Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mercury Rx Re-Post Part Four: The Corporate Stomp on GMO Food Labelling

Mercury is currently retrograde in Pisces (February 23 - March 17) and will station direct conjunct Chiron and Neptune March 17.

The connections are there. We just have to make them visible.

This is a re-post of an article from November 8, 2012: Proposition 37 Defeated By the Slimmest of Margins Amidst a Massive Advertising Blitz By GMO Corporations



Agriculture-related dwarf planet Ceres stationed retrograde at 3 degrees Cancer on October 31 within a cardinal Grand Cross with Venus in Libra, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn.

This configuration brings food and agriculture issues to prominence, particularly as they relate to increased corporate globalization (Pluto in Capricorn) and the direction into biotechnology (Uranus in Aries).

Ceres maintains its strong influence into mid-2013, forming a cardinal t-square May 5-7 that will still be within orb during the third Uranus in Aries - Pluto in Capricorn square May 20, 2013.

These are high stakes times for the future of food and, correspondingly, for life on this planet.

And nowhere are those high stakes more visible than in the realm of natural versus genetically modified seeds and foods.

The sign of Cancer is related to family and babies and all things precious. When Ceres is transiting Cancer, the question of what we're feeding our children and our families becomes an over-riding issue.

People in California had this question in mind on election day as they voted on a proposition to begin labelling foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Proposition 37 - called The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act - was defeated November 6 by the slimmest of margins: 53.7% No to 46.3% Yes.

After early leads, support for the Proposition softened amidst a massive radio and television blitz of attack advertising in the weeks leading up to the vote. The mammoth $40 million+ advertising campaign, funded by GM seed corporations and manufacturers of genetically modified foods, swayed public opinion by claiming Proposition 37 would raise food prices, increase bureaucracy, and trigger lawsuits.

It is a group of six mega-corporations - Monsanto, DuPont, BASF, Bayer, Dow, and Syngenta - currently merging the world's seed supply with their genetically modified versions. Genetically modified seeds have had their genes altered by scientists in some way so as to exhibit certain traits.

Five of the six major GM seed corporations – 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. The companies currently convincing people that GMOs are safe to ingest are the manufacturers of Agent Orange, napalm, chlorine gas, gunpowder, and nuclear weapons, to name but a few.

The "No on 37" financial donors are a Who's Who of genetic modification, with the Big Six GMO corporations at the top of the list:

Monsanto ($8.2 million)
DuPont ($5.4 million)
Pepsico ($2.1 million)
Grocery Manufacturers Association ($2 million)
DOW Agrisciences ($2 million)
Bayer Cropscience ($2 million)
BASF Plant Science ($2 million)
Syngenta Corporation ($2 million)
Kraft Foods ($1.9 million)
Coca Cola ($1.7 million)
Nestle ($1.3 million).

Those and other major donors, including General Mills, Kellogg's, Del Monte, Campbell's Soup, Heinz Food, Hershey, J.M. Smucker, Ocean Spray, Hormel, Unilever, Sara Lee, Dean Foods, and Dole, make up most of the major brands on supermarket shelves in the U.S. and Canada. Source.

All have a huge stake in keeping genetically modified food products unlabelled so that people continue to buy their products unaware.

Even some well-known corporate organic brands supported "No on 37" indirectly via the non-organic parent corporation that owns them financially supporting the campaign. These include Kashi and Gardenburger, owned by parent company Kellogg's, Silk and Horizon Organic owned by parent company Dean Foods, R.W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic owned by parent company Smucker, and Muir Glen and Cascadian Farm Organic, owned by General Mills. For an extensive list, see The Cornucopia Institute graphic.

At the very least, this represents a conflict of interest. At worst, it indicates brands we expect to be GMO-free might not be.

Proponents of Prop 37 - which included the Organic Consumers Association; Whole Foods Market; organic food manufacturers Nature's Path, Lundberg, Amy's Kitchen, Annie's, Clif Bar, and Nutiva; Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps; the California Democratic Party; the Green Party of California; and various physicians and chefs - could come up with only a fraction of the No side amount for their own approximately $7 million campaign. (See the graphic above for an extensive list of Yes side donors.)

The use of media to manipulate and shape public perception related to agriculture, food policy, and commodities prices has been a strong theme since a Ceres-Vesta-Jupiter conjunction on the Gemini South Node in July 2012.

Media saturation by stories on this summer's heat wave in the U.S. along with the projected corn shortages made corn futures a hot spot for investors. Saturation by stories this fall of ecoli in Canadian beef have positioned a foreign corporation to take over the major beef processing plant in Canada. Now, a massive advertising campaign has been used to vote down GMO labelling in California.

More than 50 countries around the world already have some degree of GMO labelling, but the United States and Canada, with their bought-and-paid-for governmental food regulation, have remained label-free zones.

Proposition 37 would have been a major step in the right direction, getting a foot in the door for labelling in other states and in Canada. Its passing would have begun to educate people about the GMOs that have been invisibly and insidiously slipped into their food, and its defeat is certainly a disappointment. In reality, though, this Proposition did not strike at the root.

The scope of the issue goes beyond foods that are knowingly genetically modified or intentionally produced with genetically modified ingredients.

The larger problem is with foods that have been unknowingly and unintentionally contaminated. GMO labelling in California (or anywhere) would, of course, not include those.

As there is currently no separation of genetically modified crops and non-genetically modified crops outside the organic system, it must be assumed that non-organic food products on store shelves - particularly processed foods that include soybeans, corn, sucrose, or canola - have some level of GMO contamination.

Animals that produce conventional meat, dairy, and eggs are often fed genetically modified feed.

According to the article "Genetically modified crops had bumper year in 2011" by Elizabeth Weise of USA Today, the United States leads the world in genetically modified plantings. Ninety-five percent of the country's sugar beets, 94% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton, and 88% of the corn fed to livestock are currently genetically modified.

In addition, the unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa approved in the United States in 2011, along with its proposed cultivation in Ontario, Canada, means many natural and organic foods could soon be a thing of the past unless strong and vocal public opposition shuts it down.

Alfalfa is one of the bedrocks of organic and natural farming, and the growth of genetically modified alfalfa could literally mean the industry's demise. In addition to being used as feed for livestock, alfalfa is a crop often used by farmers during the three-year field transition from conventional to organic. Alfalfa also becomes essential in the crop rotation once a farm is organic because, as a nitrogen-fixer, it naturally fertilizes the soil.

