• Compelling evidence that the early Jews and Christians used psychedelics as part of their religious rites.
• Reveals the Bible's disguised references to this tradition and traces knowledge of this secret to the gnostics, masons, kabbalists, and the legends of the Holy Grail.
• Explores the idea that psychedelics have played a role in nearly all religious traditions.
When Moses fed manna to the Israelites, he told them that after eating the miraculous bread they would see the glory of God. And indeed they did: "They looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of Yahveh appeared in a cloud." In The Mystery of Manna, religious historian Dan Merkur provides compelling evidence that this was the Israelites' initiation into a psychedelic mystery cult that induced spiritual visions through bread containing ergot--a psychoactive fungus containing the same chemicals from which LSD is made.
Citing biblical material, as well as later Jewish and Christian writings, Merkur reveals the existence of an unbroken tradition of Western psychedelic sacraments, from Moses and manna to Jesus and the Eucharist. Most important, Merkur shows that this was not a heretical tradition, but instead part of a normal, Bible-based spirituality, a continuation of the ancient tradition of visionary mysticism. Even when this practice became unacceptable to the religious orthodoxy, it was perpetuated in secret by gnostics, masons, and kabbalists, as well as through the legends of the Holy Grail. Merkur traces a long line of historical figures who knew of manna's secret but dared only make cryptic references to it for fear of persecution. The Mystery of Manna is the strongest contribution yet to our growing realization that, contrary to popular belief, psychedelics and religion have always gone hand in hand.