Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Darkest Dark and the Lightest Light Under the Scorpio Full Moon

The Moon is now growing fuller in Libra heading to the yearly Scorpio Full Moon, exact May 3 (9:42 p.m. CST) at 13 degrees opposite the 13-degree Taurus Sun.

(This Full Moon forms an exact fixed t-square with Jupiter in Leo.)

A Full Moon in Scorpio tends to illuminate hidden feelings, underlying emotional and psychological subtext, and soulful attractions that have previously been kept on the downlow. Spicy.

We will catch glimpses of the underlying energetic web that weaves and binds us together under this Full Moon. We will come to certain realizations about people's true feelings, their true allegiances, and the power dynamics - legitimate or not - that influence their emotional foundations. Did I mention it's spicy?

There is an emotional alchemy beyond our conscious control at play here, a crackling in the air as our instincts draw us into closer quarters with certain prominent players in our lives. Aspects of emotional, psychological, sexual, or power-based reality that were previously hidden could be pushed to the surface under this Full Moon, possibly in a messy, angry, or passionate manner.

This Moon needs to feed energetically, and only close contact with particular individuals will provide the right nourishment. There are particular attractions that must be fulfilled in order to find any satisfaction here at all. This Moon desires peak emotional intensity, peak emotional experiences, but often these will be hidden and internalized.

On the other hand, there are particular attractions (and people) that must certainly be blocked and nullified under this Full Moon for our own emotional and energetic protection.

Overall, there's a sexy "emotional simmering" effect under this Scorpio Full Moon, a sense that there's a lot more going on in the way-down-deep than immediately meets the eye.

A Scorpio Moon tends to play its cards close to its chest, preferring to keep personal emotions, desires, and attractions carefully controlled, contained, and hidden from plain view. Calm on the surface even with a blazing inferno going on internally.

But the Moon growing to fullness, as it is now, pushes emotions to the overflow point, to the point where they can no longer be fully hidden, held back, or contained, and this is not just a little horrifying to privacy-loving Scorpio.

The Moon is considered to be in its fall in Scorpio. This is a sign the Moon has to work at in order to gain any comfort or mastery at all. We will all have our challenges under this Full Moon, to be sure: the desire for emotional containment and control in situations that make that quite difficult.

Buddha was said to have reached enlightenment under a Scorpio Full Moon.

And here we are, just coming out on the other side of the historic Uranus-Pluto square series, indicating epic change and transformation en masse. The Libra Moon will trigger the Uranus-Pluto square tomorrow with a square to Pluto in Capricorn (3:09 p.m.) and an opposition to Uranus in Aries (7:54 p.m.). This sets the stage, particularly in relationships and social settings.

Powerful shifts are underway. This one's dripping with potency... 

There is also a karmic inevitability tied to this Moon. The scenarios we are drawn into under this Moon, growing full in Scorpio, are magnetic at a soul level. They can't be denied. They're designed as emotional catalyst and emotional catharsis.

Family patterns and dynamics are especially ripe for triggering. The long, deep, ancestral roots of our most detrimental and damaging emotional behaviours - but also of our most cunning and effective emotional survival techniques. 

The Moon growing full in Scorpio indicates emotional eliminations, as well. Severing ties to some of those aforementioned detrimental and damaging patterns, to some of our most suffocating and stultifying familial conditioning.

We're being released from some dynamics (and people) that have tormented us - but only if we can break the comfort zone, the cradling familiarity, of that torment.

Certain emotional attachments - to lovers, exes, current flames who should be exes, situations, dynamics, even torment itself - are coming to an end here. They're burning up in the alchemical flames of Via Combusta Scorpio, leaving only a pile of ash and our dusty footprints walking away from it all.

There's a purge of the roiling, boiling, emotionally-traumatic past possible at this Full Moon, as well as a possibility for magical development of deeper and more satisfying emotional fusions.

It all depends where the crackling soul-alchemy of this Scorpio Full Moon is taking us.

Exciting, isn't it?

The Moon enters Scorpio May 2 at 7:47 p.m. and enters Sagittarius May 5 at 5:13 a.m.

Don't forget the Hexagon Astrology Magazine Kickstarter campaign: Hexagon Magazine: Smart. Sharp. Subversive. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mercury Enters the Shadow of a Very Neptunian (And Divinely-Guided) Retrograde Period in Gemini

Photos: Willow, Renegade Heifer Photography

Mercury, considered the "winged messenger" planet of the zodiac, is associated with communication, connections, messages, transportation, the mind and intellect, and the exchange of information.

Mercury enters home sweet home Gemini on April 30 (8:00 p.m. CST), a sign it rules, indicating that mental function and the movement of information will start to flow more freely. Mercury functions well in Gemini and gets a lot done in this air sign. Communication and connections are made without much hassle, and there is a great deal of chit-chatting and networking, particularly in local neighbourhoods and societies.

The movement of Mercury into Gemini comes as a relief after the locked-in conjunction between Mercury and Mars in slower-moving Taurus that we've been experiencing since mid-April.

