Mind-Altering Drugs, Plant Medicines & Psychedelics In The Old Testament, How Altered States of Consciousness Can Enhance Spiritual Experiences & Much More With Danny Nemu.

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You may have seen me first mention Danny Nemu in my article here on “sobriety,” including his writings on cannabis, drunkenness, and the use of entheogens and psychedelics found in the Bible. I even experimented recently with some of the incenses and oils Danny discusses in his lectures—potent blends also featured within the Bible and used by the Levite priests, and the results were relatively astounding. 

Danny is the author of Neuro-ApocalypseScience Revealed, and perhaps most notably, the paper “Getting high with the most high: Entheogens in the Old Testament” and a YouTube video by the same name. He is a fellow who has dug into this topic of entheogens in the Bible quite a bit, similar to Brian Muraresku in his recent book The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name and Michael Pollan in his new book This Is Your Mind On Plants.

Danny is a hypnotherapist, activist, and author with an academic background in the history of medicine and 20 years of experience with the Daime ayahuasca community including an 8-month cure in the Amazon battling a flesh-eating parasite.

His fundamental interest is how humans break free of their “mind-forged manacles,” and his research focuses on drugs in the Bible, Revelation, and realpolitik in science, and the connection between linguistics, neurobiology, and cognition. He writes for Psypress UK, the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, and Lucid News, has given talks at Breaking Convention on Biblical entheogens and neocolonialism in ayahuasca studies, and is a regular guest on podcasts including Rune Soup and Aeon Byte.

His books, Science Revealed and Neuro-Apocalypse, are out on Psypress UK, articles, talks, and podcasts are collected on his website, and his inconsistent opinions are to be taken with a pinch of salt on Twitter. (Code NEMU101 will get you 20% off both Science Revealed and Neuro-Apocalypse at psychedelicpress.co.uk.)

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-An excerpt from How the High Priests Got High by Danny Nemu…03:30

-How Danny became interested in entheogens…15:05

-Is Moses' experience at the burning bush an example of an entheogen?…21:04

  • “Burning with a fire that doesn't consume”
  • Descriptive language of hallucinogenics in that era didn't exist
  • Visionary experiences aren't necessarily caused by drugs
  • Anointing oil from 1 Samuel produced a hallucinogenic effect
  • Tabernacle construction and design is described over 5 chapters in Exodus
  • Holy of Holies was perhaps designed as a “hot box” for all the materials prescribed in Exodus to concentrate together

-How the unique combinations of anointing oil described in the Bible would affect human physiology…26:45


-Effects of fruits mentioned in the Bible on genes and enzymes in the body…38:15

  • Song of Solomon “pleasant fruits” i.e. psychoactive
  • Pomegranates have effects on enzymes and genes
  • Grapefruit amplifies effects

-Precautions prescribed in the Bible for priests entering the Holy of Holies…43:30

-The interaction between cannabis and frankincense and its effect on the dopaminergic system…1:02:50

  • THC on CB1 receptor increases dopamine from neurons into the synaptic cleft
  • Frankincense contains ether acetate, an inhibitor of astocholine
  • The two counteract the effects on the body and mind of the other
  • Dopamine is connected to language, creativity
  • The Hebrew name for God is tied to the two words for “word” and “chamber” i.e. holy of holies

-Was the manna from heaven psychedelic?…1:08:15

-How stigma surrounding drugs in modern culture prevents Christians from having a full understanding of God's creation…1:19:15

  • No plants we consider psychedelic are un-kosher
  • In Exodus, with Moses at Mt. Sinai, people experience a collective vision (synesthesia)
  • People have eaten manna at this time
  • Meditation and the Bible by Aryeh Kaplan
  • Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan
  • Neuro Apocalypse by Danny Nemu
  • Science Revealed by Danny Nemu
  • The language of a culture affects how we perceive the world around us
  • Jay Mack on YouTube
  • The analogy of glasses magnifying what is there, not creating things out of nothing
  • Curb your enthusiasm when it comes to evangelizing the merits of drugs with others

-And much more!

Upcoming Events:

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Danny Nemu:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Danny Nemu or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


Ask Ben a Podcast Question


12 thoughts on “Mind-Altering Drugs, Plant Medicines & Psychedelics In The Old Testament, How Altered States of Consciousness Can Enhance Spiritual Experiences & Much More With Danny Nemu.

  1. Mark says:

    This topic is fascinating but also leads to a lot of questions. If these mind-altering substances dissolve the ego and produce a sense of being part of a “whole” larger than ourselves, and lead to different ideas or interpretations of what that is, logic points to these plants being the source or inspiration of mystical and religious concepts. It does not reinforce that idea that the plants were given to us by God to reveal the universe’s true nature. Why hide from humankind and reveal one’s self through a combination of plant substances that are discovered over long periods of time through trial and error? And in only one part of the world? Why do different cultures and regions of the world interpret these so differently, and associate them to different gods or no god at all? Wouldn’t God want to be known by everyone?

    The concept of the Judeo-Christian God is a romantic one but it isn’t strengthened by this research and conversation… Quite the opposite.

  2. Keaton Poole says:

    Hey Ben!

    I wanted to ask you a question inspired by a podcast you did several years ago with Pastor Toby Sumpter. He mentioned that as a Christian there should be two questions we ask ourselves when delving into these types of issues: 1) is it lawful, and 2) is it edifying?

    God is very clear that the practice of divination or witchcraft is unlawful and not a God ordained practice within His good creation. Personally, every individual I know that uses DMT and other psychedelic drugs is primarily for contacting spirits or entities (and this seems to be the historical and cultural reality of the practice for centuries), and it at least seems to fall under the general category of witchcraft or divination. Hence why everyone that wants to “talk to aliens” will use DMT to help.

