Sylvia Cranston – A Tribute
- Published: Friday, 29 September 2017 11:03
We remember Sylvia Cranston, AKA Anita Atkins (December 12, 1915 – June 20, 2000)
Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson, Paul Zwollo, Dora van Gelder-Kunz, John H. Drais, Dara Eklund and Geoffrey Farthing. In this issue we will remember Sylvia Cranston, nom de plume for ANITA ATKINS.
Anita Atkins in England, the summer of 1978 while attending Sir George Trevelyan’s three-day Wrekin Trust Conference on Reincarnation. Here she delivered the opening lecture entitled, The ModernReincarnation Renaissance. The photograph was taken while en route to a BBC interview
Why do we honor people? What is it that moves us to give credit and show admiration for those who are no longer on our plane? Each one of us might have a particular reason to do so, or not, but it is axiomatic that if we want to know who and where we are, we need to know where we’re from. Only thus will it be clear to us which direction our future lies. Those who left us their legacies such as their thoughts, music, paintings, sculptures or any other art form, like poetry and literature, help remind us who we are. With that awareness we are able to move forward. It is not so much the honor those who passed away took with them, but it is about the heritage they left behind. It is our privilege to benefit and be inspired by valuing that heritage.
In the land of Theosophists, we do not honor others so often since, and in my opinion erroneously, it is associated with the personal. We are told that this is what we should disengage from. However, remembering or honoring someone actually reveals much about who we are, recognizing our own here and now. Honoring past achievement, whether by someone who is with us or who is no longer with us on this plane, inspires while fulfilling our present dreams and ideals. Anita Atkins left us a phenomenal legacy, not only through what she offered to us as an author of a number of very significant books, but also through what she demonstrated as a woman and an unselfish human being who dedicated her entire life to the Cause. From what I now understand, she was hard working, modest, sincere and even a little shy, not really desiring to stand in the limelight.
A fact that is overlooked by many is that through her writings Anita Atkins actually built bridges connecting the various Theosophical streams. Although ULT based, her works were, and still are appreciated by all who are assembled in the Theosophical movement, irrespective of background or tradition. In this respect she fulfilled pioneer’s work, perhaps even without realizing that herself. As I suggested in my write up for a previous tribute, the one we paid to Geoffrey Farthing, I would argue that Anita as well would have been very pleased to see that nowadays, the various Theosophical traditions are regularly coming together on the platform of International Theosophical Conferences (ITC), sharing and studying the core of Theosophy through what H.P.B. passed on to us.