The Anointed One

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 John 2:27

What does this mean? Why is anointing so important? Dr James Cooke gives us the run down:

“In Exodus, God gives Moses the recipe for holy anointing oil.  It is made with myrrh, cinnamon, and a plant called kaneh-bosm.  “Kaneh” means “reed” or “hemp”, while “bosm” means “aromatic” or “fragrant”.  Does a particularly famous kind of “fragrant hemp” come to mind? The name kaneh-bosm was sometimes fused in traditional Hebrew, into kannabos or kannabus.  This is rather close to the “kannabis” of ancient Greek, from which we get “cannabis”.  In “Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible”, author Chris Bennett makes the case for kaneh-bosm being cannabis.  Many scholars, however, argue that kaneh-bosm is a plant called calamus.  This recipe called for a large amount of kaneh-bosm which, if cannabis, would have been highly psychoactive when applied liberally on the skin.

“Christ” means the anointed one, and Jesus, along with his disciples, performed healing miracles using anointing oil.  Mark 6:13 states that “They cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them”.  If the holy anointing oil of the Hebrew Bible did indeed contain cannabis, perhaps Jesus’ healing miracles were performed with chemicals such as THC and CBD.  In 2013, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta presented a documentary called “Weed” which included the story of a girl named Charlotte Figi.  Charlotte suffered from hundreds of debilitating seizures a week as a result of a disease called Dravet syndrome.  The seizures didn’t respond to medication, but she showed a dramatic improvement after taking CBD oil.  Epilepsy has been attributed to possession by demons across cultures throughout time.  Perhaps the casting out of devils described by Mark was the effect of CBD-infused holy oil helping people suffering from epilepsy.

If the anointing oil is so central to Christianity, why isn’t it widely discussed?  In the first several centuries following the life of Jesus, many different Christian sects existed.  In 367 AD Saint Athanasius, then the Bishop of Alexandria, decided which texts were to be considered canonical and which were to be excluded.  The apocryphal texts, meaning that they belonged to esoteric cults that required initiations into their secret rites, were deemed heretical and were omitted.  During the following period of persecution, the followers of these sects hid some of their texts, including those found in 1945 in the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt.

These texts included the Gospel of Philip, which provides a take on Christianity in which an active anointing oil is central.  Philip writes of the superiority of the anointing ritual over the baptism ritual, “There is water in water, there is fire in chrism”. Chrism was a term for the holy anointing oil and shows the link to the name “Christ”.  Philip reported the effects to be highly entheogenic, writing that if “One receives this unction … this person is no longer a Christian but a Christ”.  Such a democratic version of Christianity, in which all participants connect with the divine within themselves, may have been seen as a significant threat to the hierarchical modes of the young religion, in which the Bishops sought to retain their power.”

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire

Matthew 3:11