Spiritual Dowsing
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Mid-Atlantic Geomancy

Spiritual Dowsing
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Sig Lonegren
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2.  Dowsing the Earth Energies

Dowsing is best known as a tool for locating underground veins of water, oil, lost objects, missing persons and buried treasure. Note – these are all physical targets. This kind of dowsing yields itself easily to evaluation by the scientific method. When the forked stick goes down, the target is either there, or it isn't. Physical-target dowsers' work can be checked by observation, by digging or drilling.

On the other hand, when one is intent on using dowsing as a tool for spiritual growth, the process isn't quite so easy. How can one "prove" that one has found an edge of the human aura (a field of energy found around all living things) when there are presently no scientifically acceptable tools to measure it? (Isn't it interesting that some have given machines the power to define reality?) True to his veneration of analytical, linear thinking, twentieth century Western Man has deter mined that something is real only if he can see, smell, hear, taste, feel it. Or if a needle moves on a machine. What a limiting and limited view of reality!

At sacred centers, a dowser finds all kinds of Earth Energies, s/he can feel them as well, but as yet, they certainly haven't been demonstrated empirically. How can someone scientifically demonstrate that they have grown spiritually? And yet most of you who are reading this know that in the last several years you have grown at least a bit closer to your Creator. This is an awareness that all on the path have. And yet, how can that be proven scientifically? It can't. While physical-target dowsing can be proved empirically, intangible-target dowsing, spiritual dowsing, isn't as easily verified by the scientific mind-set.

Western Man has based his primacy on logical thought and the five senses. Auras and Earth Energies – in fact all the intangible targets of the spiritual realms – don't yield themselves easily to this method of viewing reality. Dowsing can help us begin to look into those worlds beyond the five senses. It is a bridge that can help us touch the intangible.

Primary Water

Dowsing is a tool we can use to help us "see" the Earth Energies at sacred sites. Every valid site that marks a ley, an alignment of sacred sites, has water under it. There are two kinds of underground water. There is the 'water table' water that most hydrologists are interested in. The other is 'primary water' (some call it 'juvenile water'). Primary water doesn't come from rain water, but rather is created in the bowels of the Earth as the by-product of various chemical reactions. This water is then forced under pressure towards the surface of the Earth in what dowsers in the United States call 'domes' (in Great Britain, they are called 'blind springs'). I picture domes to be like geysers that just don't reach the surface. The water continues its upward journey until it hits an impermeable layer of rock or clay. The pressure then forces the water out horizontally, in what dowsers call veins – cracks and fissures in the rock. As a spiritual dowser, one can find domes or crossing veins of primary water under any valid marker of a ley. When these veins of primary water reach the surface in many parts of the world, they are considered to be holy wells, places of healing and spiritual contemplation, places of the Earth Mother.

An Agreement on Primary Water

There is one aspect of the Earth Energies that as dowsers we should all be able to agree on. This has to do with the presence of primary water at these sites. It's always there. For this reason, if you want to become a good Earth Energy dowser, I urge you to work – at some time in your development – with a competent drinking-water dowser. Apprentice yourself to one long enough to be sure that where s/he finds water, you find water. This sure knowledge of the location of underground veins of water is critical in determining not only how the veins dance at power centers, but where there are zones in a home that are detrimental to a person's health. A spiritual dowser must also be a water-witch.

In the nineteen-thirties, Reginald Allender Smith was one of the first dowsers to write about finding water as a primary ingredient of any sacred space. This has been corroborated by many fine dowsers since his time. I have worked with Bill Lewis, one of the master dowsers of the British Isles; Tom Graves, author of several important books on dowsing and the Earth Mysteries; and Terry Ross, the person who brought the notion of dowseable leys to the United States. All of them find primary water under valid markers of the ley system. I believe it is time for all Earth Energy dowsers to agree on this. It is always there. Too many good dowsers have been finding it for too long now for it not to be there.

If you are not finding primary water at sacred sites, once again, perhaps it is time for you to go spend time with a water-well dowser.

Leys and Energy Leys

Leys, these alignments of sacred sites, are the result of our ancestors locating their holy sites over primary water. Dowsers have found that many, but by no means all, of these leys also have straight beams of male, or yang energy, flowing along them. These are called 'energy leys'. Energy leys are normally six to eight feet wide, and have a direction of flow, like a river. In England, most leys (but again, not all) have these energy leys flowing concurrently with them. In New England where I did my Masters research, I know of four or five leys, but I have dowsed well over four hundred energy leys.

Sacred Space

This Earth of ours (the Greeks called her Gaia) has always had a series of places all over her surface where the yin and the yang, the female and male, the domes and veins of primary water and the straight energy leys have come together forming what is called a 'power center'. The energies at any given power centre (defined as a minimum of one vein of primary water crossed by one energy ley) are not always the same throughout the year. Each one reaches its peak of power at one or more times during the year based on various factors including what the Sun, Moon, and to a lesser extent, other planets and stars are doing. When an energy ley aligns with the rising or setting of the Sun, for example, the ley becomes much more potent.

Many temples and other sacred spaces are associated with specific times of the year – Stonehenge with the Summer Solstice Sunrise, Newgrange with the Winter Solstice Sunrise, Solomon's Temple with the Equinox Sunrise. At these times, the energy ley that runs along the site's major axis joins the power center there with the point on the horizon where Sun rises or sets on that Solstice, Equinox, or Cross Quarter day. (If you think of the Solstices and Equinoxes as dividing the year up into quarters, the Cross Quarter days divide the year up into eighths, and occur at the beginnings of November, February, May and August.) Other sites are oriented towards the rising points of the Moon, Venus, or certain stars. In these cases, the point on the horizon marks a significant place in the cycle of that particular heavenly body. Whatever the alignment, it creates a massive increase in the energy available at that particular power center at that particular time. Different sites were set up to utilize this energy in different ways. So different sites used their major axis astronomical alignment to enhance the intent of the builders to use these energies for healing, for foretelling the future (the veil to the other side being thinner at that point), for fertility (the priests of the Nile were responsible for the fertility of that ancient valley), or for general growth in spiritual consciousness.

His Story and Her Story of Alignments

Until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi documents just after World War II, the only thing we knew about Gnostics, an early Christian sect who were judged to be heretics, was what was written about them by the early Church Fathers who didn't like them. Most of what we know about feng shui, Chinese geomancy, comes from Ernest J. Eitel, a Christian missionary to China who, once again, didn't like this heathen practice. History is written by the victors. The patriarchs. But what about her story? One of the things that I remember from somewhere in my training to become a Western Man was the notion that there is no such thing as a straight line in nature, and yet, since the beginning of recorded time, we humans have known and utilized the power of alignment. From the alignment of passage graves and standing stones constructed in the middle of the fourth millennium Before the Common Era (BCE) to the present day intentional alignment in Washington D. C. of the Lincoln Memorial, the Tidal Basin Pool, and the dome of the rotunda over the Capitol of the United States, we humans have been using alignments. Prior to the dawning of Western Man consciousness, these alignments were used for spiritual purposes, to mark centers of, among other things, healing, fertility, and prophesy. This kind of alignment, a ley, might consist of holy sites from many different periods throughout history.

Until roughly the time of the Protestant Reformation, the people of Europe built their sacred sites in straight lines, leys, that ran across the countryside in harmony with the Earth Energies. Since that time, Western Man has continued to use the power inherent in alignments, but for different purposes. Let us look then at our use of alignments throughout herstory and history to see how we might use dowsing as a spiritual tool.

Until the beginning of the Neolithic (New Stone Age) period, roughly 4000 BCE, Europeans were hunter-gatherers. As we followed the herds and the various crops that ripened in their time, we were in tune with Nature, and were naturally at the appropriate power centers at the specific time of the year we needed to be there to perform our various ceremonies and rituals. Gaia led us to the right place at the right time, and our spiritual lives prospered accordingly. John Michell has a good discussion of this concept in his book, Earth Spirit.

The First Farmers

When we settled down and became farmers, however, we had a problem – we had to make do year 'round with the power centers that were in our local area. We then had to find ways to enhance the Earth Energies at times when they were not at their peak. The archeological evidence indicates that by the middle of the Neolithic period we were building incredibly sophisticated sacred enclosures that, among other things, demonstrate a thorough knowledge of geometry thousands of years before the Greeks supposedly invented it! These sacred sites were built on previously existing Earth Energy power centers, utilized sacred geometrical ratios in their construction to enhance the energy, and were oriented towards specific horizonal astronomical events. All of this was done, apparently with an incredible amount of human labor, to know better when the energies would reach their zenith and, at other times of the year when they were at lower levels of intensity, to concentrate them for use in spiritual activities. There seems to be a solid connection between the introduction of farming and our first permanent temples built on sacred space.

The Earliest Alignments

The earliest use of alignments that I know of is found in Ireland. In the lush green valley of the Boyne River north of Dublin, Neolithic people of about 3500 BCE created a spectacular array of massive circular mounds of earth with cruciform stone-lined tunnels called passage graves. Some align with the Sun as it rises and sets at significant points of the year Solstices, Equinoxes and Cross Quarter days. Others line-up with similar structures, standing stones and smaller burial mounds that resemble round barrows.

NewgrangeMartin Brennan has done some magnificent work with these Irish passage graves and has identified the oldest leys that I know of in the world. A good example would be the alignment that starts at Knowth, a passage grave with two stone-lined tunnels, one oriented to the Equinox Sunrise, and the other to the Equinox Sunset. About three quarters of a mile to the southeast, the line runs through a standing stone, one of a dozen that surround the best known passage grave of all, Newgrange. The cruciform chamber of Newgrange is oriented towards the Winter Solstice Sunrise. The line from Knowth goes through that chamber where the main tunnel and side chambers converge. (Many other alignments with other sites and/or astronomical events also cross at this point as well.) The alignment then exits the passage grave and goes through another of those twelve stones that surround the site. The alignment ends about a half a mile further to the southeast where it hits Mound 6, one of the round barrow-shaped mounds that are also found in the valley of the Boyne River. Five points within two miles, all are related to ritual, and they're in a straight line.

Several hundred years after the construction of the Boyne Valley complex, the Neolithic people of south-central England constructed an enormous sacred megalithic complex, a landscape temple that truly staggers the mind. She is called Avebury.


Ah, Avebury! One's being is confounded and delighted by the impressive West Kennet long barrow, a magnificent burial chamber oriented towards the Equinox Sunrise, and Silbury Hill, the largest wo/man made prehistoric mound in Great Britain (in all of Europe, for that matter). And then there is the magnificent henge monument itself, the Avebury stone circles. There are three of them, two small (or should I say normal-sized circles) inside the truly enormous ring of huge sarcen stones. These megaliths delineate and dominate the inner bank of the deep ditch and towering outer bank that create the henge. All of this was accomplished around the beginning of the third millennium before the Christian era by Stone Age farmers using antlers for picks and oxen hip-bones for shovels.

