Free press: a synchronistic tale

Living a life where you notice synchronicity at play brings so much more enjoyment, meaning and thrill. Look what they just found at Reading Uni (see video below), now on display in my old hall of residence where I lived for two years…a very funny synchronicity since I just got back from four days in the Amsterdam “Ink Hotel“, eating meals in the Pressroom Restaurant, located in what was once the premises of the historic De Tidj newspaper. Almost every wall there was lined in reproductions newspaper cuttings or  inky drawings by artist Jan Rothuizen and we had to assume that where we slept must have been converted from its earlier use as some part of the process of churning out newspapers during some quite fascinating times in Dutch history.


Click to visit the Anne Frank Museum website

Even before (especially while) I was there, I couldn’t help wondering what went on in that building during the German occupation in WWII. From our bed, we could hear the beautiful chime of Westerkerk, just steps away from Anne Frank’s hiding place and, I found myself thinking, a sound she must have lay there listening to all the time during her two years spent living in the so-called secret annex during those occupied years. Wikipedia confirms: “The Westertoren is mentioned frequently in her diary – its clock-face on the tower could be seen from the attic of the Achterhuis and Anne Frank described the chiming of the carillon as a source of comfort”.)  Her diary was one of the first of the countless piles of war-themed biographys and books that I recently spoke about reading as an adolescent (in my post Testament of One) and certainly one which affected me very deeply so to hear those same chimes marking time in our room was very meaningful to me. In fact it was all the more poignant for the fact I was free to leave my own room to enjoy the streets of Amsterdam whenever I liked…

I’ve looked for, yet not found, any details of what happened to De Tidj during the occupation years but can only assume that the words that they printed were no longer “free” during that window. By contrast, the Dutch ran underground newspapers throughout the period 1940-45 (and, by 1943, Professor N.W. Posthumus, the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, had already begun to collect Dutch underground newspapers, at great personal risk; growing the collection after the war – you can view more about this on the British Library website). The printed word has become a very symbol of freedom; more particularly, of the freedom to speak our personal truth, whatever politics or other power games happen to be playing out in our world…in fact, even more so, in such circumstances. And it all started with William Caxton, without whom the means to reproduce and distribute one piece of writing many times would never have been possible.

"Pandora" pre-Raphaelite painting JD Bitten

The big reveal – see my post on Pandora’s Box

And so it all comes back to the man whose small fragment of handiwork has just been uncovered in the archives of the university where I studied for my English Literature and Language degree and which (with mind-blowing synchronicity) is now on display in my old hall of residence, now the Museum of English Rural Life, where I laid my head for two very significant years of my life, joining dots with how I just stayed at the Ink Hotel until yesterday. The coincidence is more mind-blowing still since I shared another story of something lost being refound to the historic building that was once my university “digs” (a painting of Pandora of the infamous box…) when I wrote about my reunion there just the other week in my post Out of the Box. In that, I played with themes such as the opening of boxes, the revealing of secrets, the uncovering of what lies hidden, the liberation of what has been suppressed, the releasing – in particular – of the feminine aspect (which is everything to do with expression) that has been kept under lock-and-key for just so very long, historically speaking. Across those locked-away years, we have always had those few individuals (sometimes, but not always, females) who have been prepared to express themselves in spite of how hard their circumstances made it for them to do so and Anne Frank was one such “feminine” impulse; a pre-wave of the coming feminine age as the Eighth Wave of humanity’s evolution started to roll in (search for all my posts about the Nine Waves of Creation for much more on this). Through her determination to put word to paper and “be heard”, she was an early impulse of that coming era in action; a compelled (and compelling) counter force to her own incarceration, using the medium of free speech, quite regardless of whether she personally believed her words would ever be discovered or read so widely as they have now been. Let her determination to express herself anyway be a reminder to all of us who have that impulse to write truth from our heart yet so often lose motivation, thinking there is no point since we believe nobody will ever read what we have to say…

Having so recently seen the almost perpetual queue to visit the Anne Frank museum snaking around the pavements next to Westerkirk once again whilst staying in my Ink-y hotel until yesterday, I had to smile as all this came together with the perfectly-timed press release in my own local newspaper today about the Caxton find (“University of Reading staff find 500-year-old William Caxton print worth £100,000” in Get Reading 9th May 2017). The printed word seems to be shouting out at me from my residences past and present; and maybe I am alone in finding marvellous synchronicity in all of this but to me as the compulsive writer of words (whether I have an audience or no…), the coincidences I have found in this speak absolute volumes!

Final note:

In an age where the femine is recalibrating to come into closer balance with the more masculine impulses that have dominated our world for so long, it can feel as though there is reveal after reveal after reveal of what was always there but which we either failed to notice or give voice to. And so, yet again, a great truism of humanity rings out from the Get Reading article about the Caxton find (which echoes the Pandora find) – it is “astonishing that it has been under our noses for so long”.



About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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