Notes from a Highlander: David Cowan’s work

When I first read a book by David Cowan called “Ley Lines and Earth Energies” the title seemed to match my desire – to learn as much as possible about ley lines. I wasn’t quite so sure about whether I was really interested in earth energies at that stage, or even what they were, in truth. So, I made an attempt to read it, but fell short of completing it. I was too new to the subject to grasp what Cowan’s ideas were, or how they had been achieved. I parked the book until a later date.

As fate would have it I recently purchased a copy of another book he’d done, and this book was kinder. Or maybe I was more prepared for it. For the first half of “Ancient Energies of the Earth” I was simply nodding in agreement – “Yep – we’ve found that too.” Then Cowan began to come out with a stream of properties about the energies – how they worked, what they were powered by, what they linked to, how they circulated, what forces attracted and repelled them. I was overwhelmed with information so I started to make notes.

In the following section you can read some of those notes I took which I think encapsulate a number of pieces of information, some coherent, some random, and they are classified by us as either confirmatory (confirmed), or speculative if undesignated. That is, his ideas either correlate exactly to our own findings, or we have not yet shown them to be true enough for us to convince us yet. We aim to try the speculative ideas out this year.

Cowan makes reference to two terms that I will mention: cup-marked stones and telluric energies. Cup-marked stones are large stones ranging from small boulders up to huge megaliths that have man-made carved depressions, hollows and gouges. Cowan links these stones intrinsically to the functioning of ancient sites. Telluric energies are simply Cowan’s term for the male and female earth energies that we have discussed many times on this blog.

Animals, plants and energy lines

  • There are many tales of cows and insect swarms being attracted to geomagnetic areas.
  • Cows sit on tumuli, barrows, etc.
  • Church stonemasons had a tradition of sleeping where cows had been stood or had lain, as this ensured a good night’s sleep.
  • Evil water spirits in the form of a horse,bull or cow are often associated with tales about lochs, lakes and tarns.
  • Hares make their burrows on hills that have blind springs running beneath them.
  • Mole nests and badger sets are also associated with the location of blind springs.
  • Some plants grow better in areas where earth energy columns arise.

We have found an abundance of faerie rings with unusually lush grass growth forming circles around hilltops and sacred sites. At Arbor Low stone circle we found a column of energy arcing out of one faerie ring and joining to another some thirty feet away.

Energy Formations

  • Quoting Guy Underwood, Cowan says that blind springs (crossing points of underground water) send vertical spirals of energy arcing into the air.
  • The book shows an illustration of The Staff of Aesculapius symbol of entwined light and dark serpents (similar to the Caduceus symbol). A similar double-helix energy formation is shown emerging from a standing stone. (Confirmed)
  • There are at least two types of straight leys: containment leys and national leys. National leys follow geological fault lines, whereas containment leys can be constructed with a stone and a mound.
  • Underground energies are shaped like an inverted tree with the trunk being a spiral at the surface.
  • Cup marks carved in a stone produce an energy beam. One ray per mark (although it could be two as the line may come back into the stone ).
  • To make an energised stone carve a cup mark in sunlight. Once carved the stone can be moved, and the beam of energy directed by turning the stone.