AveburyBut let's turn our attention to that apparently serpentine West Kennet Avenue. It consists of two rows of large, mostly either diamond- or phallic-shaped stones that run parallel to each other for over a mile and a half from the circles at Avebury to a smaller circle of stone and wood posts called The Sanctuary, located above the hamlet of East Kennet. In the eighteenth century drawings of Avebury by William Stukeley, the West Kennet Avenue is one of two that run from outlying sites to the main circle, much like the fallopian tubes go to the uterus in the human female reproductive system. Following this logic, The Sanctuary would be analogous to one of the ovaries. Perhaps this image stretches things a bit, but make no mistake; we are in the territory of the Earth Mother.

It turns out that rather than being serpentine, seemingly constructed in a series of arcs, the West Kennet Avenue is actually made up of a series of straight lines. Paul Devereux, Director of the Dragon Project, and I, have been interested in the alignment potential there for some time. At the top of the first gradual rise leading away from the henge itself is one particular segment of that series. It includes two of the larger stones that are left in the entire Avenue. Their major axes align along one of the best leys I have ever seen. These two stones are aligned in such a way that one can just see between them. In one direction – to the southeast – one sees the tip of another standing stone in that row and above it, a round barrow in the distance can be seen through the slit between the two stones.

Avebury four-inch leyTo the northwest, in the opposite direction, the steeple of the village church in Avebury can be seen through the vesica pisces frame of the stones in the Avenue. In the mid-ground between the church and the sighting sarcen stones, the ley runs along a perfectly straight section of the massive ditch of the Avebury henge itself. This occurrence of a ley tangentially striking circular prehistoric features is quite common in Britain.

So here we have an alignment that has six valid points on a dead straight line in less than a mile and a half! On top of that, the two stones in the middle of the ley focus one's vision to an incredibly narrow visual alignment in both directions. The points all have primary water under them. It's the tightest ley I've ever seen. It's about four inches wide! While there is primary water under each of the points, there is no dowseable energy ley running concurrently with that ley.

This seems to be a second phase in our ancestors' use of alignments. The first leys developed naturally as a result of building on power centers. There was no intent to put the sites in a line; it just happened because some of the sites were on the same energy ley. But by the time of the construction of the West Kennet Avenue, we had learned how to make intentional alignments that didn't necessarily have energy leys flowing along them. Still, the specific points were chosen because they had primary water under them.

Stone rings like Avebury have been found to mark the crossings of two or more leys. Dowsers find that they also mark the crossing of energy leys over primary water. One of the ongoing spiritual aspects associated with ancient sacred sites is fertility. Perhaps those who worked with the Earth Energies might have wanted to spread their fertilizing aspects over more of the countryside. (Being a country boy, a vision of a spiritual manure spreader comes to mind here.) Having realized that the holy places were naturally aligning themselves, perhaps these non-energy leys might have served as channels for energies of fertility that were reflected down them from power centers like Avebury.

CyclotronA cyclotron is used by physicists to speed up atomic and sub-atomic particles in a circular accelerator by spinning them round and round until they reach the appropriate velocity. The particles are then shunted off on to the target. Dowser Tom Graves has suggested a cyclotron effect at Rollright stone circle. Graves found energy being spun around the circle, and then released outwards at various points along the circumference. This cyclotron effect is especially interesting when we consider our Avebury non-energy ley is tangent to the circle. The only non-Neolithic point on that ley is the Christian church, and, as one of the points, it stands alone to the northwest of the circle, on the wrong side of the flow. All the other points are to the southeast. If the energy at the Avebury circle were swirling in a widdershins or counterclockwise direction, and released at the point where our non-energy ley is tangent to that circle, it would flow down that ley, along the Avenue towards the round barrow on the horizon, thus spreading the fertilizing potential of these power centers.

All of the ley markers discussed at Newgrange and at Avebury (standing stones, passage graves, round barrows, the henge monument and the church) have primary water under them. All except for one – the church at Avebury – were built or constructed over two thousand years before Christ. All of them have clear unambiguous connections with ritual, ceremony and sacred space. The first leys were the unintentional result of early farmers working with their local power centers to access the source of spiritual power on a year 'round basis. The alignments just happened. They were the result of putting ceremonial sites on places where the yin comes together with the yang, where Earth Mother comes together with the Solar Father. Within five hundred years of the earliest leys, by the first part of the third millennium BCE, wo/man had learned to construct intentional alignments that connected sacred sites, but did not necessarily run concurrently with energy leys.

It is difficult to find strictly Neolithic leys. There are some good examples in Cornwall, and at the Devil's Arrows up in Yorkshire, but people all around the world have been intentionally building their sacred sites on power centers until comparatively recent times. Europeans did so until around the end of the time of the great Gothic Cathedrals. Some people, the Aborigines of Australia, geomancers in Hong Kong, and some Native Americans, just to mention a few, are still doing it today. As a result of this multiple cultural use of the same Earth Energy system, leys tend to be somewhat mixed in the sense that there are sacred sites of quite different time periods on the same alignment. This is a particularly hard one for archeologists and anthropologists to understand because they just can't imagine that something that we don't know about today was recognized by those primitive savages, utilized by various succeeding pagan cultures, and also known by those men of God who built the Gothic Cathedrals. We forgot because the witch trials and other heresy persecutions of Western Man made us forget. But more of that later.

The First Signs of Western Man

At about one thousand BCE one finds a new feature intruding into the confines of what initially had been sacred alignments. Bit by bit, the secular begins to intrude. John Barnatt, an archeologist who has done a lot of work on Dartmoor and up in the Arbor Low area in Derbyshire, has postulated that the archeological evidence seems to suggest that prior to around the second millennium before Christ, the people were held together (perhaps controlled?) by spiritual power – healing, fertility, oracular, and heightened awareness. Everyone experienced this power. The ceremonial centers starting with a big blast at Avebury in the fourth millennium, were followed by the builders of the magnificent stone rings. These became more and more complicated until they culminated with the magnificent sarcen triithons of what is called Stonehenge III in about fifteen hundred BCE. It was as if we were building more and more elaborate structures to hold down that elusive quicksilver energy. And we were forgetting how to do it.

StonehengeAt Stonehenge we can see this shift in a different way. Stonehenge was constructed in three different chunks. Stonehenge I was the earliest, 2600 BCE ± and consists of the henge (the ditch and bank), the four small Station Stones that dot the Aubrey Holes (52 circular chalk-filled pits just inside the ditch), and the Heel Stone(s). Everyone could clearly see what was going on at the center. Everyone could be involved.

Stonehenge II added the human-sized Prescelly Blue Stones around 2000 BCE. When the builders of Stonehenge III, in the middle of the second millennium BCE, added the tall trilithons in the center, the lay people around the periphery could no longer see what was going on in the center. A similar development took place in the development of rood screens in the Gothic Cathedrals 2500 years later. Perhaps this represents a move on the part of the priesthood to consolidate their power. In any event, the end result of the trilithons and rood screens was that less and less people really knew what was going on. This concentration of spiritual power into the hands of a few led next to the desire to have power down on the physical level as well. And there's good evidence for this in the Iron Age that arose soon after Stonehenge III, around 1000 BCE.

There's a famous ley that Sir Norman Lockyer, an early astro-archaeologist/archeo-astronomer (interested in astronomy and how it relates to ancient sites), found at the turn of this century. It begins at a tumulus (2000 BCE ±) just north of Stonehenge where it runs tangentially to the circular ditch (2600 BCE ±) and then on to an Iron Age hill fort called Old Sarum. Hillforts were an introduction of the Iron Age which began in southern Britain at around 1000 BCE. They were defensive military positions, the first points on leys that were clearly not ritualistic in nature. Stonehenge-Salisbury leyTwo millennia later, the Normans put a military camp in the center of this hill fort. Shortly thereafter, an impressive church was also built at Old Sarum; however, the soldiers and the priests didn't get along, so someone fired an arrow into the air, and the present Salisbury Cathedral was constructed where it landed. The ley does not go through the spire of that building which towers over the crossing of the nave and transept, but rather, it goes through the high altar, to the east of the spire. The ley then continues through two further Iron Age hill forts, Clearbury Ring and Frankenbury Camp.

It is with the inclusion of hill forts in the Iron Age, all of which still have primary water under them where the ley strikes them (often only a glancing blow), that the use and function of leys in Britain begin to change. As Barnatt points out, the people weren't being controlled and ruled by the spirit anymore, but by force. Hill forts were not sacred places; they were one man's, a family's, or clan's statement to the world about their physical power.

The Romans

The Romans carried on this use of leys for physical purposes when they built their famous roads on the more ancient leys. The Romans have always been praised for their roads. The reality is that they built only the surface of them. These straight tracks had been used for millennia as sacred ways, but the Romans debased them by using them as ways of quickly getting their armies around Europe. They used spiritual paths for military purposes. Actually, except for the many examples of Roman roads on leys, there are very few other Roman structures in England that are on these alignments. With a few exceptions, like the foundations of Wells Cathedral, the Romans just didn't seem to build many other structures on leys here in Britain. The Romans were the first people to use these sacred ways for secular purposes as a matter of national policy. But they weren't the last. Throughout the rest of history there is more and more evidence for secular use of alignments.

Pope Gregory and the Benedictines

In the sixth century CE Pope Gregory, in a letter to those who were to carry Catholicism to Britain, cautioned these missionaries not to destroy the ancient sites. Gregory wanted them to destroy the idols, for sure, but he urged them to build churches on the older holy places. Even if these missionaries did not know of these Earth Energies (some clearly did as evidenced by some beautiful Medieval leys), their churches would therefore have been automatically linked to the alignment of earlier holy sites. Again, just by choosing to place his churches on the previous culture's sacred spaces, Gregory assured that they fell into straight lines as they dotted the countryside of Dark Age Britain.

At least part of the Church at that time, the Benedictines, were well aware of these Energies. In fact, Gregory was a Benedictine himself! The Order was founded by St. Benedict in the first half of the sixth century CE. Unlike earlier orders of the Church, the Benedictines stressed communal living, and their abbeys were like homes of Christian families with abbots as fathers. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect about them is that throughout Europe, these Benedictine abbeys and monasteries were built on major power centers – sites with much earlier spiritual connections as well. Monte Cassino in Italy is one. And so is Monserrat, a major pilgrimage site on the side of a mountain of the same name, northwest of Barcelona in Spain where there is also a black wooden image of the Virgin supposedly carved by St. Luke. Monserrat was thought to have been the castle of the Holy Grail. At Fulda, in Germany, St. Boniface founded a Benedictine abbey. It was from Fulda that Christianity spread throughout central Germany.

