Getting Stoned Makes You Solid
In esoteric Judaism and Christianity, the Tree of Life represents the path to God and immortality. For Rastafarians, the Tree of Life is material: it is cannabis. Like Rastafarians, my friend and soulmate Rose Mary uses cannabis medicinally and sacramentally. Rose Mary's experience is indeed that cannabis reveals and edifies the Tree of Life.
Rose Mary's dreams inform and reflect her use of the plant. The following dream of hers is a caveat for those who may find her perspectives on cannabis disconcerting.
There's a documentary film about Africa with only visuals -- no sound. Every so often a giant version of a given species is born and its predominant color becomes strongly black. A certain giraffe is shown as an example. It is four times the size of an average giraffe. People are chasing it down a river to kill it. They don't realize that whenever these giants come the volcano lethally erupts.
Africa is frequently considered the domain of untamed, primordial spirit. In this context, the Africa of the dream is where negative gut-reactions to Rose Mary's views on cannabis originate.
Rose Mary is a "giant of the species" in terms of her appropriation of cannabis. The dream suggests her wisdom about the plant may inadvertently call forth the sort of wrath that those in the dream have for giants of the species. She urges those with such wrath to consider her dream more closely. Notice that the film in the dream is without sound. It is asking people to stop listening to their internal monologues that demonize cannabis use, for a moment, so that they may recognize that their reasons for rejecting it are not all grounded in fact.
Those who have negatively polarized reactions to cannabis use are the same who don't recognize that every time something really extraordinary comes about, the volcano erupts (as in the dream). This is to say, they don't see the connection between that which is revolutionary and their automatic, volcanic and uninformed rejection of it.
The dream continues: A person who is a combination of Gary Coleman & Rose Mary's little brother is worried she is killing herself with drugs. To show his displeasure he snatches a swivel chair from a line of young guys going to prison and shoves it at Rose Mary. She puts her hands on his shoulders and sets him straight.
The boy-man in the dream has less experience than Rose Mary -- being her younger brother -- and he is unusually short. She dwarfs him like the giant species dwarf their kind in the first part of the dream. Implied is that Rose Mary has an authority over callow, underdeveloped, polarized mentalities against cannabis.
The boy-man does not see Rose Mary's authority. Instead, in cannabis he sees a bogeyman, and assumes it leads nowhere but prison or self-destruction. He is unacquainted with medicinal and sacramental drug use. As far as he can see, Rose Mary might as well take the swivel chair he pushes at her, and "sit and spin." This is his juvenile and rather innocent way of saying, "Go screw yourself! See if I care!"
Rose Mary parentally puts her hands on the shoulders of such people. Stabilizing them -- which is the opposite of telling them to "sit and spin" -- Rose Mary begins instructing...
Rose Mary herself used cannabis off-and-on from adolescence till her late 20s. She quit because its negative effects -- paranoia and anxiety -- began to outweigh its positive effects -- euphoria, release, insight, joyfulness, love of life and increased sensitivity, creativity. During the same period, Rose Mary stopped drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes; became a vegetarian, took up meditation and running, and devoted herself to spiritual life.
Rose Mary's renewed orientation brought wide-ranging shifts in perspective -- so wide that she became psychotic. She did not see psychosis as a condition to be treated with medication. Instead, she understood it as a process by which she could heal the fundamental fissures within her, and reestablish her primordial connection to God.
During Rose Mary's psychotic process the last thing on her mind was using a mind-opening drug. Yet, one morning in the midst of it, Rose Mary had this experience, which suggested she would someday use cannabis again:
When Rose Mary looked in the bathroom mirror, Jesus Christ was looking back at her with a sailor's eyes. The eyes were wild with adolescent adventure; psychedelic, cocksure gusto, and a touch of mania. Rose Mary felt them asking, "Are you ready to have your mind blown?!"
This took Rose Mary completely by surprise, though it had not come unannounced -- Jesus never does. Rose Mary later realized the meeting in the mirror had been subtly foreshadowed a couple days prior when she had written these lines in her journal:
Mushrooms, flowers, mirrors.
