Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Moon in Leo Conjunct Venus, the Exterior Conjunction and We Officially Head to the Venus Transit 2012

Leo New Moon Conjunct Venus July 30

Venus moved out of cardinal, yin Cancer and entered fixed, yang Leo this morning, leaving the last emotional residue of the tense, charged and hyper-disciplined Cardinal Grand Cross energy behind it. Masculine action/aggression planet Mars enters Cancer August 3 and tightens the Grand Cross energetic strings to just shy of their breaking points yet again August 8-11 and August 24-25, becoming the final personal planet to activate this formation. But the feminine planet of love, values and relationship Venus is currently easing the proceedings as it officially passes out of energetic range.

Venus is in Leo just in time for the 7 degree New Moon in Leo July 30 (1:40 p.m. Central) and will be conjunct the Sun-Moon at that time. This New Moon conjunct Venus really gets the creative fires burning, with a potent Dark of the Moon period through Cancer and Cardinal Grand Cross territory to fold in as fuel today and tomorrow.

We’re coming to the end of a two-year, Leo-infused cycle of creative goals and direction, spurred by the Mars in Leo retrograde December 2009 to March 2010. We received an altering of course at that time, finding deeper, newer, fresher, more effective ways to creatively direct ourselves by the guidance of our hearts.

But as Mars moves through Cardinal Grand Cross territory this August and then through Leo (September 18 - November 10) ahead of the next Mars retrograde in Virgo January 23 to April 13, 2012, we are about to be re-directed yet again down to every last pertinent detail as we work to effectively and practically apply the love in our hearts.

Old creative fires along with the last vestiges of old romantic flames burn down to ash as the Balsamic Moon moves into Leo (1:16 a.m. July 30) and then through a succession of completion aspects.

The 12-hour Dark of the Moon period in Leo July 30 involves quincunx aspects to both Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn, a conjunction to Venus in Leo and a trine to Uranus Rx in Aries.

Venus is warm and happy in Leo, but it’s far from simple. The broader context is tugging, pushing, pulling and stressing us. The ghosts of old, wished-for love and old, hoped-for lovers are released here and we’re forced to rapidly adjust under the emotional discomfort of the quincunx aspect to Neptune in Pisces. The love and relationship ideals that we know cannot be, the pleasures we wished for but have not experienced, and the innocence of our hearts that has so many times been disappointed are folded into the alchemical Balsamic Leo Moon fire just before it winks out. There is some definite Dark of the Moon sadness here related to those glimmering Neptunian-Venusian love dreams that did not materialize. The loves lost and the ones we never got to experience.

The love stays. The open, innocent heart stays. But the wished-for and dreamed-of forms that did not materialize, that were never meant to be, that held only disappointment and longing are released into the mix, and as the Moon becomes new, we’re burned clear. Our open, innocent hearts take on a new wisdom here, with deeper understanding as a result of the process remaining as our guide.

A new spark is just about here. As we start the month of August – full-on Leo season – that spark lights licks of new fire which will burn bright into new loves, new creative juice and a rejuvenated, warm and sustaining fiery force that fuels us and keeps us moving, powered by love, through the sometimes tricky territory ahead.

Sun-Venus Exterior Conjunction August 16: Heading to the Venus Retrograde in Gemini and the Venus Transit 2012

Venus in Leo is heading to its exterior conjunction to the Sun August 16 (7:08 a.m.) and will remain in this conjunction into early September. At the time of the exact conjunction, Venus is at apogee, the furthest point in its orbit from Earth, on the other side of the Sun from the Earth.

This Sun-Venus conjunction August 16 is a very nice marker. It is the point at which love planet Venus starts to come closer to us on Earth, heading to its interior conjunction to the Sun during its next retrograde in Gemini which marks perigee or the closest point in its orbit to Earth.

The next Venus retrograde in Gemini (May 14 to June 26, 2012) is a special one – and not just because it releases us from the Via Combusta Scorpio overlay of the previous fall 2010 Venus retrograde! The Venus retrograde through Gemini in spring 2012 marks the book end to the Venus retrograde in Gemini in May/June 2004, and both those retrogrades involve rare Venus Transits. Venus Transits are similar to solar eclipses. They are very precise alignments of the Sun, Venus and Earth when Venus can be viewed against the Sun, travelling in orbit between the Sun and Earth.

The Venus Transit in 2004 happened June 8. The Venus Transit in 2012 will happen June 5. Venus Transits happen in pairs eight years apart, but they do not happen often. The most recent Venus Transits prior to the 2004/2012 set occurred in December 1874/1882. The next set will occur in December 2117 and 2125.

At its point of perigee next June, Venusian energy will be flooding the Earth from a much lighter-hearted sign – airy Gemini – with the strong 'backdrop change' energy of the eclipse alignment accessible to us. In Gemini, connections can finally be made. Necessary information can be passed all along the past-present-future continuum, no longer obscured by the Piscean era veils and clouded, confused, wishful thinking related to love and relationship.

The 2012 Venus retrograde in Gemini has the ability to put multiple layers to rest in much lighter and more immediate ways than the Venus retrograde through Via Combusta Scorpio/Libra. We have the ability to enter a whole new ballgame relationship-wise coming out of the Venus Transit, with old relationship patterns and cycles discharged in one fell swoop, reaching far back into history, balancing in the present moment, and setting a new and refreshing tone for relationship cycles to come as we move fully into the astrological Aquarian era.

