Episode 20 - Five Ways to Use Pot for Spiritual Exploration

Teacher, author, plant explorer, Stephen Gray's new book is all about using the plant to connect -- with others and with our own higher powers.


Botanists surmise that our favorite plant debuted on earth about 10,000 years ago in present day Kazakhstan (ancestral home of Borat). Over time, humans learned that it served a multitude of purposes and they carried it with them as they migrated East and West. The fibers made clothing and shelter. The oil from hemp seeds was a food containing all the essential fatty acids to keep infants alive. Medicine men used it in their healing arsenals, tribal leaders burned it in huts when negotiating peace between  warring factions, and people who ate it said it brought them “closer to god” (whoever she may have been).

The spiritual uses of cannabis aren’t really a mainstage topic these days. The rush toward legalization (and the modern worship of the almighty capitalist god, money) seem to be driving events. But it would be a shame to ignore the connection that this “ancient plant spirit ally,” as author Stephen Gray puts it, has maintained with human beings in their search for awakening.

Gray -- teacher, writer and explorer of sacramental medicines -- is the editor of Cannabis and Spirituality, a fine collection of 17 essays, ranging from the practical (using proper doses and strains to as spirit guides) to the mystical (interviews with shamans working with ayahuasca and cannabis to explore consciousness). What I like about Gray’s approach is that it’s not dogmatic. He acknowledges that not all spiritual practices support using substances to reach awakening, but he gives full voice to those who contend that spiritual practice without “entheogens” proceeds at a snail’s pace. The contributors to this anthology all believe that the “kindly and wily” cannabis plant can amplify human experience and help us appreciate life, stir the imagination, open the heart and lead the way out of our noisy minds to inner stillness.

In her introduction to this collection, the brilliant psychiatrist and author Dr. Julie Holland, says that the burgeoning flower of the female plant “unlocks…the yin, the receptive energy" and is a useful tool to counter the excess of “yang energy of our world today – bombs and bullets, rape, corporate greed.”

Possibly. But think about this: Whether you use cannabis as a spirit guide, medicine, or mind smasher,  is it an accident or a miracle that there is something that grows in the ground that can gently and rather harmlessly help us feel connected – to each other, ourselves and to nature?

Learn more about using the plant to get to a higher plane by listening to this podcast, then share it with a like-minded someone.

Joe Dolce