Sue Young Histories

Thomas Lackenby Maughan 1901 - 1976

September 19, 2008

Thomas Lackenby Maughan 1901 - 1976 was a Druid and a lay homeopath.

He was one of our most influential modern homeopaths. See this article written by people who knew him

There is a photo of Thomas Lackenby Maughan leading the Universal Bond Druids as Archdruid in the spring equinox ceremony on Tower Hill in 1966 as plate 66 in between pages 208-209 in Ronald Hutton, The Druids, (Hambledon Continuum, 2007).

With thanks to Peter Morrell:

Thomas Lackenby Maughan was born in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, Staffs, 27 October, 1901. The family then moved to Glasgow in c1908-9, living in the Gorbals. His father, George Maughan, was a Tax Officer, and his ‘mother a Theosophist’.  He is reputed to have had six brothers and sisters, though I can find no trace of them in Births Registers.

Thomas Maughan went into the Royal Navy in c1917… It is said that he went to fight in the Spanish Civil War c1936 and ‘spent several years there fighting fascism’. He had a scar on his back `from climbing out of a Spanish brothel in a hurry one day!‘.

He was in Naval Intelligence during WW2 and was also a tank commander at some point in WW2 in Glasgow.  He learned homeopathy in the 1930’s from William Wilson Rorke at the London Homeopathic Hospital, and worked there for twenty years…

Maughan was also associated at the Faculty of Homeopathy with Donald MacDonald Foubister, Margery Grace Blackie and Margaret Lucy Tyler

He met John DaMonte in North Africa in WW2, who was also working for British Intelligence and keen to learn homeopathy. Maughan encouraged John DaMonte to come to the UK for this purpose. On return to UK Maughan worked as a homeopath in Dulwich.

Then in late 1950’s he hitched up a caravan to travel through Turkey and Afghanistan into India. He went to Himalayas and Tibet, struck up a relationship with the Dalai Lama and helped in the evacuation of monks from Tibet into India. He was reputedly instrumental in that movement. This event can be dated accurately as March 1959.

He also noticed that the monks wore Camphor moth balls round their necks to prevent Cholera, which fascinated Maughan as it is a homeopathic remedy for Cholera. He travelled on from India to Australia, taught homeopathy there, had many students, also a son in Australia who was ‘drawing his pension’. He got holes in his legs from bites, stings and thorns while trekking through the bush of the Northern Territories; took Lachesis - too much - and suffered ill effects.

On his return to UK in early 1960’s, Maughan met Jennifer Derham and they married. They had one son, Zahari and a daughter, Katriona.

Maughan taught and practised homeopathy again from Dulwich. Many of his Australian students visited him in London. From 1964 (until his death) he became the Chief Druid and John DaMonte was his assistant.

He is listed in the London Telephone Directory for August 1966 as “Dr T Maughan, 77 Calton Ave, Dulwich, SE21”; not listed for 1962, 64 or 65.

Later UK students - from late 60’s until his death in 1976 - almost all Druids and include most of the founders of the Society of Homeopaths and directors or lecturers at several Colleges of Homeopathy.

These include Ernest Roberts, Robert Davidson, Barbara Harwood, Martin Miles, Peter Chappell, Jerome Whitney, Misha Norland, Julian Carlyon, Bob Withers, Patrick Derham, Mary Titchmarsh, Kaaren Whitney, Sarah Richardson.

Maughan died in May 1976 of cancer after several strokes that he had `treated himself with meditation and Arnica’. At that time, many people believed he was easily in his 80’s or 90’s. Edwin D W Tomkins expressed this view, as did Jerome Whitney. This may well be one small aspect of Maughan as folk hero.

Like so many aspects about his life, we are left wondering precisely when Maughan learned homeopathy, took his DSc and when he undertook his training in the Druid Order. These events must have occurred before the post war period and certainly before 1964, for him to become the Chief Druid by the latter date.

Yet he must have learned homeopathy before that as William Wilson Rorke - allegedly Maughan’s main teacher and confidante - retired from the Faculty of Homeopathy between 1941-1948. Perhaps therefore Maughan was already a homeopath in 1939. If so, then how could he have been fighting Fascism in Spain from 1936-39?? There just does not seem to be room in his life for all the things he is supposed to have done…

Maughan undoubtedly borrowed the ideas of the subtle body, chakras, rebirth, karma and cyclic existence from the philosophical traditions of India, most notably Buddhism and Hinduism. And he probably borrowed the concepts of the astral body, the etheric realm and spirits from spiritualism, theosophy and anthroposophy.

These also form part of the corpus of the teachings of the Western Esoteric Orders, of which he was a prominent member. To what extent he personally amalgamated these ideas together or whether he had received them from others - separately or otherwise - is not made clear, and would, in any case, be very difficult to establish with any certainty.

Maughan and John DaMonte clearly thought it was perfectly valid to yoke all therapies and spiritual traditions into the grand task of unearthing and working through the spiritual legacy of undigested negative events and thought processes they consider an individual is heir to and so releasing people into more meaningful, satisfying and endurable life situations. They had no doubt that homeopathy was one tool that could greatly assist in this process.

