This article first appeared in The Homeopath – Journal of the Society of Homeopaths, in 2011. Reprinted courtesy Rix Pyke
In 1960 a survey was made of the state of homeopathy in England and America. It found that 3/5ths of the graduates from Homeopathic medical colleges in the States were over 60, and that in the UK, where there was no formal academic training of homeopaths, 3/5ths were over 50. Homeopaths were a dying breed – and most of them, slowly heading towards apparent extinction, were men. The Second World War had devastated homeopathy around Europe. The slow decline was not just in Britain, but throughout the whole of Europe.
After every Autumn and Winter will come a Spring. In this article I am proposing that Thomas Maughan and John Damonte were the heralds of that Spring. They were the two teachers who, with their roots in the homeopathy of the past, carried the seed of homeopathy into the new era. If they were the seed of modern, professional homeopathy today, so we are the various branches, buds, leaves, flowers and fruit of that seeding.
Thomas Mughan John Damonte
In this article I am focusing on Dr Thomas Maughan DSc as a teacher of homeopathy, as a homeopath and as a teacher of the druid spiritual philosophy, which came hand in hand with this resurgence of homeopathy. Thomas Maughan and John Damonte were also two of the forefathers of the Society of Homeopaths as in 1970, along with a dozen or so other homeopaths, they responded, to ‘the difficulties practicing Homeopaths who are not on the Medical Register could encounter if nothing was done to present their case to the Officials of the Ministry of Health who will be implementing the Medicine’s Act.’ Dr Maughan as Chairman and Damonte as Secretary along with Edwin Tomkins, W.Fletcher and John Wilcox formed the committee and on February 21st 1970 at the first EGM the Society of Homeopaths was formed. Thomas Maughan’s handwritten addendum to the first set of rules stated that ‘Full membership shall be open to any practicing homeopath who is not on the General Medical Register and Associate membership shall be open to any layman desirous of supporting the objectives of the Society.’
In May 1973 it was reported that ‘due to the enormous efforts of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists …plus intervention by the International Federation of Practitioners of Natural Therapeutics, the provisions of the Bill are now reasonably favourable to the practitioner of natural therapeutics who prescribes medicine.’ So we were safe for the time being. The SoH went into abeyance and Damonte and Maughan focussed on the teaching.
Dr Maughan had been part of a group of committed homeopaths who had kept homeopathy classes alive in the London region, sometimes during and following WW II. Prior to 1972 he held public homeopathy classes in Notting Hill as well as the Saturday Medical class which Companions of the Druid Order could attend and which were held fortnightly at his home in South London. During 1972 Thomas suffered several heart attacks and the classes were amalgamated and all held at his home in Calton Avenue, Dulwich. Meanwhile John Damonte taught a regular North London class. What has become known as Thomas’s South London Group then became comprised of members of the public new to homeopathy, members of the public who had studied for some time and Companions of the Druid Order who were studying homeopathy along side their druid classes.
The seed being sown by Maughan and Damonte, both members of the Druid Order, was a seed containing the two strands of homeopathy’s double helix: spiritual philosophy and homeopathic philosophy. The druid teachings have come through a long line of esoteric information from Ancient Egypt, through Greek Mysteries, the ancient Hebrew texts, Paracelsus, Swedenborg, Rosicrucian and other hermetic groups.
Jerome Whitney writes: ’The fundamental philosophy of the Order is the same that has inspired the major wisdom philosophies throughout the centuries. The basic concept is that spirit works from within outward into material manifestation…. Consciousness and humanity are evolving and … the way to learn to participate in that evolution is to study and learn from the cycles of nature and the world around us.‘ Who better suited to grasp this dual teaching than people open to spirit and with a group spirit of their own? The young people of the hippy generation.
Mary Titchmarsh told me “ We’d been through love and peace and it was when the hippies were turning towards the spiritual stuff – The Beatles went to India – that Thomas gave some talks at a commune in World’s End in Chelsea”. She visited him with her American macrobiotic teacher a few weeks later and Thomas turned to her after a while and asked “And why are you here?” to which she replied, in the true hippy questing way : “I want to know the truth!” Soon afterwards she started the Homeopathy classes and, as she described it: “I was hooked!”