Alfalfa is a feral, perennial crop that cross-pollinates freely. With genetically modified alfalfa pollen flying around, contamination of non-GM alfalfa crops cannot be contained.

The "co-existence" policy so touted by GMO corporations, governments, and even Whole Foods Market is actually impossible.

The sale and growth of genetically modified alfalfa was stopped by a lawsuit in the United States in 2007, but that lawsuit was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2010. A compromise that would have limited the growth of GM alfalfa, potentially protecting organic and non-GM farmers, was scrapped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it announced approval of unrestricted commercial cultivation in January 2011.

Genetically modified alfalfa, developed by Monsanto, has been altered to withstand its herbicide Roundup.

The results of an unprecedented animal feeding trial published earlier this year found that lab rats fed genetically modified corn as well as glyphosate residue - the primary ingredient in Roundup - developed high incidences of tumours, multiple organ damage, and premature death.

These effects developed even at exposure levels considered "safe," and they developed from exposure to either genetically modified corn or glyphosate.

This was the first ever feeding trial done over the life span of a lab rat - two years. Most tumours were discovered after the 18-month mark.

Previous testing of genetically modified foods and glyphosate has been done for no longer than 90 days. In other words, genetically modified seeds and associated herbicides were rushed onto the market after 90-day trials, and they have now contaminated much of the food supply.

The position of Ceres in Cancer within cardinal Grand Cross/t-square with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn indicates we are moving through an acute directional point involving intensified moves by "agrisciences" corporations into the uncharted, technology-based territory of genetically modified seeds/foods and other synthetic additions like growth hormones. These are to become "the industry standard."

These formations also indicate a crucial necessity to take new, independent, and somewhat radical directions as individuals and like-minded groups take control of their own food supplies, making them autonomous and outside the corporate models.

The primary thing to remember is: it's not too late.

These issues may seem overwhelming, but there is still time to protect organic and non-GM foods. There is still time to stop genetically modified alfalfa before it spreads, and there is still time to reverse much of the damage done by the GM industry.

The people of tiny San Juan County in the U.S. state of Washington, for example, just voted to make their county a GMO-free zone. San Juan County is made up of about 200 islands off the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and it is now illegal to grow or propagate genetically modified plants or animals there.

Genetically modified alfalfa has been grown in the United States for only two years.

GM alfalfa has not been grown in Canada so far, but the battle is heating up with protests last month by the National Farmers Union drawing attention to the Canadian Seed Trade Association's proposal to grow it in Ontario.

Increased public understanding of and opposition to the spread of genetically modified alfafa is crucially necessary now. As Ceres is strong during the third Uranus-Pluto square May 20, the 2013 planting and growing season is pivotal.

However, people also have to take the lead with their own grocery purchases, implementing their own invisible labelling systems. Vigilance and smarter shopping decisions are required if people would like to keep GMOs out of their bodies and the bodies of their family members. People can use the list of "No on 37" donors to understand which companies have a stake in genetically modified foods continuing to slip by.

With the increasing corportization of organics, even many products labelled organic, particularly processed products, can no longer be trusted.

The influence of Venus in Libra in the October 31 Grand Cross indicates relationships are key.

Get to know organic/non-GM farmers in your area. Go to the source. Buying from reputable organic/non-GM farmers at Farmers Markets and freezing and canning for the winter remains one of the best options for staying as GMO-free as possible. Growing some or all of your own organic/non-GM foods is another.

Get to know other people who share your concerns. Find out which groups are actively fighting the spread of GMOs and give them your support. There is strength (and sanity) in numbers when coming together with those of like mind.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
National Farmers Union
Organic Consumers Association

Mercury Rx Re-Post Part Three: First Ever Long-Term Animal Feeding Trial of GMOs Produces Alarming Results

The common line on genetically modified seeds and foods - repeated ad nauseum in mainstream media, by industry, and by government - is that they have been tested and have been proven to have no ill effect on animal, human, or ecosystem health.

This is simply not correct.

Aside from the fact that the longest feeding trials up to this point have been 90 days (inadequate), many, many studies have found problematic health links to GMOs.

The results of the first ever two-year GMO animal feeding trials, the "Seralini study," were published in September 2012 when Ceres was on 28/29 degrees Gemini. Ceres is now moving back to those degrees just in time for the 2013 spring planting season in Canada and the U.S., and it's time for the results of this study to hit the public mind (Gemini) in a much bigger (Jupiter) way.

From September 21, 2012: Ceres in Gemini, Food Issues in the Media, and Unprecedented GM Feeding Trials Produce Horrifying (Though Unsurprising) Results



Asteroid of grains, cereals, and the fertility of the Earth, Ceres, is finishing its transit of Mercury-ruled Gemini, and information about food that could sway public opinion is potent. Ceres moves into Cancer September 26 but retrogrades back into Gemini December 4 until April 5, 2013.

An unprecedented animal feeding trial has found that lab rats fed genetically modified corn as well as glyphosate residue - the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup - developed high incidences of tumours, multiple organ damage, and premature death.

Photo of rats with tumours released by the Seralini study scientists.

The results of the GM feeding trial were published September 19, 2012 in the scientific journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology." The peer-reviewed study was conducted by a team of scientists led by biologist and endocrinologist Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France.

The trial studied the long-term effects of exposure to NK603 GM corn (Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety) and glyphosate - individually and combined - on the health of rats over two years.

The study found that even exposure to levels considered "safe" resulted in severe negative health effects in the animals:

Of the rats fed GM corn or glyphosate residue, 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely. This was compared to 30% and 20% respectively in the control group. Female rats developed fatal mammary tumours and pituitary disorders. Males developed liver damage, kidney and skin tumours and had problems with their digestive systems. Rats fed GM corn or Roundup residues developed 2-3 times more tumours than the control group.

The study found that ingestion of GM corn and glyphosate caused similar damage in the rats whether consumed separately or together. Even the lowest doses of GM corn and glyphosate were associated with severe health problems.

Previous studies have produced similar findings, but this was the first ever feeding trial done over the course of the entire lifespan of a laboratory rat - two years.

