The secret Jewish Cannabis History and Wisdom teachings of all ages

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How to trip properly: next-to-last-continued

BalSem/Doktor's warning: This piece is a long one, you may want to print it out and read it on the bus or something. It starts with a request, re: Cannabis Chassidis:

Marijuana is easy and safe to defend, advise on use of. Nothing bad will happen for years and years, and the worst things that happen aren't worse than the side effects of being sad, overworked, eating or talking too much.

Other drugs, especially the newer refined ones, are a bit sketchier, and demand a bit more mesiras nefesh, possibly.

I'm not a big fan of pills, personally, I resent the industrial forcing of our bodies to deal with situations that they really don't want to be in. The zombie pills that make it easier to sit still and accept, the uppers that make it easier to stay awake when you're really not interested enough to anymore... ich vaist, who needs it? But then, I am talking out of my ignorance, I know alot of people who really have been enjoying the chance to take control of their own mental states with chemistry... What do I know about the medicine someone else needs? Medicine is the responsibility and right of the self to determine really What Is Needed.

There's liver/kidney issues with all of these pills... The Life essence suffers and is depleted every time you force yourself one way or the other, and everything from Red Bull to Aderol and everything in a related Extreme UP aspect is bound to be ultimately draining. Is it worth it?

This is the aspect of "hard drugs" that is, drugs that make you Hard. Ego Boosters, Gayva ("pride/arrogance") is dependant on a certain blindness, and some SaMim(drugs) specialize in this kind of SooMaoot (blindness.)
All drugs blind, each according to What's Desired.

If you really want something, you might want to be blind to the possibility that it's not yours, or not to be yours, or be blind to caring about what is wanted by it. It's true about girlfriends/boyfriends and it's true about children.

Psychedelics can be used to clarify what's really there, to blind only from social illusions and assumptions about What's possible or Supposed to be.

To the degree that there's psychic and physical danger in psychedelics like Mushrooms or LSD like there is in all the speeds and Awake remedies that Science has yet taught Man how to extract, I personally am happier taking those risks, just as I'd rather the long term damage from a life of Marijuana Smoking to that of a life of Cigarette. What tobacco does doesn't seem worthwhile to me enough. What speed does doesn't seem worth the crash, nor the risk of corruption of self---

But Psychedelics, to me, often do. Mesiras nefesh for the sake of more light, more insight, more clarity and deeper understanding of allahwho-knows-what does seem worth it.

And let's be honest, we all want something in our lives that feels worth giving up everything else for. Don't do it! It's always stupid! But wouldn't it be nice to have a G-d, a lover, a party, a place I can put everything into?

Shir Hashirim laments,

"He that gives all wealth of his home up in love,
what a waste, what a shame!
(boz yabuzu bo)"

But the nice thing about Torah, Sofia, Truth, is that it feels worth giving everything for.

One of the comforting thing about religions is that they give a real sense of priority over, what's most important? The family! The Temple! The Poor! Surrender! You know, it's easy to look up and see what I "should" serve most, and serve last, if at all.

And this is why it's so important to boo Haman, and not let your GodKing serve him, nor to bow to him yourself: To defend and care about your Princess and your Peoples, it's satisfying maybe to have a sense of who/what from. It's ok if The King is fucking you, I guess, but that Other selfish jerk? The one that doesn't mind killing disobedient wives? Not if I-and-I can help it!

Don't be afraid to die in the experience of shocking new and potentially hard to grasp ideas: They're all true, and so is everything you knew yesterday.

R'Nachman's Law is crucial for tripping: Thou shalt not be Afraid. It won't help, lehefech, it's the only way to get hurt.

Well, that's not quite true. One tripping very hard can, theoretically get hurt, by denying reality's limitations, and jumping into traffic or something. But Going Out does not demand that level of foolishness from anyone, only ego-madness, the insistance that I Must Be bulletproof, that the New Truth utterly destroys the old. This is not what happens to the self when one trips, not at all, and the popularization of the myth that it is is an insult to the billions of psychonauts throughout history, including very probably all of our distant ancestors before a certain point.

It still should be easier to justify and guide the use of natural ethneogens like Philocybin Mushrooms or Peyote than it is to for LSD, but it's really not too different, only a little stronger and, let's say, easier to accept.

