it gets accumulated in our atmosphere as negative energy which clouds our mind and souls. This is the ‘mindfulness’ advocated by Buddha.

Right Brain’s tyranny

I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that somehow under a high, the right brain goes into a hyper drive and the left brain activity is suppressed. Among the insane, the right brain completely takes over and the lid to the subconscious is opened, hence their behaviour appears to be ‘abnormal’ and they are branded as ‘schizophrenics’ by us – the left brain dominant people. The absence of logic and reason is termed as insanity, only because it makes us less capable of surviving/adjusting to the so called ‘normal’ society. Normal is called ‘normal’ because the majority of the people who run this world suffer from it. So what we term as ‘mental illness’ is not an illness but an altered state of consciousness.

The price that we pay for taking a short cut to ‘enlightenment/revelation’ by taking psychedelic substances is that we are subject to what the tyranny of the right brain, it takes over if not completely but overwhelmingly and hence under a high we become indifferent to undertaking any concrete work/action and are less fit to survive in the ‘normal’ world. We are in a kind of ‘haze’ and feel out of touch with the ‘normal’ world.  Therefore the right path would be to take the natural course to enlightenment and advocated by mystics. This altered state of ‘higher consciousnesses would be permanent and capable of dealing with any kind of ‘reality’.

Healing Power of Cannabis

In my personal experience moderate doses of Bhang can cure a cold, headache and temporarily do away with the need for reading glasses !!

Creativity peaks on Cannabis

The concept of ‘parallel worlds’, must have come to the writer in an altered state of consciousness, because it is only in this state that such concepts can be fully understood and felt. When I was writing my trip diary I felt as if I was trying to communicate to my other ‘normal’ self in a parallel world.

Earlier concepts reinforced

All the earlier concepts/ideas that I had experienced on Shivaratri, were reinforced with equal amazement. I would like to mention again, that most of these concepts are as old as the time when humans eyes inward. They are not original, but under Cannabis, I could realise and understand these concepts more deeply, more  real and more alive.  I have therefore decided to not write my next post till I discover something more revealing. This, I think will only happen after I have, in words of William Blake and Aldous Huxley, cleansed my doors of perception !!

Notes on a minor ‘trip’

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The Calotropis plant is believed to be the source of Soma or  the   nectar of the Gods in Hinduism

I have had three trips since my last post.  The first two appeared to be not very significant or revealing  and I had slowly sunk back into the normal semi-comatose business of living.  Another reason for this long gap is that I had run short of supplies.  However I finally managed to get some supplies and had my third trip on 1st August 2012 i.e. on the eve of  full moon of Hindu the month of Shraavan, which turned out to be quite significant. But first a brief report of my earlier trip.

 Cannabis experience on 15th April 2012

 Cannabis has the power of healing minor ailments instantly:

I was showing symptoms of the onset of a bad cold and cough. However after having taken Bhang, I was completely free of the symptoms by the next day. It was almost like a miracle !!  I later came across several references on the internet claiming the same. One of them is given below:

http://the420times.com/2009/10/weed-tea-the-cure-for-the-common-cold/

Does Cannabis improve eyesight?

I have noticed that when on high, I do not need my reading glasses to write down my notes. I experience a tunnel vision when writing something, but am able to focus on a narrow area of my page in order to write. It’s as if a spot light is falling on a very narrow area while the immediate surrounding areas of the page are a blur. This effect, however, lasts as long as the high lasts.

I came across some references on the internet about some people claiming that Cannabis improves night vision.

 True inspired thoughts/concepts have to come spontaneously:

I realised that there are various categories of thoughts/concepts that dawn/surface in your mind while on Cannabis:

  • Hidden/suppressed fears
  • Actual premonitions
  • Knowledge through direct apprehension

One needs to have the wisdom to distinguish among the three. The trick to avoid the first category is not to expect/wait for thoughts to come…to just be…..which may not be as simple as it sounds !!

Reaffirming my own existence:

This is something that I have often experienced in everyday consciousness – the ‘isness’ of things. Whenever I visit a new place, house, hotel  etc. all the things around me trees, plants, rocks, table, bed, chair, tap etc. would seem almost alive…as if on the verge of saying something…..However this feeling/awareness would begin to ebb the longer I stayed in a new place. It is as if you get desensitised to the things around you as they become more and more familiar.

When on Cannabis, this feeling is heightened even in familiar surroundings. However unlike the recorded experiences of Carl Sagan and Aldous Huxley under LSD/mescalin, I could not perceive the amazing colours and patterns in things around me. On the other hand they seem to reflect back my own state of mind/consciousness. …it felt as if they were affirming my existence by their own existence….I existed because my perception of them existed…..

