Tutor Penny Hayward interview with College Manager Tanya 2019
Late one night, Tutor Penny Hayward and College General Manager Tanya got chatting. Penny opened up about her fascinating journey of discovering Spiritualism and Mediumship and why she is thrilled to be part of the AFC Tutor team. Tanya asked if Penny would agree for her to capture her words and Penny readily agreed to allow her fascinating journey and story to be reproduced for all to hear.
Born in Australia, Penny is an accredited College Tutor at the Arthur Findlay College, which is owned and operated by the Spiritualists’ National Union. Her teaching efforts have made a positive impact on many students following a similar journey to Penny’s. Penny teaches extensively in the UK, Europe and USA. Penny’s teaching strengths include; Public Speaking, Demonstrating Evidential Mediumship, Trance, Healing and she has started to develop Spirit Art and more.
How and when did you first get into Mediumship?
Several months after having a special evidential reading with a medium in the year 2002, I had an overwhelming urge to go back. I didn’t know why. During the second reading, which wasn’t going as well as the first, the medium said “you aren’t here to hear from Spirit, are you!” I didn’t even think about the response, when I found myself saying, “… I just want to know how it works.”
She invited me to her workshops and so the flood gates opened. I was hooked and went to as many workshops, courses, circles, development groups and anything else I could, just to soak up as much knowledge as I could. To be honest, I went to the workshops to feed my soul. The experiences were helping me to understand myself, my life and all my questions, of which I had many. I never intended to do anything more than learn about it for myself and exercise the mediumistic and psychic ability I have. I didn’t want to go public with my mediumship. It goes to show, if the Spirit move you beyond what you consciously want for yourself, then you know there is a greater force inspiring you (or pushing you) along.
“The feeling of elation when you finally get ‘it’ is wonderful and very hard to describe”.
What was it like when you first had your very first encounter with the Spirit World?
This is difficult to answer. On reflection, I have had encounters with Spirit from a young age, but I thought it was normal. I suppose the short answer is, it felt natural. While this isn’t the first encounter, it is a good example of which many people may relate to in their naivety of their ability, the interference of the logical mind and the spirit world trying to awaken us. When I lived in Australia, I lived on my own and did shift work at night. I was often awake at funny hours of the day/night. On one particular occasion, I heard my front screen door handle, the door swings open and bang closed behind. I was frozen, thinking, I locked the door… I’m sure I locked the door!… I felt the wooden floorboards move as though someone was walking into the room. And they were, but I couldn’t see them. It was an elderly man. He walked straight past me (ignoring me) into the next room and out the back door. I leapt up and checked the door was actually locked, which it was. Then with my logical mind at work, I dismissed it. He visited every night I was up at approx. 4am. In the end I would just say hello as he passed me. Even then I didn’t think for one minute I was a medium. Sounds funny now. Thinking back to the first time I had a spirit communicator work with me to give evidence was an incredible high. The feeling of elation when you finally get ‘it’ is wonderful and very hard to describe.
“It’s a place of healing, an adventure for one’s soul to be free, a place of discovery for all aspects of yourself, if you allow it”.
Tell me about your very first visit to the Arthur Findlay College?
My first visit to the Arthur Findlay College was for a short course, Friday to Sunday. It was overwhelming and extremely emotional. I think I cried the entire weekend. At first it’s like a maze and a wonderland for the soul. The energy and atmosphere were wonderful. I was pushed outside my comfort zone and at one point I almost wanted to give up. But then something wonderful would happen and it would pick me up again that’s part of the magic! Some people say the feeling is like arriving home. For me it’s a place of healing, an adventure for one’s soul to be free, a place of discovery for all aspects of yourself, if you allow it. You feel as though you can relax into your true essence. You arrive as strangers and soon become friends. You realise you aren’t alone in the world after all. It really is incredible how the college draws people from all over the world, from all walks of life. There really isn’t anywhere else in the world that holds the magic of this college, combined with the experience of the tutors. Naturally, the history of the college and how it came into being is also a special story worth hearing. (read more about the college history here https://www.arthurfindlaycollege.org/history-of-stansted-hall/
“By the end of the week you don’t want to leave, but best of all you can reflect on all the magical moments and see why you were meant to be there”.
