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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Archaeologists find evidence of ceremonial psychedelic use at ancient biblical site

They found several plants known to be connected to the worship of female Greek deities

Archaeologists discover evidence of ceremonial psychedelic use at ancient Israeli biblical site
Gath, Israel. Photo credit: Aren Maeirs, one of the study authors, via the Armstrong Institute of Biblical Archaeology

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that psychoactive plants were ceremonially ingested at Philistine temples in the ancient biblical city of Gath, within what is now the state of Israel.

Professor and study author Aren Maeir from Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University said the temples were “the first from an early period in Israel to have undergone a deep study of botanical remains,” in a statement to The Times of Israel late last month.

They discovered remnants of the entheogenic plant poison darnel and other non-psychoactive plants that are mainly known to be connected with the worship of female Greek deities. This indicates that there were foreign influences on Philistine culture in Gath, which are potentially linked to the people’s origins in Greece.

“Poison darnel is a natural source of ergot fungi containing an LSD-type alkaloid, known to be hallucinogenic,” the study authors said. “Its use in cultic contexts as a psychoactive is mentioned in relation to the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, associated with cults of agriculture.”

Philistine culture flourished between the 12th and sixth centuries BC, but their cultural traditions remain, for the most part, a mystery.

“Despite intensive research on Philistine culture, relatively little is known about their cultic practices, including the use of plants in ritual contexts,” the authors said.

The biblical figure Goliath is the most well-known Philistine of antiquity.

Other ritual plants discovered by the researchers at the two Gath temples examined include the chaste tree, silvery scabious (Lomelosia argentea) and crown daisy flower. The Archaeologists believe the Philistines added psychoactive and medicinal plants to food which was then ritually consumed to attain spiritual enlightenment. Many of them settled in what is now the state of Israel just over 3,200 years ago before disappearing around 700 BC.

Their findings were published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

“These widespread Mediterranean plants connect Philistines with cultic rituals, mythology, and paraphernalia related to early Greek deities, such as Hera, Artemis, Demeter and Asclepios,” lead researcher Suembikya Frumin said.

Read more: Incannex and partner Clarion open Australia’s first psychedelic therapy clinic in Melbourne

Read more: Filament Health ships psilocybin drug to Australia, first country legally prescribing psychedelics

Psychedelics attract Israeli interest amid unprecedented turmoil

Four hundred survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel may soon be the subject of a study on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The initiative would be led by the nation’s branch of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic studies, The Intercept reported last month.

Intercept writer Mattha Busby says MAPS Israel is currently finalizing agreements with hospitals in the country before requesting approval for the research from its Ministry of Health. The non-profit psychedelics advocacy organization plans to host a psychedelic medicine conference in Tel Aviv this July.

The Global Impact Officer for MAPS, Natalie Ginsberg, says the organization has been working to increase access for Palestinians as well. “MAPS is continuing to create more educational opportunities for prospective Palestinian therapists at this heart-wrenchingly traumatic and polarized time,” she said.

Busby also wrote a piece for VICE News in November where he discussed how Palestinians and Israelis had been jointly participating in low-key ayahuasca ceremonies.

“Under the radar and in recent years, some Israelis and Palestinians have found themselves in psychedelic ceremonies where they have drunk ayahuasca together,” Busby said, “forging deep bonds that have been documented by researchers.”

“Some now believe that group use of psychedelics may provide an opportunity for these communities to reconcile.”

Canada’s Filament Health Corp. (OTCQB: FLHLF) just sent a shipment of its botanical psilocybin drug to Israel. It will be used for a clinical study at Hadassah University Hospital aimed at treating mental health conditions and addiction.


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