Monday, August 7, 2017

A Neptunian Mercury Retrograde in Virgo: Refining the Channel From the Spiritual to the Material








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An excerpt from the article:

The friction I run into with most anarchist groups is that I consider anarchy a way of being, a way of life that naturally occurs, rather than a political movement or a scene. So right off the jump, there's a difference in the way I define and understand things.

There's much talk in anarchist circles about the supposed failure of the "anarchist movement," and I've never understood this. How can a way of life and a way of being inherent in most people (non-hierarchical, non-coercive free association; running our own lives; making our own decisions; helping those who need it; do-it-yourself problem-solving on individual and societal levels) be a failure?

There is also much talk in these circles about what people "should" do in order to be considered a "real anarchist."

"If you don't trainhop, shoplift, and live out of dumpsters, you're not a true anarchist."

"If you don't live in a squat, hop from summit to summit, and bust out Starbucks windows on the regular, you're not a true anarchist."

"If you pay rent and bills and have some sort of employment that pays you money, you're not a real anarchist."

"If you aren't involved in the ___________  issue/protests, you aren't a real anarchist."

I've even seen the question posed: "Can someone be called an anarchist if he/she doesn't interact with other anarchists?"

It's mind-boggling to me that that would even be called into question, that that would be yet another scene-imposed "requirement" to being a "real anarchist."

This type of posturing is bizarre to me (perhaps driven by teens and early twenty-somethings?) because there is no policing of behaviour/lifestyle/actions and there is no moulding of oneself to the dictates of the group with true anarchy/anarchism - not with my version, anyway. In my mind, trying to enforce a certain lifestyle or a certain set of political views on an entire group of people is antithetical to anarchy. (IE. non-coercive, non-controlling, non-authoritarian, each person is in charge of him or herself)

Recently, with Mercury in Virgo opposite spirity-weirdy Neptune in Pisces, I had an odd moment where my computer basically sent me, of its own volition, to an anarchist site that I'd had both rewarding and frictional interactions with in the past. I found the commentary of one particular individual interesting because it described the difference in definition that I've outlined above.

Long story Virgoan-short, I came to realize that my version of anarchist is more an adjective or adverb describing a way of being, while the other version, more often used in “the scene,” considers anarchist a noun, a definite thing, a concrete label, an identity that has come to be associated with these certain lifestyle markers (all the "shoulds") that I find so aggravating.

This may seem like a small distinction - and it is.

(The only real reason I declare myself an "anarchist astro-reporter" is to give people fair warning as far as what my writing/stance is going to be like. It heads off misunderstandings and social friction.)

But this small distinction removes me from much of what I find problematic with the "anarchist scene." We are working with different definitions, and understanding this small distinction saves me (and those I come into contact with) a lot of unnecessary frustration. 

These are the types of small distinctions and refinements that we can expect to make with Mercury retrograde in Virgo.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chiron in Late Pisces: Spiritual Solidarity with Leslie Demeniuk and Those Unjustly Imprisoned, Past, Present, and Future

Photos: Willow

This is a call for spiritual solidarity with Leslie Demeniuk and for all those unjustly imprisoned on Earth, past, present and future. 

Leslie is a 48-year-old woman currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole at Lowell Correctional Institution, a women's prison in Ocala, Florida.

(Lowell Correctional Institution has been described as "a special hell for women," where it is common for female inmates to die under suspicious circumstances. There have been accusations by prisoners of sexual exploitation, beatings, and torture of inmates by guards.)

Leslie is a victim of the pharmaceuticals industry – of their dangerous and deadly drugs, of their lies, of their cover-ups, and of their diabolical greed, which places profit over human life. Leslie is a victim of the patriarchal hierarchy known as the medical establishment, where doctors and medical professionals often refuse to listen to patients, arrogantly (or at the very least, ignorantly) continuing with practices that contravene the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm:

"I will apply diatetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice. 

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect."

It is the pharmaceuticals executives of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer Inc. who should be serving this prison time, not Leslie. Leslie – like millions of others around the world  – is a victim of a reckless and irresponsible industry focused on profit, rather than real care and consideration for human beings.

In 2001, Leslie was going through a divorce and custody battle and was experiencing depression - a natural reaction considering the circumstances. Leslie saw a nurse practitioner at a local clinic and was given trial samples of the new generation anti-depressant Zoloft (manufactured and sold by Pfizer Inc.), as well as the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. 

(Of course, the instant reaction from the mainstream medical establishment is: drugs.)

After she began to take the pharmaceuticals, Leslie had an immediate adverse reaction, which involved swelling and hives. She called the clinic to report the symptoms and was told to continue taking the pills. After two more weeks on the drugs, she experienced hallucinations, suicidal thinking, and an overwhelming urge to drink alcohol. The suicidal thinking went to the extent that she picked up a gun and was very close to killing herself. 