Dealing with problems by understanding and acceptance:

Most of our problems solve themselves out by our objective understanding of them and complete acceptance of them.

Cannabis Research: Random Notes

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‘If the drugs reveal more of reality than would otherwise be available to the knower, we must call into question the knowledge that we already posses. For it is obvious that the dependability of our powers of knowing external reality would become questionable.’

– Catholic philosopher, Raphael Waters

The book, Understanding Marijuana: a new look at the scientific evidence, by Mitchell Earleywine, mentions a scientific study of the effects of marijuana in which one-fourth of the subjects reported spiritual effects of marijuana which had a dramatic effect on them. These effects paralleled reports of religious ecstasy. About one-fifth of the subjects said that the intoxication had acquired religious significance for them. contemporary authors also assert that the drug can enhance spirituality. Many encourage pensive meditative use of the drug and discourage its mindless consumption.

Another book,The Healing Magic of Cannabis, by Beverly Potter and  Dan Joy mentions the Good Friday Experiment conducted using LSD by Timothy Leary and his colleagues at Harvard. However after numerous other experiments using LSD and Cannabis by other people during the New Age movement, many researchers felt that Cannabis offered a brief and non-threatening initiation into psychoactivity. While LSD was considered appropriate only for occasional use, Cannabis could be used more frequently to recall the spiritual intensity of LSD experiences and help nurture, maintain and integrate into daily life the insights they yielded.

The book Cannabis Spirituality, by Stephen Gaskin discusses the continuing contemporary entheogenic use of Cannabis as a form of alternative spirituality.

Another interesting book called, The psychedelic sacrament: manna, meditation, and mystical experience by Daniel Merkur talks about Philo, a Jew who lived in Alexandria between 20 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. and wrote extensive commentaries in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible called Septuagint. Philo mentions that the Israelis had manna in the morning and also had visions of the glory of God in the morning. The author of the book argues that ergot a psychedelic fungus that grows on cereal grains was consumed to induce religious experiences as a matter of public knowledge in the era of Moses through David and subsequently it became a secret tradition in biblical Israel, rabbinical Judaism and various Christian churches. The author discusses the unfortunate prejudice that the Academia share with popular culture that ‘mystical experiences’ are by definition irrational while they off-hand dismiss  historical records of Mystics who were rational thinkers and who advocated mystical teachings.

The same holds true for modern-day intellectuals who are  respected as rational men and women untill they start talking about their ‘mystical’ experiences under the influence of psychotropic plants !! For further discussion on this please refer to the following link:

http://sebastianmarincolo.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/marijuana-insights-myth-or-reality/

 

Cannabis Research: Allan Watts

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Following are excerpts from spiritual experiences  of Allan Watts under the influence of LSD and/or Cannabis. I have selected those portions which are similar to mine. On this website, Allan Watts gives a very convincing argument as to the real reason behind some Western governments and religious authorities wanting to ban Cannabis.

Source: http://deoxy.org/w_psyrel.htm

 “….Some months later, in 1959, I tried LSD-25 again with Drs. Sterling Bunnell and Michael Agron, who were then associated with the Langley-Porter Clinic, in San Francisco. In the course of two experiments I was amazed and somewhat embarrassed to find myself going through states of consciousness that corresponded precisely with every description of major mystical experiences that I had ever read.

Furthermore, they exceeded both in depth and in a peculiar quality of unexpectedness the three “natural and spontaneous” experiences of this kind that had happened to me in previous years. Through subsequent experimentation with LSD-25 and the other chemicals named above (with the exception of DMT, which I find amusing but relatively uninteresting), I found I could move with ease into the state of “cosmic consciousness,” and in due course became less and less dependent on the chemicals themselves for “tuning in” to this particular wave length of experience. Of the five psychedelics tried, I found that LSD-25 and cannabis suited my purposes best. Of these two, the latter—cannabis—which I had to use abroad in countries where it is not outlawed, proved to be the better. It does not induce bizarre alterations of sensory perception, and medical studies indicate that it may not, save in great excess, have the dangerous side effects of LSD.

……But I must add that I can speak only for myself. The quality of these experiences depends considerably upon one’s prior orientation and attitude to life, although the now voluminous descriptive literature of these experiences accords quite remarkably with my own.

