A zoom presentation to the Tamar, Devon, Trencrom,
Somerset and Thames Valley dowsing groups
To come across an ordained Christian minister who is also an enthusiastic and prominent dowsing author is not a unique experience, but I have only met one other. Such rare hybrids are an endangered species. The importance of these valued beings is that they bring together two different modes of thought for the rest of us to consider. Whether you are a seasoned questor or an aspiring novice, such opportunities are like gold dust.
Despite a passion for comparative religion and the wisdom of lost civilisations, Jim Willis has been a clergyman, engaged primarily in mainstream religious activity, for over four decades. However, he has also developed a growing awareness of the dowser’s ability to access the realms beyond. Such stances are not incompatible, but it does take a lot of quiet consideration to square the circle.
Inspired by the work of Hamish Miller, and guided by the arm-on-the-shoulder of John Moss, Jim has developed a deep affiliation with the westcountry strand of the dowsing diaspora. He speaks with great affection of his venture from his home in the backwoods of South Carolina to the open landscape of Cornwall, a few years ago, and it has clearly left a indelible impression on his psyche.
In this talk, Jim described aspects of his journey into dowsing in terms of Humilty, Health and (spiritual) Hunger. He has come to appreciate that dowsing is not an activity to be undertaken without consideration. It requires respect. Sadly, it has become part of the human condition to think of ourselves as being the centre of our universe, around which all else revolves. But dowsing shows us graphically that we are mere specks, miniscule (but vital) pixels in the cosmic hologram. For someone with a theological background, that may well have struck a chord more profoundly that those with a more materialistic point of departure. Being a humble soul is a necessary pre-requisite for becoming a successful dowser.
In the second strand of the session was Jim’s appreciation that health is at least as much about the positive benefits of healthiness, as the fear and prevention of disease – a very pertinent insight in the maelstrom of this pandemic. Searching for the positives and strengthening resilience are just as valuable as vaccines and ventilators in the longer run. If you can employ the former at an earlier stage, then the need for the latter is greatly reduced. It’s easy to say with hindsight, but will we be able to employ it looking forward?
It is spirituality that lies at the heart of his approach to dowsing. He has a passion, indeed a hunger, to understand not just how dowsing works, but why it works in these current circumstances. In this, he strikes a strong chord with those of us with a similar endeavour.
While conceptual models of this type are gradually becoming more widely discussed in the realm of emerging science, it is both refreshing and inspiring to hear someone from a very different tradition adding their support to the unfolding realisation.
In the ensuing Q&A session, it became apparent that he has encountered a fair amount of flak from the harder line elements of the US church. But Willis the wayfinder is a man on a mission. He knows he is on to something big, and he is willing to make the effort to explain his ideas to anyone willing to listen.
He fielded questions about what it was like to be both a Christian and a dowser with both honesty and humour. He picked out some of the more obvious dowsing references in the Bible – such as Moses finding water and the healing cameos of the New Testament – but for him it was more that he found much the same information and inspiration in both the scriptures as in his own practical experience. One is his heritage, the other his perception – but both have a mutually supportive place in his view of the cosmos.
He was thoughtful about the prospects for the immediate future. He acknowledged, without resort to biblical rhetoric, that our civilisation stands on a precipice – politically, socially, climatically and spiritually. However, in common with many of his ilk, he has a profound optimism that if there are enough of us with as positive outlook, we can see this crisis through. This meme clearly chimed powerfully with the assembled zoomers.
Despite being the author of several highly regarded books on the subject, having a prominent Internet presence and being a consummate public speaker, there is nothing of the formidable American Evangelist about him. He is just someone who has thought through his ideas, and has a thirst to discuss them with colleagues and collaborators – from whichever congregation they may originate.
The presentation was received very warmly by the largest audience for a westcountry zoom session to date. His hunger clearly hit the right note for many, and his humility shone through without being worn on his sleeve. In fact, he came over far more like a wise old country vicar that you might meet in the pub on a good day, than a stadium preacher with a message from on high.
Bridging science and spirituality, on screen and on line, for a such mixed catchment in another country is no mean feat at the best of times, but Jim Willis made a jolly good fist of trying – and no doubt acquired a fair few new friends in the process.
Many thanks to Jim for a super Saturday session; to Jill for setting it up and to Gwynn for holding the ring for all five screensworth of us.
Further information about Jim Willis and his many books can be obtained from: