- Bill Northern was talking to a horse. Well, actually,
it was more like he was silently communicating with Phoenix, a sleek chestnut
gelding with a white blaze. A tiny pendulum swinging from his right hand,
his left hand open and his eyes closed much of the time, Bill began with
a diagnosis of Phoenix s physical condition.
- "He's low on minerals, on calcium and selenium.
Too much magnesium in relation to the calcium," Bill said. "He
has an allergy problem in his nostril. There's a little bit of congestion
in the lung. It's not bad."
- OK, maybe communicating isn't even the right word although
Bill is officially called an animal communicator. After all, how does a
horse know it needs more selenium? How does a horse even know what selenium
is? I don't know what selenium is. What Bill was doing seemed more like
intuitive messaging, if there is such a thing, something far removed from
speech as most people experience it.
- We were at Kula Ridge Stables near the top of Omaopio
Road last Monday afternoon with a chilly wind dancing through misty rain.
The stable dogs were hanging out under cover while the work of caring
for horses went on as usual. A hot cup of coffee was welcome.
- Bill stood in front of Phoenix, who, now and again, would
reach over and nuzzle the man's face.
- "You're very naughty," Bill would chuckle.
- A cheerful man with twinkling blue eyes, a neatly trimmed
white beard and a kind manner, Bill is a cross between Santa Claus and
Dr. Dolittle. He lives in Warsaw, Va., but was on Maui to work with animals
and to give a seminar on the basics of dowsing and how to apply this knowledge
to animal communication. He also did a number of private consultations
with individual animals, as he was doing with Phoenix.
- "There's a hernia there. It's not real big, but
it's a small hernia there," Bill said as stable manager and equine
chiropractor Jacquie Becker ran her hands over the horse.
- "He has trouble coordinating his front leg. It doesn't
want to go in sequence with his hind leg. ... He thinks he'd be more comfortable
on that leg if the hoof is trimmed, Bill continued, explaining the hoof
should be cut higher on the inside.
- After about 15 minutes of physical diagnosis, it was
time to ask the horse direct questions.
- "Is jumping hurting you?" was the first.
- "He likes to jump. Little jumps. On the higher jumps
the rider leans too much to the right. What he would really like to do
is cross country," Bill translated.
- Of course, Phoenix is no Mr. Ed so he wasn't really talking
or making any noises at all other than once in a while chewing on his tether
or pawing the ground.
- "Does he really hate me that much?" came a
voice from inside the stable.
- "He thinks you always want your way. He says you're
spoiled. He doesn't dislike you," Bill told the worker. Everyone
- After Phoenix had been led back to his stall, it was
Bill's turn to answer some questions, like how does this work?
- "I don't know anything," he said. "I
ask my angels, my spirit guides. I listen. I don't use my brain. If you
get my brain-involved, you have all kinds of trouble."
- Bill is a dowser. Dowsing has been used for centuries
as a way to find underground water. Water "witching" it was
called. Some people developed the uncanny ability to find water and were
much in demand when wells needed to be dug. Now there are thousands of
people involved in the practice; there are schools and even conventions.
- Dowsing these days has broader applications than finding
water or electrical lines. The pendulum Bill had dangling from his hand
was the tool that connected him to the information he was seeking.
- While this all may sound a little airy fairy, Bill is
quite matter-of-fact about what he does.
- "There are no limits to where you can go,"
he said, going on to explain that he taught those at his seminar to protect
themselves from harmful, negative thoughts sent by others by returning
those thoughts back to their source with love. "It's the most important
thing that we do," he said.
- Although horses are his main 'clients,' Bill has dowsed
dogs, cats, a mongoose, elephants and even fish. He has problems with cats.
- "Cats fib to me," he said. "Cats will
tell you anything to get rid of you. But if they're sick, they'll be honest.
If they need help, they'll work with you."
- He told the story of a cat whose owners thought it was
afraid of them. It turned out the cat didn't want to go into certain parts
of the house because it was afraid of another, bigger cat. Then there
was the rottweiler that was chewing up the furniture all the time. "They
d be watching TV," he said of the owners, "and he'd be in the
bedroom tearing up the bed. The dog wasn't being mean," he explained,
"it just thought of the furniture as a toy."