Mercury in Gemini enjoys "the buzz," being right in the thick of the activity and whatever is going on, and this "busy social buzzing" will be a focus through the first week of July. Mercury makes an extended stay in Gemini, including a retrograde period from May 18 to June 11, and won't enter Cancer until July 8.

Mercury enters the degrees of its retrograde shadow on May 4 following a 13-degree Scorpio Full Moon on May 3 (9:42 p.m.). The Sabian Symbol for the Scorpio Full Moon is, very fittingly, "Telephone Linemen At Work Installing New Connections." Indeed.

This means, whatever we're talking about or thinking about between May 4 and May 18 will be coming back up for review and revision during the three-week Mercury retrograde period. The conversations being had and connections being made during the first weeks of May are potent, complex, and even divinely-guided. Things are buzzing, information is flying, and further details are pouring in. But don't worry if it's all a bit much to wrap your head around - we're coming back to this. 

Mercury in Gemini will oppose Saturn Rx in Sagittarius exactly on May 3 (2:35 a.m.), just before entering the retrograde shadow. The opposition to Saturn Rx in Sagittarius indicates a challenge to hold to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth even as multiple angles on the same situation come into play. There is an ultimate truth here, no matter which crowd Mercury in Gemini happens to be playing to at the moment. Digging for this truth and holding the authority of this truth throughout the Mercury in Gemini transit are keys to successful navigation.

This will be a highly Neptunian Mercury transit, as Mercury in Gemini will be within range of a square aspect to Neptune in Pisces for two full months. Exact squares between Mercury and Neptune occur May 9, May 29, and June 23. This indicates the potential for confusion, mental chaos, and rapidly changing perspectives over the next couple months.

Mercury-Neptune contacts have a tendency to convince us of things that sound good but are not actually true. Again, in order to counteract the fantasizing, clouded thinking, and influence of "slippery tongues" under this square aspect, we are challenged to get to the truth and to hold to that truth as situations evolve.  

Mercury Retrograde Basics

Three times per year, Mercury appears to stop in the sky and then move backward for three weeks before turning direct again. This period of time is called a Mercury retrograde, and it is becoming known by more and more people – even those who are not usually interested in astrology.

Some of the most marked characteristics of Mercury retrograde periods are: confusion, plans changing, people changing their minds after receiving new information, and glitchy communication/electronics.

Mercury will station retrograde at 13 degrees Gemini on May 18 (7:49 p.m.), and it will remain retrograde until turning direct again at 4 degrees Gemini on June 11 (4:33 p.m.). Mercury will be moving slowest on the days around the stations (May 16 – 20 and June 9 – 13), and these periods of time could be particularly frustrating with confusion, mental stress, and communication breakdowns.

Traditionally, Mercury retrograde is not considered a good time to sign contracts, make deals, or solidify plans. This is a period of time when we are going back over things, coming into new information and perspective that we may have missed the first time around, and it’s very common to change our minds – sometimes more than once – during this three-week period. It’s a “thinking it over” period of time as we gather, disseminate, and process more information. For this reason, making hard-and-fast decisions during Mercury retrograde can be difficult, if not impossible. We have to be very adaptable, adjusting as perspectives and plans change.

Our minds are basically moving in reverse during Mercury retrograde, and we’re required to slow our brains down. This can be challenging during these often-frenetic times with people glued to cell phones, computers, and social media. However, Mercury retrograde is definitely not a time to push full speed ahead mentally, verbally, or with written communication, or Mercury retrograde “symptoms” will pop up.

Some of the glitchy aspects of Mercury retrograde periods include:

- Communication problems, delays, glitches, mistakes, and misinformation, both written and verbal.

- Telephone lines, internet, TV, radio, faxes, electronics, and computers can go a bit haywire: delayed connections, e-mails or texts that don’t go through, messages sent to the wrong people or messages that seem to disappear into thin air, slow or no internet connections, computer programs that refuse to work, television and telephone problems.

- Transportation problems with both private vehicles and public transportation. Transportation break-downs are more likely. Transportation may be late. We may take the wrong turn. We may receive the wrong directions. Air travel during Mercury retrograde can be especially challenging.

- People have a harder time understanding each other. We're forced to slow down or go back over things in an effort to be understood. We may have to repeat ourselves. Misunderstandings are common that have to be ironed out during or after the Mercury retrograde.

- A feeling of déjà vu: didn’t I just say that? Didn’t we already talk about this? Things come back up for review and revision during Mercury retrograde. Old conversations, connections, ideas, and information come up for a second look. We rediscover crucial information that perhaps we didn’t realize was important before, and we receive missing details so that we can move forward with plans once Mercury goes direct.

- A lot of mental processing related to what’s going on in our lives. "My brain hurts." Headaches, stiff necks, mental overload, and burnout are possible during Mercury retrogrades if we don’t consciously slow things down. Overactive minds can keep us up at night.

