Dreamers seek the company of angels: Martin Whitfield joins sleepy volunteers for an experiment on top of the 'Welsh stairway to heaven'

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The Independent Online
THE DREAMER'S head is next to rocks where the compass swivels violently on the misty peak of Carn Ingli, or 'summit of the angels'.

It is the site on top of the windswept crag in Pembrokeshire where St Brynach is reputed to have talked to angels in about 500AD. Before that, the mountain was revered by the druids and other ancient religions.

Laurence Main, 43, is convinced of its spiritual powers and, with other volunteers, is camping on the 1,138ft summit to see whether its forces enter people's dreams in any common pattern.

'St Brynach came here to pray and fast. He used to sleep at the summit and talk with the angels who sat on the rocks around him. It was a Welsh stairway to heaven.

'The spirit paths converge on the holy mountain. We are showing that the earth is alive and that it has to be treated with respect. Spirit channels are windows to other dimensions and that's why St Brynach could commune with angels,' he said.

Carn Ingli is one of four sites being tested for 'site specific' dreams by the Dragon Project, organised by Paul Devereux, author and editor of the Ley Hunter, the journal of geomancy and earth mysteries.

'We are simply testing the possibilities . . . It's a pilot experiment and, if we do get positive results, more serious work can be done by a university,' Mr Devereux said.

Dreamers at each site have their recollections tape recorded by an assistant who wakes the volunteer when eye movements indicate dreaming has taken place.

'There is more psychic awareness in the sleep stage. One is just using dream consciousness to see if there are any site-specific features that have entered the dreams of different people,' Mr Devereux added.

The project, which began in 1991, is scheduled to be completed at the end of this summer and data from more than 100 dreams has already been collated. It will be dispatched to Dr Stanley Krippner, a psychologist in San Francisco, for detailed analysis. The three other sites are all in Cornwall and include an underground fogou, or holy cave, a Celtic holy well near Penzance, and a neolithic dolmen (a flat stone laid on two upright stones) on a high ridge near St Just.

Interest in ancient sites and earth mysteries is undergoing a revival following a period of neglect in the 1980s. Growing environmental concern and a rejection of the more material life have encouraged people to look to early religions.

'I believed everything in the early years,' Mr Devereux said. 'My views have modified over the past 20 years but there are a lot of people wanting to build fantasies just to make a quick buck.'

On Carn Ingli, Mr Main pitches the tent for the dream volunteers as near as possible to the stone where St Brynach is believed to have slept. Some of the granite rocks make a compass spin 180 degrees because of local electromagnetic forces and he thinks this may be behind the mountain's significance.

Five volunteers have slept on the summit so far. More have come forward for a series of dream sessions in warmer weather. Mr Main, the author of more than 30 footpath and walking guides and a former teacher, has twice had dreams on the mountain, including a remarkably vivid vision in November.

Letty Rowan, 62, a former social worker from Machynlleth, mid-Wales, is looking forward to sleeping on the mountain. She is studying Celtic and Pagan cultures. 'If we don't change our attitude from the materialistic and back to the spiritual we are going to ruin the Earth. It's extremely important that we make contact with these things in our own roots,' she said. 'People are turning to Buddhism and are looking outwards to other cultures but we have got it all here.'

Dragon Project; Paul Devereux, PO Box 92, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 2XL.

(Photograph omitted)