(As titles go, maybe I should apologize for that, it's lame. But considering my first choice was "ask me how many fucks I give right now" you could consider yourselves lucky. This piece gets ranty about stuff you've heard me rant about a hundred times and there are plenty of f-bombs to boot. So feel free to skip it, I just needed to get fucking well get it off my chest.)
As I said in the last post (read hundreds of times by bots worldwide!), these are interesting times, astrologically speaking.
My experience of which 'on the ground' (if I may continue in a cliched vein) is turning out to mean that certain 'challenges' and 'opportunities' coming up in my life, particularly of the 're-do' variety, are even more frustrating than they were the first time around. Seeing this .. er, crap .. coming up behind me in the rear view mirror (objects in the mirror are closer than they appear), I'm starting to feel like that bowl of petunias thrust into existence because some fool initiated the maximum improbability drive.
"Oh no, not again".
I'm not really a wide eyed idealist out to save the world (I just play one on the internet). In real life I'm more of a cynical, eye-rolling realist. I'd rather warn people (watch out for that precipice!) than have to rescue them later.
I got all wrapped up in something for a couple of days; it stemmed from a visit to the brand new drugstore in the next town over and an illuminating chat with the pharmacist. I was simply trying to find some echinacea ROOT tincture; alas Big Herb is cheaping out and making their tinctures out of echinacea leaf (far less effective), and/or combining them with stuff I don't need. It was all very annoying, and the (young, idealistic, rather lovely guy) pharmacist who was trying to help me was, in a word, dismayed to hear that his herbal remedies section was a vast sea of useless, over priced nonsense.
I've always liked pharmacists. Their brains seem uniquely suited to connect one thing to another (hence you should always use the same pharmacist; he can look out for drug interactions that your multiple doctors wouldn't catch). This one is particularly bright and (importantly) genuinely interested in his customers' well being. He challenged me with intelligent questions. He asked for my phone number and later that day we called each other back and forth as we both looked on the web for better quality brand name products he could be stocking.
That got me all fired up, of course. If I had to teach a pharmacist about these things, how much more important it must be to teach 'consumers'! I must bring light into the murky world of commercial herbalism!! Who better than I to help? Those who (seemingly) have no choice but to use drug store remedies must be educated so that they can at least choose the right one!! There should be seminars! Pamphlets!
I went back to that drug store yesterday. I was greeted like a celebrity, the whole staff seemed to know who I was and why I was there ..
(The pharmacist had discovered that they had a bottle of what I was looking for all along, it was hidden on the bottom shelf, so I had come back to buy it. Once I got it home and tried it, however, it tasted nothing like echinacea .. heaven only knows what it really is .. but I digress).
My pharmacist friend (Nick) wasn't there the day of my second visit but his assistant, the lovely young Jessica, was. Turned out she had been assisting him with his research that first day and she too was intrigued/dismayed by what I had to say about the state of affairs in that herbal remedy section. So she took me back to the shelves and we went through the remedies, one after another, while she asked me even more questions than Nick had.
I gotta say, it was an interesting experience.
A highly educated young pharmacy technician consulting the self-taught herbalist/old hippy chick ..? I tried to crack jokes because it all seemed a bit absurd to me, but she was a little too serious and earnest to 'go there'. I had to really concentrate (more or less successfully) to answer her questions about this ampule and that concentrate without showing too much of the anger, the boiling roiling anger that was rising in my throat because holy fuck, just holy fuck there's so much crap out there ..
Then, sucker that I am, I broached the subject I'd been rolling around in my temporary state of insanity for a couple of days ..."Should there be, oh I don't know, some sort of seminars for consumers, do you think? How else can people make the right choices for their needs, on the spot, here in this bright, bewildering section of the drugstore, Jessica?"
She turned away from me, straightened a box on the shelf, and sighed. Her shoulders slumping at my question, she said, quietly, "No one comes." Long story short - consumer education is something that's been tried by pharmacies before. Most pharmacists are aware that there is a severe shortage of information for their customers, hell even they don't understand those products. But there is no appetite from consumers. "People would rather just trust what it says on the box" she said, with a surrendered shrug.