- General delays and a feeling that things have slowed down. Having to wait on things, especially electronics.

- Any job involving information or working with the public can be especially stressful during Mercury retrograde periods. This includes reporters, writers, teachers, administrators, data entry, waitresses, bartenders, retail, other service workers, and any job that involves some degree of public speaking or information processing.

So remember: from May 16 to June 13, slow it down a little. Don’t force a lot of new information between your ears. This is a period of review and revisiting information and details we may have missed the first time around.

The first Mercury retrograde of the year in cerebral Aquarius (January 21 - February 11) was an absolute "singed circuits" beast, so prepare yourself. Give yourself plenty of time for mental processing, and watch closely for mistakes before they wreak havoc.

This is especially the case with Mercury in Gemini in an extended square aspect to Neptune in Pisces (exact May 9, May 29, and June 23). This indicates the potential for heightened Mercury retrograde symptoms, confusion, misunderstandings, mental and psychic overwhelm, and even screwier communications than usual.

The universe is doing its best to make certain connections and to get certain information across to us via this Mercury retrograde square Neptune, and it may throw a monkey wrench or two into our plans as it does so. No worries. When you're frustrated on a personal level, allow your mind to go "transcendent big picture" in order to receive the perspective and messages flowing to you and through you. Under these influences, we're just conduits.

Understand that there may be a larger message coming through or an important connection being made when you hit a snag with the daily goings-on in your life. There may be a change in plans coming from on high that you just have to roll with. These are mutable (changeable) signs we're dealing with. Be flexible.

Mercury square Neptune for an extended period of time like this indicates openings to otherworldly insights, communication and communion with the divine, and increased psychic or telepathic abilities.

Conversations take on dual meaning - there is meaning at the daily physical level as well as at the broader spiritual level. We're dealing with very layered situations now, layered connections, layered communications.

Creative ideas and creative problem-solving are highlighted under the influence of this aspect. Music and writing, in particular, can bring people together in new ways.

Worries may dissipate under the extended influence of this Mercury-Neptune square as we surrender personal concerns to the loving higher intelligence. The information, connections, and changes in perspective coming to us via this Mercury retrograde process are out of our hands, to a great extent.

We may be more aware of signs and signals from the universe under the influence of this Mercury-Neptune square, particularly in the time periods around the exact square aspects. Dreams may be potent and prophetic. Keep a pad of paper and pen at your bedside to write things down after waking.

Under the influence of this square, we may come into a fuller understanding of the invisible connections we have to others in our local societies, and this can provide support and a sense of connection during these often-isolating times.

Everything truly is connected, but we have a stronger spiritual harmony with some. The spiritual harmony we have with others as we go about our daily lives will be more apparent than usual now. Make note of the people who seem to randomly cross your path - it likely isn't so random.

Day-to-day circulation in our local societies and neighbourhoods will be very spiritually supportive for ourselves and others over the next couple months. We will not even be fully aware of the boost we're giving others just by participating, talking, chatting, communicating, and staying socially active. A kind word or taking a genuine interest in the life of another person goes a very long way now.

Mercury in Gemini is also often a bit of a gossip (maybe more than a bit). It likes to stay up on the local news, and it likes to pass on a juicy tidbit or two, as well. Be careful with loose lips, however, as the squares to Neptune in Pisces will have a tendency to carry and disseminate information even more widely than usual. Major social cross-pollination, possibly unintentional. Don't tell anyone anything that you don't want spread around. The grapevine is extra potent until Mercury enters Cancer July 8. Saturn Rx in Sagittarius reminds us again: stick to the truth, no exaggerations.

(On a macro level, the "wide dispersion" effect of this Mercury-Neptune square is great for disseminating information far-and-wide that must get out to the masses...)

The Mercury-Neptune squares indicate the need for a little isolation, quiet time, and mental disconnect in order to process the heaps of information coming to us. This includes taking short breaks from social media and internet, despite the often-intense desire of Mercury in Gemini to stay glued to the hub of activity.  

Mercury in Gemini will form a conjunction to Mars in Gemini on May 27, and both bodies will be square Neptune in Pisces. This makes the final week of May particularly prone to the Mercury retrograde symptoms and to the potential for mental/psychic overload and "hot brains." Slow it down, and use meditation to clear your minds regularly.

Overall, the extended stay of Mercury in Gemini (including retrograde period) will bring people into closer contact with each other, making many new connections. Many of the connections forming now and over the next weeks are divinely-guided and requested by the universe at this time.

Telephone linemen are laying down new lines for the new astrological era. A different mix of people is coming together in new networks for the Aquarian era, and this mix may seem unusual, unconventional, or even downright bizarre to some of the more traditionally-minded folks.

We are connecting in new ways at the same time as we are being made more fully aware of the invisible connections that have always been there.

Neptune stations retrograde at 9 degrees Pisces on June 12, following the Mercury direct station at 4 degrees Gemini on June 11.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Introducing Hexagon Astrology Magazine: Smart. Sharp. Subversive.

