The Jewish people once had Shamans (healers) who were known as Baal Shems. The Baal Shems would conduct ritual ceremonies of holy communion with the sacred sacrament plant medicines. Sadly, persecution by Rome and its institution of the Catholic Church the last two thousands years drove our ceremonial practices into extinction.
Redemption is a central concept in Judaism that refers to the restoration of the world to a state of harmony (harmonia) and goodness (tov). Jewish tradition sees redemption as a process that involves not only the Jewish people but also the entire world. Redemption entails restoring the homeland of the Jewish people, the return of the exiles, and the coming of the Messiah.
Today Am Yisrael (the people of Israel) are scattered all around the world. Many Rabbis and researchers have spent decades tracing the whereabouts of the Lost Tribes of Israel. From the Lemba Tribe in Africa, to the Igbo people in Nigeria, to Polynesia, in the United States to the Pashtuns in Afghanistan over 100,000,000 people today trace their ancestors to the Tribes of Israel. Some estimate the number is greater than 300 million. So how can the people of Israel bring about the redemption of the Tribes of Yisrael?
As a member of the Tribe, I believe we have to go back to our roots. Am Yisrael (the people of Israel) are indigenous persons which means we once lived an indigenous way of life. Redemption starts with redeeming our identity: we, the Jewish people, are indigenous persons. All 12 tribes of Israel are indigenous to our native lands. Torah, our sacred scripture, commands us to live an indigenous way of life. The Tribes of Israel were, are and always will be a nation of Indigenous Tribes.
Rediscovering Jewish Shamanism: The Forgotten Baal Shems and Sacred Plant Medicines
Jewish ancestors were “masters of sorcery and shamanism” who “knew the language of the trees and the grasses, the songs of the frogs and the cicadas, the thoughts of horses and sheep. They followed rivers to discover truths, and climbed mountains to liberate their spirits. They journeyed beyond their bodily limitations, brought people back from the dead, healed the incurable, talked raging rivers into holding back their rapids, turned pints into gallons, brought down the rains in times of drought, walked through fire, even suspended the orbit of the earth around the sun.” All of these statements have been proved true by Rabbi Gershon Winkler – a noted Torah scholar and expert in Indigenous Judaism – in his seminal book Magic of the Ordinary: Discovery the Shamanic in Judaism.
Jewish Shamans were known as Baal Shems and Shamanic practices are codified into the Tanakh. We were and must once again become a land-based society that lived a way of life codified by Torah. The Torah scripture teaches there are two Torahs. One created by black fire and the other white fire. One that is revealed unto the people (written down) and the other unrevealed (oral teachings).
And clarify to them the statutes and the two Torahs, and make known to them the way in which they shall walk, and the actions which they shall perform. ~ Exodus 18:20
Black fire represents אמת – truth – that is clear and indisputable. כי האמת חותמו של הקדוש ברוך הוא “Truth is God’s signature in this world”. Black fire is the torah that is revealed to the people, the torah that is written down and passed from one generation to the next.
The nature of the Torah of white fire is the higher form of the revealed Torah of black fire that the Jewish people are called to perform as God’s people on the earth. The Torah of white fire surrounds and gives shape to the Torah of black fire, so that the two Torahs are one, and in need of each other to fully express the will of the Creator. The white fire of the Torah is often associated with the concept of the “light of God,” which is said to be the source of all knowledge and wisdom. In the Kabbalah, the white fire of the Torah is considered to be a powerful and transformative force that can help individuals to connect with the divine and to gain a deeper understanding of the universe and their place within it. White fire is חסד – loving kindness. It represents the goal of the Torah. כי כל ענין התורה הוא לקיים הטוב האלקי “The whole purpose of the Torah is to manifest God’s goodness in the world.”
To live Torah is to live an indigenous way of life. I call this the Torah of Chesed (loving-kindness). Indigenous peoples don’t have a religion, they have a way of life. In the Americas, the Native Tribes call it the Red Road or El Camino Rojo (the red path). Their way of life is based on Chesed. These Indigenous nations have lived sustainably with nature for thousands of years.
