Davyd Farrell, talks to Dr Patrick MacManaway
The study and art of the relationship between people and place is called geomancy, an almost forgotten aspect of human consciousness in the West, which works with the intelligence in the landscape. In this fascinating interview, Patrick discusses how we can be in communication and co-creation with the spirits of place, of the land and of nature for our own wellbeing and that of our environment.
Davyd I’d like to introduce to you Dr Patrick MacManaway; one of our own teachers, international jet setter, world renowned geomancer and land healer and all round top fella.
Patrick Hello. Always a pleasure to work with you guys.
Davyd Likewise. We’ve [Davyd and Emma Farrell] been very fortunate to have trained under you a few years ago and learned a lot about the world of geomancy and land healing. I’m going to be asking you to explain a little bit more about your work and perhaps get under the skin of some of these terms. Like geomancy, maybe that’s a great place to start. So what does it mean?
Patrick Geomancy is now a rather old fashioned word and it breaks down really simply. Anything ‘mantic’ is a divinatory process and so, technically, when we read Tarot cards that would be ‘Taromancy’, when we read palms it would be ‘Palmomancy’. Although the term has rather fallen out of use, it simply means ‘the divination of the place’. We use the old fashioned term because the practice has sort of fallen out of cultural awareness, so we can use terms from other cultures such as the Chinese feng shui or else we use terms such as geomancy that may feel very old fashioned and slightly wrapped in medieval mystery.
Davyd *laughs* Which we kind of like – medieval mystery …
Patrick So really we’re looking at the divination of place; the perception, awareness and subsequent actions or choices made based on not only the physicality of the landscape but the invisible, perceptual energetics. There are different layers and levels that we look at in terms of the earth meridians – the dragon lines which bring geomagnetism, life force, through the landscape underground in pathways of water, over ground in pathways of solar resonance. So that’s one layer we look at, the underlying energetic matrix of place and then health and quality and tonality of that; just as an acupuncturist would look at those pathways on a person.
Davyd We could say this is a form of land healing perhaps?
Patrick Sometimes the agenda is land healing. I think more generically and universally I would frame geomancy as the study of the art of right relationship between people and place. Traditional agriculture is called husbandry and in that context we have a very real sense of a marriage, a committed relationship between the farm community and their landscape. In a similar way to the relationship between ourselves and our home, ourselves and our office or commercial space, industrial space or our farm or our civic space or community spaces. So in a way, as so many shamanic roles and tasks are, geomancy is a mediator between the landscape intelligence – the landscape spirit, genius loci – and the spirit of the individual and collective enterprise that it’s been asked to host.
Davyd So many cultures around the world still understand these things intuitively; many indigenous cultures still live in accordance and harmony with their environment. In the Amazon, for example, they have an intricate understanding of the complexity of nature. Why do you think that this tradition seems to have fallen out of usage largely in Britain? And what are the consequences of that?
Patrick Very pertinent question, Davyd. And I think probably a question that needs to remain open. We see different strands of separation from an awareness and association with spirit of land – elemental intelligence, nature spirit intelligence – and I think historically much of our landscape was communicated with in what our culture would now call Pagan terms. ‘Pagan’ meaning peasant; people who were growing produce from the land and having to manage, sustain and bring forth plant and animal life from the soil I think are inevitably, simply by association, very attentive and aware of the co-operative potential with the nature and elemental spirits and the significance and benefits of doing that. And certainly pre-chemistry that was all we had and so we were very based on that way of doing things. Post agricultural chemistry we’re seeing a lot of people returning to it because the benefits and advantages of chemical additives seems to be expiring; more and more additives being put on for either maintaining similar or slightly reducing yields and diminished soil health consequently. So there is, I think, a grass roots movement now where people are simply as an expedient having to look at what else is possible; what else will enhance our capacity to grow food and survive, basically.
Davyd So maybe another way to look at it would be that as we in the West have evolved and we’ve moved away from a more subsistence survival, living where we had to be this way, communicating with the natural environment to maximise crop yields in a balanced way because that’s what we needed to get through the winter – as that’s become less of a necessity and we’ve moved away from the land into the factories and the mills and the modern era – we’ve lost that ability, that knowledge, that understanding or even that necessity and it’s become a more mechanised process.
Patrick I think that’s very much descriptive of our cultural mind set which has moved increasingly into industry, mechanisation, technology and electrification. But even within that there are people paying attention to finding out that actually your computer is interactive, it responds to your state of mind. So there’s an intelligence in our technology – I think everybody will have had bonded intelligent experiences with their cars. So the spirit of the thing is always there whether it’s apparently inanimate and man-made or whether it’s organic and naturally occurring. I think we can extend our awareness as per the standard shamanic or physic view, that spirit precedes matter and matter is a clothing of that so all things have some level of spirit and intelligence that people can communicate and interact with.
Davyd Which leads us nicely into the next thing I wanted to talk to you about which is the idea of animism and seeing that everything is ‘animated’ or has consciousness to some degree or other. Maybe for some people that’s difficult to comprehend because certain things like this sofa (*touches the sofa he is sitting on*) just look like an object that doesn’t have any intelligence to it at all and yet if we look closely we can see this is made from some kind of animal product which was alive, so we can begin to understand. Even our laptops are made of minerals and stuff from the earth. All of these have been part of dynamic processes at some point and have had intelligence behind them. But this is what is considered to be a very Pagan idea and perhaps something from the antiquated past of our ancestors isn’t worthy of consideration anymore? Is that something you come up against in your line of work? And would you consider yourself to be an animist?