Leslie attempted to report these side effects to her doctor but was not able to book an appointment for three weeks. Instead, she went back to the nurse practitioner who originally gave her the samples of Zoloft and Xanax, and he immediately switched her to Paxil (manufactured and sold by GlaxoSmithKline), another new generation anti-depressant. This was done despite Leslie questioning the nurse practitioner about the safety of such a switch.

New generation anti-depressants are also linked to a side effect involving an overwhelming urge to drink, and Leslie experienced this, as well, abusing alcohol at the time that she was taking the pills. 

Three days after starting the Paxil, in a state of drug-induced chemical psychosis, Leslie shot and killed her sweet babies, twin 4-year-old boys, and attempted to overdose herself on pills.

By all accounts, Leslie was a very loving, caring, and devoted mother, and this terrible act was completely out of character.

Leslie was tried in a Florida court in 2006, before the full extent of the side effects of these drugs were known in the mainstream public.

In 2004, GlaxoSmithKline won a motion in court that allowed it to keep information about studies, trials, and investigations regarding the risks and safety of Paxil out of Leslie’s trial.

Chemical psychosis and violent behaviour now linked to anti-depressants like Zoloft and Paxil were not well-known side effects in the mainstream public at the time, and this court ruling barred Leslie’s lawyers from bringing the company's own data in as part of her defense. In a case that could have set a much-needed court precedent in situations of drug-induced psychosis and violence, this ruling protected the drug companies. 

Despite the defense presenting an internal memo from 2000 in which a company scientist for GlaxoSmithKline acknowledged a link between antidepressants and homicide, the knee-jerk public reaction to a mother killing her own children resulted in Leslie being convicted of two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Since Leslie’s trial in 2006, it has become much more widely known that SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs like Zoloft and Paxil can cause suicidal thinking and actions as well as violent/homicidal behaviour in people having adverse reactions to the drugs.

Leslie is but the tip of the iceberg, representing many more victims who, in a pharmaceutical-induced state of chemical psychosis, have committed suicide, assault, or homicide.

How many other victims of the pharmaceuticals industry are spending time in prison under similar circumstances? The real numbers would be staggering. I suppose these can be called iatrogenic (physician-caused) prison sentences...

A list of other examples of SSRI-related homicides committed by adults can be found in this article, "Precription-Only Homicide and Violence" by Dr. David Healy.  

The link between violence and SSRIs (as well as other pharmaceuticals) has been well understood through anecdotal evidence for many years. The pharmaceuticals corporations, mainstream medical establishment, government regulatory agencies, and media have been much more reluctant to acknowledge the link, however. 

A Swedish study released in 2015 studied more than 850,000 individuals taking SSRIs and found that individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 had a 43% increased risk of committing violent crimes while taking SSRIs versus when they were not. (Source.)

Many mass shootings in recent years have involved people on SSRIs, particularly young people. "In the last 28, years, there have been at least 47 acts of violence committed by those on or withdrawing from psychotropic drugs, leaving 194 wounded and 133 killed." (Source: "Psychotropic Drugs: A History of Violence," Citizens Commission on Human Rights

(And remember - these only represent the incidents that have been conclusively linked to psychotropic drugs like SSRIs, not the real numbers.)

As early as 1990, researchers and psychiatrists were warning of increased risk of suicidal thinking and actions when taking SSRIs. Victims of these drugs have been screaming about side effects ever since. However, there has been a concerted effort by pharmaceuticals corporations to downplay or cover up potential side effects.

In 2004, SSRI manufacturers were forced to place a black box warning on the drugs about the increased risk of suicidal thinking and actions in young people only. (In one of those "cosmic coincidences," this black box warning was added the same year GlaxoSmithKline won the right to keep safety information about Paxil out of Leslie's trial.) This black box warning, of course, does not go nearly far enough, merely scratching the surface of the true risks associated with these drugs, which affect adults and young people alike. 

In a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline in 2017 over the suicide of Illinois man Stewart Dolin, evidence was presented showing that people taking antidepressants like Paxil (the SSRI Leslie was taking at the time that she killed her sons) were almost nine times more likely to exhibit suicidal behaviour. Stewart's widow, Wendy, was awarded $3 million from GlaxoSmithKline in 2017, though the ruling is being appealed.

Since Leslie’s trial in 2006, the entire climate and the entire body of public knowledge around this subject has changed as the truth about the dangers of these drugs has come out.

At this point, millions of people have experienced similar side effects, millions of people have been victimized and have lost their lives or the lives of loved ones because of the irresponsible and reckless prescription/dispensing of pharmaceuticals like Zoloft and Paxil.

On December 8, 2009, I finished the last of three antibiotic pills prescribed to me by a walk-in clinic physician for what was believed to be a mild urinary tract infection.

