The chalice itself is even created to invoke the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth. “You need the water for the bubbles, the earth is represented by the ceramic [parts] and the bamboo, you take a deep inhalation for air, and then the fire combines the four elements,” Gordon explained. The deep breathing required to take pulls from the chalice is also a spiritual practice. “Deep breathing creates meditative vibes, positivity, and anger management,” he added.
The water in the coconut or calabash base is also used in the ritual. “The water in the chalice can also be used to ‘anoint’ one's locks as a form of baptism or vow. The aroma from anointing is very pungent, and here we get into terpene and aromatherapy,” Fatari said. “The smoke blown from the nostrils is likened to clouds. During the ritual, there is a ‘channeling’ of positive thoughts and uplifting vibes.” I grew up in the Caribbean, and protecting and properly representing its people and culture is of great importance to me. I expressed concern over writing about the steam chalice. Is this sacred tool meant for public consumption and widespread adoption, or should it be kept to Rastafarians? “You don’t have to have locks to be rasta; it’s more like culture,” Fatari told me. “The steam chalice is not unique, but it is special to the rasta community, as the rasta community endeavours to be as ital as possible.” It’s true that other cultures, such as parts of India, have traditionally consumed cannabis in a sacred manner. While the US tends to put cannabis into categories (medicinal, recreational, etc.) everyone interviewed for this piece felt no need to establish such labeling, as long as respect is practiced during consumption.
Citizens of Colorado and Washington State earned the right to use marijuana recreationally on Tuesday, and I could not be happier. Though both states are on the other side of the country—by my estimation at least a grueling three-to-four-hour drive from New York—their relaxation of marijuana laws suggests that many more states will someday ease restrictions on getting and burning cheeba. The West Coast has been more progressive about decriminalizing marijuana and moving toward its legalization (big up, California). And Tuesday’s vote was proof that such good temperament will forge on. However, let’s not get too hopeful all the way out here in the East. While Massachusetts has decriminalized small amounts and New Jersey has legalized medical use, New York, the only place on the East Coast that really matters, remains fairly dick about it.
Rather than moving forward as a civilized city, we are a police state where smoking a J on the street can land you in jail.