Saturday, September 26, 2015

Helen Hunt Takes Us on a Wild "Ride"

Written and directed by actress Helen Hunt (The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, What Women Want) the movie Ride now on Netflix is full of wit, heart...and, surprisingly, pot smoking.

I confess I'd watched it, not knowing about Hunt's involvement, because I'd watch Luke Wilson (Idiocracy, The Family Stone, Bongwater) in anything. He's typically endearing here as Ian, the surfing instructor to Hunt's character Jackie, a high-powered New York editor who follows her wayward son Angelo to California and ends up on a quest of her own.

The 52-year-old Hunt, who has surfed for 10 years, is thrilling to watch as her character learns to surf in the film. And her rapid-fire dialogue, reminiscent of her role as the quintessential modern wife in TV's Mad About You, is refreshingly honest and direct. (Only a woman could write the line, spoken while arguing with her adult son: "Because one adult came out of the other adult's vagina.")

After Jackie tries some pot possibly belonging to her son, she really begins to open up, confronting past issues long bottled up and better able to express her emotions. I confess I wasn't expecting that.

Inevitably, it gets heavy-handed in parts, as when Ian refuses to smoke and Angelo gets turned off by a role model who turns out to be a pot dealer.

As the film states about the ending to the story Angelo is writing, "It just has to be surprising and inevitable." So is Ride. So is life.

In 1980 Hunt played a schoolgirl who smokes pot and is unable to write a book review (ironically, of Moby Dick) on the TV sitcom The Facts of Life. Possibly this was one of the sitcoms that was bribed by the federal government to churn out anti-drug propaganda. Charlotte Rea, who played the housemother in the series who berates Hunt's character over her pot smoking, accidently doses the ER cast at their Christmas party in 2008 with her special brownies, made for a friend in chemo.

Now Available: Tokin' Women: A 4000-Year Herstory 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Eleusis and the Equinox

Demeter of Knidos, c. 350 B.C.E.
I am reminded, as we ring out the Hebrew year 5775, that the fall equinox is also the time of the nine-day pilgrimage to Eleusis in Ancient Greek times, for the Eleusinian Mysteries—the Burning Man or Grateful Dead concert of its day that honored the grain goddess Demeter. 

In 440 BC the historian Herodotus observed Scythians (among them the Amazon Women) using cannabis ritualistically, around the time Greek playwrights Aristophanes and Orestes wrote about the Eleusinian mysteries in their plays.

"The Frogs by Aristophanes (405 B.C.E.) involves the sybaritic Dionysus as the new god of Eleusis. Some scholars think the play focuses on the exiled general Alcibiades, who stole the Eleusinian sacrament kykeon from the temple of the grain goddess Demeter, and started partying with it at orgies at his home....." (excerpted from Tokin' Women: A 4000-Year Herstory).

In Roman times, Demeter became known as Ceres or Pomona. Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman orator who gave us the enduring maxim, “Let the punishment fit the crime” wrote:

For it appears to me that among the many exceptional and divine things your Athens has produced and contributed to human life, nothing is better than those [Eleusinian] mysteries. For by means of them we have transformed from a rough and savage way of life to the state of humanity, and have been civilized.” 

Nonetheless, in 392 AD, the Romans outlawed the Mysteries.

According to legend, a king of Thessaly named Erysichthon ordered all trees in the sacred grove of Demeter to be cut down in order to build himself a feast hall. As punishment, Demeter inflicted him with insatiable hunger, driving him to exhaust all his wealth and finally, in abject poverty, devour his own flesh. It seems to me humanity is on that same path.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sponsor a Tokin’ Woman for an exciting new book project

UPDATE: Ellen Komp, the author of Tokin Women, will premiere the book at the Women Grow event in Rohnert Park on September 10, and the Bay Area Cannabis Author Showcase in Oakland on September 17. 

Pre-orders are now being taken.  

I’m going to print with the book “Tokin’ Women: A 4000-Year Herstory” featuring short biographies of over 50 ganga goddesses from Ishtar to Miley Cyrus (list below). Each biography will be accompanied by a photo or illustration. See sample pages

To go into print, I need high-resolution images and I want them to be as extraordinary as these women are! I’ve found many photos in public domain, and have combed various sources and come up with prices for the images I’d like to use that require licensing.

I need a $150 sponsor for this great Dean Chakley photo of Chrissie Hynde.

Angels receive credit (if desired) and 3 copies of the book.

I found photos of each of these women for $75:

Barbra Streisand
Sue Mengers
Jennifer Aniston

Supporters at this level will receive 2 copies of the book.

I found some bargain shots of these ladies for only $33 each:

Joan Rivers
Roseanne Barr

Sponsors for these photos will receive one copy of the book.

