Once again thanks to the valiant efforts of Afonso Silva who gave me an email address and a recommendation, this week I spoke by phone with Diane Swygard, co-author of the Awareness Techniques books. I emailed Diane and told her about the work I was doing and to my surprise, she called and left a message. We connected for over an hour by phone. Due to technical issues, I wasn't able to record the call but I did get answers to many of the questions I had about the birth of the Awareness Techniques.
The most interesting bit of new information from Diane was that William Swygard had been stationed in India when in the service so there are some Eastern influences in the method of accessing past lives. No specific guru is mentioned, but many use the third eye as an initiation point. I myself had my third eye touched with a peacock feather when I received a blessing from Swami Satchidananda in Los Angeles in the 1980's.
I also got the official story about the distribution of the original instructions that I posted on this website. Diane told me that they elected to copyright the books but not the instructions, choosing to mail them for free to anyone who sent in a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Ads were placed in the classified section of Fate magazine*, which amazingly is still being published, and whose website states "65 Years of covering the strange and unknown." (Yes, I will be searching for a copy of Fate circa 1970 to find the original ad. Below is an ad for Books 1, 2, & 3 from 1973 issue of Fate.)
I learned the back story from Amy Shapiro's meeting with the Swygard's when on a trip to Florida for an astrology convention with Isabel Hickey. The Swygard's had a bookstore located next to a 24-hour laundromat. Since there was street traffic late at night, the bookstore stayed open late for browsers who were waiting for their clothes to dry. So it was not unusual for someone to come to the store after midnight, as Amy claimed they did, although getting William to do a past lives session at that time might have been.
According to Diane, William wrote his part of the books by hand, and she edited, typed them and even did the typesetting prior to publication. Bill Riley, who lived in Boston, helped with the publishing until his death in 1995. Book 1 was written and published along with the first of the "Waldara Answers", which were the FAQ (frequently asked questions) for the technique. Then Books 2 and 3 with their accompanying "Waldara Answers." I recently found a copy of Books 1 through 4 compiled into one trade paperback that was published in 1978.
Diane was kind enough to tell me the story behind William's untimely death at 58 in 1981. The Swygard's had moved to the Boston Massachusetts area to be nearer to publisher Bill Riley when Willam's health issues forced them to return to Miami. William previously had a heart attack and it was a stroke that ended his life. Between them, they had 11 children, with 6 still at home when William passed. Somehow she kept doing workshops and worked with Stephen Learnerd, who helped release the audio cassettes that I have been digitizing.
Diane had an interesting take on her work with he Awareness techniques. She only had 5 previous lives on this planet, so she very rapidly learned and released all of her unfinished business with multi-level awareness, and moved quickly into the deeper aspects of the work. She sees working with the Techniques as leading to "self-realization," an opinion I share. But she did have a surprise for me when I asked what she would tell someone just starting this work. "You've been good, bad, and indifferent. Just run and finish it so you don't have to do it again." Great advice, y'all.
*Fifty cents a word as of 1971 (http://www.papergreat.com/2018/04/30-classified-ads-from-june-1971-issue.html). Interesting sync- the present incarnation of Fate Magazine is based in Hendersonville NC, 30 miles from Asheville.