The St. Michael's Geomantic Corridor

In the English Channel there are two well-known island power centers that utilized the ley system for sacred purposes. Both are islands at high tide only; at low tide they both connect with the mainland. Both Mont St. Michel off the coast of France and St. Michael's Mount off the coast of Cornwall in southwestern England, were Benedictine abbeys. St. Michael's Mount is at one end of an infamous geomantic corridor or dragon path that runs in a northeasterly direction to the Beltane (May Day) Sunrise. It runs through a series of important English power centers including many that are dedicated to St. Michael or to other dragon-killing saints like St. George and St. Margaret. It traverses England from St. Michael's Mount to at least as far as the St. Michael's church in Clifton Hampden, almost two hundred miles to the northeast in Wiltshire. Because of its length, there is a great deal of controversy as to the relative straightness of the entire line. Part of the problem is that due to the curvature of the earth, one should be employing spherical geometry rather than plane geometry to calculate its straightness.

Three of the points in the middle of this geomantic corridor are of particular interest. The southern entrance of Avebury is at one end, and Burrowbridge Mump in Somerset is at the other. The major axis of the Mump (mound) aligns with this corridor. In between them is perhaps the most famous of the St. Michael points on this dragon path – the Glastonbury Tor, whose major axis also runs along the May Day (Beltane) alignment. Glastonbury was an island at the time when Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Jesus, came and built the first above ground Christian church shortly after the crucifixion. The Celtic Christianity that was formed was a beautiful blend of Christianity and Druidism; the Christ energy was an important source when working in the spiritual realms, but Nature was also held in reverence. Glastonbury remained an important Celtic Christian shrine until it was taken over in the 10th century by guess who? – the Benedictines. It then became one of the most powerful religious centers in England until Henry VIII broke it up in 1539.

By holding the important mountains and other geomantically strategic sites, the Benedictines attempted to control Europe for the Church. As they built on power centers, their monasteries and abbeys were automatically plugged-in to the ley system. These energies were tapped to ensure the primacy of the Church of Rome and its growing political control as well.

This control by the Church culminated in the person of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. While not a Benedictine, he was an abbot of a Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux. He refused higher Church offices, but his obvious spirituality, his immense capacity of mind, will-power, and eloquence made him the most powerful man in Europe in the first half of the twelfth century. He was a maker and confidante of Popes, started the Second Crusade, and was a peacemaker among the rulers of western Europe. He consummated the art of combining the use of spiritual power with political/physical power. This was a totally different use of spiritual energies than the builders of Stonehenge I had in mind.

My argument so far is that at least initially, leys were the result of building on power centers as a means of enhancing spiritual growth. At first there was no intent to build in straight lines; it just happened as a result of building on the underlying energy system. By 3000 BCE the awareness grew that we had been building sacred sites naturally in straight lines. Then came the first intentional alignments that did not coincide with energy leys. Initially, these too were made solely for spiritual purposes. The four-inch wide ley at Avebury is an example of this. But the introduction of Iron Age hill forts and, later, Roman roads and Medieval castles as points on older leys, indicates that Western Man was developing alternative uses for this phenomenon.

There isn't a specific date when the spiritual uses of the leys ceased and the political/secular ones commenced, as there was a long period of over a thousand years when both were going on at the same time. And yet there are several examples of ecclesiastical leys in Medieval England. Brian Larkman, an Earth Mysteries researcher, has uncovered a ley in York that, in addition to several other features, includes three churches, the magnificent York Minster, and the Deanery Chapter House all on that same ley! Five sacred structures on an energy ley; all have related primary water under them.

But our days of conscious knowledge of the Earth Energies were numbered. Western Man ensured that his linear objective consciousness would predominate by waging a systematic war of elimination against the intuitives and the Goddess. One of the first things that Constantine did after he made the Christian Church the state religion of the Roman Empire was to genocidally root out the Gnostics, intuitives and followers of Christ who demanded the right to hear and interpret God's word for themselves. No one was to be allowed to think for themselves, to define their relationship with Christ for themselves.

Heresies and the Witch Trials

As the Dark Ages went on, the Church found more and more ways to deny the people access to spiritual realms. These attacks culminated in atrocities that are similar to America's genocidal war on the Native Americans, or Stalin's decimation of dissidents in Russia. If the treatment of those people the Church called heretics or witches had occurred anywhere else on Earth other than in supposedly civilized Europe, modern historians would have called the torture and burnings at the stake truly barbaric acts of primitive savages.

The last time that human sacrifice was practised in Europe was during the witchcraft persecutions. Witches were perceived as a threat by the Church for several reasons. They were the remnant of the Goddess-centered religion who used power centers and incantations to connect with the spiritual without going through the Church. Also, its Earth Mother-centered path was at variance with the Church's patriarchal mode of operation.

The Medical Profession Lends a Hand

In the villages of the Middle Ages, it was women who provided the medical care. These healers knew about things like herbs and spells. Many were also midwives. This became a threat to a new professional class of men that was arising – doctors. "I've just been through five years of classes at the University to be a doctor. How can this untrained woman know anything about delivering babies?" The medical profession joined the Church in the persecution of witches (read: women, and mostly lower class). Western Man continued to bum witches/women at the stake up into the seventeenth century. In Salem, Massachusetts, they were killing women called witches in 1692. The last woman in Scotland to be killed for being a witch was put to death in 1722.

Eventually they had run out of lower class women, so they began to go for the upper class wives. But with the seventeenth century came the Age of Rationalism. An aristocratic husband could now argue, "What are you picking on my wife for? You know those realms don't rationally exist anyway!" So the persecutions ceased, and the knowledge of the Earth Energies faded away.

Dowsing as Heresy

It's easy to see how dowsing got into trouble. It is potentially a spiritual tool that doesn't have to go through the Church to get answers. As dowsing was thought to be a craft practised by witches, it fell into extreme disfavor. It had been practised through the ages by those who were in tune with the deeper harmonies of the Earth Energies, but dowsing was a direct challenge to the patriarchal linear thinking and rational methodology of Western Man and his Church – especially when it was used as a tool for direct personal perception of the spiritual. Dowsing had to be stamped out. Only its use as a tool to locate drinking water was deemed to be so essential that dowsing for it had to be allowed to remain as an acceptable channel to intuitive knowledge.

Speaking of dowsing, have you done any since you began reading this chapter? Why not? I would trust that you would have your pendulum right by you as you read these pages. If you come to parts that don't seem quite right, check it with your pendulum. Remember, "This is what I want to do. Can I? May I? Am I ready?"

By the way, where is the nearest power center to where you live? Where's the nearest point from your home where primary water and at least one energy ley come together?

If you don't know, did you see a place in your mind's eye when you first read that last sentence? Did you feel some place? You probably already gnaw where that place is. We'll be talking about dowsing at your power center a bit later, but let's get back to the alignments. Please remember to use your pendulum to verify for yourself the accuracy of what I am saying.


While Western Man had forgotten about the Earth Energies that were associated with the earlier leys, men all over Europe were still creating intentional alignments to visually emphasize important buildings and monuments. As we shall see, this was not done to enhance the spiritual potential of the sites at all, but rather to glorify the ego or to enhance the power of specific individuals or groups who built them. It was pseudo geomancy (pseudo = false, geomancy = locating man-made structures in harmony with the Earth Spirit/Energies).

Gamla Upsala

Gamla (Old) Upsala is the Viking center in Sweden where all the early kings were crowned. There are mounds there dedicated to Woden, Thor and Freya (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) that look for all the world like small Silbury Hills – conical in shape with flat tops. The Earth Energies are there, clearly indicating that the Vikings of the second half of the first millennium after Christ knew about them. Of primary importance is the water that is found as domes, or blind springs, under each mound. This is the Earth Mother. Dowseable energy leys cross over the primary water at the tops of the mounds.

In the distance one can easily see the spires of the Lutheran Cathedral at Upsala. This enormous brick building dominates the countryside. At one time this Cathedral town was also the capital of Sweden, but the center of political authority was later moved to Stockholm. However, the Upsala Cathedral is still the heart of the state religion in that country.

The spiritual authority was transferred to Upsala from Gamla Upsala in the middle of the second millennium after Christ. One piece of evidence of this transfer is that in Gamla Upsala, the bones of St. Eric were taken out each spring, and carried ceremonially around the fields to ensure a good harvest. This ritual to ensure fertility had been originally a Pagan rite of the Vikings. When the Vikings were first converted, the Christians, as they did everywhere they went, Christian ized some of the Pagan practices. Christian St. Eric's bones replaced the Pagan fertility rites at Gamla Upsala. These bones have now been moved to the Upsala Cathedral. The power shifted.

There are two alignments that connect Gamla Upsala, the old center of power, with the Lutheran Cathedral, the new one. First some terms. The major axis of a Cathedral is determined by drawing a line from the center of the front door at the foot of the nave, to the center of the high altar (usually found at the opposite end of the building). The minor axis of any sacred site is a line that is perpendicular to the major axis.

A line drawn between the two magnificent spires that top Upsala's Cathedral would be a minor axis. They are aligned so that only one spire can be seen from the mounds at Gamla Upsala. The further spire is hidden behind the closer one. And yet, there is no energy ley that connects the two.

Second, just like a Roman road in Britain, there is a perfectly straight stretch of road at least three miles in length leading from the old center of power to the newer Cathedral. The road is just west of the mounds at Gamla Upsala, and it aligns on those same two spires – but in this case, you can clearly see both of them. From this point on (the middle of the second millennium CE), we will see more and more use of straight roads used to draw the eye to the proclaimed center of physical power. There is no energy ley on this road either.

And yet, while there are these obvious visual alignments on the newer Cathedral, when one dowses the structure itself, there is no cohesive pattern of Earth Energies there, and no energy leys at all! And while there are occasional veins of underground water, they run randomly through the Cathedral, and none are to be found under the high altar. Primary water at sacred sites assumes very distinctive patterns. Veins enter and exit at significant points of the sacred enclosure. Those patterns are not there at the Cathedral. No energy ley crosses the high altar. The evidence is clear. The Vikings knew about the Earth Energies, the Swedish Lutherans didn't.


Versailles, the Palace of Louis the XIV, is another example of pseudo geomancy. Built in the seventeenth century at staggering expense to the French people, this monument to a monarch's enormous ego is made obvious by all of the roads leading in straight lines to the palace itself. This power trip of Louis' was a two-way affair. He not only received power from all of France in the form of homage given him by the various noblemen who fell over themselves to be seen at his court, but also Versailles was a visual center from which the power of the king emanated into the rest of the country. "The state is me," said Louis XIV. (Read: "I am the power, and make no mistake about that!").

So with Versailles we have a center of physical power, a magnificent edifice with many visual alignments converging on it. And yet, my pendulum tells me that while there are two energy leys within the confines of the palace and gardens, they are in no way related to the straight roads that lead to the palace, and neither energy ley crosses through the palace itself. Like the veins of water that are found in Upsala Cathedral, the energy leys there are random in terms of the construction.

