Ritual of the Last Supper
It's Maundy Thursday once again and time to celebrate the Eucharist of The Last Supper where Jesus gave his disciples bread, saying, 'This is my body,' and wine, saying, 'This is my blood.' Today, Christians celebrate this tradition with a communion of crackers and grape juice, most without a second thought as to its origin. Yet, a few might still wonder why a ritual so blatantly cannibalistic would be accepted without question into modern day. Most are shocked to learn this tradition descends to us from sacrificial sun rites, the drinking of serpent venom and the consumption of psychotropic plants to induce visions - all under the guise of winemaking and communal consumption.
Professor of psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Benny Shanon, proposes psychotropic plants, such as the Acacia bush, Amanita muscaria mushroom and Peganum Harmala bush - all containing the powerful hallucinogenic DiMethylTryptamine, or DMT - were used extensively in Israelite religion. Like the hallucinogenic Soma rituals in India, psychedelic mushroom brew in Egypt and Ayahuasca ceremonies in South America, Shanon suggests that ingestion of entheogenic wine by Jesus and Moses before him may account for many of the visions and miracles described in the Bible.
Indeed, acacia wood was considered holy and thus used exclusively in the building of the Temple of Jerusalem, including the Ark of the Covenant. Shanon describes five episodes in Moses' life that closely resemble psychedelic experiences, such as his vision of God in the burning bush which was probably an acacia plant. More detail can be found here.
We might wonder if the grail that held the wine at the Last Supper was holy because it was filled with some kind of hallucinogenic wine. After all, Jesus did see himself as continuing the traditions of Moses. It was also not unusual to mix serpent venom and blood with the holy wine. Viewed as a kind of healing agent, and recently found to have actual benefits to human health, there is a long tradition of serpent worship from India, through Babylonia to Egypt which is associated with wine. In particular, Greek Dionysus and Roman Bacchus were gods of wine and intoxication - both of which were depicted with serpents.
Ritual entheogenic wine can also be found in the Etruscan religious practices of pre-Roman Italy, thought to be descended from Vedic Hindu beliefs. In the introduction of his book 'The Sistine Secrets,' Rabbi Benjamin Blech explains that the word 'vatika' comes from the Etruscan name for a bitter grape used to make hallucinogenic wine and that it was connected to an Etruscan goddess, also named Vatika, who was worshipped on a hilltop necropolis just outside of Rome.
Records show that a group of female oracles, known as the Vaticinia, were brought to this hill from abroad (probably India) who tended the garden and brewed vatika wine to help them communicate with the goddess. To this day, the Latin word vaticinia and Italian vaticanare actually mean 'prophecy' and are used to describe the area known as 'Ager Vaticanus' or Vatican Hill. The episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church then became known as The Holy See.
The deeper origin of the word vatika relates to the 'tika' or 'tikal' dot or jewelry Hindu women place on their forehead to indicate the third eye. The word 'tika' then corresponds to the pineal gland (that looks like a pine cone) which is an actual embedded eye with retina in the center of the human brain. In more primitive animals the pineal gland has a cornea and locates closer to the top of the skull (corresponding to the Hindu crown chakra) and is thought to help regulate biological activities. In addition to melatonin, the pineal gland is thought to produce DMT, related to dreaming and near-death experiences (see Rick Strassman's book 'DMT: The Spirit Molecule'). So, vatika as an entheogenic wine would then help open the third eye and induce dreamlike visions.
The swas-tika symbol, used to mark Vedic temples on Hindu maps, also referred to the swirling temple or 'tika' of the brain's pineal gland - symbolized as the spiraling Kundalini serpent said to wrap around the spine and emanate out of the crown chakra. This is the cobra protruding from the forehead in Egyptian murals and the likely meaning behind the conspicuous sculpture of a large pine cone in the Vatican courtyard.
Now it happens that Hindu monasteries are also called vatika. This raises the question could there have once been a single world religion based on Vedic beliefs and the practice of stimulating the third eye through entheogenic plants? Given that Vatican Hill was originally a vatika Hindu temple housing Vaticinia women (probably from India) who drank from a vat of vatika wine to hallucinate through their swas-tika, Christianity certainly appears to have descended from ancient Indian shamanism incorporating entheogenic herbs. Several books, such as 'Persephone's Quest' and 'The Serpent Grail,' support this conclusion, suggesting this as the true significance of The Holy Grail and communion ritual.