By Euro Weekly News Media • 20 April 2023 • 15:17
Nora Johnson's gripping novels have attracted an international readership.
Photo credit: Nora Johnson (via website)
Scientific analysis of strands of hair from a cave in Menorca give the clearest direct evidence yet of hallucinogenic drug use among ancient civilisations. So, hair today, high tomorrow?
Now, some may complain that this report about ancient civilisations using plant-derived hallucinogenic drugs is normalising drug use. Well, you may as well say that a report about the Trojan horse normalises war! So, maybe best referred to as ‘plant medicine’? Mind you, one glance at the cave and its eerie stalagmites and even eerier stalactites would convince anyone it wouldn’t take much hallucinogen ingestion…
You have to wonder if these plants and substances played a part in the invention and formulation of religions. A person might have a very vivid hallucination of a stick turning into a snake, and then back into a stick, if they were off their head on mushrooms, for instance. (Though maybe doesn’t sound like the start of Methodism…)
However, trepanned skulls, with holes drilled into the bone, were also found with analysis indicating that the individuals involved survived for months afterwards. Maybe listening to the Grateful Dead?
Whilst trepanation was carried out for both medical reasons and mystical practice, trepanation instruments were less complex, and commonly made out of flint, obsidian or stone. And, hopefully, easy to acquire. With no bank holiday queues at the local B&Q…
But the real importance of these findings lies in the fact that they challenge our preconceived notions of ancient societies. It’s commonly believed that ancient cultures were primitive and lacked the knowledge and sophistication of modern societies. However, this discovery suggests that the people of Menorca were far more advanced and knowledgeable than previously thought.
They were able to identify and extract psychoactive compounds from plants and use them in a spiritual context, demonstrating a deep
understanding of the natural world and the relationship between the physical and spiritual realms.
The discovery of this early use of hallucinogenic drugs also has implications for us today. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of these substances, particularly in the treatment of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.
The fact that they were used in a spiritual context in the past suggests that there may be a deeper connection between
the mind, body and spirit than we currently understand. Furthermore, their use in a ceremonial context may provide insight into the importance of setting and intention on a therapeutic level. The rituals and ceremonies associated with their use in ancient cultures may have served to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their inner worlds and work through personal challenges – like those bank holiday queues at B&Q!
Overall, the discovery of the use of hallucinogenic drugs in Bronze Age Menorca is a significant development in our understanding of ancient civilisations and the human experience. Implications, too, for modern society and the potential therapeutic use of these substances. As we continue to explore the relationship between mind, body and spirit, this discovery serves as a reminder of the profound and
transformative power of the natural world.
Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits go to Cudeca cancer charity.
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