You were a student for many years before joining the AFC tutor team. What do you most like about the College experience?
You can forget about the rest of the world and the more mundane aspects of life and totally immerse yourself in unfolding yourself, your spirituality and your mediumship. You get to know your human nature along with your mediumistic ability, while allowing your spirituality to explore how it is meant to be for you. If you arrive with an open mind and trust that you will be right where you are meant to be (the course, the tutor, the other students), it truly is a magical experience. Usually, you will gain more than you can possibly imagine if you allow the experience to flow and unravel for you. By having expectations, it can spoil what would otherwise be an extraordinary experience. By the end of the week you don’t want to leave, but best of all you can reflect on all the magical moments and see why you were meant to be there. It’s not just about learning and expanding your mediumship, it’s also about exploring your human nature, your soul potential and your spiritual journey as they’re meant to be for you.
“I defied the spirit world and told them, if they wanted me to work publically and at the college, you (they) have to make it happen because I won’t!”
When did you realise that you wanted to teach? What inspired you to want to teach at AFC?
As I mentioned earlier, I developed my mediumship to discover myself. In the process I started being told by many tutors at the college that I would teach at Arthur Findlay College one day. My reaction was, always, no way! And they must be bonkers! On one of the college open weeks, I think it was 2010 I was told this again. I always went to tutors I’d never met before. Afterwards, I defied the spirit world and told them, if they wanted me to work publically and at the college, you (they) have to make it happen because I won’t! Three days later, the phone rang and it was a spiritualist church I had never heard of asking if I could do their Sunday Service. I had never worked publically or done a service before. Cutting a long story short that was Spirit responding to my challenge. It made me realise there is a bigger picture and it was going to push me outside of my comfort zone and in a direction my logical mind wanted to fight against. Soon after this, a number of tutors began to encourage me to do the tutor training scheme, which lead me towards teaching at the college. The process to become a tutor at the college is long and arduous, and is also rewarding and demanding on your time and dedication. I’ve come through it feeling extremely proud and grateful to serve spirit in the way they wanted me to serve. Ultimately it has been the force and will of Spirit that has inspired and encouraged me to work here at the Arthur Findlay College. Being a tutor, watching students have the a-ha moments and opening up their abilities is one of the most rewarding things you can experience. To be able to do this at the Arthur Findlay College is probably like an athlete achieving gold at the Olympics.
“I am proud to be a member of the SNU and call myself a Spiritualist.”
Who has been the person that most inspired you throughout your discovery of Mediumship and or Spiritualism, and why?
My friends have been my biggest supporters and most of them have nothing to do with spiritualism or mediumship. I never thought I would become a spiritualist, let alone a demonstrating/teaching medium. Along my unfolding journey, I felt the time was right to join the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU) and I am proud to be a member and call myself a Spiritualist. It then led me onto doing my awards and along that path I began to work towards being a tutor, which in turn brought me to the point of applying to be a tutor at the college. So the journey unfolded as it was meant to be. I would have to say spirit have coerced, encouraged and tricked me into many things to get me to this point and they will probably continue to do so. The way spirit manoeuvre around my stubbornness (which isn’t as resistant as it once was) and show me the magic of Spirit is inspirational. I will never stop learning and growing as a medium, in my human nature or as a spiritualist. At times my journey has felt lonely and difficult. I never really followed or attached myself to one tutor/mentor. I know others have and that’s great for some people. However, I’d want to encourage all the ‘loners’ out there that being you, being independent is wonderful if that’s what suits you. Along my path, I have learnt something from everyone and I’ve been inspired by different people and experiences along the way, some of which have nothing to do with mediumship or spiritualism. Inspirations come in many guises. I’d encourage everyone to stay open to all sources of inspiration.
What do you most enjoy about teaching?
