The oldest of our churches are veritable gold mines of information and experience for dowsers of all types. Almost all pre-reformation Christian buildings are built over the sacred sites of their Pagan antecedents. Indeed, Pope Gregory I instructed his missionaries and evangelists to do just that. For example, Montmartre in Paris was originallyMons Martis, the Mount of Mars, but was re-interpreted asMons Martyris, the Mountain of the Martyr. However, there are many more accessible locations closer to home, such as the church at Alton Priors in Wiltshire, with its trap door displaying the megaliths under the floorboards. But, as John Moss so rightly encouraged us - don’t take his word for it, get out there and dowse it for yourself. It has always been one of his core messages.
John has had the huge advantage, over the last three of decades, of having worked with many of the well-known and highly respected dowsers of modern times. From this experience, he has been able to appreciate the complexities and the nuances of the dowser’s craft, and he has synthesised that input into a rounded understanding which is very much his own. This talk about ancient churches was a classic crystallisation of how a deeper appreciation of the timeless underlying principles of dowsing can be translated into a practical appreciation of the manifestation of subtle energies and sensations, in real time.
Before we even get the tools out, John encourages any dowser to first take in the site. Don’t just jump out of the car and rush in. Carry out the protocols of permission; walk around the area; get in touch with it; greet and get to know the spirit of place - they are usually very welcoming, but they may not take kindly to being taken for granted.
John usually starts a dowsing investigation with finding the various water lines and features. Water is not just the essence of the dowser’s craft, but it is a fundamental component of any sacred site. The trademark layout of water and earth energy lines in any given church - indeed at any sacred site - will tell you a lot about the purpose and the history of it.
Where earth energy and water lines cross in conjunction, we have what is known as a power centre. Anyone with a smidgeon of dowsing experience can pick this up as a physical feeling, but in case you need a prompt, it’s just in front of the altar - unless, of course, the altar has been moved back a bit over the years - and suddenly we are already into church history and the development of religious architecture.
Having spent many years living in Herefordshire, John was able to illustrate many of his discoveries by relating them to one of his favourite churches at Kilpeck.
With a dowsing-friendly warden and vicar, and a building steeped in church and pre-Christian symbolism, it has been an ideal location for this purpose. John shared his diagrams of how the water and earth energy lines framed the construction and evolution of the building, which was valuable in itself for those less experienced in such matters.
He explained how these energies interact with dowsers, visitors and the congregation; how standing on the power centre (and indeed, in the pulpit) could expand the aura of anyone doing so with awareness; how the font was carefully sited, and described the adverse impact of moving it without thought, as has happened elsewhere; how his colleague, Dr Jim Lyons, had dowsed stacked toroids (doughnut-shaped energy patterns) above the font - and then there is the North Door.
In so many churches, north doors have been blocked up (as at Kilpeck), bricked up or removed. Known as the ‘Devil’s door’ (a clue there?), it is mooted that this entrance was once used by Pagans - though why they should be visiting a Christian church is not explained. John’s theory, backed up by his dowsing, is that the north door was built to allow the detrimental energy, scoured out by all the beneficial lines and vortices, to leave the building and to drain away to be recycled - such processes are always dynamic, always in balance.
On the advice of dowsing legends, Ann and Roy Proctor, he installed just such an energy drain for the stone circle he and his wife Jill built on their lawn. It is a classic case of a subtle energy feature, dowsed as a psychic phenomenon, being built into a physical structure.
Co-incidence is a strange thing. Just these last couple of weeks, a new generation of earth energy dowsers has started looking into energy drains in the landscape. It’s all part of the interweaving tapestry of information.
John’s association with Kilpeck has been preserved on video, when a BBC team made a film about understanding Church architecture, at the same time that John was leading a dowsing course there. The resulting DVD Churches - How to Read Them is still available - and the cameo of the surprised presenter, Richard Taylor, dowsing for the first time, is a rare example of such an event being caught on mainstream camera.
John was also able to illustrate some of these water and energy features with reference to churches in his native Cornwall.
One interesting point was that although just about all older churches have an easily identifiable template of earth energy and water lines, a few host other, quite significant, energy lines that seem to just pass through without interacting with the sacred footprint. For example, Towednack church (of Ross and Demelza Poldark’s TV fame) exhibits this phenomenon.
Occasionally, churches have physically separated bell towers (as at Gunwalloe on The Lizard). Here, the power centre, fuelled by Hamish Miller’s Apollo and Athena lines, is under the tower - while the adjacent church has its own distinct energy matrix.
John also mentioned the deserted church of Merthen, officially declared a ruin in 1962, as an example where the energies of a building have become weakened by lack of attention. So much of the strength and vitality of churches and their predecessors is in the interaction between the site and its visitors.
Not everyone will go to a church to pray, and even John with his life-long fascination with the buildings makes no pretext to be a Christian. But the very presence of people, who bring their own energy and (usually benevolent) intent to these places, draws in the consciousness of the surrounding etheric environment - they bring it to life.
Many thanks to John for such an engaging talk which was evidently very well received. The questions and discussion afterwards could clearly have gone on all evening but, given John’s recent health issues, Gwynn was wise to draw proceedings to a close while we were all still winning!