In this view, therapies like homeopathy become of unusual interest to the spiritually minded, as they appear able to push a person along the spiritual path much quicker, rather than having to progress very slowly along paths containing pain, frustration, illness and physical suffering. This is the unstated aim of Maughan’s spiritualised form of homeopathy, his ‘hidden agenda’. Maughan is reputed to have actually stated that with homeopathy a person can:

‘more quickly burn up a lot of negative karma that might be the equivalent of traveling several lifetimes on the slow paths of pain and suffering’…

The form of homeopathy Maughan practised and which he taught and promulgated to his students was not of the `nux vomica for tummy upsets and arnica for bruises’ variety. On the contrary, it consisted of deep constitutional treatment for months and years rather than weeks, using deep acting polycrests often in high potencies supplemented with low potencies of tissue salts, etc.

In this sense he could be seen - in part - as a metaphysical homeopath, but not as a classical, purist or Kentian prescriber… Maughan felt he was imparting to his students in this way a potent, secret and highly spiritualised form of homeopathy known only to a few; a special esoteric training reserved only for those few who could take this `strong medicine’ and learn and transform themselves with it as they went along…

It should come as no surprise, therefore, for us to learn that Maughan is rumoured to have spent many years traveling, both in the Near East and in the Orient. He had studied with gurus in India and the Himalayas, with Sufi Dervishes in Turkey and Afghanistan and he had been highly instrumental - reputedly - in getting the Dalai Lama safely out of Tibet and down into India in 1959, following the Chinese invasion. He also travelled in Central America and Australia, where some of his relatives live…

Maughan (c1974) was in no doubt what Druidism meant:

“…annual gatherings in a megalithic circle of people dressed in archaic robes and performing unusual ceremonies… not a matter of mere sentiment, nor a wish to return to the past, but of a living tradition… that goes back… beyond any record of civilisation itself…

”… there are links with the Aryan and early Hindu cultures and what is now the witch cult; reverence for both sun and moon, five fold and threefold bases of teaching, ritual circular dancing, burning of the dead, the existence of a priest ruler caste, transmission of teaching by lengthy memorized poems…

”… a cult of the dead (setting sun) as well as a life cult (rising sun), male and female elements, instruction in the forces and faculties of man… a brotherhood…”

Maughan believed that ‘evolutionary homeopathy’ was what people needed, which should help people to evolve along a spiritual path, not just alleviate illness. He believed that a high potency remedy primarily affects the mind and spirit and must often be accompanied by low potencies of the same or related remedies to support the physical body while the high potency acted… continue reading:

Peter Chappell and Martin Miles met Thomas Maughan at the Druid Order and became homeopaths as a result.

Peter Chappell explains:

This book highlights the Druidic backdrop from which the Society of Homeopaths was formed. Martin Miles along with Robert Davidson, Tony Hurley and myself, were all in the same Druids’ training group that went on for around seven years.

Thomas Maughan, the then Chief Druid, taught us all homeopathy, and influenced us all. Other notable Druids and ex-Druids from that time are Barbara Harwood, Ernest Roberts, Kaaren Whitney, Jerome Whitney, Mary Titchmarsh, all well known in the English homeopathic community.

Another Druid was John DaMonte, who taught another homeopathic group, including notably Misha Norland, who briefly skirmished with the Druids as well as Elizabeth Danciger, Julian Carlyon, Berenice Benjelloun, Sarah Richardson and Kay Samuels. From these people and a few others came the Society of Homeopaths

Thomas Lackenby Maughan died in 1974, 1 think. He was a very inspiring man, a great figure to many of us at the time. He was a Scot brought up on the aftermath of the ’Golden DawnAleister Crowley, Madame Blavatsky and many others. She is quoted in the book, and initiated more than a few who influenced our age. She was a powerful lady, a force behind Thomas Maughan, and Edward Christopher Whitmont talks about her too.

Thomas Maughan had several ‘partners’ in his varied life, and reputedly conned one of them to go on a one way air ticket to Australia saying he would follow but did not. He was then no saint. He was a Scorpio, and rose like the eagle, and Martin Miles’s book is dedicated to ‘The Eagle Man’ Thomas Maughan.

He also plummeted like the devil. In fact one of his many stories concerned the devil. In journeying around the ‘Tree of Life’ on a vision quest’ he knocked on the devil’s door. The devil answered and peered out, his tail curled up and draped over his arm. He gingerly opened the door and took one look at Thomas Maughan and slammed it again. He was afraid Thomas Maughan would take over his job, so it was said.

However, great men are not great for long. In living history, great men and great women have come and gone who are now giants in our cultural memory. Yet in every case we have moved on from their pioneering work. Sigmund Freud started psychotherapy, yet invented fantasy theories that supported child abuse for another century. Carl Gustav Jung added the spiritual dimension yet was completely disinterested in the physical body, thereby restricting the development of psychotherapy.

Samuel Hahnemann invented homeopathy and yet his latter day prescribing appears pathetic (see the writing of Rima Handley, especially the Homeopathic Love Story, a beautifully written book which I treasure).