Inspiring students! It’s an amazing feeling, I really get a buzz from creating an environment where people can have spiritual experiences. It is rewarding to see students have the ‘a-ha’ moments or when something clicks into place for them and their mediumship/psychism. And when they have a personal break thought and they trust you enough to share it with you, it’s so satisfying and encouraging. When you see the newer students have things start to fall into place it’s so special. Making sure that the student allows their mediumship to unfold for them as it is meant, including when their spiritual journey becomes clearer for them. It’s especially gratifying when you have the opportunity to see students blossom throughout a weeks’ residential course at the college. Quite often it’s not just the development of the mediums’ mediumship but also the development of the student within themselves.
What subject’s do you prefer to teach and why?
I’m particularly passionate about speaking mediumship (philosophy). We desperately need more speakers in Spiritualism and better blending of spirit with speaking mediums to heighten the quality and intelligence to reach more people in audiences inside and most especially outside of spiritualism. However, all aspects of mediumship are a joy to teach – foundations of psychic and mediumistic abilities, the various states of energy and power. Using creativity in mediumship, healing, altered states, the list goes on. All of the subjects have brought me joy when learning and developing them. To teach the various subjects of mediumship and seeing students light up when something works especially well for them is incredibly rewarding.
“Never give up!”
What tips would you give for anyone who wants to develop their mediumship?
Keep it real. Keep it rational. Learn what is you and your power. Put in the time and discipline to attune to the collective consciousness that works with you (your spirit team). They will blend and manifest in ways that you can relate to and will be meaningful to you and that’s all that matters. Don’t be in a rush. Try not to put expectations on yourself for what you, or others think you should do, with your mediumship. If you are given direction by someone ask for confirmation from your spirit team. You will always receive confirmation if you ask for it. Most of all put yourself and the spirit world to the test. If it is meant to be it will happen providing you make the effort to meet spirit half way. Let your mediumship unfold as it is meant to be for you. The best advice overall is – never give up!
Tell me about your proudest and or strangest experience as a medium?
There are many proud moments and each one excels the last. When I joined the Spiritualists’ National Union, it was unexpected as I actively resisted at first. When I felt inspired to join it was strange (to me). I don’t regret it at all. When I got my CSNU and then my DSNU… Then achieving my teaching diploma and more recently when I received approval to teach here at the college… That’s when I finally believed all those messages from all the mediums over the years that said I would teach at AFC one day. The spirit world put in a lot of effort to convince me and to encourage me to do my bit to help it happen.
A definite strange moment was when I heard an unusual load crack in the atmosphere and then saw a huge yellow, white and brown butterfly appeared in my kitchen at 10pm at night. The windows weren’t open enough to allow it to fly in our out. I walked right up to it. It was real. And I wasn’t the only one to see it. It was about the size of the palm of my hand! That’s huge for England. I made sure all the windows were closed again trying to make sense of it. In the morning it was gone. It was as though it appeared and disappeared out of thin air.
Have you ever experienced physical phenomena? If so, tell me about your most evidential experience with physical phenomena?
I’ve been to physical séances but not seen anything evidential or that I could honestly say was physical phenomena as we have read about in spiritualist history. The closest I can think of is the butterfly experience I had at home. Especially as I don’t have a logical explanation for it. Equally, I don’t have anything to prove it was physical phenomena. The next closest after that was being part of an experiment for healing and experiencing the build-up of energy. It felt as though the energy was used to help someone next to me. As it happens, the person next to me felt like their back and neck were being worked on. They also expressed that they felt better afterwards. This would be the closest to an evidential experience of phenomena that I’ve had. It was done in bright day light, in the Library at the college with other tutors and all the students on the week.
Who are your Spirit Guides? What do you know about them? How do your Spirit guides work with you?
I do know who some of them are and not others. They all have a role to play. I used to be fixated on knowing who my guides are. I have since arrived at a point where I just refer to them as ‘my team’. Now, I just trust the right one(s) will be there when I need them and I don’t worry about which one it is. All that matters is that they give me the inspiration, guidance and teaching as and when it’s required. I do think I needed to go through the process of getting to know my team and building the rapport and trust with them. It is a good thing for mediums to do. It’s a personal aspect of mediumship and your evolving mediumistic journey, including having confirmation but it should be a part of you/your mediumship. Personally, the biggest step was to let go and trust ‘the team’ work with me. It was freeing in a way. It meant I could let go of the fixation and be confident and trust that ‘the team’ are there inspiring me all the time.
