My letter to Bill Levin

billlevinDear Bill:

Now you probably know how I felt after creating the Freedom Fighters and Cannabis Cup. Marijuana carries immense vibrations, and what begins as a lark sometimes turns into something epic.

I don’t prescribe ceremonies and prefer everyone to make up their own, but I’d like to share a brief sketch of my 45-year-long history organizing counterculture ceremonies, something that began in 1967 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, when I published the largest underground newspaper in Central Illinois, The Tin Whistle. One of my primary inspirations from the period was the late James Wilson, later to become known as Chef Ra, who organized the Freedom Fighter Campground Free Kitchen (Rasta Pasta Pesto), and was everyone’s favorite speaker at the Hash Bash, until his heart exploded in his sleep on Christmas Eve a few years ago (RIP Ra). Some of the other ceremonial masters I studied under include John Cage, Jasper Grootveld, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Ken Kesey, Mountain Girl, Ken Babbs, Paul Krassner, Wavy Gravy. I could keep going…there were so many influences and inspirations because I brought a different team to every Cannabis Cup for 20 years while I organized that event and I always put them in charge of all ceremonies.

It requires a harmonized team to manifest great ceremonies, and I began by assembling the greatest artists, performers, vocalists, musicians, drummers and making them my core. This team became known as the Temple Dragon Crew after a speech made by Stephen Gaskin at a Cup 420 ceremony. We employ seven candles in our ceremonies, and a different person lights each one and says something. That’s how the ceremony starts. Everything is improvisational and the candles provide a sort of group sermon, and the person who lights a candle, selects the next person and so on, so you never know how the energy is going to pass around the room, but it’s all good no matter what happens. At some point in the service we form a circle, respect a moment of silence and then do an OM. I believe the OM has been passed down from the original cannabis religions from over 5,000 years ago in India and Persia. It is very effective way to harmonize people in preparation for group improvisation.

JAIN CENTER, ENGLANDThen the jam begins and everyone participates, and hemp paper and hemp oil sticks can be distributed for those who don’t sing, dance or play drums. The idea is to manifest a telepathic field of pure creativity, which is a palpable telepathic force that can be passed around and amplified with practice. Cannabis is an aid to amplifying creative power, especially when used in ceremonies.

The reason we invite a different person to be High Priestess and High Priest at every ceremony is to prevent corruption and personality cults. Any elements that stick, like the seven candles (representing the seven lights of cannabis as realized by Alex Grey at the Cup), are things that keep appearing at every ceremony.

The mission to topple the hoodwink manipulating religion to manifest war for profit is important, and from a small ripple, great changes can emerge. We can only reform religion by working from within the paradigm, not by trying to banish it off the face of the earth, a jihad under another name.

If you ever want our Temple Dragon Crew to perform at your church, just let us know. The crew involves Grandmaster Caz (vocals), Fantuzzi (congas), Me (guitar), Dino (theremin), Jet (guitar), Larry (violin) and members of the Cannabis Cup Band, who are considered among the greatest reggae session players in New York City. However, most of us would require travel expenses, and I can’t guarantee everyone would show, but I do promise to leave behind a set of seven candles for your church to enjoy.

much love,



One thought on “My letter to Bill Levin

  1. Pingback: Toking Travels: First Church of Cannabis

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