Drugged Senseless


Any skywatchers who have ever been enchanted and perplexed by the elusive planet Neptune are in luck. Its myriad mysteries are being writ large by the rare transit now looming in the sky.

Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune are joining forces in a conjunction that peaks for the first time on May 27th. Everything you associate with Neptune, the god of dreams and chaos, is being exaggerated by Jupiter. All the woundedness around these issues is being brought to the surface by Chiron. And to top it off: they’re right on top of the US Moon.

So to add to America’s current angst about money, about which I have written elsewhere, we’ll have a few other societal dysfunctions grabbing the headlines. Drugs, for one. Along with all other means of escaping from mundane reality (sleep, alcohol, spiritual search), Neptune governs drugs.

On the face of things, the official policy in America is to divide drugs into two categories: good and bad. Some are legal; some are illegal. As we know, however, this has less to do with their actual benefits or dangers than with what the Food and Drug Administration deems well and fit.

Grandmothers have been brewing chamomile tea for insomniacs for millennia, for example, but the FDA is not about to allow it in the health food store without slapping a big ol’ warning label on it. Who you gonna believe: your grandmother or your government?

Perhaps the fact that you can find it growing between the cracks of the sidewalk makes it unscientific. I tend to think it has more to do with the fact that weeds are free.

The official story seems to be this: unless “scientists” (i.e. research companies funded by the pharmaceutical industry) subject a substance to long, conscientious research, they just can’t know whether a given remedy is a good drug, a bad drug, or a case of charlatanism intended to exploit the innocent. However, beneath the FDA’s attempts at a rational argument, one senses a strain of veiled moral Puritanism. This is most obviously so in the case of marijuana (see below), an herb that relaxes aggression and inspires paradigm shifts of the mind.

One suspects that the clueless backers of current pot laws are still reacting to those 1950s newsreels about The Devil’s Weed. More insidiously, one suspects that the powers-that-be are aware of how dangerous to the status quo a peaceful, mind-expanded citizenry could be. How are you gonna get stoned hippies to fight wars?

Yet when all the cultural charge is removed from the issue – that is, if we were able to simply talk about marijuana, instead of the issue of marijuana — what do we have? A plant that has been used ritualistically, recreationally and medicinally since time immemorial; and which would grow as prolifically as peppermint if it weren’t routed out by Special Forces thundering into bucolic woodlands with BlackHawk helicopters.

But because there is this loaded cultural context around marijuana, what do we have? A culture of contraband, for which there is an enormous criminalized demand that is filled by violent drug cartels.

It would be hard to fathom why federal policies this irrational could be left in place from one US administration to the next… unless we factored in the deep-structure realities of the American system. And/or unless we looked at the USA’s chart, which features Pluto (power) in the 2nd house (money).

Consider the tree bark that’s the active ingredient in aspirin. One has the feeling that, even after all these years of signing off on its safety and effectiveness, the FDA wouldn’t want Americans to go down to South America and gather it themselves. In order for the FDA to bestow its seal of approval, it has to be Big Pharma that harvests it, replicates it in their labs, packages and markets it. Apparently only then will it get rid of your headache.

Any Americans still in the dark about the scam going on here were surely enlightened when, a couple of years ago, the feds tried to make it illegal for citizens to fill their prescriptions in Canada; in other words, to buy up there the exact same drug they were buying here, at a fraction of the price.

Most have figured out that there’s something a tad inconsistent about the Nancy Reagan approach to drug policy. She’s the one who spearheaded the Just-Say-No-to-[Some]-Drugs Campaign.

While famously keeping a gun by her bedside (remember her coy apologia,“Oh, it’s just a little handgun”? One imagines a wee pink model). These two facts about Nancy Reagan sort of encapsulate the whole irony of what is condoned and what is outlawed in the USA – an irony which is becoming surreal, as every day mass murders fill the news. Most of them seem to be domestic and fired-employee revenge slaughters, in which monster semi-automatic guns are used: multiple-round-firing death-dealers that are as legal and accessible as salt.

Meanwhile, the FDA, despite countless studies that prove its medicinal properties, will not budge on decriminalizing marijuana.

At the same time that the Neptune transit is throwing the focus on drugs, Pluto is opposing the US Venus, forcing into the open the unofficial realities of the national economy. Americans are getting hip to the workings of the government/big business alliance that runs this show.

It is becoming obvious that, even by its own standards, the FDA’s rules are riddled with contradictions. For example, the latest trend in American medicine seems to be doctors prescribing a drug for symptoms different from the ones the FDA approved it for. How does this jive with the idea that if the agency has approved substance A for ailment A, it’s cool; and if it did not, it’s quackery? Lawyers everywhere are rubbing their hands with glee, thinking about the ramifications of this contradiction.

To try to follow the FDA’s illogic is to conclude that there is something irremediably corrupting about the whole idea of a politicized agency in a capitalist system being given the power to dictate what’s beneficial and what’s not. It’s as if everyone involved – doctors, patients, advertisers, and the FDA — were playing a big game of Let’s pretend it’s not about profit.

It’s amazing, really, that there exists such a thing as Big Pharma. If we allow ourselves to withdraw from the prevailing mindset for a moment and just muse about it, how counter-intuitive is it that treating illness is seen as a business? How cut-off from basic humanitarian principles is this? If we want to understand how American health care got so dysfunctional we have to start there.