What does your pendulum tell you about this?

The architects utilized the visual strength of alignments, but they were not backed by the real power. The Earth Energies are not there. The alignments at Versailles were constructed in part to focus the political power in France on the king, and as a center from which that controlling power then radiated back out into the country.

Pseudo-geomancy in Britain

In Britain, there are also examples of pseudo-geomancy. Paul Devereux, Editor of The Ley Hunter, and Director of the Dragon Project, told me of one in London in Kensington Gardens. There's a holy well there that has leading from it a straight path through the trees that runs to a church in Bayswater that was built in the 1850's, an obvious visual alignment. While there are clear yin energies associated with the holy well, there is no dowseable energy ley that runs on the path between the well and the church, and there are no cohesive Earth Energies at the church itself – no dome of water or blind spring under the altar, and no energy leys along the major axis of the church.

Check it yourself.

In Butleigh, a small village near Glastonbury, there is another example of pseudo-geomancy that begins near the village with two rows of impressive trees called Cedar Avenue. This stately avenue of cedars of Lebanon begins near an old mansion in Butleigh, and draws the eye to the sky line where a massive cyclindrical stone tower stands on the nearby Polden Hills. While the avenue does draw the eye to the monument, it is not exactly aligned to it. As for the column itself, it was built by the Lord of the Manor, Samuel Hood, as a monument to his own gallantry while serving as an Admiral under Nelson. Like Versailles, there are no Earth Energies directly associated with it. In fact, when my daughter Jordan and I dowsed the base of the monument, we found only one vein of primary water running up to one outside corner of the iron fence that surrounds the base of the tower. The vein then turns in a loop and goes away from the monument, back in the direction it came from! The Earth Mother obviously wants nothing to do with this early nineteenth century pseudo-geomancy.

What we are seeing here is a time of forgetting. The reality of spiritual realms was being replaced by earthly desires to enhance individual power or ego. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, Western Man no longer seemed to remember the true significance of straight lines, but these alignments were no longer leys. They had nothing to do with spiritual awareness or the Earth Energies.

But not everyone had forgotten.

Even As the Light Was Going Out, It Was Coming On Again

In the American Colonies in 1692, during the same year that they were putting women to death for witchcraft in Salem, Massachussetts, Johannes Kelpius, founder of one of the Rosicrucian orders in America (AMORC), was building an underground meditation chamber in Fairmount Park, near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. It is oriented due south and sits on a power center.

Another example is the Wood family, residential architects of Bath in England. Father and son, both with the name John Wood, changed the face of that city in the eighteenth century. They built the Royal Crescent, a massive sickle-shaped building complex that was designed to house all classes of people who lived in Bath. The handle of the sickle aligns with Kings Circus, a beautiful circular open space also in that city. An energy ley runs concurrently with that alignment. Also, the Woods demonstrated their awareness of true geomancy when they architecturally hooked their buildings in Bath into the Via Badonica, the Roman road that goes to London. Along the way, the road/ley skirts the edge of Silbury Hill, part of the Avebury complex.


Other cultures were still intimately involved with these energies. At the beginning of the sixteenth century CE, when the Spaniards arrived in Cusco, the capital of the inca Empire in Peru, they found that there were forty-one lines, or ceques that radiated out from the Coricancha, a major temple in that city. The ceques not only carried on for miles into the countryside, but dotted along these lines were holy places called huacas. All of these huacas have primary water under them. Eleven of the forty-one lines have energy leys running concurrently with them.

Check this yourself.

Ceques with their huacas are Peruvian leys.

Medicine WheelNative Americans are also still in tune with these energies. The Hopi in Arizona with their sacred Kivas know about it, and the Iroquois of New York locate their Medicine Wheels and other sacred places at power centers. One of my teachers is Twylah Nitsch, Clan Mother of the Wolf Clan of the Seneca Nation of the Iroquois. The first time I arrived at her teaching lodge I found her overseeing the construction of a Medicine Wheel made out of slices of the trunk of an old maple tree. I dowsed an energy ley slashing through the wheel, and a dome of water right in the center with the five veins swirling away in a widdershins, or anticlockwise direction. Each of the veins exited the Medicine Wheel under one of the slices of maple. As with all truly sacred places, the points where veins of primary water exited the Medicine Wheel were clearly marked.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is that at that time, Twylah didn't know how to dowse. She just "knew" where to place the wheel. She didn't need an external tool; she had the answer inside.

Feng Shui

In Hong Kong there are people today who still practise the ancient Chinese art of geomancy called feng shui. A geomancer's job is to locate buildings and sites all over the countryside in such a way that all is in harmony with the Earth Energies. For thousands of years, feng shui was practised throughout China. At that time, nothing was allowed to interfere with the flow of the Earth Energies to the Emperor. Cemeteries had their place as did shrines, meeting places and homes.

In the travelling that I've done, I've never found primary veins or any other kind of Earth Energy that was detrimental to a person's health under any habitation site of any people whose culture was obviously working with these Energies. From the Neolithic village in Orkney called Skara Brae, through the many Bronze Age hut circles on Dartmoor in southwestern England, to American habitation sites of the Adena and Hopewell people (builders of the great geometrical earthworks and famous Serpent Mound in Ohio), and the homes of the Inca residents of Machu Picchu high in the Andes, these people never built their homes over these life-detracting powers. Today, Western Man does it all the time, as in the "cancer houses" in Germany, with their deadly veins of underground primary water. In some some Bronze Age settlements I've visited recently, I have found ley(s) and primary water crossing under one (rarely, two) homes or hut circles – perhaps the homes of the Shaman or Holy One?


But as the night seems darkest just before the dawn, the most malefic use of the alignments and the Earth Energies came in the first part of the twentieth century. As part of Adolph Hitler's Aryan Race Master Plan, various Nazi units began to research folk customs and geomancy; first to learn more about their Aryan forefathers, and later, to attempt to control Europe geomantically. In Germanien, a Nazi Germanic Culture magazine, there were numerous articles by people like Josef Heinsch who wrote about things called heilige linien (holy lines) that were remarkably similar to Watkins' leys.

Nigel Pennick, a British Earth Mysteries luminary, in his book, Hitler's Secret Sciences, spoke of the Deutsche Ahnenerbe – the German Ancestral Heritage Organization. It was set up to study the spirit of the people, the lands which the Nordic Indo-Germanic (Aryan) race inhabited, and also to get other Germans interested and involved in this study. One member of the Ahnenerbe was Wilhelm Teudt, author of the Nazi Earth Mysteries bible, Ancient German Sanctuaries. Teudt actually headed the Ahnenerbe for a while, and he worked closely with Heinrich Himmler, head of the dreaded Nazi SS. Teudt visited Himmier at Wewelsburg, the SS's Grail Castle in Saxony.

The circular Nordturm (North Tower) of this geomantically designed triangular castle was said to be "the center of the earth". Built mostly by slave labor, Wewelsburg was set up to support the Nazi Aryan race doctrines. It was set geomantically into the landscape with the rest of the town radiating out from the focal point of the Nordturm. It was like Versailles, only much more sinister. And the Earth Energies were there as well.

Himmler, Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, and other Nazis experimented with geomancy throughout Europe in an attempt to control that part of the world and the entire continent. The Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Hitler's main headquarters and the site of the unsuccessful bomb plot against him, was intentionally constructed on an ancient holy well, at the crossing of two leys.

One classic example of the Nazi's use of geomancy happened during the German rush to take Moscow. At one point, a detachment of Mountain Troops was diverted to place the Nazi flag on top of a strategically unimportant mountain, Mount Elbruz. The Persians, good Aryan stock, believed that Mount Elbruz was a world mountain, center of the Earth Energies. Himmler felt that if the Nazi swastika controlled Elbruz, they could better control the Russians. As far as the Third Reich's march on Moscow was concerned, it made no sense at all to divert troops way down into the Caucasus, but geomantically, for the Nazis, it was of major importance.

The Allied Psycho/Spiritual Counterattack

DodWhen it was realized how heavily the Nazis were into astrology, the Allies began to use astrologers as well in an attempt to figure out what Hitler was up to. Thankfully there were also adepts on the Allied side who worked to undo the damage of this insane megalomaniac and his black magicians. Wellesley Tudor Pole, who later did such good work at the Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury, initiated the Silent Minute in Britain in World War II. Each evening at nine, as Big Ben chimed the hour, all of Britain stopped for one minute and focused their energies to pray for peace. This moment, when all of Britain was one, created an especially clear channel between the visible and invisible worlds. The spiritual realms were more than willing to come to the aid of those who fought against men who would use the Earth Energies to conquer the world. What a powerful tool for psychically uniting a people! Most people don't seem to realize how much of World War II was fought on these spiritual levels. What we have seen throughout the history of alignments is a steady decline from the spiritual to the physical in the use of these linear features culminating in the malevolent applications and sinister uses of the Earth Energies by the Nazis in World War II.

Western Man vs. Indigenous Peoples

Western Man continues to treat power centers and sacred places with ignorance that adds to their destruction. In the Four Corners of the American Southwest, the Hopi Indians live a life that has been essentially the same for five hundred years. One of the major power centers of the United States is said to be there along with the Hopi Kivas (underground temples) and the breathing mountains – sacred mountains that inhale air at certain times of day and exhale it at other times. This way of life and the sanctity of the land is threatened by uranium miners.

In Australia near a town called Jabiru, the aborigines have an especially important sacred site called Djibi Djibi. There are at least three hundred rock paintings, and a myth/story about what would happen if someone took the serpent out of that area. Like the Four Corners of the U.S., Jabiru is at the heart of uranium country. No respect. I want my electricity at all costs.

Dowsing and Archeology

In addition to uranium miners, sacred places are also being desecrated by archeologists. In the past few years I have changed my mind about using dowsing to help archeologists locate artifacts at cemeteries and sacred sites. In the mid-seventies, I worked on a dig for the National Geographic Society in the New England State of Vermont where we excavated four underground chambers, quite similar to the fogous and souterrains of the British Isles. Peter Reynolds, the leader of the excavation, had done some dowsing himself, so he was open to my using this art to help him to decide where to dig. I must say now, with the vantage of hindsight, I would no longer use my dowsing skills to do this.

Native Americans and the Anthros

Floyd Westerman is a Native American Indian who belongs to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota (Sioux) Nation. He sings songs about his people and their history. In his tape, "Custer Died For Your Sins", he has a cut entitled, "Here Come the Anthros". The first line sets the tone, "And the Anthros (Anthropologists) keep on commin' like death and taxes to our land." Towards the end of the song he makes the point that really speaks to me:

"And the Anthros keep on diggin'
in our sacred ceremonial sites.
As if there was nothing wrong,
and their education
gives them the right."