- "Dogs and cats have no sense of value. They don't
understand money, he said noting that to an animal, your priceless antique
is the same as an old broken chair you're ready to take to the dump.
- Bill said he was able to convince the rottweiler to change
- "Horses and dogs generally keep bargains,"
he said, adding that sometimes behavior modification has to go both ways.
"If a horse is doing something wrong, they'll change if you'll change."
- But once in a while, even horses withhold information.
"Horses don't like shots," Bill explained. "So they won't
tell you something because they know if they do, they'll get a shot."
- Sometimes it takes someone who can talk to animals to
pinpoint the cause of a problem. "Take those elephants. They weren't
getting along and zookeepers thought one of the elephants didn't like
people." According to Bill, the grumpy elephant wasn't getting his
share of watermelon, a food he was fond of. When the keepers made sure
he got his fair share, the elephant became much happier.
- "With animals, problems are often food-related,"
- For example, a woman had five fish in an outdoor pond
and one seemed out of sorts. The fish let Bill know it wanted to be fed
in a different spot from the others because it didn't want to have to
fight for the food. Problem solved.
- While visiting Maui, Bill even tried his hand at communicating
with whales. On a whale watch, he continually asked the whales to come
closer so he could see them. The whale watch was very successful with
a large number of whales coming very close to the craft.
- "I don t know if I had anything to do with it,"
he said. "I'd have to go out a number of times to see. They (the
whales) kept showing me a red thing, a small red thing like an apple. I
don t know what it was, but it was something they wanted."
- Most of Bill's work is done long distance from his rural
home in Virginia where he has beavers, foxes, hawks, eagles, rabbits, squirrels,
ducks, groundhogs and all manner of wildlife on the property. He says the
beavers will come up and eat out of his hand.
- "We have an agreement about the trees," he
added, saying that, for the most part, the beavers don't gnaw down the
trees on his property nor build dams that block his waterways.
- He says he can work from a picture or just a description
and the location of the animal.
- "It doesn't always work perfectly," Bill said
of his practice. "It's basically learning to listen. I'm not always
right. I learn new things every day. Animals will wake me up in the middle
of the night and say they meant something another way."
- Dowsers get together and talk about things like that.
Bill has high praise for that community of folks who can tap into all kinds
of energy fields.
- "Dowsers don't try to take advantage of others,"
he said. "They're always willing to help you. And if you go to a
dowsers' conference, it's better than any church. Everyone is there to
learn from each other."
- "Do you want to try dowsing?" he asked.
- As a reporter whose job is to be skeptical, I couldn't
- Bill equipped me with two angle rods, copper wires bent
into an 'L' shape with the short end as handles. He instructed me to hold
them loosely, one in each hand, pointing forward.
- He told me to walk slowly and ask my 'angels' to let
me know where there was an underground stream. I walked forward, concentrating
on running water, and, after a few yards, the rods spun in my hands. Now
whether or not there was an underground stream there, I wouldn't know
without digging a big hole, but I do know those metal rods moved without
any help from me.
- Bill then asked me to come back asking for the location
of a place filled with positive energy. In a different location, the rods
again spun and pointed to a place Bill told me the people in his seminar
had 'cleared of negative energy' the day before.
- That night I tried talking to our cat, Sister Mary Hubert.
She's standoffish, probably because she wishes she had a name like Queen
of the World instead of Hubert. The only time she'll sit on my lap is when
I'm on the telephone, but I mentally invited her to come while I was on
the couch watching television.
- She actually jumped up. She didn't say anything; she
just lay there and purred. Of course, being a cat, she could have been
fibbing so I wasn't sure if she was really happy or not.
- Bill might have been able to tell.
- Many people swear Bill has a true gift especially with
horses. Some people reading this may think he's just one of those people
who has a talent for getting along with animals. Who's to say?
- Maybe Phoenix is the one to ask.
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