Eating death: Pluto, the underworld, and petroleum based pesticides

Because of my research on food sovereignty, I have thought a lot about pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. People talk a lot about ‘organic’ food, but this mostly means food that hasn’t been grown with petroleum based products. These products are designed to either kill insects, bacteria and fungi, or to add nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to the soil to compensate for the depletion caused by intensive agriculture. It’s obviously not very sustainable, but it has become ‘normal’.

On a symbolic level this is interesting because for several reasons. The first is that pesticides were primarily developed during World War II for purposes of chemical warfare (Mars/Aries)… so the obvious thing to do, after the war was to put this stuff on our food, and eat it, right? The intense driven energy and economic activity had to be channeled somewhere after the war, and it tended to veer towards the domestic sphere (Cancer/4th house), into more advanced home appliances and into the ‘green-revolution’ of industrialised mono-cultural agriculture. Women became the main consumers, along with the rise of the middle-classes, and the modern ‘traditional’ housewife was born. Meanwhile our food has become more uniform, ‘cheap’ in comparison to the energy expended to attain sustenance at any other time in history, and imminently more toxic.

The second reason it is interesting symbolically is related to petroleum itself, which is connected to Pluto, Hades and the underworld. Fossil fuels are exactly that – the fossilised remains of an old dead world. It it the world’s stored energy and it’s intensely powerful. We are extracting it, burning it up and making all kinds of useful things out of it (plastic, for example), in order to ‘advance’ (Uranus) at unprecedented levels. I have a feeling that we have no idea what we are really doing here, but it doesn’t seem very wise. In putting petroleum based pesticides and fertilisers into our food we are symbolically eating death. Thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Eating death: Pluto, the underworld, and petroleum based pesticides

  1. How synchronous – last night I was listening to a recording of Vandana Shiva giving a talk at Boom Festival 2010 wherein she was discussing the origins of commercial pesticides and fertilisers in warfare, and elaborated on their abundant distribution in Afghanistan by the US as ‘aid’ as being a contributor to the uncontrollable violence in the region. I assume you’re already knowledgable on this however here’s a link to Shiva’s talk if you’re interested – https://soundcloud.com/boomfestival/boom2010_podcast08

    With regards to the Plutonian comparison; as is the case with anything Pluto I think of the “with great power comes great responsibility” adage. Whilst yes the use of these chemicals en masse as a contemporary default is hardly sustainable, and it is very likely the case that no, we as a species have no idea what we’re doing with these powerful resources; the lesson lies in learning how to responsibly use them. “Just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should” also crosses my mind here. It’s a necessary stepping stone in our species evolution, as dire and grim a potential outcome there is depending on how well we learn the Plutonian lesson.

  2. crosspost from FB:
    >The first is that pesticides were primarily developed during World War II for purposes of chemical warfare

    Vietnam and the War on Drugs as well– agent orange and paraquat are now being used as chemical amendments. Crazy!!!
    Like · Reply · 6 mins
    Bruce Scanlon also a great observation about Pluto/Uranus, as this is sort of the astrological big wheels turning from my birth 50 years ago to the next hundred years. Current sequence of Pluto Uranus squares just ending, yeah? Harvesting the huge stored power of accumulated death in order to advance. I like that! Spin that up with the idea that we are at the end of our age as it confronts its own contradictions and eats itself, perhaps culminating in a bit of decomplexifying self-consumption, hmmm, AUTO-NECROPHAGY!

    necrophage 1. To eat or subsist on dead bodies; such as, carrion, by organisms or certain animals.
    2. Feeding on dead material; saprophytic.
    The term carrion refers to the decaying flesh of a dead body; rotten, filthy, etc.

    • Yes, the Pluto/Uranus square has made it’s final exaction and the two are now separating. It’s pretty interesting to see how things have evolved since their conjunction in Virgo in the late 1960’s and it’s certainly the end of an era somewhat. I’m quite excited to see what progress has been made when they come to an opposition in if I remember correctly: the 2040’s? I feel that in a way we’ve reached a tipping point with the seven square aspects over the past few years, and once Saturn’s brief return into Scorpio this year has completed it’s final digging up of the dirt, we as a species can get back to designing and constructing a new era to perhaps culminate with fresh challenges come the time of the opposition.

      Generational astrology is quite exciting, especially when you’re living in it.

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