Here you can read extracts from my many articles published in a range of newspapers, journals, magazines and websites over the last decade, starting in 1999 and pausing at the end of 2007, from which point I became focused on publishing two books: “Jupiter Meets Uranus “( 2009) and “Wisps from the dazzling darkness” (2010) and on continuing to write regularly for this site : “Writing from the Twelfth House”.
I am open to requests for articles, essays and guest blog posts, on themes which reflect my interest in “mystery, meaning, pattern and purpose.”
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….from work published prior to Winter 2001-Spring 2004 sabbatical:
1. Extracted from Face up to Feelings from “The Problem Page” where I was Agony Aunt for four issues of the Mindworks supplement, THE SUNDAY HERALD, UK (Summer 1999)
“ Q : Sometimes I feel like weeping when I hear a wonderful piece of music, and I find it hard to watch the news because the pain of the world affects me so.Yet I can’t bring myself to let friends or family see the depth of my feeling for life, or for them. What can I do?
A : You can begin by valuing the fact that you are a rich enough human being to be able to experience both joy and sorrow at a deep level.Without people capable of that response,we would have no great painting, literature or music, or any of the gifts of imagination or feeling that make life worth living.Then you have a choice. Either stay behind your protective wall and accept the way you are; choose to live with it.Or start taking small emotional risks.Those you love might be a little embarrassed at first by your unexpected expression of feeling–but there are few people who don’t enjoy an affectionate hug or a few words of praise or appreciation. Try it!. ”
2. “Celebrating the Joyful Child ” APOLLON, UK (April 2000)
“ Stepping outside revealed a magical night–thick snow floating down in the still, cold air, trees blanketed, ground covered. I couldn’t resist it. Making a few snowballs, I threw them at a tree at the far end of the garden. Pretty good aim still! The Sheriff and my husband joined in–three middle aged folk, happily hurling snowballs around like a bunch of six year olds. We strolled back to the hotel, feeling very cheerful.“That kid in you is still alive and well, isn’t she?!” my husband remarked. I realise that she is, and feel so grateful for it.”
3. “Happiness and the healing power of nature” INNERSELF MAGAZINE, USA (April 2000)
“ 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. 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.”
4. “Life’s Cosmic Regulator – the Cycles of the Sun and Moon” KINDRED SPIRIT MAGAZINE, UK (August 2000)
“ This time last year we were all waiting with excitement and apprehension for the Total Solar Eclipse, the last of the millenium, falling on 11 August 1999. Nostrodamus’ famous four-line verse(ii) was being analysed by everyone from erudite academics to tabloid journalists. Half the world seemed to be planning to holiday in the south-west of England, where the eclipse in its totality would fleetingly turn day into night. Predictions abounded, from the end of the world as we knew it, to Paris going up in flames.
One year on we’re still here, along with the world as we know it, and Paris….”
….from work published from Spring 2004 onwards :
1. “Mary Shelley – Frankenstein’s Creator” CONSIDERATIONS MAGAZINE (USA) May 2004
‘In her portrayal of the questing, brilliant, restless, hubristic Dr Frankenstein prepared to take on the role of Creator in his ruthless pursuit of scientific progress unfettered by moral concerns or even self-doubt, and in her portrayal of the intelligent, sensitive, lonely, alienated and ultimately destructive Monster, she is offering through her famous novel a warning for the future – and presenting us with an essential duality of the century in which we live.’
2. ‘Are you now, or have you ever been….distracted ?’ THE WOMEN WRITERS NETWORK NEWSLETTER (UK) June/July 04 Issue
‘ I can see you. The spray can of heavy duty industrial oven cleaner parked on the kitchen floor is a dead give away. Peel off those rubber gloves, stop pretending that your family will drop dead of food poisoning tonight if you don’t clean those charred meal residues insulating the inside of the oven right away. Follow me. Yes, just as I thought. The study door is ajar. I can see the laptop screen from here. Closer….yes, that’s it. Don’t die of embarrassment, it won’t help. A new document is open on screen. A title?