 "Ladies of the Zodiac: It's Show Time (Astrology of the Feminine Asteroids)" by Willow in Hexagon Astrology Magazine

I'm happy to announce an exciting new astrology publication coming out this August called Hexagon Astrology Magazine. This is a high quality, cutting edge print publication being put out by editor, founder, and astrologer Matt Savinar from Sebastopol, California.

Your anarchist astro-reporter has three articles appearing in the premier issue, and there is a wealth of other rich content from a variety of writers.

There hasn't been a new astrology-based print publication on the market in North America in 30 years, so this is astrological history in the making, and I'm happy and excited to be part of it. Matt has done an incredible job. It's one smoking hot publication. Other astrology publications wouldn't touch my writing, so you know this magazine has some serious depth, integrity, and potency. Some cages are going to be rattled.

There is a Kickstarter campaign on now to help get this bad boy underway. You can pre-order copies of the magazine for a pledge of $10 (U.S.) or higher. (Delivery to Canada or the United States.) Copies will be sent out August 19, 2015 when the magazine launches, and I wouldn't doubt that the premier issue becomes an instant collector's item.

For higher Kickstarter pledges, there are all kinds of incentives including getting your name in the magazine under the acknowledgments section, receiving a steel "Founding Supporter/Patron/Financier" card, getting an advertisement in the magazine, and being invited to the official launch party.

If the Kickstarter campaign fails to reach its goal of $10,000, Matt will be taking orders for the magazine as of August 1. 

If you appreciate smart, courageous, cutting edge astrological writing, you won't want to miss this. Something this good only comes around once in a lifetime (or maybe every two or three):

Hexagon Kickstarter Campaign



A note from editor-in-chief Matt Savinar:

If fearless Willow doesn't mind I want to give a shout out to the WWA readers who contributed today. Just checked the KS campaign for Hexagon before calling it a night and several WWAers have chipped in. Thanks a ton, it is very much appreciated!


Editor-in-Chief, Hexagon
Friend of, Willow
Reader of, WWA

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lord of the Underworld Pluto Creeps and Crawls to a Stop as it Stations Retrograde After the Final Uranus-Pluto Square

Photo: Willow

Pluto is currently just about stopped in the zodiac and will station retrograde (appear to shift into backward motion) at 15 degrees Capricorn on April 16 at 9:54 p.m. CST. The Lord of the Underworld is still in tight square to Uranus in Aries, though the retrograde motion starts to put more distance between these two bodies as Uranus continues direct.

Uranus (planet of revolution, upheaval, and breaks from the standard ways) and Pluto (dwarf planet of examination, excavation, and soul-deep transformation) are just getting some separation after making their seventh and final square aspect on March 16, 2015, completing the historic series of seven squares that began June 2012. We last saw a series of squares between these two bodies from 1932 - 1934, during the Great Depression and the lead-up to World War II, and you can certainly see correlations between those hideous conditions and the current conditions.

Nonetheless, we've made so much progress over the past three years, it's astounding. So much ground has been covered in a three-year span. And yet, there is still so very far to go...

Pluto stations can be a little exhausting, a little triggering, and a little nauseating - and that might be understatement, depending on what this body is doing in your natal chart. The word most commonly used to describe Pluto would be "intense," and the intensity can be almost intolerable at points during a station when Pluto is inky-potent and slowed to a crawl or stop in the zodiac.

Well, this Pluto station has even more intensity juice than usual, drawing the powerful revolutionary energies of the final Uranus-Pluto square into the proceedings. Things are not settled, not by a long shot.

Pluto will now go back over everything it has covered since December 26, 2014, working to pull us out of some deep, dark emotional and psychological hell-zones that have been with us for generations, if not millenia. Many of these hell-zones involve damaging and illegitimate hierarchical power structures - particularly in business, government, finance, economics, as well as family, marriage contracts, and the traditional nuclear family unit.

Illegitimate and outmoded structures are continuing to break down under the pressures of the changing times. The old structures are simply not sufficient to carry us into this new era of egalitarian brilliance. The trick is not to allow yourself (or those you love and value) to go down with the end-of-era ship...

Surviving these times, with Uranus in Aries at the helm, involves being true to ourselves in radical new ways. It means being true to who we really are even when that rocks the boat - and then leaning into that shit even further, stripping the facade even cleaner. It means breaking from the crowd when necessary, standing apart when necessary, and standing up for ourselves when necessary. Again, all this is a matter of survival.

We will feel the triggering and transformational effects of this deep, dark, slow-motion Pluto station from now through late May.

Pluto Rx will again trigger the exact point of the final Uranus-Pluto square on May 18, re-visiting this very sensitive point in order to bring certain hidden dynamics to light as it continues to dig for absolute core-level change, honesty, and legitimacy. Any turbulence experienced around the middle of May is necessary to bring about the required changes.

Pluto will make additional passes over this point on January 7, 2016 direct; August 17, 2016 retrograde; with a final pass direct on November 4, 2016.

