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Soma - Sacred Drink

Indians were among the first to record mention of cannabis’s psychoactive properties being used intentionally for personal enjoyment and to relieve anxiety. It was heavily used in religious practices to heighten spiritual experiences. Much of this information was recorded in the four Vedas, a body of religious texts originating in India and composed between 1500 - 900 BCE.

Atharva Veda (sometimes referred to as Knowledge of Magical Formulas) is the last written of the four Vedas. The Atharva Veda lists five sacred and essential plants which release us from anxiety. Both the plant soma, and cannabis are among the five essential sacred medicinal plants mentioned in the Vedas. Soma is considered to be the best of the five sacred plants.

In ancient India, the juice from the soma plant formed the base of a drink which was also called soma. The identity of the plant soma has been lost to history but we know it to be a type of stalk which was pressed between stones to extract the juice, filtered through sheep’s wool and then mixed with water, milk and according to some scholars, cannabis.

Soma, the beverage, was referred to as the “nectar of the Gods” and “the elixir of immortality”. After it was offered as a libation to the gods, the remainder of the soma was consumed by the priests and the sacrificer. Soma was highly valued for its hallucinogenic effect.

“We have drunk of the soma; we have become immortal, we have seen the light; we have found the Gods…”

Rig Veda 8.48.3

There was such great mysticism and spiritual power surrounding Soma the plant and Soma the beverage, that Soma then became considered a deity in its own right. The personified deity Soma was the “master of plants,” the healer of disease, the bestower of riches and the God of the Moon.

The plant shown below in the Himalayas, is known by it’s Nepali name, Somlata or Plant of the Moon. This may be the fabled Soma.

More about Soma here:


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