As of the Sun-Venus conjunction August 16, we're officially on our way to this once (or rather twice) in a lifetime event.

Triple Conjunction in Leo Trine the Sagittarius North Node: New Creative Inspiration August 13 to 21

Mercury also changes signs today, entering Virgo at 12:59 p.m., the sign of its exaltation, for just a few days. It turns retrograde at 1 degree Virgo at 10:50 p.m. August 2. (The U.S. debt ceiling deadline has more than likely been set for this day so that the decision is made pre-Mercury retrograde.) Mercury turns direct again at 18 degrees Leo August 25.

Mercury Rx re-enters Leo August 8 and will be involved in a tight triple conjunction with the Sun and Venus at the time of the Sun-Venus exterior conjunction in Leo August 16. The Sun and Venus come together at 23 degrees Leo, and Mercury Rx will be there at 24 degrees. This Sun-Venus-Mercury conjunction will also be in tight trine to the Sagittarius North Node at 21 degrees.

The fires of inspiration, love and creative power, newly lit at the July 30 New Moon, are stoked to blazing at the point of this triple conjunction trine North Node, burning away what has served its purpose and lighting our way on the trail up ahead. We can look forward to new applications of the loving creative force that runs through us, broadening our lives in ways that truly excite us and in ways that catalyze the unfolding of new meaning.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ceres Stationing Retrograde in Aries and Why the Armies Aren't Fighting the Famine

“If only armies could fight famine.”

This was the segue between two news stories on one of Canada’s private broadcasters, CTV, a couple days ago. These words were spoken in that practised, low and authoritative “anchor voice” by the carefully coiffed and dramatically rueful news anchor. The first story was about Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The second was about the famine in East Africa.

Here’s a big news flash that didn’t make the broadcast: they can. Armies can fight famine. There's no reason why troops around the world could not be dropping massive quantities of food, water and medical supplies right this minute to the hundreds of thousands of people starving to death in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and other African nations including Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.

Instead, Somalia is one of the six countries currently being bombed by the United States.

This famine has not come as a surprise. Many areas have not had rain for two years. Food has been scarce for two years. This was a long time coming, and the failure to act at every possible juncture up to this point is what has pushed it to the verge of catastrophe. It’s the lack of direct action from our so-called leaders that has allowed people to slip into misery and hell and starvation, and it’s a continued lack of action that is causing people to die.

And instead of direct action (Aries) now, we have the mainstream media manufacturing a reality for the viewing public where the hands of the Armed Forces and those who give their orders are tied, where nothing can be done in time.

It’s the same manufactured helplessness that is worked up after all humanitarian crises these days, and it’s false.

Armies can fight famine. Armies can get food and water to starving people. But it takes strong will and decisive action, and those handing down their orders choose not to deploy them in these ways. This is the Plutonic point that needs to be driven home for the viewing public. As long as the mainstream public swallows the story that there is nothing that can be done, nothing will be done.

Asteroid of agriculture, grains and fertility of the Earth Ceres is stationing retrograde (July 26) at zero Aries - that very potent first degree of the zodiac. It just passed through the anaretic (29th) degree of Pisces – related to the cyclical famines and plagues brought down on and allowed to happen to humanity. Ceres will be back in Pisces August 10 until January 19.

Ceres on the first degree of Aries requires direct action. Move. Take action. Do something effective. Hit your mark. It requires quick decisions and basic actions to get the food to the people. In Aries (soldiers), it requires an army.

But Ceres in Aries is square Pluto in Capricorn right now within Cardinal Grand Cross formation. Pluto in Capricorn relates to the rotten-to-the-core corruption of our hierarchical power structures. It relates to a top-heavy bureaucracy so bloated, dysfunctional and out of touch that quick, direct, effective actions (Aries) are just not a product of its machinations.

The hierarchies (Capricorn) are deadly (Pluto) in their illegitimacy.

Instead of food and water drops, the mainstream media broadcasts news of Canada’s useless "International Co-Operation Minister" Bev Oda making a useless official visit to Kenya complete with useless photo ops and useless clich├ęd statements spoken into the cameras.

Oda spent her time announcing the $50 million aid package that will ostensibly show up sometime while starving children take their last breaths.

The failure of leadership is so extreme it has taken on an Orwellian flavour as the propagandists on the nightly news continue to prop up its authority, manufacturing a reality that holds nothing and no one accountable.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Willow's Web Summer Readings

I thought I should make this a little more prominent in case people missed it at the end of the last post:

I'm currently on the prairie howling at the moon with the coyotes, and my internet connection out here is in and out. I'm available for telephone and e-mail readings until August 24 when I will be back to citified internet and can offer international Skype readings again.

If you do book a reading over the next month, don't be alarmed if you don't hear from me for a couple days due to the connection issues. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

- Willow

Monday, July 18, 2011

Juno Finishes its Nine Month+ Transit of Virgo and Enters Cardinal Grand Cross Territory

Soul mate asteroid Juno is currently transiting the final degrees of Virgo and will enter Libra July 27 until October 25.

This ingress is interesting because it means Juno will enter the Cardinal Grand Cross formation just as Mars in Cancer kicks it into high gear again during the month of August.

Juno in Libra indicates that the sometimes sticky and tense interactions with other people this August are there to help us balance the tension of these four cardinal squares/two oppositions so we can all have our needs met within them. All four cardinal points - Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn - require our attention and effort, and we're directed into all four corners as we work to keep the tension at the right settings. Too much focus and pressure on one area results in a break. Too little in another area allows things to unravel. It's an intricate balance, and, as of July 27, the responsibility and requirements within our relationships draw attention to areas that are key in our successful tending of the Grand Cross.

