Ten Years After – Beltane 2014
It’s a bit difficult to grasp that a decade to the day has passed since Hamish Miller assisted Caroline Keane to breathe life into the Merrivale Beltane celebrations. It is, perhaps, even more startling to realise that the late Cornish Scot himself passed over more than four years ago – but many of us are carrying forward different aspects of the insights that he brought into the public domain.
The Dawn Chorus itself started out as a collaboration between Tavistock Sings (part of the annual music and arts festival of the Devon town of Tavistock, UK) and the Sacred Footprints series of talks, hosted by Plymouth University – in which both Caroline and Hamish participated.
Welcoming in the sun on May Day is always a bit problematical here on Dartmoor. On a couple of occasions, we have indeed seen it rise, which is actually quite exciting! This year, however, was rather more typical. We were promised heavy rain, but got away with persistent drizzle. So, on balance, not a bad result. Given the forecast, a surpisingly large contingent of local and localish celebrants turned out at around five o’clock, on a decidedly murky moorland morning, to acknowledge the start of summer.
As in previous years, those attending were a mixture of singers, dancers, musicians and their friends, accompanied by a couple of dog walkers, a small herd of rather bemused cattle, several joyous skylarks, a cuckoo – and a dowser.
I have often said that every time I go to Merrivale (and it adds up to zillions of visits by now) I learn something new. Every time. Today was no exception. Having dowsed during a couple of eclipses last month (neither visible from the UK), I was in the swing of measuring the effects of the movement of celestial bodies on natural earth energy lines. Today, I decided to add that line of research to my usual recording of the rising energy levels at the Merrivale stone circle during the Beltane festivities.
During the April eclipses of the moon and the sun, the earth energy lines in our home (and, by extrapolation, just about anywhere else in the area) contracted by around 20-30%. Similar types of line crossing the Merrivale circle more than doubled in width from a base reading taken before the start of today’s activities. The implication is that, on the basis of a small and not very scientific sample, the activity and intent of the May Day participants had a greater impact on everyday earth energies than the combined efforts of the sun and moon put together! Clearly, life is rather more complex than that, but it did give an idea of perspective. The actions and intentions of people do have a remarkably large (and perfectly measurable) impact on the natural world – and, by inference, on one another.
Following quite literally in Hamish’s footsteps, each year I have measured the radial lines of force entering and emanating from the circle, before and during the performance. This year the radial count on my arrival at about 04.45 was thirty four. By the time the event was winding down, around 06.30, it had risen to 82. Even after all these years, I still find the scale and speed of the energy shift quite astonishing. In 2004, Hamish and I both noted a significant shift, and in similar proportions to one another, but every year it is different. Given the hopeless task of isolating variables, when dowsing in the damp and the dark on open moorland, all I can conclude is that while the base reading (the one taken before the start) varies considerably from one occasion to another, the input and/or intent of the dancers, singers and musicians always doubles, trebles, even quadruples the ambient energy of the site – at least, for a short while.
On every other occasion that I have been to the Merrivale complex, the circle has acknowledged my arrival by a quick burst of added radials. Today, there was nothing. However, before I felt too hard done by or neglected, I had to note that the radial count was much higher than usual at the start, probably due to the remanence of a ceremony held there yesterday evening. What we did get was a quick increase in energetic activity when the bulk of the participants arrived – and then again when the clockwise rotational dancing commenced. I had the impression that the spiralling energy of the ancient circle was literally being wound up by those present.
Again, following on from my recent eclipse work, I also looked for any sections of planetary grids that might run close to the megaliths. These phenomena seem to be natural, cosmic meshes, which could be interference patterns resulting from the gravitational or centrifugal pull of the earth on its neighbours (or vice versa!) I found one section of a ‘Moon Grid’ running through the stone circle, which was of interest in its own right, and a section of a Solar Grid running plumb through the menhir, which really set me thinking. It seemed to be angled towards the midsummer sunset notch in Middle Staple Tor, but in the ubiquitous gloom it was difficult to be certain.
However, my conclusions were that neither grid showed any sign of change – so, maybe human intent doesn’t hold much sway over inter-planetary gravitational attraction. In the same vein, I also measured two of the water lines entering the circle, one at five paces wide and another at four. Again, there was no noticeable change to either of these lines.
This year, Caroline had taken the opportunity to use the event to raise funds for StressCare (The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Association), with £72 being raised by the auction of her painting of masked dancer, Maggi Squire, at Merrivale Beltane 2013 – and a creditable £176 raised overall.
As we journeyed home, although the cuckoo was still cuckooing, what passes for rush hour in Tavistock was getting underway. A different type of reality was returning. But the dowsing had been enlightening and, for some esoteric reason, the energy at this year’s event made it a particularly enjoyable start to summer.
As ever, many thanks to all those who worked so hard to put on The Dawn Chorus, and for tolerating my dowsing eccentricities on this magical morning.
Nigel Twinn, Tamar Dowsers – May 1st 2014