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The way of the White Eagle Lodge

Colum Hayward

White Eagle Lodge is a worldwide spiritual organisation with centres in the UK, mainland Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The organisation, now a registered charity, was founded in 1936 by the medium Grace Cooke, through whom White Eagle communicated his gentle philosophy of spiritual living, attracting large numbers to his legendary trance addresses.

Colum Hayward (pictured) is a grandson of Grace Cooke and is deeply involved in the day-to-day work of what is still in many respects a family-run organisation. He is in spiritual charge of the White Eagle Lodge in Kensington, West London, and is principal of the Lodge’s newly opened School of Meditation. He is also senior editor of the White Eagle Publishing Trust.

The White Eagle Mother Lodge is located at New Lands, in Liss, Hampshire, where the beautiful White Temple, used for worship, meditation and healing, was opened in 1974.

“We have three temples in all,” says Colum. “Maurice Barbanell was present at the opening of the one in Liss. The other two opened in the early 1990s, first in Queensland, Australia, and then in Texas – chosen to be fairly central between the east and west coasts of the States.”

White Eagle

White Eagle communicated his gentle philosophy
through the medium Grace Cooke.


The White Eagle philosophy is based on six principles, the first of which teaches that “God, the Eternal Spirit, is both Father and Mother.” Those who bemoan the  stereotypical maleness accorded to God by most orthodox religions will welcome this inclusivity. I asked Colum if the teaching had been given by White Eagle from the start.

“As far as I know, yes. It was some-thing my grandmother Grace Cooke was very hot on and doubtless spoke about eloquently on Spiritualist committees. White Eagle has always spoken about the male and female roles being very distinct, but also very balanced – or at least (when it comes to human gender) in need of balancing. That is not to say we all have to change our sexuality, but that we will be truly healthy when we recognise both the male and the female within us. That might mean, for instance, an end to violence – which is the product of an overbalance in the energies.”

“It also shows in the attitude the Lodge has traditionally held over wider ‘family’ issues. White Eagle has implied that many moralities are made by societies, not by God, and that the matter of overriding importance, regardless of attitude, is the love and the respect we hold for each other as individuals. Indeed, what matters is the love and respect for the whole of life, regardless of whether it is human or even sentient. The vows taken by the couple in a White Eagle marriage service replace the familiar phrase ‘till death do us part’ with ‘until our karma in this earthly life is finished’.

“I am very proud of the fact that right back in the 1940s the Lodge was able to recognise the blessings and the creativity that could come from same-sex relationships and fully honour each partner as a human being and a child of God.”

Grace Cooke and her successors as spiritual leader of the Lodge have taken the title Lodge Mother. It’s a designation that suggests qualities of care and nurture, and Colum believes it’s entirely appropriate.

“There is still a balance to be redressed in this world. The feminine has been ignored and downtrodden for too long. The Lodge has a Mother role because that is what the organisation needs, and perhaps the wider world, too. In that way we are offering an example.

“If I’m honest, I think my grandmother’s greatest gift was being there for members of the Lodge, often clairvoyantly,” he says. “She would awake with a clear sense that she had to contact someone urgently and a letter would go off that day, maybe with a message from White Eagle but certainly a loving one from herself, going straight to what she perceived, psychically, the person was facing. Thus the person who (let’s say) had had a cancer diagnosis would sometimes receive a comforting letter from her before the news had leaked out at all. That was what being a mother was to her.

“When she passed in 1979, the role of Mother was shared between my aunt, Joan Hodgson, and my mother, Ylana Hayward. Though less psychic, they really tried to follow my grandmother’s principles and were renowned for their loving kindness. Joan passed on in 1995 and my mother on 7th September of the autumn just past, but by then she had moved (in her nineties!) to the new role of Spiritual Grandmother of the Lodge, while the Mother role was taken on by Joan’s daughter Jenny Dent.

“Jenny is a wonderful practical person, and by then was already the Chief Administrator of the charity which the Lodge is. Very recently, we have had a restructuring which sees Jenny returning very much to her Mother role, with the administration of the work shared between managers. That gives us two advantages: first, the leadership of the Lodge is once again visibly from the spiritual side, and second, the management of the charity is more collective: more open and egalitarian. In short, there is better room for the quality which White Eagle has sought so hard to instil in us all – the quality of brotherhood.”

Healing, both contact and absent, is of central importance in the White Eagle philosophy, and is delivered in a specific way. 

