Starting to Dowse for Leys
In response to an article that I had submitted to The Magazine of the Network of Leyhunters, the organiser of the group, the inimitable Laurence Main, mentioned to me that not all Leyhunters were actually dowsers – a fact that I found a bit surprising at the time.
I had come into dowsing in the first place through an interest in the Ley phenomenon – and I had met numerous earth energy dowsers who had taken a similar route.
However, I later came to realise that the Leyhunting community had experienced a schism in the early years of this century, when (and here I quote from a local newspaper in Gloucestershire) the ‘earth pilgrims’ had broken away from the ‘sacred mappers’. Laurence is certainly one of the former – although he a perfectly good dowser in his own right. However, many of those who regard the Ley primarily as a pilgrimage route, rather than just a landscape alignment, may never have approached the concept from a dowser’s perspective.
Consequently, at Laurence’s request, from the issue 17 of the Magazine of the Network of Leyhunters (Samhain 2015 onwards), I have sought to provide a periodic input for those in the Network who are novice dowsers or who have never considered the craft.
It has been a thought-provoking exercise for me, as I have had to re-examine what I believe about, and have experienced in the context of, Leys in the couple of decades that had passed since I had first dowsed for the paths/alignments myself.
Not only had my own views moved on, but the outlook of both the Leyhunting and the Dowsing communities had evolved too.
In many ways, the whole idea, existence and experience of the Ley is a deep philosophical touchstone for both groups.
It brings The Virtual Bridge (almost) into a tangible reality.
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People discover the wonderful world of Leys in different ways. Those of us who were first made aware of the importance, even the existence of the craft of dowsing, through an interest in Leys, sometimes tend to forget that not all Leyhunters dowse.
With that in mind, I have been asked by Laurence to provide a beginner’s guide to dowsing, with the Leyhunter in mind.
In essence, dowsing is nothing more than structured intuition. It is a way of retrieving information of any kind using simple yes/no answers – and that’s it! Everyone can dowse. Increasingly, I find that people can pick it up very quickly – and certainly much more quickly than I did.
Just about the only feature that differentiates the dowser from the seer or the medium is in the use of tools. Most dowser use either L-shaped rods or a pendulum – or a mixture of both for different purposes. As the dowsing community has matured, more people are moving on to dowsing without tools – so called, deviceless dowsing – using instead parts of their body, which can include hands, fingers, eyes or even internal organs, but let’s leave the advanced stuff for the experts for now! I use rods most of the time.
L-shaped rods and pendulums are widely available at a range of prices, but one of the great beauties of dowsing is that it can cost you nothing. Homemade basic tools are just as useful, and are essentially gratis. Two pieces of bent wire, or a weight on a piece of string, work just as well as more expensive equipment. Much of the time, I use green plant stakes out of the shed, cut down to any size I need. The material of an L-rod is of next to no consequence – and any slightly pliable metal, wood, plastic, nylon etc will suffice.
Assuming that you now have two pieces of something, bent at a right-angle, or a weight on a piece of a string, twine etc., ask to be shown your ‘yes’ response. If you are using a pendulum, you should find that the weight swings one way or another – or possibly up and down or side to side. If you are using rods, they should either cross or move apart. Don’t worry at this stage about the actual response you get, as you can always change that yourself later on. Then do the same to determine your ‘no’ response – which is usually a swing in the opposite direction.
Test out these responses by asking something to which you
know the answer. Is my name Nigel? ‘Yes’ Is my name Doris? ‘No’. Take a little while to get the hang of the ‘Yes’ and the ‘No’ response, by asking various simple questions.
Dowsing rods, and to a lesser extent pendulums, can also be used for finding directions. So, try this out by asking ‘Please show me the nearest window’ – and the tool should swing and/or point at it. Again, practice this for a while
Then – and with the Leyhunter very much in mind – try asking for the direction of the nearest Ley. Your tool will move. If it is close enough, you will find that you can walk to it, and the rod or pendulum will show you when you have reached the middle of it. If you are in a small room, try asking the additional question ‘How far is it this Ley?’ In your mind, you can ask a series of yes/no questions to find this out ‘Is it I metre away?’ ‘Is it 10 metres away ’ etc.
