Twenty (+ One) Years by the Tamar
Having missed out on the opportunity to have a proper 20th Anniversary amid the covid restrictions and the understandable reluctance to socialise in the wake of the pandemic, it did seem to be a nice idea to at least mark the passage of time, albeit in a more muted way, this February.
Following a series of workshops run by local tutor, Alan Neal, throughout the mid and late 1990s, an ad hoc number of his students decided to gather into an informal self-help group, to carry on the research and to explore the local countryside together. In essence, we are still just that.
Jacki Ellis-Martin, who already ran a number of other local organisations, including the Cornwall WRVS, had some knowledge of how to set up a website - and with a name and an online presence the Tamar Dowsers emerged into the light of day in the spring of 2002.
While the spark was certainly lit by Alan through his excellent teaching and ever-approachable style, it soon became obvious that there was a much wider interest in the subject, both locally and nationally. We rapidly outgrew meetings in Jacki’s front room - and through members Pete and Jenny Bousfield, we took up a periodic residence at North Hill Village Hall, which is still our de facto base.
In December 2005, Launceston-born dowser and then Director of the British Society of Dowsers, John Moss, invited the fledgling group to affiliate to the BSD - and the rest, as they say, is history. During the covid years, we joined with our friends and neighbours in forming a ‘zoom collective’ - a remarkably successful and unexpected initiative that has added an extra arrow to all of our quivers.
Depending on how you count them, there have been over 150 events, large and small, in the last couple of decades, most of which are listed on our website www.tamar-dowsers.org Some of these have been just a few of us enjoying a quiet stroll with our friends and our dowsing tools, while others have been much grander affairs, indoors and outdoors, with larger attendances and joint ventures with other dowsing groups and like-minded societies.
At the last count, we had around 70 members, paid-up or honorary - and with the last indoor event getting a live attendance back into the mid-40s it is apparent that the interest in dowsing as a craft or a calling is as strong as ever.
We have tried to provide a wide range of subjects and workshops to suit interests across the dowsing spectrum - from the solidly scientific to the seriously spiritual - and as many combinations of both as it has been possible to foster. We have accepted that not all subjects or speakers will engage with all members, but at the same time, we have tried to provide something for everybody - and to respond to requests and suggestions as best we can with the resources available to us.
Throughout it all, we have relied on a small core of volunteers and helpers to get the show on the road, and to keep it there. I am sure I speak for everyone involved in the group in thanking them all for their dedication and involvement.
We remain a co-operative in the true sense of the word. We have a website and a bank account, but no committee structure and only nominally decided unpaid officers. This has been both a blessing and a curse in equal measure, but we have survived this far. It has enabled us to keep costs (and membership fees) to a minimum, even if the administrative side of the events has occasionally creaked at the seams.
Like all groups of our type, the demographic means that many of our former members have drifted away over time - and indeed, quite a few have passed over to presumably ply their craft in other realms.
I would like to acknowledge everyone who has helped the group over the last twenty-one years. It would be invidious to try to name everyone - and I am sure I would miss someone out, but you know who you are - and I am equally sure I speak for all members, past and present, in thanking you all.
We have more events planned (see attached flyers) and supportive collaborations established - so, here’s hoping that there will still be a fruitful future for our group in the years ahead.