Juno moving into Libra is a big shift not only because of the Grand Cross. Juno has been in Virgo for over nine months - since October 3, 2010. It completed a 3.5 month retrograde through Virgo from January 19 to April 30, 2011 and went retrograde on the anaretic (29th) degree of the sign.

There weren't any pesky details getting by this transit through Virgo and our pain-in-the-ass Virgoan soul mates were there to ensure it.

From a previous post:

"Juno relates not only to covenant marriage/soul relationships but also to the type of difficult emotional experiences and power dynamics that type of commitment can bring with it. The type of difficult emotional experiences and power dynamics any type of soul commitment can bring with it.

This asteroid in the birth chart relates to an area to which we are "married," as well as to the flavour of our deep, soul-bonded relationships. However, contrary to what's drilled into people's heads these days, these relationships are not always meant to be romantic, sexual or long-term.

The term soul mate refers broadly to a person (or animal) brought into our lives to form a relationship based on mutual soul work that could not be fully catalyzed or completed alone.

Juno's placement can also relate really broadly to a relationship with a certain energy of the zodiac with smaller interactions acting as catalysts - definitely at work as Juno retrogrades in Virgo. This is more a soul mate relationship with the universe and with your own soul impetus - definitely loving, not necessarily sexy and spicy."

Juno is currently conjunct my North Node in Virgo, and I've been getting heaps of criticism (Virgo) here over the past week. I've been called a fearmonger, a hater and a paranoid conspiracy theorist, among other things. I've even been compared to Nancy Grace.

There are Juno in Virgo "soul mates" (mostly from a New Age persuasion or from a more consensus political perspective) trying to deconstruct me as I deconstruct various power structures and those using them. This is nothing out of the ordinary. When you take a strong stance outside consensus reality (including supposed alternative consensus reality), it generally ensures that there will be equally strong opposition. The criticisms are just coming in a stronger wave than usual due to the Juno in Virgo transit.

I have to say, they made me cackle like a hen.

The thing about any transit in Virgo is that it will pick, pick, pick at any and all illogic, weak points, laxness, rough edges, hypocrisy. It's generally done for good reason - so you fix every last detail that might trip you up over the long run and can function as a hole-free, well-oiled machine.

On the other hand, the Virgoan Juno soul mates being a pain in our asses right now can actually be disregarded if they don't have valid points. If they're not catching anything that actually needs to be fixed with their pointed criticisms, they're just being pains in the ass - not pains in the ass with a helpful and necessary purpose!

In its ultimately beneficial Juno way, the interactions this past week actually showed me I'm on the right track. This is definitely one benefit of nitpicky Juno in Virgo coming to the end of this nine-month+ transit. If there's nothing real to nitpick despite people's best efforts to find something, you've done a good job. If there are no adjustments required to your course of action, on you go.

READINGS:

I am currently howling at the moon on the prairie with the coyotes, and my internet connection is off and on. I'm available for telephone and e-mail readings until August 24 when I will be back to citified internet and can offer international Skype readings again. If you do book a reading over the next month, don't be alarmed if you don't hear from me for a couple days due to the connection issues. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

James Arthur Ray Awaits Sentencing Under the Cardinal Grand Cross

New Age guru and snake oil salesman millionaire James Arthur Ray, who schlepped (and is still schlepping) that utter crap The Secret has created quite the reality for himself.

On June 22 (Summer Solstice), in the cross hairs of the Cardinal Grand Cross and within triple eclipse season, Ray was found guilty by jurors on three counts of negligent homicide after a four-month trial in Camp Verde, Arizona.

A Full Moon lunar eclipse in Sagittarius June 15 closed a chapter on those taking the dangerous, tail-end Piscean era rhetoric of The Secret to the bank, and Ray is the one finally paying the piper.

Ray is awaiting sentencing by the judge in the case, which could range from probation to nine years in prison. There will inevitably be an appeal, but apparently Arizona does not often overturn convictions.

Three people died ("ascended"? "transcended"?) and 19 were hospitalized - some with permanent health damage - after a botched sweat lodge at Ray's "Spiritual Warrior" seminar near Sedona, Arizona in October 2009. Participants paid up to $10,000 for the honour of attending Ray's five-day workshop where, according to accounts, they were encouraged to shave their heads, play death-related games with Ray and fast for 36 hours before entering a faulty sweat lodge. Ray reportedly goaded participants into staying in the sweat lodge longer than they wanted to, advising them to ignore physical discomfort and push past their boundaries.

According to the Huffington Post, participants were told by Ray:

"The true spiritual warrior has conquered death and therefore has no fear or enemies in this lifetime or the next, because the greatest fear you'll ever experience is the fear of what? Death. ... You will have to get a point to where you surrender and it's OK to die."

The dirty, pumped-up Neptunian bullshit of The Secret and its "creating your own reality/manifesting abundance" memes finally blew up after every New Ager and his/her dog dry humped the scheme for its very last penny. Unfortunately, people lost their lives in the process.