You have now taken the first steps towards dowsing for leys!
Next, we can have a look at the dowsable structure of a ley
I would always recommend that anyone interested in getting started should begin with The Definitive Wee Book of Dowsing, written by Hamish Miller, and available from his publishers, Penwith Press, Elowen, Wheal Kitty, Lelant Downs, Hayle, Cornwall TR27 6NS www.penwithpress.co.uk
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In the last magazine, we looked at the nature of dowsing and had some basic practice on how to get going.
Wherever you are, hold your dowsing tools of choice, and ask ‘Please show me the nearest Ley’. Follow your rod or pendulum until you get a response. Clearly, it is better to do this in an open area, such as a field or a park. However, if you encounter a physical obstacle, not to worry. You merely climb or walk around it – and then ask the original question again. When you do reach your target, you will, by default be standing in the middle of the Ley that you asked to find.
All Leys have width. Let your tool drop for a moment and then raise it again – each question is separate, and is just yes/no. Try asking ‘Please show me the outside edge of this Ley’. Following the rods or the pendulum, this will probably take you several paces on one direction or another and there you will get another ‘found’ response. Put down a stone or a twig to mark the point. Leys differ in width, but are usually symmetrical around the centre line. So, try asking for the other edge of the Ley. You will find that you cross the centre without even a twitch, because your intent is focused only on finding the other edge. When you get there, again put down a marker. If you can find more than one Ley this way, you can note the differences from one from the other – and also from one time of day, month or season to another.
Perhaps the next most straightforward dowsable attribute of a Ley is it’s age. When did it first become a Ley? Again you can do this by standing in the middle of your Ley and asking ‘Is this Ley more than a year old?’ Is it more than 100 years old? Is it more than 100 years old? etc. Each time, you should get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ response. If you struggle a bit with this, try practicing on yourself. ‘Am I more than 10 years old?’ ‘Am I more than 50 years old?’ etc.
The importance of asking this question, is that is throws some light on the origin of Leys. Some alignments give answers that are incredibly ancient – and this indicates that they are essentially geological or non-physical in nature. Others can be quite modern, and are presumably therefore the result of some human and/or physical input. As you can appreciate, this is very controversial territory in Leyhunting circles, so it is helpful to have some dowsed ‘facts’ – well, at least they are facts from your perspective!
Rarely do any two dowsers come up with an identical set of responses. This does not mean that one or the other is wrong, merely that each has framed their questions and interpreted their answers as they themselves sense them. Dowsing is hugely subjective. This is both the Achilles heel of the craft (in that materialists seeking repeatable results will say there is nothing in it), but it is also something of a touchstone in understanding why it works (as it seems the that the dowser inter-reacts with what they are dowsing).
We are then ready move on into deeper water by asking, by dowsing if your Ley contains any ‘earth energy’, or (separate question) if it has any ‘earth energy’ associated with it.
Some Leyhunters feel that all Leys are lines of ‘energy’, although not of the sort that you might expect to find on the traditional electromagnetic scale. It has been suggested that this ‘earth energy’ is geological in nature – a hypothesis supported by the finding that most larger earth energy lines, including Leys, are underpinned by deep geological faults.
The Michael/Mary Ley, rediscovered by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhust in the 1980s, is a straight alignment, running from West Cornwall to the Norfolk Coast (and beyond) – but it seems to be just the spinal core of a matrix of other ‘earth energy’ lines of different polarities (we can discuss this more in this next issue).
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The first serious attempt at defining the structure of dowsable ‘energy’ lines came in the book by the late Guy Underwood – The Pattern of the Past – in 1972. Guy was a visionary pioneer, who stumbled across the realisation that every type of ‘energy’ line, be it generated by human or animal movement, underground water, or what we would now call earth energy, had a particular and distinctive signature.