Janet Snowden said in the SoH Newsletter in June 1990 ‘His teaching emphasised the development of the intellect. To him clarity, discipline, precision were very important….I needed a vision then because the hippy vision had failed and I could share his vision of helping to change the world while working in harmony with the laws of nature and of the planet’.
So by 1972 the druid classes and the homeopathy classes, known as the Saturday Medical, were well under way. Young people were drawn to the druid teachings and homeopathy in equal measure and the classes and the Order flourished. Dr Maughan taught from his own Materia Medica notes, combining notes made from his practice, which Kaaren Whitney describes as “a great and strong foundation… our best and strongest tool.” She had attended the homeopathy classes since 1970 and remembers that as the years went on and she was hearing a repeat of some of the remedies, she would be about to write down what he had said previously, “He was so clever – he knew – and so he changed the anecdote!”
Robert Davidson explained to Rowena Rowson ‘On the first evening the theory took an hour and a half. Just the once. I liked that. After that we did MM before tea and cases after tea’. People were encouraged to bring their own cases as soon as they could. Mary Titchmarsh said “He didn’t give you the feeling that Homeopathy was difficult…straight away he taught the tissue salts and encouraged you to go out and use them”.
Peter Chappell was there too: ‘ The room was full to the brim of people sitting on benches, stools and the floor, anywhere they could – making notes….He didn’t teach about repertory, anybody else’s MM or any systems…all you needed to learn was materia medica. Most importantly, he was inspiring’. Kaaren Witney said that one of the most important things he taught along with the MM was the need to “look behind the doors – not just look at what is being presented.” He encouraged everyone to look at what was motivating the patient, look at the faces of people on the tubes and buses, develop powers of observation. He taught from his extensive knowledge of esoteric information adding numerology, palmistry and astrology. As Jerome Whitney said “he would talk about spiritual things but….it was not abstract alone, it was always tied to practical examples and physical reality. It was not airy fairy. It was anchored. Both spiritual and anchored – left brain and right. You need both faculties developed in order to prescribe.”
Talking with the students of these classes I get a sense of the incredible energy that was being released in what turned out to be a very short time – Thomas Maughan died in 1976 and John Damonte had died a few months earlier in October 1975. Thomas was working in a three-fold way: the homeopathy classes, the druid classes and his homeopathic practice. Many of those early students also became his patients. Mary Titchmarsh: “He saw all these Sulphur hippies and started to release their blocks so they could find themselves and get on their paths”. His aim was to get you to “be yourself. Be the best you can. ‘Enjoy yourself’ was his catch phrase…fulfil yourself but have a higher purpose”.
Patients reported a huge amount of love and acceptance in Thomas Maughan’s consulting room. In contrast, in the classes he was often experienced as fierce. Janet Snowdon: “He had a vision of a group of homeopaths who would be able to carry on after him and that was why he was so fierce with us. There was a determination that we should be good practitioners”. Mary Titchmarsh said “His concern for us was that we should ‘get’ the teaching. If he thought we needed a heavy hand he’d give it”. However the Saturday Medical classes were comprised of people who had joined the order alongside people who had not, and there was sometimes a misunderstanding as to why he would be so harsh with some students. Kaaren Witney explains “In the druid classes you got the kinks knocked out of you. It was the only way to make a good person, a good homeopath. It felt terrible at the time because we hold onto our kinks – but they were well and truly knocked out.”
Jerome explains further: “What was to a non-druid attendee a mere class in homeopathic MM and case presentation was for the druid ..a dynamic in which the class became a medium of the moment to practise skills learned in druid classes and the opportunity to do their developmental home work in full view ..with no place to hide mistakes….Thus was re-established the courage to go on in the conquest of self which leads to the liberation of the spirit.’ However it was not only hard knocks as he goes on to say “Those who were down and needed a helping hand got it with a smile and twinkle of the eye that lifted many a depressed spirit from the gloom of self-doubt.
It was ‘Total School’Jerome says. There were many other training tools which these young initiates would undergo. Peter Chappell, Robert Davidson, Martin Miles were all Dr Maughan’s drivers at some point. They would be asked to drive him to various locations; if you were the one lucky enough to drive him down to his old friend Mr Eiles at Galen Homeopathic Pharmacy in Dorset, you would be honing your skills of awareness, responsiveness, of becoming alert and trusting that you are on the right path in life at 70mph down a winding country lane!
