Re: What did HPB smoke?
Aug 07, 1995 09:00 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
> There is a letter I read, also said to be from K.H. (in the
publications of the Temple of the People), called, I think, "Some
Reasons for the Failure to Establish a Universal Occult
Organization." In this he lists many reasons (all of which seem
to me to be still relevant today) but says that the most serious
problem are the braggarts or people who want to be recognized as
someone (or as the main person) who has a relationship with the
> Ah Humility!
I would appreciate it if you let me know the title and edition of
the publication when you next run across it.
> I read (where I don't remember) that H.P.B. smoked an herb
mixture that gave off ozone -- but everyone I've talked to so far
says that as far as they know it was regular tobacco. The herb
mixture was supposed to help her sensitivity in living in her
environment. Anyone have info on this?
I keep hearing this story but have never seen it in print
anywhere. Think you might sometime be able to recall where you
read it? Col. Olcott mentions in passing in ~Old Diary Leaves~
that HPB smoked Turkish tobacco, which is quite potent but still
just tobacco and more characteristically gives off carbons rather
> As far as I can remember HPB smoked tobacco, but most of all
hashish. Take the modern stigma away when considering either
substance. Given her time in the middle east and india, hash is
widely used in those countries. And that was probably in the
time frame coca cola included cocaine. So, we cannot judge
actions a century ago by modern standards, nor mistake
contemporary Puritanical standards for those of a bon vivant
sophisticate such as HPB. Unless we want to do the disservice of
putting her on a pedestal and worshipping her as a cult figure.
There are a couple of references to HPB smoking, or at least
trying hashish in Egypt in the 1860's. It could be true, but
keep in mind that the statements came from people who had it in
for her at one time or another. Good documentation of her life
and habits are only available after 1874. From this time on
there is no evidence (from friend or foe) whatsoever that HPB
smoked anything other than turkish tobacco. I agree that HPB has
been too deified by many, and don't mind calling a spade a spade,
but let's be fair about it too.
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