Returning to Indigenous Roots: Reintegrating Sacred Plant Medicines into Jewish Culture for Healing and Redemption
The Jewish people once had Shamans (healers) who were known as Baal Shems. The Baal Shems would conduct ritual ceremonies of holy communion with the sacred sacrament plant medicines. Sadly, persecution by Rome and its institution of the Catholic Church the last two thousands years drove our ceremonial practices into extinction. Today Rabbinical scholars like Harry Rozenberg and other trailblazers have proven how anointing oils made of cannabis and psychedelic sacraments were used by our ancestors to honor HaShem (Creator).
Psychedelics are natural medicines. They are found in nature as plants, fungi and substances that produce altered states of consciousness, thought, and perception. Natural medicine has been shown to be effective for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders and PTSD. Natural psychedelic medicine not only cures mental health disorders but it has been scientifically proven to induce mystical states of union with the divine.
Natural psychedelic medicines have captured the attention of scientists and western medicine as a potential solution for this surging mental health crisis. At this moment, western society is suffering from a mental health epidemic that has grown like a wildfire where now 86 million Americans or ¼ people in the US are suffering from a mental health disorder. The psychedelic movement and the effectiveness of psychedelic therapy is causing lawmakers to change their tune on prohibition as legislative movements in the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada are demanding access to the right to heal with psychedelic medicine.
Psychedelic Medicine and Peace-Building: Could Psychedelics Foster Diplomacy Between Nations?
The usefulness of psychedelic drugs in creating inner peace, resolving inner conflict, and overcoming trauma has been well-documented. What if psychedelic medicine could create a new era of diplomacy and peace between nations? In May 2021, researchers published a paper in Frontiers in Pharmacology that described a study where 13 Palestinians and 18 Israelis took ayahuasca together in an attempt to determine if the world's most powerful psychedelic could serve as a tool for peace-building. A few excerpts of interviews from the study are especially moving, and they highlight how psychedelic experiences can help people process collective trauma, lead to new empathic bonds, and shift rigid narratives.
A Jewish-Israeli participant concurred: “When someone is saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in a ceremony, one can feel how the room is flooded with love and how people burst the limits of their normal consciousness and connect to something beyond. […] It is a moment of great expansion…and suddenly when everyone feels it and connects to more truth, to more love. […] This is a huge process of healing…”
Psychedelics have saved the lives of thousands and the good news about psychedelics is spreading like wildfire. The healing power of psychedelics inspired me to change my life. The medicine inspired me to become an activist to advocate for our human right to heal with natural medicine. It inspired me to become a healer and student of indigenous medicine. And it inspired me to spend two years writing my book The Psychedelic Origin of religion.
The most interesting learning I took away from writing my book The Psychedelic Origin of Religion is that my people have a history of shamanism and healing with sacred psychedelic sacraments. I know now that redemption will come when we return to healing with these sacred natural medicines in an indigenous way. Psychedelic medicines come from and are stewarded by Indigenous Nations. While western medicine has failed millions struggling with life threatening mental health disorders, Indigenous medicine has helped fill the void. Tens of thousands of westerns are traveling annually to receive healing in this way.
Just as many are being healed by Indigenous Tribes and natural medicine, it is time for the jewish people to return to our indigenous roots, relearn the way of Torah and reintegrate sacred plant medicines into our way of life so that we can begin realizing the prophecy of the redemption of the Tribes of Yisrael.
My name is Matthew Lawrence יונה Weintrub. My Hebrew name is Yonah (יונה) which means dove. I am the messenger of peace. As the Chief of the Tribes of Yisrael, I oversee an alliance of a number of indigenous persons and my life is dedicated to the redemption of my people. I am the founder of the Heal America DAO & Ohai – initiatives to heal earth and fulfill the mission of Tikkun Ha’Olam. I am a partner at Hayulima Spiritual Sanctuary, Angel Investor at Jai-Kisan.com, author of the Psychedelic Origin of Religion, Rabbi of the Chesed Torah and student of the Red Path with the Fuego Sagrado de Itzachilatlan.
You may also like our podcast: The Psychedelic Origin of Religion with Matthew Weintrub