In the 1921 Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, the effects of consuming Soma are described as follows:
"In such a state, the devotee becomes as powerful as an independent monarch, and is able to withstand many dangers coming from ill-disposed persons. Heaven, health, long life, power to contend against evils, victory against enemies, and fore-warnings against coming dangers from thieves, murderers, and plunderers are the six gifts bestowed by Haoma when adequately praised and prepared. Haoma is specially sought for by young maidens in search of good husbands, by married women desirous of being mothers, and by students striving after knowledge."
Soma and bhang
Cannabis was originally rejected outright by western historians researching the identity of Soma. It was not until 1921 and the publication of Braja Lal Mukherjee's article "The Soma Plant" in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society that "bhang" was put forth as a serious candidate.
Mukherjee based his assertion on references in the Satapatha Brahmana that mention a plant, "usana," from which Soma is made. The "u" in "usana" was a prefix carry over from the Kiratas, with whom Soma originated. When the "u" is dropped you return to one of the original Sanskrit names for cannabis: "sana."
Also in favor of the theory that Soma was originally cannabis are ancient writings which indicate that the stalks of the Soma were woven together and worn around the neck as an amulet for protection.
(ED_but i thought they said) Wasson and others have noted that descriptions of Soma list no leaves, branches, or roots,
Ancient bubblehash Reconstruction of the tools used in the preparation of the Soma drink offer some insights into the ingenuity of these ancient stoners.
The cannabis plant was soaked in water in large tubs, then beaten and pressed into milk. This process was directed at releasing the cannabinoid-rich trichomes from the plant matter.
This preparation was then placed into large pots which had a hole in the bottom, covered with a wool filter. The final preparation was recovered in a vessel placed below. This technique is similar to the modern method of making water hash, and the filter bags used in that process.
Ali Jafarey, who has been writing on the Zoroastrian religion for over 40 years, has written that "the mushroom seems to be far-fetched" as the original Soma. In an essay called Haoma: Its Original and Later Identity, he wrote that the commonly used modern ingredient for the Haoma ceremony, ephedra, is "void of all the qualities described in the Avesta and the Vedas."
"The description of the plant is that it was greenish in color," writes Jafarey, "grew on mountains well north of the Indus Valley, was traded by outsiders, had a special ritual to prepare, was an instant intoxicant prepared from pounding and extracting its juice, and that the Saka tribes of eastern Central Asia are called "haumavarka" (Haoma-gatherers) by Achaemenians; all point, in my opinion, to what is now known as Indian hemp."
The "Saka tribes" to which Jafarey refers are more popularly known as the Scythians. There are many ancient references to their use of cannabis for religious and social purposes, and numerous cannabis-related artifacts and even cannabis seeds have been discovered by modern archeologists at numerous Scythian burial sites (CC#02, The Scythians: high plains drifters).
Jafarey also wrote that the ancient Soma ceremony "resembles the present practice of solemnly pounding... extracting and straining [cannabis] juice, and mixing it with water, milk, poppy seeds, and almonds by Sufis, Faqirs, Pirs, Sadhus, and other Muslim and Hindu mystics of certain orders and circles in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, particularly those connected with shrines and holy places.
The drink is called "d?gh-e vahdat" (unity milk) by Iranian mystics and "th?dal" (cooling, refreshing) by Sindhi Sufis."
Layaps performing their traditional dance during the festival