We all see a different, slender cross-section of reality. Each person, each culture, each era has its own perspective, creates its own mythology and evolves its own compendium of indisputable truth. Only when we come across someone else, with another outlook, and a new revelation, do we come to realise that we are all looking at much the same ocean of information from our own unique angle.
In this fascinating and eye-opening presentation of the worldview of the Kogi tribal group based in the highlands of Colombia, Christopher Clarke was able to demonstrate a strikingly comprehensive alternative take on the human condition. Moreover, he was able to show that a pre-Colombian South American community, which had next to no contact with western influences prior to the latter part of the 20th century, could also throw an unexpected spotlight on some of the big issues that haunt the emerging world of the dowser.
This is the strange story of how the Kogi are seeking to enlighten their Little Brother (aka the Europeans and their diaspora) before the latter completely destroy the world inhabited by both the modern-day conquistadors and the Kogi themselves. Concerns expressed in their film about what we would term the environmental crisis, the decline of spirituality and the unfettered rise of materialism seem almost too topical and mainstream to be attributed to this primeval Indian group. Yet, for the dowser, this is only the shop window on their radically insightful understanding of the non-physical cosmos.
While some of the subtleties of the Kogi philosophy have, perhaps unavoidably, been dumbed down or misunderstood in their translation to an unrelated linguistic form, there are a series of critical issues arising from it, which Christopher was able to highlight particularly well.
The idea that humans were formed by and from a ‘great mother’, who herself was (or is!) comprised of pure consciousness is the kind of cutting edge thinking that excites those of us in the BSD’s Philosophical Tendency – yet this particular strand of South American theology happens to be thousands of years old.
The idea that matter (including ourselves) arises out of consciousness, rather than the other way around, is fundamental to the modern understanding of how dowsing can operate in a physical realm. Yet, here is a people who were culturally and socially self-contained for centuries exponding just such a controversial point of view as a self-evident fact.
For the earth energy dowser, the most obvious overlap between our approach and that of the Kogi comes with the concept that there are special, sacred nodal points, which are connected by invisible forces or lines. Joining these important places by walking barefoot and laying a symbolic thread between them helps to reinforce and reinvigorate the power of those connections. Neither the makers of the film that Christopher showed, nor the English astronomer asked to comment on their mindset, had any idea what the stars of the piece were talking about – yet a roomful of dowsers just nodded in agreement with such a commonplace observation.
The surprising edged into the surreal when one of the Kogi elders actually pointed out on air that there were a number of such lines running down from higher ground inland to significant nodal sites on the coast. This is almost a word-for-word repetition of one of the key findings of the earth energy dowser Billy Gawn, mentioned in his book Beyond the Far Horizon. Billy even taks about this very phenomenon in connection with the Nazca Lines in Peru, which he has investigated by deviceless map dowsing.
The Kogi men who often rub a mushroom-shaped piece of wood with another stick could so easily have been using alterative dowsing tools from another eon – and at one point the Kogi were filmed decoding massages in the bubbles of a stream in a manner redolent of tea-leaf or ink-spot divination, or even in a distant acknowledgement of animistic day-signs.
The clash of philosophies between the ageless Kogi and modern mining and development companies is as familiar as it is distressing. Ancient sacred sites were filmed having been bulldozed and/or concreted over to facilitate transient economic development. The corporate interests involved being as oblivious of the realm of subtle energies as the Indians are to the benefit, let alone the need, for crude material wealth.
The TDs audience discussed if there would be any merit in trying to show the Kogi how to dowse. But it was apparent that their own worldview was probably well beyond the point of using physical divination – and that they were apparently already using a form of deviceless structured intuition in locating their sacred sites. Trying to explain our own modest efforts to make sense of the intangible would doubtless also fall foul of the translator’s limited lexicon.
The late Hamish Miller spoke highly of the Kogi worldview – and he may well have seen this footage himself. Indeed, you only had to squint a little when watching the Colombians mark out a country-wide ‘energy line’ using kilometres of golden thread to see the fading shadow of Miller and Broadhurst doing much the same thing whilst traversing southern England in Hamish’s banger in search of Michael and Mary.
Many thanks to Christopher Clarke for trekking up from Penzance to talk to us, to all those whose efforts were vital to putting on this intriguing event – and of course to the Kogi themselves for sharing, in some desperation, the wisdom of their ancestors with the noisy new kids on their block.
While teaching them dowsing may be a non-starter, letting the Kogi know that there are quite a few of us who find their timeless philosophy both sound and darned interesting is probably long overdue.