The Mysterious Soma; Plant Revered As A God In Ancient Sacred Texts
“You can use soma at any time to calm your anger, to reconcile with your enemies, to be patient. In the past, you could only do this with great effort and after years of training your mind. Now, swallow two or three half-gram tablets and you’re good. Anyone can be virtuous now. “- Aldous Huxley
You might think that Huxley, a prolific author of dystopian fiction, coined the term “soma” just as he invented the distant future in which this substance is used.
But Huxley’s fictional drug, is inspired by Rig Veda, one of the ancient Hindu Vedic scriptures, where a plant known as mysterious soma is revered as a God. Rig Veda is one of the four sacred texts that make up Hindu visions. In Sanskrit, Rig Veda means “the wisdom of verses (or mantras)”.
It was buried in a written text only around the year 1,100 BC, but it has a much older oral tradition. Rig Veda is still used today in Hindu ceremonies, which means that it is the oldest religious text that has been used continuously to this day. Rig Veda is composed of over 1,000 poems, which are divided into ten books, called mandalas.
Rig Veda Mandalas
One of the mandalas is called “Soma Mandala” and is composed of 114 poems, all dedicated to worship, ritual and experience with soma, described in Rig Veda as the god of inspiration, ecstasy and running water.
The mysterious soma was used by the Hindu shamans in religious ceremonies to bring them into ecstatic states where they had profound religious experiences. Soma was so revealing that it became central to the entire Vedic religious experience.
Rig Veda tells us that soma has the power of a god and can give divine powers to the one who drinks it:
“I drank the soma, I became immortal, I came to light, I found the gods.”
This Rig Veda document does not specify exactly what plant it is and since the ancient text reached Europe in the eighteenth century, spiritual pilgrims of all faiths have tried to find out exactly what the soma was made of and how they could experiment with it. .
Some theories say that soma is a single plant or plant root, others say it is a mixture of several ingredients. Cannabis, chicory, opium, ginger, rhubarb – these have long been considered to be essential components of soma, but now most researchers agree that soma was psychoactive by nature.
Soma: Divine Mushroom Of Immortality
Gordon Wassen was the first researcher who suggested (in the book “Soma: Divine mushroom of immortality”) that the psychoactive fungus Amanita muscaria (snake or snake hat, as it is known in Romania) was the main component of the soma.
According to Wassen, “before the writing appeared, when Rig Veda was composed, the prestige of this miraculous mushroom spread through lively grapes throughout Eurasia, far away from the regions where it grew and was revered.”
There is evidence to support these claims. Archaeologists and anthropologists have shown that during this period the fungus was used by shamans in Siberia and Iran in religious rituals.
In the Iranian Zoroastrian religion there is a similar substance, called hoama, and recent findings indicate that hoama and soma were prepared in temples across the continent.
As our ancestors expanded into Eurasia in search of greener pastures and more space, they brought religious rituals and practices with them.
The soma ingredients may have changed based on the geographic availability of the psychoactive ingredients and any of the roots and plants listed above may have been among the ingredients.
Probably the psilocybin family of plants was used extensively to prepare this liqueur, because Rig Veda says that the substance had properties that changed the mental state.