Yeats Day June 09th -13th 2016



By Cormac MacConville

The Yeats Society, Hyde Bridge, Sligo


Automatic writing Subconscious or supernatural: WB, George and how hypnosis helped their lives

The poet WB Yeats and his wife, George Hyde-Lees, regularly used automatic writing throughout their lives together (To write without being consciously aware of what is written, often thought to be a supernatural phenomenon).

These messages inspired much of Yeats’ later poetry. It may also have helped shore up a shaky marriage between the older man, three times rejected by Maud Gonne, and his much younger wife.

Were they both, in the words of Bob Geldof in a recent TV documentary on the poet, ‘bonkers’?

Hypnotherapist Cormac MacConville will explore the use of automatic writing as one of the many aspects of hypnotism and the working of the human unconscious in a talk on June 10 and 12.

The talk will be held in the Yeats Building, Hyde Bridge.

‘For many years hypnotic and mental phenomena were not fully understood and often a supernatural explanation was offered. At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century a movement known as Spiritualism employed a variety of hypnotic techniques in its search for understanding and mystical knowledge. In some cases these tools were used by cynical charlatans but often they were used by earnest people who believed that they were in communion with the supernatural,’ he said.

‘I started to look at Yeat’s and George’s automatic writing because it married my fascination with hypnosis and my love of literature and history. I first qualified as hypnotherapist when I saw its effectiveness in dealing with chronic pain but there are many other ways in which hypnosis can be used to help people live fuller lives. Yeats’ and George’s automatic writing illustrate just how diverse and unexpected the applications of hypnosis can be.

‘In my talk I will illustrate how they used hypnotic techniques to inspire some of Yeats’ finest poetry and to develop their relationship. I will give a short demonstration of automatic writing and some possible applications for aspiring writers in the audience. As a qualified hypnotherapist everything I will do as part of my demonstration will be perfectly safe.

‘You may ask, did they believe they were receiving messages from the other world or did they, and George in particular, deliberately use automatic writing and the influence it had on her husband, as a way of saving her marriage, which looked doomed from the start? In fact they had a long and stable marriage. The third possibility is that the automatic writing was giving expression to their own unconscious minds.’

Cormac Mac Conville practises as a hypnotherapist in Galway and Sligo. He is a qualified and is a member of The National Guild of Hypnotists. Hypnotherapy is particularly effective in relieving chronic pain but he also treats a wide variety of issues as well as offering workshops, group sessions and classes.

In his informative and entertaining talk on the Yeats’ and their use of automatic writing or hypnosis, Cormac will show how diverse and unexpected the applications of hypnosis can be in people’s lives.



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Starts: June 09th -13th 2016