Following in the Footsteps of the Wizard on the Lizard
There are few places left in southern Britain that have as many sacred sites and legendary locations as the rugged post-industrial peninsula of Penwith.
Our first speaker of this winter season, Bart O’Farrell, is a true Celtic amalgam - a Welshman, of Irish stock, and growing Cornish credentials. His claim to fame, in dowsing circles at least, is that he achieved what had hitherto been considered an unlikely outcome - he formed an operational dowsing group in the highly individualistic western tip of the UK. The West Cornwall Dowsers (WCDs) are now a few years old and the research they are doing is starting to come
to the attention of people from further afield.
At the recent Conference of the British Society of Dowsers, there were references to work being carried out by the WCDs - and the Ley Hunters have certainly latched on to some of their discoveries.
The presentation started with a consideration of some of the lesser-known places visited recently by Bart and the WCDs. Some of these were locations you would struggle to find on a map and are just the sort of sites that make west Cornwall such a unique and fascinating dowsing destination.
Bart’s portfolio has ‘all-my-own-work’ stamped right across it. From the choice of places he investigates, to the line of research he adopts, to the slides he takes with his camera, there is nothing mainstream, nothing that follows a predictable path.
The core of his talk concerned, perhaps not surprisingly, a pictorial travelogue of a new energy line, dubbed ‘The Bart Line’ by Ley Hunter in chief, Laurence Main - well, it had to be called something to separate it from a plethora of other energy emanations in the area.
A couple of years ago, Bart and his colleagues started to become aware of a stream of energy that they had not previously encountered. It felt like a ley line - a line of consciousness - but it didn’t seem to be straight. Now, to most dowsers this is a contradiction in terms and initially there was much scepticism about the discovery. However, as they followed the line across the landscape they became convinced that, although it had more of the serpentine characteristics of traditional earth energy lines, with which we are all very familiar, it had the tell-tale energy signature of the ley.
Bart’s carousel took us through a catalogue of the evocative place names of this most mysterious of regions - St Erth, Chapel Carn Brea, Twelve o’Clock Rock, Tring Hill, Trencrom. At each, we were shown where the new line arrived - and where it exited stage left.
Wherever he goes, Bart seeks out the ‘smiley places’. Spots where you can stand and feel the positive energy of the earth flowing up through your body. There have clearly been occasions when the progress of the day’s dowsing for the WCDs has been brought to a halt by the finding of just such a place - where the members were more inclined to soak up the good vibes than push on through the heather, the brambles and the bracken.
In this part of Penwith, there is a veritable tapestry of energy lines and it takes considerable experience to separate out the various strands.
Bart and his friends are convinced that they have chanced upon a ‘new’ hybrid; a ley line bent like a horseshoe around the northwestern hilltops of the county.
However, the interpretation of this phenomenon depends a lot on where you view it from. For those who feel that a ley line is always straight, in the Alfred Watkins sense, then the Bart Line is something else. However, if a ley line to you is an energy beam thought into place by persons unknown, then the new line could indeed be one of them. It is an object lesson on not getting too tangled up with definitions, and on being honest about what you feel.
Bart’s view is that the bent energy line that he has discovered was put in place, probably with intent, by people seeking to find their way around this part of the countryside, when it was much wilder and more forested than it is today. The straight ley lines, he thinks are more likely to be geological in nature - an idea supported by the transmission of earthquake energy along the faults these lines describe.
When I first met Bart in the early years of the new millennium, he was, like myself, just another enthusiastic rookie dowser from the far South West. In the intervening years, he has ploughed his own furrow to great effect and has inadvertently opened up a real debate about what actually is a ley line and, for that matter, what is the Bart Line?
As ever with dowsing, each discovery puts another piece in the jigsaw, but poses even more questions. Long may it be so.
If you are ever down that way, and have a few moments to spare, just get out your rods and ask for the ‘Bart Line’ - and let me know what you think!
Many thanks to Bart for journeying up from the south western edge of the known world to talk to us - and to whoever found a window of workable weather in a miserable patch of meteorology- well done.