I wonder what the reaction would be if a crack team of highly trained anthropologists and archeologists were to come from Japan to do a superbly planned dig at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, or at Westminster Abbey in London? How long would that be tolerated? And yet it is perfectly all right for any university in the United States to dig in any Native American graveyard they want to. What's the difference?"... As if there was nothing wrong, and their education gives them the right." Human beings are human beings, and grave robbing is grave robbing whether the goods end up in a museum or someone's home. There's a Sioux woman who told an Iroquois friend of mine that the anthros had already dug up her grandmother.

Let's look at another example. Wilhelm Reich was a student of Freud's who became interested in the energy of the orgasm. He came to believe that this energy was a powerful manifestation of our life force, and he called it orgone. Dowsing indicates a similarity between ley energy and orgone. Reich found that layers of organic and inorganic materials (he used wool blankets and steel wool) concentrated this orgone. Unfortunately, he ran afoul of the Food and Drug Administration when he built large boxes called orgone accumulators and told people that it might cure their cancer if they sat in one. But that's another story.

Archeological Rape

The Boyne Valley in northeastern Ireland has a spectacular collection of passage graves – Newgrange, Dowth, and Knowth – not to mention the earliest leys that I have seen. From my humble point of view, archeologists were in the process of raping Knowth. In 1985 there were enormous gashes at several points in the flanks of that ancient and holy mound. Black plastic was everywhere. Even from the observation platform behind the barbed wire walls (it felt like Berlin where I spent three years), one could clearly see that the mound was constructed of layers – layers of sod and rock – layers of organic and inorganic material. In 1996, it was still a mess.

Have you ever participated in a dig? If you have, you will know that when they are digging, archeologists are very very careful. As they work their way down, they look at every layer almost centimeter by centimeter. But what happens when the dig is over? Do they put it back the way they found it? No. They do what is called back-filling. All you need is muscles and a big shovel – or in this case, probably a bulldozer.

It is claimed that they're saving Knowth. Oh, it might look prettier when they're through, but from a functional point of view, they're destroying it. Just as nearby 'restored' Newgrange where the tunnel was encased in positive ion-generating cement, this dig at Knowth is being done for science and the tourists – not for the pilgrims.

Stenness is a henge monument (ditch and bank) in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland. While there are several smaller stones, there are only three of the truly massive stones in that circle left. They're over twenty feet high, seven feet wide, and only nine inches thick.

As Stenness is over five thousands years old, it is not surprising that the ditch and bank are so eroded as not to really be visible any more. Some archeologist/bureaucrat with his eye firmly focused on the tourist dollar somehow got the money to bring in fill to make a phoney bank!

When I was up there in the autumn of 1985, they were bringing in the fill by the truck load. Even the Orcadians who had been hired to do the work thought that it was "a shame."

Please do not infer that I am opposed to all archeology and all dowsing for artifacts. This is not the case. There are more and more archeologists who are becoming sensitive to these issues. In New England, Byron Dix and James Mayor reported in the December 1983 "Bulletin of the Early Sites Research Society" about a dig they did at a site in Freetown, Massachusetts. Dotted with over one-hundred stone mounds and several stone rows, this important Native American ceremonial center was about to become the site of the new hazardous waste treatment plant for the New Bedford watershed. In order to bring the ritual nature of this site to public attention, and to try to stop the proposed desecration of the land, Byron and Jim first surveyed the site, and decided to dig just one of the mounds to see if they could find evidence that could stop the site from being usurped by the hazardous waste treatment plant. As they say in their paper, "Chief Little Horse of the Wollomonopaug Indian Tribal Council performed a traditional ritual of respect prior to our excavation of the selected stone mound." The significant amounts of red ochre, crude stone tools, and radio carbon dates of 875 ±160 and 790 ±150 years before 1950 CE (the year all carbon dates are correlated to) added a great deal of weight to the argument that these stone cairns were definitely not the result of erratic colonial field clearing! This kind of sensitivity and respect are what we need much more of in the field of archeology. To dig a sacred site one needs permission from more than just the present landowner or from some state bureaucrat.

There are times when it is totally appropriate for dowsers to assist archeologists in locating artifacts in a dig of an early Industrial Revolution site, and probably even at the habitation sites (homes) like those of the Native American encampments found along many of the rivers, or at the hut circles of Iron Age Britain. It's the sacred sites that I'm worried about protecting. The cemeteries. The temples. In the Bible it's called holy ground. Incidentally I would dowse holy ground for artifacts if say a Motorway or Interstate Highway were coming through. Rescue archeology is a laudable effort and should be supported. But normally, there are many less intrusive ways of recovering information about these sacred spaces than by digging.

With the few exceptions mentioned above, I will no longer use my dowsing skills to help archeologists dig at any places of spiritual import. I urge other Earth Mystery dowsers on the spiritual path to consider quite carefully the implications of using dowsing for any archeological excavation of sacred space.

The Limitations of the Scientific Model

The history of the use and misuse of alignments is clear: the closer to the present we get, the more Western Man abused the power of alignments for his own personal gain. Therefore, to look at sacred space from only Western Man consciousness (read: using only the scientific model) will only lead to further error and further descent into the physical. For example, we must not fall prey to science's demand for the repeatability of an experiment. Modem physics in general has taught us that the observer is just as much a part of the experiment as anything else. The presence of a totally objective, uninvolved/unevolved, skeptical observer actually mitigates against repeatablilty when working in these realms.

Scientists also love the fact that dowsing isn't always accurate or repeatable because then they get to discredit the whole process: to throw the baby out with the bath water. Because different dowsers don't come up with the same things at any given site, they decide dowsing is an invalid tool. Maybe, maybe not. We're just relearning how to use these tools. Because we are not perfectly realized beings, dowsing isn't right one hundred percent of the time. But it could also be that, like the proverbial three blind men, each of us is "seeing" a slightly different part of the elephant. According to our individual level of consciousness, as each of us takes our first faltering steps into a realm where Baconian physics doesn't seem to work, we each return to tell slightly different stories of our experiences. We will find different things. And that's ok.

God is Good
– Old Saying

If good is the opposite of evil,
then it's not Good.

– Krishnamurti

Dowsing and the Devil

There is another group of people who are non-dowsers who have something to say about the fact that dowsing isn't always correct. Fundamentalist Christians posit that the forces of darkness, demons, move the rod. It can't possibly be God who moves the stick because God is perfect, and He wouldn't lie. So since a dowser's findings aren't always correct, an imperfect force (the Devil) is moving it. I must admit that logically, this is a powerful argument, but as we all look through a glass darkly, there are other ways to "see" this elephant, other paradigms. Fundamentalists put the cause of the inaccuracies outside with demons; I would suggest that it's an internal problem.

One way of looking at what it means to be human is that by definition, we are imperfect. As an imperfect being, I am intent on growing spiritually – towards perfection. And while I intend to grow closer to the One, I also recognize that there are forces that pull in the opposite direction. The Hindus call this force Maya or Illusion. It is possible through dowsing to contact this force of Illusion, and obviously, spiritual dowsers need to be aware of this. Knowing this, I intend that my dowsing answers come only from our Creator, from Love. But there's a problem here. Our bodies are the temples for our Soul and for the Spirit that is in us, but unfortunately, like Hercules at the Augean Stables (and you know what they were full of), our temples need some serious house-cleaning. If one sees dowsing as receiving answers from the Omniscient Perfect Source, then it is our own personal lack of cleanliness that makes the static, that causes incorrect dowsing responses. To make our bodies proper temples for our Souls and the Spirit that comes in with every breath (respiration), we've got to clean up our own acts. (This is called throwing stones when I live in a glass house myself.) It is our own imperfection that makes it impossible for Perfection to come through perfectly.

It's like any new terrain. From the earliest humans as they moved out of their caves, (or the Garden depending on your point of view), to the astronaut walking on the Moon for the first time, pioneers know that there are risks. It's true with any new venture. But by focusing on the One, or Christ, or the Goddess, or Krishna, or YHVH, or the Great Spirit, or whatever you call the best you can imagine, you can consciously grow in your awareness of the spiritual realms.

John White, a Christian writer in the "Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship Journal" (Vol XII, Autumn 1980) writes:

"The importance of Jesus was not that he was a human like us but that we are gods like him – or at least we have the evolutionary potential to be.
"...the cosmic calling we humans have will not be denied forever, despite the ignorance of religious institutions. The Holy spirit will simply move on to new forms, leaving fossils behind."

Overview of Alignments

Let's take a step back for an overview of the whole herstory/history of alignments. The earliest leys were not intentional alignments of sites; they were accidental/coincidental alignments of sites. They just happened as a result of our building sacred sites on power centers. They ran concurrently with the energy leys.

These early alignments all had close spiritual connections. Slowly, with the inclusion of the defensive Iron Age hill forts and later Roman roads, the use of alignments to enhance physical power began to intrude on the earlier holy alignments. In the British Isles, there was a several-thousand-year period of interface between the spiritual and physical use of alignments – from roughly 800 BCE to 1300 CE.

There was a much more recent time when men (and it was men, not women) created intentional alignments to indicate where the governmental power was, or to aggrandize a specific individual's ego. These pseudo-geomancers had forgotten about the Earth Energies – the real reason for those alignments in the first place. With the Neo-geomancers of Hitler's Third Reich we see the use of alignments taken to their logical, linear, left-brained extreme.

The implication here is that, from an ethical point of view, as we are once again trying to learn about these mysteries, it is inappropriate to use only the scientific method. The over-emphasis on only the linear rational approach in the use of alignments just to enhance physical power culminates in Hitler's interest in geomancy. To continue employing only the scientific method to learn about sacred space is therefore not only a very limiting but ethically suspect approach. If spiritual growth (rather than physical power) is the goal, there needs to be much more of a wholistic way to become involved in these mysteries.

No wonder most archeologists and anthropologists today are unable to conceive of the possibility that the knowledge of leys existed at all, let alone there being an ongoing continuity of the system in Europe from before 3000 B.C. to about the time of the Protestant Reformation! To a rational academic mind, such a thread of continuity seems impossible and inconceivable. This was one of Bellamy and Williamson's major blind-spots in their book, Ley Lines in Question. They insisted that leys consist only of Neolithic sites. This example of totally linear thinking, and its concomitant lack of awareness of the reality of the spiritual, leads to academia's inability to comprehend the possibility of spiritually aware Europeans knowing of these linear energy leys for over four thousand years. Conveniently forgetting that the Church and other representatives of Western Man waged a thousand year matricidal war against those who knew about these energies, academia can smugly say, "I mean after all, let's be rational about this. If leys were that important, why aren't they in the written record?"