By the next day, I was crawling around my apartment on my hands and knees because my tendons had turned to mush and I could not put weight on my Achilles.

I was having an extended, drug-induced panic attack with morbid and suicidal thoughts coursing through my brain without cessation. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t sleep. There was intense pressure in my head. I had a severe headache to the point that I could barely move my head off the pillow. My ears were ringing loudly. My vision was not lining up correctly. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw colours and shapes and figures and flashing lights, as if I had a strobe light going off behind my eyelids. I couldn’t use artificial light or look at my computer screen without pain. I had fatigue so crushing that crawling to the bathroom and back took a couple hours to recover from. My entire body felt poisoned, and eating food made me feel worse. I was so weak, I could barely lift my arm to my mouth to feed myself (subsequently losing 30 pounds in three weeks). I was convinced I was going to die.

Like Leslie, taking a pharmaceutical prescribed to me as harmless by a medical professional (in this case, the fluoroquinolone antibiotic Cipro) had transported me into a living Hell.

That Hell has involved years of debilitation and pain that continue to this day.

Like Leslie, I experienced chemical psychosis induced by the drug I took. Suicidal and morbid thoughts ran through my mind constantly (remaining with me for years until I smoked marijuana medicinally for a period of time, and they mostly stopped). My body and mind had been turned into a living Hell by the drug. The world around me seemed like Hell. And I was being convinced by the effects of the drug that suicide was my only hope, my only escape, from this intolerable Hell I was experiencing.

By extension, it is not difficult to imagine that in the state of chemical psychosis Leslie experienced, killing her boys and herself was the only way to release them from this Hell-world they were inhabiting. 

Leslie Demeniuk is a victim of the pharmaceuticals industry in one of the most heinous ways possible. She has lost her darling sons and also her own freedom. She has not received justice and is now paying for the crimes of others with her own life. 

Perhaps equally, however, Leslie is a victim of a culture that pathologizes natural human emotions in times of trauma and crisis. She is the victim of a culture that drugs people with potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals rather than providing any real support or assistance through traumatic events.

Why are people not referred to counselors or therapists, for example, before they are put on potentially dangerous drugs? (Answer: the money)

Someone to talk to, someone to help with child care, cooking, or cleaning, someone to cheer her up, someone to make her laugh – these simple, human acts are not being provided within the medical establishment or by the fragmented and stressed society at large. This leads to a treacherous disconnection from the basic support that could mean the difference between health and breakdown, between life and death, for a mother (or anyone) feeling desperate, depressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and alone.

It is an entire culture that failed you, Leslie, and it is failing all of us, too, in one way or another.

You, sweet lady, with your Darkest Moon, your Black Moon Lilith point, in Cancer. The vilified mother, tossed to the wolves by a society that cannot stand to see its own reflection, its own failings, its own hypocrisies. You hold that mirror up, Leslie, and you're banished because of it.

Transiting Ceres (nurturing) and Venus (women) are currently conjunct your Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, and we can see how the shortfalls that failed you are failing all mothers, all caregivers, all people. We can see the suppression of natural emotions as people - particularly mothers - try to keep up in an insane and inhumane system, and we can see the dysfunction that inevitably results from this emotional suppression. We can see the hidden shame, the dark feelings, the emotional extremes (Black Moon Lilith) of over-taxed mothers (Cancer), doing their best within this insane and inhumane system. 

The mother who drinks one too many glasses of wine every night, the mother who takes one more sleeping pill or pain pill or anti-anxiety pill than was prescribed. The coping mechanisms.

Your North Node dharma path on the final degree of the zodiac, 29 Pisces, conjunct natal Chiron. A supremely karmic path to walk. Institutions, prisons, drugs, smokescreens, obscuring of reality, individuals victimized by collective circumstances. The end of the line where all the chronic problems, all the loose ends, all the leftover dysfunction and pain and shameful understandings are dumped. A pain that has no discernible beginning or end. Bearing the burdens of victimhood, devastation, and loss for the collective. Walking a path that illuminates the victimhood of us all via your own story, weaving invisible threads, connecting dots, joining hearts and spirits through time and space. Walking the path of the mercilessly abandoned, of the supreme scapegoat, of the psychically tortured and imprisoned. 

But eventual redemption, transcendence – if not in this world, then in the next. Natal wounded healer Chiron in early Aries is walking with you on this path, conjunct your North Node, blazing you through this brutal pain for an ultimate understanding of the love that sustains and binds us and for an ultimate understanding of yourself as a person within this broader context. Walking this path under the painful (Chiron) identity (Aries) of a murderer, wearing the mark of a heinous criminal. But that's not who you are.

Leslie Demeniuk is not a criminal. Leslie Demeniuk is a good and loving mother who lost the most that any mother could ever lose – her darling children. The loss of a lifetime of freedom most likely pales in comparison to that.