You didn't think we were getting off that easily after that historical Uranus-Pluto square series, did you? Pluto takes time to work its transformational magic. Nothing but an absolute change in form will do for these times. No glossing over, no half-assed efforts. This is an all-in, nothing-left-to-lose attempt to shift the human condition, to shift the collective human psyche. It takes some time, some intensive awareness, and some genuine and sustained effort on our parts.   

Some deep structural shifts are coming as Pluto moves back and forth over this final Uranus-Pluto square point. Some major shifts in power are coming. Some potent shifts in awareness are coming. And it's all coloured by the square contact to Uranus in Aries, leading the charge into the new astrological era and the new rulebook governing the energetics on Planet Earth.

Things need to change. Certain power dynamics need to be broken and reconfigured. Certain unpleasant truths need to come to surface awareness, individually and collectively.

To keep the true reality of the situation on this planet hidden now is just too painful.

We can't hold back these deep undercurrents that Pluto is bringing (forcing) to the surface. We can't hold back the true emotional and psychological realities. They're too powerful. To try to hold this back would be exhausting, shredding, and energetically dangerous - like trying to hold back the flow of wet concrete coming out of a concrete mixer. Just don't even attempt it.

So the transformational power of Pluto, coming out of the seventh square to Uranus in Aries, is at a high point this April and May. Work with this flow of transformational energy. Work with the powerful impetus for change. Assist in bringing hidden or suppressed things to light - gently, gradually, with right timing. Work with the Lord of the Underworld rather than against him (for good and beneficial ends only, of course), and you have a much better chance of avoiding the unpleasant aspects related to this body.

The good news is, it seems to me that Pluto's natural motion is retrograde. Because it is a planet that unearths hidden things, secret things, suppressed things, it seems to be most at home (and more effective) in retrograde motion. This brings a certain ease to the proceedings that is not experienced when Pluto is moving direct. 

Expect Pluto to ask for your assistance over the next couple months - and beyond. Expect Pluto to drop some X-Ray awareness of the real energetic web on your lap. Ask yourself how things (desperately) need to change and then ask yourself how you can catalyze or assist in this process.

Again, working with the Plutonic process, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, is always preferable to avoidance, denial, or shirking the responsibility of awareness.

Pluto truly does hate a coward. So stick your neck out for the change you wish to see, for the change that absolutely must come about. Facilitate the Plutonic birthing process, allow it to work through you, allow the truth to surface through you, and this Bad Boy of the zodiac will have your back.

Pluto stations direct again September 25, 2015.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Twenty GM Alfalfa "Demonstration Plots" to be Planted in Eastern Canada in 2015, "Co-existence" Plan Moving Full Speed Ahead

Bumper Stickers - $5/each plus shipping

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics is moving full speed ahead with its "co-existence plan" for genetically modified (GM) alfalfa in Canada, despite the fact that co-existence with a feral, perennial crop like alfalfa is impossible.

Twenty "demonstration plots" of genetically modified alfalfa are scheduled to be planted in Eastern Canada during the 2015 growing season, and 12 of these plots were planted in 2014.

The media is releasing information designed to placate the public and GMO opponents under this false headline:

No Roundup Ready Alfalfa Production for 2015

In fact, Roundup Ready alfalfa will be produced in Canada in 2015, just as it was produced in 2014. GM alfalfa will not be released commercially this year, but Forage Genetics has plans to do so in the near future.

Stop GM Alfalfa in Canada and Worldwide 

Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa has now become the first genetically modified (GM) perennial planted in Canadian history.

Twenty “demonstration plots” of genetically modified alfalfa are to be planted in Eastern Canada in spring 2015, and 12 of these plots were planted in 2014.  

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics is also moving full speed ahead on a “co-existence plan” for GM alfalfa, which farmers and citizens know is impossible.  

Forage Genetics has plans for the wide-scale selling of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) alfalfa seeds in Ontario and Quebec because GM alfalfa has already been rejected wholeheartedly by Western Canadian farmers and ranchers.

Monsanto's alfalfa strains have been genetically modified to withstand its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. Genes that are not naturally found in alfalfa have been implanted by scientists into the seeds so the plants will withstand major doses of the herbicide.

GM alfalfa was unconditionally approved amidst much controversy in the United States in 2011, and genetically modified alfalfa has been planted there for the past four seasons. It now accounts for 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states and has contaminated the natural crop. Lawsuits are ongoing.

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 during the three-year field transition from conventional to organic farming. Alfalfa is also essential in crop rotations as a nitrogen-fixer and natural fertilizer of the soil.

As alfalfa is embedded in the entire organic agriculture system, contamination by GM alfalfa would be devastating. Alfalfa is also used widely in non-GM agriculture.

As a staple livestock feed, alfalfa is made into bales of hay that are fed to animals. What we feed our animals, we end up eating ourselves if we eat meat or animal products. Contamination by GMOs would particularly affect organic/non-GM meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Because GM alfalfa would have an effect on soil quality, however, vegetables, fruits, 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 in Canada, especially soybeans, corn, and canola, have contaminated natural 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. This is the plan Forage Genetics is moving ahead on in Canada, despite widespread opposition. 

