Category Archives: 001 – new Posts: January 2016 onwards

After eight years, big changes at Writing from the Twelfth House…

I spent the whole of 2007 wrestling with a dinosaur-like resistance to embracing the new technological world unfolding and wrapping itself around us all whether we liked it or not. Eventually, I decided to go with creative openness and joined it, setting up “Writing from the Twelfth House” in May 2008. I still can’t quite believe how things have opened out from that early start.

Anne and Friend compose the latest blog post....

Anne and Friend compose the latest blog post….

image by Paul F Newman

I’ve written masses, made a number of good new internet friends and contacts, had heartwarming exchanges with more folk than I can count – to which the comments on my blog posts are testimony – published four e-books, and much, much more…it’s been, and continues to be, a blast.

However, I am now specialising: focusing on my blog Astrology: Questions and Answers, its Facebook Page, a bi-monthly column for the UK’s  Astrological Journal, a USA  bi-monthly column beginning in Dell Horoscope magazine in January 2017, regular reviewing, and articles for quality astrology magazines like the Mountain Astrologer and in 2015, publication on the Astrodienst site.

And – despite my love of variety and challenge, I can’t do everything!

So – do drop in to the extensive trove of articles which you will find on this blog, now an archive where you can still purchase my books, enjoy the Posts I Like and RSS feeds, email me, and make contact  HERE should you wish to book an astrology consultation, or tuition. New material on the same core themes of “Writing from the Twelfth House” will from now on be appearing on its companion Facebook Page.

NOTE: I have quite a number of Followers of this blog who are primarily interested in my astrological writing. If you folks would care to drop by Astrology: Questions and Answers, and sign up for emails/posts from that blog, you will be able to continue reading my astrology posts.

And finally – a heartfelt THANKS to all you good people who have inspired me and livened up my days by reading, commenting and emailing me over those last eight years. Without your support, I would probably have packed the whole thing in ages ago!

Spiral of Rebirth

The Circle of Life

400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

 

“I am the Soul of Nature”…

“…I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return…”

(from ‘The Charge of the Goddess’ Traditional, by Doreen Valiente, as adapted by Starhawk)

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 the waxing New 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.”

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ENDNOTES

(This is an edited version of an article 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 as “Happiness and the Healing Power of Nature” . )

550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Surprise, surprise! Our communities prefer grass to concrete…

Following the North Kelvin Meadow/Children’s Wood campaign’s recent great success in having New City Vision’s plan to build on our precious piece of open community land in Maryhill, Glasgow, UK, “called in” by the Scottish Government, an important part of the campaign’s thrust continues to be the establishing of links with diverse grassroots initiatives in order to connect and share ideas.

Save our wild land!

Save our wild land!

I very much enjoyed reading Priya Logan’s account of her trip to Copenhagen in March to help further this process. Do have a read! It’s inspiring – and a great antidote to all the grim politics and general doom and gloom around at present.

100 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Priya Logan 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

An Aztec prayer: celebrating our loving connections with one another in a time of darkness

Like most people with any humanity at all, I have  been caught up in the ripple of horror, grief, fear and utter disgust which swept the world in the week leading up to and including Easter 2016, which revealed once again the depravity of which humanity at its worst is capable.

At a personal level, too, life has been tough: not for me, but for close family and friends. We spent the last days of Lent waiting for death to release a suffering family member. A close friend fell, cracked bones, and is in hospital. Other friends have had  traumatic issues to deal with.

There has been no shortage of life crucifying us, both collectively and personally.

How do we cope with all this? My response to personal and collective pain has always been to turn to the natural world which at present is full of the beautiful vibrancy of fresh daffodils – and to poetry, which never fails to offer consolation. I was looking through my archive of quotes and found this one, which I found helpful to read today. I hope you do too…

.  “ There is an ancient Aztec Indian prayer that reflects on the preciousness of life and the fleetingness of it. As the Aztecs thank the Creator for their life and breath, they acknowledge that they are only on loan to each other for a short while, and just like the drawings that they have made in crystalline obsidian fade, so, too, will their life quickly be gone.

‘Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us
to each other, because we take form in your act
of drawing us.
And we take life in your painting us,
And we breathe in your singing us.
But only for so short a while have you loaned us
to each other.’ ”

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(from p55, PRAYING OUR GOODBYES The Spirituality of Change by Joyce Rupp 1988)

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350 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


Can we have more Doubt and less Certainty, please?

I have long appreciated  Richard Holloway’s deep probing writing on questions of faith and doubt as he looks steadily upon the ever-present gifts and frailties of humankind – admiring his blend of humour, erudition, compassionate feeling and dispassionate analysis. Since this is the Christian season of Lent, I thought the following quote would be an appropriate one to offer as food for thought. 