……One’s normally compulsive concern for the future decreases, and one becomes aware of the enormous importance and interest of what is happening at the moment. Other people, going about their business on the streets, seem to be slightly crazy, failing to realize that the whole point of life is to be fully aware of it as it happens. Obviously, these characteristics of the psychedelic experience, as I have known it, are aspects of a single state of consciousness—for I have been describing the same thing from different angles. The descriptions attempt to convey the reality of the experience, but in doing so they also suggest some of the inconsistencies between such experience and the current values of society…..”

Towards the end, Mr.Watts puts forward the following argument in the support of legalizing the cultivation and consumption of all plants including psychotropic plants:

Amerindians belonging to the Native American Church who employ the psychedelic peyote cactus in their rituals, are firmly opposed to any government control of this plant, even if they should be guaranteed the right to its use. They feel that peyote is a natural gift of God to mankind, and especially to natives of the land where it grows, and that no government has a right to interfere with its use The same argument might be made on behalf of cannabis, or the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana Heim. All these things are natural plants, not processed or synthesized drugs, and by what authority can individuals be prevented from eating theme There is no law against eating or growing the mushroom Amanita pantherina, even though it is fatally poisonous and only experts can distinguish it from a common edible mushroom. This case can be made even from the standpoint of believers in the monarchical universe of Judaism and Christianity, for it is a basic principle of both religions, derived from Genesis, that all natural substances created by God are inherently good, and that evil can arise only in their misuse. Thus laws against mere possession, or even cultivation, of these plants are in basic conflict with biblical principles. Criminal conviction of those who employ these plants should be based on proven misuse. “And God said ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed- to you it shall be for meat…. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” —Genesis 1:29, 31.

Epilogue to Mahashiva Ratri and Some Questions

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It was a strange coincident that after my ‘Mahashivaratri experience’ I came across an essay by the distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan at http://hermiene.net/essays-trans/mr_x.html

It was refered to me by a chance acquaintance with someone on the net.

I found incredible similarities between Carl Sagan’s experiences and mine. I was also reassured by the fact that my experiences were not a result of my fanciful imagination or a delusional mind !!

I wanted to read Aldous Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception’ but discovered that it was not available free on the internet. Another chance coincidence occurred and I discovered this book the very next day in the most unlikely book store. However it was too costly (about 15 US dollars ), and I could not buy it.

My blog posts contain only half of what I have experienced. I have left out certain things that came to my mind in the ‘inspired state’ because when I read them in a ‘normal’ state they appeared to be a bit outlandish and far-fetched and also because I did not want to be ridiculed by ‘normal’ people. I also felt, like Carl Sagan, that I would not be taking my own trip notes seriously when I read them in a ‘normal’ state. I haven’t yet understood the reason for this. Why does the magic, the bewilderment and the significance of the experience just fizzle out when we come back to ‘normal’ state ?!! It appears as if we were making a big deal out of nothing !!!

The universal nature of these experiences under Cannabis indicate that all humans are connected to some cosmic source/realm of reality, of Unity, which we can access in certain states of consciousness and interpret it according to our individual conditioning, memories and stages of growth. It is when we come down to a ‘normal’ state that this connection with rest of Humanity breaks and we get confined/clouded with our individual egos in the world of separateness. Like a continent breaking up into numerous islands.

Shouldn’t there be some kind of a forum/platform where people can, without any fear of being labelled a nutcase or delusional, discuss each others cannabis experiences ? Where records of similar experiences by distinguished men and women could be made available at nominal cost ?

Mahashivaratri: Night of the Great Shiva – IV

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Mt. Kailash, abode of Lord Shiva

Following are some of the spontaneous ideas/revelations that dawned on me on this day. They may not be original and I am not the first to discover them, but in this state I could feel their meaning with my entire being and not just my mind:

It is clear that most of the humanity in ‘normal’ state  is asleep and so do I slip into a kind of slumber when the effects of Cannabis wear off.

Silencing of mind and tongue prevents us from falling asleep, from getting lost into this illusory word. The key is mindfulness – be mindful to the people and situations in your life.. Do not get caught/seduced by the myriad of distractions/temporary pleasures that the world offers you. They are all meant to put you back to a kind of sleep – the sleep of ignorance. Negative attributes are like lullabies that put you to sleep.

Religion is for the masses, those who are asleep, to show them the way in the darkness; mysticism is for those who are partially awake.

The Spiritual Path is like a game of Snakes and Ladder, for most the path is long and cumbersome, but the fortunate come across ladders/Grace on their way to hasten their journey, and at times even ‘angels’ and saints fall when bitten by the snake of heedlessness.