New Skills for the Ley Hunter

We have also seen various examples of alignments that were created specifically to enhance domination over others on the physical plane. Power over. Not all alignments of sites can be called leys. To tell the difference, in addition to their use of compass, sighting, and mapping skills, ley hunters must also become competent water dowsers, as primary water is found under every valid marker of the ley system. Alfred Watkins' leys mark the Earth Energies. If those Energies aren't there, they may be intentional alignments, but they're not leys. They are examples of pseudo-geomancy. During a period when geomantic awareness was fading, they are but a vestigial remnant of a time when humanity knew of this power in our Earth. Even so, these recent alignments are yet another piece of evidence that is beginning to show quite convincingly to those who have eyes to see, that throughout herstory, cultures here in Europe (and in other parts of the world) were well aware of the power of the straight line.

The Light Turns Back On

The First Ley Hunter – William Pidgeon

In 1853, William Pidgeon was taken through the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys of the United States by an old Indian, De-Coo-Dah, the last Medicine Man of the Elk Nation. Pidgeon was shown all kinds of massive earthworks including geometrical constructions and animal or human shapes that were referred to as effigies, or effigy mounds. He wrote about his exploits in his book De-Coo-Dah. In talking about the reasons why he believed that these earthworks were all built by the same people, Pidgeon cited similar construction techniques and said:

"This conclusion is further established by the extensive ranges of mounds, extending sometimes in direct and continuous lines for several hundred miles [emphasis mine], consisting of truncated mounds, occasionally varied by effigies, or works of singular form and arrangement. And there is little doubt that these ranges were constructed as division lines, or land-marks between adjacent territories, kingdoms, or tribes. This is evident, not only from the vast extent of territory which these lines include, but from the character of the symbols or effigies which are always found at points where the principle lines intersect each other, or are joined by lines diverging laterally as seen in Iowa, Wisconsin and Circleville, Ohio.

"After having, in company with De-Coo-Dah, traced several extensive lines of mounds through Wisconsin and Iowa, in the fall of 1849,I visited Circleville in Ohio, with the design of testing the truth of tradition respecting the union of lineal ranges (Pidgeon's term for leys) at that point ... But the junction of the Great Miami River having been traditionally named as the western terminus of one of the diverging ranges, we assumed a geographical line between that point and Circleville, and soon succeeded in discovering a well-defined mound about two miles north of Paint Creek, in Fayette County... We proceeded west, to the headwaters of the east fork of Todd's Fork of the Little Miami, where we discovered the third work of the range, in a cultivated field about one half of a mile southeast of Wilmington, Clinton County; thence we proceeded west to the junction of Todd's Fork with the Miami, about one and a half miles north of which, on the west side of that river, we found the fourth work. We then, with the assistance of a pocket-compass, retraced the line, and became fully convinced that it was, in fact, a lineal range."

It is clear that these "lineal ranges" marked off territories (in England, many leys mark parish boundaries). Points that marked these alignments in Ohio had ceremonial rather than defensive military purposes. There is primary water under each of the markers. They are leys.

Check your pendulum to see if there were energy leys running concurrently with Pidgeon's range lines as well.

Norman Lockyer

At the beginning of this century astronomer Norman Lockyer was studying ancient sites in terms of their relationship with the Sun, Moon and stars. He worked in Egypt as well as in Britain, and is considered to be the founder of what Americans call archeoastronomy, and the British call astroarchaeology. At Stonehenge, he not only studied the Summer Solstice Sunrise that occurs along the major axis, but he also noticed the alignment with Old Sarum, Salisbury Cathedral and Clearbury Camp that we discussed earlier. He found other alignments down in Land's End in Cornwall, an area that John Michell was to study so intensively sixty years later.

Alfred Watkins

The term 'ley' meaning this alignment of sacred sites was coined in the nineteen-twenties by Alfred Watkins in his book, The Old Straight Track. Watkins was an incredibly talented Englishman who, among other things, invented a photo-electric meter that for the first time allowed a photographer to know exactly how to set her/his aperture on the camera. He was also a salesman for his father's granary business, and developed a recipe for a particularly nutritious loaf of bread. He had the kind of mind that inquired into many different things. This is essential to a student of the Earth Mysteries.

In his travels for his father's business, Watkins had an on-going love affair with the Herefordshire countryside. He knew most of the people in the outlying regions, and enjoyed talking with them. His photographs of Herefordshire in the early part of this century are an important part of that region's historical record.

But it was for a daydream he had that we remember him most. On a sunny day, while taking his rest at a scenic spot, Watkins had a revelation. The ancient sites which he saw lined up in straight lines! All over the countryside, like a giant web, these straight lines connected the old holy sites – standing stones, dolmens (perched rocks), notches in hills, church spires, stone rows, logan stones (rocking rocks), round and long barrows, hill forts, and stone rings. A group called the Old Straight Track Club was formed to investigate these alignments, and continued his work for the next several decades.

The work of Alfred Watkins in the rediscovery of the ley system is seminal; however, as with Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychiatry, it is possible to build, refine and expand upon the work of both men. Not all of the leys that Alfred Watkins described in The Old Straight Track have energy leys running along them, but there is primary water – either a dome/blind spring, or a crossing of veins that exit out of the corners – under every valid marker on a ley. These alignments were used for spiritual purposes.

The Early Earth Energy Dowsers

Reginald Allender Smith was Keeper of both the British and Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum. He was also a secret dowser. When he retired in the nineteen-thirties, he came out of the closet, so to speak, and gave a lecture which appeared in the Journal of the British Society of Dowsers in which he claimed to find water under all of the ancient sacred places.

Guy Underwood, in an enigmatic little book, The Pattern of the Past, wrote about various yin Earth Mother Energies other than underground water, though perhaps his "water lines" had some connection with veins of underground primary water that we have been looking at. It is interesting to note that as a dowser, he apparently could not find energy running along the leys. It is a good example of the oft repeated experience of dowsers going to the same sites and finding different things. While this is a very important book on the Earth Energies, it is hard to get, and rather difficult to understand. I would recommend that you read it about tenth on your list of Earth Mystery books.

The yang Earth Energies related to the ley system were also rediscovered in the nineteen-thirties. Author Dion Fortune, a Glastonbury mystic, was the first to suggest that there was some kind of energy running between sacred sites. These were the energy leys. Other dowsers soon picked up these energy leys as well. The two polarities of the Earth Energy system were now back in our consciousness.

In the nineteen-fifties Tony Wedd opened up the Earth Mysteries can of worms with his discovery that certain UFO sightings appeared to be in straight lines. He called them "orthotenies" (alignments of landed or low-level UFO sightings), and felt that there was also a connection with physical alignments of ancient sacred sites – Watkins' leys. John Michell's first book, Flying Saucer Vision in 1967, was about this connection.

Recent Earth Energy Work

Michell continued in the Seventies with a series of brilliant books, starting with View Over Atlantis and City of Revelation, that have influenced all students of Earth Mysteries. He not only clarified Watkins' ley notion, but his book The Old Stones of Land's End on his work in Cornwall, set new standards for accuracy and uniformity of culture. We've talked before about the anthropological fixation that leys must be of only one culture. It has been a blind spot of theirs for years. All of the points on Michell's Land's End leys in Cornwall are of Neolithic origin, but this is an exception to the rule. On most leys one finds examples of multiple cultural use.

Since the publication of The Ley Hunter's Companion with Ian Thompson in 1979, Paul Devereux has probably been the most influential person in the study of alignments. As editor of The Ley Hunter magazine, Devereux championed the necessity of accuracy in describing these ancient sacred alignments. Devereux's definition of ley lines is the standard to which those interested in terrestrial alignments of sacred sites in Britain must aspire. In The Ley Hunter No. 97 he writes: "Leys are straight at least to the standard of an 'H' or harder pencil line on the 1:25,000 scale, and which are marked by definite prehistorical sites and confirmed pre-Reformation ecclesiastical structures (churches, abbeys, crosses, etc.). Moats, mottes, assigned sections of road, markstones, etc. should only be counted as secondary features on lines already marked by primary features. Keep leys as short as possible, under 10 miles if you can. Also ensure that you have visited all or most of the sites on a line, if not the course of the alignment between them. Carry out at least preliminary archive work, if only checking Pevsner's Buildings in England."

American ley hunters can't incorporate all of Devereux's suggestions (i.e. an American Pevsner wouldn't go back far enough, and US Geodetic Survey Maps are of too big a scale), but his methodology for determining leys applies anywhere in the world. Ultimately a ley has to be a very straight and narrow line that is marked along its length by pre-Westem-Man-constructed spiritual centers or holy places.

Devereux's work as Director of the Dragon Project, centered at the Rollright Stone Circle in Oxfordshire, has opened up many new understandings, mostly in the scientific field, about the energies peculiar to sacred sites. His non-intrusive methodology of exploring these ancient sites has set a new standard for research into our prehistory.

The ASD Earth Mysteries Group

Calendar III first heard about leys and underground water in the late Sixties from Terry Ross when he spoke at length about the ley system that same weekend when I saw those figures in the white robes at the Calendar II chamber. He had worked with British dowsers at sacred sites, and brought his findings to the United States in the late Sixties and early Seventies. He is a master dowser, and in the mid-Seventies, he was one of my Field Faculty when I did my Masters work (post graduate) in Sacred Space.

As a result of my work with the ASD Earth Mysteries Group in Vermont, where we studied over thirty underground chambers like Calendar II, we discovered that the primary water that is found at any truly sacred space has a pattern to it that links it directly to the structure itself. For example, standing stones usually have two veins of primary water crossing underneath. The veins both enter and exit the stone at its corners.

Often there is also a connection between the diameter of the dome of water at a power center, and the width of the sacred structure that is placed on it. The diameter of the dome is equal to the width of the enclosure and fits exactly within it. I've seen this interrelationship between the primary water and the sacred architecture at an interior enclosed portion of Castle Rigg (a magnificent stone ring in the Lake District of England), at a Norman Chapel at Tintagel (said to be the birth place of King Arthur), in Glastonbury Abbey at the Mary Chapel (site of the first above-ground Christian church in the world), in passage graves in Ireland, at the Intihuatana Stone in Machu Picchu, and in many underground stone chambers in New England.

Sacred Space – Your First Visit

We come now to the point of thinking about how a dowser can best approach a sacred site or natural power center. But first, you need a power center to approach. If you already know of a stone ring, perched rock, circular grove of trees, standing stone, kiva, holy well or any other site of ancient sacredness near you, you're in business. You might even know of a natural power center – a place where the energy leys and primary water meet, but no one has apparently ever built on it.

A while back I asked you where your nearest power center was. Has anything come to you about that issue since then? You might have seen it flash in your mind's eye. Perhaps an answer came in with a smell or a sound that reminded you of a certain nearby place. Use all of your physical senses to aid you in tuning in to the spiritual.

If you haven't had a "hit" of where it is, and if level three dowsing works for you, try map dowsing. Get a map of the area, and lay it out on a table, put north away from you. Even if level three dowsing hasn't worked for you in the past, get your pendulum out – "I want to find out where my nearest power center is." "Can I?" "May I?" "Am I ready?" Please try this now.