I wrote about it at the time:

October 14, 2009: New Age Dumbassery Turns Deadly
October 19, 2009: More of Those Pesky Saturn in Virgo Details Surfacing And The Death Toll Rises To Three

The deaths happened and the case hit the media as we were experiencing the horrendous Saturn in Virgo opposition series to Uranus in Pisces, with transiting Saturn in Virgo trine the Capricorn North Node. The tail-end astrological Piscean era energy was at a point of extreme. It was overwhelming, confusing, exhausting, paralyzing. The blinding veils were thick and very, very dirty, and setting up the guru-student power dynamic so prevalent in New Age was absolutely ripe for detrimental effects.

The Saturnine challenges at the time related to taking on one's own spiritual authority while having the most exacting, detail-conscious standards possible (Virgo) for anyone allowed to have influence over us - body, mind and spirit. We were challenged to use Saturn in Virgo's earthy analytical skills to see through the dangerous, pseudo-spiritual trex being promoted by Ray and others like him, getting crystal clear on the old Piscean karmic loops and those taking them all the way to the bank.

"Saturn is a picky taskmaster in Virgo, making us go over and over things with a fine-toothed comb. Even the smallest rough edge, neglected detail or sloppy statement can put us way off course. Saturn in Virgo knows this.

So we've been drilled on all those Virgo subjects. Yes, the usual ones like work, service, duty, communication, perfecting of details, cleanliness, organization, diet and holistic/systemic health and functioning, in general.

But also on the finer points of Virgo. Honing our skills of personal discernment, defining and enforcing boundaries, separating the necessary from the unnecessary, rejecting those things that are damaging to our systems, defining our particular skills and service and applying them in the right ways in the right situations, removing our energy and influence from situations that are no longer right for us personally, determining preferences, stripping down to the essentials in self and life, learning and mastering ourselves."

With Saturn in Virgo in a series of four oppositions to Uranus in Pisces, grounding the too-good-to-be-true, over-the-top Uranus in Pisces energy was crucial.

But the glamour and wishful thinking and Neptunian merry-go-round of The Secret phenomenon, amped up by the electric Uranian charge and multiple appearances on Aquarius Sun and New Age promoter Oprah Winfrey, proved too powerful. Hundreds of thousands of people had found a new shortcut to riches, fame and material splendour, separating them from all those negative-thinking losers as they climbed to greatness. They became 'creating your own reality' foot soldiers, forming the newest rungs to be tapped in the pyramid scheme.

I'm sorry people lost their lives, and I'm sorry people were injured by this hideously, criminally irresponsible and vile little man and by this fakery. But I'm not surprised. I could see from the get-go how out of control, how dirty, how manipulated this stuff was. It was and still is obscene. I saw the ill effects it had on the people I came into contact with then and I still see them. I saw the glossed-over, over-simplified fervour of it, the robotically repeated memes, and I knew how dangerous it was.

All New Age is this dangerous. Far from harmless, feel-good "spirituality," it brainwashes on a mass level, creating people who will fight tooth and nail to remain brainwashed. It lobotomizes. It disassociates. It incites people to hand over their hard-earned money to fake people telling them fake things. It takes people out of themselves and has them giving their personal power almost entirely over to those they consider higher up the spiritual hierarchy. It disconnects and detaches people from the importance and meaning of their physical lives and of the world and people around them.

It's a con.

The point is not that "The Secret works for some people." All pyramid schemes work for some of the people involved. The point is, this stuff was always a dangerous and irresponsible use of energy. It was never ethical.

From October 13, 2008: The Secret Vs. My Use of Astrology (Or Why The Secret Doesn’t Do it For Me)

From April 21, 2009: Saturn in Virgo Calls Bullshit on The Secret/Law of Attraction Phenomenon

At the time that the Ray sweat lodge deaths happened, Saturn was in Virgo - the same place it was 31 years prior when 918 people were killed in Guyana, most following another New Age guru Jim Jones in the search for utopia.

With Saturn in Virgo, cutting through pseudo-spiritual crap, leveling the abusive and dangerous hierarchies, focusing on the details that just don't add up and puncturing the glossy, glossy Neptunian bubble realities are a big part of the modus operandi.

Now that Saturn is in Libra within Cardinal Grand Cross formation, it appears that Ray is being forced by the courts to take the responsibility he eschewed. Let's see what they come up with as a sentence...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ceres Stations Retrograde at Zero Aries Conjunct Uranus and Buying Organic Is a Revolutionary Act

Asteroid goddess of grains, agriculture and fertility of the Earth Ceres is transiting the final minutes of the final degree of Pisces before dipping into Aries July 11.

Ceres stations retrograde on the zero degree of Aries July 26, re-entering Pisces retrograde August 10. It will go direct at 16 degrees Pisces November 16, re-entering Aries direct in January 2012.

The final degree of the zodiac (29 Pisces) and the first degree of the zodiac (0 Aries) are a highly symbolic zone related to the closing of one chapter and almost simultaneous opening of another. Recall that the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan were triggered as Uranus crossed this threshold March 11, 2011. (This after Japan agreed to enrich uranium for Iran early in 2010.)

With Ceres moving back and forth over this potent little expanse, the world's food supply and the planet's ability to produce food are hot themes. We get a taste of new, ramped-up directions from Big Ag as Ceres in Aries vibes within the Cardinal Grand Cross: purposefully flooded breadbaskets worldwide coincide with diminishing supplies and continued inflation on food prices, fuelling food derivatives schemes. The genetically modified onslaught continues and the corporate squeeze on the food supply tightens.

Buying organic or non-GMO food straight from farmers becomes a revolutionary act.