Yes, folks. Despite the fact that lab rats live only two years, no genetically modified animal feeding trials have been done up to this point for longer than 90 days. Genetically modified seeds/foods have been rushed onto the market in Canada and the United States without any longer-term studies on potential effects. The majority of the tumours that developed on the rats were detected after 18 months, which means that prior GM testing done over 90 days would not have discovered them.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready corn (NK603 variety) has been genetically modified to withstand its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. You'll recall that Monsanto is the corporation that has also brought us such wondrous improvements to the human condition as: Agent Orange, DDT, saccharin, PCBs, bovine growth hormones, and Aspartame. Monsanto has bullied and sued farmers around the world over the use of its patented seeds. The corporation is directly responsible for suicides among hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers who went into debt to buy Monsanto seeds with the promise of magical yields that did not materialize.

The growth and sale of genetically modified corn, including Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety, were approved in Canada in 2001. People have been unknowingly ingesting genetically modified material in their corn products since then.

According to Patricia Reimer, a Manitoba organic inspector I spoke to for a story last year about genetically modified alfalfa, corn has become widely contaminated by genetically modified strains. There is no separation of GM and non-GM corn, soybeans, or canola in the food system, outside the organic system. What this means is that unless you are eating certified organic corn, soy, or canola, there is a high likelihood that you are eating at least some genetically modified material. Even organic products cannot be guaranteed 100% GM-free at this point.

Genetically modified sweet corn has now come onto grocery shelves in Canada and the U.S. in order to test the waters. Corn is also used in corn syrup - a product used in many processed foods.

Roundup is currently the world's most popular and widely-used herbicide, and its global usage is set to double by 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts of San Jose, California.

How's that for a horrifying Pluto in Capricorn era fact?


More from Willow's Web on GM alfalfa.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mercury Rx Re-Post Part Two: GM Alfalfa and Corporate Organics

Mercury is currently retrograde in Pisces (February 23 - March 17) and will station direct conjunct Chiron and Neptune March 17.

The connections are there. We just have to make them visible.

This is a re-post of an article from July 10, 2011: Ceres Stations Retrograde at Zero Aries Conjunct Uranus and Buying Organic Is a Revolutionary Act



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.


More from Willow's Web on GM alfalfa.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mercury Rx Re-post: Ceres in Pisces, GM Alfalfa and the Neptunian Permeation of the Seed Supply

Mercury is currently retrograde in Pisces (February 23 - March 17) and will station direct conjunct Chiron and Neptune March 17.

The connections are there. We just have to make them visible.

This is a re-post of an article from April 2011, posted just after genetically modified alfalfa was approved unconditionally by the United States Department of Agriculture, headed by GMO-friendly Tom Vilsack, ex-Governor of Iowa.

The article talks about Neptune's ingress of Pisces on April 4, 2011 and the coinciding attempt at permeation of the seed and food supply by genetically modified varieties.

The first widescale commercial planting of GM alfalfa occurred in the United States in the spring of 2011, just as Neptune took up new residence in Pisces. At the time of the ingress, Neptune was conjunct Ceres and Chiron in Pisces, which colours the entire 15-year transit of Neptune in Pisces.

Currently transiting messenger planet Mercury will be retrograding over Chiron and Neptune in Pisces, and the Sun and Venus in Pisces are also lighting up the themes.

Two years later, the issue is as pertinent as ever with genetically modified alfalfa slated to be unleashed in Canada as early as the 2013 growing season.



From April 13, 2011:

We're heading to an election in Canada May 2 after the minority Conservative "Harper Government" delivered a budget bound to be rejected by the other parties. It was.

(For those who aren't hip to the now, the Government of Canada has officially been re-branded the "Harper Government" - complete with memos - since the appearance of being elected by and accountable to the people is so very last era. At this point, there really is no Government of Canada - we're officially in lock-step North American Union merger within a broader global agenda, so why not do away with the formalities altogether? Corpo-governmental identity re-branding. Aries square Pluto in Capricorn.)

As we head into the election run-up, the planet of spiritual/energetic connection and dissolution into "all that is" Neptune has just cracked into its domicile of Pisces (April 4), sitting on the zero degree until it retrogrades back into Aquarius June 3. This is the third sign shift of outer planets we've experienced in the past 3.5 years - Pluto into Capricorn, Uranus into Aries and now Neptune into Pisces (it's there for good February 2012).

At the time of Neptune's ingress, it was conjunct masculine 'wounded healer' Chiron (3 degrees Pisces) and feminine 'Goddess of grains, cereals, and fertility of the Earth' Ceres (5 degrees Pisces). It was also just past the orb of a conjunction to Venus in Pisces (10 degrees). These conjunctions colour Neptune's entire 15-year transit of Pisces.

Understatement of the astrological age: there's a whole lot of psychic healing and healing of the human spirit required on this planet at the end of the Piscean era.

The Neptune-Chiron-Ceres conjunction involves complex symbolism, but in basic terms, this combination of energies shows us where we're starving collectively - spiritually and physically - so we can work on bucking the trend and making our way back to right principles and the healing they bring.

Earth Mama Ceres being so strongly involved, along with Venus further into Pisces, indicates that the spiritual healing and healing of the whole is intricately, inextricably linked to bringing the feminine and women to their rightful places of prominence, power, influence and respect, especially within the chronically masculine-heavy spiritual paradigms.

The astrological zodiac itself is one of these masculine-heavy paradigms, reflecting, as it does, the broader societies. Only two of the ten major bodies used in astrological analysis are considered feminine - the Moon and Venus. While these two do play a very strong role in astrology, this paints a skewed, two-dimensional picture of the feminine influence and experience on this planet: women and the feminine force are either the beautiful lover (Venus) or the nurturing mother (Moon) - existing in relation to others - with little nuance or variation in between.

Ceres, along with other feminine bodies and points, plays a secondary and often invisible role in most of the astrology of the day, indicating the downplayed importance of food, agriculture and feminine grounding and nourishment. Combined with the double dose of Neptunian/Piscean influence, these issues remain obscured, glossed over, and do not have the hype factor required to keep an entertainment-addicted public interested. Everyone eats. Almost no one cares about or understands agricultural issues.

"Neptunian integrative spiritual healing" is a sexy little catch phrase that might hold some interest, though. And Ceres shows us some of what that's going to entail, involving a crucial link to our food sources.

Most visibly, the wounding (Chiron) related to food (Ceres) involves purposeful food shortages and criminal inflation of food prices bringing about increased levels of starvation worldwide. Less visibly, it involves the slow degradation of the quality of our food through contamination by genetically modified organisms, over-processing, soil pollution and the leeching of the soil of minerals.

