Sometimes you must wonder why I put such store in dowsing as a divination method. Of course, I talk about other methods – scrying, tarot, and other obscure methods. Some of these methods have provenance, and most have been validated by my own work to my satisfaction at some time or another. Yet I keep coming back to dowsing as a regular, day-to-day tool which I can use “out in the field” – literally. Why?
I think one of the reasons why I do my work is to try to revive the skill of dowsing amongst those who also practise the shamanic arts which we loosely consider to fall under the umbrella term of “druidry” (or ‘druidism’ for our American-oriented friends). We often think that dowsing has only a relatively recent history. I think that this is because of the lack of imagery from any time before the engravings and woodcuts which began to appear when printing became popular. Certainly we don’t see any paintings of the activity. I don’t know why. Yet the impression that dowsing was something invented by our recent forefathers remains. Surely dowsing is a quaint notion of a forgotten skill, now ridiculed into obscurity by scientific progress?
What we do have as a means of determining that dowsing was an ancient art is the rather fabulous find of a figure who has come to be known as “The Druid of Colchester“. It is thought the be the first documented archaeological find of a druid’s grave, and it reveals some interesting grave goods – dowsing rods!
“In the grave, archaeologists uncovered a board game with the glass counters laid out, medical equipment – the earliest ever found – a tea strainer still containing some kind of herbal brew, and some mysterious metal poles.” (source: The Independent newspaper)
Other accounts record the equipment in different terms: as surgical equipment, herbs and most importantly –
We must resist the urge to classify a single find as representative of all druids and their work. However, it does seem to indicate that in at least one instance the types of activities that have come down to us through story and lore may be borne out: this druid was a healer, herbalist and diviner. It’s not an overwhelming validation of the work that modern druids do, but it does at least show us that there is some level of truth permeating the accounts of the work of druids, and it does help us to feel more validated in trying to recreate some of that activity in a modern context.
“This is where the Colchester burial site comes in. The doctor of Camulodunum was evidently a rich and respected man. If one assumes that the surgical instruments and divining rods in his tomb weren’t just for decorative purposes, healing and soothsaying must have been part of his job description. It’s the closest anyone is likely to get to a druid in archaeological terms.” (source: Spiegel)
The upshot of which is this: Druids did dowsing from as far back as we have an evidence. I will continue to dowse as long as the forces at work in that process allow. This blog will always be a reflection of that work, and the importance that I place on divination as a means of staying in touch with the subtle forces of this world and beyond it.