The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Moses in the High Places

March 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

According to Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, psychedelic drugs formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times.

Writing in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy, he says concoctions based on the bark of the acacia tree, frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, contain the same molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.

“The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an altered state of awareness,” writes Shanon. “In advanced forms of ayahuasca inebriation, the seeing of light is accompanied by profound religious and spiritual feelings.”

[source]

This is related to number 8 on my list. I wasn’t aware at the time that Acacia was hallucinogenic or I would have mentioned it.

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