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Flashback Friday: A Rare Look At The Practice Of Pagan Pot Farming

For the June, 1981 issue of High Times, writer Hannah Spencer visited a pagan pot farm and watched people planting weed naked.

Flashback Friday: Pagan Pot Farming
Chris Spollen/ High Times

For this edition of Flashback Friday, we have a June, 1981 article from Hannah Spencer, who traveled to a pagan pot farm in Arizona and learned how the wisdom of medieval Jews makes pot more potent.


With the ’80s in full swing, and everybody talking apocalypse, some pot farmers have abandoned bourgeois society and have begun to grow their dope in an old, time-tested way. The way of the “old religion,” paganism. Pagans are fascinated with the mysteries and tidelike cycles in nature, and deal with the world in its feminine aspects of birth, life and death. Since cultivating a garden is an intrinsic portion of this cycle, these pot farmers are using their knowledge of nature and esoteric science to pull off some whopper weed. As I was fortunate enough to spend last summer at a “new age” (organic) ritualistic marijuana farm in the parched wilds of the southern Arizona desert, I will describe some of the earth-loving techniques that produced some of the most delicious weed I have ever seen or smoked.

To begin with, the folks in this small community were strict vegetarians. Since they lived close to the Mexican border, their diet consisted mostly of fruit, the remains of which (peels and juice pulp) were composted and given back to the earth.

Because it was so extremely hot (temperatures were often in the 100s), the early morning was the most comfortable time to garden. This was usually done in the nude and was a unique way of getting a very nice all-over tan.

The leader of this community was a practicing magician and Cabalist, Cabala being the ancient system of attributions, a mystic study begun by the medieval Jews. Cabala is also referred to as the “occult’s filing cabinet.” Through his studies he discovered that marijuana (Indian hemp) was attributed to the number seven.

Seven represents the planet Venus, which, reassuringly enough, stands for victory. Seven is also given as the number of the occult and is the number of all the gods. It is also the number of the eastern direction and, fortunately for my friend, also the number of sandy earth.

Marijuana and the number seven are under the influence of Capricorn when you speak astrologically. From these main observations, and his knowledge of the true meanings of these symbols, he began his garden.

As any good pagan knows (or any old farmer for that matter), it is best to plant certain crops when the moon is in a water sign, that is, Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces. Marijuana is one of those crops. For the correct house of the moon, consult either a current farmer’s almanac or a precise astrological calendar. One should also plant when the new moon is waxing. This goes not only for marijuana, but for planting in general.

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My friend began by facing east in his well-composted plot. He decided to plant his grass (as he had for many years previous) in a heptagon, that is, a seven-sided figure employing the occult study of geomancy. Clad in a loose-fitting robe, he stood within the center of his plot and, employing pagan ritual, he cast a circle for protection, separating that which is within from that which is without. The circle sphere of the worker (gardener).

In the center of this circle should be a tree, a fertility symbol essential to the pagan way. An oak is the preferred type, going way back to the old Druid traditions. The circle is measured by the circumference of the tree’s shade line during high noon. Think of a sundial’s longest shadow length, and compass a circle around that, using your tree as your ruler. The tree holds the proper talismans and crystals on its branches, and this inner circle is used for garden meditations, singing, playing music to the plants and, last but not least, rituals.

Within the heptagon, my friend planted his cannabis indica seeds. He was a wizard with sinsemilla, and he chanted and he prayed his way through this entire operation.

Around the marijuana heptagon he planted a number of herbs, decorative flowers and vegetables all linked Cabalistically with cannabis. Among those plants are orchis root and damiana in the herb category, roses in the flower category, and thistle. In fact, my friend ran a gate of rose bushes around his marijuana crop and thistle around the roses. This thorny guard kept out banditos and other unwanted things.

Most nights, someone slept within the fragrant confines of the garden. This not only added more protection, but also kept the plants company.

A paganist prides himself on his intuition concerning nature and his immediate sphere, the area around him, and all the devas (nature spirits). He communicates with these spirits and brings offerings to the goddess or earth mother to reassure a bountiful harvest.

One of the most important entities in paganism is in the character of Pan, that horny little goat-footed deity who spends his time screwing all the female features in nature.

Throughout the summer we spent a large portion of our time reciting odes to Pan and dancing to flute music, which provided a very sexy atmosphere for the lady plants in the garden. This was good, because one of the magical images given to the number seven is that of a beautiful naked woman, and as we put that picture in our minds, we knew Pan would get off as he frolicked and cavorted among the seductive greenery.

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Paganists celebrate many ancient holy days during the summer to encourage a plentiful harvest come fall. These days include Beltane (May Day), August Eve, Midsummer Day, fall equinox and Samhain. These celebrations usually ended in splendid feasts, as did the full-moon rituals that were practiced every month. These festivities always took place in the garden with our thoughts concentrating on the loving cultivation of the plants.

Harvest time was during the full moon in October. That day was a very joyous and holy one, filled with plenty of hard labor and thankfulness to the gods. The weed was excellent—huge, luscious buds that we carefully hung in the wooden drying room already festooned with protective talismans.

As is customary, the very best of the crop is offered up to the goddess, who is looked at in a threefold manner as the maiden, the mother, and the crone. This offering helps secure her blessings for a fine garden next year. One can’t be selfish when dealing with Mama Nature.

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A lot of smoking takes place in the harvest celebration, as you can imagine, and there was more partying after this ritual than there had been all summer. Then the wicked Arizona mushrooms and peyote are brought out from their sacred altar space and the cycle is completed.

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