My kiss wanders like a little bird to your face.
Even though you are invisible,
My ancient self,
My cave-dwelling, crotch-smelling, hair-pulling,
Dick-faced sailor Savior.
Rose Mary feels the words had been written by her higher self -- an aspect of her she sees as Jesus Christ's puppet. By the time she saw Jesus Christ in the mirror, she had been learning how to be his puppet for several months.
In the mirror, Jesus' eyes were so intense Rose Mary had to look away. She then collected herself, with her gaze fixed on the bathroom floor, and told Jesus, "Okay, if that was really you, I want to see you again."
Rose Mary slowly raised her head and looked once more at the mirror. Jesus was looking right back with the same mad expression. He even seemed to be wearing a sailor's cap. It was an overwhelming sight.
Rose Mary turned away and went to her room to sit at her table and let the experience sink in. In contemplation, she related it to the concept that Jesus is in they who are in him. It also recalled Luke 17:21: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you."
While the miraculous craziness of Jesus' eyes was still beaming at Rose Mary from her memory, she sensed the particular manifestation of his countenance had deliberately complemented -- and validated -- her role in her lifelong-drama; the role of a pseudo-teenager orphaned to the universe, on the high seas of existence, and first mate to Christ on an ancient ship. Rose Mary's body was the hull and her mind the crow's nest. As such thoughts were sweeping over her bow, a voice told her, "Rose Mary, you are Popeye the Sailor."
"What?!" she replied.
"You are Captain of the Christian ship and your corncob pipe is loaded with ganja. That's not spinach in those cans. . . . By the way, we smoke marijuana all the time. Everybody in Heaven is a stupid, potsmoking girl."
Rose Mary's eyes opened-wide with delight at this sweet absurdity! She laughed heartfully and thankfully. She even bellowed. Then, for five minutes she sat giggling with intermittent fits of laughter. The thought of smoking pot had not crossed her mind in years.
Rose Mary loved the idea of being a "stupid, potsmoking girl." She loves being stupid. She defines stupidity as ignorance that is aware of itself, not ashamed of itself, and is ready to become informed and intelligent. She believes that the receptivity, sweetness, and femininity of stupidity need to be not only educated and appreciated, but cherished. She hates how stupidity is stigmatized. Only the ignorant stigmatize stupidity.
Rose Mary envisioned herself as a stupid, potsmoking girl, joint in hand, without a care, her face joyful and bright. She was wearing white tights and black, patent leather, ballerina flats. That was so much more her than the grungy, nutty girl who had stopped smoking pot because of episodes of paranoia and insecurity. Rose Mary had loved pot before it started augmenting her cracks. She would compare it to going to church.
As Rose Mary focused on the image of herself as a stupid, potsmoking girl, the hilarity faded away. Then she had another vision, of herself on a yacht, on a sunny, calm, open sea, smoking ganja from a packed corncob pipe.
In her journal she drew an image of herself nude, bounding, joint in hand, telling the reader through a speech bubble, "I AM POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN. I LIVE IN THE SOUL OF MAN."
Beside the bounding nude, Rose Mary drew a pot leaf and over it wrote: GETTING STONED MAKES YOU SOLID, BROTHER.
Thenceforth, Rose Mary still didn't get stoned for about three years. When she took it up again, she found she had a renewed relation to the drug. Usually, it was joyful, but sometimes it brought up challenging unconscious material -- issues like Rose Mary's relation to divinity, to her former selves, and to death. Though being stoned could be distressing, Rose Mary was thankful for the distress, recognizing it as an opportunity to learn about herself.
She observed that when the soul of cannabis -- contemplation, creation, laughter, play and dance -- becomes restrained in the stoned person, there may ensue paranoia and insecurity, signifying psychic cracks that need address. Cannabis opened Rose Mary's cracks and she filled them in with truth. It made her solid, which, as her journal mentions, is a core benefit of getting stoned. Other benefits of cannabis Rose Mary found were that it eased depression, aches and pains, and helped her body become more flexible.