She's right, I know she's right, and there ain't nothin' we can do about that.
Well, there is one thing I can do and that is to stop giving anything more than half a fuck. I can't not care, that's not possible, but I certainly won't give enough of a fuck to tilt at that particular windmill. Those people are too far gone. They're consumers, they just want to consume, to swallow, to trust Big Who-ever (Daddy?) to look after their needs for them.
Funny, isn't it. Now that no one has religion, now that no one trusts God to look after their needs, they still need something to fill that helluva big hole. They know they need to be saved from Big Pharma (they're right) but they don't think they can save themselves (they're wrong) so they fucking trust the faceless (like God?) corporate entities instead. They don't realise that all these corporate entities are One, that it's one big clusterfuck .. (you knew I'd fit that word in somewhere, didn't you). And all I can do about it is stop caring, because if I care it will drive me crazy.
Self preservation is far more important than the tiny bit of good I could do by teaching someone that they're wasting their money on echinacea leaf tincture and what they really need is the root. In the grander scheme of things they just have a cold, they'll get over it either way.
No, wait, in the grander scheme of things what they have is a gaping God-shaped hole in their lives and there is no way, in their small minds and atrophied hearts, that they could ever make the connection between how the correct use of a healing plant will allow them a glimpse of the face of the Creator. It's too big of a leap. It's not (seemingly) logical.
Yes, yes, I know I'm obsessive about this plant medicine thing. That's because it's not (just) about relieving physical suffering, it's about knowing who we are, understanding that we and they and the whole planet, all Life, are created by the same Hand. And understanding that changes everything. Living that truth changes everything.
maybe people sense that ..
maybe there's a certain wisdom in sticking with the status quo.
It's certainly easier to live as everyone else does, blindly following the herd.
That Light is blinding when those protective scales first fall from your eyes.
Carefully constructed realities get blown to smithereens.
But carefully constructed realities get blown to smithereens eventually, anyway!
In my crazy-wisdom experience, I find it pays to blow constructed reality apart at every opportunity.
In the study of magic, power happy neophytes itching to work their first spell are taught this maxim:
"Manipulate reality and what do you get? A manipulated reality".
I don't want that. I want my reality real, or as close to real as I can get it. I don't 'use' the plants as medicine to 'fix' what's wrong with me, I go to the plants for their wisdom. They teach me how to live. Their wild, un-manipulated wisdom is the only thing that can teach my incarcerated being's cells how to dance again.
But in spite of all the years learning this dance, I still trip over my own feet. I start noticing other peoples' pain and wishing I could show them what was shown to me. I get caught up in the caring, in the wanting to fix, the very things I know are not possible for one human to do for another. The fix, the wisdom, is individual and free form, not constructed, there's no formula, no seminars, nothing I can do for them.
The Prophet receives The Word from On High. He has to relay the message, so to speak, but in order that his Priests will understand, he has to use words that they will understand. Then they, too, have to relay the message to their parishioners in terms that they will understand. In every incarnation the message is perforce diluted, often garbled and sometimes straight out lost in the translation.
If we want to understand God/Life/Nature (take yer pick) we have to go to the source. We have the Medicine/teaching plants to help us with that, they're right here, (where they've always been) and they can actually speak .. some of us can still understand what they have to say. But the problem is translating their message into what the people we teach will understand ..
NO, I'm not calling myself a prophet, but I am definitely calling Big Herb a false prophet.
Big Herb and the fucking naturopaths and all the others who tell the masses that plant medicines are best taken in purified form, that they need to be 'made safe' (meaning denuded of their wild wisdom), that plant medicine is nothing but phytochemicals and hormones, these people are working for the Other Side. And they're doing it very, very successfully
because that's what people want to hear.
The truth of the matter would just be too much for people to take in.
They'd have to think.
They'd have to feel.
So fuck 'em.
The priests of Big Herb and their parishioners (so willing to be herded like sheep) deserve each other.