What organic and non-GM farmers know is that this co-existence is actually impossible, particularly with a feral perennial crop (grows back year-after-year) like alfalfa that cross-pollinates widely, including by wind and insects.

The first official case of alfalfa contamination by a genetically modified variety was reported by a farmer in Washington state in September 2013. The farmer’s natural alfalfa crop was rejected for export because, without his knowledge or intention, it was found to contain genetically modified material from Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM alfalfa variety.

The Washington farmer complained to the United States Department of Agriculture, which responded with an “it’s not our problem” stance on the issue. The USDA claimed that the unintentional contamination of the natural alfalfa crop, as well as the resulting loss of markets and non-GM food security, were a “commercial issue” that must be dealt with in the marketplace.

Because many countries worldwide have banned genetically modified seeds, crops, and foods, including the European Union, any crop found to contain GM material will be rejected for export. 

In October 2014, for example, China slammed the door to U.S. hay imports after unintentional GM alfalfa contamination was found.

PhD work done in Manitoba on the spread of genetically modified canola between 2004 and 2007 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 particular, it would be impossible to contain a feral perennial plant like alfalfa to stop GM versions from contaminating the natural crop.

The same PhD work found something else 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.

(Source: Alexis KnispelKanu)

Major GM and Glyphosate Safety Concerns Uncovered

An unprecedented animal feeding trial published in 2012 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 the study (until, that is, the journal hired ex-Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, on its editorial staff).

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 two to three 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, 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.

- In 2013, the results of a five-month feeding study done on just-weaned pigs were released in the "Organic Systems Journal." The study, conducted by lead researcher Judy Carman of Flinders University in Australia, found that a diet of genetically modified corn and soy produced severe stomach inflammation in the pigs, as well as enlargement of the uteruses in female pigs, indicating both digestive and reproductive damage from GM diets.

Carman said that pigs were used in the feeding study because their digestive systems are similar to those of human beings. 

Carman is calling for further long-term animal feeding studies on GM foods before they continue to be commercially planted and ingested by humans.

- Also in 2013, the results of a study on glyphosate excretion in the urine of Danish dairy cattle were released. The study, led by Dr. Monica Kruger, looked at 240 dairy cattle from eight different dairy farms in Denmark. It found that glyphosate was being excreted in varying amounts by all the cattle. Blood tests showed toxicity, with a particular effect on liver and muscle cells. The conclusion of this study was that glyphosate is toxic to the metabolism of dairy cattle.

- In 2015, Italian scientists found that a diet of GM soybeans caused DNA changes in the milk of mother goats, specifically decreasing immunoglobulin substances which could affect the immune systems of the offspring. Baby goats who fed from the mothers on GM soybean diets were also found to have significantly lower weights.

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 was 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 on January 27, 2011.

This decision 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 the belief that their products are contaminated. It is also opposed by many non-GM farmers and by all who wish to eat GMO-free food.

Genetically modified alfalfa was approved under Tom Vilsack as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Vilsack is the ex-Governor of Iowa, a corn belt state. Genetically modified corn is big business in Iowa. 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.

In March 2011, a motion on the moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada was tabled in Canadian Parliament by Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee.

That motion was left unaddressed as pro-GM Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament ahead of the federal election in May 2011.

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International is now selling the seeds for "demonstration plots" of GM alfalfa being grown in Ontario and Quebec. It is also moving full speed ahead with its "co-existence plan," which would pave the way for the the wide-scale commercial sale and growth of GM alfalfa in Canada.

Ontario and Quebec have been chosen as the introduction points for genetically modified alfalfa because farmers in Western Canada have already rejected GM alfalfa.

National Farmers Union protests against GM alfalfa are ongoing in Canada.

On April 9, 2013, protests were held outside MP offices across the country opposing the commercial sale and growth of GM alfalfa in Canada. A photo gallery can be seen here:

Forage Seed Canada, an umbrella group representing provincial forage seed associations, is seeking allies to help block Roundup Ready alfalfa from commercial Canadian production. 

A Moratorium on GM Alfalfa in Canada

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. We are asking for its sale and growth to be blocked in Ontario and Quebec, as well as in the rest of Canada. 

We are also calling for additional long-term animal feeding trials to be conducted on genetically modified alfalfa and glyphosate exposure by independent scientific bodies unaffiliated with and unfunded by GM corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, and DuPont.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Honky Tonk Beer Slingin' and the Detrimental Dating Habits of the Pluto in Scorpios

I recently started working casually at the little honky tonk bar in town.

(It's the only bar in town.)

Beer slingin' is just in my blood, I guess.

I worked off and on as a waitress and cocktail server for 10 years, but those years were many moons ago, and when I got poisoned by Cipro and my tendons started breaking down, I thought my service industry days were over.