Underwood’s work was a first bold step in trying to appreciate the nature of the dowsable sinews and meridians of planet earth. The concept he established, which has stood the test of time, is that every type of line has a width, and that almost all have a series of outlying bands. The wider and more energetic lines often not only have banding, but each of the strands of those bands can also have a complex structure of their own.
Find yourself a ley that you know well, and ask to find either side of it. Ask if it has more than one band. If you get a ‘yes’, follow your rods to the edge of the next band and try to determine its width too. Get used to finding the centre of your ley by dowsing, and then determining its width and banding – if any. Does it feel different to, say, a line of underground water or an ‘earth energy’ line? Practice makes perfect.
Laurence rightly reminds me that even when undertaking down-to-earth dowsing such as this, we are (at least potentially) drifting out into the non-physical world – and that, just as we wear a hard hat in the physical domain of a building site, we should take at least some basic precautions to prevent ourselves coming to harm in the esoteric world of leyhunting.
Dowsing protection can be invoked in two main ways (depending on the experience and the belief system of the dowser). There are those who prefer to protect from the inside out, visualising their auras to be filled by powerful white or golden light – and/or for their being to be surrounded by a protective shield, cloak or field of force that will keep any malevolent energies at bay.
Alternatively, dowsers may protect themselves from the outside in, by calling on their guardian angels, protective spirits, or the benign strength of the divine – as they envisage it – to guard and secure them during their dowsing endeavours. In truth, it is rare to find two dowsers who have identical techniques for protection – and many invoke a combination of the two protocols.
As in any other aspect of life, most of us manage to avoid most of the potential hazards most of the time. However, when we are dowsing we are wading through an etheric soup that we can’t see under normal circumstances. Even quite experienced dowsers manage to pick up ‘pieces of low-level unpleasantness’ – so, don’t be afraid, but do be aware.
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In previous issues of this Newsletter, we have discussed how to get started with dowsing – and how to apply the ancient craft to Leyhunting. Here, we start to spread our wings a little further.
If dowsing enables the practitioner (a.k.a. you and me) to acquire information about just about anything, including many aspects of reality beyond the five gross senses, then directing it towards the still somewhat opaque phenomenon of the Ley is a perfect, practical use.
Let’s start with some of the more obvious mysteries of the subject into which we would all welcome a bit more understanding – such as ‘Who set out the Leys in the first place?!’
Given that all dowsing is basically the asking of a series of precise yes/no questions, we can stand on a Ley that we know well and ask (with all due politeness, even reverence) ‘Was this Ley put in place by humans? – or by a deity? – or is it ‘just’ an inherent force of nature?’
If humans were involved, who were they? You can work through all the usual suspects – from Druids to Aliens, Shamen to Scientists, from exceptionally gifted and enlightened people to ordinary working men and women like ourselves. Don’t be too put off by a series of negative replies. Dowsing tells us all that the world we live in is considerably more complicated than we ever imagined, and the hunt for the origin and nature of the Ley is just one narrow, but very pertinent, portal shedding more light on our circumstances.
In the last article, we looked at determining the age of your chosen Ley. This can significantly assist your search for potential initiators.
If you come up with a human or deity as the source of your line, then you can move on, slowly and gradually, to a reason or purpose for the setting up of the Ley. You can try navigation, communication, religious significance etc (but always remember to phrase your question to require a yes/no answer). Bear in mind the long and convoluted history of the planet. Any alignment can have acquired a number of different functions over the millennia – and you may get several ‘yeses’ to follow up.
Another fertile, if ill-defined, aspect of Leys you may wish to consider is whether the lines are earth energy features or not. My first tutor felt that Leys were ‘lines of consciousness’ – and he often used to set up a ‘Ley’ by thought alone, as part of a demonstration, and then take it away again. Many years later, I found that most earth energy dowsers considered Leys to be quintessentially lines of force or ‘akin to gravity’ – and had no idea that thought or sight lines even existed.