What do I mean by that? Holy Brother and Comrade Allahuechad once compared Mushrooms to Kabbalah and LSD to Chassidus: Mushrooms demand personal preparation, a clearing of the stomach, ideally at least five hours without food, and certainly an avoidance of anything with Niacin (vitamin B2) for a little while before in order to maximize potency. This entails avoiding all sorts of healthy, wonderful things, like salads and algaes, with Ayahuasceros in Peru traditionally going on three day Fish-and-plantain fasts in order to build seratonin for the Journey, because the psychedelic experience runs on seratonin, or something.

Either way, the mushroom trip is delicate, and hard to really expect huge, crazy results without taking what T. Mckenna calls "heroic" doses. Not to disparage Mushrooms or Kabbalah in any way, but both demand certain purification of body and mind to be received. Kabbalah, for example, demands alot of attention and meditation, pondering and repeated study and focus to be understood at all, let alone experienced.

LSD, and chassidus, on the other hand, demand very little except the slightest bit of attention, and a willingness to see what is being revealed through, which really, anyone with a desire to serve and take responsibility for the world at all, along with appreciate the wonder of creation is capable of, and benifited in their efforts too.

A pure heart comes in many forms, and a dedication to service is the essence of them all.
And service of the heart is none other than Prayer: The secret heart service only-purpose of the universe. The healing of nations. There's a reason the Indians and the Irish all pray over their poisons/medicines, smokes and drinks. Drugs help the I open up, be real, focus and yearn clearly.

Psychedelics can also be heart openers; I have experienced them very physically. Compelled to dance, or to run, to just get outside, or inside. I heard a one wise man advise playing a game of constricting the mind into focus while tripping, then letting it spiral off into different universes, like a tautly pulled bunjee cord rubber band snapped, hurling some rock of insight/outtasite out from the void. Prayer is very good at a time like this, exctatic praise followed by Weird Meaningful sacred invocations of angels and clarification of Certain Divine truths wrapped up in songs of profound universal request (a new light on zion shine/Thank you lord, who chooses love), A testament to the main patterns, a unifying expereince with a long EchAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad and blessing over the leaving of egypt and then boom eyes are closed and there's bowing, and as much light as is wanted is drawn down, and Seen! as if as if, that's what it really was for and about.

But for those without a mass prayer tradition, and even those with, a simple invocation at the beginning; a declaration of intent, like, along with a wayfarer's prayer

(keep me safe oh lord,
to do what I
am needed to do,
and to get home real safe.

Thanks lord for listening to prayer)

Once again, I like the idea of maybe having a question to scrier through. A specific prayer went in of What Is Wanted To Happen.

What Healing,
What power?
What Change.

Like, once, I wanted to speak to one voice, and then another time to another.
And always to be free
to hear no voice at all
and to remember that all voices heard
are my own

And there's no reason to be afraid.

It's nice to have a curandero friend nearby, or maybe within telephone reach, someone you feel safe with and trust just to talk to afterwards, or if it gets too weird. Someone you trust though, that's important. But some people are tough or smart enough to be able to feel safe anywhere That's something mushrooms have been for before: hunting.
Helping the Eye (thee I) see better, just a little better, and see faster, accept more immediately, they say it helped us become better hunters maybe.

But maybe hunting prey is a little bit obsolete in that form, but there's all kind of frontiers in terms of thought and interaction still available for would-be Transcenders. Go and Find Them. There's all kinds of loves waiting to be freed into having, and it could be that those are more appreciable prey, once there's enough regular material food in the village, and all the dishes are clean.

I like cleaning up at the end of a trip, once i'm Danced Open and I only want to help. I blame Rainbow Gathering for this, but sometimes at the end of a String Cheese Show, I like to help the janitors clean up garbage. Why should they have all the fun?


Mikvas are nice near the ends of trips, or even during peaks if you're gonna be able to hang out for a while without fear of being suspected of untowards behavior just for being in the mikva for a long time (fucking Ammeratzim!) It's a safe place to let go, ideally, to be able sing and breathe, and subsume. But forests and parks are great too, just for walking and Seeing.

Different people on different levels of familiarity with the psychedelic experience have different needs. It's good to go to where what you needs is, and it's ideal to need as little as possible, to be able to adjust and give to everyone around you while the Life Drug is in you, and the Body/Voice is able to speak. but many of us aren't on the level, and really benefit from a guide.

What's a guide? A Rebbe you trust. This does NOT refer to an official Rebbe, but a person you know and trust. One of my best guided trips was with nine year old twins and their sixteen year old sister, running around with me to a park looking for a party. Mind you, these were/are particularly Rebbishe twins. And no, they WEREN'T tripping, nor did they know that I was (until later.) They were just very Rebbishe people, who accept and even appreciate my trips sometimes, as long as it's good.