Monsanto's RoundUp Ready alfalfa is the next variety of crop it is attempting to have approved for commercial sale (initially in the United States), and the spread of this stuff has the ability to destroy the entire foundation of organic agriculture.

The lack of boundaries as far as the cross-pollination of GM crops, especially with a feral crop like alfalfa, is a fitting subject for the Ceres in Pisces transit. Pisces relates to the connections (often invisible) among living things/systems on this planet and how the whole can be affected by a single part.

The terrifying thing is that GM alfalfa already has approval in Canada. The Liberals approved it in 2005, slipping it through before most Canadians even had a grasp on what genetically modified crops were. Health Canada has already given GM alfalfa the green light, stating there were no safety concerns, and there have been test plots grown here ever since.

Yet, it was Liberal agriculture critic Wayne Easter who tabled a moratorium on the growing and sale of genetically modified alfalfa in Parliament March 10, 2011. The Harper Conservatives (then a minority government) delayed the vote heading into the election, which produced a Conservative majority May 2.

A moratorium is not a ban - it's really just a dam temporarily holding back the mass introduction of GM alfalfa into the Canadian landscape.

Reversing the 2005 approval of GM alfalfa under a pro-GMO Harper majority is going to take much more effort along with public awareness, involvement and pressure. From the notoriously apathetic, go-with-the-flow end of the sign of Pisces, those who care about what they're putting in their bodies have their work cut out for them.

What follows is an article I wrote on genetically modified alfalfa that was recently published in a local publication. I posted a shorter news article on the blog previously that I wrote for a small weekly paper on the same subject, so I apologize for the heavy rotation, but I think this is a crucially important point in the effort to keep any portion of our food supply GMO-free:




By: Willow

Executives from Whole Foods Market sent shock waves through their customer base with the click of a mouse this past January.

The Whole Foods Market (WFM) grocery chain, touted "natural and organic," experienced a meteoric rise from a single store in Austin, Texas in 1980 to over 300 stores, including four in Vancouver, one in Oakville and one in Toronto, by 2011. The same store that found its success selling organic and "natural" foods to people deeply distrustful of the growing glut of genetically modified (GM) fare announced to customers by e-mail that it was giving up its opposition to the widespread growing of GM crops.

The new Whole Foods' stance is one supporting "conditional deregulation," in particular of Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa. Whole Foods admitted this co-existence would potentially cause cross-contamination of non-genetically engineered alfalfa crops, in turn, contaminating livestock, dairy products and honey, but the softening of stance of those at the top of the corporate organic food chain was clear:

"The policy set for [GM] alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other [GM] crops as well. True coexistence is a must."

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa is genetically modified to withstand glyphosate, a herbicide sold under the Monsanto brand name Roundup. If authorized, Roundup Ready alfalfa would be the first genetically modified perennial planted in North America.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are created when a gene from one species is transferred to another, creating in a laboratory something nature would not produce. Genes from plants, animals, insects and viruses are used to implant certain desired traits in seeds and even animals.

Although they are being grown widely (especially soybeans, corn and canola), genetically modified foods have not been proven safe for human consumption. Testing on animals has found a possible link between GMOs and organ damage, particularly liver and kidneys, as well as cancer. Genetically modified organisms spread rampantly through the seed supply, contaminating non-GMO plants and seeds irrevocably. GMOs also have the potential to damage soil and water systems. A study of genetically modified corn implanted with a toxin-producing gene that protects it from pests found that the toxin accumulated in nearby water, increasing mortality and decreasing growth in aquatic insects, which are food to animals higher up the food chain.

On January 27, 2011, after a five-year court battle, Monsanto’s GM alfalfa was authorized for sale by the United States Department of Agriculture. A second lawsuit was launched March 18, 2011 by groups including the Center for Food Safety and the National Family Farm Coalition challenging this authorization and stalling the sale and planting of the alfalfa for the time being.

Priscilla Reimer, organic inspector and president of the Manitoba Organic Alliance, says the organic industry in Manitoba opposes the policy of co-existence with GM crops. Reimer says the production of GM alfalfa, in particular, is a huge threat to the organic industry.

In addition to being used as feed for livestock, Reimer says, alfalfa is a crop often used by farmers during the three-year field transition from conventional to organic. It also becomes essential in the crop rotation once a farm is organic because, as a nitrogen-fixer, it naturally fertilizes the soil.

"If in fact [GM alfalfa is] approved, it would essentially put organic production out of business," Reimer says. "[Alfalfa] is embedded in organic production, and for that to go GMO would literally destroy the foundation of organic production."

On March 3, 2011, a motion was tabled in the Canadian Parliament calling for a moratorium on the approval of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada. The vote on the moratorium was delayed by the Harper Conservatives, who support the expansion into genetically modified organisms.

Reimer says, despite the fact that the vast majority of Canadians do not want GM foods on the shelves, this co-existence policy is being imposed upon them through the lack of a sufficient framework for regulation, separation within the system, and labelling of GMOs.

Reimer says because of this, there is simply no 100% fool-proof method for determining if food products are GMO-free. However, as far as labels go, the organic labelling system is the best we currently have. "The organic label is the only label where there is any effort made to keep certified organic products GMO-free...The organic label really is the only one consumers can rely on."

Reimer says non-organic corn, canola and soybeans are so cross-contaminated by GMO versions at this point that it would be virtually impossible, once they have been put into the supply chain, to guarantee they are GMO-free. Unless non-GMO crops are also organic and therefore kept separate, they are mixed in with GMO varieties.