Assuming you have by now come to the conclusion through your enquiries that Ley alignments do exist, and that the lines they describe may (or may not) be formed of what are generally known as ‘earth energies’, then you may wish to extend your questioning to investigate if your line has a ‘gender’, a colour – and even if its existence in this space and time is beneficial or detrimental to you, to other people, animals, plants or to the environment generally.
The dowsing process is very much the use of structured intuition. It seeks to erect some conceptual scaffolding around those personal impressions that something may be ‘true’ or ‘false’, at least in the worldview of the enquirer. The dowsing question is initiated by the dowser with the intention of finding something out, usually for their own purposes or those of their colleagues, co-workers or clients.
Mediumship, on the other hand, tends to invite a more holistic and generalised sense of the subject being considered, and the response (the output, as it were) can be visual, aural, even sensory.
Both approaches are equally valid, and both require the practitioner to ease temporarily through the veil to some extent. Indeed, a blending of practical enquiry with visionary engagement can be a particularly potent mix.
It must be remembered that dowsing, like just about everything else in the cosmos, is both interactive and in a constant state of flux. If you get a different response to any of the questions above from day to day, or from place to place, this doesn’t mean you are a rubbish dowser or that you have lost the plot (well, not usually), but circumstances change and lines do seem to wander about a bit in spacetime. Can you pin them down – and should you? Now, that’s a good point for me to take a break, while you dowse for an answer!
Starting to Dowse for Leys (5)
We have now reached the point where we need to consider the interface between sensing the Leys and physically dowsing them.
In the workaday world, I usually find myself being regarded as a bit weird for using dowsing to discover information about intangible forces and sensations. But amongst Leyhunters it is quite the opposite, where I am considered a bit mainstream – using tools (albeit rather basic ones) to examine, even measure, aspects of what others would regard spiritual, even sacred. This doesn’t worry me at all; I’m happy with where I have reached in my own development – and everyone else is on a related path.
What it does tell me is that we all see and sense essentially similar experiences in a different way. This does not mean that any of us is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – we just have our own take on the world we inhabit. When I discuss this aspect of the nature of reality with my colleagues, I often come back to the great Ley debate – because it is a perfect touchstone for how we describe our own reality.
Dowsers come to their craft from a variety of personal perspectives and at various stages of their evolution. In my experience, most dowsers have at least addressed the issue of Leys. However, what you find yourself – and even what you ask for from your intuition – depends on who and where you are at that time.
There is a very pertinent parallel here with the phenomenon of the Near Death Experience (NDE), which I encountered and researched for the first time when working with the late Hamish Miller. Following his own NDE, Hamish contacted many others who’d had a similar shock, to try to understand what it was they had seen or felt. And while he found some striking commonalities in the process, there were also some remarkable cultural differences. Christians tend to be greeted and guided by saints and angels, Hindus meet their own deities, and so on. Hamish Miller, engineer, designer and (at that time) hardcore rationalist found his tunnel to nirvana consisted of sheets of aluminium tubing, riveted together at the seams! In retrospect, even Hamish found this concept riotously amusing, but it was very telling that, while he was sure that he had experienced something very similar to mediaeval Christians and Tibetan mystics, his very personal language and iconography were all he had to interpret and make sense of his NDE.
In a similar way, to some extent leys are what we make of them. There may be an overlap of shared reality, especially between people of a similar age, background and culture – but we are all individuals, with our own subtly unique take on the long straight currents that course through our landscape.
One of the less well understood aspects of the dowser’s craft, and one that starts to blur the boundaries between the dowser and the medium, is the ability to ask what another person – dowser or not – is finding. In essence anyone can do this, but it does improve with practice, and there is always an element of interpretation of the information you are able to acquire. What it does enable you to do is to ask it what another person is seeing and feeling – but remember that you are still having to transcribe whatever comes through to you into your own vocabulary and your own imagery.