But yeah, Timothy Leary once translated the Dao te Ching with R Zalman, and called the book "Psychedelic Prayers." He translated it with creating an "ideal" setting for a psychedelic experience in mind, and one of the Psukim goes like this:

The best of guides
you don't even realize he's a guide

I was wondering about this: do guides need guides? not in the same way, ah? Some people, it feels so much easier to really be, really come out as a divine person around them, through them, because of them. Those are good people to be around when tripping.

When all is said and done, there's really no better advice than, Take it easy, as easy as you want to. Breathe deep, accept G-d, and trust what's coming, even as you dance around it. There's so much more to say about all this.


One of the issues some Kabbalists have expressed about psychedelics is that they are "Gezeilas Ohr" Stealing Light, like getting access to some information that you're not deserving of, or ready for. But Light is the one thing you're allowed to, nay, have to steal, by any means necessary, like Moshe Rabbeinu running away from the angels with The Torah under his shirt. It's a big inyan in alter Chassidis, stealing the Rebbe's writings. I have to know.

(next: How to trip properly: conclusion. Mayim, Mayim, don't dose people against their will

AND THEN, the epilogue, what we have learned from all this.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What's the proof that marijuana is holy? It never sinned.

How do we know it never sinned? Because every part of it tastes and smells like it's fruit?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

next to last: halacha l' ma'asei

Hey. I'm back in Jerusalem for a little bit, the place my holy brother and comrade Allahuechad calls "The Land of Broken Dreams."

As if that wasn't the sweetest, greatest thing you could call a place!

My dreams, having been relatively flexible, seem relatively unscathed so far, lehefech, I'm really touched and inspired by some of the holy nonsense and half-sense alot of the kids out here are into and doing. It's been awesome playing with the local chevra, dancing with our minds and bodies, wriggling and writhing extatically at the strange comfort/discomfort of the boundaries we're working with around some of these parts.

And during this spectacular reinforcement of the dance-joy-torah I so value, some criticism and concerns about my conduct and explorations has come up.

Some friends (because who listens to enemies?) have expressed concern over two issues in my writing and living the last little while, namely concern that I am legitamizing-by-engaging "anti-semites" and treading dangerous water with my exploration of creative romantic boundaries. Both friends have expressed concerns that I am endangering my legitamacy through this.

Which I think is effing hysterical, because it implies that the Marijuan and psychedelic advocacy that i've been doing is perfectly respectable.

Which, apparently, it totally is in the religious Jewish Community now, at least as far as De' Youf' is concerned. Isn't that awesome?

This feels to me like a newish thing-- the respect and approval for marijuana that pretty much everyone I know of a certain age, whether they choose to smoke/trip or not, has. I engage a range of different communities, and i'll tell ya: it's pretty much across the board. From Monsey to Crown Heights, Detroit to Baltimore, Montreal to Williamsburg, Jerusalem and all of Israel, and lets not even TALK about California, everyone seems to be holding that Cannabis is at the least, not as bad as tobacco, and seems more effective than prozac or tylenol at making the world just a little bit easier to handle, without crippling any more than say, eating too much food.

Which totally gives me hope for the future of our people. I don't think the Jewish money organizations are in danger because of this, nor any of the thuggish militias and militaries under our communal hand. Lehefech, it might well save our lives and our souls, and create a context for the healing the wound of exile, that once compelled us to take some aspects of our lives waaay to seriously.

And by this I mean, money and control. It might well be good to take life seriously, if that's going to help children get fed. It's REALLY BAD to take life seriously if it means you have to beat your kids to make sure they keep shabbos. Agmas Nefesh, Moirah Shcoirah, they're all traditional terms in Jewish for feeling shitty, and as much as the drugs won't do ANYTHING to solve the root causes of our depressions and funks, JUST HAVING A PERSPECTIVE with which to look at the best and RELEASE the internal bonds whipping us and leading us to whip our spouses, children, animals, and slaves can't but help, right?

Sure, marijuana will not solve all our problems, only Brown Rice and Flax seed oil can do that. But what it does do very well is shift priorities.

Because drugs, like shabbos, can and will change you. Terrence Mckenna Z"L talks about his invenerete stonerness, and why he would smoke as much as he did (every day or so, which can be considered alot. That is to say, more than I like, for sure)

"It's just that... when I would stop smoking grass for a log period of time, i'd notice my priorities start to change... I'd start worrying about "how am I going to pay this bill" and "maybe I need a new house on the hill" or some such nonesense... and whe i'd smoke, my thoughts would be more like "I wonder what ever happened to the Lost Etruscan civilization?" or some new innovative way of programming a design."