The breathing exercises, rhythmic dance and zikr of the Sufis, after a certain stage of progress on the Path, are physical methods to get a ‘high’ – an altered state of consciousness when they can experience higher realities. These methods are long and laborious and require will and perseverance. However they are fool-proof, you cannot go astray.  Shortcuts to achieving an altered state of consciousness like drugs and psychotropic plants can lead a lot of people astray if they take it without  the right  intention and also if their lower selves are not ready for it.

The ‘door keepers’ of mystical/hidden/secret knowledge are not some special people but our own egos, our lower selves. You can cross the threshold only if your intentions are pure and your hearts ready.

The demon Mara who tried to lead Buddha astray was a symbol for Buddha’s own lower self, whom he finally vanquishes and attains Nirvana.

Negative emotions especially anger and hate, stiffen certain parts of your physical and psychological self, leading to various ailments.

Maha Shivaratri: Night of the Great Shiva – III

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A seal, believed to depict Lord Shiva, found at Indus Valley Civilization site

….continued from previous two posts

Lord Shiva is believed to be the Lord of Destruction (destroyer of ignorance ?) and the Lord of the Underworld. His abode is Mt. Kailash which is a part of the great Himalayas.

The Master will come when the Disciple is ready

It dawned on me that the above saying was not to be taken literally. Under Cannabis, you become receptive to ‘higher truths’ and insights and this higher/divine knowledge is the Guru or the Master that comes when you are ready. The Master may not necessarily be a person. You become your own master/guru in a ‘high’ state. Evil is not an external entity, it is your own  ignorance. The message of the Sufis came to my mind – ‘you stand between yourself and God’. Here God means enlightenment, you implies your ignorance. The words and spiritual compositions of great seers and sages were written in a similar state of high which they achieved through non-chemical means. Taking of such psychotropic plants is perhaps a short-cut, and that is the reason why its effects are short-lived.

Key-hole view of Enlightenment

My direct comprehension of concepts/phenomenon was always in a visual form. However the edges/margins of the visual were always hazy. I felt that I was getting a mere key-hole experience/revelations. As if I was peeping through a hole in a doorway, and the doorway led to a beautiful mansion with multiple rooms and stories. Christians saints and sufis have often mentioned various stages/growth in spirituality and in order to reach the highest step of the ladder one has to be ready – purge/cleanse one’s lower self. Perhaps the reason why a lot of people who take Cannabis do not get a spiritual experience could be because their intentions are not proper or strong enough, as mentioned in one of my earlier posts and secondly because their lower self has not been cleansed of ignorance. Esoteric literature from all over the world give you various ways and techniques to cleanse your lower self.

 I am not a religious person i.e. I do not go to temples or perform regular worship or pray to a specific deity on a regular basis. However I do meditate and perform mantra jaap. However the overwhelming feeling that pervaded throughout all my recent trips was that I had been selected to be a part of some great Secret. I felt special. I felt Grace and blessings being bestowed on me, and the world appeared magical and bewildering. Perhaps this is how the world appears to a child before it is conditioned by the society !!

Cerebral Overdrive

This trip was intensely spiritual and cerebral. At one point I felt as if I could take in no more ‘knowledge’, and that my brain needed some rest. I also understood how knowledge could give you pure pleasure/bliss and bewilderment. This cerebral pleasure (I call it thus for the want of a better word) was like  a mental orgasm, as mentioned in one of my earlier posts.

Mahashiva Ratri: Night of the Great Shiva – II

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……continued from the previous post

SANITY AND INSANITY, DREAM AND REALITY

I felt as if I was living with insane people and once the effects of Cannabis wears off I will slowly slip back into a similar kind of insanity. A kind of insanity in which you take a ‘make believe world’ created by the ignorance of your mind for ‘reality’. It  felt very similar to the concept depicted in the film ‘Inception’ where they show a group of people asleep and a man in charge of that place tells Leonardo DiCaprio that this is the place where they come to ‘wake up’ to their ‘dream reality’. I felt  that I too would wake up to a ‘dream reality’ once the effects of Cannabis wear off.

CANNABIS AND ESP: SUBTLE SMELLS

I felt as if I had developed the ability of sensing subtle smells. I could ‘smell’ my younger son’s indigestion (it wasn’t very pleasant !!). At another point when I was roasting egg plants/brinjals, one of them smelt different and unpleasant. When I cut it open I found a small rotten patch inside.  This ability continued for the next few days and then slowly faded out.

DIRECT COMPREHENSION IN WAVES

Concepts and ideas would initially float in front of my mind’s eye, like a wave hitting the shore gently, rise and then fall back to be replaced by another wave….