When it comes to Leys (and other intangible concepts), many people get very excited, and very dogmatic, about their own experience. This is entirely understandable, as it is their own personal experience that they are describing. To them it is The Truth – well, it’s their version of the truth. To quote the hugely experienced dowser and philosopher, Tom Graves ‘your personal experience is a fact’. Those of a scientific nature often find this a difficult circle to square, and it does raise the whole spectre of whether The Truth is absolute or relative. However, as anyone who has watched a football match or the like will tell you, one person’s ‘cast iron penalty’ decision is someone else’s ‘hardly touched him, ref’. We all see, sense and talk about the world around us in a different way. I can’t grasp what Mr Trump is on about most of the time, but clearly 60 million Americans would disagree with me!
The great Ley debate is a microcosm of this whirlpool of worldviews. When John Dee talked about lines of force running between ancient sites, his thought process would have been illustrated by the mindset of the Elizabethan court. By the time Guy Underwood was writing in the mid-20th Century, it was the mature age of scientific discovery and breakthrough. Consequently his ideas were couched more in terms of lines, spirals and landscape icons.
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In my piece last time, we looked at the idea that we all regard Leys in a different way – and that’s why we find it so hard to agree exactly what constitutes a Ley. I would like to take this one stage further by examining the concept of pilgrimage – walking the Ley.
Within the world of Leyhunting, one particular spectrum has, at one end, people like myself, who took up dowsing specifically as a result of being fascinated by the very idea of the Ley. Then in my forties, for perhaps the first time in my life I came to realise that there was as much cosmic interest in the comparatively humble landscape in which I had grown up, as at Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu. Trekking through the Cambodian rainforest or climbing the Andes might seem more exotic and would certainly provide a much better after-dinner story, but in essence the planetary forces that inspired the construction of these fabled sites were much the same, and far more accessible, at my local stone circle – even at the half-forgotten parish church.
At the other end of the spectrum, is another group of equally committed and inquisitive questors, who have very little interest in examining the form and nature of Leys – and retain a healthy detachment from the whole idea of lines joining sacred sites together. These are often Leyhunters who regard the alignments essentially as a basis for pilgrimage.
Maybe it’s because I am a Libran, but I always find that people who have a different perspective on something that I consider to be ‘a fact’ to be worth listening to. I seek the common ground and the shared experience.
The first aspect of dowsing that overlaps with the idea of pilgrimage is naturally the concept of the Ley Line. This is still quite controversial in some quarters, but my own dowsing indicates very clearly that huge numbers of ancient and sacred sites, strung across the countryside in an interlocking network of alignments, are linked by straight lines of something. We have discussed previously as to whether these are lines of meta-physical force or lines of thought/sight, but there is another dowsable linkage that imprints itself in the landscape – the trackway.
Those who may not have tried to do this before by dowsing may be a bit surprised to find that it is actually quite straightforward to discover where someone else has walked. You can follow in the prior footsteps of your friends and family merely by asking your rods to allow you to do so. More interestingly still, you can walk in the footsteps of people who have walked your way decades, even centuries, previously. This is a fascinating piece of research to carry out at, say, an Iron Age village or a Roman Temple.
However, at this point I feel I ought to reiterate the need to ask the three basic dowsing questions before you attempt this feat – Can I, May I, Should I follow another person here and now? In my experience, you will usually get the nod to carry on if you have a sound and reverent intent, but getting your own spacetime entangled with an ancient Briton with an altogether different worldview could potentially be a bit tricky.
Assuming you do get the go ahead, what you may well find is that many of the Ley alignments have been so well trodden over the millennia that any underlying energy patterns have been both reinforced and overwritten by the psyches of legions of dedicated pilgrims.
Furthermore, any waymarkers, resting places or devotional structures erected by pilgrims will themselves attract earth energy lines, which may or may not be quite straight. And to add further turbulence to an already muddy pool, pilgrims themselves may have an impact on the earth energies they are following, intentionally or otherwise.
