Category Archives: 05 – New Posts: October 2011 onwards

“If you go down to the woods today….

….you’ll sure get a big surprise….” as the old children’s song, ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’, goes.

Think globally, act locally urges people to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. Long before governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them. These efforts are referred to as grassroots efforts. They occur on a local level and are primarily run by volunteers and helpers…..” ( Wikipedia ) ….and they are surely taking great shape in our local neighbourhood, North Kelvin, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

May 2012 saw the start of The Children’ Wood – an offshoot of the sterling efforts of the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign, for the last few years the latest in several local initiatives, whose objective over a long period of time now has been to save a patch of local waste ground for community green space use, as opposed to its hosting yet another set of newbuild flats  – in an already built up area –  if Glasgow City Council’s plan for the space goes ahead.

To find out more about the The Children’s Wood click HERE.

Meadow in the City

Meadow in the City

photo: Anne Whitaker

You will see from checking out the above site that there have been a whole series of  imaginative outdoor activities at The Children’s Wood this summer and autumn. These have captured the imagination of  parents and children alike, as well as local residents whose own children by now have grown up and moved elsewhere. More events are planned!

The most recent event, yet again organised by local mum and community activist, Emily Cutts, was terrific fun and really well attended. Sunday 23 September 2012 saw a world music premiere!

The Little House of La – the children’s version of Indie pop group House of La gave its first live performance at The Children’ Wood.Three band members were originally members of the well-known and popular Scottish Indie pop band Aberfeldy. Fortunately, one of their lively and catchy numbers, The Ape Man by The Kinks was captured on video and posted on YouTube.

View it  HERE  –   to see community action, participation – and sheer FUN!!

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NOTE: Blog/Twitter followers, community activists and enthusiasts, please do what you can to pass this post around your networks. Thanks!

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400 words copyright Emily Cutts/Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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“Silence in the City” – from tomorrow!

Have you ever been to St Mary’s Cathedral, 300 Great Western Road, Glasgow G4?

Led by Provost Kelvin Holdsworth, the community at St Mary’s – open, inclusive, welcoming to people of all faiths and all spiritual seekers – is   offering a programme of times for reflection – silence in the city – during this autumn 2012. The programme is free, and open to anyone needing some time of peace and silence.

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The Open Silence operates to a rhythm of two one-hour slots per month, lunchtime and evening, available on the following dates:

Sunday August 19th from 8-9 pm, then Thursday August 23rd from 12.30-1.30pm

Sunday September 16th from 8-9 pm, then Thursday September 20th from 12.30-1.30pm

Sunday October 21st from 8-9 pm, then Thursday October 25th from 12.30-1.30pm

Sunday November 18th from  8-9 pm, then Thursday November 22nd from 12.30-1.30pm

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These drop-in hours are free, although any donations to St Mary’s Cathedral funds are always welcome! Anyone can come along, for as long as feels comfortable – you don’t have to stay for the whole hour, but please do leave quietly. You can sit anywhere you wish in the Cathedral during your visit. Gentle music and a brief introduction from Vice-Provost Cedric Blakey begins the hour, music again draws the hour to a close. Candles are lit throughout to help you to connect to your time of peace.

Silence, prayer, peace....

Silence, prayer, peace….

Could any readers who would like to promote this valuable local event be kind enough to pass on the link to this post to anyone on their networks who might be interested? Thanks!!

NOTE

A major inspiration for setting up St Mary’s Cathedral’s The Open Silence was provided by the series of programmes presented by Christopher Jamison, Abbot of Worth Abbey, in 2010,  ‘The Big Silence’, in which five participants  were “……invited to take the wisdom of silence found in the monastery……” and carry it back into their everyday lives.

Father Jamison is convinced that everyone – atheist, agnostic, lapsed, uncertain, seeking – can benefit from sustained, regular periods of silence. “When we enter into periods of silence, we start to see things with greater clarity. We come to know ourselves, and come in touch with that deepest part of ourselves. That is our soul.”

If  readers are interested in reading more about this project, which I – and many others I spoke to – found moving, challenging and inspiring – click HERE.

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500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Rupert Sheldrake talks about “Science Set Free” (USA) / “The Science Delusion” (UK)

Yes, I know I said I was going into retreat for the rest of August!

But from the said retreat, lurking behind the sofa with a laptop, I found this short video of scientist Rupert Sheldrake talking about his new book

“Science Set Free” (USA) / “The Science Delusion” (UK)

and thought some of my followers might like to take a look.