Energy Properties

  • Cup marked stones are the SOURCE powering circuits of energy linking several ancient sites into a circuit of energy on both a local and national geographical scale.
  • Straight alignment leys differ from the earthy telluric energies (male and female lines). Alignment leys are neither male nor female, he says. Neutral, we say. (Confirmed)
  • Telluric energy follows the path of least obstruction, e.g. animal trails, tramlines in cornfields, or through forests. (Confirmed)
  • He equates the telluric energies to the Yin/Yang properties discussed by Chinese geomancers. The male energies come from edges, whereas the female energies emerge from hollows. These energies are also attracted to features of a similar type: i.e. male energies seek edges, whereas female energies seek hollows. (Confirmed)
  • This energy tunes into resonant cavities – holes or hollows, skulls and bones. These cavities are resonated by wind passing through them, causing vibrational resonance.
  • Qualities of the energies:
  1. takes the easiest path,
  2. attracted to bodies of water,
  3. attracted to recent death sites.
  • The wavelengths of telluric energies are phased, and seems to be based on a two-minute cycle. Dowsing the same wave twice within that two minute cycle ought to yield variations on the position of the wave.
  • Straight leys do not cycle their phase and are STATIC. (Confirmed)
  • SOLAR ENERGY produces the shape wave around objects on the earth (trees, stones, tumuli). This means that the size of the “aura” of that feature is linked to the extent of its shadow in the sun. The extent is mirrored not only on the shadow side, but on its opposite side too, like an anti-shadow.
  • In derelict houses the energy will enter the door and leave by another “hole” such as a chimney, or window.
  • The energy will often pass across bridges.
  • Male lines spiral clockwise, female lines spiral anti-clockwise. (Confirmed)
  • Streams, rivers, roads, paths, railway lines and electricity pylons all act as carriers for telluric energies. Straight leys are not re-directed by the presence of obstacles, but travel in straight lines naturally. (Confirmed)
  • The width of the holes in standing stones or cup marks in stones denotes the breadth of the telluric line that emerges from it (or travels through it). Narrow holes or slits concentrate energies into thin lines, whereas wide or gaping holes emit a broad encircling line of energy.

Winter Hill cup-marked stone

Winter Hill cup-marked stone

Ancient Site Construction

  • Two standing stones side by side form a portal that focuses energy lines along a particular direction. (Confirmed)
  • Standing stones are situated on the crossing points of two or more underground streams.
  • Some piles of stones (cairns) attract the paths of energies, and may even be sources of energies themselves. If one stone is moved away from the pile then an energy path will come with it. (Confirmed)
  • The gaps in piles of boulders attracts telluric energies, as do man-made gaps between hills and split stones (like The Praying Hands of Mary in Perthshire).
  • Telluric energies avoid Forestry Commission Plantations. The trees being so close together form an impenetrable barrier.
  • Four-stone circles work differently from other types of stone circle. They are called “four posters”. These circles transmit energy out to circular burial grounds.
  • Dolmens or cromlechs seem designed as parabolas for the purpose of concentrating energy. (Confirmed)
  • Suggests that Arbor Low is a hub for many radial alignment leys. Kal found 12. (Confirmed)
  • Confirms that energies come out of the FLAT side of a stone in a circle (like at Druid’s Circle, Penmaenmawr), circles around, then comes back into the stone. (Confirmed)
  • Sites tend to be built upon geological fault lines, and lines cross at nodes where activity is strongest.
  • Lakes, tarns, lochs and just about any standing water body acts as an attractor pulling energy currents towards them, even uphill.
  • Sacred sites usually have some element of PARABOLA involved in their design. These concentrate the energies coming in to a single point.

Consider the position of power centres in stone circles, which are always off-centre and closer to the edge of a site. There is also an interesting story (upcoming blog post) about some Tibetan monks being observed and photographed by a German scientist demonstrating their powers of levitating a megalith by using sound energy. This was achieved whilst stood in a semi-circle a precise distance away from the stone and chanting whilst drumming.

Death Energies

  • A ram’s head skull found int he path of a ley line had a set of concentric rings around it in the shape of the skull. These got narrower apart at the outer edge. The spread of these concentric waves supposedly can vary according to how recent the death of the animal was.
  • The burial sites of ancient warriors is a likely place to find telluric energy flowing through (cf. Hawarden – the Gladstone tomb). (Confirmed)
  • Healthy lines turn to unhealthy lines when they pass through a graveyard.
  • The more recent the death, the stronger the attraction for energy lines.
  • The paths of the dead were always straight, and many straight leys run through ancient burial sites. It seems as though the dead were transported along these straight trackways (or “doodwegen” – ‘dead ways’  in Dutch). Many cultures believe that the recent dead travel in straight lines.