We are living through a time where fundamentalist certainties in science, politics and especially religion are creating various kinds of turmoil and havoc worldwide. Perhaps the leavening humility of more doubt and less certainty would be of ultimate benefit to us all?

Spiral of Rebirth

The Circle of Life

Because there is such an intrinsic connection between faith and doubt, the Church ought to be big enough to contain both sympathetically… Since it is possible to believe and to doubt for the wrong reasons as well as the right ones, and we don’t always know the one from the other, we need the constant challenge of the other tendency to keep us honest. This will make life uncomfortable, of course, but the work of our purgation demands it. Growth is painful, but no element in our nature is exempt from the process of  sanctification.

The Church….should be as inclusive as possible. It should be big enough to hold Thomas the empiricist, as well as John the mystic, and Peter, who was often baffled and confused… There is a faith beyond faith, which is deeper than trust in our own trustfulness and is an abandonment to the ultimate graciousness of the universe….This is the trust beyond trust that says ‘yes’ even to the night…

Light - and Dark....

(from Anger Sex Doubt & Death by Richard Holloway, SPCK Publications, 1992, UK, pp 81-82. I realise this is quite a lengthy extract! Should Richard Holloway or SSPK object, please let me know how many words I can quote and I will edit accordingly….)

Richard F. Holloway (born 26 November 1933) is a Scottish writer and broadcaster and was formerly Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church. To read more about him and his writing, click HERE

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350 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Richard Holloway 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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On the startling effects of eclipses…

An intriguing personal eclipse tale on Astrology: Questions and Answers:

http://astrologyquestionsandanswers.com/2016/03/10/quitting-smoking-the-solar-eclipse-way/

650 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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The Pisces Solar Eclipse: 9th March 2016. What will it bring?

Read about next week’s solar eclipse. What does it hold for you?

http://astrologyquestionsandanswers.com/2016/03/04/some-thoughts-on-the-power-of-eclipses-and-a-personal-tale/

New Moon Solar Eclipse

New Moon Solar Eclipse

 copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

On the mystery of “our deeply strange existence” from scientist David Eagleman

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’.

How totally refreshed I was, therefore, given our current less than calm and reasonable collective context, to come across a wonderful opinion piece in a recent New Scientist magazine, from which the following quote is taken:

” 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….”

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His book of ‘possibilian’ tales, Sum, became an international best-seller and is published in 22 languages.

To read the whole of the opinion piece  “Why I am a ‘possibilian'” which I found so refreshing, click HERE.

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/David Eagleman 2010 and 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation…” Henry Miller and a strange tale…

“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.”

Henry Miller

Good old Henry Miller – he could always be relied upon to bring sex into everything. And I love the quote! But it is a red herring, folks. This post is purely about what may – or may not – have been an experience of reincarnation. I will, as ever, be most interested to have your reactions.

Responses to last week’s  X Files post have been intriguing: it generated several purchases of my book “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness”, and a number of emails telling, very privately, of readers’ uncanny, inexplicable, but undoubtedly real experiences. But no-one was prepared to leave an account of one of theirs publicly in a comment  – thereby validating my own feeling that such matters are so productive of private unease that public exposition is for most of us, a step too far.

It took me a long time and a prolonged period of enforced leisure, to decide to go public with some of mine, for the period 1970-1999. A major motivator was a lifetime’s accumulated knowledge of how common paranormal experiences are, but how little validation our mainstream society offers them. As a rational, sceptical (in the open-minded sense of the word) person, I wanted to add some experiential evidence to that vast body of knowledge which demonstrates that we do not, never have, and never will, live in a universe totally accessible or explicable through the application of rational analysis alone.

 If – as contemporary scientists seems to be telling us– we only have measurable access to 4% of what’s going on, how can they be so arrogant as to dismiss what probably goes on in the 96% of energy in our universe which we cannot measure at all, as yet?

In the previous post I said: “And in my next post, I’ll share one of my own weird stories. You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine!” Well, you did share some of yours, albeit anonymously. So, being a woman of my word, here is one of mine – an extract from the section on Reincarnation – from “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness”. It would be good if this time, you could share a story or two here. Be anonymous! Call yourself Henry Miller if you like. If you do, I promise not to think that he is communicating from the Other Side…

Lecce, Italy

Lecce, Italy

Lecce, Italy: September 13th 1986

In the Atmospheres section, I set the scene for our 1986 trip to Italy, describing the Apulia Region where we found ourselves as ‘a corner of Italy which was full of atmosphere, some of it quite uncanny.’ In less than a week, we had two experiences which were quite out of the ordinary.

