Réka Komáromi is a Berlin-based freelance ethnobotanist. Before graduating with an MSc in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent (UK), she traveled extensively by land and sea to remote locations and cultures as an associate of the Institute of Ecotechnics (www.globalecotechnics.edu). ). Her research interests encompass medicinal and ritualistic use of plants in indigenous as well as modern societies, as well as mythologies and ethics of drug use. Since 2010, Réka has been involved in the entheogenic movement in the UK and Europa and has also been researching ritual and therapeutic Cannabis use in the Rastafari community in UK and Jamaica.
TITLE: Seeking the “Spirit of Ganja” in Jamaica
What is “Spirit” and how does it manifest in the relationship between plants and people? The answers that I came across in my encounters with cacao drinking clubbers in Berlin or the multifaceted global entheogenic scene and indigenous shamanic healers, all revealed a deep reverence for a plant intelligence that goes “beyond psychedelics” and is best left not tampered with.
In this presentation, I wish to explore the question for the case of Cannabis as the sacred and “sacramental” plant of the Jamaican Rastafari community against the backdrop of the current legalization/commercialization developments on the island. My findings will be based on a four- week investigation into Rastafari definitions of the “Spirit of Ganja”, as well as about attitudes and opinions on changing traditions of cultivation and use of Cannabis.