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Soma and Ayahuasca analogues

From the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, description of the mysterious Soma drink as being an Ayahuasca analogue using Peganum Harmala combined with DMT containing plants.


There have been many theories as to the identify of the sacred Soma put forth over the years but personally I think that the correspondence between PH and B.Caapi both being MAOI inhibitors and having history of ceremonial use is a clear pointer now to this as the most likely candidate.
 
Indeed the topic of Soma is one of the most interesting and apparently non-resolved topics in the overlapping communites of history researchers, philosophers, alchemists and psyhoactive substance enthusiasts. I believe it can be likened to the famous idea of the Philosopher's stone. There are at least two obvious layers when discussing Soma. These are the external and internal; you could parallel this to the ancient chinese alchemists ideas of so called Wei-Dan (external alchemy) and Nei-Dan (internal alchemy); therefore Soma can be an external substance administered to achieve desired effects or it can be (maybe even more interesting and mysterious) cultivated in the body and subsequently consumed also to achieve the desired effects.

In the attachment you can find a very recent article published by Mr. Ian A. Baker. called 'NECTAR OF THE BLUE GODDESS: A LIVING TRADITION OF SOMACONSUMPTION IN WEST BENGAL, INDIA'.

I have great respect for this gentleman, for his work and other contributions. If you're interested in the topic similar or related to Soma I suggest researching this man's work in general.
 

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Indeed the topic of Soma is one of the most interesting and apparently non-resolved topics in the overlapping communites of history researchers, philosophers, alchemists and psyhoactive substance enthusiasts. I believe it can be likened to the famous idea of the Philosopher's stone. There are at least two obvious layers when discussing Soma. These are the external and internal; you could parallel this to the ancient chinese alchemists ideas of so called Wei-Dan (external alchemy) and Nei-Dan (internal alchemy); therefore Soma can be an external substance administered to achieve desired effects or it can be (maybe even more interesting and mysterious) cultivated in the body and subsequently consumed also to achieve the desired effects.

In the attachment you can find a very recent article published by Mr. Ian A. Baker. called 'NECTAR OF THE BLUE GODDESS: A LIVING TRADITION OF SOMACONSUMPTION IN WEST BENGAL, INDIA'.

I have great respect for this gentleman, for his work and other contributions. If you're interested in the topic similar or related to Soma I suggest researching this man's work in general.
Thanks for this, it is certainly a fascinating topic and the quest to unveil its true origins unambiguously has proven elusive. The scholar in question you cite is also investigating use of psychoactives in Vajrayana Buddhism which is an equally interesting topic in its own right, and there may well have been some transfer of methods since it is known they incorporated some of the tantric practices.

I am skeptical of the veracity of any current living tradition that claims to be making Soma however. I take from the study that they are trying to recreate it as a living tradition and it is interesting that that particular concoction uses Datura as the primary psychoactive. However what connection there is to the original recipe(s) is hard to say, I believe most traditions that do this acknowledge they are using substitutes. What is perhaps most significant is the corroboration that it was a combination of plants not a single plant, and also their interlinked use of various meditative practices to enhance and synergize the experience, something that obviously is highly relevant to modern psychoanautical and spiritual uses of entheogens and a subject still in its very formative stages.

Here is a talk by the author of the paper posted at Ayahuasca conference discussing his research.


What's interesting also is he says that the Rig Vedic texts themselves say that Soma is a 'bitter, dark brown, yellowish redish liquid'. This could fit for many plant concoctions I am sure but certainly fits for Rue tea. The additive with DMT was likely a type of Phalaris plant or related.

Likewise he says the experience is described in the ancient verses as being "near death like, filled with light, immortal" all which sounds very much like the experiences that can arise from an Ayahuasca type brew.
 
Worth mentioning here also Palmers thesis that the identity of Soma is the Phyllodium pullchellum plant, which contains rare harmala like beta-carbolines, as well as DMT and Bufotenin so is apparently orally active by itself when brewed into a tea.


It's a good case and there may have been more than one preparation just as there is more than one recipe for Ayahuasca. Either way it seems we are converging on Soma being some plant or combination of plants with DMT and MAOI's present, and possibly even some orally active Bufo, so the Ayahuasca analogue model still holds.
 
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Thank you for providing further interesting links on the topic.

I really do believe that it is more appropriate to think of Soma as a concept more than any specific thing such as a plant, diety or an internal substance. This concept of Soma then can easily be superimposed or rather discovered in various external things in the world or internal spaces of the body and mind. Therefore as such there is more than enough space to include various ayahusca types of brews into the idea of Soma. There seem to be no contradictions.