But it's all about that Scorpionic regeneration and resurrection, don't you know? Through excruciating focus on my diet and overall health, I was able to recover from the worst of the Cipro effects, so back in the bar I am.

I wondered if I would still be able to do it, but it turns out that slinging beer and cocktails is kind of like riding a bike. It comes back to you pretty quickly.

Being back in the bar has brought me into contact with people a bit younger than I am, and I have to tell you, this has opened my eyes to some of the absolute nastiest aspects of the sign of Scorpio via the heinous mess that is the Pluto in Scorpio dating world. (The members of the Pluto in Scorpio generation were born roughly from November 1983 to November 1995.)

Seriously, mouth agape. Shocked.

Now, the redneck version of the Pluto in Scorpio dating world (which I'm privy to) is quite likely worse than standard - probably much worse. But the word "sociopathic" would not be too strong a descriptor for the dating behaviour of some of this generation, from what I see.

My Libra/Pluto in Libra social sensibilities and consideration for others are in a constant state of wounded shock. 

(Just so I don't piss people off (it's likely impossible not to), I'm not saying all members of the Pluto in Scorpio generation are manipulative messes. Just the majority. Ha. I would say the majority of any generation does not have its Plutonic shit together, but because Scorpio as a sign is so damned extreme, this is extra detrimental.)

I always had a feeling I might have to help straighten this generation out one day. I have a Scorpio stellium in my natal chart with Pluto conjunct the Sun. I grew up through the transiting Pluto in Scorpio years with Pluto forming conjunctions to all my Scorpio placements, which was a little harsh, to say the least.

So I always had a feeling that my hard labour in the Scorpy under-realms would not go to waste. I had a feeling I could help other people whose experiences had them wishing for sweet, sweet death due to the almost impossible difficulty of Scorpio/Pluto themes. I mean, I've been doing it on this blog for the past seven years, right?

But the task at hand with these redneck Pluto in Scorpios seems too big for even your anarchist astro-reporter, I tell you. Too big.

I can honestly say I've never witnessed more using, manipulating, lying, cheating, and lowdown dirty tricks than when coming into contact with these Pluto in Scorpios. Their festering and emotionally-toxic dating scene is your classic Plutonic hell-world. And I'm not exactly dealing with the most mature or emotionally/psychologically-sophisticated people on Earth here, either.

As I say, too big.

As a person who has done my best to be responsible with my own Scorpio stellium and the nasty potential dynamics within it, it disgusts and saddens me to see what's going on. It disgusts and saddens me to see people hurting each other, often intentionally. It disgusts and saddens me to see the wicked lack of regard for others' emotions and inner states. It seems that for many of these young Pluto in Scorpios, as long as they're not left holding the "hot potato" of terrible, roiling emotions, they're happy to pass it on down the road to someone else. Scorpio, in its immature state, is known for being vindictive and cruel.

Now, I'm not blaming this generation for these dynamics. They've been with us for millennia, and they're just concentrated in this particular generation of people. I'm holding this generation responsible for how it's dealing (or not dealing) with these dynamics. I'm holding the members responsible for what they're furthering via their behaviour.

One of the main problems I see with this generation as a whole (and yes, I understand I'm speaking in generalizations and that there are individual exceptions to this) is an almost complete lack of awareness of energetic and emotional responsibility. These are two areas that it really would have behooved everyone, especially the Pluto in Scorpios, to get up to speed on as Saturn transited Scorpio in the first pass (October 2012 - December 2014).

Scorpio/Pluto energy is like a figure 8 dynamic. When you're connected intimately to someone - emotionally, psychologically, sexually, psychically - you're also intimately connected to the energy dynamics that pass back and forth between the two of you. This is the case whether you like it or not. You're affected by the energy passed between you, both pleasant and not-so-pleasant.

Taking full responsibility for your end of the figure 8 energy dynamics (what you pass to the other) is a true act of love toward that person. Even if you come to hate that person at some point (another common Scorpio/Pluto theme), maintaining that responsibility is an act of general human decency, ethics, and integrity.

From what I see, though, taking full responsibility for these energy exchanges is not exactly how it's going down with many in this generation.

What we have is the classic detrimental Scorpio themes, that nasty, nasty shit, being passed along and passed along and passed along in some sort of fucked up game of Hot Potato.

Get screwed over; screw someone else over; get screwed over; screw someone else over. Get stung; sting someone else.

We have people being burned, used, manipulated, and lied to - and then passing that same treatment on down the line, rather than doing the more difficult (and more mature) thing to process, resolve, and ground that nasty charge so it can't be passed along to some other poor sap.

So what are some of these nasty Scorpio dynamics being passed around like a bad case of V.D.?

