Spiking the Eucharist

I just finished The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name, by lawyer, Brian Muraresku. Usually when I come across a book with “Immortality” and “Secret” in the title I groan inwardly and take a pass. But this guy dug into the science of his subject. He was educated by the Jesuits and went on to study Greek and Latin, a classical education, which set him up to read a lot of what he was researching in the original language – including the (Greek) New Testament. He still calls himself a Christian, but he’d be burned at the stake if he was writing this several hundred years ago (along with Giordano Bruno, who (claims Muraresku) was not only promoting Hermeticism (an ancient Egyptian cosmology) but more specifically some special plant potions that were psychedelic in nature.

This, he believes, is what got him killed by the Catholic Church. After all, the Renaissance occurred in part because of a resurgence of interest in ancient Greek cosmology, mathematics and neo-Platonic philosophy which was itself informed by Egyptian wisdom. Bruno’s interest and promotion of this worldview perhaps wasn’t welcome, but would it have got him burned at the stake?  So what could possibly have led the priesthood to take such extreme and gruesome measures to ensure adherence to the doctrines of faith?

Could he have been supporting a psychedelic-spiked eucharist?  That’s the case Muraresku makes in the book, and I found it compelling. It doesn’t make sense to anybody who hasn’t tried psychedelics. The author goes on at some length describing the academic classicists who find the idea that the Greek culture that gave us democracy, philosophy, and mathematics would be influenced by something as irrational as psychedelics. Yet we know that Plato (and many other eminent philosophers from the pre-Christian era) underwent an initiation at the Eleusis Temple which gave them a direct experience of dying before they died, and then rising up again – immortality in other words. From this writer’s perspective that’s not the only wisdom the philosophers would have gained. You get direct access to mysteries that the rational mind is dedicated to filtering out.

Modern technologies are able to identify trace elements in the vessels that contained the wine  that was consumed at these initiation ceremonies in Eleusis. They turned up ergot, a fungus that grows on rye, out of which grows tiny mushrooms if left to its own devices. It’s known to be psychedelic. LSD in fact is derived from ergot as Dr. Albert Hoffman discovered in his Swiss lab in the 1950’s. In these ceremonies the initiates would experience Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, who like the annual crops, would die and be reborn, directly. The story of Demeter was no longer merely hearsay. It was something they underwent themselves, and vowed, under threat of death, to never reveal what happened in the ceremony.

At Gobekli Tepe, in modern day Turkey, a 10,000 year old temple site was discovered. It shouldn’t have been according to current historical time tables. Religious temples were believed to have come along thousands of years later. This Temple challenges contemporary scholarship about the origins of civilization – namely, that first came agriculture, small villages and towns, and then cities, and that religion came last. Again, with flashy new technology researchers have found ergot in the sediment of vessels that held ancient beer. People were travelling to the temple for the beer. And for God. Then they built cities around it, because they couldn’t imagine civilization going well without this sacrament. So, maybe beer founded civilization, not the other way around. But not just any beer, says Muraresku. It was probably psychedelic beer – the original craft beer?

Humans stumbled on to psychedelics a long, long time ago, realizing that they were sacramental in nature. They could reveal a depth dimension to life and other domains of reality not available to ordinary consciousness. That our ancestors would use these substances in the context of religious ceremony should not surprise us. In truth, it’s likely that they are responsible for the birth of religion, the felt sense that Something is living us and evolving us and loves us, and that the world and the universe as we know it is made of whatever the hell that is.

Once you know this for yourself, you don’t need any priest or church or book or any other authority telling you how things are and how you should live your life. Which is why priests in the Catholic church were torching everybody who partook in these sacraments sans their mediation. The story of Jesus dying and rising was everybody’s story of immortality and you could know it for yourself. The whole point of the true eucharist was to experience this directly. We remember Jesus by undergoing what he underwent. Well, fuck that. The priests knew that they would soon be out of a job. You can’t compete with the real thing.

John’s gospel is the one that interests Muraresku more than the other three (synoptic) gospels. This is the one written for a Greek speaking audience. Right from the get-go the author is using Platonic concepts, like “the Word”. There are stories and parables that don’t appear in the other gospels, and Jesus is always talking about himself with metaphors like “I am the bread of life”, “I am the light of the world”, and importantly, ” I am the (grape) vine and you are the branches” . The theology about the divinity of Jesus is more developed, and as mentioned, more Greek. Which is to say, the stories and metaphors would be recognized immediately by the Greek audience as allusions to Dionysius, whom the Romans got from Greece with updates for their culture. Dionysius was the wine god. His cult was about transformation through ecstatic rituals, that involved wine (that was probably psychedelic) following the death and rebirth of the participants. There are many stories of him causing wine to suddenly appear. Each of these stories are epiphany stories meant to reveal his status as a god.

So when the Greeks read the story of the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performs his first miracle of changing the water into wine it signals to them that this is the new Dionysius, and drinking his wine (the blood of the eucharistic meal) you, too, will be transformed by undergoing a similar transformation. You will know that you are, like Demeter and Dionysius and Jesus, a dying and rising god – immortal.

In the Christian tradition there is a belief that by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour that you gain eternal life. Well, what if it’s got nothing to do with believing anything. About Jesus or any doctrine ? It’s just the way it is. You might not know it.  But could you know it? There’s a sign above the Eleusis Temple that reads: “If you die before you die, you won’t have to die when you die.” Makes no sense to the rational mind. But on five grams of mushrooms gnosis (direct knowing without the mediation of reason) comes on line, and if you’re lucky you know it in your bones.

There’s a whole army of men dressed in white gowns around the globe wearing crosses who are committed to us never knowing. Thank god I won’t get fried for writing that in 2023. But hats off to you Bruno, and a host of witches down through the ages who cared more about the truth than their own lives.













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