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May 2010 - St Piran

In Search of The Saint of the Dunes (and the Round)


It’s always a great pleasure to get the three dowsing groups of Cornwall working, and chatting, together. To do so on a blazing hot day in May amongst the dunes and the soft sand of the North Coast above Perranporth was a sheer delight.


The area around Perran (or should that be Piran?) Sands is a dowser’s dream. Three remarkable archaeological and sacred sites lie in close proximity and the divining opportunities available to both the novice and the experienced practitioner are legion.


St Piran’s Oratory lies buried under the sand. To be more accurate, it lies buried in a bunker under a man made dune. The ancient structure, which dowsed as being an 8th century foundation, at the latest, was encased in a concrete tomb, to protect it from the ravages of pilgrims and treasure hunters alike. Moves are afoot to expose it once again, but for the time being the only way to discover anything about it (apart from reading the guidebook!) is to dowse for it.


We traced the outline of the original structure (although there was quite a debate about what ‘original’ meant in this case). We found the intersecting energy lines and the circulating watercourses. We located wells and studied a line of consciousness that ran directly through the site, indicating its great age and importance - long before St Piran took up the cause and made it his own.


A couple of hundred metres away, stands, or rather kneels, the remains of the parish church that the successors of St Piran used down the ages. Now robbed out of most of its stone, and beleaguered amongst the encroaching sand, this ruin dowsed as being just the last of five incarnations of a sacred structure on the site. We dowsed for the various phases, as best we could, and sought out the places where altars had once stood and entrances had given access to the faithful.


At a trademark crossing of energy lines, we found a manifestation that would have got the late local legend, Hamish Miller, quite excited. Some found it, independently, as a distinct ‘Maltese Cross’ - and then found a similar pattern at other spots down the former aisle. A broad line of consciousness streamed across one end of the church at almost 45°, indicating that although the builders recognised the location of the site as one of significance, they had already lost the knowledge, or the desire, to build this intangible guide-line into the architectural stonework. The feel of the energy of the church was a bit mixed, so after a leisurely lunch, we moved on to the third of our dowsing destinations.



St Piran’s Round was a new site to me - and to several others. Perhaps this is because the sign to it can only be seen as you are leaving the area! The initial impression of this remarkable rotunda is of a rather-too-perfect circular hill fort - except that it isn’t on a hill. The well maintained circular ‘henge’ was extensively reconstructed in modern times, and has a long tradition of hosting Cornish Miracle Plays. It has been a site used by the Cornish Gorsedd and, almost in the centre, has the remains of a Devil’s Bowl – a hole in the ground, once boarded over and joined to the outer bank by means of a tunnel through which the actor playing the Devil could make his or her way to the centre of the action and appear on stage ‘as if by magic’.


The Round itself dowsed as having been a defensive location since at least the Iron Age and of having witnessed several skirmishes, resulting in a handful of fatalities over the millennia. Despite this, the sheltered site had a calm and welcoming feel - so we set about investigating the earth energies.


While the substantial earth energy and water spirals did not appear to co-locate in a true sacred site, the presence of so many in such a confined circumference, coupled with the presence of an impressively wide line of consciousness, picks out this rarely visited, yet quite accessible, place as a Site of Special Spiritual Importance. If you do go to dowse there, please be careful of the wild flowers, which were attracting a good many varieties of butterfly on this sunny Sunday.


As an added etheric ingredient, we had a look for Hamish’s manifestations here too. I found a large, multi-petalled shape - although it was quite correctly pointed out to me that I had drifted a few feet away from the original central fulcrum, by the time I had competed the description of the image. Assuming this to be just my shoddy dowsing, I went back to the car to retrieve the standard-issue BSD marker flags - and tried again. To my surprise, not only was my dowsing quite repeatable by myself, but others found this two-centred form at that place too. With what seems in hindsight as a nudge from the otherworld, it was suggested that there might be other such centres further down the main line, and in quite a short space of time we were dowsing a complete chain of interlocking ‘floral’ forms, which on their outer edge were likened to an energetic millipede. When we ran out of flags, we used dowsing rods to make out the shape, but when we ran out of rods . . . not to worry, we can finish it dreckly.


There seemed to be no such manifestations on the less energetic crossing lines, but maybe those are yet to be discovered on another day. The feeling of being drip-fed information haunts the dowser - and even the most hardened and experienced diviners were clearly pushing out their boundaries this time.


Many thanks to all those who helped to dowse our way through the dunes and the byways, and many thanks, too, to all those kind enough to buy my book. If we are going to get input like this from Hamish in the future, the months ahead could be highly productive!


Nigel Twinn

Tamar Dowsers

May 2010

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