Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Dowsing for Water at Epiacum

“There are thousands of molecules in everything, all vibrating, all singing their own song. Really there’s a symphony going on around us”. This was the sort of conversation that started the day, and I thought I was entirely in the wrong place; all this talk of energies, and lay lines and molecules was a far cry from my usual Saturday morning spent shopping or baking. It wasn’t that I was cynical, in fact I was keen to find a piece of hazel and dowse for water, but the conversation seemed to be leaning towards the mumbo jumbo sort that goes straight over my head and has me reaching for my Topshop card. We spent the first few hours of our Dowsing Skills Workshop gathered around a farmhouse table, munching on scones, slurping tea and listening to our tutor, Deb Bell, explain how she turned following a stick around a field into a career. Deb was refreshingly (dare I say it?) normal. Incredibly down to earth and aware of how her ‘witchy’ powers of water deduction could be misinterpreted, she told stories of fellow dowsers who, much to her disbelief, asked questions out loud in order to find water.

After an introduction to Dowsing, we ventured into Diagon Alley (ok it was the kitchen, but the feeling was the same) to be united with our hazel. Mr Olivander would not have been out of place as we picked up V shaped pieces of hazel to see if we ‘connected’ with them. “It should be like an extension of you” said Deb to nine confused faces trying to find harmony between their fingers and a knobbly bit of wood. Ten minutes later resolute that we had found our personal dowsing rod (dragon tail not available), we confidently strode outside, sure in our belief that an underground maze of water was about to be revealed to us.

And it was. Kind of. For some of us.

 With tension in our rods, we spun a 360 and waited for our wand to react. The reaction came in the form of the rod falling forwards and pointing in the direction of the water. So we followed the line and found ‘centre’, or in other words, we found water. We sensed that beneath our feet, (probably hundreds of feet beneath) water was flowiing. Next with the help of several different reactions from our wands, and a good deal of tromping through a field, we calculated how deep the water was and in which direction it was flowing. All we needed now was a drilling rig to find out if we were correct. Armed with Deb’s perfect track record however, we figured we were onto a good thing.

The women were definitely doing better than the men. The blokes just were not sensing anything. Their rods were not reacting at all. That is until they decided to blame the tools, and discarded the hazel wands in favour of metal sticks. Being the industrious sort they scoured the area for wire, which they found, one of them produced pliers from the boot of his car and fashioned metal dowsing wands. Suddenly the chaps were responding all over the place, rods positively flailing in every direction.

Now everyone was pretty much on their way to dowsing success, and confident in the sense of the stick the group began to disperse in every direction through the fields in find of water. One look from a passerby, or even just a group member, momentarily detached would have observed a ridiculous sight: nine grown adults and a dog traipsing through a farm on the faith of a flinching hazel. Luckily I have it on video.

The day was a resolute success. Everybody (dog included) thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and are keenly looking forward to the next session when we will pinpoint the direct source of water for use in the Epiacum Visitor Centre.  


  1. written by Katherine Johnson - love it!! Almost feel I was there! Looking forward to news of this weeks rod action - lets hope the men have finally grasped the knack of it!

    1. Day Two of the Dowsing saw fine crisp weather up at Epiacum. With newly purchased dowsing rods from no less than the British Dowsing Society we made are way up to the site in pursuit of water for the new visitors centre,ensuring that we avoided the local shooting party! not a good headline "Dowsers shot at dawn" at Roman Fort! To our surprise the spring ran at a 90 degree angle!! some very strange happenings in Roman times! After a morning of marking out of the Spring with the aid of Alistairs rods! we stopped for lunch with the usual delight of Debs home made cooking. The hairy bikers would be proud of her! come to think of it what about Hairy bikers coming to do some Roman pies? there's a thought! local geordie bakers on the Fort! So not only expert Dowser also expert chocolate cake maker! off we went in the afternoon to locate water at the bath house. WHAT a suprise we found some! nit daft them Romans you know! Now up to the edge of the Fort to mark out a previous site. Strangely we plotted a vaguely rectangular shape again with the help of Alistairs rods! more tramping around in the bogs of Epiacum found us another trail from the Visitors centre spring down the other side of the field. it is getting stranger and stranger! Good day had by all. Who said you can't have your cake and eat it! THANKS EVERYONE ESP DEBS THE DOWSER!


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