Patrick It’s always very dangerous using labels because they mean different things to different people and one doesn’t want to be associated with something that’s a misconception of the term. However, I think that in as much as animism describes an awareness and an experience of the world as being sentient and interactive, then I think it is an appropriate descriptive term.
The thing is Davyd, once one applies these principles and sees the consequence of them, then the question is no longer a philosophical one but more an extremely pragmatic one. One place that I see an unexpected response from landscape is in the presence of water in wells and rivers. The first time I saw water responding like this was during a drought season in Vermont which extended into a second year. Many of the shallow springs were getting dry and people were dowsing for deeper sources – and drilling – so it was good business for dowsers and drillers! But not all properties were able to access the equipment required to do this. I was asked by one of my best friends to look at her three feet deep shallow spring in the woods behind her house. So we went and sure enough there was a dry hole in the woods; there wasn’t any sign of water anywhere and hadn’t been for some weeks. But tuning in with an energetic perceptual awareness it was apparent that the spirit of the spring – the personality or diva or sprite; the spirit of the spring’s intelligence – was still present and it felt like a spring even though it was dry. So it felt like a dry spring rather than a dry hole in the ground, as it were – just a touch of catching that ‘edge’ in one’s awareness. And so we communicated with this telepathically, meditatively, with a little bit of dowsing to test that we were communicating with it, and explained the circumstance, that people needed the water. It didn’t have another source point or access. Our questions, once we’d established loving rapport, were “Are you able to help us?” And we got a clear communication “Yes”. The second question was then “Would you be willing to help us to get us the water back?” And the answer was “yes”. The third question was “What would you like us to do to facilitate that circumstance?” And so we were all clearly impressed that the answer was “sing”! We checked left and right and there was nobody around, we were in the woods, nobody could hear us and so we had a good old sing until it felt like the gift had been received and then we went, withdrew and had a cup of tea. Within 48 hours and in the absence of rain, that spring was overflowing with water. And we were all, frankly, a bit surprised! I’d learned and watched dowsing practices and moving water in and out of wells – either moving veins that were carrying contaminated minerals or contaminated biological sources out of wells and moving fresh water in – so I’d seen other dowsers working in this way. But that was sort of at a horizontal level, redefining underground pathways. I’d never seen a surface response like this.
Davyd It’s a very strong validation, from a dry spring to suddenly being overflowing with water. I think it speaks of the possibilities ….
Patrick The possibilities are suddenly very extraordinary in that regard. Within a week I had a second job that went the same way. And a week later I had a client who told me she had done the same thing, sung to her dry spring and it had come back to life.
One very salutary experience on a farm in Queensland – a deep bore hole there that had overflowed during the current farmer’s childhood (I think he’s third generation on that property) and then they’d taken the infrastructure off, they hadn’t used it for 30 years and the water had gone away. The farmer said that even with a flashlight looking down he couldn’t see the water level but he was keen to get this well back in use. So a colleague and I worked on it, blessed it, loved it up, talked to it, asked it to come back and it came back to within 2 feet of surface – filled itself back up. Everybody was thrilled. Then – I think farm finances in Australia, they have good years and bad years and so sometimes projects don’t move at the speed they expect – so in fact this bore hole was not re-equipped with pumping equipment and continued in disuse, nobody spoke to it again and after a couple of years it had dropped back down and now it’s sitting about 8 or 10 feet. I haven’t caught up with the farmer in about 2 years – I’d be curious to do so – but it looked very much as though the water was literally responding to the human communication.
Then we see that in fact we have traditions in this country of well-dressing, well-blessing on an annual basis; renewing the relationship with gratitude, with love, with flowers, with singing, with dancing and we see from that, this will change the quality of water. Then we see from these other experiences actually beyond the crystalline structure there’s an intelligence animus, an animated spirit that seems capable of governing the presence of water in the landscape in response to our loving communication. If your water comes out of a tap you don’t think to bless the well but if the well in the garden only gives you water if you bless it annually then that’s …
Davyd … what you have to do.
Patrick It’s as ordinary as doing the dishes, preparing food and feeding the kids.
Davyd So I guess at the core of all of this work of geomancy is being in the right relationship with all aspects of the environment – the water, the plants, the trees, the soil – in the same way as if we want to have a positive relationship with another human being then nature itself is not so different and the same kind of principles apply; show love, honour, respect and then you’ll get the same back. Is that a fair analysis?
Patrick I think that’s spot on …
Biography and Additional Information
Dr. Patrick MacManaway is a third-generation practitioner of the psychic and healing arts with an international practice working with landscape from domestic and commercial to agricultural sites. Patrick also engages in traditional and shamanic healing practices, was Past-President of the British Society of Dowsers, holds a degree in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh and is the author of several books and CDs including The Practical Guide to Dowsing: How to Harness the Earth’s Energies for Health and Healing and Keys To Grace. For more information please visit http://patrickmacmanaway.com/.
WisdomHub.tv is a unique platform that broadcasts the knowledge of Earth Wisdom, Plant Intelligence and Indigenous Knowledge to a global audience to both preserve the precious teachings of Mother Earth and to assist in the awakening of fellow humans. Its purpose is to help teach us how to live in harmony and co-creation with nature, which benefits the wellbeing of both the individual and the planet. WisdomHub.tv channels include Workshops, Teachings and Interviews with the spokes of its hub reaching into the directions of: Plant Intelligence; Herbalism; Indigenous Wisdom; Eco-Psychology; Deep Ecology; Shamanism; Healing. https://www.wisdomhub.tv/
This article featured in Issue 42 of Indie Shaman magazine, published in October 2019
To watch this interview in full please visit Wisdom Hub TV.