A big part of our collective starvation involves no longer living by right spiritual principles - more to the point, living in societies dominated by corporate interests that force and sell undignified, dysfunctional lifestyles and values disconnected from right spiritual principles. The collective streams are shaped and directed into these channels, and it takes a lot to live beyond them.

Nowhere is the divergence from proper spiritual principles more apparent - yet less fully grasped by most people - than in our relationship to food.

The dissolution of our Parliament in Canada has left unaddressed a key motion tabled by the opposition March 3, 2011 - a moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada. The "Harper Government," which supports expansion into GM crops, stalled the vote on the motion March 11, 2011, leaving it up in the air.

This should be an election issue in Canada, but it isn't. The proposed moratorium, like Ceres itself, flies under the radar for most people. Agriculture issues almost always do since, again, people have become so disconnected to food and food sources that they don't even understand why they should concern themselves with such things.

But this is big, people. This is Ceres big, and Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt. Reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 along with Eris and Pluto, Ceres is much larger than Chiron, though Chiron gets infinitely more play astrologically.

Ceres is in the league of Lord of the Underworld Pluto and we know that dude means business. So does Ceres. Fuck with Ceres too much, and she has the ability to snuff life out on this planet entirely. This is what they're playing with right now. Still think this is an inconsequential, secondary-at-best influence in the astrological zodiac?

Monsanto is currently attempting to make its Roundup Ready alfalfa the first genetically modified perennial planted in North America. Yes, perennial. Plant it once, and it's coming back again and again. Roundup Ready alfalfa is genetically modified to withstand glyphosate, a herbicide sold under the Monsanto brand name Roundup. Let's recall that Monsanto is the corporation that has brought us such improvements on the human condition as Agent Orange, DDT, saccharin, Aspartame, bovine growth hormones and PCBs.

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 (USDA).

Just prior to this, Whole Foods Market sent out an e-mail to customers announcing it was no longer opposing the growing of GM crops. It was now supporting a policy of "conditional deregulation," despite the fact that it admitted such a policy could mean contamination of beef, dairy products and honey. (It turns out, about two-thirds of the foods Whole Foods sells as "natural" are already contaminated with GMOs.)

Whole Foods execs even adopted the "coexistence and cooperation" language of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Visack. Whole Foods' new stance:

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

Secondary lawsuits were launched against the USDA March 18, 2011 by groups including the Center for Food Safety and the National Family Farm Coalition, challenging the authorization and stalling the sale and planting of the alfalfa...for now.

The approval of GM alfalfa in the United States is, of course, pertinent to Canadian agriculture, as alfalfa grows and cross-pollinates like a weed, making cross-border contamination likely. Wind is a dual citizen. Hay goes back and forth.

I recently spoke with organic inspector Priscilla Reimer on this issue for an article I'm writing for a local paper, and she told me the introduction of GM alfalfa has the ability to wipe out the entire foundation of organic/non-GMO agriculture. Alfalfa is not only a staple livestock feed, it 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. Basically, alfalfa is embedded within the entire organic system, so contamination by GM alfalfa would be devastating.

Already, Reimer (an organic inspector, let's recall) says there can be no guarantee that a food product labelled organic is completely free of genetically modified material. She says GMOs have spread faster than anyone could have imagined, and due to the lack of labelling and segregation within the agricultural system, GM crops being grown widely in Canada, especially soybeans, corn and canola, have contaminated the non-GMO versions. If you are eating a product that contains a derivative of those three crops, you are almost guaranteed to be eating some genetically modified material.

I also spoke to Alexis Knispel Kanu who did her PhD doctoral work on the spread of genetically modified canola. Knispel Kanu studied escape populations of canola - plants that were growing outside fields and had not been planted - and found GM contamination widespread among them. She found that it was the transportation and containment systems that were most often the cause of the spread of those seeds (spilling from trucks, trains, elevators), making the standard solution of "buffer fields" between GM and non-GM crops almost useless to stop contamination. (This is something farmers have always known, incidentally.)

Even more disturbing, Knispel Kanu found something the GMO companies had not intended: the GM canola plants she studied had cross-pollinated with each other in the wild, forming a hybrid of Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety and Bayer's LibertyLink variety.

Who's going to sue whom for patent infringement there?

Knispel Kanu says the spread of GM alfalfa poses an even stronger threat as far as cross-pollination since it is a more feral crop than canola, a perennial, and does not require cultivated fields in which to thrive.

Alfalfa is the most wild, natural, sweet-smelling crop I can think of. It's one of the first things I think of when I think 'prairie,' and to think of it being irrevocably contaminated by genetically modified organisms is really horrendous.

Neptune relates to the dissolution of boundaries - maybe more specifically to the understanding that many boundaries do not exist, especially when it comes to the natural mixing of things through air and water. Unless you have your hermetically sealed bubbles ready, what happens in one area of the planet has widespread ripple effects in other areas. We see this Piscean/Neptunian princlple with the nuclear disaster going on in Japan. And we see it in the permeation of the seed supply by genetically modified varieties. I wish it didn't take these types of attacks on our energetic inter-relatedness for people to start to grasp that they should care about what happens in the world around them - even beyond their immediate daily circle of family and friends.

Will the Earthlings realize the ongoing corporate pollution of their seed supply and start to give a flying crap before it's too late?

Stay tuned...

Until then, buying food that is local and certified organic or farmed up to organic standards is the best safe-guard - outside growing your own organic plants. Since the organic system works on a system of "institutionalized trust," forming relationships with farms and farmers that produce such products is a good idea, too. Knowing how they farm and what they feed their animals makes it easier to ensure your food supply is GMO-free - or as GMO-free as possible these days.


More from Willow's Web on GM alfalfa.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Five Years. Do I Get a Gold Lapel Pin For That or Something?


Five years of solid Willow's Webbing.

Intense.

That's about all I have to say about that.

Happy Fifth Birthday, Willow's Web Astrology blog!

You're the ass kicking-est astro site on the scene, and don't let any bastards try to tell you otherwise.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Hermit Full Moon Attempts to Keep the Irritation Factor Low Within Mutable T-Square

We're heading to a Virgo Full Moon at 7 degrees this weekend (exact Monday afternoon). This is an earthy and humble Moon. No fuss, no muss. But it falls within exact mutable t-square with Jupiter in Gemini and the Sun in Pisces (conjunct Chiron), and this kicks up the potential for more activity, hype, and irritation than Virgo would generally prefer.

