Ain’t that the truth! : Max Planck on scientific truths

“A new scientific truth does not triumph

by convincing its opponents and making

them see the light, but rather because its

opponents eventually die.

Max Planck

(April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947)

Nobel Prize-winning German physicist

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My only resolution for 2014, apart from completing publication of four ebooks by August,  is to embark on some re-reads of a few of the books which have made the most powerful impression on me in the last few years. One of these is undoubtedly Peter Russell’s “From Science to God”, from which (p17) the above quote is taken. The book is“…the story of Peter Russell’s lifelong exploration into the nature of consciousness – how he went from being a convinced atheist, studying mathematics and physics, to realising a profound personal synthesis of the mystical and scientific.”

Peter Russell

Peter Russell

I have had a lifelong interest in science. But my capacity to understand its paradigms is seriously handicapped by having done Classics instead of science at school – not that reading Homer in the original Greek wasn’t great fun! Thus people like Russell, who can clarify and inspire without being patronising to the scientifically uneducated like me, are a great gift to the world! If you want to find out more about Peter Russell, his website is : www.peterrussell.com

200 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Peter Russell 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Glasgow – towards a Green city: Greener Together Awards 2014

Anne Whitaker:

In my previous post on this blog, I wrote:
“Even in the city, in the increasingly hurried pattern of 21st century life, it is possible to maintain a connection to the cycles of the seasons and the rhythms of nature. It’s increasingly recognised that regular contact of this kind is an important component in establishing and maintaining the kind of inner balance and peace that promotes happiness….”

Children's Wood Protest 1

Children’s Wood Protest 1

This has been amply demonstrated in our local community in Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland UK in the last year or so. What a wonderful example The Children’s Wood /North Kelvin Meadow campaign has offered of what can be done to get parents and children out enjoying the Great Outdoors. They truly deserve this award.

Readers – you can do your bit, too, wherever you live across the world. Share this post on your networks, folks! Inspire a community (or several) to get outdoors !!

Originally posted on The Children's Wood:

We are delighted to be one of the winners of the Greener Together Awards 2014.  The Children’s Wood volunteers have been working to help our community to live a greener and more sustainable life.  We’ve been encouraging families and the community to get outdoors onto North Kelvin Meadow and The Children’s Wood (in Maryhill/North Kelvin area of Glasgow) all year round!

North Kelvin Meadow and The Children’s Wood is a piece of land (roughly 3 acres) in one of the most unequal areas of the UK. The land was previously playing fields and tennis courts and is now a meadow and wood, with over 480 trees. It is a wild space – children can play freely and different groups coexist. Nothing else like it exists in our area.

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The project

We have no paid members of staff. The project was initiated by a group of parents wanting to save North…

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‘The Daffodil Run’: my Spring Ritual

I  have a ritual which I’ve repeated for a long time now. From late February each year, I go into the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow  via the Kirklee gate entrance, stroll up the path, and have a close look at the earth border to the left. Green shoots are just appearing. I check them every week, as the stems grow taller and sturdier, and the buds fatter. There is a magic moment  in mid to late March when, at last, I see the first daffodil of Spring.

Quite often, I punch the air and go “Yes!!” That moment provides a rush of pleasure which remains with me the whole day.  I call my ritual The Daffodil Run. You think I’m daft? I know it’s an important part of  what keeps me sane.

There are very few clear evening skies in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. If you’re rushing up Byres Road on the way home on one of those rare nights, especially when you cross the Queen Margaret Drive bridge, look out for a small woman standing still, gazing at the sky. That’ll be me, admiring the wonderful, fragile beauty of a new crescent  moon.

 Even in the city, in the increasingly hurried pattern of 21st century life, it is possible to maintain a connection to the cycles of the seasons and the rhythms of nature. It’s increasingly recognised that regular contact of this kind is an important component in establishing and maintaining the kind of inner balance and peace that promotes happiness.

One of the many advantages of living in a small country like Scotland is that access to the great outdoors is not difficult – half an hour out of Glasgow, for example, it is possible to disappear into lovely countryside and forget the existence of the city very quickly. Try it !

It doesn’t matter how stressed you are, how much angst you are carrying. A couple of hours of  tramping across the hills, often in rain and wind, focusing on nothing more complex than  where you put every footstep in order to avoid disappearing up to your waist in a bog, is guaranteed to purge out at least some of it.

