Sunday, 19 August 2012

Do Not Abuse Spiritualism...Hannah Hauxwell... The Love Of Two Chimpanzee Brothers... The negative Side of Our Society... RIP Winnie Johnson...

2nd August I took the service at The Langside Spiritualist Church   where well known medium Ann McCutcheon is president.  There was a good turnout with several attending a Spiritualist Service for the first time. 
A break from church services for two weeks did not mean I was sitting with my feet up...  I visited several people who had asked for help or an explanation on spirit activity.  A talk to a group on psychic research...  Then a meeting with two psychic researchers where the venue ended up being at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens. It is the first time I went into a meeting and then came out with a suntan.

                        Do Not Abuse Spiritualism...
 A few people comment’s on my description of Eddie Docherty’s church being like an “oasis”.  They said that they liked that description of a spiritualist church.

Oasis; -

1. A fertile or green spot in a desert or wasteland, made so by the presence of water.

2. A situation or place preserved from surrounding unpleasantness; a refuge: an oasis of serenity amid chaos.

Is that not what we should aim for within our churches? 

A peaceful little haven where we can leave our worries at the door… Create a relaxing atmosphere were the we can mingle for a short time, with Spirit.

It is easy to rent a hall, book a medium and advertise you are opening a Spiritualist Church.  But if there is not going to be deep thought and good foundations laid down, then the evening can mean little more than entertainment.  It may end up being little more than an enjoyable evening out rather than what should be taking place.  It may in the end  be looked upon by the regulars as a only a place for a laugh and a cup of tea once a week.  Spiritualism the religion, will be sold short. 

To proudly use the name Spiritualist Church, one has to adhere to the beliefs of Spiritualism – the religion.  Aim for the church to be part of the community, to be there for those in the community, who may need help or understanding, not just to open the doors one night a week from 7pm, close them at 10pm and that is all to the following week.  If that is what is happening then   surely this is not truly fulfilling what a spiritualist church is all about? 

To many Spiritualism is a whole new concept, one that can be so different from anything they have known in the past.  .

So much to take in, it can seem like a fairytale or science- fiction.  No one can take it all in at the first visit to a church   but once that first seed is planted in our mind it will grow and grow.  With each new root there will be a question and more questions after that.  So the church that started all this must be there to cultivate this growth.

There will be those in the community who have just become aware of spirit and are frightened, and others who have had a spiritual experience maybe many years before and decided they finally need to confide in someone about it.

Where else to go than the local spiritualist church?  Is a church being a good spiritualist church if it is only contactable once a week for a few hours? 

A Spiritualist Church is only a heading for a large package of contents such as Philosophy, Healing, Clairvoyance, Education, Training, Compassion and Assistance.

A quote from “The Spiritualist National Union.   

The Nature of Spiritualist...

It is through personal interpretation and understanding of any spiritual philosophy and how it is expressed by living it that shapes the individual spiritually and guides their decisions in how they chose to interact with everyone and everything of the material and non-material worlds.

Spiritualism helps to provide a personal philosophy for every Spiritualist, each continuously progressing and growing in their understanding and interpretation resulting in the consideration of many diverse views. However, in essence the underpinning ideas come from the same source of universal understanding, and within the SNU it is based on the 7 Principles of Spiritualism.

It is the acceptance of this diversity that makes Spiritualism free from creed or dogma as a religious philosophy. Though the SNU chooses to set down the principles behind SNU Spiritualism, they are not seen as binding they are just a foundation for that journey of understanding.

It is by applying personal philosophy in all compartments of day to day living and by progressing and learning through life’s experiences that Spiritualism becomes a living personal philosophy

Surely any venue opening as a Spiritualist Church must hold a divine service?  Not an evening of clairvoyance and that is the end of it.  Yes’ there are many of our main churches hold weekly evenings of clairvoyance but they always have a Divine Service as well during the week.  So if a venue is to come under the heading of “Spiritualist Church” then surely there must be a spiritual address?

 I have heard it said often “They come for the clairvoyance – not for the address”.   Yes, some only are interested in the clairvoyance but what of those who need a spiritual address to help them on their spiritual path, are they to be neglected?  If a church is only on for one night then surely  it must cater for all in that community who attend the church.

There should be qualified Spiritual Healers.