As those of you dropping by here will know by now, I am as interested in science as I am in esoteric topics – and what I most admire in scientists apart from breadth and depth of knowledge is: open-mindedness, and generosity towards those with whom they may disagree. Rupert Sheldrake is one of those.

What I most dislike is dogmatic dismissal of others’ theoretical positions, knowledge bases or viewpoints, especially if that dismissal is rooted in ignorance of the body of knowledge or subject area which is being dismissed.

Astrologers know all about this!

I’ve now read and very much enjoyed “The Science Delusion” and would highly recommend it. Whom better than the author himself to let you know what it’s about?

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD2qScZlvYE

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200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Following the Sun – into the Twelfth House

The Twelfth House, amongst many things, is a place of retreat, contemplation….today the Sun entered that place in my horoscope.

I’ve decided this year to honour the shift by having some quiet time…. to contemplate this year of retrogrades: Mars in Virgo from late January to mid April, Venus in Gemini from mid-May to end June – and Mercury in Leo, from mid July until early August – not emerging from its ‘shadow’ period until 22nd August. 

For me, it has been a year of returning: going back to work.

To my old craft, astrology. To re-writing my publicity material, revising and updating this blog, going back to Twitter and applying myself to using it more creatively this time. To re-joining professional organisations. To re-establishing my supervision and most happily, going back to my valued supervisor of twelve years ago. To re-connecting more directly through work with clients and students, to that sense of being in touch with the mysterious order which lies behind all of our lives.

It’s been quite a year! 

I’m sure many of you who read my blog – astrologers or not – will have found that this has been a year very much about re-evaluation, delays,  moving backwards in order to move forward (come the autumn!). I’d be interested to hear about it via comments or emails.

So – enjoy August. Enjoy reading your way through this archive of articles which “Writing from the Twelfth House “ has become. Let me know what you’d like me to write about when I return to regular posting. Keep an eye on the Twitter feed which will still be active.

See you again come September!

Chill out time....

Chill out time….

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Sprites in the Park!

Now and then, a flash of magic lights up a day.

As with most days, I was strolling down the long wide path which leads into our local Botanic Gardens, on to the river Kelvin. High wall on the left; low wall on the right,  on which generations of small children have walked at their own special snail’s pace, an adult’s hand preventing them from tumbling the few feet down into the grassy, tree-filled slope leading to another path winding below.

Smiling, I was remembering my youngest nephew as a little boy tottering unsteadily but determinedly along that low wall, throwing monkey nuts to the voracious local grey squirrels……

I heard laughter, shrieks of it, looked down to its source on the lower path, and saw this zany sight:

Sprites in the Park!

Sprites in the Park!

What are you doing?” I yelled to the two Sprites, accompanied by a third, slightly more soberly dressed and carrying a large, serious looking camera. ” You look fabulous! Can I take your picture?” 

“Sure!” they shouted. “Come on down! We’re doing a photo-shoot.” So I jumped over the wall, down amongst the earth and leaves and trees, quite forgetting about my somewhat dodgy knee in my excitement. I took two photos. They were delighted.

“I can do this sort of thing now,” I said, “being in my mad old bat life phase.” And I told them they would be up on a post on my blog this very day. They were even more delighted.

I have no idea who they are. They have no idea who I am. But that moment of joyous, spontaneous friendliness certainly lit up my whole day. I hope it did the same for them….

Sprites and photo-Sprite....

Sprites and photo-Sprite….

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Action in the Meadow/Silence in the City

We don’t need astrologers to tell us we are living in a period of remarkable turbulence and change. The evidence is all around us: from our teetering and corrupt banking systems, to the declining health of Planet Earth whose dominant species, humans, at current rates of consumption require the resources of three and a half planet earths to sustain us. Amongst many problems greatly on the increase against this backdrop are obesity, social inequality, the social and economic burdens of an ageing population – and fast rising anxiety and depression rates.

Apparently the overall index of increased happiness as material prosperity grew, peaked in the mid-seventies, then declined. The rot, it seems, set in in 1976….

However, humans have always been incredibly adaptable creatures and there is plenty of room for optimism in the midst of the current gloom. We are poised collectively on an interesting cusp, which many people see as the pivotal point of recognition that the materialist project which has so dominated all life since the rise of Age of Reason in the 18th Century is crumbling, and a new world order or paradigm is emerging. Materialism has brought us incredible advances, but is bringing our planet and the systems governing our collective lives, to a dangerous edge.

