Dowsing and HypnotherapyA talk by David Ward at North Hill Village Hall
Some talks can be quite soporific - in fact,
sometimes you can be nodding off within a few minutes of the introduction. We’ve all been there. This talk was, as they say, something completely different. In essence, it was a just a hypnotist describing the history and process of hypnotism
- yet it was far, far too interesting to allow your attention to stray.
David Ward (or Dave as he prefers) is a well-qualified and very experienced Clinical Hypnotherapist, based near Camelford. He is also a long-standing member of the British Society of Dowsers. His presentation showed clearly that dowsing and hypnotherapy are very much fellow travellers in their quests.
Most of Dave’s work involves the well-understood world (at least, it’s well- understood by a hypnotherapist) of stress relief, phobias and addictions. He is almost relieved when someone comes to his clinic wanting to be detached from the need to smoke, or relieved of a fear of spiders, as he knows that, in most cases, he can help them. It’s the bread and butter of his practice. His own training was rooted in this practical, medical, scientific area of the field - but his interest in the subject didn’t stop there.
He was initially inspired by the father of modern hypnotism, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Mesmer is famous for using volunteers to carry out large numbers of experiments, which seemed to imply that humans, and possibly other creatures, possess a level of non-physical communication that could not be explained by the science of the day (nor, for that matter, by the science of today).
Dave would love to re-examine Mesmer’s work and one day to write a book about him, but Mesmer - like mesmerism - has fallen out of favour. From virtually a standing start, and with only his own research to work on, Mesmer made some remarkable discoveries that formed the bedrock of what would later become known as hypnotism. However, in the absence of a giant’s shoulders to stand on, Mesmer drew conclusions (notably, that the ability for transpersonal thought was a form of ‘animal magnetism’) that drew scorn from his successors.
In a way, Mesmer occupies much the same position in his field that Guy Underwood holds in Earth Energy Dowsing; a man at the forefront of his science, who made a connection too far, and suffered ridicule in hindsight. But just as Billy Gawn has recently re-evaluated the groundbreaking work of Underwood, so Dave Ward is all for a re-appraisal of the significance of Franz Mesmer.
Another former leading researcher of the mind was, of course, Sigmund Freud. Although Freud’s star continues to wane, he did at least come up with the revolutionary hypothesis that what we can access with our conscious mind is just the tip of the mental iceberg. In certain circumstances, we can drag out information from our subconscious, but most of our experience is submerged in the unconscious, where it remains unavailable to the conscious self.
Hypnosis is a tool that enables a person, with the aid of a therapist, to drill down in a structured way into those unconscious depths. It could be argued that this is also exactly what we are doing when we use dowsing tools. Carl Jung (1875-1961) took Freud’s line of reasoning in another direction by postulating that the unconscious is not just the preserve of the individual, but that it is available to everyone - a collective unconscious. The tide of history now looks to be flowing in Jung’s direction, but the jury is still out . . .
The word ‘hypnotism’ itself (coined by the Scottish surgeon, James Braid, 1795-1860, and derived from the Greek root hypnos, meaning sleep) is a complete misnomer. The whole point about hypnosis - in parallel with both dowsing and meditation - is that the client is deeply relaxed, but completely awake. If you have gone to sleep, you’ve taken a wrong turning!
Many of Dave’s routine cases have issues that relate to episodes that have happened earlier in their lives - episodes that may have been blanked out by the affected person for any number of quite understandable reasons. The work of the hypnotist is to guide the client back through their life to discover, and then to address, the problem under investigation. This process mirrors the work of the dowser, as it is simply the search for vital information, unavailable to gross five senses. Only once this information has been retrieved, can true healing begin.
The leap into the unknown occurs when the client under hypnosis regresses deeper and deeper into their earliest memories, until they transcend the veil into a previous cycle. Such journeys of self-discovery can take a person back through several generations (or should that be regenerations?) until they reach the source of the problem that is manifesting itself in the present day. Past life regression is a process that has had sceptics and practitioners alike groping in time and space for a comprehensible mechanism. Yet, if Billy Gawn is right, and we are all just dowsing at the level of information, then both remote dowsing and past life regression are just different ways of accessing information at a distance.
By way of an encore, Dave offered the whole group the opportunity to experience a past life regression for themselves. While the conditions were hardly perfect for such a grand undertaking, it was revealing that after few minutes of increasingly deep relaxation, followed by a gentle launch into the ether at the behest of Dave’s mesmeric voice, several of those attending not only experienced something that they recognised from a previous incarnation, but they were able to describe it in some detail to the rest of the group.
Many thanks indeed to Dave and Pat Ward for their generosity in giving us this presentation – and, as ever, to all those who helped both to put on the event and to restore the post-presentation imbalances.