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Dowsing - Introduction

Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals.

Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation (Ley lines), without the use of scientific apparatus. Dowsing is also known as divining (especially in reference to interpretation of results), doodlebugging (in the US), or (when searching specifically for water) water finding or water witching.

Traditionally, the most common dowsing rod is a forked (Y-shaped) branch from a tree or bush. Some dowsers prefer branches from particular trees, and some prefer the branches to be freshly cut. Hazel twigs in Europe and witch-hazel in the United States are traditionally commonly chosen, as are branches from willow or peach trees. The two ends on the forked side are held one in each hand with the third (the stem of the "Y") pointing straight ahead. Often the branches are grasped palms down. The dowser then walks slowly over the places where he suspects the target (for example, minerals or water) may be, and the dowsing rod supposedly dips, inclines or twitches when a discovery is made. This method is sometimes known as "Willow Witching."

Many dowsers today use a pair of simple L-shaped metal rods. One rod is held in each hand, with the short arm of the L held upright, and the long arm pointing forward. When something is found, the rods cross over one another making an "X" over the found object. If the object is long and straight, such as a water pipe, the rods will point in opposite directions, showing its orientation. Some dowsers claim best success with rods made of particular metals, commonly brass, although others think that the material is irrelevant if it is the human body itself that does the detecting.  

Early attempts at a scientific explanation of dowsing were based on the notion that the divining rod was physically affected by emanations from substances of interest.
Such explanations have no modern scientific basis. A 1986 article in Nature included dowsing in a list of "effects which until recently were claimed to be paranormal but which can now be explained from within orthodox science." Specifically, dowsing could be explained in terms of sensory cues, expectancy effects and probability. Skeptics and some supporters believe that dowsing apparatus has no power of its own but merely amplifies slight movements of the hands caused by a phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect: people's subconscious minds may influence their bodies without their consciously deciding to take action. This would make the dowsing rods a conduit for the diviner's subconscious knowledge or perception.    [ Source:  Wikipedia ]

Dowsers out to prove themselves

by Geoff Ward

A new study aimed at proving how the ancient art of dowsing actually works and bringing it to the attention of a wider public is being launched under the aegis of the British Society of Dowsers..

Dowsers Adrian Incledon-Webber and Hugo Jenks announced their study at the British Society of Dowsers annual conference, held on the weekend of September 10-12 at the Royal College of Agriculture, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

They will be working with medical electronics specialist and biophysicist Giovanni Orlando, and the investigation will last for at least a year and possibly two. It will focus on a study group of 10-12 people – a mixture of experienced dowsers, healers and non-dowsers – and, using brain and body scanning techniques, will measure their neuro-physiological responses as they wield rods and pendulums.

‘It’s not about why it works, but how,’ said Adrian, chairman of the BSD’s earth energies group. ‘We’re not trying to prove it to scientists - they are such a sceptical bunch anyway - but rather to bring in the public and perhaps stimulate interest among scientists. We want to find out where the dowsing response comes from. We know there’s a muscular response but we want to find out why it happens.’

Adrian says he has begun the study ‘probably out of curiosity more than anything else’. He added: ‘Many people really deserve to be able to dowse. People still tend to think of it as devil worship, something they shouldn’t be dealing with, but we want to bring it into people’s lives so they can benefit from it, and to try to take away the mystery and mystique from it.’

Adrian Incledon-Webber

Hugo received an award at the conference for an invention which links a dowsing rod to a laptop computer and a GPS receiver so that the patterns of energy lines it detects in the earth can be shown immediately on-screen. ‘It is still very much at the prototype stage,’ he said. ‘There are a number of further improvements that I would like to make, before I would feel comfortable with making it generally available.’

Various scientific studies of dowsing have been made since the 1940s, in New Zealand, the USA and Germany but, generally, they were inconclusive as to evidence for the efficacy of dowsing. Often, success rates at finding water, for example, were found to be no better than chance.

BSD director John Moss admitted that proving dowsing worked was ‘a very thorny issue’. It just didn’t seem to work under laboratory conditions. ‘The over-riding requirement is that there has to be a real purpose,’ he said. ‘It’s about a genuine need to get the information asked for. Scientists find that very difficult. They like repeatable results.’ Some dowsers didn’t care how it worked; others were obsessed with how it worked. ‘Many are investigating what we’re dealing with here,’ said John. ‘I think we’re rediscovering a skill innate in human beings.’


John Moss   

Dowsing’s new ambassadress is Elizabeth Brown, a former model from Worcestershire who worked with David Bailey and Terence Donovan in the 1980s, received the BSD’s Bell Award - named after the society’s founder Colonel A H Bell - for her acclaimed new book, Dowsing: The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century , in which she describes how dowsing demonstrates the existence of an invisible realm of energy beyond our everyday world, and how it can optimise health, well-being and our quality of life.

‘We are hurtling towards 2012 and a raising of consciousness,’ she said. ‘Dowsing is an enormously empowering tool for people. You are accessing truth.’

Elizabeth looks to the latest ideas in quantum science and information theory to validate the wide-ranging applications of the ancient art, and offer an explanation of how it works.

‘Dowsing has an interesting, colourful and somewhat chequered history,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately, people can feel rather uncomfortable about it. The Church used to say dowsers were communing with the Devil. But it’s a very exciting time now for dowsing because we have the science to support it.