If all this sounds ridiculously complicated, fear not. Careful dowsing can usually throw light onto even the most complex of situations. In the first instance, the dowser can ask by clear, simple questioning which of the various lines were in place at certain dates, and from that derive a sequence of the arrival of forces and energies that have accumulated to make the Ley in question what we find today.
In our 21st Century Silver Bullet society, we have become used to investigations turning up THE reason why something has or hasn’t happened. In practice – from road accidents to world wars – there are a plethora of reasons why events unfold the way they do.
When it comes to Leys, a structured series of yes/no dowsing questions can help you to understand how a particular alignment came into being and how it developed over time into a pilgrim route. Your rational understanding of the Old Straight Track may well be greatly improved, but the magic of the pilgrimage Ley remains.
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When Alfred Watkins was first investigating the phenomenon we now call Leys, back in the 1920s, his definition was of a dead straight alignment of five or more ancient sites.
There have been various interpretations and descriptions of the concept over the decades, but Watkins original discovery remains the bedrock of how we understand and dowse for Leys today. The work of Guy Underwood, John Michell, Paul Devereaux and others later in the 20th century introduced the idea that these ‘sites on an alignment’ were actually joined together by something – the Ley line was born.
I am very aware that when people are hunting for Leys, they are framing their dowsing questions in subtly different ways. Even I appreciate that some of the alignments that I come across are not ‘Watkins Leys’ as such. After a great deal of experience, you can usually unpick the essential Ley from other similar contenders. However, if you are just starting to dowse for Leys, there are quite a few elephant traps out there that it may be helpful to be aware of.
It is stating the obvious to note that not all straight lines in the cosmos are leys. A new railway line across a desert might run as straight as an arrow for miles, but it’s very unlikely to be a Ley.
However, whenever I run a session on ‘When is a Ley not a Ley?’, all sorts of unexpected stuff comes out of the woodwork. Let’s have a think about some of the possible distractions.
Whether or not you find that some or all Leys contain earth energies, clearly most earth energy lines are not leys. They usually wiggle about all over the place, which is a tell-tale signature, although occasionally they will seem to run fairly straight over some distance. Unfortunately, our dowsing colleagues in North America seem to call just about all energy lines ‘leys’, which can be very confusing if you are not aware of the distinction!
Another candidate for a misinterpreted Ley is the grid line. Many people, including most dowsers, feel that the planet is criss-crossed by numerous grids (much as you would find on an atlas projection). Some of these are meta-physically earth-based, others seem to be the consequence of the interaction of our planet with others, while a third group appear (how can I put this politely?) a little fanciful, and can be dowsed as being both quite modern and purely psychic.
Of the grids, those discovered (and some would say invented) by Dr Hartmann in Germany and Dr Curry in France early in the20th century are the best known. The Hartmann grid runs precisely north-south/east-west and the Curry grid is about 45% to it. The grids are about two or three paces across, so you can dowse parts of them in the room or garden you are in when you are reading this. Do they exist for you? I used to be rather dismissive of them myself, but I have had to alter my opinion based on my own experience. The Hartmann grid in particular occasionally seems to underlay or overwrite a Ley – and sometimes inch-perfect – especially when both dowse as being extremely ancient (pre-human). As ever, you can unpick one straight line from another by clear yes/no dowsing questions. Experts may do this more quickly, but we are all on the same journey, and nothing in dowsing is intrinsically that difficult.
So, if a Hartmann line runs straight through five ancient sites, does that make it a Ley? Hmmm.
One of my own mentors, Billy Gawn, who has his own fascinating input to the Great Ley Debate, to which we will return later, was the first to describe the grids that can be found on planet earth, which seem to be the interaction of this planet with others. So, you can find lunar and solar grids, but also the impact of Mars, Venus etc. Again, just ask your dowsing tool to show you the nearest section of a particular grid and follow it. Examine it with yes/no questions, and see if you can sense it differently from a Ley – or indeed, from another celestial grid.