I read in the paper that Pfizer is about to buy Wyeth for $68 billion dollars. Not unusual in the world
of big mergers… until you consider that the deal is being financed by four banks that just received taxpayer bailout money. So wait a minute: now our bucks are going to create a pharmaceutical monopoly?

There is something hideously appropriate about this coming about just now. Neptune is offering up the senselessness of American health policies while Pluto strips the cover off the operation.

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11 comments
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Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

Lucy,Yes, the perversity comes from the fact that it follows profit-driven logic instead of common-sense logic. Your example says it all: Big Pharma wanting to copy and privatize what marijuana already provides for free. Not to mention that the meds they cook up in the lab are each, sooner or later, proven to have a whole host of negative side effects far more pernicious than those than Mother Nature's weeds have. And your point about meds in the water supply is a huge environmental time bomb waiting to explode. Thank you for writing.Jessica

Lucy
Lucy

Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com) had an article last week which reported that humans have natural receptors for canniboids and that researchers are working on a synthetic form of marijuana that will utilize its healing abilities without 'it's bad effects'. I am not sure what the bad effects are, but my main point is why make a synthetic form of something that is so easy to produce in nature? That to me is so blatently perverse.Also, with regard to the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction relating to drugs, how about the stories in the news recently about the high concentrations of pharmaceutical drugs found in the water supplies of most major cities?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Follow you constantly now. I love all your insight and loved Cream Pies and Drugged Senseless.Thank you for giving us real, guiding information.

Joseph
Joseph

Thank you for these keen and insightful observations, Jessica.Here in Mexico (I am an American living in Mexico), where there is a strong curandero (folk medicine) tradition, and where many more people each year are flocking to alternative practitioners, the influence of US Big Medicine is not felt quite so much.In my mind, it always comes down to taking personal responsibility (about which most Americans are clueless because of cultural conditioning and, of course, its own adolescent stage of development) for one's body is the key. The day is dawning when, if we take care of ourselves with wholesome food, exercise, and rest, we will never be ill again.Maybe this time around, Chiron will help heal us from the illusion (Neptune) that we are powerless over our wellbeing of body, mind, emotions, and spirit.You are a precious resource, Jessica. Please keep sending us bulletins from the astrological front. We need them now more than ever.

Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

Dear Anonymous,I haven't heard the one about people worried dope-heads would be all crashing cars and heavy machinery. But your point is well-taken ("Would YOU?") Thank you for your feedback.Jessica

Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

Moon Girl,It's such a beautiful system. Talk about holistic medicine: treating mind, body, emotions and spirit at once. I have been getting Five-Element Chinese acupuncture for 28 years. Interesting that contemporary China has tried to censor all traces of the spiritual aspect of their own medical legacy. Following the West off a cliff in yet one more way.Jessica

Moon Girl
Moon Girl

Ancient Chinese medicine had as its foundation the premise that prevention was the key to success. The people even paid the doctors when they were well! In this case (as opposed to Big Pharma) it was in the best interests of the doctors that people did not get sick. Soon there will be a big surge in interest around the world in Chinese medicine (based on Taoist principles). At that point people will see that China’s contribution to the World will be as equal to, if not greater than, the West’s scientific/engineering marvels. More than merely curing illnesses, the preventive approaches used bring about a truly vibrant, healthy and attractive old age. Can you imagine it? To have the wisdom of an older person and still have the vitality of youth! With this there will be a tremendous decrease in costs to society.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Outstanding post as always. I am hoping that Pluto in Capricorn will expose the "business" of Big Pharma and the lies it perpetuates. When nasty diseases are profitable for an industry, then that industry does not have a vested interest in healing them, just prolonging the illness. And those in power who would deny marijuana to people it would help on the basis that is a gateway drug to perdition are either deluding themselves or lying to protect the industry. For some people, that is, the adventurous ones, marijuana would lead to experimentation. But I am an example of a very boring person who enjoyed marijuana when I was young, never had any interest in any other illegal drug, and don't smoke pot now. There are many others like me. And then there are those who say that if pot was legal everybody would smoke it and start crashing their cars and other heavy machinery. I ask them, would YOU do that? "Oh no, not ME!!!" I rest my case. But don't rest yours!

stella
stella

A big THANK YOU for your wise (as always) commentary, Jessica. The current "health care" system is such a dinosaur and, in my opinion, ready to die. With the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction, I'm envisioning the exposure of just how destructive the system really is, AND - the big-time entrance into the mainstream of alternative healing modalities that actually work - and that are completely safe. Bring on the Aquarius wake-up call!!

Jessica Murray
Jessica Murray

Thank you for writing, Singing Sparrow (that name makes me happy). Jon Carroll of the SF Chronicle had a great column recently on "this insane patchwork of rules about 'drugs' -- is caffeine a drug? Nicotine? Chocolate? Rum balls? Pepto-Bismol?"Welcome to the conversation.Jessica

Singing Sparrow
Singing Sparrow

I just 'discovered' you through the tireless searches of one of the regulars at Astroworld and Starlight News. I have added you to my bookmarks so that I can 'follow' you.I want to thank you so much for Cream Pies and Drugged Senseless I find them so closely knitted guiding out consciousness to attend to what is really hurting us and the absolute mockery of government at this point in our evolution.