Scientific and Paranormal properties of energy

  • The dowsing brain is sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Passing through these fields with increasing speed increases the voltage in the brain from around 4microvolts @ 1m/sec to 400microvolts @8m/sec.
  • Rotating the head also causes a similar increase in voltages. Are increases in voltages associated with altered states of consciousness?
  • Welsh folklore has it that cup marks and petroglyphs hold the key to all knowledge of the arts and sciences of the ancient world. See also the book “Lost Arts and Sciences of the Stone Age”
  • Apollonius Rhodius (Greek poet) said: “Stones placed at the apex of a tumulus are so sensitive as to be movable by the mind.”
  • Telluric energy may be capable of splitting stones, or causing weaknesses in stone to be exposed to weathering, thus creating unusual gaps along the paths of straight leys.
  • Up until the 1950s it was common for Glasgow women to draw “step charms” in chalk on their doorsteps. These were intricate patterns of sacred gemoetrical shapes. The idea was to give whoever stopped over them the benefits of their benevolent energies. In India they are called “kolams“.
  • Kiva, or magnetic chambers, used by the Native Americans for the purpose of transformation of consciousness. Souterrains like Bryn Celli Ddu, or Lligwy chamber, serve this purpose too. (Confirmed)
  • Chladni patterns produced by sound vibrations shaping sand on a smooth surface – are these designs the format of crop circle designs? Does that mean that crop circles are produced by energy at differing frequencies?
  • Crop circles could form ever more complex patterns through the input of ever stronger electromagnetic forces, producing a pattern much like when sand on a flat plate is vibrated at higher and higher frequencies.
  • Margaret Watts-Hughes used her voice to create patterns (lycopodium grains, sand, powder and a ‘singing tube’) – they are called Eidophone Voice Figures. This was simply done using a pipe with some rubber stretched across the ‘trumpet’ or bowl section. The power and sand are mixed with some water and spread across the membrane. Gentle tonal singing through the tube then produces patterns.

Healing with Energy

  • There is an ancient tradition of burying silver bells to ward off malignant energies. As the bell shape is concave it deflects bad earth energies.
  • Lines from a stone can pick up healthy negative IONS by following a stream or river (especially a lively one).
  • Energy lines that follow a stream or river can be attracted and directed around houses to form a shield against unhealthy energies in the area.
  • Drilling a hole in a stone (The Cheesewring, Cornwall, for example) causes it to emit a form of energy that is traditionally associated with healing.
  • Healthy energy waves can pass through glass, but unhealthy waves cannot, and avoid or go around the glass obstacle.
  • Confirms that electricity pylons attract and act as a conduit or carrier for both healthy and unhealthy energies.
  • Putting a mirror or glass (glass is the key) beneath a bed will deflect harmful energy lines (‘black lines’) and aid a restful sleep.
  • T.C.Lethbridge believed that waterfalls, spring and streams were places where humans could interact best with the natural force field, as they generate negative (good) ions. They certainly have the power to enervate the human spirit.

The Geology and Geography of Ley Lines

  • There is a long straight ley running from Glastonbury Tor to Edinburgh Castle
  • Cowan speculates that highest telluric currents originate from volcanic activity (volcanies, volcanic plugs). These volcanic plugs often have large castles situated on them that housed rulers and kings.
  • Magnetic anomalies of Croy Brae, Ranmore Common (Surrey), Isle of Mull, Mt Cavo in Italy, and Long Mynd in Shropshire all have unusual effects. Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire has an extremely high geomagnetic field.
  • The Isle of Staffa (near Mull, site of Fingal’s Cave) and the Giant’s Causeway – both originators of straight energy leys, and made from volcanic basalt rock. The cave is huge, and combined with the volcanic source material, projects a powerful ley across to Iona.

Tiamat: The Chromatic Dragon

Tiamat: The Chromatic Dragon


  • Names for the energy dragon around the world:
  1. KUEI (China) – travels in straight lines, dislikes iron & steel.
  2. ECHIDNA (Greece) – lives in caves, moves at night, shuns the daylight.
  3. ORME (Gaelic) – worm that suns the daylight.
  4. TIAMAT  – lives below water, is evil.
  5. OMNIONT (N.America) – giant snake, when angry makes thunder, lightening, hail and rain.
  6. WHOWIES (Australia) – lives in caves, travels only at night.
  7. BUNYIP (Australia) – lives in damp sand.
  8. UROO (Australia) – water serpent that twists and turns below the earth’s surface.


