Psychological Notes: `It takes a wrong brain and makes it right'

Click to follow
AN IRON stone had sat on a hill at Iron Creek, Alberta, from time immemorial. As long as it was left there, the local Cree and Blackfoot nations prospered. It was known that if the stone were to be disturbed, terrible misfortune would follow. In the latter part of the 19th century the stone was removed by missionaries to the farmyard of a mission house. This instigated the chain of war, disease, decimation of the buffalo and the loss of their lands that so devastated the native peoples.

In another story Greenland natives showed Robert Peary, "the first man to reach the North Pole", a great iron stone that was called "The Woman". She was mother and creator. One of her gifts was to provide spearheads of such efficacy that the hunter could not fail to kill his prey.

These stories illustrate the theory of magnetism - the secret of the iron stone: its power to generate belief and magic, its attraction for the rational and scientific mind too.

In the 1920s and 1930s one strand of the new science of psychology appeared in North America as "Personal Magnetism" - a programme of self-development. Following its prescription, "millions" of men and women improved their health, found increased confidence, and learned to distinguish between suitable and unsuitable mates. Their successes were achieved through certain mental and physical disciplines, and by consuming magnetic foods.

It is easy to laugh at such a system and at the human frailties and needs it betrays. But the fascination with magnetism that has punctuated history (we are in the midst of a revival with magnetic bracelets, foot pads and mattresses on the one hand, and renewed interest in magnetism as a source of power useful to industry on the other) surely has something to do with our correspondence, as beings of energy, to the energy systems that surround us.

Most great cities, ancient and modern, and most other sites of significant human enterprise were situated at strongly magnetic points on the earth. This would make sense in terms of another strand of magnetism, the researches of the late Frances Nixon, that originated in Cheminus on Vancouver Island. This society of magnetists continues to have a number of adherents world- wide.

The idea is that the magnetic orientation of each individual is fixed at birth and is specific to the place of birth. As long as that original orientation is maintained, the individual remains healthy, but once it is disturbed, there is a great possibility of disease.

Nixon suggested channelling one's personal magnetic pole by using a chain suspended from a bar as a pendulum, turning slowly clockwise and then counter-clockwise through the four directions to discover the direction of maximum magnetic pull, and then working to strengthen this alignment and to overcome areas of imbalance within the physical system. When imbalances are so strong that the "channel" cannot be determined, they are neutralised by placing ice between the feet and grounding the interfering static.

We are all part of magnetism's great net. We are attracted to and repelled from each other according to our inborn polarities. When all is well our circuits intersect, support each other, information passes back and forth; our lines of origin are guy wires to the soul on its journey through possibilities. Infinite energy. Nuclear fission. Or, as the adherents of Personal Magnetism would put it, "It Takes a Brain that is Wrong and Makes it Right".

Marilyn Bowering is the author of `Visible Worlds' (Flamingo, pounds 10.99)