At this new moon, plant a seed for the universe to tend. Set your vision upon the stars” (unknown, web meme) The April new moon is exactly tonight or tomorrow, depending on your time zone. It ushers in eclipsing energies of the moon cycle in conscious collaboration with the Earth. We plant most of our food and medicine around this new moon in spring. A time to dig in, our hands in the soil is deep connection to growth. There is much going on, and an aura of anything goes during this next cycle of the moon in the sky and on the ground, from Mercury Retrograde to Earth Day, Beltane/May Day, and more, happening in the next two weeks. And April’s new moon this year also aligns exactly with some stellar secular celebrations of the Counter Culture.
4/19 is known in psychedelic circles as Bicycle Day, commemorating the discovery of LSD and its potent activity on the human brain. The story goes that after Albert Hoffman, a chemist at a pharmaceutical company, made the compound, he accidentally ingested a small amount that amounted to a big dose of a new mind-altering substance, and then he rode his bicycle home from work. It was a short ride but the beginning of a long, strange trip. In retrospect, it’s about as large a rabbit hole as one can fall into. With the recent resurgence of interest in the potential for psycho-pharmacological legalization, research, and access is expanding. There are now clinics operating in the U.S. and elsewhere designed to assist people with psychedelic psychotherapy as well as the integration of these experiences.
Ketamine is being advertised online as an at-home anti-depressant. As a person who has had a doctor’s prescription for 25mg sublingual ketamine for over a decade due to its usefulness for my chronic pain, I would caution people to seek out professionals and to use as directed. The old adage of set and setting is still good advice. In my experience with this chemical, a quiet, uninterrupted space is needed for one half to one hour, and I encourage people to have at least one session with an integration therapist (more on that in a future article). Intention, focus, and micro-dosing are keys to insight.
MDMA and psilocybin, other psychoactive compounds, are now making their way through FDA trials with enormous success. Therapeutic uses of plant-based and synthetic hallucinogens have demonstrated a positive impact on mental health issues like suicidality, addiction, and acceptance of terminal diagnoses, especially when used in a controlled setting. Australia, a few U.S. cities, counties, and even the state of Oregon have decriminalized these substances. Ken Kesey and Tim Leary, along with Richard Alpert/Ram Das and my beloved teacher, Ralph Metzner, each had different experiences and ideas, but all would likely be excited about the developments. The present-day mainstream thought around these consciousness-expanding entheogens is one of more acceptance. It’s far less taboo. It’s not just for hippies anymore. There is hope on the horizon. The time has come for these drugs to be reframed as medicines.
4/20 is well known in these same circles as a symbol for cannabis. In fact, April 20 has become the most well-known day of the year to imbibe in this powerful plant, along with 4:20 pm being known as happy hour for those who like to get high. As the saying goes, “It’s always 4:20 somewhere” at twenty minutes past the hour. Along with legalization comes legitimate events; including Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, which is well documented as the place everyone would go to smoke marijuana anyway. We first heard the term 420 used liberally decades ago in Grateful Dead parking lots. There are many myths about the meaning of 420, but most will agree on the actual history at this point. The Waldos were a group of teenage stoners in the 1970s in Marin County, California, who would meet every day after high school to get high at 4:20 pm. There’s more to the story, including a treasure map that led them on an, as far as we know, wild goose chase to a pot of gold, aka a pot plant patch.
These days most states in the U.S. have at least medical marijuana laws in effect, and 21 states have legalized recreational use. Hemp is federally legal and CBD, or even hemp-based THC, is widely accepted and sold in gas stations across the county. The term “420friendly” can, for example, be seen on Airbnb listings denoting a place to stay that is cannabis friendly. It is a global term at this point that folks who need to know do know. If you look around, you will find a 4/20 event happening in your community this week. As mainstream society further embraces cannabis and psychedelic legalization, the fight between tools of indigenous wisdom and modern capitalism comes to plant medicines. At the forefront, body autonomy and human rights to expand consciousness continue.
April’s new moon is extra intense this time around whether or not people partake in any of the above. Tonight initiates the first eclipse season of the year, visible from Western Australia, East Timor, and the Indonesian islands. Depending on our geographic location and the time of day or night it occurs, we may not always see an eclipse, but the entire planet experiences an eclipse level shift. So be-aware! An eclipse is a cyclical event that happens when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured. A solar eclipse always occurs at a new moon, when the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth. And this solar eclipse will be followed by a lunar eclipse in early May.
Eclipse season happens twice a year in opposite seasons. We will see another set of eclipses in autumn. Eclipse alignments always occur in groups or pairs and play with light and shadows in the sky, on the Earth, and in our lives. Eclipse energies can open us to our deepest calling! An eclipse in totality is only an instant in time, but the ripple effect may not even be seen or felt for six months or a year. Eclipses can be reset buttons, a chance to start over. Earthing, grounding, and balancing are the game’s name as the eclipse season’s intensity builds. Literally, plant yourself.
Spring is here in the northern hemisphere and it is the time to plant literal and virtual seeds now. Seeds will grow from this new moon throughout the cycles of the day, the month, the season, and the year. One way of connecting deeply to nature’s cycles is to get some seeds or starts, aka sprouts, and start growing something. What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable? Nourish a plant that will nourish you. If a vegetable garden feels overwhelming, consider, for example, mint, basil, or chives; something simply growing in your kitchen will spice up your life. Everyone can find a space; even an apartment has a window with enough light for a tiny herb garden.
We begin again in big ways at this particular new moon, a reset of epic proportions. Now is the time for new things to begin to grow in our gardens, in our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our souls. Plant by the seasonal cycles, and you, too, will see that the moon, sun, water, and love are the magic ingredients! When we plant, we renew our commitment to the ideas we have brewing within us, seeding the way to our future. It’s always time to cultivate learning and loving in every moment of life.
Like the moon: GROW NOW, GO GROW!
Follow Martyjuana on social media:
FB @LoveLight Ink
Laura Clein once upon a time worked as a recreational therapist in retirement communities and an event coordinator on college campuses. While in graduate school for an MSW at the University of Southern California she wrote a term paper for a Social Policy class on medical marijuana in 1996. Although now disabled and living with complex chronic illness for many years, she, alongside her husband, Marty, has created a lifestyle that works. Laura is proud to be patient #1 at Martyuana™ and often says, "Thank goodness, cannabis helps."