Adventures in Dowsing

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ASD 2017 convention feedback:

Excellent presentation. PowerPoint was well done and he gave us great tools too!
Informative, Instructive, User-friendly!
F***ing brilliant and then some! Content, delivery, group interaction. Best of the conference.
Grahame is a lot of fun, his enthusiasm is contagious. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Liked the lecture followed by practice, more lecture/more practice. Really enforced the information.
This was an excellent class! I am so glad I took it!
Can’t wait for your next book. This was a Blessing.
Good presentation – fun, interesting – interactive! I would love to learn more from him.
Grahame demonstrates mastery of this subject. It has been a privilege to hear him speak!
Wonderful workshop, tons of information.
Grahame is always such a great speaker!
Exceeded my expectations. Very helpful and useful, adding tools and ideas which I will incorporate into my shaman work.
Funny, interesting, interactive. Awesome!

Hallowe’en Musings

Planting the seeds…

The clocks in Britain have been turned back an hour, which in our modern life has become the marker for the end of summer and the onset of the dark winter nights. But it also marks the approach of Hallowe’en, the fire festival of Samhain to the Celtic peoples. Although these days people are more interested in dressing up the kids and creating a general air of spookiness and fun, we tend to forget the more serious side of Samhain.

In the yearly cycle of the sun, Samhain is one of the cross-quarter days, those times that fall roughly mid-way between the solstices and equinoxes. Unlike the solstices and equinoxes, which are timed to the second, the cross-quarter days are not precisely marked in astronomical terms although they have become fixed dates in our calendar. For me that means they become more noticeable at an intuitive level; you can feel the change in season. Imbolc at the start of February is when you start to notice that there is more daylight around, Beltane at the start of May is when you really start to notice that summer is on the way, Lughnasadh at the start of August is when you start thinking that the ‘nights are fair drawing in’ as we say in Scotland, and Samhain is when you finally realise that summer is over and we are heading towards winter.

In farming terms, Samhain marks the ending of the agricultural year. The harvest is in and the seeds for next year have been planted in the earth, where they will lie fallow throughout the cold winter months before stirring to life in the ground at Imbolc at the beginning of February. So energetically Samhain is the culmination of our endeavours for the year. It is time to reap the fruits of our labours and plant the seeds of what we want to grow next year. It’s a time to acknowledge our ancestors – traditionally the Veil to the other side is thinnest at this time of year – and gain inspiration for the next cycle.

This year really does mark the end of a long cycle for me, as in September I stood down as President of the British Society of Dowsers, having served 6 years at the helm and a total of 11 years as a Trustee of the Society. The experience has been simultaneously exhilarating as I cast myself into the void of opportunity, and terrifying as I realise I am no longer in control of things! Eleven years is a good length of service for any Trustee, but I can look back with pride at the way the Society has evolved during my term of office. At the Conference in September, I was presented with the BSD Award, which is awarded for services to dowsing and the Society, and Elspeth and I were given Honorary Life Membership of the Society.



For myself, I have been busy working on my marketing materials, working on my next book, and planning events for next year. It is looking like I will be doing a lot of travelling in 2015 – as usual!

I shall be running a course on Dowsing and Feng-Shui for the National School of Feng-Shui in Lisbon, Portugal on 14 & 15 March. https://escolafengshui.com/

I have been asked by the Japanese Society of Dowsing to present and run workshops for them, so I hope to be in Japan from March 25 – April 7.

All this international travel is making it difficult to plan any courses at home! However, I’ve had quite a few requests to run some courses farther north, so in response to those who asked for them, I am pleased to announce that I am running a beginners’ Foundation Course at the Victory Hall in Aboyne on April 18 & 19, so please put that in your diaries and let me know if you are interested in attending. I plan to run a subsequent ‘Introduction to Earth Energies (EE1)’ course, also in Aberdeenshire, probably in mid-May or mid-June.

I haven’t forgotten my more advanced students, and am in the process of putting together some dates to run a geomancy course on ‘Designing Sacred Space’ (EE4) and hope to run that in May or June.

For the autumn, Susan Collins and I are planning a very special intensive retreat, which will be a magical dowsing adventure. More details to come!

I’ll send out updates once we get more dates finalised, and as always you can check the events page for updates on courses.

