Adventures in Dowsing

A 2011 Top Ten podcast!

Welcome to Western Geomancy

I’m Grahame Gardner, and you’ve found your way to my personal geomantic corner of the interweb. Here, you will find details about my dowsing and geomancy work, together with a mixed bag of articles, thoughts, ruminations and other belly rumblings connected with these esoteric subjects.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive resource on geomancy – for that I suggest you head over to our parent website The Geomancy Group, where I am also the webmaster and contribute a fair bit of the content; or check out some of the other geomantic and dowsing links displayed on the links page.

Have a rummage around the site and, if you see something you like or want to get in touch to ask about a consultation, or for any other reason, please leave a comment or send an email.

If you’re looking for my lighting design site, you want Dogstar Design.

On Ethics and Permissions

Glastonbury leys

Glastonbury ley map by Palden Jenkins

A couple of recent events have led me to ponder some of the ethical dilemmas that we are sometimes presented with when dowsing. One was the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370, and the other was the internet ‘call to arms’ by the Montague Keen Foundation asking everyone/anyone to heal the ley system.

Both raise questions about our right as dowsers to use our skills in such situations, not just in terms of our ability to be of use, but the larger area of having permission to do so.

When we commence dowsing about a remote place or person, we are actively creating a psychic link to that person or place through the information field, the astral plane, collective unconscious or whatever you want to call it. This connection is very real on a psychic level, and it is a two-way connection. In some cases, this can unleash a psychic backlash on the dowser that he or she may not be prepared for.

To take a more mundane analogy, it’s like going up to a complete stranger in the street and telling them that you don’ t like the way they are dressed, or that their tattoos are offensive. It is arrogant, offensive and just plain rude – you simply wouldn’t do that without expecting some repercussions, and things are no different on a psychic level. It is psychically invasive to presume that you have the right to dowse information about someone without having their express permission to do so. You are only pandering to your own ego by trying to impress them with your dowsing skill. This is also completely against the BSD Code of Ethics, which clearly states, “Do not dowse for information about other people or their concerns without their permission, unless it is clearly in the interest of the highest common good to do so, and do not make unsolicited comments about other people or their concerns based on your dowsing.”

But what if it is clearly in the interest of the highest common good to dowse for the information? Surely this applies in the case of the lost airliner?

In the case of the missing flight MH370, or any other case involving missing persons (such as the Madeline McCann case), unless the dowser is specifically asked by the family or someone else in appropriate authority, I don’t think that clear permission to dowse can be established. If one of the family members had asked, or if the Malaysian authorities had asked for a dowser, then such a request can be taken as permission. But even with the highest of good intent, to dowse such an event without a clear line of permission is not only arrogant and rude, but may actively hinder any investigations by diverting resources to pursue leads that may or may not be correct. In the Madeline McCann case for instance, the BSD office received many calls from dowsers anxious to help find her; yet there was surprisingly little correlation between findings, other than those who said that she was dead. As much as we would all love to believe that our dowsing is 100% accurate all the time, the statistics show that whenever several dowsers are involved dowsing the same thing, there are invariably several competing answers. Even though some of them might be correct, the ‘noise’ of the incorrect answers masks the ‘signal’; and the more people that dowse it, the muddier the signal becomes.

Passing on such information to the authorities presents them with additional workload to investigate all the leads, and would conceivably cause them to overlook some more tangible piece of evidence. This is demonstrably not in the ‘interests of the highest common good’.

What about healing the ley lines? Surely that’s OK?

Montague Keen was a member of the Society for Psychical Research and a founder of the ‘Scole Experiment’, a long-running exploration into the world of séance. He passed in 2004, but messages from him are allegedly being channelled by his widow Veronica and disseminated on various ‘light worker’ blogs. Basically, ‘they’ are calling for helpers to channel healing energy to the Earth’s ley system to ‘raise the vibration’ of the global energy grid. The point that was targeted on Feb. 2 this year (Imbolc), was – surprise, surprise – Glastonbury Tor (read more here).

The main issue here is more to do with ethics. One could argue that it is in the ‘interests of the highest common good’ to heal the leys; but the question that I would first ask is, ‘how do we know they need healing?” Surely it is arrogant of us to presume that we know what’s best for the planet and her leys. I am humble enough to admit that I simply don’t know enough about how the whole system works to be confident meddling with it.