I can bill you through my PayPay account, whether or not you have PayPal (just provide your email address). Donations can also be made to:

Ellen Komp
Evangelista Sista Press
POB 5172
Berkeley, CA 94705

If there’s extra green energy about, I could use donations of any amount for printing and shipping costs. I will also be making the book available for pre-orders very soon. Alternatively, if anyone has photos they can donate to this project, please let me know! And if anyone is able to help promote the book, please contact me.

This work is the culmination of over 10 years of research, much of it published on this blog or at My aim, as always, is to broaden our knowledge base and raise awareness. With California heading for a ballot initiative in 2016, we’ll need women’s votes now more than ever!

When I give presentations on my research, women come up to me and say, “You’ve made me feel a part of something.” Here’s a great chance for all of us to be a part of Herstory. If you’d like to know more, or set up a PayPal payment, please write

Miley Cyrus is sponsored by Liana Limited
Sarah Silverman is sponsored by Green Rush Consulting
Lily Tomlin is sponsored by Giggle Therapeutics
Oprah Winfrey is sponsored by Paradigm Cannabis Group 
Elizabeth Taylor and Karen Silkwood are sponsored by M&M Aldrich.
Maya Angelou is sponsored! 
Whoopi Goldberg upgrade is sponsored!

Susan Sarandon has been sponsored!

The Tokin Women are:
Princess Ukok
Helen of Troy
The Queen of Sheba
Hildegarde von Bingen
Harriet Martineau
George Eliot
Ada Clare
Louisa May Alcott
Queen Victoria
Mary Todd Lincoln
Helena Blavatsky
Maud Gonne
Isabelle Eberhardt
Gertrude Bell
Marie Laurencin
Alice B. Toklas & Gertrude Stein
Violette Murat
Iris Tree
Josephine Baker
Isak Dinesen
Bessie Smith
Billie Holiday
Mary Lou Williams
Tallulah Bankhead
Sarah Vaughan
Anita O’Day
Lila Leeds
Candy Barr
Margaret Mead
Grace Slick
Janis Joplin
Mama Cass Elliot
Barbra Streisand
Sue Mengers
Elizabeth Taylor
Linda McCartney
Karen Silkwood
Maya Angelou
Jennifer Aniston
Whoopi Goldberg
Chrissie Hynde
Susan Blackmore
Patti Smith
Sarah Palin
Melissa Etheridge
Oprah Winfrey
Lily Tomlin
Jane Fonda
Sarah Silverman
Roseanne Barr
Joan Rivers
Susan Sarandon
Barbara Ehrenreich
Cameron Diaz
Kacey Musgraves
Miley Cyrus

“The known literature of women’s experiential involvement with what we today call recreational drugs can now be extended to include more famous with this new anthology of freshly discovered Tokin Women texts by an amazing blogger-sleuth.”
–Michael Horowitz, co-editor of Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady and Sisters of the Extreme 

“This book by dedicated ‘herstorian’ Ellen Komp explores the use of cannabis by women throughout the ages. Readers discover that the world’s most famous women used this herb for food, fiber, and medicine, and that behind every great woman is a little bit of cannabis.”
–Debby Goldsberry, High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year (2011)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Harriet Martineau's Chibouque

"Harriet at Home" from an engraving by
Alfred Croquis (Rischgitz Studios)
UPDATE 12/15: I just discovered that Martineau is the great great great great grandmother of Princess Kate Middleton.

10/15: Martineau is included in the new book Tokin' Women: A 4000-Year Herstory.

Ladies who have courage to do what is good for them, and agreeable to them, in new circumstances, in disregard of former prejudices, will try the virtues of the chibouque while in the East: and if they like it, they will go on with it as long as they feel that they want it. The chibouque would not be in such universal use as it is in the East, if there were not some reason for it: and the reason is that it is usually found eminently good for health. I found it so: and I saw no more reason why I should not take it than why English ladies should not take their daily glass of sherry at home — an indulgence which I do not need. I continued the use of my chibouque for some weeks after my return; and then left it off only on account of its inconvenience: and in the East, it is not inconvenient. 

Harriet Martineau, Eastern Life Present and Past

Often called the first female sociologist, English author Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) was a prolific and influential writer whose admirers included a young Queen Victoria.

Nearly deaf from childhood and with a spotty education sometimes handled by some of her seven siblings, Martineau was first published at the age of 18 with an article titled "Female Writers on Practical Divinity."  Her father was so impressed that he declared, "Leave it to the other women to make shirts and darn stockings; and do you devote yourself to this." When The Central Unitarian Association advertised for three prize essays discussing how Catholics, Jews and Mohammedans might embrace Unitarianism, she entered all three contests under different names and won them all, and 45 pounds.

