Friday, 21 March 2008
Dowsing, and St Dogmaels
Several years ago now, I belonged to our local Dowsing Society, which was one well-known and supported from quite far afield. Sadly, the society subsequently went pear-shaped. Anyway, my eldest daughter and I went along to a few meetings, and learned a little about dowsing.
Anyone can dowse. Strictly speaking, you don't even need the L-shaped brass rods that everyone uses, once you are sufficiently in tune with your body, you can just use your hands. The brass apparently allows you to more easily pick up on the magnetic fields which emanate from what you seek. This occasionally works for me with books - choosing the right one for a project . . . my hand is "led". It is a means of finding something - water is the medium most commonly searched for - and it used to be a forked hazel twig which was used to find it. There is a man in our area, who drives a large and expensive 4x4, and who tells farmers where to dig boreholes for water. He is always right, but I think his skill lies as much as reading the landscape as in dowsing, and has obviously built up a good business on the strength of it. You can use a crystal as a pendulum to search for lost rings or things, or even tell which sex a baby will be by using a gold wedding ring on a piece of string. You first have to establish which movement of the pendulum in a certain direction is "yes" and which "no". This movement of the pendulum is caused by it picking up minute and unconcsious movements of the body.
To my mind this has nothing to do with anything remotely paranormal - it is from an internal sensitivity, which responds to a given question. I think of it as "tuning in", pretty much the same as when one picks up on atmospheres - as when you can always tell when there has been an argument just before you walk into a room, it is "in the air" almost. Tests in Munich proved that only 6 of 43 dowsers who showed some aptitude in screening tests went on to display great skill, but this proved that "in particular tasks, (they) showed an extraordinarily high rate of success, which can scarcely if at all be explained as due to chance ... a real core of dowser-phenomena can be regarded as empirically proven" (Wikipedia entry). However, a later test (also in Germany) proved that dowsing was no better than chance. I will leave it to you to decide.
Anyway, I digress, as I meant to say that we had a lovely day out with the Dowsers to St Dogmael's Abbey in Ceredigion (Cardiganshire). From the Dowsing point of view it was a waste of time, totally, but the Abbey ruins were very interesting, as were the Early Christian Monuments within the church (one of the Dowsers maintained he could pick up something sinister from one of the ECMs - hmmmm). There was also an excellent Water Mill which had been there from ancient times. I love Mills, and I love stoneground flour for breadmaking. They deserve a seperate post. On this occasion, there was nowhere selling food, if I remember rightly, so the only grub to be had were some baked goods from the Mill and of course, I bought some flour for bread-making when we got home.
As for the dowsing - well, never in a million years would I be able to find "a bubble of energy" on a blade of grass and when not one of the Dowsers, including the teachers, could find their own name written on scraps of paper face down amid the ruins, I began to have doubts about their abilities . . .
But if you ever happen to find yourself anywhere near the Rollright Stones, in Oxfordshire, pay them a visit. You will be handed dowsing rods on your arrival, they have little collars around the parts you hold and as you walk amongst the stones, the dowsing rods hurl themselves in circles. Explain that one . . .