The hermit is forced into the fray.

Because of this, we require stronger than usual emotional, mental, and psychic filters, combating annoying conversations, too much information, and issues overload under an ongoing Jupiter in Gemini - Chiron in Pisces square.

Under these influences, we'll be tempted to stick a finger in every pie, to offer an opinion on every subject, but this is not advised.

This Full Moon in Virgo says: Stick with what works. Stick with what inspires you. Stick with the work that gives you the most satisfaction and efficacy. Discard the rest. Let it dissolve into the ethers.

Under the influence of the Sun-Moon-Jupiter t-square and with a stellium of Chiron-infused planets in Pisces, our heartstrings, our compassion, our sweetness, our naivete, and our spiritual egos can all be played to detrimental and draining effect now. Keep your eye on the old school Piscean draws, and steer clear.

At this Full Moon in Virgo, our work is done in certain respects. We've fulfilled certain roles in the ongoing hardcore transition of the ages, and this is a good feeling. Allow this Moon to illuminate a job well done, as well as the next angles coming into play.

Opposite Chiron, this Full Moon illumination provides some last necessary details as far as work and health. The last pieces of the puzzle are coming together as far as what is injuring and sickening us on this planet. We're understanding our own context within sick systems, institutions, and structures, and we're piping up from our own perspectives, aware that the individual can only do so much to combat the layers of toxicity to which we're being exposed on a daily basis.

As much as the New Agers would like you to believe it, we are not creating ill health with negative thoughts and beliefs. Ill health is being created for us. And if we aren't directly addressing the sources of the toxicity being laden on humanity and on life on this planet, we aren't in a position for healing. It's as simple as that.

This Virgo Full Moon wants us in a strong position for healing. So we stand back now and allow this Full Moon to illuminate the details we need to heed as far as achieving and maintaining health in an increasing toxic environment. We allow this Moon to provide the last connections that draw us together in this struggle.

We are still under the influence of a Mars in Virgo cycle, kicked off during the last Mars retrograde period in early 2012. As Mars is currently transiting Pisces, this Full Moon offers us a halfway checkpoint and progress report. It shows us what we're doing right, as well as what we need to refine or bone up on a bit more moving forward. Pay attention. This is subtle and potentially overshadowed by that opinionated loudmouth Jupiter in Gemini.

The current stellium in Pisces also indicates a tendency to gloss over the details, but we do this to our own detriment now.

Under a Mars in Virgo influence, we have to proactively fight for our health. We have to take an active, rather than a passive, role in health matters. A proactive role. And this goes against all our societal training, which would like us passive, complacent, swallowing their pills.

This Moon gives us the emotional support to tackle those last work and health loopholes that could cause problems for us over the long term.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Modified Skies Pictorial for Winter 2012/13

All winter, we've had almost nothing but that flat white or grey-white blanket of cloud cover we all know and love. For a full month, we had completely white skies and thick fog, which is unheard of in Saskatchewan in the winter.

Now, the fog is mostly gone, but we have day after day of no sun.

This is one of the sunniest parts of the planet, usually. This is weather no one around has seen before in this area. Most of the days this winter have looked something like this:




When the cloud blanket does break up for a day or so, it looks like this:



I noticed this going on in both Calgary and Winnipeg when I lived in those cities. Chemtrails sprayed, cloud cover, no Sun for days. The Sun would peek out, and within a few hours, there were more chemtrails and then more cloud cover. At the time, I wondered if it were being done intentionally as mood control. Disconnecting people from the movement of the Sun and Moon, from what's going on in the sky. Now, I'm wondering if it is related to radar somehow or blocking surveillance.

Who really knows why they're doing this?

All I know is, it's extremely unnerving.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's/Juno Day from Willow's Web

Photo: Willow
 
- Venus in Aquarius tells us: We are not too weird for love. We are not too weird for relationships. There is a match for anyone who needs love. -
 
Highlighted this Valentine's Day is the Jupiter in Gemini square to Chiron in Pisces. Good news, spontaneous healing, and miraculous redemptions are all possible under this aspect, continuing for the next two months. Don't count yourself out too early on the love and relationship front this Valentine's Day. Love from God, the universe, the unseen realms, or our higher power is streaming to us now, creating movement, interaction, and flow in relationships of all kinds.

There is a great deal of Pisces involved here (Mercury, Mars, Chiron, Neptune), and this is a very "soft around the edges" Valentine's Day. Small annoyances can be overlooked and forgiven in the name of love and friendship.

With Venus in Aquarius square Saturn in Scorpio and Mars in Pisces trine Saturn in Scorpio, old grudges can also be resolved now, and we can experience good will where there were isolation, stalemates, or stand-offs previously.

Venus is transiting Aquarius, and the Aquarius Sun is conjunct Eros. Friendship is hot this Valentine's Day. Smoking, smouldering, platonic hot.

Make loving gestures toward those who matter in your life, and let people know that they do matter in your life. People may have no idea. Clue them in by planning something fun to do together.

The Moon is in Aries now and on Feb. 14, indicating the more your plans are shaped to suit the individual you're with, the better. Individual identity is strong now as we move beyond some of the Piscean era love and relationship dynamics. You're interacting with an individual who has specific likes and dislikes, and the more you tailor things to that individual (without forgetting yourself), the better things will be. (And if you're hoping for more than friendly good will, the better chance there will be for loved-up extracurriculars later...)

Our lady Juno is in the last decan of Capricorn this February 14. Juno has just broken out of the Plutonic forcefield, having pushed beyond the 10-degree orb of its conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn. Juno has been in sometimes tense conjunction negotiations with Pluto for over a month now, and the breaking up of this nose-to-grindstone, no-time-for-frivolity duo is very nice news for Juno Day, also.

Drop as many expectations for this day and for the behaviour of others' as you can. Change the format where necessary. Interact in the raw and vital current moment, and remember to make it about love all day (and night!) long.

