Today Mr B and I spent a very enjoyable day at the Rollright Stones near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire learning about dowsing. We joined Maria Wheatley and Busty at the stone circle with a group of dowsers to find out more about this ancient art. The sacred site is wonderful, a perfect circle with many stones all jostling together like children playing “Ring-a-ring-a-roses”. With views over the ripening fields of crops, and shelter from the brisk wind, it was a lovely place to spend a Saturday.

I’ve written quite a bit about earth energy in my Stonewylde books. But I’ve never dowsed before and there’s something about being in a group that brings out the sceptic in me. I was ready to believe but also ready to dismiss. Maria was very welcoming and went to great lengths to give everyone plenty of attention. Busty lent each of us a pair of stainless steel L shaped dowsing rods, showed us how to hold them and we started dowsing straight away, searching for the energy within the stones themselves.

Mr B’s and my faces must have been hilarious as our rods immediately swung round. No question of “is it real?” – it was real! The rods really did seem to have a life of their own. Maria explained about the different types of dowsing, which I won’t go into here as I can’t remember all the proper names for things. Basically we looked at the patterns between each stone which all interconnect – the ley lines, which are energy lines between things above the ground. We searched too for the concentric circles of energy which are created within all circles and are to do with the inherent properties of the shape itself, and also the geospiral of energy under the ground – the earth energy.

This was all very interesting as I hadn’t appreciated the difference between ley lines and earth energy. We also dowsed with pendulums, which to be honest neither Mr B nor I had any success with. As you can probably tell from my expression in the photo above! Busty said this was because I was trying so hard not to let the crystal start to spin. That’s true – I thought people were deliberately swinging the pendulum themselves so I was trying to be good and not to cheat!

We also dowsed at the nearby King Stone, with more glorious views over the Oxfordshire countryside, and the Whispering Knights. Here we found the Belinus Line too, which is a very long line of earth energy which snakes from the Isle of Wight to the tip of Scotland apparently. The Whispering Knights are much older than the Rollright Stones, and have all sorts of myths attached such as how they whisper the name of future husbands to maidens at the full moon! It was lovely to see little offerings of flower posies on them, and quite a few coins too.

It’s been a while since I took part in a group event like this, and I’d forgotten what an interesting and offbeat bunch of people are attracted to such things. Maria and Busty were lovely and explained their theories, answered questions as best they could and gave us all plenty of their time and attention. I realise I couldn’t possibly learn in one day what it’s taken them many years to discover, but they gave us a good introduction to dowsing. I’d like to do it again with a Y rod of wood (Maria recommended hazel) which would feel more natural to me.

If anyone is interested in dowsing with Maria, take a look at her website on She normally works at Avebury but also does work at Stonehenge. She’s very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour too.


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  1. Kath 15 years ago

    Sounds like a fabulous day! Hope you managed to dodge the showers.Best wishes Kath

  2. it sounds great kit. i have never dowsed with rods before but use a pendulum. i recently used it here in our new home, just to get an idea of the energy here and it went crazy. i started in the garden, where there are a few sluggish spots, then can inside where it was the same, except for another sluggish room (funnily the one we still have not decorated!)swampy never belived in it until he saw me working with my pendulum~think i changed his mind that day. lots of earth energy i think. i was born 2 miles from Lee on Solent where the Belinus line enters mainland uk and where we live now is bang inbetween two leylines that run from the IOW up to old sarum. a good place to live!

  3. Rebbie Macintyre 15 years ago

    Loved your post! And the comments. My historical mystery, CAST THE FIRST STONE, is set in Depression era Colorado and is about a dowser who uses her talent to save her brother from a murder conviction. It’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’ve done a lot of research about dowsing and it’s a fascinating subject. My heroine dowses with a pendulum also. Thought this might be of interest to you and your readers.

  4. Karen 15 years ago

    I’m a hypnotherapist, and we sometimes use pendulum dowsing to get clarification on issues. We have the clients hold the pendulum over a piece of paper with axes of 2-4 options drawn on it, and see how it swings.

    The movement is not conscious, but is made by the involuntary miniscule muscle movements prompted by the unconscious – the ideo-motor response, or IMR []. It’s fascinating stuff, because it gives a quick and accurate view of what the client wants and believes deep down, below all the layers of fear, their ideas of what they “ought” to want, etc., so we can be sure that they’re genuinely OK with the way sessions are going, ready to receive suggestions, and so on.

    Obviously, we’re not using IMRs to pick up Earth energy or ley lines, but I believe that’s what’s happening with dowsing for any material or energy: we are connected with the Earth in a profound way, but we’ve mostly forgotten that and forgotten how to trust ourselves. A dowser is on a deep, unconscious level, reacting to the energy and the resulting tiny IMRs produce the movement of rod or pendulum. I do think that everything is connected, and objects have energy, but that it’s the combination of object with human energy running through it that does the trick. And objects can accumulate energy (my athame was an ordinary knife until I poured will into it and used it for 20 years in ritual), and our unconscious minds make the quick link between object and outcome, allowing our energy to flow into and through the object without conscious thought.

    It’s such a fertile area for exploration, and such fun!

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