I am a stoner. It is a taboo, illegal in some places, shunned by the norm of society, regulated, and probably makes it difficult for me to get a good job... all the things society and my parents wanted me to believe. I smoke legally for medical reasons. This isn't like those young guys who have trouble sleeping and stock up on edibles from the local dispensary for a night on the town. No, I smoke so I can bend over to feed my dog, get out of the bathroom long enough to check on my toddler, and I smoke to commune with my Gods. That's right, I am a Pagan and use cannabis, sometimes with other entheogens, to journey into other worlds for spiritual visions or advice. I never thought it would be taboo in the Pagan community, what with all the other tolerances which are embraced, but I guess every community has a limit.
Cannabis is an herb, and a powerful one at that. Good ol' Scott Cunningham makes mention of it in his Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, under the safe term 'hemp' in my 1998 edition printing:
“Folk Names: Chanvre, Gallowgrass, Ganeb, Ganja, Grass, Hanf, Kif,
Marijuana, Neckweede, Tekrouri, Weed
Powers: Healing, Love, Visions, Meditations” (p. 121).
Cannabis has long been used in medicine and magic all over the world. In Europe, there was a medieval belief that tossing hemp seeds around a church building to see visions would show one's future spouse. In ancient China it was prescribed to relieve menstrual cramps and burned to exorcise disease causing demons. It was only during the last century in which the 'reefer madness' took hold and became criminalized... a harmless plant that produced three times more oxygen then most trees.
From the mobs and sheep, I can understand their fear. But why, in the Pagan and Witchcraft communities, is it something to be poo-pooed about? I don't see anything wrong, at an open outdoor festival, with smoking some with a little mugwort added to aid in any trance or prophetic work. It doesn't mean I cannot do it without the aid... on the contrary, I can fly like no one's business. But I have a medical condition which, whether I am excited or upset, set off a horrible chain reaction of gastric-intestinal instabilities I am too much a lady to mention... even on THIS, my oftentimes raw blog.
The thing is... it shouldn't MATTER that I am smoking pot. It shouldn't be even an issue if after a good harvest I want to throw some herb on the fire in offering of gratitude to my Gods. Why would anyone be offended? Because there is a stigma behind ingesting or taking into oneself mind-altering substances; I believe for the simple fact it enhances already dormant/active psychic skills and spiritual experiences. Controlling my mind, body, and eventually my spirit will happen no more through shame or hiding. This is an essential part of who I am. The only person who could ever tell me not to would be my daughter; I would never touch it again should she ask me. But I have a freedom over my body, what I put into it and offer to the Gods. Whatsoever grows from the Earth is good and has a purpose. The spirit of this plant gives hope to the very sick, dreams to those who wish for sleep, and the ability to seek out the calm corners of the universe, pull up the starry blanket, and rest in the arms of the eternal Ma. And some chocolate.
Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1998. Print.