The young homeopaths and companions would also work in the Lotus Press, a printshop upstairs in Calton Avenue. Here you learned an important trade – the printing of the Druid Order booklets which were the teaching and ritual texts. Everything was done with awareness, to bring you into the present moment and to become responsible for all your actions. You learnt the skills involved with working with lead typeface and in so doing you learnt about the essence of Saturn – the planet associated with the base chakra. Everything was done to develop consciousness; putting the chairs out for a class and even the making of tea became a teaching aid.
Dr Maughan taught and practised classical homeopathy with Compton Burnett’s organopathic approach as well as using the nosodes quite extensively. Bowel nosodes were used a lot – a typical opening prescription would be Morgan 200 followed 8 days later by Sulphur 10M. Peter Chappell said ‘He knew about toxicity and detox, so he detoxed the body first, tuned it up and got the person functioning better. Only then would he prescribe a constitutional remedy…If they are really full of toxins the indicated remedy won’t work properly.’
In this respect Dr Maughan was working with homeopathy as an evolutionary tool. He saw that drugs, disease, vaccinations, pesticides and other toxic loads were driving illness deeper and deeper into the being and homeopathy was one of the most powerful ways to clear this. We need to have this level of health and vitality in order to express the subtlety and refinement we are moving towards in our evolution.
At the time the pharmaceutical companies were beginning their push towards the drug-crazed situation we are in today. He could see that the medical profession was not really open to homeopathy although several doctors attended the classes over the years. The seed was sown, but did not really germinate.
After his death a strong group had formed which went on to create the SoH. Using the previous structure from 1970, the group worked together and in July 1978 the following people signed the Memorandum of Association of the SoH Ltd : Martin Miles, Misha Norland, Michael Haggiag, Robert Davidson, Mary Titchmarsh, Kay Samuel, Lynn Lovell and Peter Chappell. This was a group formed from the amalgamation of members of the two London groups – North and South. From that group in 1978 also emerged the College of Homeopathy (CoH) – the first homeopathic college offering a 3 year part time course – which Robert Davidson and Martin Miles founded.
From these branches the budding homeopaths took the teaching forward and made it their own. If we look at the enormous legacy from those people we have now over 20 homeopathic colleges, flourishing practices, 3 generations of students and teachers. Peter Chappell has taken homeopathy to Africa and eastern Europe and developing the idea of the second simillimum. Martin Miles, with Janice Micallef and Colin Griffith developed the Guild of Homeopaths and the meditative provings of new remedies and continuing the esoteric tradition for homeopaths. As Janice Micallef said ‘Thomas is asking us to work on ourselves, look within and giving a huge instruction that we develop the new remedies for the new age.’
Robert Davidson later gave us the Practical Colleges. Meanwhile Barbara Harwood carried on as Principal of CoH and later acquired the London College of Classical Homeopathy under the banner of The Combined Colleges by which each maintained their founding ethos. When the Combined Colleges were brought to a close, many of their students and its library were transferred to the Centre for Homeopathic Education. The core of the library’s book and journal collection had been donated to CoH in 1979 by the Wimbledon Homeopathic Study Group that had been founded in the 1930’s. Robert is now moving on with the Narayani remedies.
Mary Titchmarsh has taken the homeopathic and druid teachings and developed her own kind of healing/counselling/NLP therapy. One of her patients described it as : homeopathy without remedies. Misha Norland – who joined the group after Damonte died – has run a wonderful jewel of a school in Devon –The School of Homeopathy – now recently relocated in Stroud and in the capable hands of his son – Mani.
From these buds, leaves and flowers the information is being passed on and on. That original group did what Thomas himself had done and intended them to do after he was gone : To pass the information on and do your best. As Kaaren Witney said ‘You can’t do more – but you can do less – but of course, you don’t benefit from that.’
To end this article about two great teachers I will leave you with a quote from the Summer Solstice Ceremony of the Druid Order where one celebrant asks : “What are the three concepts of druidical instruction?” and another replies “The development of the mind. The cultivation of the intuition. The engendering of true (hu) manliness.”
Thomas Maughan and John Damonte gave us all this. We give thanks.
