Monday, July 18, 2011

Making war on our friends

Let's take a little side-trip from discussing animist practice for a moment, because I have seen death and disaster precipitated by the 80-year drug war and I am sick at heart. The drug war may be defined from an animist perspective as a war on a particular group of nonhuman persons. These nonhuman persons have been identified as enemies of the dominators and they are enemies because they are subversive to dominator power. They are subversive because they open human eyes, raise consciousness, offer solace and comfort, develop empathy, help humans build relationship with humans and nonhumans, overcome apathy and alienation, enhance creativity, and encourage play. All of these things are taboo, which is why these particular nonhumans are anathema and must be destroyed, even at great cost in human life and health.

But, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of defining "drugs" the way the dominators do and I want to speak up about what I see as an absurdity, since it is absurd to forbid my eating one kind of grass but not another, and it is absurd to deny me my right to friends who heal and nurture me while pushing dangerous manufactured drugs to the tune of 30 billion dollars per year. (Science Daily) The government, meanwhile, spends about $500 per second to prosecute its war against these nonhumans. (Drug War Clock) I want to speak up, but I'm afraid. Cancer patients have been arrested for using state-sanctioned marijuana. Grandmas and grandpas have spent their last years in jail for growing weeds in their backyards. (Some pending cases.) I'm scared to speak up.

The scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the legalization of psychotropic substances (see NORML). From the success of ecstasy therapy with PTSD survivors to the use of cannabis to shrink cancerous tumors, research being done around the world clearly indicates that these the wise plants have tremendous benefit for our physical and emotional health and well-being, but dominators will use science as they see fit. They ignore or deny science that doesn't meet their needs, even though science has been elevated to the level of the sacrosanct in other ways, and if the recent upsurge in arrests for medical marijuana users and growers is any indication, they will not hesitate to attack those who claim religious observance.

But for this animist, a relationship with the wise plants is an essential part of my practice. So, here we have come full circle. As I write about my everyday animist practices, I come up against a wall of fear. How can I encourage a practice which is against the law? How can I not encourage a practice which, as I mentioned above, opens human eyes, raises consciousness, offers solace and comfort, develops empathy, helps us build relationships, overcomes apathy and alienation, enhances creativity, and encourages play?

My Creator made me on purpose and he made the wise plants on purpose and he gave us chemistry that binds us, one to the other, and he bids us be kinfolk together on this earth. Psychedelic experiences have consistently been described in religious terms, and the religious use of wise plants dates back as far as we can travel into prehistory. Yet, although we pay lip service to religious freedom in the U.S., unconventional religious practices, including the use of plants deemed enemies of the state, are under constant attack. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted in 1993 to protect those practices, but it has no teeth and when invoked, the case is often dismissed for reasons of profit or the maintenance of government control. (Example from an Oregon Christian church.)

So, I had intended to share with you today a deeply moving and transformative religious experience, part of my animist practice, but because of fear, I talk about wars and laws instead.

1 comment:

Green Man said...

"Psychedelic experiences have consistently been described in religious terms, and the religious use of wise plants dates back as far as we can travel into prehistory. Yet, although we pay lip service to religious freedom in the U.S., unconventional religious practices, including the use of plants deemed enemies of the state, are under constant attack."

Well said!!