"There's no effort in the system to keep GMO and non-GMO products separate...Even if there is a GMO-free product grown, by the time it's gone through the system, you are guaranteed to be eating some GMOs in those key three crops - canola, corn and soybean," Reimer says. "We have a climate in which it is virtually impossible to ensure against contamination."

Reimer recommends looking for certified organic labels as well as buying directly from farmers who are certified organic or who farm up to organic standards.

Due to cost and bureaucracy, many farmers do not certify their products but grow and raise them to organic standards.

Anneliese Schoppe and her family are among those who farm to organic standards but are not certified organic. They produce beef, eggs and heirloom vegetable seedlings.

Schoppe would like to see strict labelling of GM foods, something the Canadian government does not currently have, or a complete ban.

Schoppe says if the goal is to eliminate GMOs from food sources, developing direct relationships with farmers is beneficial.

For example, unlike at her farm, chickens are often fed feed that includes soy protein to bulk up the meat and assist in egg production. Because so many of the soybeans currently being produced are genetically modified, this can be one source of GMO contamination in food. Schoppe says if people talk to farmers directly and ask questions about products and feeding practises, there is a stronger likelihood that they can determine which products are GMO-free.

Schoppe finds the idea of co-existence with Monsanto's GM crops unsettling. She says her family works hard to keep its animal feed GMO-free, growing organic hay, and a test plot of Monsanto alfalfa in a neighbour’s field has the ability to wipe out all that hard work.

"Just because you have a buffer field in between or an acre or two doesn't mean that's going to stop the wind or insects from pollinating this GMO alfalfa crop to the next alfalfa crop and then, what's pure anymore?"

Alexis Knispel Kanu did her doctoral work on the spread of GM canola. She looked specifically at canola that was growing outside field habitat where it had not been planted, in ditches, for example.

Knispel Kanu studied these escape populations and their genetic make-up in order to determine how the genes might be spreading.

"What we found was that genetically modified traits were widely present in these escape populations of canola outside of cultivated fields where no one had planted them and there were no licenses to do the planting. They were just growing sort of like weeds in the way that seeds that get scattered grow," Knispel Kanu says.

What was even more startling about Knispel Kanu's findings was that genetically modified canola plants she studied from the escape populations had cross-pollinated with each other, creating a hybrid of Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety and Bayer's LibertyLink variety.

"Of the two GMO traits that are widely grown in Manitoba, we found both in the same plant, which is not something that is done by the companies. That's something that results from out-crossing in the field," Knispel Kanu says.

Knispel Kanu looked at landscape elements that could have contributed to the spread of the seeds outside fields. What she found was that factors like the location of elevators and traffic intensity on nearby roads contributed strongly.

"A truck going to an elevator will spill seeds inevitably, and a train being loaded will spill seeds inevitably, so those larger-scale transportation factors are contributing to the spread of these plants," Knispel Kanu says.

"That makes co-existence really challenging because it's a matter of segregating our transportation systems for these crops, not having a truck transporting GM canola through an area you're saying is GM-free. It's not just about where the crop is planted in relation to another crop. It's about how we're transporting these things through the whole landscape."

Knispel Kanu says GM alfalfa poses even more of a problem as far as cross-contamination due to it being a more feral, perennial crop that isn't dependent on cultivated environments tended by farmers to survive.

It is a group of six corporations - Monsanto, DuPont, BASF, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta - currently merging the world's seed supply with their genetically modified versions.

Five of the six – all but Syngenta - are chemical corporations that have only more recently gotten into the food business. All five have long histories of involvement with the military industrial complex, including chemical and nuclear warfare.

United States-based Monsanto is the most well-known of the six with its line of genetically modified Roundup Ready seeds designed to grow into plants that withstand its chemical herbicide Roundup. Monsanto is the company that brought us Agent Orange, a defoliant used to strip trees of their leaves during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is highly toxic and carcinogenic and killed or debilitated hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people as well as soldiers during and after the Vietnam War. Exposure to Agent Orange caused widespread genetic damage and birth defects. Other products on Monsanto’s roster include saccharin, DDT, PCBs, bovine growth hormones and Aspartame.

Bayer is a German company that produced chlorine and mustard gases used in the trenches of World War I. Bayer was later enveloped by Nazi chemical and pharmaceuticals conglomerate IG Farben, along with BASF - another German chemical company trying everything to get into refrigerators and pantries. Eight hundred Canadian women are currently involved in a class action lawsuit against Bayer related to the dangerous side effects of its birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin. Bayer also manufactures the fluoroquinolone antibiotic Cipro, designed to ward off anthrax attacks, that poisoned me in December 2009. I'm still recovering. Cipro was repurposed post-anthrax scares and has become omnipresent, being prescribed widely by Canadian doctors for minor infections despite dangerous and debilitating long-term side effects.

DuPont is an American corporation now in the chemicals and plastics game but started off manufacturing gunpowder, becoming the largest supplier to the U.S. military by the mid-19th century. During World War II, DuPont produced military explosives and plutonium, playing a major role in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb. It is also the maker of the Kevlar vest, used in police forces around the world.

