The Psychedelic Origin of Religion with Matthew Weintrub

In this episode Sacha and Matthew talk about the fascinating psychedelic brews from ancient history. They question if our account of Christian history is correct, and even suggest that psychedelics are in part responsible for the very concept of communing with God. Did Moses really see a burning bush or was he just tripping? Tune in and find out!

In this episode Sacha and Matthew talk about the fascinating psychedelic brews from ancient history. They question if our account of Christian history is correct, and even suggest that psychedelics are in part responsible for the very concept of communing with God. Did Moses really see a burning bush or was he just tripping? Tune in and find out!

Episode Summary

Matthew Weintrub is a healer, psychedelic activist, scholar, entrepreneur, and author of the book “The Psychedelic Origin of Religion,” an exploration of the common heritage of psychedelics and shamanism in all world religions. Drawing on extensive research and personal experience, Matthew details how the use of psychedelics in spiritual rituals can be traced back to the earliest human societies.

You can purchase his book over on Amazon here.

Follow Matthew on Instagram over at @hetryb

Sacha: Give us a two minute intro of what this book is about.

Matthew: Yeah, it’s a trippy journey. I would say that the book details how both Eastern and Western civilizations trace back the roots of all these religions and practices to a harmonic way of life, an indigenous way of life, and ceremonial practices that involve using psychedelic sacraments.

Sacha: So, the fundamental argument that I think the book makes is that any of the modern traditional practices or any of the modern religions we see, even if they are from the Abrahamic faiths, do have a strong origin in psychedelics; they were what got them to that spot in terms of their ritual and practice.

Am I correct in saying that?

Matthew: Ya, 100% correct. 

Sacha: Are there any instances from the chapters that link together Asian culture, psychedelics, Christianity and/or Islam to demonstrate how psychedelics could have potentially been utilized along the way?

Matthew: Yeah. We can kind of start with the modern age, right? I trace back the history to get to the modern age where those who are familiar with psychedelic medicine understand its progress, right? People in the movement are working to change the laws to give people the right to heal with these sacred plant medicines.

But for people at home that don’t even know what a psychedelic is, that is a plant, a natural substance that really alters your perception allows you to tap into the divine. And I’m not just claiming that. That is now backed up by research from Johns Hopkins, et cetera. So now we have the science of how psychedelics help us heal from trauma, like mental illness, mental health disorders. One in four Americans have a mental illness.

But then we see this mystical component to it, and modern science doesn’t really know too much about that; however, these indigenous cultures do. So there are these indigenous cultures, especially the Native American cultures of the North and South Americas, that are still living in this way.They have that way of life, which is fascinating, and it just starts creating questions in my mind. I have a vision to ask the question: Do all these religions have origins in psychedelics? Is what I’m experiencing common to what I grew up with, since I was raised Jewish, but in a spiritually dry environment? I think many people who are part of a spiritual community have walked away from this society because it has become so spiritually dry.

It’s almost like processed food–what’s been left over, you know–and it was really that questioning of “Does this exist?” And when you go back and trace it all through, whether it’s Yeshua (Jesus) known as the Christ or Buddha or Muhammad (the Prophet Muhammad), the Jewish people, they were all doing these types of ceremonies using sacred sacraments.

Sacha: Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the Torah, let’s talk about the Old Testament.

So Moses saw a bush on fire. Was it really on fire? Was he taking some sort of sacrament that connected him with the divine? Do you have some examples here of where this could maybe be true?

Matthew: Yeah, totally. Part of it is our fundamentalist interpretation of scripture, whether it’s New Testament, Old Testament, people are taking things that face value. And the problem with that is the original text. You have go back to the original language, right? Which is why the Jewish people teach Hebrew and they’re pretty good at not changing the scriptures.

If we are to truly understand the hidden message, we must delve deeper into Scripture. As told in the Torah, there exists both a “black” and “white” Torah – signifying light versus shadow – where only the black is revealed to mankind. We have forgotten about that lost white Torah however; what secrets do its words hold?

And so, we know from archaeological research that they have found cannabis to be the key component of the anointing oils. There is documented evidence of anointing oils being made with highly concentrated cannabis. These oils were used to anoint kings such as King Saul and King Solomon.

There are descriptions in the scripture of after this happening, these anointings that they are kind of going crazy speaking in tongues because they are literally having a vision or having something that is similar to a psychedelic experience.

And you see that in the literature it’s more than tha. I mean, we have this word, manna.

Part of the scripture is talking about this bread of heaven. Heavenly grain. So where does a heavenly grain come from? What is a heavenly grain?

Sacha: So for people who don’t know what manna is, traditionally, we understand manna to be the heavenly bread that came down into the desert when the Israelites were wandering in the desert for 40 years, right?

So they survived on this manna. Are you saying it wasn’t literally a physical unleavened bread that fell, but perhaps something else?

Matthew: Yeah, I would make an argument and this is probably the weakest argument in the documented history of Judaism and psychedelics: that manna is a magic mushroom.

And the reason I say it is due to thunderstorms is that we know this from research done in Japan; thunderstorms induce the growth of mushrooms through lightning. This is why the Hindus actually referred to the mushroom, and the name they gave it had a meaning derived from thunder, since that’s how they associated it.

And so, first off, the manna didn’t spoil overnight. If I go into my kitchen cabinet, I have some dried mushrooms; I don’t know what variety, but any variety will last a while. And you can’t eat them. I do feel that that is a metaphorical description: they weren’t just eating manna. But if you were eating that every day, you wouldn’t get hungry; you would be content and fine. I’ve done it as a ritualistic practice, so I can imagine.


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