When I work on a property as a geomancer, I am careful to only manipulate things as far as I need to in order to heal the property in question – I do not presume to know what’s best for the well-being of all the beings in the larger landscape. Only on rare occasions have I needed to engage with things at a larger level, and I do that only after a prolonged period of interaction with the landscape on both physical and metaphysical levels. I have come across particularly ‘dark’ leys that did not have a particularly healthy feeling, and yet it was clear that they were performing a specific function in ‘draining’ detrimental energies from the area. Even energetic systems need their sewers.

That brings me to the secondary issue – this clarion call went out to anyone on the internet who happened to come across it, asking all and sundry to participate, regardless of knowledge or ability. Yet there was precious little in the way of instruction offered, other than a simple written meditation and some half-baked cobbled together information on the best times to perform it. Bearing in mind my earlier admonition about psychic backlash, is it wise to invite completely inexperienced novices to join in this sort of venture? There are dowsers with years of experience in the BSD who would think twice about this sort of indiscriminate dabbling.

I am also surprised by the number of people not resident in the UK who think it is OK to remotely work on UK sites like Glastonbury Tor, despite this area having probably the highest concentration of resident light-workers anywhere in the world. Not only is this a slight on the prowess of the locals who live there, but surely there are areas of the planet more deserving of such attention? What about Syria or Afghanistan for instance, or any of the other areas where humans are abusing the planet and each other?

My only consolation is that Gaia is much more sensible than some of her inhabitants and will easily self-regulate any imbalances created in this venture. If only the same could be said for some of the participants.

Grahame Gardner is a professional dowser and geomancer specialising in house-healing work involving geopathic and technopathic stress, and the creation of sacred spaces. He is a Registered Tutor with the British Society of Dowsers, is listed on their Professional Register, and is the current President of the Society. He is also a founder member of The Geomancy Group. This article is from his personal blog Western Geomancy.

WANT TO PUBLISH THIS ARTICLE? Non-commercial publication of this article is permitted as long as the tagline (above) with links is included and no changes are made to the article. A courtesy copy of your publication or link would be appreciated.

A Labyrinth For Glasgow

(and a stone circle too!)

There have been some considerable developments to Glasgow City Council’s plan to redevelop Sighthill park into an athlete’s village for the 2018 Youth Olympics. Having lost their bid to host the event, the athlete’s village idea has been abandoned but the Council are still planning to proceed with a housing development in the area, necessitating the removal of the stone circle. However, largely as a result of pressure from the community and discussions between circle builder Duncan Lunan and the Council, a compromise agreement has been reached whereby the circle will be removed and reconstructed nearby, still within the present park environs.

In conjunction with this, a Facebook group was set up by Nick Fuller and Simone Muir to promote the development of a public labyrinth for Glasgow – something very close to my own heart ever since I was involved in locating the Edinburgh labyrinth. Discussions between Nick, Simone and Duncan led to the idea of a joint venture whereby a labyrinth would be included in whatever plan results from the relocation of the stones. Initially Nick produced a design for a 7-circuit labyrinth that would incorporate the aligned stones of the circle into a combination space – but after I pointed out that the two spaces are not ideal companions and generally result in chaotic energy (stone rings are inherently masculine or yang and labyrinths are feminine or yin in nature), the proposal was modified to keep both constructions separate, but in a complementary setting if a suitable site could be found.

After various meetings with the planning department, it is now suggested that a site to the east of the current location of the circle although still within the area of the park might be suitable. The proposed site is at a lower altitude than the current one, and would be very close (within 27m) to the finished housing development, so much so that the circle would need to be raised on a constructed mound in order to have any chance of retaining anything like its existing astronomical sight lines. Currently the area is a sculpted heart-shaped amphitheatre, almost like a henge, surrounded on three sides by trees, so sight lines are severely limited. The presence of what appears to be a methane vent in the ground suggests that this area of ground is polluted from previous use – the vast St. Rollox Chemical Works and rail depot occupied much of this area at the end of the 19th Century, although a check on the National Library of Scotland georeferenced maps does not indicate any construction on this particular area:

GlasgowLabyrinth1_1894 overlay

The redevelopment would mean that the entire area would be stripped of topsoil to a depth of 3m to remove any contaminants before any building work commences, so hopefully any pollutants would be removed, and furthermore the site will require extensive landscaping before any construction of either circle or labyrinth proceeds.