I mentioned in an earlier piece that my first tutor felt that all Leys were lines of consciousness – and the idea has stayed with me. Many people feel that there are no straight lines in nature, and therefore that all Leys must be ‘man-made’. When I ask for Leys, I usually get a series of long straight lines, some of which are the map-based alignments that Alfred Watkins would have recognised, dead straight energy lines (often called energy leys) and lines of thought or sight. If my dowsing is any good, these will all go through a number of ancient and/or sacred sites. But are they all ‘Leys’? Time for a natural break, methinks.
Starting to Dowse for Leys (8)
So far in this series, we have discussed how dowsing operates, how we can use it and, most importantly in this context, how we can use dowsing both to discover Leys and to understand more about them.
It might now be appropriate to start looking at some of the theories, hypotheses and experiences that dowsers have put forward for the purpose of the Ley network.
Those of us who have grown up in the latter part of the 20th century have lived in a worldview that has prioritised focus over vision. Clearly, both are essential to survival, let alone enlightenment, but the emphasis in recent decades has been on finding the main cause or element of a subject or process, and to concentrate on that – at least in the first instance. It is an approach that has worked well for business and industry, and reasonably well for some social issues. However, once we get into the murkier mires of the not-so-physical this ultra-rationalism tends to have its limitations.
The Great Ley Debate is just one aspect of our reality that needs a more nuanced approach, if we are to make any serious headway.
Many people have put forward ideas as to why Leys exist. Some of which have come and gone, while others have hung around, probably more because they are unfalsifiable (i.e. you can’t actually prove them wrong) than anything more positive in their favour.
So, what of the usual suspects. Let’s go all the way back to Alfred Watkins, who openly admitted that he had no real idea what he had found – just that it was jolly interesting and probably quite important. His tentative suggestion that the alignments were the fading remnants of Old Straight Tracks seemed a logical start. Except that the Leys took no account of topography or logistics. In the absence of any concrete evidence, the idea drifted out of favour. However, I feel that AW may have been much closer to determining one strand of the great Ley mystery than he may have realised, albeit not necessarily in the way he had realised.
A dowser can sense a line of any sort if they know and/or can visualise what they are looking for. So, to psychically put down a line across the landscape from a point of departure to a chosen destination would actually have been very helpful to the ancient traveller, in a world where such ‘lines’ could be sensed – and the surrounding environment could potentially have been pretty hostile. Even today, a dowser can follow a Ley from A to B using this invisible handrail. If you have to walk round an obstacle, or choose to avoid a bog or a roundabout, so be it. You just get to the other side and pick it up again where it is appropriate to do so.
Another perennial piece of the picture is the proposed use of the Ley for the transmission of some form of energy. This is particularly relevant for those Leys that dowse as having human involvement in their genesis (which, of course, for some leyhunters, is all of them!).
There are many variations on the theme of Leys being conduits for electrostatic, geomagnetic, even piezoelectric, energies (don’t worry about the physics, the concept is much the same for most theories of this type). These ideas were more prevalent in the 20th century, and derive from an engineering-based approach to the subject, which compared Leys to the national grid. In the 21st century, computer technology has changed the way we look at the flows that may use or may be used by Leys. Just as physical currents (like gas or electricity) were eclipsed by less tangible energies such as sounds, images and microwaves, so the latest grids convey information rather than ‘stuff’. Looking at Leys from scratch today, we would be much more likely to think of them working at a psychic, informational even spiritual level. However, the rationalist in me baulks at the idea of sending something down an alignment, let alone down an actual line, when that information is always available in the ‘cloud’, the ‘ether’ or even the Akashic archive.
However, we must always remember that we are translating the same information that is available to all of us throughout changing times, in ways that are meaningful to us in the here and now. If most Leys really are as old as they dowse, what would have been the mindset of humans (and we assume humans, rather than aliens or the divine!) living in the distant past?
You can dowse for the uses made of any given Ley and, perhaps more importantly, you can also dowse – on a scale of one to ten – as to how much of the overall function of the Ley relates to that purpose.
I never said it was simple!