Misha Norland writes: In this excellent article more has been written about Thomas Maughan than John Damonte. So, I will attempt to redress this imbalance, not in wordage, but in spirit. You see, the personalities of these two were very different, the sharp edge of Thomas’s approach with his students sharply contrasted with John’s gentle flow. As is the way of the world, it is a sharp edge that leaves an immediate impression, while flow may pass unnoticed until much later.
Both were wise men who looked deeply into the human heart, and wished to inculcate the passion of this enquiry in their students. Both believed in evolving consciousness knowing that this could be passed on through a lineage of teachings that went beyond the outer form and techniques of homeopathic practice. Thus wisdom teachings were offered as the mainstay, with homeopathy as a method of delivering healthcare. A conglomeration of techniques were given by John that included much which belonged to, and developed from, Jungian psychology, to include astrology, radionics, facial analysis, archetypes… John honoured the imaginal and intuitional as much as the rational. He was a person for whom the less conscious realm of intuition and feeling held sway, and thus his teaching set us upon a devotional path, rather than a rationally oriented one. It was a compassion that ruled. Thomases classes were tighter, and his wisdom apparent through a highly disciplined form. Each way was good, and attuned to the needs of different pupils. We were doubly blessed to have them both.
Of the two teachers, as I have intimated, John is the one about which the least can be written. Like the Zen story of the finger pointing to the moon, it is the moon that is implied by the finger. Or to put it another way, the teaching about the path, about which much may be written, is not the way. It is up to us who are the pupils to walk the path, and we will be guided by this finger pointing or that finger, according to our innate personality structure.
John Damonte’s primary teachers and personal friends in homeopathy, when he came to England at the onset of the war, were Dr Donald Foubister and Thomas Maughan. Yet he had been on his medical path literally all his life, starting off in Morocco, where he accompanied the local healer on his weekend rounds, compounding medicines. Perhaps his dowsing skill, known in town, and revealed in boyhood when he was put to daily tasks using his dowsing pendulum, lead to the older man select him as the one. Later, formal medical studies in France were cut short by the second world war, when moving to England he developed his practices in radionics and homeopathy.
In radionics, exerting healing influence at a distance, comprises of two acts. The first, radiesthesia, involves receiving information using dowsing techniques, the second, is projecting an appropriate intervention or curative influence. This influence, as if from a radio transmitter (hence the term radionics) could be of a homeopathic remedy, a musical tone, a picture, a pattern, a colour… I mention this aspect of John’s healing work, because it is through this that I met him.
When first visiting the home of the late Rosemary Russell (a friend and colleague of John Damonte), sometime in the late 60’s, I happened upon a series of diagrams by him. She explained that their purpose was to radionically project specific healing influences. She also used the term homeopathy in conjunction with radionics. She quoted the like cures like principle, but could tell me little more, beyond informing me about a certain Dr John Clark who had authored a dictionary of material medica. I followed this up by purchasing the said volumes, and I read remedy pictures as bed-time stories, much as one might devour who dunnits. Not long after this, I went in search of John, who it turned out, lived round the corner from my parental home. Thus began one of the most important series of encounters of my life, with one of the most remarkable men, who helped to set me on my outer life-path as healer and teacher. He was also one of those who reminded me of my inner life-path as one who gets certain about less, while noticing and appreciating more.
John used to joke that he would boot-black his face to appear Guru like. He had not yet acquired the requisite chutzpah, he claimed, but was working on it. Those who knew him were aware that the joker was often at work, and that he frequently ‘played’ with his gullible acolytes, who hung upon his every word. Since he was rapidly becoming a commodity in the burgeoning trade of spiritual wares, he recommended Rinpoche Trungpa’s book, “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.” Being widely read as well as steeped in the literature of Theosophy and Anthroposophy he had a critical awareness of the bullshit factor. He noted how ego likes to get involved in spirituality and in so doing threatens the premise of the work. Above all he appreciated straightforward recounting of personal experience, and the building of theories upon observation and research. In this he laid the foundations, as had Hahnemann, for an application of sound common sense in the search for healing. Foremost was the individual patient, their disease needing to be matched by whichever skills or remedies the healer had. John did not teach us many therapeutic shortcuts, fundamentally he was a simillimum man.