What do you think about ghosts?
This is not my area of expertise. I recognise that ghosts are of interest to some people. My understanding is it’s more likely to be a residual energy (a memory) which some people can pick up on and because of the intensity of the memory and the continual acknowledgement of this energy, it remains to manifest and replay. Basically, it is attuning to and picking up on the memory of someone that once lived. Just like replaying a record, keeping the memory alive of the so called ghost. Usually they are always seen in the same place doing the same things or the psychics pick up on the same types of information. Which for me confirms it’s the memory rather than a mediumistic interaction. Just like the old man that used to pass through my living room.
“What we don’t understand we fear.”
Have you ever experienced negative spirits?
I have had experiences of communicators that have not been model citizens in their physical life and whom I wouldn’t have wanted to encounter, but they were there to communicate with a family member. In my teenage years I experimented with Ouija boards and had experiences that scared me / that were negative experiences (not spirits), however I would say in-experience, darkness and teenagers fooling around isn’t a good combination. This sort of thing is an invitation for a mischievous spirit to play. In my naivety, pre development, I was aware of energy but didn’t understand it. When you are naïve and your mind takes over it can create or try to justify what it doesn’t understand, throwing it out of perspective. Usually what we don’t understand we fear. Once you appreciate energy, yours, spirit and other people and places then you can rationalise it and the fear goes away. More often than not, when people who are sensitive to a spirit but aren’t developed or mediumistic enough to understand, their imagination can make their experience the worst. Mind you, some of the tv programmes don’t help by sensationalising things and it can worry some people. This is why it’s so important to seek the truth and help from experienced mediums. I hasten to add, that I don’t feel the need to ‘protect’ myself. I do, however, always set the intention to work for a greater good.
What do you do to relax when you are away from your Mediumship work?
I love to spend time with my friends. I enjoy travel and going to the gym, but that’s a hard routine to keep at the moment. Up until recently I worked full time as a personal assistant. This meant that my time away from mediumship was filled with daily life and PA work. Now, I am finding the time to get creative again. Art was a passion of mine but I left that behind many years ago. Now I have more time on my hands I’m starting to get creative again, reading, I’ve got tonnes of books.
What is next for you workwise?
I’ve set myself some goals and projects which I am exploring at the moment. You’ll have to wait to see more on this, however I can tell you that 2 years ago I started The Progressive Soul Series. This includes a CD I have done called The Soul is the Compass. I offer 1:1 mentoring, workshops and as mentioned I am working on some products and projects which will be add to the Progressive Soul Series. I’ve been fortunate enough to be called into work at the college a few times recently at the last minute, due to increasing numbers on courses, which has been a great experience. All the courses that I am currently booked on or running at the college can be found under my profile https://www.arthurfindlaycollege.org/tutors/penny-hayward/ I also have several long weekend courses booked at the Barbanell Centre in 2020, the sister centre of the AFC. To find out more about where I am and what I am doing I have a Facebook page Penny Hayward: Medium where you can find out more about the products, projects and blogs I write.
I am passionate about helping others on their spiritual and personal growth, whether they are beginners or well into their development. We all have something to offer and finding our niche within the breadth of Spiritualism and within this world isn’t easy to accomplish, however with the right guidance and encouragement to listen to our souls calling we can achieve anything.
Undoubtedly there are people that have read Penny’s story which contains her account about life after death will include determined sceptics as well as ardent believers. Whether the sceptics come away a little more open-minded, and the believers feel ever inspired, or vice versa, her story is likely to stir a few conversations, but then with her mediumship abilities, she probably knows that already.
Penny is such a capable kind hearted engaging medium that her students will step forward and vouch for her genuine desire to educate and teach and will applaud the support she affords them. We look forward to many more successful years working with Penny and watching her inspire, nurture and develop our College students.
You can find details of the College courses that Penny will be working on by clicking here https://www.arthurfindlaycollege.org/tutors/penny-hayward/