Slimbridge Dowsing


Walking the Leys - Laurence Main

Laurence Main is a druid. He has dreadlocks and a flowing white beard, and he came to us on a frosty Saturday morning wearing shorts.

He is fit and strong, and evangelical about walking the leys. He is adamant we should not call them ‘ley lines’ (which we have done in the past, guilty as charged). They are simply leys, or energy lines, and Laurence Main has walked the most famous ones that criss-cross Britain, and all the less famous ones as well. Dowsers find them intuitively, as early man would have done.

In his talk ‘Walking the Leys’ on Saturday 23rd November, Laurence encouraged us to consider patterns in the landscape as a whole, and clues such as ancient boundaries, circular churchyards, clumps of trees, alignments of hill tops. Gloucestershire and Herefordshire have a wealth of such history, and studying place names on early maps can give clues too.

Laurence walks all day, and erects his tent on the ley after dusk so no one can see him. He has had some amazing experiences en route, and some even more amazing dreams, more vivid and powerful than any dreams he has ever had at home in bed.

Britain’s most famous ley is the dead-straight Michael line that links all the churches from Cornwall to Northumberland named after St Michael. Avebury is exactly half-way, the fulcrum. This straight-as-an-arrow ley is twined and skipped about by the more gentle Mary ley, that joins all the churches named after St Mary.

Laurence Main

Other leys link holy wells, stone circles (where every stone is connected), cathedrals and sacred sites a-plenty, but how did these mysterious energy lines or currents get there, and how were they formed? That is a chicken-and-egg question, we’re not sure which came first. Were they pilgrim routes that early man travelled frequently between important places? Or were the important places built on an existing ley? We cannot be certain.

Often leys are astronomically aligned with the summer or winter solstice sunrise, or sunset, or to coincide with the Beltane sun on an early May morning. Almost every ancient town has a Silver Street, which can derive from ‘silva’, the Roman word for woodland, but it can also derive from the silver of the moon, which is as important to life on earth as the golden light of the sun.

Every ley and every sacred site has a purpose but modern man, in his haste, has forgotten what it was. We are reaching back to a vague folk memory, searching for our roots, straining to understand. These leys are as real as the M5 motorway. Laurence Main knows that, because he has walked them all.

Our next meeting will be our Christmas party on Thursday 12th December, when we’ll be dowsing our usual Four Tables. Come along and have a go.