Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness
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As I write, thirty two people are in emergency hospital beds across our city. We do not know how many people have died as sniffer dogs, fire and police service personnel carefully comb the rubble of the Clutha Vaults pub, searching for signs of life – or death. Shocked families wait to hear news of their loved ones.
This is a devastating incident which has touched many lives and will continue to do so as the days and weeks unfold. With profound irony, this is St Andrews Day: a day when we celebrate the richness of what it means to be Scottish.
We lay in bed this morning, shocked, having woken up on a lazy Saturday to awful news. And yet….through the jagged tempo of tragedy, we began to hear the strong heartbeat of Glasgow. A heartbeat we have heard before through other tragedies. The strong pulse of ordinary citizens caring for one another, some risking their lives to do so, not knowing whether the pub shattered by a helicopter’s plummet from the night sky was going to explode into fire and flames.
People called the emergency services immediately. Others formed a human chain to escort their fellows blinded by dust, blood and shock to safety. Passers by did not run away: they ran to see what could be done to help. Other folk sat on the street with the injured, tucked their emergency blankets round them, waited till the ambulances came. The rescue operation, well planned, swung fast into action. Gordon Matheson, the City Council leader, was eloquent in his praise of rescue services – and of ordinary citizens.
There is another Glasgow, a generous spirited Glasgow, the one that films sensationalising Glasgow’s at times violent history do not show. I am a Glaswegian by adoption, having lived here for over thirty years, my husband even longer. I too have been on the receiving end of the small and large kindnesses, laughs and warmth which are characteristic of living here. I hope I have returned these too.
Today, in the midst of disruption, pain and tragedy, I feel proud to call myself a citizen.
400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
I have a new Twitter follower, Deirdre in Action. Greetings, Deirdre! Whilst scrolling through her very interesting-looking tweets, I came across a gem, from which this short extract is taken:
‘….On July 14, 1930, Albert Einstein welcomed into his home on the outskirts of Berlin the Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. The two proceeded to have one of the most stimulating, intellectually riveting conversations in history, exploring the age-old friction between science and religion….. The following excerpt from one of Einstein and Tagore’s conversations dances between previously examined definitions of science, beauty, consciousness, and philosophy in a masterful meditation on the most fundamental questions of human existence….’
Read, and reflect….
(Brain Pickings has a free weekly interestingness digest. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles.)
130 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Maria Popova 2013
….the “grand, overarching explanation for human behavior” which you talk about in your question shifts: from the human world with its many, continually evolving viewpoints – depending on geographical location and mores – to locating all life on tiny planet Earth within the vast teleology of an unfolding and evolving Cosmos.
Thus a truly contemporary astrology can play its part, as Diaz, Meyers and Smith so eloquently put it recently, through “…. yielding to this broader reality instead of choosing to couch the phenomena of astrology in only familiarly personal ways….”
To read the whole of the latest post on Astrology: Questions and Answers, click below:
100 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Armand Diaz, Eric Meyers & Andrew Smith 2013
As anyone with even half a braincell tuned into current affairs will know, we are living in an era where humans seem to need the strong seasoning of certainty even more than ever.
Militant atheism seems hell bent (pardon the expression, a tad inappropriate in this context, eh what?!) on ramming down our collective throats their conviction that religion is pernicious rubbish. And militant religious fanatics have been turning to their usual tools, honed to a fine art over many bloodsoaked centuries, of persecution and/or slaughter in the name of whatever faith they aver is ‘the one and only truth’.
When I grow angry, and weary of those pointless, destructive posturings, I turn to one of my enduringly favourite quotations for perspective and comfort, from the scientist David Eagleman :
” But when we reach the end of the pier of everything we know, we find that it only takes us part of the way. Beyond that all we see is uncharted water. Past the end of the pier lies all the mystery about our deeply strange existence: the equivalence of mass and energy, dark matter, multiple spatial dimensions, how to build consciousness, and the big questions of meaning and existence….good scientists are comfortable holding many possibilities at once, rather than committing to a particular story over others. In light of this, I have found myself surprised by the amount of certainty out there….”
200 words copyright Anne Whitaker/David Eagleman 2013
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
Comets have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many different cultures and societies around the world and throughout time. They have been branded with such titles as “the Harbinger of Doom“ and “the Menace of the Universe.”
They have been regarded both as omens of disaster and messengers of the gods. Why is it that comets are some of the most feared and venerated objects in the night sky? Why did so many cultures cringe at the sight of a comet?
To reflect on these and other questions concerning comets, check out
100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
I’ve just received this question about the practice of astrology and felt impelled to address it as fully as possible! Do drop by Astrology: Questions and Answers to read the whole post – and if you are a professional astrologer who has had to deal with this type of question, I’d be interested to have your comments….
“Horoscope” ‘s Question:
Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services as it is against the code to take profit out of a gift from God to help people? I read this and saw a medium on tele say it. In these circles it is donations given based on good work.Is this true at all?
Dear Ms/Mr/ X (I am assuming ‘horoscope’ is not your real name)
thank you for raising this interesting question. Before getting down to discussing the issue of payment of fees for any professional service, whether the professional is for example a highly trained,well qualified and experienced astrologer, lawyer, or accountant, it is important to clarify a few points for you.
Your question strongly suggests that you associate the practice of astrology in some way with the practice of mediumship. They are two separate activities. Thus a comment on how mediums operate cannot usefully be applied to the practice of astrology.
Secondly, it would perhaps help you if I made clear that there are broadly speaking two main types of astrology. The first type, popular star sign or sun sign astrology, is the kind which most people know about. …to read more, click HERE
250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page