The search for a pill to help us erase bad memories is not a new thing. The film “The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind” came out in 2004 which was well before Neptune even thought about entering Pisces. Pluto was finishing his journey through Sagittarius (1995-2008) during which optimism and positive thinking (Sagittarian traits) rose to an art form. Pluto tends to bring a compulsive drive to any sign that it travels through, and while a certain degree of optimism and positivism is a good thing, the benefits of this kind of thinking end when other feelings are pushed into the underworld of the psyche. (This is why my Visioncrafting work always includes an explorations of our blocks and fears rather than simply focusing on the positive.)
While Pluto was in Sagittarius the use of antidepressant drugs soared over 75% between 1996 and 2004 according to this study. Talk about a compulsive (Pluto) search for the positive (Sagittarius)! The most recent study I could find analyzed data through 2008, the year that Pluto entered Capricorn and it would be interesting to see if antidepressant use decreased or increased with the real problems brought on by the Capricorn-induced contraction in the economy.
At any rate, this interesting article in Wired Magazine discusses a new pill for forgetting traumatic events that could work better than other treatments such as talk therapy (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, or CISD) that don’t work to alleviate the stress of trauma.
Since the time of the ancient Greeks, people have imagined memories to be a stable form of information that persists reliably. The metaphors for this persistence have changed over time—Plato compared our recollections to impressions in a wax tablet, and the idea of a biological hard drive is popular today—but the basic model has not. Once a memory is formed, we assume that it will stay the same. This, in fact, is why we trust our recollections. They feel like indelible portraits of the past.
None of this is true. In the past decade, scientists have come to realize that our memories are not inert packets of data and they don’t remain constant. Even though every memory feels like an honest representation, that sense of authenticity is the biggest lie of all.
Memories don’t live only in the mind – they reside in the physical body, in the nervous system, in the subtle or etheric bodies – and talking through trauma alone does not resolve the panic that can result from a traumatic experience. I know this first-hand after surviving a traumatic event at a young age. The kind of “somatic experiencing” that Peter Levine teaches is probably more effective because it works on all of these layers of experience rather than simply the mental realm.
According to the Wired article, if propranolol is given before a patient expresses a traumatic memory, the inhibition of the drug on the sensory power of the memory helps to inhibit the trauma in the future. Now other drugs are being tested to target and erase specific memories.
With Neptune in its own sign of Pisces, the urge to transcend reality can go in two different directions. It can go to the higher form of spiritual transcendence, or it can delve into escapism and illusion. Forgetting all about our trauma instead of working through to heal it is so very tempting, and Neptune in Pisces can make that happen. It can also give us the wisdom to see the Truth that lies beneath and between the illusory nature not only of memory, but of our perception of the world itself.
[related_posts limit=”5″ image=”50″]