It doesn't take much to believe that Moses underwent some pretty trippy experiences. After all, the chatterbox Burning Bush alone is testament to that. It doesn't take much to believe that Samuel and Elijah and a host of other Biblical stars also experienced a head trip or two. In fact, the Good Book is so full of far-out occurrences, it begs us to ask: was DMT in the Bible?
Experts say Yes.
It's a rather unequivocal Yes at that. Seems these experts see things too. And one thing they all seem to see is that the Bible's more prophetic characters found their respective enlightenment via DMT. It's not much of a surprise really. Especially to those who believe in nature's capacity for more transformative powers. Heck, it's not much of a surprise to those with common sense either.
DMT in the Bible
What kind of experts believe they see DMT in the Bible? Well, experts like Benny Shanon for one. Shanon is a professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. He also used to head its psychology department. And he believes "key events of the Old Testament are actually records of visions by ancient Israelites high on hallucinogens."
Jeffay also told us Shanon believes the hallucinogen to be Ayahuasca. You've heard about Ayahuasca. Likely from Brazil's Amazonians, who use the concoction for their religious rituals. Well, it's apparently also extracted from plants that grow in the Holy Land. Or used to be anyway. That must be how Moses came upon it.
Shanon reportedly came up with his theory when reading -- what else? -- the Bible. It came to mind because some of the events' descriptions reminded him of the visions he had after drinking Ayahuasca some 15 years ago. To Shanon, when Moses first encountered God, he was under their influence. Full stop.
"Encountering the divine is one of the most powerful experiences associated with high-level Ayahuasca inebriation," Shanon told Jafay.
What About the Miracles?
That theory might rile a whole lotta believers. See, if Shanon is correct then Moses didn't experience a miracle after all. And if the Burning Bush wasn't a miracle, then what about the manna or the Ten Commandments? What about the 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea?
Was it tripping, tripping and more tripping? Were these events nothing more (or less) than a "radical alteration in the state of consciousness of the beholder - that is, Moses," as Shanon claims?
In other words: was he tripping?
As for the Children of Israel hearing God while camped at Mount Sinai... Well, Shanon reportedly believes that's "about a mass drug-taking event." Sort of gives a whole new explanation for the reported "cloud of smoke" that settled on the mountain. Just like Jeffay says.
Jeffay also says that "hardly an incident in the Bible is spared Shanon's drug-focused reading." Like, for instance, those Acacia trees that Noah used to build the ark. Well, they "were revered because some varieties also contain the psychedelic substance dimethyltryptamine (DMT)." The Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden? Well, in Shanon's opinion they both "offered something far more tempting than an apple."
So Adam and Eve knew about hallucinogens even before they got Knowledge? Hmmm...
As you might suspect, back in 2008 (when this first hit) rabbis in Israel, the UK and elsewhere largely ignored Shanon's theories. And those who did speak out about them were dismissive.
"The Bible is trying to convey a very profound event," Rabbi Yuval Sherlow told Israel Radio. "We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science."
Other Israelis weren't so diplomatic, instead buzzing with condemnations of "heresy", drug dealer endorsements, and charges that Shanon, not Moses, must have taken drugs.
Since Shanon already admitted to tripping, the new question might be: Was Shanon tripping when he came to believe there was DMT in the Bible?
A Serious Aside
Professor Shanon claimed Jeffay's piece misrepresented his work -- and his findings. The good folks at The Guardian were good enough to run with it too. To wit:
"Your news report conveys a picture very different from the one I present in the scientific journal Time and Mind, which is devoted to the history of culture and consciousness. Your report contains words and sentences I have neither written nor uttered, some introduced in quotation marks as if coming from me. Terms such as "drug", "trip", "high" and "stoned" are ones I have nothing to do with and which I do not condone."
Shanon also claimed some of the reporting "suffers from some basic misunderstandings of my crucial arguments," especially vis-a-vis ayahuasca.
"I must stress that the use of psychoactive plants I have encountered in the Amazon is always embedded in religious and/or medicinal rituals. In traditional Amerindian societies the rituals were very strict and directed by a specialist (a shaman or healer), and demanded prior preparation. Remarkably, similar preparation is specified in the book of Exodus in conjunction with the Mount Sinai theophany. The plants were universally regarded as sacred, even divine, and held to be the source of true knowledge and the very foundation of the cultures in question."
We don't know. We weren't there 13 years ago. Or 3000. We're simply thankful that Jeffay was there to report on Shanon's work. Why? Because his reporting led us to Shanon's theory. And just like comparative religion, we believe in comparative spirituality. We're sure Jeffay didn't mean to demean Shanon; just as we didn't above. It's a compelling notion. Rooted in deep history. And we're all for such compelling historical explorations.
We also realize that nature is full of wondrous abundance. It can be as transformative as it is curative. And we're blessed to be able to explore. However, whether you're looking for Moses or detox, please don't go without a qualified guide. Because that abundance can also be dangerous.
If you're seeking help, spiritual or otherwise, please call Healing Properties. We'd be glad to sort you out.