There should be those who can give education and training to members who wish it.  And trainers in such positions must have a good deal of experience and training in the movement.  In recent years too few churches supplied such training and this made people wishing to move forward in their spiritual path, to have to go here there and everywhere, on many occasions at considerable cost, to get the development that they wanted. This is no substitute to being with a church with good development circles and also taking a course at the spiritual colleges set up by the main Spiritual Organizations.

 A church should also have in place someone that will attend to those who ask for help.  It may not be the member of that particular church but someone they can call on to go out to people’s homes when the need arises.  I feel that we could be doing better in this area.

 I have said many times in the past that I have never had any intention to start up a church as I feel it is not for me.  I realize that starting up and running a successful spiritualist church is not easy, it takes a lot of commitment.  The real hard work comes before and after the service and that has to be done by the committee and willing helpers.  A medium can just decide one night they cannot be bothered and cancel.  If the committee just cannot be bothered two weeks in a row and the doors are not opened then the third week and thereafter the congregation will not turn up and the church will be no more.The person who gives you a genuine smile and greeting as you come in the door, the cheery tea lady or gentleman all play a part in making the congregation feel welcome.The booking secretary, not the easiest of jobs…

Finance of the church is a big headache whether the church own their own building or a hall is rented

 Like all religions, internal politics can knock the gloss off what we are trying to achieve.  I once thought that Spiritualism would be the one religion where there would be less bickering but that is not the case.  I thought that we would be directed by spirit but so many individuals override spiritual advice and go their own way.

Maybe that is a negative way to look at it and an elderly lady I heard talking on this subject one day said “We are all human and we all think our way is right”.   So maybe when there is conflict we should all stop and count to ten – then ask spirit for some guidance.

To get our churches to have the full package maybe it is time to think that amalgamation of some churches would be the right answer.

 I am in no way getting at the small churches or certain individual churches, I am suggesting what we should aim for this in all our churches.  Many small churches have fully intrigated with the local community with both the church and the community being all that much better for the close association.

 Each community has different needs and if the local spiritualist church can give assistance to these needs without lowering its standards then it will be a welcome oasis in our stressful society.

I have been reading a book this week that at first glance one may not think to be Spiritual, but it probably is more spiritual than many books actually written on the subject.


By Hannah Hauxwell with Barry Cockford.
This is the omnibus edition containing “Seasons of MY Life” and “Daughter of the Dales

Hannah Hauxwell, the remarkable lady who thirty-five years ago captured the hearts of the nation when she was the subject of an extraordinary television documentary. "Too Long a Winter" portrayed Hannah's constant struggle on a remote Pennine farm with no electricity and no running water. Battling against poverty and hardship in sub-zero temperatures, she somehow survived on an income of less than GBP 280 per year. Two decades later, she finally gave up the unequal struggle and moved down to easier conditions in a Teesdale village.  At the end of every chapter I paused and thought how much I take for granted.

There was an amazing story in the Daily Mail this week of two gorilla brothers hugging each other in delight at being reunited after three years.  The affection is unmistakable. They react just as human brothers might.:


At the other end of the scale really sad news item where a father was found dead after being hounded for months over false rumours that he was the child killer. The storywas completely untrue but this not stop the fingers being pointed at him and accusations made. It reached a stage where he felt the only way out of this was to take his own life. So many in our rat race society are driven to taking their own life for so many reasons. We should get our facts right...

After 48-years of heartache brave Winnie Johnson will now be at peace with her son Keith Bennettt.
RIP Winnie…

Sunday, 5 August 2012

My diary… Living in harmony with other creatures… Eddie Docherty is not forgotten…. Life after my last platform booking…Scotland’s newest Spiritual Sanctuary

22nd July I was at ASK Dunfermline.  Founder Jock mcArthur passed to spirit earlier this year but his determination and dedication live on with Kerry McLeod, Helen McArthur, Liz Bain, June Stein and others at the helm.  

23rd it was to the Pollockshaws and District Spiritualist Church, Langside Halls, Glasgow.  Bill Thomson who was president for a great many years but has now stepped back because of health reasons.  Ellen and Margaret are now in charge of the running of the church.

23rd... Not a new church but a new venue.  The Cumlodden Drive Spiritualist Church has changed its name and moved a mile across the city.  It is now called The Lambhills Eternal, Light Spiritualist Church, The Stables, Canal Bank North,
Lambhill Bridge, Balmore Road, Lambhill, Glasgow, G22 6RD. 
The hall was almost full to capacity on the evening I was there.

24th… Out seeing those who had contacted our churches….