Over many years of  walking, I have offered the hills both my joys and my sorrows, and  have found validation for the former and solace for the latter. In homeopathic medicine, broadly speaking, you treat an ailment with a very dilute form of the toxin which caused it. I have found the homeopathic principle works very well with bleakness of the soul or spirit. That condition can be effectively treated by choosing weather and landscape to match your mood, and immersing yourself in it for a few hours. Meeting bleakness with bleakness has a powerfully cleansing effect.

Complementary to this is the powerfully life-affirming effect that natural beauty can have.

"I am the Soul of Nature...."

“I am the Soul of Nature….”

Standing on top of a favourite hill on a sunlit day, looking at stunning panoramic views, listening to the joyous song of a skylark, feeling at one with the wind and the landscape, has on numerous occasions made me feel so glad to be alive that I have wept for joy.

These experiences may fade in the face of the rigours of an average life. But if you repeat them often enough, you develop a sense of being part of the great round of nature, where joy and sorrow, youth, maturity, decline, death and rebirth all have their part. You also learn, slowly, the importance to being a happy person of being able to ” grasp the joy as it flies”, celebrate the moment, “seize the day.”

( First published in “Self & Society”(The Journal of Humanistic Psychology) (UK)Vol 27 No 5, November 1999, then http://www.innerself.com : Innerself Magazine (USA), and most recently – March 09 -  in ‘ The Drumlin’, the Newsletter of Glasgow Botanic Gardens. )

Comments on this article are welcome

700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

A ‘wisdom book’: “Keywords to Unlock Chiron” by Joyce Mason

“Keywords to Unlock Chiron” 

Keywords to Unlock Chiron by Joyce Mason

50 Passageways to Healing and Wholeness

by Joyce Mason

Weaver – Mentor – Centaur – Stuck – Stringed Instruments – Healing Humor – Shame – Left and Right Brain – Abandonment – Evolution: just a few of the keywords Joyce Mason uses to unlock the doorway to deep, deep wisdom contained within the archetype of the mythical being known as Chiron: half man, half horse – best known in Western popular culture as the Wounded Healer.

Joyce is a healer herself with many strings to her lyre: prolific writer, seasoned astrologer, flower essences practitioner, dreamworker, to name but a few. Here in her own words is the essence of her book:

“ Seldom in life do we get such a personalised prescription of what’s wrong and how to fix it. These 50 keyword essays will help you identify where you’re stuck and suggest how you can get from pain to breakthrough and healing–and ultimately to being yourself in your full glory. Your personal message lies in which keywords ‘hit home’ for you.”

As the reader will discover from Other Astrology Books by Joyce Mason on pp 279-281, Joyce has written extensively on Chiron in the past, both in published books and on her blog The Radical Virgo. This book, however, is somewhat different in that Joyce’s focus is on the Chiron archetype itself and an exploration of 50 branches arising therefrom.

Chiron symbolises the deep wound present to a greater or lesser degree in all of us, fallible imperfect creatures, uneasy blends of body and spirit; endlessly curious, forever seeking answers to why we are here and what we are supposed to do with our brief time on Earth. Chiron also symbolises the depth and wisdom we can gain by addressing and seeking to heal that wound, both in ourselves and others.

Ultimately, facing and accepting our vulnerability, together with realisation of our inter-connectedness with the whole of life, and the healing power of love: these are our salves and our saviours.

Joyce’s Keywords to Unlock Chiron is surely a ‘wisdom book’. It is a wonderful distillation of her knowledge, personal and professional experience drawn from a deep and wide range of sources: science, myth, symbol systems including astrology and Tarot, astronomy, and culture both contemporary and ancient.

She writes so well, with wit, reverence, irreverence and above all compassion both for her own frailty and ours. Open sharing of core aspects of her personal story demonstrates that she is not trying to tell us how we should live from her somewhat higher plane of existence. She makes it clear that, in the struggle to come to terms with the wounding which hopefully in the end makes us a bit wiser and more skilled in the fraught business of living, we are all in it together.

There are many examples which I could quote of deeply helpful wisdom offered in this book. In Chapter 24, Disowned, there is a very challenging question posed: ‘What would you rather die than do?’ Joyce’s answer to this is ‘I’d rather die than move (house)’  which leads into a discussion of how we all to a greater or lesser extent, disown parts of ourselves, to our detriment.

