A Second Anniversary –
and a New Direction on Dartmoor
International Dowsing Day, 2013 – at Belstone, near Okehampton, UK
Belstone isn’t the sort of place you come across by mistake. Being up a cul-de-sac, off a side-road, is an excellent way of preserving an awareness of the slightly different – and, more importantly, the sense of a special place.
Participation in the second International Day of Dowsing (IDD) was seized upon by new Chair of the Devon Dowsers , Paul Gerry, as a fresh opportunity for an outing for an established group in transition. We in the Tamar Dowsers (TDs) invited ourselves along – and it was the first time in many years that the area’s two Local Groups had managed a joint outdoor dowsing session.
Not only were we marking (what would have been) the 86th birthday of Hamish Miller, who inspired a whole generation of modern dowsers, but we were also celebrating the birthday of Angie, partner of Paul – which seemed rather appropriate. The IDD itself, brought in to existence by Yorkshire dowser Mike Barwell last year, seeks to promote awareness of the ancient craft in the modern media, and provides a focus for the whole dowsing community to come together on a set day at a set time. Anyone who has ever tried to co-ordinate a dowsing event will know that this is no mean feat. Dowsers are, by nature, inherent individualists, for whom the concepts of time and space are formless mysteries.
To get the show on the road, Winkleigh Morris – a mixed border side – danced outside the village pub, The Tors Hotel. This not only ensured that the proceedings started in a colourful and traditional style, but enabled the meaningful dowsing to commence straight away.
Prior to the arrival of the Morris, I had examined a number of energy lines in the vicinity, and chose a couple that would be directly under the feet of the dancers and their accompanying musicians. Over the years, I have become fascinated by a phenomenon, which Hamish sent out into the public realm, that ‘the earth is listening’ – that there seems to be a dowsable, measurable interaction of the people with their planet. One of the best places to carry out this pseudo-scientific experiment is in full public view at a ceremony (such as those performed at the previous week’s Beltane Sunrise) or at a cultural event, such as a dance and/or musical performance. Morris Dancing outside a pub is as good a laboratory as you could wish for, for this purpose – and I found that the initial widths of the two chosen lines were 6 paces and 9 paces across respectively.
Following the conclusion of the Morris, those same lines had expanded to 10 and 16 paces wide. This was, doubtless, partly in response to the activity of the dowsers, but also partly due to the activity of the artists. As, to the best of my knowledge, only one of the dancers is also a dowser, and the others were only there for the fun of it, it would be a massive leap of judgment to conclude that the dancing and playing had deliberately inserted energy into the natural matrix of energy lines. The intent was simply not there – unlike at a religious ritual which, it could be argued, at least incorporates the intent of communicating with the intangible. Yet the expansion occurs, often with very variable results, and the phenomenon is demonstrably real.
After lunch we made the half-mile pilgrimage up to the Nine Maidens Stone Circle. This well-known site is barely more than a large hut-circle in size, yet it is buzzing with energy. We found several major energy currents – including “Hamish’s” Michael line – at least two ‘ley’ lines (in the Watkins sense of the word) and a line of consciousness. There were also various water and earth energy spirals, plus a manifestation close to the centre, and a couple of “Hamish’s’’ pictograms nearby. As a number of people noted, there was a lot going in a very compact location.
We were pleased to have with us the hugely experienced local dowser, tutor, artist and resident John Christian. John gave us the benefit of his knowledge on a range of dowsing topics. These included the energy veins that he had dowsed over the years to be present at the Nine Maidens, and the use of colour in the dowsing process. John described the use of the Mager wheel, and his own extrapolation of the use of a dowsing witness – dowsing rods enhanced with appropriately coloured paint. John, and others, ‘see’ the Michael line to be composed of red and green strands, while other run-of-the-mill energy lines consist of bands of black, red and white. It occurred to my wife, Ros, a little later, that these are exactly the colours worn by Winkleigh Morris. Did this have any bearing on the interaction between the performers and their venue, and did it interact in some unfathomable way with the spirit of place?
John even managed to incorporate a short session of health dowsing for one of the group – and where better to do it than in the sacred space of an ancient place of healing?
On the way back, John showed Ros and I an ancient stone in Belstone church that he had come across, through dowsing, many years previously. He had been tracing the Michael line, following the publication of The Sun and the Serpent, when he – almost literally – bumped in to an ageless granite menhir, propped against the wall of the tower of the church. Despite carvings on it indicating great antiquity, no one locally knew where it came from, or when it had been propped against the church wall. Now taken into the church for safekeeping, and provided with an interpretation board, it sadly no longer lies on the Michael line. Did the people who located it where John found it know they were marking a major earth energy current, or was it just intuition – or is that the same thing?
The last aspect of the day’s work was to re-measure the lines by the pub, which were dropping back – to 9 and 12 paces – and the quietly impressive normality of this quintessential Dartmoor village was being reasserted.
Many thanks to Paul and Angie of the Devon Dowsers, for organising this joint IDD event, to Winkleigh Morris and to John Christian for their input, and to the solar presence for making it a most enjoyable afternoon.
Nigel Twinn Tamar Dowsers, 5th May, 2013