The Marriage of the Sun and Moon

When I was writing The Cartoon Guide to Recreational Drugs I scoured the local libraries and bookstores looking for useful and interesting historical works. The Marriage of the Sun and Moon is one of my sources.

The parts I generally took notes from were either about the drugs themselves or the prohibition of drugs. You’ll find the information garnered from these books throughout the Prohibition Politics section of this site. It will also have informed some of my own postings stored in the older Prohibition Politics archive.

If you find this information useful, you will want to search out the books themselves to read the text in context. All of the books here are at least moderately interesting.


Andrew Weil’s Marriage of the Sun and Moon is a fascinating, if extra-ordinarily non-rigorous, journey through contrasts and consciousness. Andrew Weil.

p. 11

Yagé: “A jungle vine whose ceremonial use by Indians was noted by early explorers of the Amazon basin…”

p. 144

“Chewing coca to hike in the mountains is one of the most traditional uses of the leaves. Ancient Inca runners relied on coca to cover great distances in the high sierras and their modern descendants still measure the length of journeys in terms of cocada—the period of time that one chew of coca will sustain them.”

p. 145

“Firsthand reports about Indian uses of coca usually emphasize that regular chewing of the leaf is consistent with good health, high social productivity, and long life.”

p. 163

“…an Indian will frequently reject the bitter coca leaves with the highest percentage of cocaine in favor of the sweeter leaves which are richer in the more aromatic alkaloids.” (Richard Martin, the Role of Coca, p. 436) [at least 14 alkaloids in the coca plant]

p. 164

“Drug abuse is much more than the use of illegal and disapproved drugs by some members of society. It is the whole mentality that leads a society to make available to its citizens worse drugs rather than better ones, and many of us contribute to that mentality. The pharmacologist who teaches that coca and cocaine are equivalent, the physician who esteems synthetic white powders above natural green preparations, the judge who believes that cocaine is used mainly in combination with heroin are all as much responsible for unwise use of drugs as the user who takes cocaine in excess.”

p. 177

MDA is a derivative of amphetamine, synthesized in Germany, 1910.

p. 236

About the February 26, 1979 total eclipse in Canada, he viewed it in Southern Manitoba, where the authorities were becoming incomprehensibly fearful:

“In December 1978 the city Health Department wrote the Manitoba Medical Association asking advice on what to do about the eclipse. The association replied in a letter dated January 10, 1979:

The Section of Ophthalmology of the Manitoba Medical Association strongly advises that the only safe method of viewing the sun, especially in eclipse, is to watch it on television. No other means is completely reliable… Nothing short of 100 percent foolproof protection is called for when the stakes are as high as permanent loss of vision. Again, the M.M.A. Section of Ophthalmology advises that the eclipse of the sun should only be viewed on television. This position is also endorsed by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society.

“Totality in Winnipeg was due at 11:46 on a Monday morning. Normally, schoolchildren would be dismissed at 11:30 for lunch. In mid-January the school superintendent sent a memeorandum to all school principals…:”

(1) …care must be taken to have all students indoors before the eclipse begins; (2) arrangements will have to be made to keep students in school until about 12:05 P.M.; (3) blinds and/or drapes will have to be lowered or drawn over windows facing the sun to prevent accidental exposure during the eclipse; (4) all staff have the responsibility of doing their utmost to protect students at school from possible injury, according to the advice given to us by the City of Winnipeg Health Department and the Manitoba Medical Association.

p. 237

“The ultimate absurdity came a few days later in a memorandum concerning the possibility of fire alarms sounding during the eclipse. It began: “When the alarm sounds the classes will remain in their locations or rooms and await further instructions.”