Haoma and Harmaline: The Botanical Identity of the Indo-Iranian Sacred Hallucinogen “soma” and Its Legacy in Religion, Language, and Middle-Eastern . Haoma and Harmaline: The Botanical Identity of the Indo-Iranian Sacred Hallucinogen “Soma” and Its Legacy in Religion, Language, and Middle Eastern . Haoma is a divine plant in Zoroastrianism and in later Persian culture and mythology. Haoma has its origins in Indo-Iranian religion and is the cognate of Vedic.

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Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. University of California publications. Near Eastern studies; v, 21 Bibliography: Peganum harmata, I Schwartz, Martin.

Some names for Pcganum Kirmala L 40 2. Some names or species of Ruta 41 3. Ruta gravcolcns, Ruta chalepcnsis. Ruta montana 39 3- Panja: Harmel capsules strung from a cloth square 48 4. Ephedra species of the Indo-lranian area 71 5. The synonyms harmel and Peganum harmala will be used interchangeably here.

Neither the mountain rue known in Europe, Ruta monlana L. The only genuine rue Le. Ruta species known in India or in Iran is the cultivated garden herb Ruta graveolens L. Traditional Persian botany, however, regards Peganum harmala and Ruta graveolens as, respectively, the wild and cultivated species of the same genus, and since both plants have become widely known in India largely through their introduction by way of Iran, this taxonomy prevails in India as well.

Those liturgies were memorized and transmitted orally and written down only much later. The plants now called soma and haoma lack the distinctive pro- perties or cultural importance that could account for their being the focus of such ancient and elaborate practices. In neither tradition is the ceremony conducted with an open acknowledgment that the plant regularly used as soma or haoma is not the one originally used, or that the character of the rite was ever mar- kedly different from what it is now.

The most important of these studies is R- Gordon Wasson’s Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality and his subsequent publications, where it is argued that soma was the fly-agaric or Amanita muscaria, a hallucinogenic mushroom consumed until recently for intoxication by peoples in Siberia. While Wasson’s first three points would seem to make A. Ambiguity pervades virtually all of the complex metaphors and similes associated With soma in the RgVeda.

Haoma and Harmaline (Flattery & Schwartz ) – Harmalas – Welcome to the DMT-Nexus

No evidence for this, however, has come to light. According to Wasson If this were what was actually said in the Gathas. However, close examination of the text by Schwartz a and As already mentioned, the Vedic descriptions of soma are so general that they cannot be used to prove or disprove his or any other hypothesis. Since no effective criteria have been established from the IJgVeda, any probative evidence for the botanical identification of sauma must have its basis outside of that text.

The recycling of ones own urine for therapeutic purposes in modern India, to which Wasson In the RgVeda soma is represented as an offering, made above all to Indra, who is said to depend upon it for his strength. The concept of the extract as an offering to be drunk by the gods, however, is not found in Iranian texts, and must have emerged in India at a time when the extract no longer had the purpose of intoxicating the priests who consumed it.

Because an extensive mythology associated with this apparent rationalization of the ritual presence of soma had already developed, it may be supposed that the use of the intoxicating plant had vanished from the usual ceremonies long hao,a the final fixation of the Ifksarfthita as we have it.

Even if we could be sure that the Vedic poets had personal experience of the effecls of the drug, there is good reason to hesitate before assuming that those effects would be accurately described in hymns.

If one were going to drink soma anyway, he might well pray that the result be harmwline, but simply because beneficial effects are alone mentioned in the Vedas does not establish that they were always or ever actually experienced. The soma hymns could be expected to extol sauma intoxication regardless of how it was usually experienced hxoma the purpose for which the drug was taken. This theory seems to be an elaboration ol the historically uncritical view of harmapine Brahmans that the Vedas reflect a golden age which ended when the gods withdrew from this wicked world, taking with them the source of divine ecstasy, the soma plant.


There is no genuine evidence that the absence of the original intoxicant from the ceremonies necessarily results from a haomq of it.

For the various views, see Brough 1 97 1 a and b] and the other articles and reviews listed in R. G, WaUOfl [ and A further motive for priests claiming to find the experience agreeable may have been to show themselves as enjoying the approval of harmaine gods see below.

Without denying that sauma drinking may have had such potential!

Because there is no clear evidence from India of sauma consump- tion outside of the ceremonies at any time and because, instead of sauma, nonintoxicating plants appear in present day rituals, it has been generally concluded that sauma must have become unavailable.

Although no reference to a shortage of the plant appears in the BgVeda or in Iranian sources of any date, it has been alleged as a criterion for its identification that sauma must be a plant not now obtainable in India or Iran.

The question of how such a useful plant utterly vanished from the botanical repertory of whole nations who literally worshipped it has added considerably barmaline the mystery of this subject.

It cannot be supposed that a universal, spontaneous transition from using sauma to using substitute plants occurred as soon as the plant completely disappeared, nor can it be supposed, alternatively, that there was a unanimous and universal conspiracy of priests in both India and Iran to replace the missing sauma and, saying nothing publicly about the change, proceed as before.

The mere simulation of drinking sauma extract is a common feature of all the relevant Indie and Iranian ceremonies. This continuation of ceremonies without the intoxicant essential to their ostensible purpose is too extraordinary an occurrance to have developed independently, rather ceremonies omitting the intoxicant must have already been practiced before the two peoples became separated.

Consequently, if these merely imitative harmapine came about because sauma was unavailable, it must have become unavailable at a time even antedating the earliest parts of the IJgVeda, Hafmaline material Introduction so lhat the RgWda would be of no value as evidence for the unavailability of the plant Iranian evidence for the continued use of the intoxicant into historic times see next chapter shows that the plant remained available and hence that its displacemenl from the ceremonies cannot have been caused by difficulties in its supply- Rather, it must be the case that from the earliest times ceremonies merely imitating the drinking of sauma existed side by side with ceremonies in which sauma was actually consumed.

