Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Does it matter if MOSES was hallucinating?

One who sees with the Divine Eye (dibba cakkhu) sees indeed (lilminx16/deviantart.com)
This is Peganum harmala, known locally as Syrian rue. Is it the Bible's "Burning Bush"?
Face to faith
Flowering acacia tree (Univ. of Las Vegas)
"Does it matter if Moses was hallucinating when he encountered the burning bush?" asks Pete Tobias.
In the third chapter of the biblical book of Exodus there is an account of how Moses hears the voice of God talking to him via a bush that "burned but was not consumed."
According to Benny Shanon, professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the explanation for Moses' experience in the wilderness is that he was under the influence of an extract from an acacia tree [in conjunction with a bush known as Syrian rue] that altered his perception of time and made him believe that God was speaking to him through the burning bush.
    Entheogens? Oh my! (W)
  • EDITOR'S NOTE: It is interesting to note that Dr. Carlos Castaneda when speaking of the entheogenic cactus peyote in The Teachings of Don Juan, whose psychoactive substance is known as mescaline, spoke of seeing Mescalito (Spanish for "little Mescaline," the personification of the alkaloid mescaline) in and through the plant.
  • Did Moses see harmaline, the psychoactive alkaloid in the "burning bush" Syrian rue? It sounds reasonable. A deva can easily come through as a plant-spirit-being like any of the many, many "gods" and "messenger angels" (gandharvas) we read about in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
  • The book The Teachings of Don Juan is divided into two sections. The first, The Teachings, is a first-person narrative that documents Castaneda's initial interactions with don Juan. He speaks of his encounters with Mescalito (a teaching spirit inhabiting all peyote plants)... More]
The real "Burning Bush" of the Bible?
Is this theory -- that Moses was high on drugs rather than actually encountering a manifestation of God [theopany] -- one that rocks the faith of believers to the core?

No doubt we shall hear cries of outrage from those who see themselves as guardians of the [mystical] revealed scriptures that, for many, underpin our civilization.

Egypt, Africa: baby Moses rescued from the Nile (European art by Nicolas Poussin, 1638).
My character was so stoned (Charlton Heston)
But it's as good an explanation as any for what is a personal account of that biblical experience:

A bush in the wilderness, burning but not consumed by the fire -- Moses was on his own (apart from a few of his father-in-law's sheep), hot, weary and, well, stoned.
Dr. Carlos Castaneda knows.
In the context of the story, Moses was also a fugitive, on the run from a country where his people were enslaved, where he was wanted for the murder of an Egyptian, and where he had been brought up in the ruler's palace.
And what about that traumatic experience of being put in a basket in a river as an infant? With that kind of past, who could blame him for wanting to take mind-altering drugs? Or at least reflecting on his life...
Moses lit up with tablets of the law
In the end, no one except Moses can say what Moses saw. Those who believe that he then went on to write the first five books of the Bible (one of the titles for them in Jewish tradition is, after all, The Five Books of Moses) will say that the burning bush account represents an accurate first-hand report of what happened, based on Moses' memory.
But we know that memory is a bit dodgy (perhaps an effect of those drugs?) -- Mount Sinai, where the Ten Commandments [similar in many ways to Buddhism's Eight and Ten Precepts] were received ("imaginings of a people in an altered state of awareness," according to Shanon), is given a different name (Horeb) when Moses retells the story in Deuteronomy. More
Meditation is a better way to see auras, psychedelic colors, and energy in plants.

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