The form of the finished site is still being developed by the architects. Yet the dualistic nature of the two spaces easily lends itself to the form of a yin-yang symbol, with the stone circle half elevated on a mound and the labyrinth accessed at ground level, with a spiral ramp leading up to the circle area. The difference in heights again emphasises the masculine/feminine dualism, and this could be reinforced in many ways, perhaps by including a water feature in the labyrinth half (this is only my suggestion – the design has not been finalised yet). My initial rough sketch looks like this:

sighthill stones

The alignment of the two spaces is vital to their successful integration, and it would be desirous to have them both aligned on the same significant astronomical axis, such as the summer solstice sunrise. Incorporating some standing stones into the labyrinth, either at the goal or node (or both) would help to delineate this. A dowsing survey of the site revealed that there is a suitable power centre ideally situated to place the goal of the labyrinth, and two energy leys suggest possible alignments for the labyrinth, one to the east-noth-east in particular would be a perfect alignment to place the centre of the stone circle on.

Obviously these will need to be checked and re-dowsed as the site is developed, but I am hopeful that we could maintain that particular energy ley to link the two spaces. It is certainly an encouraging start to the birth of a new sacred site, and one that is unique in its incorporation of both stone circle and labyrinth. The survey picture shows the power centre as a yellow pin, with the water veins in green and energy leys in red:


In truth, having surveyed the site, it feels much more suitable for a labyrinth than the relocated stone circle. With the closer proximity of trees and the proposed housing, the excellent sight lines and sense of isolation that the circle currently enjoys from its position at the summit of the park are bound to be compromised, and I feel it will be well-nigh impossible to recreate the wild atmosphere in what will inevitably be a domesticated environment. But given the choice between rebuilding the circle in a landscaped park and losing the stones completely, it seems like a reasonable compromise. Hopefully having the circle in a more public location will lead to increased interest in the astronomical aspects of it, which was after all the main intention of Duncan when the circle was constructed back in 1979. Now, 35 years later, perhaps it will at last reach its true potential.

Grahame Gardner is a professional dowser and geomancer specialising in house-healing work involving geopathic and technopathic stress, and the creation of sacred spaces. He is a Registered Tutor with the British Society of Dowsers, is listed on their Professional Register, and is the current President of the Society. He is also a founder member of The Geomancy Group. This article is from his personal blog Western Geomancy.

WANT TO PUBLISH THIS ARTICLE? Non-commercial publication of this article is permitted as long as the tagline (above) with links is included and no changes are made to the article. A courtesy copy of your publication or link would be appreciated.

Forgotten Footsteps

I have covered this before, but a recent change in the Google Maps API rendered my previous post on Harry Bell’s ‘Glasgow Network of Aligned Sites’ and ‘Forgotten Footsteps’ inoperative. After a bit of searching, I found an alternative maps plug-in that seems to work; however to make things easier it seems wise to make a separate post about Harry’s 1977 book Forgotten Footsteps, a work which now seems to have completely disappeared from the internet, apart from a couple of references on the Wayback Machine. Harry died in 2o01, and from what I can gather his descendants are not interested in preserving his work, so I feel almost obliged to carry the torch for him. If any of Harry’s descendants happen to read this, I would love to have permission to preserve both Forgotten Footsteps and Glasgow’s Secret Geometry on the internet in rather better shape than they are currently represented. Please get in touch.

Although full of inaccuracies and some wild speculations, the core idea of the book – that there are long-distance alignments to be found across Central Scotland – remains sound; and it was this book that prompted myself and no doubt several other ley enthusiasts to develop an interest in earth mysteries as a whole, and to look at and explore the landscape of Scotland in a new light as we searched out Harry’s Prehistoric Network of Aligned Sites – even though Harry himself  was typically self-deprecating about the work:

“In 1976 I tried out Watkins’ theory on my annual holiday. The end result was a map of alignments that zig-zagged across Central Scotland from the Kilpatrick Hills to Arthur’s Seat. A redesigned version of the map accompanied by a brief plagiarised history of British alignment research went on sale in 1977 and half-a-century behind England, Scotland got its first book on ley-lines, Forgotten Footsteps. It could truthfully have been described as a crime against archaeology, but it sold well and financed further research.
“Nothing I have written since has been so poorly researched or so profitable.”