You can read my full post on this year's Valentine's themes here: Venus in Aquarius and Mars in Pisces for the First Official Valentine's Day, Post-12212012

I also have a pay-for article ($20) looking at changing relationship constructs, particularly the marriage contract, in 2013 with a Juno retrograde in Aquarius and a Venus retrograde in Capricorn at the end of the year. Venus, Juno, and Pluto: the Reconfiguring and Renegotiation of Marriage and Commitment in 2013

Happy Valentine's/Juno Day, all you lovers and fighters out there! Let the love vibes flow freely through a filter of heartfelt gratitude and friendship.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mercury-Mars in Pisces Trigger the Jupiter-Chiron Square

Photo: Willow
 

Mercury and Mars are currently conjunct in early Pisces (11:57 a.m. Central), and both bodies are in separating conjunction to Neptune in Pisces. Things are a little...squishy. Soggy.

Mercury and Mars will move into a conjunction to Chiron in Pisces and a square to Jupiter in Gemini over the next few days.

This Jupiter-Chiron square being so strongly activated creates some major pockets of instability, especially with communications. The universe has a mind and a message of its own, and this is very apparent in our interactions now. This is a lot of mutable energy, with some swirly, whirly, tensely-aspected Pisces, which requires a lot of adjustments, juggling, and going with the flow from us. If things don't go according to plan over the next couple months, don't take it personally. In fact, it might be beneficial to prepare yourself for things not to go according to plan.

We can't wrap our minds fully around where we are now. Staying on top of the details is a challenge, to say the least. Things are messy, confusing, and chaotic with a strong "hamster on wheel" flavour. Running, running, running and seemingly getting nowhere.

Keep your head down, and keep plowing through. Don't give up. There's only so much we can do with this mess.

"Jupiter direct is in an applying square to Chiron in Pisces (wounding illusions, deluded thinking, disappointing information and realizations of the truth) for the next two months, forming its third exact square to Chiron on March 27, 2013. This Jupiter-Chiron square will be lit up as Mercury, Mars, the Sun, and Venus conjunct Chiron in Pisces and square Jupiter over the next couple months. This square colours all of Pisces season (Sun in Pisces, February 19 - March 20), and we're strongly challenged to outsmart the end-of-Pisces themes over the next months."

We have to watch this slippery, slidey square aspect over the next couple months. It already indicates some Mercury retrograde-esque effects, and these will be compounded by an actual Mercury retrograde in Pisces, the sign of Mercury's detriment (February 23 to March 17).

Words, ideas, impressions, and images can be deceiving or misleading. Misunderstandings are probable. Messages disappear now or go otherwise unreceived. Illusions and false versions of reality are being painted in the world of media, public relations, communications, media, and internet. Slippery tongues are working things by us. New Age dumbassery will be at a high point over the next couple months. People who court and reinforce guru status will be taking liberties now, glossing over unpleasant facts, even as one little pin prick could deflate their bubbles.

Mercury in Pisces enters its retrograde shadow later today and triggers the Jupiter-Chiron square exactly February 9/10. This brings the themes of the square into the full retrograde process. Mercury will station retrograde at 19 degrees Pisces on February 23 and move retrograde all the way back into this square, stationing direct March 17 at 5 degrees Pisces, conjunct Chiron and square Jupiter.

From a previous post:

"Coloured so strongly by tense aspects to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, conversations we're having have a meandering - and often highly confusing - wisdom of their own. Words fly off into the psychic abyss, and we're unable to discern their effect. The universe is working through us to get the healing words to the injured places and parties, but it is a struggle to communicate. There are snatches of conversation here and there, broken at will by a force that knows better than we do. Threads are picked up and dropped. Connections peter out. There is not much flow or continuity, but we have to go with it. Even miscommunication has its purpose.

People are going to be under the mistaken impression that they're having a conversation with each other when they're really on two totally different tracks, talking to ghosts, spirits, etheric echoes, replying to long-ago conversations that have just now been understood. There are deja vu moments. Haven't I had this conversation before? Words like perfume, lingering, drawing bittersweet memory. Lost connections like a hole in our hearts.

These squares indicate some mental and emotional chaos. From jubilant to rock-bottom doldrums and back again in the space of an hour.

We can expect some Mercury retrograde-esque effects, even with Mercury direct.

Feedback is distorted, full of projection. Don't take it too seriously.

People latch onto one layer of the situation but miss the big picture entirely.

We speak as if in a dream, trying to make ourselves understood. We can talk and talk and talk, trying to make things clear, trying to form a solid connection, and our efforts disappear into the misty Neptunian swamp. Our words are swallowed, diffused, dissipated. We try angle after angle until exhausted.

It can seem pointless to communicate now. Why bother if we're just going to be misunderstood? If we're just going to make it worse trying to explain?

But it isn't pointless.

Communicating is the path of greatest expansion, inspiration, and interest now.

Jupiter is our luck. It's our ace in the hole. And in Gemini, we have to talk. We have to communicate our perspectives and receive the perspectives of others, when meaningful. We have to circulate information, make connections, network, reach out.

And yet, we're going to get nailed for doing so. We're going to hear things that hurt us, and we're going to say things that hurt other people. Conversations are going to go haywire, not as we'd hoped. Our minds will be muddled. The blocked connections and spotty communication can leave us desolate, longing, playing out patterns that have proven unsatisfactory in the past. Waiting for the phone call. Or the text. Or the word through the grapevine.

The illusions of the astrological Piscean era are attempting to attach, to weasel their way in. They're looking for a free ride into Aquarius by filling our minds with the pretty pictures and skewed thoughts that cause us pain and suffering in the end."

With Mars in Pisces closing in on Chiron, we have to be careful not to fall into full-on end-of-era listlessness, despondence, or futility. These feelings are swirling around now. We want to give up at times, to fall into passivity, to just say "fuck it." There are certainly potential dead ends involved here, old school Piscean zones that can waste time and energy. But Mars in this sign conjunct Neptune in early Pisces indicates that as messy as it is, there is an active direction we need to take through the cloud and confusion. We need to be carving out a new expression for Pisces - Pisces for the astrological Aquarian era - and this requires our active participation and self-direction.

As we do so, however, we can hit those pockets of end-of-Pisces overwhelm, futility, and overall blah where we don't want to do anything. (Mars conjunct Chiron in Pisces) We have to keep moving through these, as if through a fog, even as our will is weakened and our physical energy is diffused and dissipated.

Mars in Pisces will also trigger the Jupiter-Chiron square February 10 - 12. This brings elements of frustration and anger to the scene, but also potentially powerful personal progress and direction.