During the period of linguistic unity the Proto-Indo-Iranians clearly lived northwest of India. The disintegration of the Proto-Indo-Iranian unity culminated in the emigration of those groups that eventually became the Indo-Aryans. The vacuum left by their departure resulted in the expansion, in Central Asia and eventually Western Asia, of the people known in history as the Iranians.

While the precise location ol the homeland of the Pro to-lndo-Iranian-spea king peoples remains undetermined, it can confidently be surmised to have been somewhere within an area well defined by the topography of interior Eurasia. Given that their language was the southeasternmost branch of the Indo-European family and that their descendants occupy India and Iran, they must have lived in an area west of China, north of India, east of the civilizations of Mesopotamia whose annals do not record their existence until marked linguistic differentiation had occurredand south of the subarctic forests of Siberia.

The Greater Iranian cultural area which should be understood wherever the term Iran is used geographically here should therefore include the environment where sauma grew; thus sauma must have remained available at least to those Iranians who continued to occupy the lands of their ancestors. This cultural area is relatively homogeneous in climate and flora.

These factors will not have affected the environmental relationships of those people who remained in the Iranian area. Hence it is probable that there has been a continuity of Pro to- 1 ndo- Iranian and Iranian ethnobotanical traditions absent anf India.

There is scholarly consensus that in general the Avesta is the more conservative text, that is, it more faithfully reflects archaic realia than does the IJgVeda, which is prone to extensive poetic elaboration.

The Vedas and the Avesta are products of a Proto- Indo-lranian oral literature connected with sauma rites. Only when that tradition of oral composition began to decline in India and Iran did the hymns become fixed. In the case of the RgVedic hymns this occurred soon after the arrival of Aryan-speaking peoples in India c.

In Iran the formation of that portion of the Avesta in the Gathic dialect spoken by Zarathushtra also dates from around the end of the second millinum B.


The Iranian hharmaline texts probably became fixed in their present form little earlier than the time of the Achaemcnian Empire i. Those limits demarcate the Greater Harnaline Area. The Iranian qnd hymns are in the Younger Avestan language, in which texts continued to be composed in the Hellenistic period, and perhaps even later.

Full text of “Haoma & Harmaline”

Indeed all other intoxications are accompanied by Violence of haemaline Bloody Club, but the intoxication of Haoma is accompanied by bliss-bringing Rightness. The intoxication ot Haoma goes lightly. May thy intoxications come forth clcarOy. Haoma t righteous, promoting Rightness, do I give this body, which seems to me well formed.

May thy intoxications come forth brighttly. May thy intoxications move lightly. To thee, Haoma, righteous, driving forth Truth, do I give this body, which seems to me well-formed. The prologue Chapters of this Pahlavi text says that in order to dispel doubts about the claims of the Harmalind priests to religious knowledge, Wiraz.

This prologue demonstrates the belief that pharmacologically induced visions were the means to religious knowledge and that they were at the basis of the religion that the Magi claimed to have received from Zoroaster. It has previously been supposed that the event described in this text was outside the tradition of the sauma ceremonies; its possible relevance to the question of sauma has therefore never been explored. Copyrighted material Pharmacological Correspondence 15 lo Wiraz is termed mang, it is the same substance as sauma- Here follows an abridgement of the opening chapters of the Arda Wiraz Namag as translated by W.

And afterwards this WlrAz.

Haoma & Harmaline

And this Wiraz washed his head and his body, and put on harmzline new garment; perfumed himself with an agreeable perfume, spread a new, clean blanket on some appropriate boards. And afterwards the theologians of the Religion filled three golden cups with wine and with the Wishtaspian nwng t and they gave one cup over to Wiraz.

Ad he drank that wine and injng and consciously said grace and fell asleep on the blanket. The theologians of the Religion and the seven sisters -. The seven sisters together with all theologians and hapma and mobads of the Religion of the Mazdayasnians did not in any manner neglect protection to the body of Wiraz. Then there begins the spectacle of horror and violence that occupies the largest part of the narration- He perceives a vast territory filled wilh writhing bodies and sees in fine detail the terrifying circumstances of each: In each case his guides relate their torment to an infraction of Ihe moral or rilual injunctions propounded by the Magi.

Although the extant version is not older than Ihe ninth century C. Here it is said Wishtasp was given horn and mangf This was regarded as the most important single hsoma in the 4.

Wiraz’s behavior does not particularly suggest that he thought he was risking hts life, and no motive is supplied for why he would have been harmsline to do so. In the account of the Persian ZaraduSt-Nama cd. R Rosenberg written in the 10th century C.

In order to influence Kay Wishtasp, Ohrmazd Avestan Ahura Mazdah sends three spirit beings to promise that ruler a life of years and an immortal son, on condition that he accept Zoroaster into his court, and, if he refuses to do so, to tell him that he will be immediately destroyed through being devoured in midair by birds. Although Wishtasp still declines, the threat is not carried out. Instead, Ohrmazd decides to cause him to see haona for him in haomq spiritual world the future benefits he can realize by accepting Zoroaster: Also to visibly show Wishtasp victory over Arjasp and the HyOnians.

As it says in the Avesta: The parallel account in Pahlavi Rivayatrelates: Etymologi- cally stard or stird means ‘spread out, sprawled’. It is used in Pahlavi to indicate the result of being stunned or dazed from a blow and, with few excep- tions, is experienced by evil creatures; for example, demons become stard upon hearing Zoroaster recite the Ahuna Vairya prayer. All material things and creatures exist simultaneously in spirit form.

These spirit forms include the double or frawahr Avestan fravaSi- of each person, living, dead and unborn.