What have you harvested in your life this year? Did all your ‘crops’ bear fruit? What seeds are you planting that you want to grow next year? Now is the time to think about what you have in your life and what you would like to bring in to your life in the next turn of the Wheel.

Happy Samhain!

Happy Samhain!

The Farkas Files

I recently appeared as guest on the US internet radio show ‘The Farkas Files‘ from Empower Radio. I’d met the host David Franklin Farkas at the American Society of Dowers’ convention back in June, and finally we managed to find some time in both our schedules to make this interview happen. It went out live at 9pm EST (2am UK time), but it’s available to listen again by clicking below or can download it from the website.

[audio: http://www.empowerradio.net/podcasts/farkasfiles_082814_grahamegardner.mp3]

The FARKAS FILES: The Truth is In Here, Somewhere

Dowsing & Geomancy? What are they? …

If you don’t know what Dowsing is, you should! And this week’s guest is an international leader in the field. I’ve known about him for years and we met this year at a convention. He lives in Scotland.

Grahame has been interested in all things esoteric for as long as he can remember, particularly earth mysteries; and has studied and practiced widely across the whole spectrum of Western esoteric tradition, from shamanism to Kabala.

He taught himself to dowse as a teenager when, after reading Tom Grave’s book ‘Needles of Stone’, he made his first pair of L-rods from some coat hangers and proved to his own satisfaction that he could find underground water, cables and other utilities.

Thirty years later, Grahame is now a Professional Member, Registered Tutor and has been President of The British Society of Dowsers since 2008.

He hosts their podcast “Adventures in Dowsing,” and his book, ‘Dowsing Magic’ is published by Penwith Press. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland, but travels extensively.
Join us!

Cochno – revealed?

whitehill-01..1981.bar86.morrisMuch in the news this week has been the suggestion, reported in The Scotsman, that one of Glasgow’s hidden archaeological treasures might be revealed for the first time in 50 years.

The Cochno Stone is widely regarded as the finest example of Neolithic rock art in Europe. With its numerous cup-and-ring markings, spirals, footprints and other symbols, it was believed by maverick archaeologist Ludovic McLellan Mann to represent nothing less than a star map created by the Neolithic peoples inhabiting the area. He felt strongly that it was connected with the nearby ‘mortuary site’ at Knapper’s Farm (now lost under the A82 Great Western Road). Most photographs of the stone date from Mann’s 1937 excavation and show his painting in of the symbols and overlaid grid, from which he based his hypothesis that the whole Glasgow area was laid out in the form of a clock face of 38 sectors; a theory that captivated amateur researcher Harry Bell when he was mapping out his Glasgow Network of Aligned Sites for his cult book ‘Glasgow’s Secret Geometry’ in the early 1980s.

Captivating though Mann’s theory is, he was not one to share his sources with his fellow archaeologists, and consequently nobody really knows where he got this idea from. Nonetheless, it is surely worth unearthing the stone again to give modern researchers another crack at interpreting these enigmatic symbols.

Yet I confess to having mixed feelings about this. Yes, I would love to see the stone uncovered so that we can all have a look at it and it can be better documented and recorded with today’s laser scanning technology. But should it remain uncovered? That’s a different question.


The Cochno stone was originally re-buried ‘to protect it from vandals from the nearby towns’ – a precaution that I suspect is still necessary in today’s world. I’m also mindful of how much erosion the rock art carvings at Ballochmyle in Ayrshire have suffered since they saw the light of day again and they’ve only been exposed since their discovery in the 1970s.

I wouldn’t like to see the Cochno stone enclosed in a glass box (like Sueno’s stone in Forres) or indeed any type of enclosure, as that cuts the stone off from its environment and from studying similar sites it is very clear that these cup-marks should always be seen in the context of the larger landscape.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that an accurate replica cast is made and the real stone is re-buried under it, as was done with the boar carving and footprint at Dunadd in the Kilmartin valley.

It’s not an ideal solution, but maybe it’s a reasonable compromise. We await developments.

Native naming ceremony

naming ceremony

picture credit: Bob Bicknell

At the closing ceremony of the American Society of Dowsers convention in Lyndonville, Vermont on 8 june 2014, White Eagle honours me with my native name ‘Kumchka’, meaning ‘Carrier of the Sacred Fire’. Megwetch!

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 and the dowser is only feeding his or hers own ego. 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.

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.

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.


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.

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