More Strange Phenomena on Bodmin Moor
Pictograms. Well, you have to call them something. Our old friend Hamish Miller brought them to the attention of the wider world, when he sketched unusual shapes and motifs encrypted inside the most northerly of the Hurlers stone circles in the seminal work The Sun and the Serpent.
Seventeen TDs and friends turned out on a fine autumn afternoon in mid-Cornwall. Four of us had much the same idea. I knew most people would have been to the Hurlers before - it is after all arguably the Jewel in the Crown of our home turf. So, I had a vague idea about investigating the odd psychic squiggles that Hamish had drawn so enigmatically. Larry and Jen were much more organised, and turned up with pegs and rope to mark them out. David had even copied the Miller doodles into his notebook, which was a very valuable premonition as it turned out.
Larry and I started by wandering about looking for the pictograms in a fairly random manner. We found examples, and although they were discrete, they seemed incomplete - just spirals and partial geometric forms. Annie took another tack and sought out a 'Maltese Cross', as we remembered that Hamish had found one. Sure enough, she traced out the shape cleanly, with Graham and Jen outlining it with peg and rope. Only at this point, did we realise that David had brought his transcription - and it was reassuring to see Annie's cross just where Hamish had drawn it, with the shapes that Larry and I had described not too far adrift of similar, if somewhat clearer, forms on David's drawing.
So what are these things? Are they organic interference created by the energy that swirls and interacts in the circles? Are they motifs of the clans or cults that used the site in times gone by? Are they power symbols to harness the natural energy to good effect? Could they simply be the intangible 'tagging' signature of some past owner or passing travellers.
Dowsing these questions proved inconclusive. I had the feeling we were not just asking the wrong questions, but we were on the wrong plane altogether. They seemed far older than I would have expected, perhaps as old - or even older - than the stones themselves.
The Hurlers is an incredibly complex site. It has all the ingredients of an energy-dowsers laboratory - and on this clear September day, it also had a remarkable view to the unfeasibly blue sea in the distant south.
Larry was detecting the presence of considerable quantities of quartz under the circles. Gordon was marking out a processional way, used in antiquity - and on a quite different alignment to the 'granite path' we dowsed last year with Alan Neal.
By way of variation, we adjourned from our pictograms to examine the two outlying menhirs, known as The Pipers. While these may be just the remnants of a larger group, they do give an insight to the complexity of this vast site. The stones mark, or have attracted, two interconnected earth energy patterns which form an S shape, comprising two spirals. The eastern stone seems otherwise inert, but the western stone is a more lively entity, marking both crossing water - with its spiral - and a ley. It was clearly given sufficient reverence for the incoming Christians to mark it with their own distinctive 'tag'. But energy knows no denomination and the TDs, with our motley collection of approaches and attitudes, were able to sense what the people of many past philosophies must have sensed over the millennia. The stones dowsed as being part of some astronomical alignment connected to the centre circle. Gordon even dowsed a buried artefact nearby - but more of that on another visit.
We sought out the Michael and Mary lines - and several members investigated the patterns they made and the courses they took.
On the way home, a few of us managed to wedge in a visit to the tea shop for afternoon tea and a teacake (sociological detail for overseas readers).
All in all, another super event with the TDs on tour.
By way of a footnote, having been alerted to the presence of the pictograms in The Sun and the Serpent, I have subsequently found similar forms in other circles. They are usually cruciform or labyrinthine in shape, but doubtless there are other patterns. Billy Gawn brought to my attention the great variety in size of organic energy patterns, including some that are very small, but would this in itself explain their presence in such profusion in one section of an archaeological site? Any ideas?