In the beginning
When Dr. Bach left London to go in search of natural plant remedies, he asked Nora Weeks to accompany him. Nora remained with Dr. Bach throughout his discovery. They travelled all over the country during the spring, summer and early autumn. Nora observed all that Dr. Bach went through during his findings, and he taught her everything related to the plants, even so that she could recognise each one from their seedlings. During the winter months they settled in the Norfolk town of Cromer. This gave Dr. Bach the opportunity to see patients and treat them with his new remedies. Here Victor Bullen got to know of the Doctor’s work and in time became a close friend and helper.
Dr. Bach was halfway through his discovery when he felt the need to find a more permanent home. He liked the Thames Valley and when Nora Weeks was told that Mount Vernon was available to rent she knew that Dr. Bach would be delighted: the cottage was simple, the village peaceful and the River Thames, upon which he had enjoyed many a rowing and punting trip, was close by.
The house had been left empty and unfurnished for some time so when Dr. Bach settled there in April 1934, he set about making his own furniture, growing vegetables and scattering wild flower seeds in the garden. And in the village and surrounding countryside he found the remaining 19 remedies to complete his work. The chairs, cupboards, stools and tables that Dr. Bach made still furnish Mount Vernon today, and although we don’t grow vegetables now, the garden still plays host to an ongoing generation of flowers from the seeds and shrubs he planted all those years ago.
When Victor Bullen joined the team they all worked together until Dr. Bach completed his work, leaving the final introduction and publication of his book The Twelve Healers & Other Remedies in their hands. They promised Dr. Bach that they would continue to make the remedies and teach others how to use them, always protecting the simplicity, purity and completeness of the system.
Nora and Victor were later joined by Nickie Murray and her brother John Ramsell and, when Victor died in 1975, Nora made Nickie and John her partners. They, in turn, promised Nora that they would continue to uphold the Doctor’s simple message and principles and continue to prepare the remedies as they had been taught. Nora died peacefully in her sleep in January 1978 and so John and Nickie carried on with the work at Mount Vernon as they had promised they would do, and watched it grow and spread all over the world – by word of mouth alone.
In 1985 John’s daughter Judy Ramsell Howard was invited to join the team and she worked alongside her father and aunt who in turn taught her all about the work and the preparation of remedies. Nickie retired in the late 1980s, and so John continued to run the Centre along with Judy until his retirement some fifteen years later. Judy promised her father to uphold the promises he had made to Nora, and so the legacy continues to the present day.
Since her father’s retirement, Judy has been the Centre’s Managing Director. She and her co-Director, Stefan Ball, who John invited to join them in 1996, run the Centre together along with more recent members of the team including Judy’s son Sam and daughter Fay. Although the Centre is no longer directly responsible for making mother tinctures or the commercialisation of remedies, our involvement in them continues through our work as teachers.
Values and change
The Bach Centre exists because Nora Weeks and Victor Bullen and in turn their successors John Ramsell and Nickie Murray and the current team, each promised that they would continue to uphold Dr. Bach’s values.
But surely life is more complicated now, with so many other things to worry about that didn’t exist in Dr. Bach’s day…
Anyone is free to look for other ways to work with the remedies, or prepare new essences, or build a variety of constructs of their own. Our path is a different one.
In Dr Bach’s time it was simply a matter of reading The Twelve Healers & Other Remedies – Dr. Bach’s descriptions of the 38 remedies – and experience directly the simplicity and purity of the original conception. Thanks to the efforts of Dr Bach’s heirs – our predecessors at the Bach Centre – people today have that same opportunity. Our duty is to make sure that the simple heart of the work beats on into the future.
This means more than keeping Dr Bach’s books in print and keeping his home open to visitors. It also means being here, as Dr Bach was and as Nora and Victor were, to talk about his work and stress its simplicity in the face of every complication and addition. It is true, times have changed, but emotions remain the same from one generation to the next. In Dr. Bach’s day people may have been afraid or worried about different things to the problems that concern us today, but fear is fear, whatever, whenever and wherever its focus.
Does this mean that you want time to stand still? That you don’t want to add to the work?
The secret of great sculptors is that they release the figure that is already in the stone, and once it has been released they put down their tools. Like the figure in the stone, Dr. Bach discovered the remedies by harnessing the healing potential that was already within the flowers. He did not create that potential, and consistently spoke of them not as a personal achievement but as a gift from nature – and of God:
‘Once we have been given a jewel of such magnitude,’ he said, ‘nothing can deviate us from our path of love and duty to displaying its lustre, pure and unadorned to the people of the world.’