Many assertions that need testing, wonderful description of layering up over energy systems over a wide area. Describes how to build a ley system. Second half of book is by Anne Silk and is attempt to scientifically (specif. geologically) explain paranormal phenomena via earth energy qualities. Similar to work done by Paul Devereux.

It is clear there is a link made by Cowan (as by many other researchers, archaeologists and dowsers) between the siting of ancient burial sites and their energetic potential. It seems as though death, or the extinction of life in particular, attracts telluric energies. A connection we were not keen to explore after our Norton Priory experience last year (see blog post), but may have to revisit.

I heartily recommend the “Ancient Energies..” book as a useful insight into how David Cowan deconstructed then reconstructed the makings and working of a large-scale energy ley system and its associated local telluric energy systems. When you see the scale of the work done by ancient cultures it only further impresses you with its ingenuity and sensitivity. We know little of its actual power potential, however.


  1. David Cowan & Anne Silk : “Ancient Energies of the Earth”  (buy)
  2. David Cowan & Chris Arnold : Ley Lines and Earth Energies”  (buy)
  3. If you want to see what kind of subjects David is drawn to research then you should visit his website:


Following in the footsteps.


  1. Miryam-Chavah
    Feb 8, 2019

    I just stumbled this web-page. I had received today David Cowan’s book “Ley Lines of the U.K. and U.S.A.” Googling for information about the author and writings brought me here. I must tell you that I need to re-read what you have written, but very much intrigued.

    I am a student of the Environmental Sciences (concentrating on Botany, Geology and the natural Physics). You would have guessed that studying these things would wash my brain of any talk of earth’s “energy” and the ley lines, but you can’t be further from the truth. Instead, the more I am (slowly) learning, the more I can SEE when I look at the world around me. I’m sure you can relate, it’s like I am in shock (and a little embarrassed) that I spent so many years thinking that living on this planet was rather 2-dimensional. — Juju.

  2. David Cowan
    Apr 24, 2012

    Excellent site, and glad you correlate with my work. My new website address, by the way is – it has been updated with the work on the Irish Round Towers.

  3. spirits
    Feb 17, 2012

    Pretty nice blog post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your website posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon! spirits

    • Gwas
      Feb 17, 2012

      Thanks for your interest! We post every other day so there’s plenty for you to read, and given your starting point – quite an old post – there should be enough to keep you busy for many a month catching up on our previous posts!

      Nice to have you with us.
      Gwas and Kal.

  4. david cowan
    Jan 16, 2009

    Glad to see that you enjoyed my book “Ley Lines and Earth Energies”.
    There are some new developments, even more interesting – – click on picture of Irish Round Towers and you will find some fascinating insights into spirit energy from burial-grounds.
    Best Wishes,
    David R. Cowan

    • gwas
      Jan 17, 2009

      Thank you David. I hope you approve of the interpretations I made of your work. I will go and take a look at the round towers information, as I’m always on the lookout for new sites to dowse. I appreciate your depth of work in this difficult field, and I hope you have found our own meager efforts interesting. Every day is a school day, as they say!

      Kind regards,
      Gwas Myrddyn.

    • Ian Dunnett
      Apr 20, 2010

      Hi David

      I’m trying to contact you regarding a house that I’ve inherited that I’m sure has geopathic stress. I want to clear it and would very much like to hire your services. (As an aside do you know Irene Loudon of the Ross Gibson Clinic of Advanced Alternative Medicine in Glasgow? Irene is a friend of mine [I’m a Kinesiologist as well as a civil servant(!)] and I’m sure she recommended your services at one point. Anyway I’d be most grateful if you could phone (07798 936968) or e-mail to discuss.

      Many thanks


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