Soma, the Messianic Son

"Thou, Soma, art the protector, the sovereign of the pious,... thou art holy sacrifice...Thou, Soma, fond of praise, the lord of plants, art life to us: if thou wilt, we shall not die. Thou bestowest wealth..."

"Defend us, royal Soma, from everyone seeking to harm us...Soma, be our protector..."

"Protect us, Soma, from calamity, preserve us from our friend...Being fully nourished, do thou provide, Soma, excellent viands in heaven for our immortality."

"Soma...invincible in battle, triumphant among hosts, the granter of heaven, the giver of rain, the preserver of strength, born amidst sacrifices, occupying a brilliant dwelling, renowned and victorious."

"Divine and potent Soma, bestow upon us, with thy brilliant mind, a portion of wealth."

The word "soma" is derived from the Sanskrit root meaning “to press.” Recent scholarship suggests that the sometimes hallucinatory and psychedelic drink called soma, personified and worshipped as the god Soma in the ancient Indian Vedas, was in fact pressed from a type of mushroom called soma.

The Sāma Veda is a collection of ritual hymns dedicated to the god Soma as a source of imaginative power. Soma is much praised in the Rig-Veda, in which is told the myth of the discovery of the soma plant in Heaven. It was an eagle who plucked some of the plant from the heights and planted it on earthly mountains, where it was gathered by Vedic priests.

The priests pressed the plant, extracting the sacred essence, which they then filtered through wool [the "golden fleece"] and mixed with clarified butter. They used the resulting liquid in rituals. If consumed, it would bring remarkable insights. If placed in the ritual fire as a sacrifice, it would rise up to the gods in the smoke and become their ambrosia of immortality and the source of their power.

In the Persian Avestan tradition, we find a similar drink of immortality called haoma. Soma was later associated with the Moon, where it is said that the gods store soma.* [This is presumably because mushrooms grow at night under the moonlight.]

* A "milk moon" is a crescent moon that looks like a cup.

1. Oxford Dictionary of Asian Mythology.
2. Albert Pike, "Indo-Aryan Deities and Worship As Contained in the Rig-Veda"