It is a sign of the times that a dull, dry day in August was welcome weather on Bodmin Moor. Not only was the climate favourable, but the great, the good, the green and the rarely glimpsed came out in large numbers to see what all the fuss was about.
A couple of years ago, rising stars of the BSD, David Lockwood and Adrian Incledon-Webber made discoveries at the Hurlers - already a well-dowsed venue - that threw new pebbles into the pool of information about the site that was already pretty choppy. The two friends subsequently wrote up their discoveries in Dowsing Today, and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss to get them to explain to us what they had found - on location and in person.
Clearly, I was not the only one who thought this was a good idea, for over 30 TDs, friends and members of the public turned up for a dowse round the stones. This was close to a record turnout for an event out ‘in the field’ and we had some of the most experienced dowsers in the peninsula present, together with novices, first-timers and improvers, like myself - and a grand day out was had by all.
Adrian and David gave us an introduction to some of the energies they had found on the site, together with a summary of some of their more recent investigations into the age of the structures and the identity of the constructors. But they didn’t give it all away. We were provided with outline maps to sketch out our findings, clip boards, coloured flags and a sheet of questions to answer. A right professional do - not at all our usual wander-about-and-see-what-there-is sort of outing! We even had a target of meeting back in the centre circle in an hour. Needless to say, we made it back dreckly.
The Hurlers is one of those rare locations where the Michael and Mary earth energy lines cross, arguably more than once, so it is a good opportunity to contrast and compare the two. While we were there, our interest in the energies caused the lines to widen noticeably and, apparently, to move. Someone compared this movement to the flexing of a piece of rope flicked from the hand. It certainly played havoc with our attempts to mark out the lines with flags! I had encountered this pulsing movement once before, but not at this site. If, as is widely believed, earth energy lines are essentially geological in nature, then the scientific paradigm needs some serious tweaking to take into account physical phenomena such as this.
Archaeologists have pondered many times over the years about the existence of additional circles around the three remaining ones. Adrian and David came up with a rather surprising figure of 12 in total, although some members queried as to whether the 12 were all in existence at any one time and whether the extant circle on Craddock Moor should be counted in. Some were possibly constructed from the remains of others. But during the afternoon’s activities, some people did indeed find additional circles, now virtual, stoneless and silent.
On a swathe of moorland that was the scene of such extensive and comprehensive tin mining over several centuries - and then the subject of allied tank manoeuvres during WWII - it is sometimes somewhat surprising that anything recognisably archaeological has survived at all. Perhaps the powerful psychic protection that once shielded particular places lingered on long after the instigators had physically faded over the horizon of history.
There seemed to be two main periods of building and use of what we now call the Hurlers. One was the late Iron Age, the ‘druidic era’, which lasted into Roman times and was recorded with such scorn by the chroniclers of the occupying forces. The other dated way back into murky pre-history, over 4,000 years ago, when the people who lived on this windswept and elevated plateau may have been rather different to us, the current inhabitants.
This was a race which had great knowledge of astronomy, appreciated its value and recognised the benefit of recording the movements of the planets and the stars in stone. They had the ability to plot the movements of the heavenly bodies with great precision, using not only the fixed menhirs, but also their fluid alignment with a series of cairns on the dune-like crest of nearby Caradon Hill.
How you describe these ancestors perhaps depends on who and how you dowse, but they were clearly exceptional, if enigmatic, entities.
We searched for special places where weddings had been celebrated, birthings undertaken and sacrifices executed. Some of us found them in different places to our tutors, but hey, it’s not polite to show off too much when you have guests.
We dowsed for the original floor surfaces of the stone circles - one of granite chippings (no, probably not like the ones on your path), one of crystalline material, one just of grass or earth - and the other nine? - ah, next time, maybe.
Even the more experienced dowsers were heard to say that there was so much more here to see and sense. It was obvious that it was not just the novices who were dowsing things for the first time. Eternal esoteric energies that have endured the maelstrom of materialism are still there to excite and to intrigue.
Young children found an adventure playground, dogs found a canine haven, horses thundered past, trippers tripped and tourists toured, but the dowsers barely had time to dip the toe end of a rod into the depths of the ocean of energies at this special place.
Many thanks indeed to Adrian and David, Jane and Denise, for putting on a most enjoyable - and well organised - afternoon for us. Thanks, too, to all those more experienced dowsers who helped the newcomers to make some sense of The Hurlers.
Some of us retired to the Tea Rooms, dowsed out but content.