It seems difficult to comprehend now that, barely 50 years ago, dowsing was legalised for the first time in nearly 400 years. During those dark ages the only use of dowsing to which an official blind eye was turned was the divining for water.
Yet, most of us have come into the world of the dowser as a result of the post 1960s interest in Earth Energies, or the resurgence in non-institutional Healing. It is refreshing, therefore to come across a young man who still divines for water commercially – and for the most part on a ‘no water, no fee’ basis.
Much of his business concerns the installation and maintenance of pumping equipment. But Aaron’s family firm has also been expanding rapidly in recent years in the field of borehole location and drilling. While this is undoubtedly due in part to the rising cost of utilities generally, it is doubtless sustained by the fact that locating water by dowsing can be a very accurate, reliable and cost effective method of finding useable water supplies, especially in rural areas.
While the bulk of Aaron’s clients are concentrated in the south west, his work takes him all over the UK, including the offshore islands, and his name has spread, largely by word of mouth, to provide him with a considerable customer base in Scotland.
While he clearly has real concerns about the speed of his company’s expansion, his enthusiasm is such that he has sustained the growth so far, partly by acquiring other smaller concerns, which were not so well run. Whether these latter organisations had failed due to their lack of dowsing expertise was not examined!
Aaron explained in great detail, and with much enthusiasm, the various items of equipment he uses to drill for and pump out water. He also brought along various examples of his kit, to give a more practical explanation of the more technical aspects of the work.
As he himself admits, it’s a job you either love or hate. Long hours, copious travelling, heavy work - often in difficult conditions, a sometimes ‘negative attitude’ to dowsing by the client and not even a guaranteed fee at the end of it, make it a tough environment in which to work – and it’s only the dedicated driller that can take it for any length of time. However, the clear satisfaction, if not sheer delight, of seeing the fresh water you have sensed, surging from deep in the earth into the air above you, makes a lot of the hard graft seem very worthwhile. Aaron put an enlarged, laminated photo-plate of himself at just such a moment on the wall of the hall - a picture which he uses in his commercial publicity.
Seemingly, like many successful people, Aaron has at least two aspects to his personality that have led him into this line of work. Outwardly, he is the extrovert, confident driller and company boss – with a big rig, a big vehicle and a big frame to match. Alongside this, there is also the man who is comfortable with the more intuitive side of life, who takes the otherworldly aspects of dowsing in his stride and who is contemplating putting some of his experience at the service of Water Aid, a charity which seeks to find fresh water in parts of the world where this basic resource would deliver a very different quality of life.
For an encore, Aaron showed a short film of the legendary local dowser, the late Donovan Wilkins, at work on a Cornish farm in the 1980s. Aaron has worked closely with the Wilkins family – and clearly would like to carry on their tradition into the modern world. While the film is of great interest, both professionally and sociologically, the fascination for me was to see how, in just 20 years, the image of the working water locator has changed from cloth cap and hazel twig to laptop and mobile.
Some of the equipment may have changed radically, but the process and the narrative remain the same.
Aaron is rightly proud that his company now has six apprentices working in the firm, but he is also humble enough to consider himself to be an apprentice too - of the Wilkins school of dowsing. The TDs can only wish him well in this endeavour.
Many thanks to Aaron for breaking off from a busy schedule to give us his talk. An audience of 28, including several new and non members, at this, our first indoor event of the season, was most encouraging.
Many thanks too to all those who helped to organise the hall and provide the refreshments.