They stirred memories of about 25 years ago. We were caravanning in one of my favourite areas - Wiltshire, the "cradle of the British race". One day my wife dropped me and the dog (the glorious Sabre) off so that I could walk the ancient track over the Pewsey Downs and across the fields down to Silbury Hill and the 5,000 year old cult centre of Avebury. As we walked we passed through the ancient hill-fort of Rybury Hill
and I reflected that the track we were on must have been used by those original occupants to go down to festivals at Avebury, just as we were that sunny day.
Eventually, as we approached Silbury we came to the prehistoric long barrow of West Kennet
a burial chamber which, when excavated was found to be packed with dis-articulated skeletons of the ancient race which occupied the Avebury area. It is able to be accessed so dog and I went in to look around. I have a deep "sense of place" (the genius loci) and found the atmosphere affecting. But Sabre was absolutely fascinated and I could not get him away. Of course there may have been some dead animal tucked away in there but I like to think that dogs can feel things we don't.
This is all by way of introduction to the event which then took place. A small old lady was standing outside by the massive entrance stones and doing something with two metal rods that she held in her hands. I watched her whilst waiting for Sabre, then politely asked what she was doing. When she could see I was a genuine enquirer she explained that she was dowsing with rods and that when they encountered an "energy field" they would cross in her hands. "Try it", she said, "anyone can do it".
I did and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when the rods crossed as I went between those entrance stones. She said that people spent a lot on dowsing rods but that she made hers from old metal coathangers. "It is the dowser, not the equipment that matters", she said
Well, I was sufficiently interested to make my own and had some success with them finding the courses of lost Roman roads and prospecting archeological sites. These were what I found it that old brief case the other day.
Why it works I don't know. How it works I have no idea. But work it does. I am not, nor ever have been, some "New Age" hippy, but will accept that there may be "more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosopy"
Dowsing seems to be in the news at present with Russell Crowe's new film, "The Water Diviner" so I thought this warranted a post.