“ (nb. provisional ) Of authorship and toads….” ’
3. ‘My hero the villain’ winner of Highly Commended award in the Jo Cowell international short story competition (UK) October 2004
“ Archie’s mother was out. The radio was on, blaring out Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”, his latest hit. I hate it. Archie says it’s because I’m too young to know heartbreak; he is twelve, but I’m only nine, and a girl. I was suggesting digging to Australia during our holidays. He was sitting with his feet up on the kitchen table, cutting lumps off a slab of butter, rolling each lump in sugar, tossing it in the air and trying to catch it in his mouth. Swinging his feet down, he nodded.
“Yeah, that’s a great idea.” He made for the door. “Come on! We’d better pick a good site before it gets dark.” It was two o’clock in the afternoon.”
1. ‘From the beyond’ ATRIAD PRESS (USA) Haunted Encounters anthology February 2005
“ I was born on the Celtic fringes of the British Isles….. There is a long tradition there of what is known in Scotland as the Second Sight–a faculty of seeing the future, being able to see the spirits of the dead–and at times of knowing when people are going to die. My maternal grandmother had been known for possessing the Sight.We never spoke of it, but my mother had it to a less marked degree. And the Sight wisped in and out of my life: episodically, unbidden, unpredictable….and unwanted.
I did not want it now.”
2. ‘Chaise longue, laptop and lapsang souchong – a midlife take on this writing game’ THE WOMEN WRITERS NETWORK NEWSLETTER (UK) June/July 05 Issue
“It is early afternoon; time for a rest. Reclining comfortably, laptop on thighs, sipping a delicious, smoky cup of lapsang souchong, I am composing my latest masterpiece. What a relaxed life! I feel content and peaceful – today.
Tomorrow, I could be wracked with palpitations, and feel so tired as to be barely able to go out. My energy is very unstable. I think I had a good night’s sleep sometime in 2002. Having been a technicolour worrier all my life, there was only one thing I omitted. The menopause. It retired me in December 2001.”
3. ‘Just let me get old, ok?’ CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE (UK) Autumn/Winter 05 Issue
“Let me introduce myself – I’m a woman of wealth and taste. I feel wealthy in experience, in loving connections, in my talents, in such wisdom as I’ve managed to distil from life’s inevitable pains. My taste is to savour and treasure life’s small gifts : the first fresh buds of spring emerging after a wet harsh Scottish winter, my little nephew’s occasional impulsive loving hugs and kisses. My taste is also for taking time : to be quiet, be alone, to read, to walk in Nature, to reflect on what my fifty seven years has meant and what may be to come.
You won’t find me in the gym, sweating it out with my peers whose main motivation is to keep age at bay. I’m not saving up for my first facelift. I don’t look enviously at fresh faces and taut bodies. Whilst celebrating their youth, I am glad to be no longer young.”
4. ‘Astrology: a Healing & Wounding Art’ CONSIDERATIONS MAGAZINE (USA) Nov 2005
“ As Man takes the first steps towards assuming the mantle of the Divine, in presuming the right to begin re-weaving the very fabric of life to no particularily evident pattern, we need teleological frameworks more than ever.This need is reflected in the proliferation of paths on the quest for meaning which seem to be opening up as this new millenium begins. The longest trodden of them all, now in its seventh millenium, is astrology. Not only has it survived the onslaught of contemporary science – but may even be seen in some quarters to be making alliances with it !”
1. Book Review – ‘MAGNIFICAT’ MAGAZINE (UK) March 2006
‘After the Ecstasy, the Laundry’
How the heart grows wise on the spiritual path by Jack Kornfield
“Kornfield has a deep well of experience to draw from: a Buddhist monk in the late Sixties in Thailand, he has since lived with and taught with monks, mystics, students and teachers from many religious traditions in different parts of the world. He also holds a PhD in clinical psychology and practises as a psychotherapist and meditation teacher.
The book is a moving and fascinating account of how the contemporary spiritual journey unfolds, with all the difficulties those choosing such a path must face, whatever the depth of their faith, its religious context, or their position in the world. He accounts for the universality of spiritual longing very simply:
“There is a part of each of us that knows eternity as surely as we know our own name….” “
2.‘Just let me get old, ok?’ CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE (UK) Spring/Summer 06 Issue
Learning to do slow….
