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Observations placeholder

Dale Pendell - Pharmakopoeia – Opium and Sex Magick



Type of Spiritual Experience



A description of the experience

Pharmakopoeia – Dale Pendell

Ancient, indeed. Poppies were collected, and probably cultivated, by the Neolithic Lake Dwellers in Europe. The poppy seems to have moved from Europe to the Mediterranean during the late Neolithic, following the tin and amber trade routes from Lithuania and Switzerland south through the passes across the Alps. During the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, the poppy made itself at home throughout the ancient world, both as a food plant and as a medicine. There is some evidence that the Sumerians called the poppy hul-gil, the ‘joy plant’  though that claim is now disputed.

By classical times, poppies were a part of the spring mysteries at Eleusis.

gold poppy capsule earrings,

a statue of a goddess, bare breasts,

her hands uplifted, three poppy capsules

growing up from her brow,

fine vertical scars on each capsule

A statue of Asclepius depicts him holding a bunch of opium capsules in his hand.  Opium poppies are on the backs of many ancient coins, both Roman and Jewish.

Isis sometimes holds poppy heads. Demeter drank opium to ease her sorrows,  and poppies are part of her worship.

Helen learned the secret of nepenthe from the Egyptians. Thebes, in particular, was famous for its poppy fields. Nepenthe was probably a mixture, perhaps mekonium in wine, with mandrake and henbane. Tropanes go well with opium.

The source of the experience

Ancient Egyptian

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Sex magick



Opium and Sex magick or sexual practices seemed to go together in Ancient Egypt. 

One artefact from Egypt, called the Turin Erotic Papyrus has explicit depictions of sexual acts and was painted in the Ramesside period (1292-1075 BCE).  I have not read the attached book, but it may be useful as background on both the practises and role of the poppy.