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Late December 2020


Affiliated to the British Society of Dowsers


In the Rather Unpredictable Midwinter 


The festive season will clearly be ‘a bit different’ this year for understandable reasons.  As I write, no one seems too clear on what the rules, sorry advice, is for the forthcoming period, but it will be an end-of-the-year show like never before.


While we may be getting ourselves into a tangle of our own making, the rest of creation rolls blithely on, which is actually quite reassuring under the circumstances.


The next big event is, of course, the ‘grand’ conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and the Earth on December 21st - the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.  The time to see it is at dusk (16.30 - 17.30) very low in the south west on any day from now onwards, but the closest the three planets get to direct alignment will be on 21/12.


You would need to be on a high place, or at least have a clear view of the horizon, to see it.  However, if there is any earth energy interaction that would not require a direct line of sight - just a rod or a pendulum, and a modicum of peace and quiet is all you need. 


Clearly, many are expecting some significant reaction in the subtle spheres of sensitivity.  Even my own expectation that not much will happen in terms of near-physical earth energies may also be proven incorrect, given the output from Monday:



Total Solar Eclipse (not visible from the UK)

Monday 14th December, 2020 - Tavistock, Devon, UK


OK, let’s start with the simpler stuff.


On this occasion, I took the energy line that crosses the hallway of our bungalow as a base control.  But I added measurements of the auras of:

  • a piece of amethyst crystal placed on an energy line 

  • a piece of amethyst crystal in a neutral place

  • a jar of small pieces of lava placed on an energy line

  • a jar of small pieces of lava in a neutral place


The amethyst pieces were bought as a pair some years ago for wellbeing purposes, and the lava was collected from a (then) recent eruption of Mt. Etna in Sicily, by myself, in 2001 (on my 50th birthday holiday).


The amethyst was assumed to be inherently fairly energetic, while the lava was considered to be essentially inert.


Despite this eclipse effectively only being visible from Chile and Argentina, the earth, moon and sun were in a direct line for much of the day.  The whole eclipse period lasted from 13.34 to 18.53, with the mid point of totality at 16.13.


The energy line in the hall of our bungalow reacted broadly as on previous occasions, with a rapid collapse in width just as the maximum eclipse was starting to take place, followed by a longer, steadier re-widening during the rest of the day - and into the following day. 


To find the hall line so wide at the start of the session was a bit unusual, although dowsing indicated that around 8% of this was due to the forthcoming near-conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and the Earth on 21st December 2020.


Another interesting facet of this particular set of data was that the hall line moved a few centimetres to the north west at the start of the process, prior to the start of totality.  I have no way of explaining that.


The crystals reacted proportionately more strongly than the hall current, with the one on the energy line being particularly pronounced, and started to expand right from the start of the day’s event. 


Although not totally inert, the auras of the lava samples only reacted a little (although, it could be argued, that in percentage terms, their reaction was far greater!).

So far, so good - or at least so far, reasonably understandable.


A fortnight prior to this eclipse, I’d had an exchange of emails with my BSD friend, Grahame Gardner, the former President of the British Society of Dowsers.  He has also become the de facto custodian of the nation’s Glossary of Dowsing Terms, originally compiled by Billy Gawn towards the end of the last century.


The Glossary describes the dowsing phenomenon termed ‘pictograms’ as being features of the ‘energy field’, whereas following on from the project that became Fraying at the Margins, I have come to feel that what we are dowsing is essentially information - and not energy, gross or subtle, directly.  It may seem to be something of an academic point, but it makes a huge difference to appreciating how dowsing might operate.  Even subtle energy - chi if you prefer - is a material force, however slight.  What I am suggesting, standing on the shoulders of Billy Gawn and Bill Kenny, is that while we may well be dowsing the presence of subtle energy - because that’s what we are trying to find - what we are actually doing is dowsing the information that it is there in the first place, that underpins it.  The professional dowser may argue that the end result is much the same in terms of finding the piece of data that was the object of the exercise in the first place, but I would contend that the difference is critical to establishing the platform on which dowsing (and just about everything else in life as we know it) actually operates.  I am not intending to have a rant here, merely to explain why I spend so much time and effort unpicking the two concepts!


So, when I went out, on the day of the total eclipse, on to the lawn to find a pictogram (as described by Hamish Miller and Colin Bloy and subsequently investigated by Bill Holding, Ros and myself) I expected to be taken to the shape to the south west corner of the lawn.  I found this when I first started to look at the pictogram enigma, but it isn’t a lot of use for these purposes, as it is half hidden in the hedge.  But no, the second law of all dowsing is ‘Always expect the unexpected’.  


I walked casually into the centre of our seriously soggy green patch, to be confronted by something completely new.  Completely new!  Had it just arrived?  No.  We have been here for almost 30 years and it has been here for over 5 millennia, and this day was my time to find it!!


It consists of a tight curl of informational lines (like a coiled spring), which unfolds around the lawn and disappears into a bush to the north east.  To me, the ‘line’ is toothed, a bit like an old fashioned saw.  With its ‘head’ tucked neatly into its shape, foetus style, its ridged ‘back’ and its long tail, the more poetic side of me was drawn to the conclusion that I had chanced upon a deep-sleeping dragon.  But, back to the here and now.


The shape dowses as having first arrived approximately 5,400 years ago.  It has no gender, and it is not formed by earth energy, as we conventionally know it.  My contention that such shapes don’t change at all during eclipses took a knock shortly into the day’s events, as the tail lengthened a little, and eventually, and ever so slowly, reached across the path and into the bathroom.  The head uncoiled slightly, a bit like a spring releasing gently as it winds down.  It was the slightest of motions, but it certainly happened - and you must always report what you find. 