“Loch Duich, summer 2001. What a beautiful morning! Here I am, strolling along a lochside path, savouring sweet fresh Highland air, gazing across the loch to majestic mountains beyond. The subtle perfume of gorse is wonderful – like mild coconut. This morning, its scent is drifting on the breeze. Stopping to smell some gorse flowers, admiring their vivid yellow, my attention is caught by an enormous bee, browsing slowly but purposefully.For a long time I stand watching it at work. Suddenly, I am overcome with sheer happiness and gratitude at being in this beautiful spot, with nothing to do but watch a giant bee….”
3. ‘ Sea as Church’ ‘MAGNIFICAT’ MAGAZINE (UK) June 2006
‘ The mind-calming, meditative facets of sea, and centuries-old church ritual, can lull us into peace, calming the heart and uplifting the spirit. Both sea and Church in their differing ways can restore a sense of the balance and interweaving of matter and spirit – “spirit is a lighter form of matter, matter is a denser form of spirit” – and provide a reminder that the small, limited, mundane world which we inhabit is set to the compass of Eternity.”
4.‘Just let me get old, ok?’ CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE (UK) Autumn/Winter 06 Issue
Order, chaos and carpe diem….
“ Buddhism advises us to hold very lightly to order, knowing it can turn at a blink to chaos; and to walk into chaos, regarding it as ‘very good news’ in the challenging words of renowned teacher Chogyam Trungpa.. Clinging to outdated structures whilst the storms of life are tearing down everything familiar, usually doesn’t work. ‘Leaning into the sharp points’, trying to face and learn from upheaval, is a more fruitful strategy. But its rewards may take time to become evident, and it can be very hard to find the trust that new order will eventually emerge.”
1. ‘ Winter Nights – embracing the darkness’ ‘MAGNIFICAT’ MAGAZINE (UK) Winter/Spring 2007
“We need the dark. Within the year’s natural cycle, the diurnal alternation of light and dark brings restful silence at night and the restorative power of sleep, without which all creatures including us would burn out and die before their time. We are in danger of forgetting this – at our peril – as an increasingly technology-driven culture sweeps the world, creating the illusion that we can live sustainably and healthily in defiance of the ancient rhythyms set by the great cycles of nature”.
2.‘Just let me get old, ok?’ CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE (UK) Spring/Summer 07 Issue
A sceptic’s take on strangeness
“Decades of hearing other people’s stories, many of them in the peace and confidentiality of the consulting room, others in pubs, at bus stops, on holidays, in class, chance encounters with people on trains, launderettes, etc etc have also convinced me, added to my extensive reading in physics and cosmology, that the solid material world we think we inhabit is only a thin slice of a much richer and more complex multi-dimensional Reality. Most of it is entirely beyond our ken most of the time. But there are times, neither predictable nor within our control, when some kind of Otherness appears, challenging our conventional ideas of what reality or consciousness is.”
3.‘Just let me get old, ok?’ CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE (UK) Autumn/Winter 07 Issue
Connection, disconnection – reconnection
“The Botanic Gardens in Glasgow, Kirklee gate. Spring sunshine and the sharp tang of flowering currant. Birds singing cheerily as they nest. A light breeze rustling fresh green leaves. Walking briskly uphill toward the rose garden, I am filled with gratitude for my returned vitality, and the simple, lively beauty of the morning.
I smile at everyone in passing; mostly they smile back. A young woman heads downhill. Her ears are plugged with her I Pod. She is looking down at her mobile, texting as she goes. She looks tense. She does not notice me smiling at her. I feel a great pang of sadness for this girl – and for her generation, many of whom I have observed in this same park, totally disconnected from Nature in the very same way.
This small incident reveals how we have increasingly handed over the organising and patterning of our lives to technology and cyberspace, creating a work-obsessed 24/7 culture. But 2006/7 seems to be a turning point; it is dawning on us that we cannot live sustainably and healthily in defiance of the ancient rhythms of nature.”
Anne Whitaker MA Dip Ed Dip Social Work Dip Psych Astrol
copyright Anne Whitaker 2008/12
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