The South West Dowsing Festival 2022
South Zeal, Dartmoor, Devon, UK
After months of frenetic activity, the modern-day Christmas can often seem like something of an anticlimax. However, this thrice-deferred event not only met with the anticipation of the capacity 120 participants, but exceeded the expectations of even the organisers. From the very start - in fact, even before the doors formally opened - the buzz in the Victory Hall was almost tangible. Like-minded people had been separated by circumstances beyond their control for too long - and the relief, bordering on excitement, at the return of the dowsing dawn was palpable.
And so it self-sustained for the rest of the weekend. Day 1 commenced with three talks in quick succession, which hit the sweet spot throughout. The afternoon was graced by four field trips and two workshops, which were much appreciated by those attending - and will be remembered for many years to come.
There was plenty of time to socialise - and judging from the hubbub and the laughter echoing around the venue, there seemed to be rather a lot of that going on. New books and dowsing equipment were acquired, and there was much rummaging at the second hand stall. Old acquaintances were renewed with post-pandemic hugs, and new friendships kindled amongst the melee of disorganised chatter. Novices gained new mentors, and older hands new students. Everyone seemed to meet someone different, to their mutual benefit. Such was the inclusivity of the melange that no one seemed to be left out. It’s a formula that isn’t easy to bottle.
The morning of day 2 saw more smiling faces arriving, and another choice of six different outings and workshops. By lunchtime everyone seemed to be almost blissed out - but, like bees on pollen or imbibers of IPA, they were still up for more. The two afternoon presentations were similarly well received - and the resounding applause for Gwynn Paulett, Diana Burton and their colleagues at the end of the festival really was heartfelt appreciation.
You just wanted it to go on forever, but everything has its place in spacetime.
Even quicker than it had assembled, the dowsing community drawn to West Devon was on its way home. Gwynn’s entourage of elves dismantled the stage set and emptied the temporary temple more enthusiastically than a swarm of leaf-cutter ants gorging on a tree in the rainforest.
And it was over. Except that a large number of dowsers had been greatly encouraged and evidently uplifted in otherwise challenging times. It will be a tiny beacon of hope that will shine brightly and will last long ‘out there’ in the information field.
We welcomed the presence of BSD President, Richard Fry, as both a punter and a participant, which added a little more to the significance of the proceedings - although he must have gone home wondering quite how to find the recipe for quite such a harmonious convention. It’s not easy to fathom, and we wish him well.
The Nine Maidens are not Stonehenge, nor is Spinster’s Rock Carnac, but a small village in the quiet countryside north of Dartmoor seemed to be just the right place, with just the right ambience, at just the right time for a group of self-selected dowsers to have a truly memorable weekend together.
If there were any wrinkles, nobody noticed - or even cared.
It goes without saying that although the weather gods and dowsing divas may be with you, events like this only happen successfully on the back of months (and in this case, years!) of painstaking preparation.
Well done to those who put so much effort into setting up DFest’22, to the group leaders and speakers who took on their supporting roles with quiet professionalism - and to the residents of South Zeal, who tolerated the brief conflagration in their own tiny community with traditional equanimity.
Anyone up for anther one?