Following our previous experience, I dowsed to see which chakra I was using, and found that I was dowsing through my orange (sacral) portal.   Ros came out to join me and dowsed the same pictogram using her green (heart) chakra, which produced a completely different shape.  It seemed to us that there are actually 14 possible configurations, of which 7 are the main coloured chakras.  I asked if these included male/female versions or mirror images, but no joy - and there was no time to dwell on it. 


Apparently, my pictogram had not been laid down deliberately - and not by a human.  This image relates to something from the animal kingdom, and the originator was about the size of seven humans.  No response for anything bovine or equine.  I did get a feeling for something like a mammoth, but the rational side of me says there were no such creatures of this ilk in our garden in the late Neolithic or early Bronze Ages.


The image is neither positive nor negative, beneficial nor detrimental, good nor bad - at least from my perspective.  It just is.  The format of the pictogram dowsed as being about 40% down to my interpretation of the information.   By the end of the evening, it had settled back to its former size, and the dragon had gone back into a deep slumber.  Sorry to disturb you, but thanks for the help, anyway.  In fact, my subsequent dowsing implied that even its apparent subtle movement was more down to my interpretation than actuality, but that is yet another question for another day.  Dowsing on the hoof like this always raises more questions than it provides answers - and the potentiality of the information field really is vast.


So, by lunchtime, I was already starting to concoct an email to Grahame in my mind, explaining that in my humble opinion, and using eclipse-based experience, pictograms are purely informational forms and not earth energy features in the conventional sense of the word.  However, rule three of dowsing states ‘You only ever have a tiny part of the story’.  

Shortly after lunch, and with the measurements still ongoing, our long-standing collaborator and fellow member of the Tamar Dowsers, Annie Holland, turned up with a bag of potash from her fire for my compost heap.  Knowing the significance of the day, she had taken the opportunity to come round to see what we were doing.  


While I was getting the next round of line and crystal dowsing logged, and Ros was making us all a mug of socially distanced tea, Annie also looked for a pictogram on the lawn, using her car keys as a pendulum.  


She came up with something completely different again - an image of 13 (think female, moon) ellipses in a ‘floral’ pattern.  Hers had no colour, but vibrated at 35hz.  Clearly, an earth energy feature.


The importance of this sequence of events is multifold but, in a nutshell:


It is apparent that pictograms come in various types, both with and without earth energy, in various chakra colours and with no colour.  Inevitably, much of the interpretation is in the mind of the dowser, but there is sufficient overlap and commonality for us to be reasonably certain that we are dealing with ‘real’ phenomena. 


In essence, both Grahame’s understanding that pictograms are earth energy features holds under certain circumstances while mine, that pictograms are purely informational forms, is more applicable under others.  Like much of the quantum world, even this only seems to crystallise when it happens - or at least when you observe it.  


I thought that was rather a profound finding for a damp winter’s day’s dowsing on a westcountry lawn.

Nigel Twinn

Tavistock, Devon

December 2020


The show must go on . . .


While it is still a little troubling that a significant proportion of our members have been unable to join in with the online offerings, in lieu of real life events, it does seem that it is the best available method of providing something of a collective experience of the dowser’s world - albeit in a somewhat second-hand manner.


Hopefully, these write-ups also help to provide a temporary bridge, especially as we are still far from clear as to if and when more direct group dowsing activities will be able to resume.


As if transcending the troubles and the trauma affecting our everyday life, the next couple of zooms look to be taking us to places beyond the far horizon - both figuratively and physically:

Terry Faull - Thin Places


What is a sacred place?

Can it be felt or measured?


Terry Faull is a long-standing friend and colleague of our local dowsing groups.  He has given several warmly-received talks over the years, and we have been out with him on field trips to some of the places that we might not otherwise have realised even existed.


His very private persona belies a scholarly, yet very accessible, dedication to his specialist subject – the essence and the history of Celtic Christianity.   


Following his talk to the Tamar Dowsers in 2005, on the occasion of the publication of his book    Secrets of the Hidden Source          (the first such work to be devoted exclusively to the Holy Wells of Devon), I wrote:


The depth and breadth of his knowledge of his subject are most impressive. He has clearly journeyed himself from interested academic to passionate promoter - but perhaps his most valuable contribution has been to carry the fading baton of awareness of this niche field of study into the era of cyberspace.


His former career in the agricultural industry took him to every parish in Devon and Cornwall, providing him with the opportunity to visit many locations otherwise little known to the general public.


In more recent times, he has been part of the Small Pilgrim Places Network, which seeks to protect ‘Spaces for pondering, breathing, meditating, praying and ‘being’: Small places, not those already on the map, well-known, or that draw crowds: Simple, quiet and unpretentious places, with the presence of the Divine’.


There will be no pyrotechnics with this talk - just thoughtful and reflective enquiry, insight and information.


Nigel Twinn

December 2020



Richard Nissen: How Animals Navigate

Sunday 24 January, 7 pm


Richard Nissen is a member of the Royal Institute of Navigation, a dowser, and has long been interested in animal navigation.  He is a well-known speaker at the British Society of Dowsers’ conferences and a presenter at local dowsing groups. His fascinating web site:  www.animalnav.orgbrings together his own ideas with world-wide academic research.


Richard is convinced that migrating animals actually use “deviceless" dowsing to find their way.  Let’s see what you think!


Each participant is asked to do a dowsing task before Richard’s presentation, to plot the migration route of a cuckoo.  Details of the task to follow!   




And finally, what it might have been like in olde Penwith . . .


I am grateful to TD member Jen Bousfield for forwarding the link to this site:


The problem, of course, is that now someone has imagined these scenes with such care and detail, we can always go off and actually find them!


Kind regards and seasonal greetings  

Nigel, Denise and the Team