So says Graham Hancock, author of many popular books on the search for ancient civilizations, most of which reside in my own bookshelves.
We are told that the “war on drugs” is being waged, on our behalf, by our governments and their armed bureaucracies and police forces, to save us from ourselves. “Potential for abuse and harm” are supposed to be the criteria by which the use of drugs is suppressed – the greater a drug’s potential for abuse and harm, the greater and more vigorous the degree of suppression, and the more draconian the penalties applied against its users. …
The notable exceptions to this system of ranking according to perceived “harms” are, of course, alcohol and tobacco, both highly addictive and harmful drugs – far more so than cannabis or psilocybin for example – but yet socially accepted on the grounds of long customary use and thus not placed in any schedule at all.
Hancock’s recent book Supernatural is an accounting of otherworldly experiences in indigenous cultures throughout the world that he attributes to the ingestion of psychedelic drugs in order to expand consciousness.
Having grown up in the 1960s and indulged in the expansion of consciousness through chemical means myself, I have mixed feelings about the use of these drugs to facilitate the experience of higher states. There’s no doubt that psychotropic drugs offer experiences that are outside the realm of ordinary reality (thereby taking us into the realm of Neptune), but there is no guarantee that the psyche will be prepared for what is experienced there.
In addition, there is no guarantee that having once visited those Elysian fields through psychotropic substances we will be able to return with any kind of regularity or consistency as is possible if consciousness expansion is achieved through more natural, spiritual methods such as meditation or ecstatic dance.
Hancock’s point that the so-called “War on Drugs” has certainly failed to achieve its stated goal and in fact, has resulted in social harms that would not have otherwise existed. He writes: “In the United States for example there have been more than 20 million arrests for the possession of the Schedule I drug marijuana since 1965 and 11 million since 1990. The pace of arrests is increasing year on year bringing us to the astonishing situation where, today, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 38 seconds.”
Being blessed with a naturally skeptic and suspicious mind with Mercury (the mind) in Scorpio (needing to venture into dark places to find Truth), I, like Hancock, am suspicious of the reasons behind the so-called “War on Drugs” which has put billions of dollars into the hands of people in all levels of society, from police to judges to the drug dealers on the street.
I’ve noticed since Uranus (planet of liberation) moved into Aries (planet of individuality) last year, talk of liberty and personal freedom has reached an all-time high. A key in this discussion of personal liberty is the legalization of mind-expanding drugs.
Neptune in Pisces has the potential to cloud our judgment as it enhances the desire to transcend ordinary reality through any means necessary. But as long as Uranus is in Aries for the next six years, the quest for personal liberty has made the field for legalization of drugs a fertile one indeed.
Hancock’s closing quote is a clear expression of the upcoming square of the urge for personal freedom of Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn, representing the concentration of power:
Meanwhile it’s no accident that the war on drugs has been accompanied by an unprecedented expansion of governmental power into the previously inviolable inner sanctum of individual consciousness. On the contrary it seems to me that the state’s urge to power has all along been the real reason for this “war” – not an honest desire on the part of the authorities to rescue society and the individual from the harms caused by drugs, but as a means to legitimise increasing bureaucratic control and intervention in almost every other area of our lives as well.
This is the way freedom is hijacked – not all at once, out in the open, but stealthily, little by little, behind closed doors, and with our own agreement. How will we be able to resist when so many of us have already willingly handed over the keys to our own consciousness to the state and accepted without protest that it is okay to be told what we may and may not do, what we may and may not explore, even what we may and may notexperience, with this most precious, sapient, unique and individual part of ourselves?
If we are willing to accept that then we can be persuaded to accept anything.