Mushrooms in a Fairy Circle

by Pat Toms

The River Kelvin in Glasgow turns where it meets a twenty-foot rock face with steeply sloping banks and trees and low undergrowth above, falling away beyond the bend to grass. On the inside of the bend on gently sloping tended grass, trees grow in an arboretum. After several years of walking the paths I reckoned I knew where the geology changed, where the fissures and interfaces between different types of rocks were located that cause the river to bend. They can be sensed.

Walking around the area, particular zones can be felt and dowsed, giving a good mental picture of what is going on. Several underground fissures or features run roughly parallel crossed by several others, probably at different depths underground.

  Last autumn when the damp came, fungi and mushrooms pushed up through the leaves forming distinct patterns. On the grass near a tree where a mower cannot reach, a single clump grows directly over a fissure. On the other side of the river in the wooded bank over geological fissures, patches of large mushrooms grow next to each other in lines, in some places being over a foot in width.

  In a wood area mushrooms grow in circles. Three circles about ten feet diameter each, and a fourth isolated single circle of mushrooms is forty feet in diameter. These mushrooms grow continuously almost on top of each other, pushing up though the woodland soil and leaves, not strung out singly.

  The large circle of mushrooms is to all intents, perfect. Perfect in plan, as it grows on sloping ground with leafless saplings and scanty bushes. It appears to be located directly above geological fissures crossing at different depths underground. Two fissures can be felt passing roughly at right angles through the circle (see plan).

How do mushrooms grow in patterns, in lines and circles, and a perfect forty-foot circle: a fairy circle? A visual manifestation of the earth’s complex fields of form: the mystery of life. Here was an example of invisible fields of form that appear everywhere in natural growth in front of our eyes.

The term ‘field of form’ is used by Lawrence Edwards in his study of the changing form of plants, embryos and other living organs, “The Vortex of Life”1. By observing the shape of tree buds, he presents evidence of the universal laws that guide natural growth in patterns. He describes the interaction of fields of forms in terms of projective geometry.

Every living thing, including humans, grows in relation to fields of form associated with particular species, but the source of the fields of form is not always so obvious. Here the mushrooms appear to attune to the fields of form related to underground fissures, which guide their growth.

The term field of form seems more appropriate than earth energies. The word energy has a rational scientific meaning in physics which seems ill-suited to the intuitive association living things set up, which can be experienced using dowsing.

Why did the mushrooms grow in one circle? Why not lots of concentric circles or curves? Some biologists suggest mushrooms grow from a centre outwards2. Why this centre? And why outwards? How come they form such a perfect circle? What guides them? The fields of form of the geological fissures and topological form somehow combine to produce a circular field at ground level. Is the circular field of form always present or did it appear at a particular time and trigger germination?

A huge beech tree with a trunk three feet or so in diameter, near the edge of a fifteen-foot wide field of one of the fissures, twists from root to the top of the trunk. Another nearby beech tree just outside the field grows straight up. The twisted tree grows in the spiralling field of form associated with the geological fissure. It grows straight up, but its reference field is spiralling, so its form twists – and it probably doesn’t know or care that it is.

© 2000 Pat Toms & BSD EEG

  1. Lawrence Edwards, “The Vortex of Life”, Floris, ISBN 0-86315-148-5 []
  2. C. T. Ingold, “The Nature of Toadstools”,  Edward Arnold, 1979, ISBN 0-7131-2748-1 []