As the wheel of the year turns again, a chill comes to the air, the leaves begin to change and restaurants promote all things pumpkin, I am reminded why this my most favorite time of year. It is as well a time of reflection for me – where I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going.
It is the endless circle, the wheel of time. As I contemplate specifically about my participation in cannabis reform, new connections are made and new insights revealed of the ‘rightness’ of where I am and why.
I was raised Christian, was in the youth choir and bell choir. Part of me hated church and part of me loved the ritual of it. But the free thinking part of me, that even at a very young age was questioning the pastor and not receiving answers that make any sense, could never fully embrace it. When I was a young adult, already far removed from the church, I began to feel that something ‘spiritual’ was missing from my life and I began my decades long quest for the brand of spirituality that worked for me. I investigated all the major religions and many fringe ones as well. All of them fell short for me, yet I could see the common thread that bound them all together. The one I stayed in the longest, that resonated the strongest with me was paganism. While I currently do not identify with any religion, I do to this day wear a triple moon around my neck.
You may be asking yourself what in the world does this have to do with cannabis. Well, the sort answer is…..everything.
I began using marijuana at a relatively young age. I found that it opened my mind and allowed me to be receptive to alternative ideas and view points. It helped me to pray or meditate or whatever you like to call it. And it also provided me with my first crash course in keeping my mouth shut because I didn’t fit into the stereotypical mold of what is socially acceptable.
For the most part life went on and it didn’t at the time seem like that big a deal to keep my spiritual ideals and my ‘drug use’ to myself. By this time I was a young mother and being slapped with the labels of ‘witch’ and ‘pot head’ weren’t aligned with what it means to be a good mom or doing right by my girls. Or so I was brainwashed into believing. Even in my own home I was forced to keep my ideals and beliefs to myself. But far from stopping my pursuit it merely forced me to find creative ways to incorporate my ideals into expressions that couldn’t be ridiculed by those that never understood me and never wanted to.
I started a company making soaps and bath products. This gave me a ready excuse for purchasing and investigating the essential oils and natural ingredients that I so love and give me a certain grounding and connection with the Earth. I could experiment with creating healing herbal blends and noone in my real life made the connection between this and my pagan tendencies. I was just seen as enterprising and able to turn a hobby into a self-sustaining mildly profitable business. Back then, that suited me just fine.
Flash forward several years through an awakening that connected me with the innate power that resides in all of us, the strength to untangle myself from a few self-destructive relationships, the dropping of all ‘beliefs’ and the finding of the man and cause that would forever alter my destiny. While I always knew about the potential of hemp to heal the world and the many medicinal uses of cannabis, I never really ‘knew’ I just knew how it had benefited my own life and how much I resented being labeled a criminal because of it. But as my research and knowledge grew, so did my understanding of the circle of life and new insight has been found in things from years ago that now have new meaning.
While I still don’t identify with any structured religion, in many ways I have been brought back to my witchy ways. A little while ago I wrote a blog about the role of women in the reform movement. How we were instrumental in passing prohibition and how we must be instrumental in ending it. But in going back even further in time it seems cleared that cannabis use played a major role in the witch hunts. The crones, the healers, the wise women of the village were labeled witches in large part because of their knowledge of herbs, including cannabis. They knew of its benefits and they used it both in medicinal and spiritual practices. Tragically many lives and much knowledge was lost to this brand of insanity and ignorance. And even more tragically, this ‘Cannabis Witch Hunt’ continues to this day.
For me I found that I’ve almost come full circle. I have revised my business incorporating the immense benefits of hemp oil into everything I make. Found renewed joy in once again working with the essential oils and recipes that allowed me to covertly express my true self all those years ago. I found my voice and am no longer afraid to be wholly myself and stand up for what I know to be right. I no longer care if anyone wishes to call me a Witch, or even a Pot Head for that matter. Labels are irrelevant. Truth, Love and Knowledge are what matters.
“And ye harm none, do as thou will.”
In Peace and Love, So Mote It Be.
~Erica McBrideRead More »