The new paradigm emerging, in essence, invites us to respect and work with the ecological balance of our home planet. It also invites us to recognise that there are many levels to “Reality” – the material level is just one of these. It is not suggesting that we should attempt to put the genie of progress back in the bottle and recreate a “Golden Age” which never existed.

It invites us to go forward into the future bearing the best that scientific and material progress has to offer, but also the best of what human civilisation has distilled over its six thousand years of social evolution which offers proven nourishment of both a physical and spiritual nature to all life on Planet Earth.

We can see evidence of this new paradigm’s emergence all over the planet in large and small ways. To give just one example, the principles of the “Slow Food” movement which began in Italy over two decades ago have taken root and flourished all over the world.

All of us, at a collective, local, and personal level have a part we can play in this paradigm shift. 

What’s happening where you are?

Do let me know! In the meantime, let’s go local to look at interesting developments promoting creative change in my home city of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. I have chosen to highlight the activities of two local communities with which I am personally involved.

They are both making small but significant contributions to reversing the upward trend towards increased unhappiness which excessive preoccupation with material goals has produced over the last thirty years. The first seeks to promote spiritually nurturing links between adults, children and Nature. The second, the spiritually nurturing cultivation of inner peace via silent contemplation…..

At this very moment my friend and colleague, psychologist, researcher, blogger and independent thinker, wife, mother of two and local activist Emily Cutts is busy mobilising us locally through her Enough’s Enough, Ditch the Stuff movement which seeks to get parents and children outdoors, away from computers and expensive gadgets and towards shared experiences in nature. We have a wonderful woodland and meadow right on our doorstep here in G20 and Emily’s efforts plus great support and enthusiasm from local volunteers, have got around a thousand parents and children out there having a terrific time in recent weeks.

A big Ditch the Stuff event is happening in North Kelvin Meadow, G20, on Sunday 15th July 2012 1-4pm. Try to be there!

 Meadow in the City

Meadow in the City

photo: Anne Whitaker

Have you ever been to St Mary’s Cathedral, 300 Great Western Road, Glasgow G4?

Led by Provost Kelvin Holdsworth, the community at St Mary’s – open, inclusive, welcoming to people of all faiths and all spiritual seekers – is also doing its bit at a local level to promote the values and practices of the new paradigm I have been describing, especially in relation to helping those who need to find some inner peace in the increasing outer noise and freneticism of our collective life.

St Mary’s offers a programme of times for reflection – silence in the city – during this autumn 2012. It operates on a drop-in basis, open to anyone needing a time of peace and silence. The Open Silence operates to a rhythm of two one-hour slots per month, lunchtime and evening, available on the following dates:

Sunday August 19th from 8-9 pm, then Thursday August 23rd from 12.30-1.30pm

Sunday September 16th from 8-9 pm, then Thursday September 20th from 12.30-1.30pm

Sunday October 21st from 8-9 pm, then Thursday October 25th from 12.30-1.30pm

Sunday November 18th from  8-9 pm, then Thursday November 22nd from 12.30-1.30pm

These drop-in hours are free, although any donations to St Mary’s Cathedral funds are always welcome! Anyone can come along, for as long as feels comfortable – you don’t have to stay for the whole hour, but please do leave quietly. You can sit anywhere you wish in the Cathedral during your visit. Gentle music and a brief introduction from Vice-Provost Cedric Blakey begins the hour, music again draws the hour to a close. Candles are lit throughout to help you to connect to your time of peace.

Silence, prayer, peace....

Silence, prayer, peace….

Could any readers who would like to promote these valuable local events be kind enough to pass on the link to this post to anyone on their networks who might be interested? Thanks!!

NOTE

A major inspiration for setting up St Mary’s Cathedral’s The Open Silence was provided by the series of programmes presented by Christopher Jamison, Abbot of Worth Abbey, in 2010,  ‘The Big Silence’, in which five participants  were “……invited to take the wisdom of silence found in the monastery……” and carry it back into their everyday lives.

Father Jamison is convinced that everyone – atheist, agnostic, lapsed, uncertain, seeking – can benefit from sustained, regular periods of silence. “When we enter into periods of silence, we start to see things with greater clarity. We come to know ourselves, and come in touch with that deepest part of ourselves. That is our soul.”

If  readers are interested in reading more about this project, which I – and many others I spoke to – found moving, challenging and inspiring – click HERE.