Joyce then offers seven “Tips for Not Disowning Yourself” including ‘Listen objectively to things others point out that you’re missing or denying, especially if you hear the same thing from several different people.’ I commend this section to any individual honest enough to be working towards personal growth and change, as well as any therapy practitioner looking for some inspiration to bring to their client work.

In Appendix 3, p273, Joyce provides information for people with little or no knowledge of astrology who wish to obtain a copy of their own horoscope and find out where Chiron is placed in their case.

The whole book is also filled with useful web and other references to a wonderful range of resources – arising from the core Chironic keyword of Wholeness.

The book is of value also to students and practitioners of astrology. From that perspective, this reviewer certainly felt as though she had been comprehensively re- acquainted with the depth and practical value of understanding Chiron’s natal position as well as Chiron transits.

But it is important to stress that Keywords to Unlock Chiron should not be seen primarily as a book for astrologers or those interested specifically in astrology.

As I said earlier, it is a ‘wisdom book’, a great resource for anyone of a reflective nature, who may be practising as a healer of others, to have in their library to turn to for inspiration, information or support in difficult times. Be guided by how you are feeling in seeking help from the book’s wisdom. As Joyce says herself: Your personal message lies in which keywords ‘hit home’ for you.”

Joyce, thank you for this wonderful compendium. It truly deserves to be widely read.

Keywords to Unlock Chiron by Joyce Mason

Keywords to Unlock Chiron by Joyce Mason

As per her original book release announcement, Joyce is offering this book in PDF in order to make the material available, at least in some form, sooner rather than later. The announcement describes her book in detail, including contents, other brief reviews and the advantages/disadvantages of the PDF format, including the ways to access it on various reader devices. Due to extensive other commitments, I understand that she may be unable to print it to paperback and eReader (Kindle, Nook, etc.) until 2015.

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900 words copyright Anne Whitaker /2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

A thing of beauty….

I’ve just come across this absolutely beautiful picture of a Moonstone which I thought my readers might enjoy as we come up to the Full Moon this Sunday.

Wonderful Moonstone

Wonderful Moonstone

https://www.facebook.com/healingandcrystaltherapy

Access to a wonderful range of Getty images: free!

Just in case you missed an important announcement this week: Getty Images  vast library of award-winning professional photographs and illustrations is now at the disposal of every WordPress.com blogger. Read how to access this treasure trove HERE.

I tried it out, and accessed this wonderful piece of astrological and astronomical history. Looking forward to a great browse! (and no, WordPress haven’t paid/bribed me to do this bit of PR. I just think you should know about it….)

Prague Town Hall Clock

Favourite Quotes: ‘ the tree with lights’…. from Annie Dillard

This  post is dedicated to Denise at http://forphilip.com/. I was so struck by the extract below – from a recent post of hers – that I was inspired to write a reply. If you visit Denise’s blog, you will discover what moves her to write so beautifully, so profoundly. 

“….Four years I’d been living on that particular block, walking past one particular tree, and that morning I witnessed its transformation. The sun lit that tree and it shimmered red and gold; it was glass on fire, and if it could have  made a sound, it would’ve been celestial. This was shock and awe, I thought, as I stood staring up at it…..If I could live in that light, I thought, if I could just not move and stay right here, I will be all right and it will all have been worth it…..”

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My reply….

Dear Denise, this extract from your recent post, reproduced above, struck me as being powerfully similar to a wonderful description of the ‘tree with lights’ which Annie Dillard talked about in her Pulitzer Prize winning book “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”. I googled it, and have found the  ‘tree with lights’ passage  for you. I hope you find this passage as moving and inspiring as I did:

“…..Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it.  I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame.  I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed.  It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance.  The lights of the fire abated, but I’m still spending the power.  Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared.  I was still ringing.  I had my whole life been a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.  I have since only rarely seen the tree with the lights in it.  The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam…..”

–Annie Dillard, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ (1974).

I can still clearly recall the profound, uplifting impact many years ago of reading Annie Dillard’s account of what is, essentially, a mystical experience. She was only 27. ‘….I’m still spending the power….’ I know what she means. I was fortunate enough to have a mystical experience once, at the age of 24 – out of the blue, on a clear, starry night with Venus rising over the Perthshire hills in the Scottish Highlands. It has sustained me through many difficult experiences, and in Annie Dillard’s unforgettable words,‘…. I’m still spending the power….’

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500 words copyright Denise/Anne Whitaker /2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page