cantheism altar 2018 cannamaste

Cantheist icon and symbols

cantheism symbol logo glow relief

The graphic symbol for Cantheism / Cannatheism, seen on the left, is modeled after the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for hemp rope and fiber skeins. Its shape was eventually transformed into the modern letter “h.”

The emblem is designed to be discreet, simple and easily sketched by hand. The shape replicates that of a coiled skein of hemp fiber, seen on the right. It refers both to the ancient roots and the intertwined nature of human experience and the cannabis plant.

Symbolism and health safety

Egyptian hieroglyphic reference to cannabis hemp.
Illustration: Detail from an Egyptian stella (1780-1306 BC), Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze (Italy) Room III, case 14, Item 7611
A small skein of
hemp fiber, the model
for this hieroglyph.

The hand symbol for Cantheism is right hand cupped around the left, with two fingers extended in the inner hand, symbolizing the male and the female plants. The overall hand gesture signifying the female calyx which holds the trichome glands.

The Cantheist personal greeting is to hole the left hand over the heart with fingers spread and a small nod or bow of acknowledgement. This gesture, also used in the Cannamaste Circle, has been a safe and respectful acknowledgement of the other person that can be made at a distance to prevent passing germs.

Likewise, the sacramental spliff is smoked through a chillum style, cupped hand and sometimes a hemp smoking cloth, to prevent passing germs mouth to mouth.

Astronomy: The three stars of Orion’s belt represent the three aspects of cannabis: Commerce, medicine, and spirit. Sirius, the brightest star in the nearby constellation Canis Major (Big Dog), visible in the Northern sky during winter, is identified with cannabis.

Alchemistry: Cannabis pulp and fiber can be fabricated and transformed into almost anything, including every product made from fossil fuels, timber and cotton. The story of Rumplestiltskin relates to a person who could spin gold from straw. Likewise, great wealth can be derived from the cannabis plant but without magic, simply using the plant in commerce. Use of hemp instead of harmful petrochemical products is essential for the restoration of natural balance to the planet.

The active flowers and leaves can be converted into a wide assortment of inhalables and comestibles, ranging from flowers to hash resin to honey oil to water hash to kief to food items to beverages to tinctures to salves to liniments, etc., etc.

Sharing and passing the breath of life

ancient Egypt pharaoh Ptah dynasty
The immortal Ptah breathes power and strength into a 12th Dynasty pharaoh while standing beneath the Cantheist logo.

During ceremonial smoking circles, each person in the group must say Cannamaste to the people next to them, take and hold the burning spliff, inhale a deep breath and pass it on to continue the circle.

Given that some people prefer to ingest their sacrament as vaporized herb or oils, edibles or tinctures, inhaling the smoke is encouraged but not required. People in the circle should each receive the spliff with the Cannamaste salute, hold (possess) the spliff while inhaling and exhaling, then pass it along to the next congregant in the circle.

The Cantheist Symbol can be seen
in numerous real and imitation
heiroglyphics, like this image
from a Las Vegas casino.

During a Cantheist wedding, it is common for the couple to share the “breath of smoke” during the ceremony.

An ancient allusion to this practice is seen in the detail above, taken from a relief on the Pillar of Sesotris I, 12th Dynasty (c. 1971-28 BC).

The immortal Ptah breathes on the Egyptian pharaoh, investing him with renewed power and strength. Note the Cantheist icon situated above the Ankh in the upper left corner.

A modern depiction is seen in this decoration, left, from a relief in a Las Vegas casino.

Glyph transformed by language, cultures

Below is a representation showing how the Egyptian symbol for hemp became a more angular shape in the Semitic alphabet as a cipher for tent wall, or canvas. Meanwhile, the Semitic word for hemp, kaneh bosm, became the Greek word kannabis and was adapted into Latin as cannabis, from which derives the english word canvas.


Author, cannabis expert witness, journalist, artist


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