25th it was to the Balloch Spiritualist Church to a good turnout especially as that day was one of the few good days we have had this summer.

26th  I was taking a small workshop for those who wish to understand their psychic abilities but not to go on to the platform

28th... I was taking sittings at The Friendship of Love and Light Spiritualist Church, Paisley.  More about this church and its founder Eddie Docherty later in this blog.

The photograph above was taken in a friend’s back garden.  For several years now badgers have been visiting her garden, and the last two summers the parents felt the garden safe enough to let their cubs wander about close to my friend and her husband. What a great experience it must be to get so close to these largely nocturnal, normally shy, retiring animals. 

Recently I visited a lady, who because of health reasons cannot walk any further than her back garden.  She has few visitors of the human kind but the animal kingdom does not neglect her.  She has a regular visit from a fox which at times will sit a few inches from her feet when she is sitting in the garden.  A grey squirrel which will eat from her hand.  Countless small birds which will take food from her hand.  And a large Herring Gull which seldom leaves her garden, she has named Sammy.  Sammy is like her minder and is never more than a few yards from her when she invites anyone into the garden.

The great pleasure these two ladies get from being close to nature is immense.  The pleasure brought about by all trusting each other and giving each other respect.  But all these creatures I have mentioned are in the front line as far as for persecution from man is concerned.    

Acts of Parliament make it illegal for any person to kill, or injure badgers. These Acts had to be put in place because of barbaric badger baiting. The threat to badgers in some areas is so serious that badger setts are regularly monitored by police and volunteers.

Now a new threat to badgers… The government (Westminster)has announced a cull of badgers.  Initially in pilot areas - to try to curb the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle. We all know that dairy farmers are having a hard time at the moment with the low price they get for their milk.  Add to that the increase in bovine TB in cattle and it could be the end of the line for many dairy farmers.  But is the government’s proposed cull of badgers, - the answer?  Many experts do not agree with this cull and they go down the path of vaccination to stop the TB spreading from badgers to cattle.

There are also talks under way to cut the numbers of foxes, seagulls and pigeons which have moved into our cities in great numbers in recent years.  Once again the talk is a ‘cull’ to reduce their numbers but again is that the answer?   Do these creatures not move into our neighborhoods because there is plenty of food lying around?  Discarded food from takeaways etc   I heard one naturalist say “They are only clearing up our mess”.  A dramatic cut in this waste food supply would mean less numbers of these creatures in our towns and cities. And a better life for all.

The grey squirrel is a different situation and here a cull or some other method of cutting their numbers would not be out of the question.  As the foreign grey squirrels numbers rise  our native red squirrels numbers plummet.   Man once again is to blame by introducing the foreign grey into this country.  The ‘grays’ carry a virus which is no danger to them but deadly to the ‘native red squirrel’.
Even the song birds are not safe with egg collectors and kids stealing eggs from their nests.
In most cases where there is conflict between man and the animal kingdom – it is man that first creates the problem and then it is other creatures that suffer.
Can we not live in harmony with each other, respect each other as we share this planet?

It is now six years since the passing of spiritual medium Eddie Docherty, but I still hear his name mentioned on a regular basis.
To Eddie, spiritualism was more that a religion – it was a way of life.  And being a spiritualist medium for Eddie did not end when he left the platform or finished with a private-sitting.  Eddie was always available for those who needed his help no matter the time of day or night.  He gained so much respect for just being himself.  He was genuine, caring, and would go out of his way to help individuals seeking his help. He would also rush out at the last minute no matter what he had planned for leisure pursuits if a church was in dire need of a medium at the last minute.
Eddie fulfilled a dream on Sunday 15th July 2001, when The Friendship of Love and Light Spiritualist Church opened its doors. This was not just to be a spiritualist church, but a church that was fun loving, yet sincere. A church for the community, a church that was generous to good causes in the local community.  
Sadly, only a few years after Eddie’s dream materialized his health started to fail, but not before this church had taken root and was a little oasis for all who needed help. It was fitting that Eddie’s cremation service was taken by a medium, church member and friend, Paul Erroch. The big turnout was no surprise as Eddie had touched the life of so many people
Eddie’s church is still going strong and is in the good hands of President Doreen Polson, along with the committee members, Annette Lavelle, Johann, Kathleen McGinty, Mary McDonald, Andy, Sandra Patterson, Linda Walker,   Anne and David McAlpine,  Gilbert and Alistair.  All of this committee sat in Eddie’s development circle and keep his standards to the fore as far as the church is concerned. 
Eddie’s name was never up in lights outside a theatre as many mediums are today.  I wonder if when theses theatre mediums fade from the scene their names will still be mentioned as often and with such respect six years after the lights have dimmed.
Eddie took services in Australia when out visiting his brother but never referred to himself as an “International Medium”.
I cannot mention Eddie without mentioning his partner on platform in the early days - Len Alleyne. Len, I believe hailed from Barbados and had served in the R.A.F. Both Len and Eddie complimented each other very well, to the delight of congregations. Len giving the address and Eddie the clairvoyance.   This quiet and kind natured gentleman sadly passed away in the mid-nineties.
It you live in Paisley or the surrounding district why not give Eddie’s church a visit…
Services are at 6.30 on Sunday evenings at
Friendship of Love and Light
Foxbar Rivers Community Building
Spey Avenue, Foxbar,
PA2 0PA.
BUT… the church is closed for the next two weeks to give the committee a well-earned summer break and will reopen on 19th August….