This first one took place in Lecce, known as ‘the Florence of the South’, on 13th September. I still recall what happened very, very clearly. We were on a bus trip with a voluble female Italian guide in her thirties, determined to cram as much local information as possible into the heads of the ignorant Brits in her charge. As a result, not helped by the heat, we reeled off the bus somewhat brain damaged for our hour’s ‘free’ lunch break. As usual, everyone on the bus meekly shuffled behind the guide to the appointed watering hole. As usual, we did not. This was our first sight of Lecce and we wanted some quiet time on our own to enjoy it.

The bus was parked in a dusty square, next to a big old church. I looked all the way up the spire, noticing an empty plinth at the top, and thought “Where’s the Archbishop?” I recall being instantly startled by this thought, as though it belonged to someone else’s brain – after all, I’d never been to Lecce.

Nevertheless, very shortly afterwards, we found him. There was a stone restorers’ yard in a narrow street we wandered into, round to the right of the church. In it, lying on his side, was a rather battered looking statue, his verdigrised copper covering cracked and peeling from the wear of many centuries. “There he is – it’s the Archbishop!” At the same time as I recognised the statue, it felt again like someone else’s thought. I wondered if the heat was getting to me...“Mad dogs and Englishmen….”1

I loved Lecce on sight; it felt uncannily familiar. Missing out on lunch, I took Ian on a fast trot round the immediate area we were in, finding my way around with no difficulty. I pointed out a sunlit terrace above a street not far from the church, where I used to sit at a table and write, feeling that I was a man then, and a writer. Ian almost had to drag me by the ear back to the bus, since I was most reluctant to leave.

I have long felt a strong affinity with Renaissance Italy, despite having never visited the country before. Some day, I’d like to return to Lecce and see what my reaction is then. But I’ll make sure it’s mid-winter, so that I can’t blame a heat-addled brain for bringing me one of my life’s more peculiar experiences!

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ENDNOTES:

1 “…Go out in the midday sun “ Mad Dogs and Englishmen Noel Coward song (1931)

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NOTE: If you’d like to buy this book, the simplest way is to go into PayPal and send $10 directly to my PayPal account which is : contact.anne.w@gmail.com .PayPal will then send me an email notifying me of the payment, whereupon I will send you the book within 24 hours.

wisps-from-the-dazzling-darkness

900 words Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

The X Files are back…time to share a few weird tales…

I wondered why there had been a sudden run on sales of my Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness memoir, until I realised that the X Files had just returned to  UK TV screens this week! Our collective appetite for  that which lies beyond the boundaries of ‘normal’ does not seem to have been the least affected by the reductionist onslaught in recent years on anything and everything which lies outwith the perceptual scope of our five material senses.

I must confess to finding this particular stance by so many scientists (and other reductionists) strange, to say the least. Have they never investigated the weird worlds of quantum physics? Have they never contemplated the implications of  4% matter, 23% dark matter, 73% dark energy?  If – as contemporary scientists seems to be telling us– we only have measurable access to 4% of what’s going on, how can they be so arrogant as to dismiss what probably goes on in the 96% of energy in our universe which we cannot measure at all, as yet?

I’m very much in favour of taking a sceptical position regarding matters which seem at first sight to be impossible within conventional analytical frameworks. Sceptical, in the open-minded sense of the word, that is. However, as I have discovered over the course of my lifetime, an awful lot of people you talk to, in all kinds of contexts – bus stops, coffee bars, counselling sessions, churches, evening classes, astrology readings, cinema queues – have a story to tell, if you are prepared to listen. I am one of those people who attract other people’s weird life stories at the drop of a hat.

That was why, eventually, when I had the time to do so, I finally gave in and decided to write a book in which I told my own: atmospheres, dreams, ghosts, mediumship, mystical experience, poltergeist phenomena, prediction, premonitions, reincarnation and telepathy – yes, folks, I’ve encountered all of  that lot, much though on each and every occasion I would have much preferred not to have done so.

As far as I am concerned, ‘normal’ life hands out quite enough challenges, thanks very much, without us going looking for more in the realms of the otherworldly. However, as I – and many, many rational, reasonable, non-gullible people – have discovered, there are levels of experience which, although they lie outwith the known and measurable 4%, have a palpable reality which people cease to doubt once they have encountered it themselves.

So, readers, how about celebrating the X Files’ return by sharing some of your own tales which lie outwith the 4% of what is conventionally knowable? Be anonymous if that’s more comfortable. It would be great if you felt like leaving your story as a comment. Or email me. And in my next post, I’ll share one of my own weird stories. You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine! And – of course – you can always go over and buy my ebook. A mere $10…

wisps-from-the-dazzling-darkness

500 words Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page