Coming along as it did at the height of the ‘new-age’ and earth mysteries boom, it sat proudly on my bookshelf alongside such classics as John Michells’ The View Over Atlantis, Janet & Colin Bord’s Mysterious Britain, and of course Alfred Watkin’s The Old Straight Track, and I can honestly say that I would not have become interested in dowsing and geomancy without it. It was Harry’s speculation that Bar Hill on the Antonine Wall was the site of the lost Druid sanctuary of Medionemeton, rather than the more popularly supported theory of Cairnpapple Hill (a theory very recently corroborated by Graham Robb in The Ancient Paths), that inspired me to make a pair of dowsing rods from some coat hangers and get out there on my bike to try my hand  at dowsing.

A few years ago, in an effort to preserve the work, I initially plotted all the sites as a Google Earth kml file, not without some difficulty as the Google coverage of the area wasn’t the highest resolution at the time. However, with improved coverage and better aerial imagery, I continued to update the kml data, discovering in the process that not all of Harry’s alignments were as straight as he claimed. There were some significant deviations from a straight alignment, most noticeably on his Cairnpapple Hill to Doune Cross line. It seems that you can’t take all the alignments too seriously, as Harry subsequently explained:

“Don’t take the results too seriously. Some of the alignments stand up to analysis, others don’t. I followed Watkins’ instructions as best as I could, but the Scottish landscape refused to conform.
“When I ran out of ley-line I covered the spaces in the map by placing some of the site names to the right and some to the left.
“The Old Straight Track to Iona that filled a vacant space in the top left-hand corner is a piece of New Age nonsense inspired by the ‘geomantic corridors’ and long-distance ley-lines in vogue at the time. It was once said of it ‘only a crow or a holy man with a paraglider could travel that way’”

The book still fascinates me today, some 35 years later, and my well-thumbed copy is only produced on special occasions these days. Many of the lines can be dowsed, despite Harry being slightly sceptical about dowsing, as I have demonstrated to my own satisfaction by dowsing the position of the Edinburgh Labyrinth to be on one of Harry’s alignments, and some years later finding it to be spot on when I plotted out the network for this Google Earth file.

If you find it useful, I’d love to hear from you about your own researches on the network.

You can download the Google Earth placemark file by clicking here.


Grahame Gardner is a professional dowser and geomancer specialising in house-healing work involving geopathic and technopathic stress, and the creation of sacred spaces. He is a Registered Tutor with the British Society of Dowsers, is listed on their Professional Register, and is the current President of the Society. He is also a founder member of The Geomancy Group. This article is from his personal blog Western Geomancy.

WANT TO PUBLISH THIS ARTICLE? Non-commercial publication of this article is permitted as long as the tagline (above) with links is included and no changes are made to the article. A courtesy copy of your publication or link would be appreciated.

Gardner’s Double Appleton – the movie!

My labyrinth dance, Gardner’s Double Appelton, is still proving to be very popular at workshops, and at a recent labyrinth session in Perthshire, we finally managed to record it in action. Thanks to Sue Turnbull who was gracious enough to video this on her camera.

The Devil’s Plantation – the movie!

Following the success of her interactive BAFTA award-winning web project on The Devil’s Plantation, and the subsequent IOS app, film-maker May Miles Thomas created a 93-minute film of the project earlier this year, cutting together her 60+ short clips of evocative black and white imagery and 800+ music and sound segments into a coherent whole, skilfully woven together with paired narratives from Kate Dickie and Gary Lewis telling the story of Mary Ross’s wanderings and Harry Bells’ research into the Glasgow Network of Aligned Sites.

“In the 1980s archaeologist Harry Bell came to believe that Glasgow – a city built and re-built on over centuries – was laid out to a hidden design. For years he investigated the lost corners and invisible history of the landscape, plotting his ‘Secret Geometry’.

Unknown to Harry, psychiatric patient Mary Ross also wandered the city, visiting many of the same significant places. Her medical case file reveals a poignant quest to understand her troubled past and present.