In my last blog Agnes asked; - “If you were not on the platform would you still attend spiritualist churches? Would you still call yourself a spiritualist?”
And I replied...Two very interesting questions Agnes and I have thought long and hard before answering you...
The answer to “If you were not on the platform would you still attend spiritualist churches?”.... “Yes”but only to a divine service where there is an address as well as the clairvoyance.
“Would I still call myself a spiritualist?” YES, most definitely, because the proof I have had from the platform, sitting in circle and with my research, proves to me beyond any doubt there is this place we call the “Spirit World” and that there can be “communication” from our loved-ones who have passed on before us to this new dimension.
It will take more than two short paragraphs to answer Agnes’s question in full and I promise I will do this in my next blog.After more thought as I have said – I would attend divine services but not evenings of clairvoyance.  I have the proof that there is life after death and now I find the Philosophy is equally as important if not more important to me personally.  But I will add as long as the words of wisdom are ‘spiritually inspired’.  There are those who say these days that an address should be informing the congregation of the foundations of spiritualism and I agree with that up to a point.  But spirit knows best, spirit knows the needs of those in the congregation on that particular evening as whether it is knowledge of our past or help to understand situations in the present.
As I am an SNU Approved Healer I would attend healing services more often.  Also try to promote the fact that spiritual healing is can take place in hospitals on request of a patient and the approval of the hospital.  Maybe even encourage more home visits … 
I would seriously consider being on the church committee and even put myself up for the SNU’s District Council.  This would be to fight the corner of Spiritualism being a religion, a way of life, not as it seems to be sliding towards these days, entertainment and a money making concern.  I would also try to encourage more involvement in ‘pastoral care’ and involvement with the community...  But spiritualism these days, like other religions, is fraught with politics of one kind or another and I would have to think before applying to be on these committees.  Could I   be bothered with the stress or better used by sprit elsewhere?
Maybe increasing the workshops I have been doing and that has not just been to prepare for platform work but to understand one’s psychic abilities and how they can be used in our everyday lives.
I have mentioned in the past that I am constantly being asked when I am going to start up my own church.  I have never once thought of doing this and this will not be an option for me when I step down from the platform.
I would certainly continue with my research.  I feel that in this field most are more interested in what they call ‘ghost hunting’ – a phrase that makes my blood boil - and moving spirit on, rather than trying to understand why spirit is making its self know at that particular time and place.
My voluntary work would not be affected, or would it.  If I had extra time on my hands I probably would increase my work in this area.

A big boost for Spiritualism in Glasgow and the west of Scotland will take place on 12th August, with the opening of the Milngavie and Bearsden Spiritualist Sanctuary. 
This is the brainchild of medium Elizabeth Halliday who has been a member of the SNU since 1998 and a member of the Glasgow Association of Spiritualist for nearly 30 years.
Elizabeth is looking to have a community, somewhere like minded people can gather together to commune with God and Spirit, leading to coffee afternoons providing the opportunity for short private sittings, this will raise much needed funds for the Sanctuary and therefore enable us to run workshops etc in the future for individual and collective development. So as I said Milingavie and Bearsden have a need for this.
So come on all who are interested – give Elizabeth’s new sanctuary a visit.
Meetings are held every Sunday at The Meetings are held every Sunday at the;-

Fraser Centre,
11 Douglas Street,
G62 6PA
For further details contact Elizabeth at or call 0141 944 6550or 0770 333 7022