Her first commissioned work, Illustrations of Political Economy, was so successful across Europe that she was hired to produce monthly volumes for 24 months, each critiquing various political and economic affairs. Beseeched by a fellow writer to curb her pen so as not to offend French king Louis-Philippe, Martineau replied, "I write with a view to the people, and particularly the most suffering of them." In The Charmed Sea  she drew attention to poor treatment of Polish exiles in Eastern Siberia, causing the Russian czar to order all copies burnt. Traveling to the United States, she took flack for her books deploring British slavery in the colonies and was warned against traveling to any Southern states. She nonetheless visited Columbia, Charleston, and New Orleans, traveling by boat up the Mississippi to Kentucky, and producing Society in America and other volumes about her experiences.

Martineau traveled to the East in 1846, writing Eastern Life Present and Past as a study in comparative religion and an attempt to track down the evolution of faith. "Eastern travel and the production of Eastern Life were the turning point in Martineau's biography" writes Billie Melman in Women's Orients: English Women and the Middle East. "It was immediately after the journey that she abandoned her rational, Necessarian brand of Unitarianism for Positivism, soon to become [sociologist Auguste] Comte's first populariser in Britain and his first translator."

Melman writes that on her travels Martineau became "quite addicted" to the chibouque, a pipe used to smoke hashish. In Eastern Life, Martineau wrote that "the stem of my chibouque was one day embossed with fresh-gathered roses" and called a bottle of ale "the greatest possible refreshment in the desert, except the chibouque....I was very well satisfied with myself if I wrote my journal after dressing and chibouque, and before dinner."

Of one evening, she wrote, "Then the chibouques were brought,— at once the indispensable comfort and chief luxury of Eastern life:— a comfort of whose importance there no more conception can be formed at home than the people of the Guinea coast can appreciate our winter clothing and fires."

Harem Girls Smoking a Hookah
from an early 20th century postcard

Writing about a jolly time spent in a harem, she describes a cross-cultural experience: 

The next joke was on behalf of the Jewesses, four or five of whom sat in a row on the divan. Almost everybody else was puffing away at a chibouque or a nargeeleh, and the place was one cloud of smoke. The poor Jewesses were obliged to decline joining us; for it happened to be Saturday: they must not smoke on the Sabbath. They were naturally much pitied: and some of the young wives did what was possible for them. Drawing in a long breath of smoke, they puffed it forth in the faces of the Jewesses, who opened mouth and nostrils eagerly to receive it. Thus was the Sabbath observed, to shouts of laughter. 
In her Autobiography, written in 1855, Martineau says:

At past forty years of age, I began to relish life, without drawback; and for ten years I have been vividly conscious of its delights, as undisturbed by cares as my anxious nature, and my long training to trouble could permit me ever to be. I believe there never was before any time in my life when I should not have been rather glad than sorry to lay it down. During this last sunny period, I have not acquired any dread or dislike of death; but I have felt, for the first time, a keen and unvarying relish of life. ...

I had little idea the convictions and the action of the remnant of my life would be shaped and determined by what I saw and thought during those all-important months that I spent in the East....there were effects produced on my own character of mind which it would have been impertinent to offer here, even if the lapse of years had not been necessary to make them clear to myself. I never before had better opportunity for quiet meditation....

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Of Hamnett and Hashish

British Bohemian Queen Nina Hamnett, an artist and muse who was known for her performances of Sea Shanty songs, once attended a party where Elsa Maxwell played the piano "with great vigor." Hanging out with poetess and Tokin Woman Iris Tree, they concocted drinks using imitation absinthe, gentian, and brandy.  Around 1921 she would run into Marie Laurencin, Picasso, Cocteau and Brancusi at "Le Boeuf sur le Toit," the Parisian restaurant where she often dined. 

Hamnett wrote in her book Laughing Torso:

"One evening....a man whom we all knew, asked us to come to his flat and try a little hashish. I had never tried any, but only a few days before, the Irish journalist whom I knew, had told me about his experiences when he had tried some. It is not a habit-forming drug and does not do any one much harm....

"I believe that one loses all sense of time and space. It takes about a hundred years to cross quite a narrow street and, as Maurice Richardson pointed out when I told him the story, probably a hundred years to order a drink.

"The first effect is a violent attack of giggles. One screams with laughter for no reason whatever, even at a fly walking on the ceiling.

"The Irishman went through all the stages and finally decided to go home. He had to walk across Paris and cross the river by Notre Dame. When he reached it he found that it was at least a mile high, and, giving it one despairing look, sat down on the quays to wait till its size had diminished. He had to wait for some time, but finally he decided that it had grown small enough for him to continue his walk home."