Shortly before Rose Mary's initial psychosis, in 2000, she had a dream where she was having a conversation with a cannabis plant. Small buds were talking sweetly with her. Years later, after Rose Mary started smoking again, she realized the dream was foretelling the ongoing conversation she was to have with cannabis.
Rose Mary goes through phases when she does not smoke at all. Her dreams show her when to stop, and in waking-life she can tell when it's right and when it's not. She is so sensitized to her inner-needs that the plant's negative side-affects -- laziness, lack of ambition, memory problems, and reduced emotionality -- do not affect her.
Rose Mary has observed that all these side-affects can be attributed to a prime affect of cannabis: the inhibition of determination. With determination removed, people can become sedentary, especially if they ordinarily rely heavily on determination; if they tend to fight rather than dance their way through life.
The side-affects of cannabis or any other intoxicant are also dependent on the make-up of the user. As Rose Mary likes to say, "While drugs assist the evolution of the mind, they extinguish the dim mind quickly."
Those for whom the plant is sacramental do not become sedentary. Instead, they contemplate, create, laugh, play and dance in the indeterminate. Doing so is what God likes to do. Doing so contributes to the cultivation of the Tree of Life.
In 1999 Rose Mary salvaged a small tree from a dumpster. She defoliated it, brought it to her room, and wrapped it in colored crepe paper from its base to the tips of its branches. Then she put it in a pot, stuffing material from her scraps bag into the pot for support. She called it the Tree of Life. In her view, such creative expression is no less the Tree of Life than cannabis.
A year after assembling the tree, on an afternoon amidst Rose Mary's psychotic process, she underwent an initiatory purging. The spirits of chipmunks emerged from an area on the right side of her chest that had been in pain for about three years due to a spinal curve. The spirits crawled on her. They were frightened and had no mommas. Rose Mary opened her heart to them, kissed them, and let them go.
Then her parents emerged from her. Each was a little infant in her hands. They were unsure about whether she loved them. She told them she did love them and looked at their lives. She kissed them and let them go.
A big strange thing came out of her. "What are you?" Rose Mary asked.
"I'm television," it said, "You may hear the echoes of me for awhile, but I will fade eventually."
Years of cigarette smoke that had settled in Rose Mary's butt sifted up through her body. This felt like warm vapors seeping through her flesh and veins. They released through her right arm.
Then a big, black mass of tarry crud came out of Rose Mary. "What are you?" she asked.
"I'm drugs. Take a look inside me."
Rose Mary slowly peeled away the layers of crud from the black mass, and inside, at the center, there was a glowing white egg. She took this and placed it at the foot of the Tree of Life sculpture.
Rose Mary saw the black crud around the egg as the misuse of drugs, and the egg as a symbol of how drugs vitalized consciousness. It was the divinity of drugs. Perhaps she would use them again someday, but she had no interest in them at the time.
Then, after Rose Mary released some more spirits from her body, the glowing white egg was still there at the base of the tree. Rose Mary got on all fours and crawled to it. She stopped before it with eyes closed and mouth open. The egg slipped into her and coursed warmly and delicately down to her stomach. Rose Mary felt peaceful and laid down to rest.
Rose Mary has no lack of ambition. One of her goals is to become Pope -- "Pope Rose." Should this happen, her plan is to cultivate cannabis in Vatican City, since, as the Tree of Life, if it belongs anywhere, it is there.
Rose Mary wrote:
When I am Pope...
There will be food [material and spiritual].
Since Marijuana will be a sacrament, there will be a Reggae chapel, with a band playing reggae accompanied by Gregorian chants.
The Vatican will have new monikers: "the temple of philosophy," for example. Dance floors will be built there on the thoughts of philosophers. Philosophers literally = Sophia-Lovers. Sophia is Christ's Anima.
The rites of all five of the great religions will be celebrated in the Vatican for awhile. Eventually the need for them will fade out, and then the purpose of the place will change again and again and again, in tandem with humanity.Tweet