Hotboxing the Holy of Holies: A Panel on the Psychoactive Rituals of Ancient Israel


Join a group of experts discussing the recent discovery of cannabis in an ancient shrine and the psychoactive traditions of antiquity

Click this link to attend the webinar.

Who: Hosted by Miguel Conner of Aeon Byte Gnostic radio, scholar of ancient languages the Revd. Christopher Lawson, cannabis historian Chris Bennett, psychedelic historian Tom Hatsis and specialist in entheogens and scripture Danny Nemu will be excavating the historic and poetic layers of the Old Testament for their tasty stash of psychoactives in the light of this trailblazing discovery.

When and where: Our virtual tabernacle opens on Sunday 07 June 2020 at 7 PM BST | 11 AM PST, live on YouTube.

Burning questions about drugs in the Bible? We’re here to answer them! Simply tweet us @PsyPressUK, Instagram (@psychedelic_press) or Facebook comment us with the hashtag #holyhotboxquestions before or during the show, and we’ll serve them up to the panel.

For more on the dig, listen to “High Priests, Holy Smoke and Cannabis in the Temple” – a podcast from Haaretz Weekly on the archeological discovery in Israel, May 2020.

On two limestone altars from a Jahudite shrine dating from the 8th century BC, researchers from the Tel Aviv Institute of Archeology have identified traces of cannabis resin and frankincense. Newly possible with the advent of chemical sampling techniques, the composition of the deposits on these relics from within the shrine’s inner sanctum had remained a mystery since they were discovered in the 1960s. 

Catching kief is all about delayed gratification. And this is exponentially increased when the cannabis resin in question is approximately 3,000 years old. While this discovery has raised eyebrows worldwide as it has hit the headlines, to a certain sect of psychopharmacologians, it comes as no surprise. 


Miguel Conner engages with the most prominent writers and scholars on Gnosticism and early Christianity on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, a cult show dealing with the forbidden wisdom of the Gnostics that is more relevant than ever in a fracturing world. He is a professional storyteller, garage philosopher, and hedge historian, whose life quest is to take audiences from ancient connections to a modern meaning. The author of the critically acclaimed Voices of Gnosticismand Other Voices of Gnosticism (Bardic Press) and the post-apocalyptic vampire epic series, The Dark Instinct Trilogy (Warner Books/AB Press), as well as fantasy novel, The Executioner’s Daughter (Solstice Publishing), his articles and fiction have also appeared in such publications as The Gnostic Journal, The Heretic, Mindscape, Reality Sandwich, The Cimmerian Journal and many others including being an Author of the Month for Graham Hancock’s website. Miguel has lectured/appeared at such events as The Golden Dawn, Mythicist Milwaukee, the Alan Eisenberg Show (AM 1400 WRJN), Magick Radio (AM 1680 Chicago), Runesoup, Skeptiko, The Higherside Chats, and The Gnostic Countercultures Conference at Rice University.

Reverend Christopher Lawson studied Pre-med at McMaster University (Ontario), Theology at Atlantic Union College, (Mass.) minoring in Biblical languages (Chaldean/East Palestinian Aramaic, Classical Hebrew and Koiné Greek).  After graduate studies in Education and Psychology at Andrews University Graduate School (Mich.), he began a study of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.  In 2010, he was called as an expert witness in an important constitutional challenge, brought by the Church of the Universe in the Superior Court of Justice (Court File No. 1-586294), Toronto, Ontario.  He provided the court with historical, archaeological, linguistic and theological evidence.  He specifically explained the historical influence of entheogenic mystery rituals from diverse cultures and religions of antiquity and their complex impact on the development of Early Judaism, Intertestamental Judaism (including the Dead Sea Scroll community) and Early Christianity. His most recent periodical publication was “Jewish and Pauline Mythologization of the Jesus Story”, Journal of Higher Criticism” Vol. 13, No. 4 (2019):26-57.  This article included mention of Jesus’ use of entheogens.

Chris Bennett has been researching the historical role of cannabis in the spiritual life of humanity for more than a quarter of a century. He is co-author of Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion (1995); Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (2001); and author of Cannabis and the Soma Solution (2010); and Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal herbs and the Occult (2018) . He has also contributed chapters on the the historical role of cannabis in spiritual practices in books such as The Pot Book (2010), Entheogens and the Development of Culture (2013), Seeking the Sacred with Psychoactive Substances (2014), One Toke Closer to God (2017), Cannabis and Spirituality (2016) and Psychedelics Reimagined (1999). Bennett’s research has received international attention from the BBC , Guardian, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Vice and other media sources. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Tom Hatsis is a historian of psychedelia, witchcraft, magic, pagan religions, alternative Christianities, and the cultural intersection of those areas, who holds a master’s degree in history from Queens College. The author of The Witches’ Ointment and Psychedelic Mystery Traditions, he runs, a site dedicated to promoting the latest and best information pertaining to the Psychedelic Renaissance. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Danny Nemu’s fascination with all things apocalyptic began over twenty years ago, whilst baiting Jehovah’s Witnesses on his doorstep. He is the author of Science Revealed (2014; revised edition, 2020) and Neuro-Apocalypse (2016) and occasionally gives talks on ayahuasca and Santo Daime, on revelation in the history of science, and other wonderful things, which you can see on his website, Nemu’s End. He is the most compelling and optimistic apocalyptic in the jungle; and under lockdown, throughout which he has been sending dispatches from Bunker 23 on the elemental forces at play between the hype and the headlines in his “And Then Came the Virus” series. He is available for weddings and funerals.

Rishe Groner is founder of The Gene-Sis, an embodied, experiential approach to personal growth and Jewish spirituality. She creates sacred spaces for people to experience Judaism that is real, accessible and inspiring, bringing Jewish ritual where people seek meaning. Her eighteen years of Jewish educational leadership includes IsraeLinks, Birthright, Limmud NY, Isabella Freedman, Brooklyn spiritual startups, and festivals such as Burning Man. She teaches at Romemu in New York, and writes about feminism, Judaism and spirituality in Lilith, Tablet and Forward. Born in Melbourne to a Chassidic family, Rishe completed post-high school seminary in Israel and Australia, then interned in Long Beach, CA before returning to Australia to attend Monash University while working full-time in corporate sales. She served as founding female board member at ‘Daminyan’ and graduated with double degrees in Arts/Business, majoring in Writing and Marketing. After relocating to Brooklyn in 2010, Rishe directed marketing at Chabad on Campus, then worked as senior marketing strategist on Madison Ave and Wall St. A member of the Kenissa Network and JOFEE Leaders Institute, Rishe is also a prayer leader, dancer and drummer.


Rosalind Stone

Rosalind is the publicist for the Psychedelic Press, a features writer for The Third Wave and and co-directs, a platform which offers students accessible, unbiased and scientific information about drugs via its website and workshops. Coming to drugs from an English literature background, she is fascinated by fictional representations of psychedelics and their (often equally or more fictive!) portrayals in the mainstream media. Previously Communications Officer at the Beckley Foundation, she has words in The Guardian, Kaltblut Magazine, VolteFace, Psymposia, and Talking Drugs.

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