Thomas Maughan likewise was a spiritual teacher of power and vision and even with his limitations he has left an aftermath that still reflects itself in this book and in other Druids, and in homeopathy.

My point is that however great the man or women, let us not idolize them or think them blameless or forever wise. Everyone is full of holes, or as Thomas Maughan put it, ‘la human being is a loosely connected bunch of ill assorted attributes’. There is no blame in being a giant in the human world, but also we can all move on, or can stay stuck, but only at our peril.

From my perspective Thomas Maughan did not leave a clear vision of homeopathic philosophy behind him, but more a flavour of a ‘cottage industry’ approach, an amateurish flavour, which I find still emanates from some of the remaining Druids. For example he prescribed Morgan 200 followed by Sulphur I OM in a day or so for most new patients ‘to brighten up their image’. He believed in a concept he described as taking people ‘round the houses’ in a sequence of remedies, and in ‘not giving the constitutional until they were really ready’.

He was an avid user and experimenter with combination remedies. The combinations invented by Thomas are advocated by those who profess a ‘practical’ style of homeopathy. His materia medica was quite basic and he never taught about repertory as I recall.

So it came to pass that the founders of the Society of Homeopaths were not classical homeopaths rooted in its philosophy but inspired amateurs rooted in Druid philosophy. In fact it would be true to say that classical homeopathy came about in spite of rather than because of the Druidic beginning and that this is the source of a major conflict of beliefs in our Society of Homeopaths today.

Currently the major non classical schools are run by ex-druids and their students are often caught in this confusion of philosophies. It was, I suggest, only when some of the ‘brighter’ students of various colleges, searching for some clarity, and intellectual coherence, were exposed to teachers from overseas that the classical revival began, and these people are still the standard bearers…

Encouraged by John Henry Clarke, and later by Donald MacDonald Foubister as well as other doctor members of the Faculty of Homeopathy, lay homoeopathy began to gradually grow in strength as the 20th century progressed.  Before, during, and following  WW II the primary active energy input into spreading the knowledge of homoeopathic prescribing became centred in a small but dedicated circle of non doctor homeopathic practitioners.

These committed people engaged in home study, attending lectures of doctor homeopaths, and open meetings of the British Homeopathic Association.  In turn they held homeopathy classes for interested members of the public. Among this group were Phyllis M Speight, Edwin Tompkins, John DaMonte, Thomas Maughan, and others.

It is from the germinating efforts of this group that the contemporary Society of Homeopaths ultimately emerged…

During WW II and in the years following it, Thomas Maughan and John DaMonte held homeopathy classes in various people’s homes in the Greater London area. During the 1960’s the number of people attending these classes began to increase.

By the early 1970’s they had attracted a highly committed ongoing nucleus of students.  Thomas Maughan’s group later became known as the South London Group and John DaMonte’s as the North London Group. Many of these students also chose to become members of the Druid Order. Thomas Maughan was also Chosen Chief of the Druid Order as well as being a homeopathic healer.

Through referral by word of mouth, patients came to him for treatment from all over the world.  John DaMonte was a long time friend of Thomas Maughan, a radionics practitioner and homeopath with patients from many countries as well…

A major contribution that Thomas Maughan and John DaMonte were to bring to homeopathy was the integration of Samuel Hahnemann, Paracelsus, Emanuel Swedenborg, Johann Gottfried Rademacher, James Tyler Kent, and James Compton Burnett along with a study of ‘Subtle Anatomy’  the science of the treatment of the endocrine glands and the Chakras or vital energy centres that are associated with them.

Their approach was to utilise homeopathy not merely to match the outer physical, emotional, and mental symptom picture of the patient but to match remedies to the state of the energy field surrounding the physical body  and the condition of the endocrine system which is its biological counterpart…

Of interest:

A 16th century Thomas Maughan is reputedly the first person to use the term ‘anthroscopy’ in print, which influenced Rudolf Steiner to form the break away anthroposophy movement, and thus also Walter Johannes Stein. This would certainly have been a talking point between Thomas Maughan and Walter Johannes Stein, if they really did meet… Thomas Maughan may also have known Daniel Nicol Dunlop through the anthroposophy movement.

Thomas Maughan became Chief of the Ancient Druid Order in 1964 when Robert MacGregor Reid died - Thomas Maughan also taught many people as well as homeopaths, and he wrote several pamphlets about his system of planets and Churches for his students.

Thomas Maughan was also reputedly a retired ‘oil man’.

Thomas Maughan Ltd was a shipping company with interests in oil tankers:

Thomas Maughan, arrived from China after a voyage of fifteen days

Thomas Maughan MAY have had a family history of military service and service in military intelligence, as a Thomas Maughan married an Afgan girl in 1849 and brought her back to England where they apparently lived happily. Is it possible that this was a relative of our Thomas Maughan? If so, it may explain the interest in foreign religions he exhibited.

However, Maughan is a very old Irish surname, and Lackenby is possibly of Viking origin, and so as such the descendants will be quite numerous, and Thomas Maughan’s have been around since the time of the Tudors, many of them in military service, and some of them listed in Burke’s Peerage.


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