American chemical company Dow produced napalm, a chemical that clung to the skin and melted flesh, for the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. After public protests of napalm, all other companies making it stopped production, leaving Dow to reap the profits as the sole provider. Dow managed a nuclear weapons production facility from 1951 to 1975 near Denver, Colorado called Rocky Flats Plant that was involved in multiple management problems leading to radioactive leaks and contamination fires. Thousands of plant workers have died or are sick from cancers they say are caused by radiation exposure and most have had their compensation claims denied. Dow was ordered in 2008 to pay $925 million in damages to 12,000 homeowners who live downwind of the plant for plutonium contamination, but in September 2010, an appeals court threw out the award. Dow and the other company involved were indemnified by the U.S. government in the case, meaning taxpayers would have paid any judgment along with the companies' legal fees.

For Whole Foods, the newly announced co-existence policy with GMOs is more than likely a fait accompli. Ronnie Cummins, National Director for the Organic Consumers Association, an 850,000-member strong organization based in the United States, has reported that testing done by his organization of Whole Foods Market products sold as natural showed that two-thirds were contaminated with GM material. This was in contrast to the certified organic products which were uncontaminated.

GMO labelling has long been a source of confusion, frustration and anger for people who want to know exactly what they're buying and eating. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no guarantee that products labelled "natural," "green" or even "GMO-free" are indeed free of genetically modified material. Even certified organic products are no longer fool-proof.

The Strongest Defense Against Genetically Modified Foods

- Grow your own food from non-GMO seeds.

- Buy products from store shelves labelled certified organic whenever possible, which remains the best defense within the current system. According to the Organic Food Council of Manitoba, these food products must contain 95% organic ingredients, must be produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or sewage sludge and do not include genetically modified organisms. Animals raised organically are allowed access to the outdoors, are fed organically grown feed and are not given antibiotics, synthetic parasiticides or synthetic hormones. Certified organic does not mean pesticide-free as a number of natural pesticides can be used in their production. Products should read: "Certified by" a regulatory body such as the Organic Producers Association of Manitoba or the Organic Crop Improvement Association.

- Buy and eat food that has the smallest number of steps between the farmer - organic or farming to organic standards - and your plate.

- Develop a relationship with local farmers since the onus for maintaining non-GMO standards falls to the producer. Talk to farmers at farmer's markets. Ask questions about their products before buying.

- Shop at local grocery stores committed to selling organic and non-GMO products. Talk to store employees and ask questions about products.

- Avoid processed foods unless they are labelled certified organic.

- Avoid fast food.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Venus Opposite Pluto and The Royal Divide

Thankfully, mercifully, "The Royals" have departed. Maybe my gag reflex can finally relax.

Since the Canada Day New Moon eclipse within Cardinal Grand Cross July 1, the Stockholm Syndrome of this nation has reached frenzied pitch, fuelled by newlyweds Wills and Kate traversing the country. Breathless, starry-eyed royal subject after breathless, starry-eyed royal subject gushed into the cameras about every detail of the experience as they lined up for a glimpse of the duo. From coast to coast to coast, the mainstream media showed a transfixed public, drunk on celebrity, designer blazers and the newest diversion from what's really going on in this country/on this planet.

This past Canada Day was a historic one with an eclipse within Cardinal Grand Cross formation falling on the day of Canada's "birth." In Cancer, this has to do with "family" and opposite Pluto, it has to do with corrupt hierarchical power structures. Sounds about right. These are definitely some sick and twisted family dynamics. I wrote about them in a post this past Victoria Day, and the themes remain:

A diversionary and symbolic visit by the British Royals as "yet another shout out to Canada's toxic Mummy Dearest mother figure and the overlying and underlying power structures of the British Empire...as we watch powerful, murderous figures dupe the mainstream into thinking they warrant our celebration."

(Adding to the Plutonic creep-out factor, let's recall Ms. Kate is currently wearing Diana's ring.)

This eclipse was prime time energy-wise for the new generation of British power to mark its territory in Canada, eclipsing the old and charming its subjects with beauty, money and powerful celebrity.

As usual, I'm on the surreal and isolated Plutonic end of the spectrum: what most find beautiful, wonderful and attractive (Venus), I find repulsive, horrifying and anger-inducing (Pluto). People's values (Venus) turn my stomach (Pluto). The seedy underbelly of the situation, hidden to most of the transfixed onlookers, is all I can see. The glowing observations of people ignorant or in denial of the Plutonic layers hit me in overwhelming waves like the smell of rotten meat.

The spell broke yesterday as Venus in Cancer opposed Pluto in Capricorn, and Wills and Kate departed for Los Angeles, California.

I have to say I found Wills' parting words just a little ominous:

"Our promise to Canada...is that we shall return."

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Cardinal Grand Cross U.S. Independence Day Sets the Stage

We're having a mini-breather right now as the Sun moves out of Cardinal Grand Cross formation just as Venus, newly in Cancer, heads in (July 7-13).

We also have a multitude of very nice trines just becoming exact to further ease the astro climate. Venus in Cancer was trine Neptune in Pisces at around noon today Central. Mercury in Leo trines Uranus in Aries tonight at 7:47 p.m. Mars in Gemini trines Saturn in Libra July 6, and Jupiter in Taurus trines Pluto in Capricorn July 7.

Venus moving further into Cancer means things will start heating up again mid-week as we become aware yet again of the extent of our constriction under these conditions. Venus enters the first aspect of the Cardinal Grand Cross Thursday, July 7 at 4:44 p.m. Central, and it's quite potent: Venus in Cancer square stopped-in-the-zodiac Uranus in Aries, just about to turn retrograde July 9.