All the communication chaos and glitches associated with the Jupiter direct station January 30 can become too much over the next week. Too much information and "issues overload" are definite cautions. We're more sensitive to information and media now, so filter accordingly. Use your anger as a guide as far as whom or what to tune out.

Ideological clashes can be stirred quite easily now. Differing philosophies or slightly different angles on the same subject will create friction among people this coming week, so detach and let feisty exchanges dissolve into the ether as much as possible.

Jupiter's transit of Gemini indicates a time when it's beneficial to share different perspectives in order to come up with broader truth.

But Mars square Jupiter (exact February 10) stirs themes of getting pissed off (Mars) at loudmouths (Jupiter in Gemini). Whom you consider a loudmouth will more than likely vary depending on personal beliefs, but this Mars-Jupiter square definitely brings elements of anger and aggression to ideological, religious, belief-related, and philosophical discussions. People's opinions and how they choose to share them can be sources of motivation but also of friction, anger, and verbal entanglement this next week.

The over-saturation of certain pespectives in media will be hard to tolerate over the next while.

The over-simplification of complex issus and the co-opting of alternative voices will be particularly anger-inducing. (A strong theme with the New Age.)

People are "issued out" in certain respects, drowning in all the end-of-Pisces problems we face on this planet, so very careful dissemination of pertinent information is required.

Be careful about getting up on any soapbox at all this upcoming week. It might be better to coast.

However, we are also getting in touch more directly with the energy of the new expression for Pisces, with the influence of Neptune in Pisces as our touchstone. We can pick up the new tone here and make moves related to it. Changes in our own perspectives are refreshing and energizing now.

We will experience a New Moon at 21 degrees Aquarius February 11 (1:20 a.m.), and we're opening more fully into a new era, as well as into a new lunar cycle.

Even when it seems we are swimming around in circles, we're carving out a new place for the sign of Pisces, and this can be very inspiring.

So keep swimming, fishies. Just watch for openings into a new route whenever you can.

The Sun and Venus enter Pisces later this month, triggering the Jupiter-Chiron square yet again and keeping these themes at the forefront.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Great Nourisher Ceres Goes Direct in Gemini February 4: Stop GM Alfalfa

Agriculture-related dwarf planet Ceres stationed direct early this morning at 19 degrees Gemini, conjunct Black Moon Lilith. 

Ceres will move into Cancer April 4 and then into a cardinal t-square with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, exact May 5 - 7. 2013. That t-square will still be within orb during the third exact Uranus in Aries - Pluto in Capricorn square May 20, 2013. 

This configuration brings food and agriculture issues to prominence, particularly as they relate to increased corporate globalization (Pluto in Capricorn) and the direction into biotechnology (Uranus in Aries).
 
Canada and the United States, as Cancer Sun nations, are up front and centre on these agricultural biotechnology issues. Ceres will conjunct the Cancer Suns of both countries as it forms the cardinal t-square with Uranus and Pluto. The direction of food and agriculture policy in these countries is crucially important at this time.
 
The Ceres-Uranus-Pluto cardinal t-square indicates the 2013 growing season is a make-or-break as far as the future of natural/non-GMO food on this planet.  
A U.S. company is currently planning to sell genetically modified alfalfa seeds in Ontario and Quebec as early as the 2013 growing season. This would be the first wide-scale commercial sale and planting of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada's history.
In light of major concerns related to health and to the contamination of organic and non-GM alfalfa crops, we are calling for a moratorium on the sale, planting, and growing of GM alfalfa, and this is extended to the United States. All levels of government need to be engaged - local, provincial/state, and federal.
Ceres is direct in Gemini until April 4, making the next two months a period when public opinion is being shaped through the dissemination of information via media on food and agriculture issues.
What I'm asking is that anyone concerned about or interested in this issue please disseminate this information in some way during the week of February 4 - 8, in honour of the Great Nourisher Ceres' direct station in Gemini. This direct station occurs conjunct Black Moon Lilith in Gemini, and denied perspectives related to food, agriculture, and biotechnology need to come out now.
 

Some Simple Actions You Can Take:

- If you have a blog, please consider writing about or mentioning genetically modified alfalfa (or any GMO) this upcoming week or adding a link about it.

- Talk to people about this issue. More people are interested than you might think.
- Copy and paste the GM alfalfa primer (below) into an e-mail and forward it to anyone who might be interested. (Spacing may need to be fixed before you send it, so copy it into a Word document, fix the spacing, and then copy and paste into an e-mail.)
- Send a letter to the editor about GM alfalfa to your local newspaper. I've written a short and simple letter on the subject. Please let me know if interested, and I can send it out.
- Call the newsrooms of local media outlets and request that they cover this story, including the GM feeding trial results that were published in September 2012. Ceres was on 28/29 Gemini when those results were published and will be back on those degrees in late March/early April, so this is a good time to get the results of that study on the public's radar.

- Call your local political representative and request that they oppose GM alfalfa and bring forth a moratorium on the sale, planting, and growing of GM alfalfa. 
- Get in touch with local organic organizations to find out what is planned for the campaign to stop GM alfalfa.
- Find out if there are any Stop GM Alfalfa demonstrations planned in your area...or plan one.
 

Franken-Hay: Stop GM Alfalfa


Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International plans the wide-scale selling of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) alfalfa seeds in Ontario and Quebec as early as the 2013 growing season.

Monsanto's alfalfa strains have been genetically modified to withstand its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup.

Monsanto is currently attempting to make its Roundup Ready alfalfa the first genetically modified perennial planted in Canada. It has already succeeded in this pursuit in the United States. Genetically modified alfalfa has been planted there for the past two seasons and accounts for 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states.

A Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Genetically Modified Alfalfa in Canada

The introduction of genetically modified alfalfa has the ability to wipe out the entire foundation of organic/non-genetically modified agriculture. Alfalfa is a staple livestock feed. It is a crop often used by farmers during the three-year field transition from conventional to organic farming. Alfalfa also becomes essential in the crop rotation once a farm becomes organic because, as a nitrogen-fixer, it naturally fertilizes the soil.
As alfalfa is embedded in the entire organic system, contamination by GM alfalfa would be devastating.
This would particularly affect organic/non-GM meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Because GM alfalfa would also have an effect on soil quality, however, fruits, vegetables, and grains could also be affected.
The first genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were released in the mid-1990s. GMOs have spread faster than anyone could have imagined, and due to the lack of labelling and segregation within the agricultural system, GM crops grown widely, especially soybeans, corn, and canola, have contaminated non-GM versions. If you are eating a non-organic product that contains a derivative of those three crops (soybeans, corn, or canola), you are almost guaranteed to be eating some genetically modified material.
Already, there can be no guarantee that a food product labelled organic is completely free of genetically modified material. However, because the effort is made to keep organic crops separate from genetically modified crops, organic crops remain the best bet for non-GM food choices.
(Source: Manitoba organic inspector Priscilla Reimer)

Co-existence is Impossible

Currently, the plan touted by GM proponents is a “co-existence policy” where genetically modified alfalfa can be grown, harvested, and used alongside non-genetically modified alfalfa.
Incidentally, this is the official corporate policy of Whole Foods Market, as well.

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

What organic and non-GM farmers know is that this co-existence is actually impossible, particularly with a feral, perennial crop like alfalfa that cross-pollinates widely, including via the wind and insects.
PhD work done between 2004 and 2007 in Manitoba, Canada on the spread of genetically modified canola found unintentional GMO contamination as well as cross-breeding between GM strains. Escape populations of canola were studied - plants growing outside fields where they had not been planted - and widespread contamination by genetically modified organisms was found among them.
The study found that the transportation and containment systems were most often the cause of the spread of the seeds (spilling from trucks, trains, and elevators), making the standard solution of "buffer fields" between GM and non-GM crops almost useless to stop contamination. Unless the growing, transportation, and containment of genetically modified seeds/crops is kept separate from non-genetically modified versions, contamination is inevitable.
In the case of alfalfa, even those measures could not contain the spread of genetically modified versions.

The same PhD work found something the GMO companies had not intended: some of the GM canola plants studied had cross-pollinated with each other in the wild, forming a hybrid of Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety and Bayer's LibertyLink variety.
Who owns the patent there?
(Source: Alexis Knispel Kanu, PhD)

Major GM and Glyphosate Safety Concerns Uncovered in 2011

An unprecedented animal feeding trial has found that lab rats fed genetically modified corn as well as glyphosate residue - the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup - developed high incidences of tumours, multiple organ damage, and premature death.

The results of the GM feeding trial were published September 19, 2012 in the scientific journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology." The peer-reviewed study
was conducted by a team of scientists led by biologist and endocrinologist Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France.
The study was attacked vociferously as flawed by other scientists and biotechnology groups. Despite the uproar, the “Food and Chemical Toxicology” journal, a major journal on toxicology, refused to retract Seralini’s study.
The trial studied the long-term effects of exposure to NK603 GM corn (Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety) and glyphosate - individually and combined - on the health of rats over two years. 

The study found that even exposure to levels considered "safe" resulted in severe negative health effects in the animals.

Of the rats fed GM corn or glyphosate residue, 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely. This was compared to 30% and 20% respectively in the control group. Female rats developed fatal mammary tumours and pituitary disorders. Males developed liver damage, kidney and skin tumours and had problems with their digestive systems.

The study found that ingestion of GM corn and glyphosate caused similar damage in the rats whether consumed separately or together. Even the lowest doses of GM corn and glyphosate, touted as “safe” by industry, were associated with severe health problems.

Previous studies have produced similar findings, but this was the first ever feeding trial done over the course of the entire lifespan of a laboratory rat - two years.

Despite the fact that lab rats live only two years, no genetically modified animal feeding trials have been done up to this point for longer than 90 days. Genetically modified seeds/foods have been rushed onto the market in Canada and the United States without any longer-term studies on potential effects. The majority of the tumours and devastating health effects that developed with the rats were detected after 18 months, which means that prior GM testing done over 90 days would not have discovered them.
Glyphosate-based Roundup is currently the world's most popular and widely-used herbicide. Its global usage is set to double by 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts of San Jose, California.

The Battle As it Stands

The sale and growth of genetically modified alfalfa were initially stopped by a lawsuit in the United States in 2007, but that lawsuit was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010. A compromise that would have limited the growth of GM alfalfa, potentially protecting organic and non-GM farmers, was scrapped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it announced approval of unrestricted commercial cultivation in January 2011.
Genetically modified alfalfa was approved under Tom Vilsack as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 27, 2011. Vilsack is the ex-Governor of Iowa, a United States’ corn belt state. Genetically modified corn is big business there. As might be expected, Vilsack is a major supporter of Monsanto and their genetically modified seed varieties. Vilsack was even named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 2001. Green-lighting genetically modified seeds and furthering the agricultural biotechnology industry is part of Vilsack’s modus operandi. There can be no doubt about that.
Genetically modified alfalfa has now been sold, planted, and grown in the United States for the past two growing seasons. Already, it makes up 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states.
In Canada, a motion on a moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically modified alfalfa was tabled in Canadian Parliament in March 2011 by Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee.
That motion was left unaddressed as Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament ahead of the federal election in May 2011.
Now, the widespread planting of GM alfalfa in Ontario and Quebec has been proposed for as early as the 2013 growing season.
Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International plans to sell Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa in Ontario and Quebec this year. This would be the first wide-scale sale and growth of GM alfalfa in Canada. Prior to this, only test plots were being allowed.
Ontario has been chosen as the introduction point for genetically modified alfalfa because farmers in Western Canada have already rejected GM alfalfa. Alfalfa products are sold to Europe, where genetically modified seeds and crops are banned.

The decision to approve GM alfalfa is highly opposed by organic farmers, who stand to lose the most money (and their entire livelihoods) from contamination by genetically modified alfalfa or even by the belief that their crops may be contaminated.

National Farmers Union protests are ongoing in Canada.

This is a crucial time for the future of food on this planet. All opposed to the spread of genetically modified alfalfa must stand up and be counted now.

Two thousand thirteen is a make or break year for the natural, organic, and non-genetically modified industries in Canada and the United States and for anyone who wants to keep food natural.

A Moratorium on GM Alfalfa

We, as concerned citizens, are calling on our elected officials to do the responsible thing with untested, unproven GM alfalfa. We are calling for an immediate moratorium on the sale, planting, and growth of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada ahead of the 2013 growing season.
We are also calling for additional two-year laboratory rat feeding trials to be conducted on genetically modified alfalfa and glyphosate by independent scientific bodies unaffiliated with and unfunded by GM corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, and DuPont.