Leading EdgeAssuming you have a "yes" so far, the next question you then need to ask is, "Is it on this map?" If the answer is "no", you need to get a larger scale map – one with less inches to the mile – so you can dowse a larger area. In any event, once you have the right map, and it is oriented with north being away from you, there are several ways you can proceed. (Remember, there's no right way of doing anything in dowsing. Do what works best for you.) I hold my pendulum over the point on the map where I am and ask it to point in the direction of the nearest power center. My search position is back and forth. I watch the leading edge, the point of the pendulum's swing that is away from me. When I ask for direction, as the pendulum oscillates back and forth, the leading edge starts moving towards the left or right, and eventually stops and swings back and forth along a new line. The target is in that direction. As a check ask, "Is this direction correct? Is this the truth?"

I then go along that line with my pendulum in the search position. As I approach the target, my pendulum will start to go into an ellipse. When I'm directly over the target, the pendulum will be going in a perfectly circular direction. I use map dowsing as an approximation to tell me when I am in the right area. I need to go out to the site to determine the exact location.

L Rods and Map Dowsing

Map dowsingL rods also work well. I like the ones with sleeves, and I hold them upside down, with the longer part of the L below my hands and just above the surface of the map. Starting with a clear statement of what my target is – the power center nearest to where I am now – I begin at the lower right-hand corner of the map and move the L rods up the right-hand edge – from south to north. When my hands come to the east-west line (exact latitude) which runs through the target, the rods will go out. When my fists are directly over that point, the rods will be perpendicular to the right-hand edge of the map. The L rod in my left hand is pointing due west, directly at the power center. I draw a line across the map at this point. Now I start at the upper right-hand edge of the map and go across the top – from east to west. Again, the left hand rod points to the power center when both rods are in their full outstretched position. I draw another line on the map perpendicular to the edge at that point. The power center nearest to where I am is the point where these two lines intersect. See if you can figure out a way to map dowse the energies that are there. Is there primary water there? How many energy leys?

Once you have determined where the site is, go there. The pattern of your on-site dowsing will depend on why you are into the Earth Mysteries in the first place. Are you reading this book because you want to be able to convince someone else of the reality of these energies? Perhaps the scientific model of critical objectivity might be your first approach, but, as we have discussed above, this contains an element of danger. History teaches us that the odds are that you will ultimately be tempted to try to use this knowledge for inappropriate (read: unethical) gain on the physical level. For example, there are those who dream of using these spiritual life force energies to light a light bulb. Imagine the money you could make from that! A cheap source of energy....

See where that one leads? If you do see, but you're thinking, "Yeah, but think about our need for electricity ...," please think some more about it. The Earth Energies are here to support life itself and to help us to connect with the spiritual realms from which they come. To use it to make electricity would be like a Christian using pieces of Christ's cross as kindling to light a fire to keep warm. It would work, but it sure is an inefficient and inappropriate use of the Spirit.

But if you are using dowsing as a tool for spiritual growth and raising consciousness, and if you want to experience these energies for yourself, an attitude of respect and reverence would be more appropriate. This doesn't necessarily require solemnity; many spiritual experiences are full of laughter. You might also want to bring something as an offering – a pebble from some other site, or a flower. The Native Americans often bring tobacco for this purpose. The proper mental attitude, and a gift for the genius loci (the spirit of the place) enhance the possibility that you will contact the spiritual. They're like the witness chamber in some pendulums – it helps you focus on what you're looking for.

A friend of mine, Joe Jochmans, takes people to sacred sites in Egypt, Israel, Mexico, and Peru and other places. He usually takes a few moments before entering a site to hold hands in a circle with whomever he's with, and to say the following:
1. We are filled with and protected by the divine light, love and spirit.
2. We freely give a portion of that light as a gift to this place.
3. We come with a desire to learn. Please fill up our cup, but not with more than is appropriate to our present level of development.

The first statement is a prayer of protection, "Great Spirit be with us." The second is much like the notion of bringing a flower or tobacco. You are bringing an offering to one of the gates of the spiritual realms. This also helps energize the site/gate as well. The third is a statement of intent. It says why you are there and that you don't want to blow your fuses. In the Hindu system, these fuses are called the nadis. I'm also reminded of the Lord's admonition to Moses on Mount Sinai not to look at Him because he wouldn't be able to handle it. Protection, an offering, and a statement of intent – a good way of preparing yourself to grow on spiritual levels.

Dowsing at a Power Center

As a dowser, you are now ready to look at the energies there. If there is a power center where you had thought, there will be primary water there as part of it. It is important to remember that it is not the water herself that is the yin energy we're interested in. Somehow, the cracks in our Mother's mantle (through which primary water flows) allow certain yin energies to come to the surface that are otherwise blocked by that mantle. When there is a crossing of veins or a dome, those yin energies can come to the surface even more easily. Holy wells give even better access to these Earth Mother energies. But don't confuse the water with the yin Earth Energy. Water on the surface or in streams or lakes is neutral, although waterfalls are excellent negative ion generators.

Primary Water

Holding a single L rod out in front of you in the search position, ask where the nearest power center is. Turn around slowly, and when it is pointing in the right direction, the tip of the rod will seem to stick. If you continue to turn, the tip will still point in that direction. Now with both rods out in the search position, ask them to cross at the center. Walk in that direction until they cross. If you've done everything right, you are over the power center.

At the power center, look for the water first. If it's a small power center like a single standing stone, there could be a crossing of veins with each vein entering or exiting out of a corner of the stone. If it's a bigger center, there will be a dome of water with an odd number of veins coming out of it. Locate the dome, and trace its circumference. A single L rod can do this quite well.

Approach the edge of the dome asking the rod to tell you when you've reached it. When you get to the edge of it, the tip of the L rod will seem to stick to that edge. You can then walk around the circumference of the dome letting the tip of your rod lead you as a dog on a leash might lead her/his owner in looking for a rabbit.

S/he follows the dog. You follow the tip. As you walk, it will stick to the edge. If you are on a wo/man-made site, does the circumference of the dome fit in somehow to the layout of the place?

Now pick up each vein and trace where it goes until it exits the site. Few domes have more than five veins. The biggest dome I've ever found was under Silbury Hill in Avebury. It has eleven veins. Even so, if you find over five, you're probably finding too many.

Hermes/Mercury, the messenger of the gods and Trickster, has long been associated with these quicksilver Earth Energies. He is the hermit who helps travellers and pilgrims along the way. He can trick you, or bring you messages from Olympus. Unfortunately most dowsers encounter him first as the Trickster.

When the Trickster is up to his pranks, what you think you will find, you will find every time unless you're careful. Are you really clear that you have not had any expectations? Or were you asking, "I wonder what it's going to be? I wonder what it's going to be?" When you are convinced that you have done it correctly, develop a picture of the pattern of the dome and her veins.

Dowsing the Energy Leys

Now for the energy leys, those six to eight foot wide perfectly straight beams of yang energy that have a direction of flow. Holding your L rods out in the search position, ask to find the edges of any energy Ieys that are there. When you come to one, your rods will start to go out. When the arms are exactly opposite each other, stop. (A nice thing about using L rods for this work is that no matter from what angle you approach the edge of a dead straight energy ley, when the two arms are extended in line with each other, your hands are not only at the edge of the Iey, but also the arms of the L rods show in what direction the energy ley runs.) Notice that one L rod is pointing towards the dome, and one the other away. Six to eight feet in front of you, you should encounter the other edge. Continue on around the dome, counting the energy leys as you go, until you get back to the first energy ley you dowsed. Divide by two and that will give you the number of energy leys at that crossing. (Remember that most leys go directly through the power center, so you dowsed them twice as you went around the circle.) If you come up with a number and a half, say 3½, it means that there are three energy leys that cross through the power center, and another energy ley that, depending on its direction of flow, either begins or ends there.

Water dome/blind springIf you find two or more energy leys at a standing stone where you have previously dowsed a crossing of veins, something is probably wrong. I find a dome, or blind spring, at every power center with two or more energy leys. If you are on an ancient sacred site rather than on a natural power center, one of the energy leys that you dowsed will exit out of the major axis of the site. You can determine the direction of flow by standing in the center of the energy ley, and with a single L rod in the search position, ask, "Which way is downstream?" Turn in a circle as you did when you were initially finding the direction of the site, and the tip of the rod will stick in the direction that is downstream.

The biggest problem that most beginning Earth Energy dowsers make is to confuse energy leys with what is actually underground water. The difference is very subtle at first, so if you pick up over two or three energy leys, get suspicious. If you find over five and a half you are either on one of the most important sacred points on the face of this Earth, or you are wrong. Suspect the Trickster. I've never been honored to visit a site with over five and a half. There does appear to be a connection with the notion of the more energy leys, the more powerful a site is, but I have had marvellous times on a single ley.

Other Ways To Perceive the Energy

As far as spiritual development is concerned, the number of leys, or where they are isn't that important. The issue is that they are there, and that you know where they cross over the dome. That is where you want to put your body, or if you are with friends, to make your circle. This is Union.

Don't go only with the movement of the dowsing tool. The ultimate goal is to get rid of them anyway. How does the site feel? Is there a particular emotion that comes up for you? Does your body tell you anything? Can you feel it in your knees or feet? Others experience it in their stomach or some other place. Can you hear anything different? Are your ears ringing? Is there a smell? If not, you might want to light some sage or other incense. When your eyes are closed, do you see anything? Can you sense anything going on in your chakra centers? The idea here is to open all of your physical, emotional and mental senses to better relate to the spiritual.

Power centers have warm spots. When you are convinced that you are on a crossing of two or more energy leys, run your hand, palm downwards, up and down. I find that somewhere between my hips and my knees there is a warmer spot. This is especially easy to feel in colder weather.

Aquarian Ceremony

Now that you've identified the power center, what do you do there? From here on it's up to you. You now have to take responsibility for your own spiritual growth. No one else can do this for you. Draw on your path so far. Is there a spiritual tradition that is right for you? Use it. You might want to light a candle, to meditate, to read a holy book, the I Ching, or tarot, to chant, to dance, to pray, to make love, to cry, or to heal. It is up to you.

For some, words that describe practices designed to enhance spiritual awareness have an empty ring to them – even a negative connotation. Words like "ritual" and "ceremony" bring back for many of us feelings of empty theatre, vestigial movements enacted by spiritually asleep patriarchs who have forgotten the true meaning and spiritual import of many of their ritual actions – dinosaurs in a time when so many have lost their faith/their way. Some are turning back to the Earth to find meaning in their lives and true spiritual awareness and growth. If we, as students of the Earth Mysteries, are to honor these ancient sacred places, and use their energies to enhance the possibility of opening up spiritually ourselves, what should we do when we get there?