Leslie is a victim of a greedy and evil industry, just like the hundreds of millions of others who have been adversely affected by dangerous pharmaceuticals, kept on the market and prescribed daily without adequate warning or precaution. This group includes me. 

Let’s hold that Dark Moon mirror up to the real criminals – the ones in suits and ties sitting in corner offices at pharmaceuticals corporations, the ones in white coats recklessly scratching death sentences or life sentences on prescription pads, the ones behind pharmacy counters dispensing horror and hell in little bottles, the ones in governmental offices giving it all a green light.

Leslie's story can be seen in the series Women Behind Bars, Season 1, Episode 11, available for viewing on Netflix.

Though the tone of the Women Behind Bars series is quite sensationalistic and somewhat blood-thirsty in your standard "American (In)Justice" sort of way, it also illustrates just how many people (in this case, women) are in prison, enduring terrible conditions, who should not ultimately be there. At the very least, who should not be serving such lengthy sentences considering the circumstances. Women snapping and killing their long-time abusers, women who are present when their abuser kills another person, women who have few to no viable options for getting out of the bad situations life has dealt them, often since childhood.

As wounded healer Chiron transits the final degrees of Pisces (institutions, prisons) from 2017 to 2019, this issue comes to a head. 

Individuals are bearing the burden for intentionally-engineered social conditions that divide us into the fortunate and the unfortunate, the haves and the have-nots, the success stories and the failures. Individuals are bearing the brunt of an intentionally-stratified, fiat currency-driven, and unequal society. Ultimately, this social structure is a toxic failure driving people into anxiety, depression, and ill health.

One of the primary reasons for the breakdown of Leslie's marriage - leading to her depression - was her husband's service in the U.S. military, which involved long periods of time away from home working in war zones. Leslie's ex-husband Tommy Demeniuk is also a victim in the worst possible way of the pharmaceuticals industry and of the military industrial complex, two industries which are intricately connected. Though he likely doesn't see it this way, Tommy is a victim of a society stratified by class where poor and working class people are paid (relatively very little) to fight the wars of rich men and women. In this skewed system, the poor and working class are forced to supersede their own best interests, risking everything to secure wealth, resources, and territory for the rich. 

I’m so sorry, Leslie. I’m so sorry you didn’t get the support you needed when you needed it and that this toxic culture filled the void in the horrific way that it so often does. I’m sorry so many of us are being victimized in this way, that so many of us are not getting the support we need within these Pluto in Capricorn-era patriarchal hierarchies, driven by money and illusions of success rather than caring, consideration, mutual support, basic common decency, and respect for human life.  

And so we must reject this culture that keeps us so stretched and stressed, so isolated and exhausted, so depleted and at-the-brink. So disconnected from each other in fundamental ways.

We must reject a culture that fails the caregivers, the mothers, the nurturers of society (Cancer) - those who have given so much - when they need some of that care themselves.

We must hold the hands of those at the edge, on the verge of tipping into the bleak. And we must courageously reach out for a hand when we find ourselves at this point.

The establishment does not care about us. It was not designed to care. Caring wastes time; it cuts into profit margins; it gives competitors the edge. 

So we must care for ourselves and for each other – radically and lovingly, fiercely and fully, gently and sweetly.

We must do better. We must make up for the failings built into this system to harm us. We must warn each other about the traps designed to ensnare us.  We must link our fingers into a net - so strong - to catch us when we fall. We must create asylum, refuge, secret pockets of sanity and humanity stumbled upon magically when we most need to find them.

We deserve better. You deserve better, Leslie. So we must make it better, together.

Transiting wounded healer Chiron forms conjunctions to Leslie's North Node on the final degree of the zodiac, 29 Pisces, in 2018 and 2019. This is followed by her Chiron return at 4 degrees Aries in 2019 and 2020. The healing cycle is coming full circle. The healing Leslie needs as an individual is the healing we all need. 

Please support the freeing of Leslie Demeniuk and all those serving prison time for the crimes of the pharmaceuticals industry.

Please research the potential side effects of any pharmaceutical (or even herbal remedy) before you take it. Do not take your physician or pharmacist's word for it.

In the hearts and minds of those who seek real justice and equality on Earth, we know that the social structures as they exist cannot go on. As transiting Jupiter in Libra forms its final square to Pluto in Capricorn (exact August 4), this could not be more apparent.

Until our efforts bring about the grand-scale changes needed, we stand in spiritual solidarity with those unjustly imprisoned on Planet Earth, past, present, and future. We link arms, we hold hands, we join at the heart with anyone who has been unjustly imprisoned and with anyone in a state of socially-engineered desperation or isolation who feels as if he or she is in prison. 

A better world is not only possible - it's necessary. Thank-you for being here and for helping to make things better.



Citizens Commission on Human Rights

Websites: 

www.cchrint.org