Sacred Herb @ The London 420 Cannabis Rally 2014

“The herb is the key to new understanding of the self, the universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness” says Rastafarian philosophy.

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Since the 1960s the appreciation of drugs as ‘gateways to perception’, as fast route to discoveries of the true cosmic nature of the Self, has been pretty firmly stamped out from the collective culture. The ridiculing of hippies since the 70s and criminalisation of raves in the 90s both served to keep the news that people were experiencing massive breakthroughs in understanding via drug use totally out of the story. But the great master Bob Marley said “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.”

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Nowadays drugs are largely seen as commodities in our consumer culture, quick fixes to help us unwind from hard graft, or as crutches for those who cannot cope with life’s demands. The changes to legislation regarding cannabis in the United States is certainly changing things however. Campaigns to legalise cannabis use focus on the medical benefits we could be getting from the herb, and the totally reasonable assertion that we should be free to recreate with substances of our own choice, especially marijuana, which causes much less criminality, violence and hospital admissions than does alcohol.

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Cannabis has been used as a medicine and as a spiritual opener in cultures the world over for thousands of years. This is an ancestral line we can call on to strengthen our campaigning.  But lacking in that campaigning at the moment is any mention of the sacred use of the weed. British people are so confused about spirituality, they largely wish it would go away. Self-discovery through shamanic use of ayahuasca is gaining in popularity, but the potential of the ganja leaf to open our inner eyes is not mentioned. Yet on the most holy day of the Christian calendar, thousands of children of the goddess met in the trees of Hyde Park and lit up the holy herb. The police ring around us could be seen as oppressive, but it was also highly symbolic of a new age dawning – they were not interfering, not making mass arrests, they were passively acknowledging our right to smoke. And smoke we did, walking in the steps of our pagan ancestors, plus Hindu saddhu holy men, Rastafarians, and alongside modern religions such as Santo Daime, or the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church which consider cannabis to be the eucharist (claiming it as an oral tradition from Ethiopia dating back to the time of Christ). Ram Dass is a modern spiritual teacher who testifies to the role cannabis played in opening his perceptions. There are many reggae songs that link smoking with praising Jah, installing into the marijuana our confident faith that god is ultimately in control and ‘everything little thing is gonna be all right’.

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“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” Carl Sagan

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I can testify to the healing and opening role the weed has played in my life. Sure, in order to find wholeness and happiness I needed to educate my mind too, find good teachers and books and choose to be open to a spiritual reality, which involved facing myself – healing unskilful mental patterns, healing long term life wounds, and accepting the presence of divinity in the universe and in my life. Luckily the sacred herb is there to help us do all these things, and feel good while we doing them. I caught onto the idea of healing through Self Knowledge when facing death due to AIDS in the mid 90s. I did not die, I discovered a lot about the real meaning of healing. Marijuana was a teacher and healer to me, and it can be for the world.

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“The herb ganja is the healing of the nations.” said by Bob Marley and many others. The stony faced passive aggression of the police at the Cannabis Rally (and later on in the day not so passive) results from their resistance to LOVE, to JOY, to SOUL FREEDOM. Those of us who believe in and live these qualities will be back again next 420.

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