Two quick answers are to start by honoring the place – burn sage or other incense, bring a small gift of tobacco or perhaps a pebble from some other sacred site – and meditate. A good way to tune in. But what if there's more than one of you? How can you celebrate together? How does a group of Earth Mystery folks go about doing ceremony? If you're all of the same faith it's a bit simpler, but what if there are different faiths, creeds and religions represented among the people there? How can groups create ceremony that meets the diverse needs of all the people who are involved?

This is an issue that I have been particularly struggling with during my time here in Glastonbury. If I had to describe myself spiritually, I would say that I am a gnostic. (Greek gnostikos to know). I feel that as far as my spiritual path is concerned, the buck stops with me. I intend to take personal responsibility for my own spiritual growth. I am not giving that responsibility to someone else. The interesting point here is that if I demand that right for myself, I must also honor that right in everyone else – as long as it isn't harmful to others. This sounds like spiritual anarchy. How then can we create new ceremony using the best of the old and doing it in such a way that all are empowered by the event, and all can participate equally?

We haven't been taught to do it that way. We're trained to be passive in so many ways in both our physical and spiritual lives. In school, it doesn't pay to be creative. Sit in straight lines and give the answer the teacher wants to hear. In church, the priest/minister does it for us. TV. Voter apathy. Western Man has set it up to encourage and reward non-involvement. But what about those of us who do want to be actively involved in our spiritual growth? How can we work together to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts? The following is only a suggested process that has been developing at the Glastonbury Earth Mystery Gatherings over the last few years. It is a process that ensures that every participant will have a part in both the design and implementation of the ceremonial event.

The Talking Stick

The talking stick is one tool we use. Perhaps a better name would be 'listening stick'. Everyone sits in a circle (with the power center in the middle if possible as was the case in the circular underground kivas, holy places, of the Anasazi and Hopi). With ongoing groups, a convenor is chosen as the last order of business at the prior meeting. In any event, someone calls the group together by picking up the talking stick – it can be anything that can be easily passed from person to person. The person holding the stick is the only one who may talk. As long as s/he has it s/ he may laugh, cry, bring up a problem, sing a song, sit quietly, or do anything else. S/he holds the groups' focus until the stick is passed to the next person in the circle. The stick goes all the way around the circle. If someone doesn't want to say anything, they can just pass it on when they get it. Others may speak if recognized by the person holding the stick, but they may only address the specific issue.

No one has the right to say, "Speak up!" Some folks speak in groups more easily than others. By yelling, "Louder!" at someone who is just making their first tentative try at speaking in a group, the reaction is naturally to withdraw. If we're learning to tune in to each other, to build a group Soul, we each have the right to put into the pot what we feel is appropriate. If you can't hear, find a different way to tune in to that person. What is their body language saying? Can you gain a sense of what they're feeling? The talking stick is a tool that helps us learn how to listen – sometimes in new and unexpected ways.

Decisions are by consensus, and anyone may call for a vote anytime they have the stick. Thumbs up, "yes", thumbs down, "no". If the decision isn't unanimous, only those who voted in the minority get to say why they voted as they did. Then you vote again. If consensus still hasn't been reached, you can either come to the conclusion that the group mind isn't ready to make a decision yet, and postpone that decision until your next meeting, or if it is necessary, you can decide to continue to hash it out at that time. In which case, the talking stick continues its way around, starting with the person after the one who called for the vote.

The talking stick is normally a leaderless mode of operation; however, for specific periods of time, for specific tasks, someone can be temporarily appointed as a leader. For example, if money needs to be raised for a group-supported project, and someone is particularly skilled or interested in doing that, s/he is temporarily appointed as fund-raising leader. But normally, there are no leaders, just as there aren't priests in charge. We're all leaders, we're all priestesses/priests.

Talking sticks don't have to be sticks. They can be any object that feels right. I've used a paleolithic hand axe, and have some friends who use a copy of the Willendorf Venus as their talking stick. There's a group in London who use a hat as a talking stick which is passed from head to head. (They can rightly claim that all the best thinking in that group takes place right under that hat!) The groups' choice of their talking stick itself is an interesting process. If your ceremonial group is going to meet on an ongoing basis, each participant brings something that they think would be a good talking stick to the second meeting. At that meeting, everyone, in turn, shows their proposed talking stick to the group, and tells why they think it would make a good one. It is passed around, so everyone can handle it, feel it. After everyone has shared their talking stick, they are once again all passed around. Anyone may place any object outside the circle, no questions asked. The objects keep going around, from hand to hand, until there is only one left inside the circle. This is the group's talking stick. The person who brought it is responsible for bringing it each time the group gets together.

The last order of business is to agree on the time and place of the next meeting, and to choose a convenor for that meeting. That person will hold the talking stick first.

This use of a talking stick isn't always desirable. There are times when a freer form of giving and taking is more appropriate. At that time, the stick is put in the middle; however, anyone can go to the center and pick up the stick any time they want to. At that point the rest of the group must listen to them until they put the stick back into the center. This whole process builds group trust. Sure you can hold the stick as long as you want to, but one quickly feels a sense of how long one can "use up the groups' time." In actual practice, there are very few who hog the stick. And those few who do need that attention at that point anyway. Usually the exact opposite is the result, and a sense of group rather than individual identity is built.

The talking stick is a good way for a group to build its own ceremony, but it has been found equally effective in any group problem solving exercise from designing a more aerodynamic automobile to setting up an Earth Mysteries event.


Ceremony needs to be relevant to the needs of the participants, to the time of year, to the place, and to any other variables that seem important to the group. While ceremonies need to be quite flexible to meet the needs of the Spirit at any given moment, it is fair to say that ceremonies do have a beginning, middle, and end.

One way of being more specific about how ceremonies are divided up could be the following:

1. PURIFICATION: Both the participants and the area to be used for the ceremony need to be cleansed of impurities. When working with spiritual realms, energies that could hamper the successful connection with the groups' goal must be banished, or at least held at bay. Also, the sacred space itself must be delineated, the boundary set.

As far as the purification of individual participants is concerned there are many different ways of doing it. Start by asking, "Are there any methods in my own spiritual background that might accomplish this?" Remember, there is no right way. Of course the ritual bath comes to mind, but I suspect that this might be a bit extreme on most occasions! (Although individual participants might choose to do this at home before they come as a way of initial preparation.) Native Americans use a feather to brush down the aura and to sweep away bits of psycho/ spiritual trash. Incense is used by many different spiritual paths as a way of cleansing the aura. The fragrance of sandalwood joss sticks of the Hindus, Catholic censers billowing frankincense, and the almost addictive aroma of Native American sage burning in an abalone shell come to mind.

To purify the area itself, you might consider taking incense around the perimeter of the site to delineate the sacred space. Some Native Americans honor the four directions East, South, West, and North with burning sage. At each point, they state what that direction means to them. Another way would be to have a guided meditation where each participant imagines a small white ball of love and light at the power center in the center of the circle. It expands outward, sweeping impurities away, until it is totally outside of the sacred and now protected space. Actually just walking around the boundary delineates it. It is the focusing of the intent to purify that is important here, not how the purification is accomplished.

2. INVOCATION: This is the part of the ceremony when the group consciously manifests its intent to connect with the spiritual realms. This can take the form of acknowledging your Creator and asking for Her/His help in connecting up. It might be the lighting of a fire or a candle in the center of the circle. Once again, the intent to hook up here is what's important, not the form. If the group shares a common deity or Avatar – The Great Spirit, Jesus, Krishna, the Great Mother, Buddah, or Gaia, the Earth Mother – S/He can be invoked. The point is to connect to the spiritual in a mutually agreeable way so that each participant can feel for her/himself the reality of these realms.

3. RECEIVING: A time of slowly building the energy. It can be done with chanting, moving in place, simple repetitive songs, dancing, making a human chain that snakes into a tight spiral and then out again, drums, pipes, rattles, hand clapping. Slowly the pace is picked up until it reaches a certain pitch, and then it falls. But it picks up again and goes even higher. And down again. Then even higher still. It's a rising spiritual orgasm. All are free to express their feelings and awarenesses in ways that they choose. The important thing here is that contact has been made.

4. GIVING: The energy that has been built up can now be used in many healing ways to further potentize the site itself, to send thoughts of peace to a troubled world, to see the healing light surrounding friends who are in need. Or it can be given back to the Sky and/or the Earth. In a sense, this giving grounds the energy and helps to bring the participants back safely.

Another thing that you can do is to end the ceremony with a light meal. Bread, water from the local holy well, wine, and pomegranates are some of the foods that I have seen used at this time. They further help to ground the participants.

I can just hear some saying, "Yeah, but this could be dangerous. You could get in over your head. Fools rush in... etc., etc." The saving grace here is the group itself. The group wisdom will keep the ceremony within bounds. If ten or a hundred people get together to do ceremony at a sacred site, you can be sure that some of them have done it before, and they know some of the way and the pitfalls – if any. The talking stick and consensus assures that those who have been there before will be able to warn the group if the novices are getting in over their heads. Dowsing is a good tool to use when in doubt here. Western Man brought us up to not really believe in the spiritual – oh, give it lip service for sure – so this is a new world for many. Like spiritual pioneers. The new frontier.

Another thought. If the Giving stage doesn't happen, some participants might have some difficulty in getting back home to their bodies, Rescue Remedy, a combination of several of the Bach Flower Remedies, works well. These remedies are designed to work on the emotional and higher levels rather than physical. Just a drop or two on the tongue can be of great help in any emergency situation. These Remedies will be discussed further in the section on Dowsing and Healing.

Purification, Invocation, Receiving, Giving, one path to an effective ceremony. Please remember that there is no right way to do ceremony. No right order. But let's take the four above steps as an example. In the planning/discussion stage of the ceremony, each of these four steps can be discussed separately, and those with particular skills can know in advance roughly when it will be appropriate for them to make those contributions. Don't get hung up on minute details. Leave room for the Spirit to move you. When everyone then understands why they are doing a particular ceremony, the steps become clear, and each knows when what they have to offer is best done. In the Old Age, we hired/appointed Priests to do it for us. Now we are all priests and priestesses taking responsibility for our own spiritual growth, and working together to help each other grow.

Yes, there are beautiful rituals from many spiritual paths that could be used and followed verbatim, but I prefer to pick and choose, to be part of a process in which we build our own ceremony using good parts from several different traditions.

You can lead a horse to water (an interesting analogy), but you can't make him drink. Each of us must decide for ourselves what we will do in sacred space, how we will use it. Herstory has show that Western Man hasn't done so well. It is up to us as spiritual dowsers to help turn things around. Each one of us, going to our own power centers all over this Mother of ours intent on spiritual growth, can play an important part. Help us all by helping yourself.

I do not seek to follow
in the footsteps
of the wo/men of old.

I seek
they sought.

Next: Dowsing and Healing

Next pageBackContentsby Sig Lonegren

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