The Devil’s Plantation unites the lives of these two strangers, retracing their steps to reveal an ancient secret and a timeless story of how we all live.”

After only three screenings, the movie has been nominated for a BAFTA Scotland Audience Award. To celebrate this, she has released it on Vimeo for a short time only. I have watched it and thoroughly recommend the experience. It is strangely compulsive viewing; compelling in an almost hypnotic fashion as the paired stories weave their spell and slowly draw you into the strange and slightly surreal world of Glasgow’s Secret Geometry.

The movie will be shown on the big screen in Cineworld cinemas across Scotland on 21 and 24 October – it’s definitely worth making the effort to go along and watch this if you are interested in the psychogeography of Scotland’s largest city.

Watch the trailer on Vimeo and for more details on the BAFTA event check the BAFTA Scotland website. If you’ve watched it and liked it, you can also vote for it here: http://www.cineworld.co.uk/baftascotland

Autumn events

Apologies if you have been trying to access the site over the last few days, we’ve been offline due to some WordPress update that went awry. Many thanks to our hosts at Seven Internet for getting us back up and running.

I have just updated the events page with details of my forthcoming talks and events this autumn. As usual I am dashing around the country a lot, with the British Society of Dowsers’ Conference on 20-22 September in Cirencester, followed by a trip to Cornwall to give a talk to Trencrom Dowsers on 1 October. Then back to Glasgow to run a new day workshop exploring the legend of Glasgow’s patron saint St. Mungo (Kentigern) on 12 October, and then a 2-day course on Healing Your Home (Part 1) in Comrie, Perthshire on 19/20 October.

Have a look at the events page for more details on all these events, and I hope to see you at some of them.

Labyrinth in Vermont

Here’s a picture from my day workshop in labyrinths held at the American Society of Dowsers, convention in Lyndonville, where I am a guest speaker and workshop leader. This shows 3 people walking ‘Gardner’s Double Appleton’ in the labyrinth. The lady in the centre is guiding the two men, who are walking into the labyrinth with their eyes closed. She is actually walking out of the labyrinth. This is a wonderful way to enhance the other senses and really ‘feel’ the energies of the labyrinth as you walk.

Gardner's Double Appleton in action

Dowsing Labyrinths at Comrie

Saturday May 4th 2013 was Comrioe labyrinth walkersWorld Labyrinth Day, followed by International Dowsing Day on May 5, so I had decided to combine two of my favourite activities into a ‘Dowsing and Labyrinths’ day, which was held at Comrie in Perthshire. Although the weather wasn’t as sunny as anticipated, we had 16 people attending, a much better turnout than I had anticipated. I bravely decided to expose my legs for the first time this year in a pair of shorts.

After an indoor session learning the basics of dowsing using pendulums, we adjourned outside to practise with L-rods and soon located a nice little power centre – a blind spring with a crossing energy line – to site the goal of the labyrinth on. The pattern for this workshop was a 7-circuit Classical design – I find this design resonates well with most people and it is the most versatile design to use. I was planning to quickly lay this out with five stakes, line marking paint and rope using Robert Ferre’s method. I like this technique not only because it is relatively quick to do, it is also surprising and almost magical the way the rope swings round the stakes to reveal the curves of the labyrinth – when it is done properly, that is. Sadly, this was not one of those occasions! At two points we went somewhat awry and ended up with a path that was ‘closed’ with no connection to neighbouring paths. Not for the first time I found myself wishing that I had brought some green paint to correct mistakes! However, it is something of a maxim with labyrinth construction that something will go amiss at some point during the process, so I have long since ceased to worry about these mishaps.

The labyrinth completed, we adjourned for lunch, then for the rest of the afternoon we worked with the labyrinth, using conceptual models involving the chakras and the planets mapped onto the different paths to gain various personal insights. These are left-brain methods of working with the labyrinth, but they are what makes the labyrinth such a powerful transformational tool.

We concludegreen mand the afternoon by guiding each other, eyes closed, into the goal using Gardner’s Double Appleton, a wonderful labyrinth movement I ‘discovered’ a couple of years ago. This caused much confusion and hilarity, but it was a fitting end to the afternoon.