Hamnett by Modigliani
She then describes a dinner party thrown by a Countess to which Aleister Crowley was invited. Afterwards:

"We went to our friend's fiat after dinner. He had a large pot on the floor which contained hashish in the form of jam. On the table were some pipes, as one smoked or ate it, or did both. I tasted a spoonful, swallowed it, and waited, but nothing happened. The others got to work seriously and smoked and ate the jam. I felt no effect except that I was very happy, much more happy than if I had drunk anything. I sat on a chair and grinned.

"The others entered the giggling stage. This was for me a most awful bore as I could not say a word of any kind without them roaring with laughter. I got so bored that I went home...Crowley eventually returned to Cefalu, taking his wife with him, and so we had no more Kubla Khan No. 2."

Crowley unsuccessfully sued Hamnett in 1934 over a statement in her book that “he was supposed to practise Black Magic.” The incident was said to effect her greatly, and for whatever reasons, she succumbed to alcoholism, dying after a fall from her balcony in 1956. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Go Ask About Alice

Today is Alice's Day in the Sequicentennial of 1865, the year when an English mathematician named Charles Dodson (aka Lewis Carroll) led us all down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.

Professor Sherry L. Ackerman writes in Alice and the Hero’s Journey, “Alice's being repeatedly instructed to eat or drink various intoxicating substances, after having descended into the underworld, was reminiscent of the function of kykeon in the Eleusian mystery schools. The Wonderland mushroom, suggestive of the Amanita muscaria, takes a central position in this context, as the caterpillar instructs Alice to eat it in order to change sizes. Interestingly, the caterpillar is a principal symbol for transformation…the foreshadow of the chrysalis. Thus, the symbol for transformation sits atop the transformational agent, the psychoactive mushroom. After ingesting a Wonderland version of the kykeon, Alice's subsequent adventures illustrate the mystic's death, as she summons the power to face, with relative equanimity, every manner of unusual being that the underworld has to offer.”

Hallucinogenic mushroom experiences have been traced back to 1799 in England, so it's possible Dodson partook in them. Of course, the caterpillar was also smoking a hookah (as shown here in the classic John Tenniel illustration). Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the English youth who “ate hasheesh” back in 1856, and English novelist George Eliot mentions hashish in her 1859 novella The Lifted Veil; Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson was smoking hasheesh by 1875.

The Greek Eleusinian Mysteries, with their psychoactive sacrament kykeon, survive in modern times as Grateful Dead concerts or Raves, without the sanction or guidance of society or organized religion, and targeted by mainstream society as deviant and dangerous. At least until the 1960s blew them wide open.

"White Rabbit," the rock anthem penned 50 years ago by Tokin Woman Grace Slick, begins: 

One pill makes you larger 
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you 
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall.  

Asked about the song, Slick said, "...[P]arents read us these books, like Alice in Wonderland, where she gets high, tall, and she takes mushrooms, a hookah, pills, alcohol. And then there's the Wizard of Oz, where they fall into field of poppies and when they wake up they see Oz. And then there's Peter Pan, where if you sprinkle white dust on you, you could fly. And then you wonder why we do it? Well, what did you read to me?"

Slick is now producing paintings as interesting as her songs. One of her works called White Rabbit in Wonderland (shown) depicts Alice perched on a mushroom, chasing a rabbit on a path where Timothy Leary appears as the mad hatter and Ram Dass is the caterpillar.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Could Rosie O'Donnell Lose Child Custody Rights Over Marijuana?

If you can believe Radaronline via the National Enquirer, Rosie O'Donnell is at risk of losing custody of her 2-year-old daughter Dakota after her ex-wife Michelle Rounds alleged "The View" star is excessively using marijuana and alcohol. She reportedly submitted to a hair follicle test, which came up positive for pot.

If true, this would make O'Donnell, 53, the highest (ha) profile person to face this rather common problem since, perhaps, Paul McCartney.

Although some say marijuana actually can make you a better parent when used wisely, and court rulings have upheld parental rights of medical marijuana users, battling parents often bring up their spouses' marijuana use in custody hearings. The type of testing O'Donnell reportedly underwent can pick up drug use for months after it was last used. 

Apparently the story stemmed from a TMZ report that was later denied by Rounds, who told the NY Daily News she is seeking full custody because O'Donnell is too distracted raising her other four children.

The Enquirer also reports that Susan Olsen, the actress who played little Cindy on "The Brady Bunch," spent years growing and selling marijuana.

“I was, I guess, technically a drug dealer – but I was really a [marijuana] grower,” said Susan, also 53, saying that she grew  the “green stuff” with one of her two ex-husbands.
Susan has apparently changed her Facebook profile picture to one taken in a marijuana garden (right).  This would make Olsen the highest profile actress to admit she grew pot since the Blair Witch Project's Heather Donahue, author of Growgirl.