Everyone one knows, harmony depends on offsetting extremes once they've gone too far.
What we need as people is not the advice to just stop doing drugs, it won't work any better than the "don't have sex" rule worked on the catholic clergies. We need guidance on how to make drug use holy. Here's some:

Marijuana. There's a principle in the talmud that anything that gives pleasure has to have a blessing on it, and so, there is one over fragrant herbs in the tradition, at least two or three, actually.

Most people I know say Borei Aisvei bsamim, thanks G-d, who creates fragrant grasses, because cannabis is more like a grass than anything else, growing and dying seasonally. Borei Minei Bsamim works too, i's more general, thans G-d who creates different kinds of fragrance.

Now, an issue is when to say the blessing. Before the hit make sthe most sense to me. The rule in the talmud re: incense is AFTER the first cloud of smoke starts lifting, but that doesn't really make sense with modern pipe, blunt or joint smoking, because you're using your mouth to hold the hit it, and there's also a prohibition on making a blessing with your mouth full. It takes the focus away, which is the oppoite of what blessings are for.

So, I like to make the blessing upon smelling the unburnt Ganja, either from the bag, or even from in the pipe, taking a sniff of the un-lit herb, and blessing beofre proceeding.

The blessing is less important that the dedication, which sets the focus of the hit and the high.

I don't kno how far back the "l'chaim" tradition goes, if it's a chassidic innovation, or not... but how could it be, when the irish do it also?
Before taking a strong drink, make ing it safe by dedicating it to some wish for a good world some how, for peace or passion, strength or style-- whatever you want the strong drink to do for you-- so too with ganja.

(UPDATE: I wrote R Yaakov Fogelman to ask: "where does the L'chaim" tradition come from? Surely it's pre chassidic! And he quickly responded:

"As I recall, Birnbaum claims that there was danger, in ancient times, that snakes,and scorpians were found in wine- so he who is about to bless God for the wine, first asks the assembled company, "sovrei," think, gentlemen- is this wine safe? If they think so, they respond with "l'chayim", to life, it's ok!"

psh! it's very deep. There ARE scorpions in drugs if you take 'em down too fast, without intention.)

While you're holding the un-lit pipe, all attention is paid to you, so it can a nice chance to do something holy if you want to-- talking for too long can annoy the weed hungry people in the circle, but a little dedication prayer can be nice. What DO you want to happen in the world? What do you want for yourself? For the sake of that, l'chaim, and then immediately light the pipe.

It's important not to expose the weed to too much fire too fast, because then, the grass will just burn away, and you won't actually be smoking that all much. Holding the fire JUST far away enough from the bowl that when you're not inhaling, it's not lighting, and getting the littlest bit of fire to kiss the top of the Green with the inhale is really the best. Because then you can actually taste the weed, and you don't overwhelm yourself with more smoke than you can handle, which will prevent coughing and accidental cough-blowing of the weed out of the bowl.

There's different traditions from here on out; I like to past the pipe/joint/blunt/bong as soon as possible, so the next person doesn't have to wait. The tradition of Luminaries like Sticky Green and Moshe L. is to simply take your time with your own bong hit, and just pack the next person a fresh one, to enjoy, wholely and peaceably. Both ways are holy.

it's good to respect silence when high, speaking only really important insights or real physical priorities (like: "take this exit off the highway, over here!" ) Words don't nessesarily work quite as well when stoned, although ideas and feelings can still be communicated... it's not a good time for abstract detail.

Night-time in general isn't, and marijuana is in the aspect of the moonligh: hazy and romantic. Don't talk too much, but feel welcome to open up and express the passion, as it comes. Again, don't get caught up in details within stories, feelings will move easier, especially warmth.

From there on, trust the body and it's needs, but not it's desires. Don't eat so fast, because you will not get satisfied-- it's better to fast for some hours after smoking, maybe do something physical like running around, singing, pouring your heart out before your G-d. sometimes just massaging your stomach, couphing and burping can be great.

Marijuana, Chrissie Hynde teaches us, is really good for helping to be able to focus on a task, but not for switching focuses. Try to have the focus set before you start smoking,and slip right into it after the high starts to set in. My cousin Andrew, when we first started smoking, told me that weed smoking is a supplementary activity-- it's usually not something you do by itself, but a way of highlighting another activity, ranging from washing dishes to playing guitar.

Mushrooms, LSD and psychdelics, on the other hand, are a whole other Zach.
(continued soon.)