“The primary method of both types of healing is the radiation of light to the patient,” Colum explains. “It is often directed to specific areas, by mental concentration – or, perhaps more accurately, by an emanation from the heart. That means that the ‘light’ is really love in a semi-visible form: visible to psychic or etheric vision. But the application is generally more specific, in as much as the need for colours that complete the balancing of the patient are perceived intuitively (within the context of clear guidelines) and these colours are chosen for use out of the overall white light – just as we might see light shining through a prism and concentrate on (say) the green part of the spectrum. That would normally give a cleansing treatment, whereas blue might be used to soothe pain in a very specific area of the patient.”

Training for absent healing in the London Lodge consists of two short one-to-one sessions in the London Lodge. Contact healers undergo a much more extensive process.

“There are weekend courses and follow-ups at three levels,” says Colum. “The Lodge is fully involved with the work of UK Healers. That gives our healers and patients an enormous amount of protection.”

White Eagle Temple

The impressive White Temple
at New Lands, in Liss, Hampshire.


The White Eagle Star Brotherhood is dedicated to establishing brotherhood on earth. Its membership, however, is not confined solely to a group of men on earth, as its title might imply.

“Brotherhood is, as I have said, a quality first and foremost,” Colum emphasises. “Members of the Brotherhood have to be absolutely committed to the principle of establishing brotherhood on earth. White Eagle is clear that brotherhood is not only not gender-specific, but not species-specific either. In fact, it includes the whole of life, but at all levels – so it takes in the etheric level, the angels, and discarnate beings, too. Moreover, and it’s a sobering thought, it is a brotherhood which bridges the whole of time – so that ancient Egyptians and Andean chiefs of old are part of it.

“What White Eagle told us to do, in a memorable phrase, was to try and reproduce on the earth plane ‘a way of life that is in harmony with the infinite love’.

“Candidates for the Brotherhood apply when they want to take on that commitment, but the moment they are ‘initiated’ is primarily based on external perception of their being ‘ready’. The earthly arbiter of this is the Lodge Mother, although she most earnestly seeks guidance from spirit in making the decision.”

Lodge services take various forms but almost always include an address, or the reading of a talk by White Eagle.

“Some would say the core of the service is a moment of ‘sending out the light’ in healing to the world, but it is probably truer to say that the heart of it is a moment of communion, through meditation, with the Source of all life.”

Unlike many spiritual and Spiritualist organisations, White Eagle Lodge en-compasses astrology as an integral part of its work, but it’s not the mass-market astrology of romantic liaisons and job prospects.

In the words of the White Eagle website: “We are an organisation that has been teaching and promoting serious astrology from a spiritual viewpoint for many years. Our work is the use of astrology for understanding, enlightenment and growth both for the individual and the world.”

Colum’s aunt, Joan Hodgson, was responsible for introducing the study of astrology into the Lodge and founded the White Eagle School of Astrology.

“The aim is primarily to provide support and guiding wisdom to those seeking to understand their karma,” says Colum. The School studies astrology in its group context too (the karma of nations, and organisations, say), and a recent development is a sort of ‘consciousness astrology’ where participants at workshops in a simple way act out – and thus feel – the influences of the planets and stars. So much of the work has become very experiential and related to the actual night sky – but the traditional element, of horoscopes and consultations, is still there.”

On the matter of thorough training, Colum adds: “Our training involves a written course completed over a period of time according to what the student prefers. There’s a beginners’ course and an advanced course, but our practising astrologers have all gone on to take a Diploma. We participate in the Advisory Panel on Astrological Education, so our courses are integrated with and certificated by the overall field of astrological study.”

Enlightenment, personal growth and spiritual nurturing are all key to the White Eagle ethos. Retreats of varying lengths are available at a number of centres, offering peaceful surroundings, spiritual refreshment and tuition in equal measure.

“We aim for a balance between input and regeneration, but these days we do theme our retreats,” Colum explains. “Thus I myself led retreats at New Lands last year on ‘the sacredness of nature’ and ‘the ancient brotherhoods’, while other retreats included ‘sacred geometry’ and this year there will be a retreat focusing creatively on what dying is all about.”

The White Eagle way is a peaceful path of gentleness, compassion, understanding and tolerance towards all forms of life. It’s a philosophy that, practised universally, could not fail to create a kinder, more equitable world. In White Eagle’s own words:

Develop from the heart, meditate on love, live love, absorb love, give love, and your soul will become alight. The divine magic will rest in your hands, enabling you to heal the sick, to comfort the bereaved, to bless the sorrowful, to beautify everything you touch, and to bring peace and happiness to the lives of men and women.

• To find out more about White Eagle Lodge, visit: www.whiteagle.org

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