Following are a few quotes from a well established and recognized Veda, Ayur-Veda and Yoga scholar Dr. David Frawley. He studied from well respected teachers such as Dr. Vasant Lad and others.

I'm quite certain these quotes can provide further insight into this topic on various levels.

--> "My view – based upon fifty years of study of the Vedas in the original Sanskrit, and related Ayurvedic literature – is that the Soma plant was not simply one plant, though there may have been one primary Soma plant in certain times and places, but several plants, sometimes a plant mixture, and more generally refers to the sacred usage of plants, connected to Yoga, mantra, meditation and the chakras."

--> "Soma is mentioned as existing in all plants (RV X.97.7) and different types of Soma are indicated, some requiring elaborate preparations. Water itself, particularly that of the Himalayan rivers, is a kind of Soma (RV VII.49.4). In Vedic thought, for every form of Agni or Fire, there is also a form of Soma. In this regard, there are many Somas throughout the universe."

--> "Sharyanavat, the main Rigvedic Soma land means ‘abounding with reeds’, with shara (Saccharum sara) being a type of reed related to sugarcane. Another great Soma land of Munjavat also means ‘abounding with reeds’ with munja a type of reed related to Shara and considered to be the best of the Somas. Some scholars identify Soma with the sugar cane, another Saccharum species cultivated in ancient India."

--> "Atharva Veda (AV XI.6.15) mentions five powerful plants of which Soma is the best, including marijuana, barley and darbha (kusha or durva), showing that many plants had Soma-like qualities.[1] Soma is again connected with a reed (darbha, Saccharum cylindricum), which could have been pressed to get a juice, much like sugarcane."

--> "Soma was prepared in three forms, as cooked with grain or barley (yava), milk (go) or curds (dadhi).[2] Somas could be part of elaborate preparations. Soma was used with ghee (ghrita) and honey (madhu), which are sometimes synonyms for Soma. In fact, Soma was often called madhu (honey or mead). Special herbal honey preparations and ghee preparations were additional types of Somas. Soma, however, was discriminated from Sura or wine and alcohol, though fermentation may have been used in preparing some types of Somas."

--> "The ancient Ayurvedic doctor, Sushruta, mentions 24 Soma plants, growing on Himalayan lakes and named after Vedic meters. He mentions 18 additional Soma like plants, which are mainly nervine herbs."

--> "Soma, therefore, was part of an entire science of sacred plant preparations and not just one plant in particular. A number of Soma-producing and Soma-like plants existed. The search for one single Soma plant is misleading."

--> "Soma was also connected to the practice of alchemy and as early as the Rig Veda, it was prepared with gold and possibly lapis lazuli, perhaps even with sea shells or pearls."

--> "The Yogic Soma is a secretion in the brain from practices of pranayama, mantra and meditation (an elixir prepared from the Tarpak Kapha or form of Kapha lubricating the nervous system in Ayurvedic thought)."

--> "Soma at a yogic level refers to the crown chakra or thousand petal lotus of the head, which is opened by Indra (yogic insight) and releases a flood of bliss throughout the body. This inner Soma is the main subject of the Vedic hymns, though outer Somas were also important."

--> "In conclusion, it is wrong to look for a single Soma plant. Rather, Soma is part of the ancient, yogic and shamanic usage of sacred plants, including tonics, nervines and mind-altering plants of various types as well special preparations of them. Soma is a transformative substance that can be found in plants and has corresponding mind-altering substances that can be produced by the brain itself, with higher Somas of a purely mystical and meditative nature."


link --> The Secret of the Soma Plant
 
Very glad to see inquiry into the topic of Soma here.
Having drank Soma, I can give a firsthand account of it.
Safe to say, I too am not sure of the identity of the real Soma plant/plants as of now.
Like one of the points in the previous reply notes, I drank the Soma secreted inside me as a result of my Yogic practices. Purification of self is a must for that to take place.
Here's how it actually was - for sure it was intoxicating, but not like booze or mushrooms, your mind is clean and clear. The most notable thing with it is the Vigor - I mean mine shot up x30. (Soma was drank during the wars by the Gods for this reason) . My libido insanely increased and my penis was vibrating with pleasure. Another notable thing is my body felt completely light, no body load whatsoever. And there was absolutely no hint of fear in me - fear completely dissolved.

I don't know how long that would have lasted, because a couple minutes into it, since the experience was quite intense and also since my penis was vibrating with pleasure I started masturbating. It was pure pleasure beyond heaven. After I orgasmer, all this eventually dissolved.

I have never felt that intense from internal Soma since then, because even for the body to generate it, one must adhere to some disciplines such as purification of the body through pranayama and yogic practices and also semen retention.
 
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