Atkins and Pheonix
posted November 2011

Anita Atkins

The Mother of Timeless Books

Anita Atkins is a woman whose story deserves to be retold and savored.

Having died in 2000, she is no longer Anita Atkins yet lives on in the physical world through the five books that she co-wrote between 1961 and 1993. (Two of those are favorite references for this writer.)

But what’s the big deal, you say? I will try to explain.

• Anita’s formal education ended with high school graduation. Thereafter, she was self taught.

• Anita’s first book came out when she was 46, the last when she was 78.

• In her latter years, Anita worked and wrote while dealing with the nervous system effects of Parkinson’s disease.

• Anita never married. But, she was the Mother of  Timeless books. 

• She devoted her life to writing, teaching, lecturing and spreading the Truth as she understood it.

• At the age of sixteen, Anita's heart was pierced by a simple proclamation which had been made 25 years before she was born.

• In response,  she began compiling what great thinkers, writers, artists, psychologists, composers and philosophers thought on two important subjects.

• Anita supported herself by working at a five-and-ten-cents store, the Eastern News Distribution Company, and by managing the New York United Lodge until her retirement.

• As an author, Anita never spent the royalties from her books on herself, but used that money to donate her books to libraries worldwide.

• Outwardly, Anita was extremely shy, self-effacing, and wrote under a pseudonym about extraordinary ideas and amazing people.

The Rest of Anita's Story

Anita Atkins was born on December 12, 1915, and grew up in the Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York. Though both her parents were committed Theosophists, it took until her teenage years before Atkins attended her own first meeting, Thereafter despite her extreme shyness, Miss Atkins went to every possible United Lodge of Theosophy meeting.

Anita became devoted to Theosophy and read every word that Helena P. Blavatsky published, not once but many times. (15,000 - 20,000 pages) THE keynote that sounded as a call for Anita to serve the worldwide Theosophical Movement was HPB's message to the fourth annual (1890) American Convention at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, in which HPB stated:

“The Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man the reincarnating Ego. We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate that system of life and thought, which alone can save the coming races. Do not work merely for the Theosophical Society, but through it for Humanity.”

Anita's heart was “pierced” thereby so that at the age of sixteen she began compiling what thinkers the world around had to say throughout history on the subject of death and reincarnation. What started as an appendix to a publication for the Theosophical Society grew into a volume of its own.

A Theosophist in Los Angeles advised Anita to select a pen name and have her work published as a separate book by a New York publishing house. Anita thus became Sylvia or S. L. Cranston, for all the books she published.

Phoenix Fire Mystery Cover

Anita's first three books were compiled & edited with co-author Joseph Head:
Reincarnation: An East-West Anthology (1961),
Reincarnation in World Thought (1967), and
Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery (1977).
Her fourth was written in collaboration with Carey Williams:
Reincarnation: A New Horizon in Science, Religion and Society (1984).

HPB Biography Cover

Atkins's last book  became a tribute:
HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky,
Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement when published in 1993.
Anita wrote this last volume with the assistance of Carey Williams
while suffering with Parkinson's disease.

Anita Atkins aka S. L. Cranston died on June 20, 2000.
All her Cranston books remain in print today in many languages around the world.

Anita Atkins's lifelong wish was that the ideas of Theosophy
be used to benefit humanity through gentle acts of service.
Clearly, Sylvia Cranston believed that
spreading knowledge and understanding of Karma and Reincarnation
are of keen importance in growing, loving and serving humanity.


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