- obsessions, particularly obsessions with an individual in a love or sexual relationship, which are then used to justify any and all bad behaviour
- dating someone or sleeping with someone just to get back at someone else. This includes the classic "sleeping with all your ex-boyfriend's/girlfriend's friends" thing.
- dating someone or sleeping with someone just to get your mind off someone else
- manipulating someone who has fallen for you, misusing that power and the "upper hand" it gives you
- faking feelings for someone
- using people as a means to your ends
- saying all the right things and pretending to be interested in a real relationship to get someone into bed
- keeping a relationship "unlabeled" so as to keep your options open
- playing games like making plans and then breaking them, getting close and then withdrawing, using your social crowd as a power play over the other person
- lying, deceit, and omission of necessary information
- cheating, emotional or sexual
- taking advantage of the emotional vulnerability created in intimate relationships
- taking no responsibility for how your behaviour or words badly affect another person
- having multiple men/women on the go at once without their knowledge. This is absolutely chronic in the days of constant cell phone and social media usage. The texting games alone are enough to fill entire social psychology textbooks.
- having sex with people just to compete with your friends
- dropping someone out of the blue, discontinuing contact, and ignoring messages from that person ("ghosting")
- refusing to end or resolve a relationship maturely and face-to-face
- leaving someone "hung up" on you
- getting satisfaction, glee, or a sense of personal empowerment from the pain and upset you've caused others

These are just a few of the nasty figure 8 Scorpio dynamics being passed around, and they all create emotional and psychological damage. They create wounds that may not be visible to the naked eye but that are often much more difficult to heal than physical wounds.

And it's all a bunch of crap. It's all a bunch of nasty, disgusting, inconsiderate, uncivilized crap. Yes, Libra speaking there again. The North Node (our successful path) is driving us right through Libra right now, remember?

I predicted this a few years back: the shining stars of the Pluto in Scorpio generation will have their work cut out for them rising above this mess. There will be members of this generation who work hard and move beyond the generational mindfucks, achieving a point of true legitimacy, honesty, and emotional integrity in their lives and in their conduct with others - but these individuals will be in the minority. I wrote about some of these themes in this post from 2011: Don't Believe Your Own Astrological Press. (Pluto in Scorpios, This Especially Relates To You Right Now.)

The thing it would benefit us all to keep firmly in mind is this: Scorpio is a very, very karmic sign. (And we all have Scorpio somewhere in our natal charts.)

In very basic terms, this means, what goes around comes around. Again. And again. And again.

If you burn someone, you'll get burned - until you change your ways and make up for the damage you've done.

There are natural consequences for your actions. And there are basic spiritual principles that govern life on this planet and the human relations here.

The universe doesn't allow people to get away with this bullshit indefinitely. It doesn't allow people to be base and low and damaging to others forever.

The Plutonic karmic comeuppance coming for the irresponsible members of the Pluto in Scorpio generation is mighty, let me tell you.

The hammer will come down. It's a matter of when, not if.

Transiting Saturn has just stationed retrograde in early Sagittarius. The planet of karmic challenges and necessary maturation will dip back into Scorpio from June 14 to September 17, 2015, colouring the new relationship cycle that gets underway during the Venus in Leo retrograde this summer. You can read more about that in this patron article: Saturn Retrograde Sets its Steely Gaze on Late Scorpio: the Final Resolution of Old Heartbreaks, Hurts, and Unfinished Business

Saturn taking one last dip into late Scorpio marks the hammer coming down. Some shit will officially be hitting some fans this summer. And we will all be wise to deal expeditiously with anything Saturn puts on our plates. "Yes, sir. Yes, Saturn, sir. Absolutely, sir. Let me take care of that immediately."

Saturn dipping back into Scorpio from June to September 2015 will be one final chance for anyone living out of honesty and integrity to get his or her act together.

But if people squiggle and squirm out of Saturn's grip, if they avoid their responsibilities, if they knowingly make the wrong decisions, they'll carry the consequences of that forward with them for the next 26 years until Saturn makes its way back to the sign in 2041.

Pretty heavy load of bullshit to carry until then, eh?

Sounds like, if you don't dig in this time, you're pretty well screwed.

And that goes double for anyone playing nasty Scorpio tricks from the Pluto in Scorpio generation. You guys are old enough to know better now.

If you're behaving badly, get to the root of it. Figure out why. Change your ways.

If you're hurting and damaging others with your behaviour, stop doing what you're doing. 

If you have wronged someone, make amends. Apologize honestly and from the heart (if the person wants to hear it). Correct your behaviour. Make it up to that person, if possible. And make sure it never happens again.

That goes for everyone.

If you can't handle that load of Saturn-delivered humility, you'd better just get used to things being a big old headache of a mess in your life. You'd better get used to life out of alignment with what's right and good.

Strong words, but this is not kid's stuff. Scorpio is life-or-death. And Saturn in Scorpio most certainly means business.

As Saturn Rx slides through early Sagittarius and back into the heart of the beast in late Scorpio, I'll just be slinging some beers, mixing some cocktails, listening to some jukebox tunes, and looking for opportunities to help Saturn with his work.

Come in for a cold one if you ever find yourself on this lonely stretch of prairie highway...

Photos: Willow