Divining an Inspiration

A captured-spring well

Google ‘divining’ and you’ll land in a vehement discussion as to whether it is real and true or just luck and trickery. There seems to be a big divide between those who believe and those who don’t.  I shall nail my colours to the mast. I believe.

Many years ago, after the spring that feeds our water supply reduced to just a trickle, we invested in having a borehole drilled.

Now I am under no illusion that Cornwall, and particularly this part, is a dry area. I know that there are many springs around – it is something that I have done a small historical study on, the domestic captured-spring wells of the parish. Like this one – where the spring has been boxed in by slate slabs (making a dipping pool of about 10 inches deep) with a little stone ‘house’ built over it and even (once) doors to keep out blowing debris and animals.

However, we contacted a guy who later became well known, with a short series on BBC TV, Donovan Wilkins, known as Don the Diviner. His business (based at Chacewater – true!) was borehole drilling and his promise was that when the drilling was made it should produce the amount of water he had predicted or you didn’t pay. Not just water – but the right amount of water.

A hazel Divining or dowsing rod

They came. They being Don and his wife Margaret and he looked around the small paddocks and strode around divining rod in hand, marking a few likely spots. His wife watched. After a while she suggested he try ‘over there on the other side of that gate’. Pointing at the gate to the strip that then led to the big field. So over there they went and within minutes he started sticking rods in all around. Soon he’d marked many lines of underground water and the place where they crossed. He told us how deep they would drill and the quantity of water in gallons per second. (I learned much later, from another renowned dowser, that Margaret was considered as good a diviner, if not better than, Don)

He then offered to show us all how to divine for water. Most of our family had ‘it’ to some extent or other, and #1 son, then aged about 7, was particularly good. Even after relinquishing the rod he seemed to still be able to sense the lines of water underground and described it to me like lights inside his head moving round until they met.

The borehole was drilled and the water found in just the abundance that was promised and an experience was locked into my head. Over time I read up about divining and found that water wasn’t the only thing that diviners could sense.

It was this, of course, that I drew upon when creating my novel Divining the Line, the handsome Cornish water diviner is following a line that isn’t water. It leads him to a nondescript estate in the southeast, a meeting with a woman and a near fatal beating. The woman is at a turning point in her life and ready to follow her own line of discovery that leads them both back down to Cornwall. What comes from this is a story of family, love and loss.  Divining the Line brings the ordinary and the extraordinary together into everyday life. Read reviews here

Of course in such a novel there has to be Divining – and here are two excerpts from DIVINING THE LINE  involving divining for water… firstly from page one….

Perran Lovering stood in the centre of a circle of white steel spears, marking the lines, and thrust a red spike into the earth between his feet. ‘Right,’ he said ‘that’s it.’

            He smiled and looked round the garden, it was about the best place they could have found, close enough to the road to make access easy and far enough away from the old Cornish farmhouse to be discreet.

‘Would you like to try? I’ll show you how,’ he offered, and held out the vee-shaped hazel stick to the owners.  

The wife blushed but held out her hand. As she took hold of the stick she tried to remember how he’d held it, but couldn’t as she had been keener on watching this handsome young man go about his work, than the work itself.

‘Like this,’ he said warmly. He laid out her hand flat, soft white palm upwards, and placed one arm of the dark rod upon it, its end passing just under her thumb, the lead up to the vee crossing her small finger. ‘Okay, now the same with the other hand. Right. Now grip it.’

She did, finding her wrists twisted inwards at an unnatural angle. 

He looked at her, made sure he had her attention. ‘Now pull the rods so that your wrists come straight.’

She followed his instructions feeling warm with embarrassment.

‘Got it?’

She nodded. 


And then from chapter 8

Back in his room he began to work in earnest. He marked the boundary of the first property as far as was known, he shaded in the ‘impossible’ sites, where farm buildings were, ponds, woodland, and other impediments to the machinery  reaching the sites. He took up the pendulum, letting it swing and twist in his fingers. He thought, water once more filled his mind, the pendulum was brought to swing over the site, eyes open he followed its guiding lines, watched as the swing slowed to a stand-still and became a gentle twisting motion. He fixed his eyes upon the point, let the crystal rest, marked the place with the pencil. He breathed as if he’d held his breath. The site chosen by the pendulum was clear of any of the known obstructions. The lines on the map suggested the ground was reasonably level, that is, level for Cornwall. He picked up the pendulum once more, allowed it to find the spot again, then turned his mind inwards seeking knowledge of the depth that the water ran at, and the quantity that coursed through the place selected. Using imperial measurements he sunk his mind by feet, ‘felt’ a major flow at eighty foot, but went on down, finding the best at a hundred and twenty. He next thought of quality and tasted sweet water in his mouth and was satisfied with that. Finally he needed to fix the quantity, the pendulum answered the numbers as he thought them, settling on eight hundred gallons an hour or thereabouts. All this he noted down and when finished shook himself as if suddenly feeling a chill, his innermost mind shivered from exposure.

Divining the Line and my other Novels (Nothing Ever Happens Here and Some Kind of Synchrony) are all available from annmade books and from Amazon

Or you could Win  a copy ….  as of today there are just over 400 places left in the draw I am holding for one lucky person to Win a Kindle – with runner up prizes of a Nero Slate cheeseboard and ecopies of each of my novels – including Divining the Line. To enter you only need to email sign up to this blog (see box above left) Click HERE to get all the details of when and how the draw will be made, how to get extra entries and why you’ll want to tell all your friends about it!

 By the way, for this week FWT? cheerleaders – results for week 16 are now on the drop-down from FWT? button!

Have you ever had experience of water divining or dowsing? Do you believe in it or think it is just hocus-pocus? I’d love to hear from you on this subject!


2 thoughts on “Divining an Inspiration

    • Hi Cora,
      Yes, I agree, fascinating! At a relatively recent WI meeting where we had another talented dowser(Alan Neal)talk to us and lead us through some practical divining, it turned out that I showed an ability to sense energy lines as well as water – so one day I intend to go on a course to find out more. Thank you for the kind words about the book!

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