I am admittedly a late bloomer. Or maybe a constant re-bloomer. My introduction to marijuana came in my late twenties when a friend passed me his glass blown bowl.
I swallowed a slight panic, residue from my Super Christian Days. He laughed as he instructed me on how to light the green, keep my thumb over the hole on the side and then release as I inhaled. I fumbled and he held the lighter so there was one less thing I had to negotiate.
Much to my surprise, I was not struck by lightning. Nor did I jump out of the window like that poor girl in Reefer Madness. My mind calmed, and I felt incredibly present. And funny. I was funny. He was funny. Like something in my chest unwound and I could laugh.
At the time I was transitioning from church to a small yoga studio. Having submerged myself in church life for many years, I was exhausted. All the rules, all the maleness of God, all the exclusion—it finally burned through my soul. I still ached for something sacred, just not dictated so heavily. I needed freedom to explore.
That small yoga studio was the first place I could truly breathe. I also experienced a vision in Savasana, corpse pose, where all of the pain and sadness that belonged to the students I counseled lifted up and out of me. I could see how their pain was separate from mine for just a moment. I had never been able to separate that out before.
And with my introduction to yoga, I was suddenly immersed in the world of weed. Most of my yoga friends smoked. The community of sharing cannabis was new for me, and I reveled in the inclusion. The way that people came together around a plant.
Still, when I was invited to participate in a shamanic ceremony where the plant was utilized, I was hesitant. At first I thought I would simply enjoy the ikaros, sacred songs, and the atmosphere of healing. But when the pipe was passed, something inside me decided it was okay, good even, to inhale. With intention to work with head medicinal plant spirits, and the shaman singing the ancient songs, I drifted into a great wide sea where I felt how loved I was. Just a drop in the ocean, but a unique drop. In that warmth, I felt healing move through my heart, body and mind.
It was then, that I learned the power of intention with the use of cannabis. Not just calming, fun, or community, but a whole different level of healing. A spiritual level. A soul level.
My story might have ended there. But on the invitation of a friend, I made my way to the West Coast. Local farms, some intentional with their growing practices, and others only intending profit. I could feel how the plants were effected by whoever held the land, and whether or not harsh chemicals were used. The plants that were treated with respect, and honored by the growers held a special kind of magic
It was in this environment that I understood just how medicinal ganja could really be. It was in this environment that my recent book was channeled. When a grower spoke of the plants as beings he meditated with, I understood. Cannabis is a gift, with the potential to be so much more than mind numbing or giggle inducing.
As with all gifts from the earth, respect, intention and honor make all the difference.
Author: Joy Lotus
Editor: Travis May