This Venus-Uranus square has the potential to be emotionally raw, feisty, and unstable with squabbles and tempers kicked up seemingly out of nowhere - all depending on how far people really are from exerting themselves authentically and following their own impulses, rather than subverting those things to maintain emotional comfort, familiarity, and status quo.

The blazing individuality of each member of the nuclear family is busting out of the pre-set roles into all its technicolour egalitarian Aquarian-era detail, and the newly emerging facets of identity could prove shocking and anger-inducing, especially as the supportive feminine energy (Cancer) says it's had enough.

The fiery Uranus in Aries impetus applied to our most sensitive emotional relationships then spreads and stokes the Plutonic fires as Venus moves into opposition with Pluto in Capricorn July 8 (7:31 p.m.).

Old relationship roles, especially for mothers/the nurturing version of the feminine, and old versions of self within relationship are being necessarily morphed out of. Though this is a point of survival (ie. we have to go), with Venus in Cancer, most people will find it uncomfortable. Go slowly. No rushing ahead trying to head off the discomfort or you will be left with even more sticky, emotional detritus to wade through.

Venus entering the Cardinal Grand Cross fray turns the heat up in our personal relationships, especially as they tie in to money. We have a pressurized underlying emotional tone set to "short-term and long-term survival," and everyone being spurred into new, more potently individualistic territory can create some big clashes as we diverge from those with whom we were once compatible.

Venus' final aspect within Grand Cross formation is a square to Saturn in Libra July 13 at 2:35 a.m., and we are challenged to work within the reality of our relationship constructs, including business relationships. Some need to shift. And if they are too stuck and cemented to shift, some need to be discontinued altogether.

Transiting Venus in Cancer conjuncts the United States' Venus-Jupiter in Cancer this week as it squares stationing Uranus in Aries, marking the nation's Venus Return. The U.S. is also experiencing its Saturn Return (in Libra), and a new "foreign relations" cycle is beginning at this time. Unfortunately, the path that has been set out involves more of the same - a lot of bombs and dead people. The U.S. corpo-government doesn't just shake hands when it meets you - it crushes every bone in your hand.

As of United States Independence Day today, it is bombing six different countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.

The boundaries of its 'manifest destiny' as supreme dominator continue to spread. Back in the day, the 'higher ups' had supposedly given the green light on plundering, pillaging, and forcefully controlling the continent. Now, it's the entire planet.

From Senator H.V. Johnson around 1845:

"I believe we should be recreant to our noble mission, if we refused acquiescence in the high purposes of a wise Providence. War has its evils. In all ages it has been the minister of wholesale death and appalling desolation; but however inscrutable to us, it has also been made, by the Allwise Dispenser of events, the instrumentality of accomplishing the great end of human elevation and human happiness. It is in this view that I subscribe to the doctrine of "manifest destiny."

The correlations to New Age doctrine, first rising to prominence in the last decades of the 1800s, are striking. The necessary sacrifice of the lower vibrating, unenlightened and unawakened so that (a select few) human beings can reach "higher consciousness," "enlightenment," "the fifth dimension," "a new Earth," "a new reality," etc. The spiritual arm and political arm work in lock-step toward the same ends.

The strategic set-up to make this global 'manifest destiny' a reality (not just for members of the United States, but for "Global Governance" as a whole) has been put in place. The stage has been set for the unfolding of the seven exact squares of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn between June 2012 and March 2015. You may recall that Obama has stealthily deployed U.S. Special Forces to 75 countries around the world, most as eyes were turned to the disaster going on in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010.

Canada has just extended its military mission in Libya by three months.

With Uranus in Aries as wild card, the power of people finally saying "fuck it" and getting up off their knees continues to disrupt and dislodge the carefully laid plans...

The United States has also reached its $14 trillion+ debt ceiling and is bombing people on maxed out credit cards (Pluto in Capricorn), begging for more credit to continue the devastation by August 2.

This follows in the economic wisdom of the day: if you can't afford to do something you want to do, just get a higher limit on your MasterCard.

The United States of America is a Chiron in Aries nation opposite Saturn in Libra. This indicates that the version of the United States that came into existence in 1776 - again, the highly corporate version - has felt insignificant and slighted on the world stage, possibly because of its relative youth and inexperience. This version of the United States, with that gnawing wound in Aries opposite the old school Saturnine establishment, has never felt as if it were truly taken seriously, and because of this, felt the need to exert its identity and importance again and again through excessive might.

Many times, despite ridiculously superiour weaponry, it lost.

All those losses to guerrilla warfare, the survival of movements it tried everything in its power to suppress and destroy, the humiliations played out as the world watched with (real or imagined) countries snickering behind its back, are embedded in this Chiron wound.

The United States, as the major nuclear weapons holder in the world (Uranus/Pluto, uranium/plutonium), will be on the guns a-blazing war path as Uranus irritates this wound throughout the Uranus-Pluto square series and beyond.

Uranus is heading to an exact conjunction to the U.S. Chiron at 20 degrees Aries, making its first pass June 24, 2015. Uranus will be just past the final exact square to Pluto in Capricorn at that point, culminating in this conjunction to the U.S. Chiron in Aries, and will station retrograde on this point July 25, 2015.

This is an attempt at Chirotic redemption through war, aggression, and violence - so, of course, it won't work.

Outing the underlying understanding of "manifest destiny" in the collective unconscious of this nation and others, along with the idea of the inevitability of war to support higher quality of living, plays a big role in discontinuing the coerced acceptance of never ending war on this planet, being driven in a big way by the United States on this July 4, 2011.