Dowsing the energy line before, during and after the afternoon’s walks revealed that it had gradually expanded until it was wider than the labyrinth diameter on its ‘downstream’ side – a common effect when labyrinths are properly created on power centres and walked frequently. This would fade naturally over the course of a few days if the labyrinth is not used. On the ‘upstream’ side of the energy line was a wonderful green man site guardian (left), who we paid our respects to before energetically closing down the labyrinth.

All in all, a very successful day; my thanks to everyone who came along, and particular thanks to Camilla for her generous hospitality and the use of her garden, not to mention her wonderful soup and cakes.

I shall be repeating this workshop at the American Society of Dowsers’ convention in Lyndonville, Vermont on Thursday June 6 2013, so this Comrie labyrinth was a good rehearsal for that. Hopefully I will be able to construct the labyrinth without errors next time round!



Grahame Gardner is a professional dowser and geomancer specialising in house-healing work involving geopathic and technopathic stress, and the creation of sacred spaces. He is a Registered Tutor with the British Society of Dowsers, is listed on their Professional Register, and is the current President of the Society. He is also a founder member of The Geomancy Group. This article is from his personal blog Western Geomancy.

WANT TO PUBLISH THIS ARTICLE? Non-commercial publication of this article is permitted as long as the tagline (above) with links is included and no changes are made to the article. A courtesy copy of your publication or link would be appreciated.

Dowsing Magic

Review: Dowsing Magic by Grahame Gardner

Reviewed by Simon Wheeler

Dowsing Magic bookOver the years I have prepared and given – and been subjected to – many PowerPoint lectures/presentations. When you know your subject well it is tricky knowing how much detail to go into, what assumptions to make about the audience, what handouts you should have to distribute, how much to say when diverted by an interesting question, and when to stop. No matter how well you have prepared, no matter how often you give the same presentation, each one will be different. Which is probably how it should be; after all, each audience is going to be different.

If you have had Grahame as a tutor at a course or workshop, some- or maybe much- of this book will be familiar. Which is the intention: this book has as its starting point Grahame’s lectures and articles. However, it covers not only what you may have seen and heard in his prepared presentations, it also includes the “extras” that you only got if you were in a particular audience at a particular time.

One advantage of writing a book on your subject, especially one based on experience of giving, and constantly honing, presentations on that subject, is that the audience doesn’t interrupt- obviously you’re not present when they are reading, but you have a very good idea of what needs to be covered to satisfy the majority. Another advantage is that more people get to share your expertise. The disadvantage is the inability to respond to questions and points raised.

“Dowsing Magic”, not only shows how thoroughly he knows his subject, he also is discriminating in how much detail he goes into. It is, therefore, appropriate for anyone new to dowsing, as well as of interest and help to those who have more “time-served”. He is essentially practical in his approach and offers guidance that is sensible and possible for anybody to follow. The enthusiasm and patience he shows when giving a presentation, workshop and demonstration, come through clearly in his writing. There are all the advantages and none of the disadvantages that I mention above- and I write as somebody who has been to several of Grahame’s courses and presentations.

This “Book One” covers all of the basics. There are sections on working with a pendulum, with rods, with an aurameter, a bobber; there is guidance on dowsing for water, map dowsing, using witnesses, dowsing for lost objects and missing people; there are historical stories and references, contextualising dowsing across time and cultures. And there is plenty on earth energies, leys, grids and theories thereof. He also touches on geopathic stress and the nature of reality.

Because Grahame is quite pragmatic in his world-view (I hope that’s OK to write, Grahame!) he explores theory without clouding issues with magical gobbledegook.
But it’s not just theory- this is a book for practitioners. Either those currently (sorry about the pun) who dowse or those who wish to dowse. It matters not what your level of expertise may be. There is something for everyone in this book.

When meeting members of the public when out dowsing it is not unusual to get into conversation with them; many are curious. There are a number of books and websites to which I refer these people. This book, “Dowsing Magic” will now go to the top of the list.

It is, I suspect, also a book I shall use for reference. The stories and anecdotes are worth another look; and as a refresher…a reminder of what is possible and the best way(s) to get results…it will be invaluable. I look forward to more in the series.


“Dowsing Magic, from water finds to dragon lines” by Grahame Gardner
published by Penwith Press, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-95333 16-5-9 at £9.95.

Available here!