    As a follower of Jesus Christ, could you please give a biblical definition of witchcraft, sorcery, etc. and defend why psychedelic drugs would not categorically fall within those unlawful warnings in scripture?

    Thanks!

      1. Keaton Poole says:

        Thanks, Ben!

        I do have a few comments.

        I think the initial biblical principles you mentioned are certainly true. My concern is this, you seem to be saying that altered states of conciseness due to plants *could be* a means to experiencing God deeper and He created them to do just that. You also admit you can’t prove that the Old Testament unequivocally demonstrates Godly use of altered states of consciousness or that they were used to get close to God. There is also certainly a difference between using a substance to increase alertness, relax the mind, and improve awareness versus distort your current reality, make things appear as they actually aren’t, and shift your conscious focus to very important matters that may actually have no importance whatsoever (I will not address here the very specific instructions and warnings in regards to creation and use of the ketoret). In many instances the exact same substance(s) can do either of those things, it simply depends on the dosing, which is motivated by intent. People I know that use these drugs for the purpose of altered states of mind make these two most common statements: 1) they abolish your ego, and 2) they remove the veil of reality (you eat from the fruit of the tree of good and evil and perceive how the world really is) – these non-redeemed people would also agree that they “hep them grow closer to God.” From a Christian perspective, these things should be alarming to us because we know that the only true ego desolation comes from understanding who we are, who God is, and what Jesus did for us in order to redeem this situation – recognizing that as unworthy sinners, in fact enemies of God, Jesus paid the debt we could never afford, conquered sin and death through His resurrection, and is now ruling, reigning, and interceding for His saints. The call is to repent from our sins and believe on Christ, which must be done to have peace with God. Normal use of these mind altering drugs promotes a universal shared consciousness, an idea that you need to embrace your true self, introspection that enables fulfillment of an ultimate life purpose, etc. This is a different gospel. This proposes a different meaning to life. It deceptively satisfies our longing and essential need for Christ. The gospel says we are all unworthy, have rebelled against God, and are in deep need of His grace and mercy for redemption. Our purpose is to make the gospel known to the ends of the earth and to bring about the obedience of faith to the nations. This is for the glory of God and our reward is the inheritance which is rightfully Christ’s, but has been imputed to us through His death on the cross. I simply can’t see the Biblical wisdom to alter my mind to understand these things deeper. If the use of a little wine gladdens the heart and we are able to achieve a deeper appreciation for the things made known to us in general revelation, that is perfectly fine and in fact given to us to glorify God. However, this would be secondary to the peace and understanding we obtain through scripture, special revelation, and the work of the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, scripture is the only objective special revelation we have received. In other words, if I have an experience that doesn’t compute with scripture but I insist it was from God, I deceive myself and exchange the truth for a lie. Paul says that everyone knows who God is and what He has done, therefore, they are without excuse. So our purpose in life is not to obtain better ways to experientially understand and grow close to God, but to repent of suppressing these things which is made possible through the opening of our eyes by the Holy Spirit, through gospel proclamation which is the power of God to save – not the opening of our “third eye”. Paul says that all mysteries of wisdom and understanding are made known through Christ Jesus. This means that I don’t have to appeal to anything or anyone else for this. The visions and trippy experiences in scripture are all prefaced with the unquestionable presence of God, not the use of a plant to then experience a journey. These things are recalled with great detail and sobriety, and have a logical purpose and unquestionable intent.

        Having established these things, an important question that wasn’t addressed in your article is the ungodly practices of witchcraft, sorcery, divination, etc. All these substances and altered state of consciousness are parts of those practices – I am not saying the substances themselves are forbidden, but their use in this manner is. As a reminder, I think these substances can be used to elicit beneficial physiological responses, but I do not see the biblical proof or wisdom for altering your state of mind. If biblical wisdom seems to contradict the fundamental purposes of altering your state of mind, and warnings are attached to ungodly uses of these things which seem to be classified as the above, I can’t agree with you on this particular topic, and would warn you that these things are deceptive and dangerous. As Christian’s, our ultimate desire is to glorify God.

        Just something to ponder, but I would be curious as to what you think would biblically classify as witchcraft, sorcery, divination – apart from whether or not altered states of consciousness are fruitful to the life of a Christian.

        1. I think the practice of using plant medicine for something like "divination" or reading the mind of God is certainly delving into murky or risky waters, and could serve as a potential replacement for the special revelation we receive from Scripture. However, doing something like altering neurotransmitters, slipping into an altered state of consciousness, and being in a state of ego dissolution for the purposes of say, a deep and connected experience with your husband or wife (I've done this with my wife six times and found it to be absolutely transformative for our relationship) is an example of something I would consider to be an appropriate and acceptable use of plant medicine, and I would also say the same for, say, microdosing for focus, creativity or productivity; using micro to moderate doses for nature immersion, hiking, hunting, etc.; or even amplifying the intensity and results of a meditation or breath work session.

          1. Keaton Poole says:

            Thanks for the response!

            I think a podcast on this specific topic with a Christian perspective from someone like Doug Wilson or Jeff Durbin would be awesome! Just a thought!

          2. Thanks for the feedback/suggestion Keaton!

  3. Mark says:

    Hey Ben, hoping to find a link to that supplier of oil mix that you mentioned in the podcast. Can’t seem to see it here. Thanks for the show.

  4. Steve says:

    I am hearing impaired and really do miss your full transcripts.

  5. Frank says:

    No transcript, no grok.

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