Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
The Earth Energies Group on Tour in Brittany
Wonderful, accessible archaeology is still spread in prodigious quantities throughout the lush green countryside of the far north west of France. Their Cornish cousins, just a few hours away by modern ferry, may have something similar in deepest Penwith, but the Breton display is by far the grandest in scale, scope and profusion of anywhere in the Celtic lands – and, perhaps, anywhere in the world. And the physical archaeology is just the magnetic loss-leader in the dowsing shop window.
Over a week, 19 of us studied alignments at Kermario, An Eured Veign and Erdeven; menhirs near Tredion, Kerampeulvan and Kerloas; chambered tombs in the Forest of Lanvauv, on the Isle of Gavrinis and on the beach at Kernic; dolmens at Kercado, Crucuno and Locmariaquer; churches and chapels in the Monts d’Arrée and Le Faouët . . . For a few even-paced days, we saw, dowsed and mulled over a huge variety of dowsing material yet, to say we hardly scratched the surface would be a classic understatement.
Any dowsing visit to Brittany has to include the blizzard of visual and dowsable information that are the vast swirling stone alignments around Carnac. It’s not the most accessible site (most of it is fenced off, as at Stonehenge), nor is it the easiest to understand, but if you want to start at one end of the global dowsing earth energy spectrum, this is it. With its thousands of tightly, but precisely, placed stones, it would take weeks to work out the inter-relationships between even a few of them, let alone to the rest of the landscape. But this was, above all else, a week of themes, rather than detail.
Theme 1 – what on earth are we looking at? Over the millennia, most major sites have been reworked and remodelled – different cultures, different requirements, different philosophies. Carnac appears to display this phenomenon in spades. The organic curves of the rows look to exclude either ley or Hartmann/Curry explanations, yet their regularity leans against geological earth energies. However, individual, often larger menhirs, some of which may have predated the current layout, did dowse as having ley/earth energy and Hartmann/Curry properties . . . . Hmm.
As the plot thickened, we tried the sociological route. Was the complex used for healing (a bit), meditation (not really), ritual (too vague), death/burial (not much), astronomical (well, a bit)? So, no silver bullet here, just a tapestry of tangential brush strokes indicating various, possibly quite unrelated, applications over a very long period, but perhaps during defined periods. The best we could come up with was a qualified ‘yes’ for information storage/retrieval and an enigmatic twitch in the direction of energy concentration.
So, on to Erdeven – in some ways similar in format, but much more accessible and, crucially, a set of stones not dissimilar to a mini-Carnac in one field, and an alignment of giant menhirs in another. The two groups looked, dowsed and felt, very different. The megaliths were all earth energy and in-your-face grid lines; the Carnac-like matrix was much more subtle, seeming to cast their energy outwards, leaving a quiet heart within the formation. Theme 2 – what you see depends where on you stand, what questions you ask, and why.
Everywhere from the gigantic mausoleum at Barnenez, through the beautifully-restored chambered cairn on Gavrinis Island, to more modest menhirs in the Brittany forests, we were constantly challenged by the original and sequential uses of the various locations. Although most may have had some connection to burial or passing over, few, if any, dowse as having been constructed for that purpose. As anywhere else in the world, the ancient Bretons chose appropriate places for the recently departed ancestors – and ready-made, energetically powerful structures were very useful, thank you.
Our grand tour of passage tombs elicited a very helpful input from our French colleagues. Theme 3 – subtly different worldviews give rise to subtly different dowsing approaches. What if the chambers in the ‘tombs’ were not intended primarily for burial, but for a variety of other purposes? With a little prompting, the various ‘rooms’ did feel recognisably different, as if the spaces had been used for activities other that just inhumation. It was a remarkably apt suggestion, and a very interesting comparator to Bill Holding’s excellent cameo performance explaining the relationship of pictograms to human chakras.
The boat ride to Gavrinis was one of many highlights in the week – good weather, good organisation, good company, good dowsing. Once again, how much had been reconstructed was a concern – and we had to bear in mind that this exotic and romantic islet was just a low hill on dry land when its mighty cairn was first raised. But there was plenty to investigate in and around the sub-tropical vegetation there. The local guide seemed very interested in our approach, and suggested we returned one day. Thought archived!
If anything, the forest sites were even more enigmatic. Huge menhirs still prone amongst the dappled shadows of broadleaf trees, alley graves you would need a GPS to locate at all – and strange, enigmatic unprepossessing stones, some seemingly bearing primitive ‘faces’ (see Theme 1!). We couldn’t even agree on whether these were the real McCoy, or more modern makeovers. What was apparent was that most retained their power, and one in particular was so heavily protected that our rods came to a shuddering halt in front of it.
By the time we got to Huelgoat (pronounced Hywel-gwat in Breton) we were down to 17 strong. Ros and I took up the French suggestion to stop, a bit off-piste, at Le Faouët. There, the strangely, and clearly deliberately, asymmetric church of St Fiacre was even more enigmatic. Inside, the energies were a bit mixed, but the house martins flying around and the two wooden statues of dragons, crudely disguised as purple and green swans gave it a certain je ne sais quoi. Nearby the allegedly Roman fontaine (healing spring – especially for skin problems) deep in the woods was a real dowsers’ gem, even in the heavy rain, and well worth a return visit.
North of Huelgoat, we dowsed the rather neglected ‘Wedding Party’ alignment, which seemed more familiar territory for the UK contingent (especially as we were drenched by another heavy shower). Then it was up the local hill to dowse the Chapel of St Michel de Brasparts. A solitary outpost, now partly desecrated and flanked by WWII gun emplacements, this building was a fairly typical Christianised Pagan site. The energies were still strong, however, and we spent a while tracing out interesting pictograms. Two nodal points were described within the building and there were enough energy leys and lines of consciousness at this elevated site to keep the whole of the EEG off the streets for some time.
Back at Huelgoat, Major Holding showed his remarkable strength by setting the local Logan Stone (le roche tremblante) a’rockin’, but we explained he was from England, so that made it OK.
There was still time to visit the ruined alley grave between the tidal reach on the beach at Kernic, near Plouescat. Theme 4 – there is so much stuff of great interest in Brittany, that even those of us who thought we knew the area quite well were constantly coming across places we had never heard of, and aren’t even on the map!