“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.

Spiral of Rebirth
Spiral of Rebirth

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!



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


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.


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.

Atmospheric, or what?!
Atmospheric, or what?!

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…


500 words Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

That toad, writing: still here after all these years….

Well, it’s clear from a number of emails and a few comments received, that “Why must that toad, writing, squat on my life?– part one –  hit the spot with a number of fellow writers! My favourite story for luring the reluctant writer to the toad-dominated desk was the one about the luscious bacon sandwich, all crispy with lashings of butter on extremely tasty sourdough bread, made the night before and left, wrapped in foil, sitting on the laptop as an irresistible morning bribe. Try it!

( yes, maybe there is a vegetarian option.Just haven’t come up with it yet….)  

My Writing Cave
My Writing Cave

photo: Anne Whitaker

Now, as I was saying….

For the first seven years of self-employment, my writing skills were channelled and honed some more. I wrote case notes for my counselling and astrology client files, confidential reports for GPs and psychiatrists, and endless handouts for my assertiveness training courses and astrology classes. Students were presented in every class with flurries of A4 sheets in a rainbow of colours. Goodness only knows what they did with them all.

“ You should be an English teacher, or a writer, Anne,” said a student one day.“ This astrology lark obviously doesn’t fulfill your literary side!”

“ Thanks for a very helpful and illuminating suggestion,” was my sarcastic reply.

By the early nineties, the writer in me must have decided that hiding her light under a bushel of other professional pursuits was no longer sufficient. In 1992 I had my first submission for many years accepted and published by a feisty new Scottish feminist magazine called Harpies and Quines ( their name briefly got them into a fight with Harpers & Queens!)

Between 1992 and 2001 I had some forty pieces of journalism, articles and essays published in a wide range of magazines, journals and newspapers from The Mountain Astrologer(USA) to Scotland’s award winning newspaper The Sunday Herald. I was the agony aunt in their “Mindworks”  supplement during the summer of 1999.

Then, at the end of 2001 I keeled over completely following a prolonged family crisis which triggered a menopause from hell. My sabbatical was mandatory; for months I could barely get out of bed. Life was a matter of surviving not merely from one day to the next but from hour to hour, racked as I was by acute anxiety, flushes, palpitations, chronic insomnia and exhaustion – all brought on by burnout and a severe hormone imbalance.

Did this shut the writer up? Not a bit of it. For the first six months, as a central plank in my sanity-saving strategy, I kept a daily ‘Gratitude Journal’. No matter how bad the day had been, each night I wrote down six things for which I was grateful, no matter how small.

For nearly two years I kept an imagery journal, to record the astonishing guiding imagery which arose spontaneously without any conscious intention or effort on my part. I still keep a brief daily diary and a weekly perspective journal.

Nine months after collapsing, I felt able to stagger into my office one or two afternoons a week. The very slow completion of my first book over the next year gave me a creative focus, which was a huge help in the protracted process of recovery. The book is titillatingly titled “Jupiter meets Uranus: from erotic bathing to star gazing– but is in fact a research study of the individual and collective manifestations of the 1997 Jupiter Uranus planetary conjunction, set in its mythological and historical context. It was published by the American Federation of Astrologers in April 2009.

I had a variety of articles on various topics published during 2001-7, and spent much of 2007 completing the first draft of Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness: a sceptic’s take on paranormal experience”, a memoir and rational analysis of thirty years’ intermittent (and not very welcome) paranormal experiences. Then came the setting up of this blog, which to my great amazement has now been going for over five years.

I serialised Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness on the blog from 2o10-12. It was so well received and commented on that I decided to publish it as a downloadable pdf. Note: available now!

And then, last year, under the spare bed in my husband’s study gathering dust, I found the manuscript of a children’s poetry book I had written thirty five years ago which was beautifully illustrated by an artist friend, Albert Ennemoser. Then, publishers loved it but said “Sorry, it would be too expensive to publish”. So we forgot about it and got on with life.

Now, thanks to the web – and digital printing –Rumbold Raven’s Magic Menagerie” , eighteen short poems featuring an eccentric, colourful assortment of animal characters: Dorelia the extinct Dodo, Feeble Fred the dozy frog, delightfully dreamy Salome Seahorse, and wellyboot-wearing Tiger Tigbaloo to name but a few, is now published.

Its first well-received incarnation is in pdf form, available from this blog. Hopefully, the print version will be out very, very soon, courtesy of BookViral. I am really looking forward to that! And so is granddaughter Lola, the inspiration for the book’s resurrection, to whom the book is dedicated.

And what next? Well, I have a few ideas bubbling away. The toad is croaking seductively in my left ear, even as I write…..I don’t think he will ever go away…..would I want him to? What do you think?

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page