ON THE EDGE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

At one point I was almost on the edge of madness..my entire being was being flooded with a blitzkrieg of attitudes and feelings….and just when I was about to have a panic attack, it lifted, like a cloud. As if this experience was to teach me the meaning of schizophrenia..what kind of a nightmare  the schizophrenic patients undergo !! I later remembered that during my regular visits to a schizophrenic friend I would often wonder what he was going through….and on Mahashiva Ratri day I got my answer !!

Mahashiva Ratri: Night of the Great Shiva – I

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ASTROLOGY AND PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCES

The night of 20th February was Mahashivaratri – the Hindu festival, night of the Great Shiva. On this day bhang (dried female shoots and flowers of Cannabis) are taken as prasaad. From the overwhelming spiritual nature of the trip I had on this day, I now suspect that astrology and especially the position of the moon also influence the nature of the trip that one gets on Bhang/Cannabis. The Hindu calendar is based on a lunar month and Mahashivaratri invariably falls on the night previous to a Amaavasya or New Moon.

I still have to look up whether shamans and spiritual practitioners in other parts of the world consulted astrology to time their psychedelic rituals.

CONSPIRACY TO KEEP PEOPLE ASLEEP

One of the overwhelming feelings throughout this trip was there was some kind of conspiracy to keep humans asleep/under illusion/under the grasp of Maya. However, it was unclear as to who was behind this conspiracy – was it our own ignorance and/or hostile forces that Shri Aurobindo talked about in his ‘Letters on Yoga’ (you may read these at http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/sa/22-24/index_e.htm).

 Could this feeling be the source of all kinds of conspiracy theories by people who perceived the original truth in a distorted way and came up with all kinds of beliefs of government cover ups, alien abductions, alien invasion etc. Are there people among us who are ‘awake’ yet are silent witness to the  play – lila of the world ? Are there others silently doing their work, making subtle attempts at ‘waking’ people up, leaving signs for people who are partially awake to tell them  that they are not alone and that they are not under some sort of delusion ?!!

I very strongly had the ‘feeling’ that the esoteric and mystical texts and poems left by sages and seers in the past are a kind of symbol/code language for those of us who are partly awake, to guide us and to show us the Way. There could be three reasons why this message is given in a code/symbolic language:

1.  Those who are yet asleep do not get alarmed and confused.

2. To prevent the message from going into the hands of ignorant/hostile people who could misuse  this knowledge.

3. Most importantly, to a person in an altered state of consciousness, metaphors and symbols make more sense than ordinary language because  the experiences during a ‘high’ can be best described in symbols and metaphors.

It was very clear, however that most of humanity is asleep or  under some kind of a spell and all the sages and mystics of the past have been trying to break this spell and awaken the slumber of humanity.

LOSS OF SENSE OF TIME

The passage of time,  on this trip was remarkably erratic. At some point it appeared to speed up, on another occasion slow down and at times, come to a standstill.

ACCESS TO UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE

I felt as if I could access universal knowledge simply with the effort of will and focus. Comprehension of ideas/concepts and phenomena was almost effortless.  Was this the reason why some governments had banned Cannabis for their ‘subjects/citizens’ ?!!

Cannabis: Religion, Myths and Folklore – III

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The Fall or the Rise ?

The Celts may have also used cannabis, as evidence of hashish traces were found in Hallstatt, birthplace of Celtic culture.

Scource: Creighton, John (2000). Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain. Cambridge University Press. p. 52

Members of the Rastafari movement use cannabis as a part of their worshiping of their King, Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, and as an aid to meditation. Rastafari see cannabis as a sacramental and deeply beneficial plant that is the Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible. Bob Marley, amongst many others, have quoted Revelation: 22:2, “… the herb is the healing of the nations.” The use of cannabis, and particularly of long-stemmed water-pipes called chalices, is an integral part of what Rastafari call “reasoning sessions” where members join together to discuss life according to the Rasta perspective. They see the use of cannabis as bringing them closer to God, whom they call (Jah), allowing the user to penetrate the truth of things much more clearly, as if the wool had been pulled from one’s eyes. “The herb is the key to new understanding of the self, the universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness” and is believed to burn the corruption out of the human heart.

Sources:  Branch, Rick. “The Watchman Expositor: Rastafarianism Profile”

Owens, Joseph (1974). Dread, The Rastafarians of Jamaica.

Like the Rastafari, some modern Christian sects have asserted that cannabis is the Tree of Life.[48] Contra, some have asserted that it is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the forbidden fruit which the Serpent persuaded Eve, and Eve her husband Adam, to eat, which caused the Fall of Man.

Scource: http://www.iamm.com/man-cu.htm#_ABRIDGED_THEOLOGICAL_DISCUSSION