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1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Quantum physics, astrology and paranormal experience: why not?

The drive to understand why we are here and what our lives are for, allied to a profound curiosity about just about everything, has certainly powered my journey through life. I am basically a rational pragmatist in my approach. But I got to my fifties, a time when anyone with any reflective capacity begins to look back at their life experiences and patterns, in an attempt to make some sense of it all.

I had to face the fact that a series of experiences had accumulated over the course of thirty years which I had largely kept to myself. Why? Because they did not fit the parameters of what our culture defines as normal. But memories of these experiences did not go away because I had tried to ignore their existence. They simply lurked, permanently provoked by my refusal to attend to them.

Furthermore, a career I had never aspired to in my wildest dreams, ie that of being a professional astrologer, had been correctly predicted for me in my twenties following a chance encounter with a complete stranger when I was not at all receptive to, or welcoming of, that type of information.

My First Horoscope

Through my studies of astrology I discovered a universe replete with correspondences, and saturated with meaning. 

I embarked on those studies for one major reason: the notion that you could read the significant patterns of a person’s life from marks on a piece of paper set my innate curiosity, and my rational pragmatism, a challenge I simply could not resist.

By deciding properly to investigate a subject which I couldn’t believe could have any value, but which in practical terms had demonstrated great accuracy about me and my life, I opened up a great adventure for myself and for many students and clients who joined me on the road. Dismissing the whole thing, with the kind of closed minded fundamentalist prejudice which gives true science a bad name, would have closed the adventure down before it ever began.

The conclusion I came to, after eighteen years as a practising astrologer and teacher – before my 2001 health collapse stopped my career in its tracks for a very long time – was that astrology is another form of physics, revealing as quantum physics does the dance of universal energies of which we are all part. But astrology causes grave offence to conventional minds, by moving from mapping the movement of patterns of energy through space/time within our solar system – via mathematical calculations no astronomer could fault – to ascribing meaning to those patterns….

The intuitive experience of mystics through the ages and the experimental data of contemporary scientists converges in the understanding that all things are connected, each tiny particle part of and interacting with the One – or the Quantum Vacuum / Zero Point Field if you prefer the terms of quantum physics.

On surveying all my paranormal experiences, there are three which stand out as the most powerful.

These are the first, in July 1970 when I was  visiting my paternal grandparents’ grave for the first time. From this arose an experience of universal grief at the pain of the human condition, channelling through the personal. ( Grief – personal and collective) 1

Then there was the mystical experience I had in autumn 1971, newly in love and responding to the timeless sound of the pipes in a beautiful natural setting at dusk, making me feel a blissful, fearless part of all Creation. (Mystical Experience2

And most recently, in September 1999 the seeming attempt by my mother-in-law’s spirit to communicate something of great urgency for her to my husband, startled me even more by giving rise to the collective ‘babble’ of apparent spirit voices attempting to use me as their channel. (From the Beyond: Mediumship ) 3

At the time one is too caught up in the power, drama and sheer unexpectedness of such events to have any perspective at all. It is only on reflection – and I have reflected on those episodes intermittently for a very long time – that the full impact of  their very strange, alien and disturbing nature registers, and the ‘why me?’ question arises. The only answer I can come up with after thirty years is ‘why not me?’.

(Although my horoscope provides a very clear answer, symbolically)

I am left with the somewhat unsettling sensation that my small person, for reasons entirely beyond my ken, functioned briefly in those episodes as some kind of collective instrument. Despite the unnerving nature of two out of the three, and their disturbing effect, they also left me over time, especially through the mystical experience which was a great comfort and inspiration, feeling clearly that I was a tiny but unique part of something vast.

This feeling, despite all my struggles with a naturally sceptical bent, has never left me. I have thus been able to draw on it for comfort in some very bleak and painful times in my life. It has also helped me to come to terms with one of the central paradoxes of all our lives : “I  am special, and I am not.” At every level in nature, the minute can provide us with glimpses of the vast – in which everything, no matter how small, has its unique part to play.

Those experiences, which I have come to regard as precious, have shown me that, as journalist Lynne McTaggart, author of ‘The Field’ (2003), puts it:

“We are not isolated beings living desperate lives on a lonely planet in an indifferent universe. What we do and say is critical in creating our world. You are and always were part of a larger whole.” 

Footnotes

1,2,3,  These three are the only ones so far which I have submitted for publication: all have been published in the UK and the USA.

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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