‘Latest discoveries in quantum physics support not only the mechanics of dowsing but also the way the information comes through. An information-carrying field permeates everything in the universe, and we are accessing that field in moments of concentration, creativity and inspiration. Quantum physics suggests we live in a holographic universe which means simply that all information is everywhere at one time. It was thought that the holographic universe happened only at the microcosmic level, not the macrocosmic, but the latest suggestion is that it happens there, too.’  
  Elizabeth Brown

Here, Elizabeth is citing Ervin Laszlo, the Hungarian philosopher and systems theorist, who has posited a field of information as the essence of the universe, and which he names the Akashic field, or ‘A-field’, after the Sanskrit and Vedic term for space. He sees the quantum vacuum as the fundamental energy and information-carrying field.

‘That information comes through the brain cells into the nervous and muscular system which then prompts a reaction in the arm, wrist and hand,’ said Elizabeth. ‘It’s not the rods or pendulum but the muscular response in your own body.’

Elizabeth, who lives in Umbria, Italy, but will soon be moving to the south of France, has herself worked with biochemist Dr David Hamilton to identify key biological processes disrupted by electromagnetic pollution and geopathic stress (the effect of negative earth energies on people in their own homes).

With many testimonials to the effectiveness of her practice available on her Gentle Powers website, Elizabeth, who works alongside doctors, therapists and clinics, dowses a series of health readings to discover the ‘trigger factors’ behind a person’s condition, and arrives at a list of things needed to ‘put the body back into balance’. This was done by asking her dowsing rods to respond to specific questions about the person’s health.

She said: ‘Once I’ve identified the factors, they have to be addressed. I’m simply a dowser of information. I refer the client back to the specialist in the field that they need. Dowsing is very empowering and enlightening for people’s health, in promoting your own health and the individual needs of your own body, such as diet and healthy lifestyle.’

The BSD, founded in 1933, has moved a long way from its traditional practices of water and minerals divining to tracing earth energies (its largest growth area since the 1990s), improving people’s health and well-being, locating archaeological remains and even to archaeo-astronomy.

Websites: www.britishdowsers.org  (British Society of Dowsers), www.gentlepowers.com  (Elizabeth Brown), www.dowsingspirits.com  (Adrian Incledon-Webber).

Text © Geoff Ward 2010.
Presented with permission.
No reproduction without prior permission.

More articles by Geoff Ward:
Lore and Order - Learning from the Ancients

Book by the author:
Spirals: the Pattern of Existence

Books & Video


Dowsing: The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century [Paperback] by Elizabeth Brown

Product Description
"Dowsing - The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century" is a book for its time. It brings the undoubted benefits of this ancient art to a modern world, and makes dowsing, and its unlimited applications, accessible and relevant for all. Find out what dowsing is; who can do it; how to do it; and, when and where it works. Learn about the pioneering scientific discoveries that explain the mechanics of dowsing. Understand how dowsing can become an invaluable tool to optimize your own health, well-being, and quality of life, by giving you the means to discern truth from non-truth, and to identify what is, and what is not, in your individual best interests. And at this pivotal time in the evolution of human consciousness, discover how dowsing physically demonstrates on a tangible level the existence of an invisible world of energy outside the one we perceive with our five senses - and our ability to connect with it.

About the Author
A dowser for more than 20 years, Elizabeth Brown has clients in over 20 countries. In addition to her private client consultations, she works to support doctors, therapists and consultants. Her groundbreaking work in the field of causative diagnosis has transformed many hundreds of lives. Elizabeth speaks regularly at seminars and conferences around the world, and conducts her own workshops both in the UK and internationally. www.gentlepowers.com

The Pendulum Kit by Sig Lonegren (Author)

Sig Lonegren has been a student of sacred enclosures since the late 1960s and he has a Masters degree in Sacred Space, the study of pre-Protestant Reformation spiritual centers. He is the author of the Earth Mysteries Handbook: Wholistic Non-intrusive Data Gathering Techniques, in which he discusses sacred geometry, archaeoastronomy and dowsing, and Spiritual Dowsing, a book that explores dowsing both as a tool for locating earth energies found at ancient sacred sites, and for health and healing. Sig is a past Trustee of the American Society of Dowsers, and was head of their Dowsing School for several years. While his home is in Vermont, USA, he spends time each year in the heart of King Arthur's Avalon, at Glastonbury, England. For the past four years Sig has been contributing to Earth Mystery gatherings with people in Britain. These week long encampments, put together by a group called OakDragon, focus on specific topics like music and dance, astrology, healing, creativity, ceremony, and the study of the experience of ancient Britain.

The pendulum is a tool that bridges the gap between the logical left brain and the intuitive right brain. By interpreting the movements of a swinging pendulum, you can tune into your intuition, find the answer to any question, and locate objects and energy centers in the earth.
This completely self-contained kit includes everything you need to become an expert dowser, including a pendulum with cord and a 128-page instruction book with exercises, dowsing charts, astrology charts, and maps that show you how to:

  • interpret every movement of the pendulum even if it makes none

  • answer questions about your health, love life, career and potential talents

  • use the Sun Sign, Planet and Astrological Houses Charts for divination

  • forecast the weather and temperature

  • predict future scores and events

  • find underground reserves of water or oil

  • locate lost objects

  • discover sacred site energy centers and ley lines

  • determine which foods are most and least healthful for you

  • devise your own flower remedies

  • create and use other dowsing tools like L-rods and Y-rods

With your personal pendulum, you will have the key to unlocking the mysteries of the earth and its energy fields and tapping the unlimited potential of your own mind.


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Geoff Ward -  Geoff Ward, Magic, Dowsers, Learning, Ancients, knowledge, dowsing, Elizabeth Brown, pendulum, cycles, patterns