Read an Excerpt
WHAT IS DOWSING?
It was one of those picture book Vermont sunny days when the lawn is greener than green and a few beautiful white clouds, like big balls of cotton, framed Stannard Mountain to the east. We were sitting out on our front lawn just enjoying the day with some friends. For some reason my wife, Kathy, had been playing with her engagement ring, that had been my grandmother's, and suddenly she realized that she had lost it. Where to look? We divided up the lawn into small squares and began to frantically paw through the grass trying to feel the ring with our fingers.
Suddenly, I remembered that I had my pendulum in my pocket. I use what's called (rather unfortunately) a bullet pendulum it's a steel weight, about the thickness of a writing pen, about 1 1/4 inches long (3 cm), and pointed at one end. Attached to the other end is about 6 inches ( 15 cm) of one of those chains that you find connected to plugs in old sinks.
As I held the chain in my hand with the weight dangling below my fingers, all kinds of thoughts were rushing through my mind, "This ring was Nana's, and now it's important to Kathy...The rock alone is worth a good piece of change...Maybe it's lost forever...Wait a minute! This is really important to me. Focus in. In what direction is Kathy's engagement ring?'
The pendulum started swinging back and forth, pointing in line slightly to my left. 'Is it in front of me?' My pendulum swung into a clockwise direction, which for me means yes. The hair on the back of my neck began to tingle. This is my body's way of telling me that I'm on the right track.
I made a mental note of the direction of that line, and moved about a yard to the left and slightly forward. Again I asked, 'In what direction is Kathy's engagement ring?' This time, the pendulum started to oscillate back and forth, pointing almost right in front of me. In my mind, I could 'see' the first line my pendulum had showed me. Then I noted the direction it was now indicating. The ring should be where the two lines crossed. I reached out my hand to that point on the lawn, and grasped at the blades of grass. I felt the ring between my fingers. How had I done this? How could a swinging steel pendulum indicate to me the position of a valued mislaid object? What is this phenomenon called dowsing and how does it work?
Let me begin by saying that in addition to being a fine tool for finding lost objects, dowsing is a way of balancing the rational aspect of our being with our intuitive. It is a tool for exploring the unconscious, a way of finding answers to questions that cannot be answered by the rational thought process or through the use of scientific methodology. And yet, the rational thought process is an integral part of the dowsing process!
So let's get into this business of dowsing, or divining, as some people call it. First of all, there is no difference between the word 'dowsing' and 'divining'. They mean the same thing. Both the British and the American Society of Dowsers are dedicated to exploring the entire spectrum of dowsing/divining possibilities. In this book, I have used 'dowsing' as it is the word most often employed to describe the method of using a pendulum (or other device). You can just as easily insert the word 'divining'.
We'll start dowsing immediately by learning two pendulum signals, or answers (yes and no), that your intuition can use to communicate with you. In trying to explore what this phenomenon of dowsing is all about, we'll look at the issues of left brain versus right brain, and ways of 'knowing' with a discussion, about an early Christian heretical group called the Gnostics, whose philosophy can help us to better understand the dowsing process. I believe that intuition and dowsing are one and the same, and dowsing will certainly cause you to exercise your intuitive faculties. We'll look at several possible ways of explaining dowsing, including an analogy with radar and comparison with the hologram.
Throughout this book we will be doing dowsing exercises.
These exercises will be printed in italics, like this sentence, to remind you that you need to do more than just read that passage.
To really get anything out of this book requires your active participation. You can't learn how to dowse by just reading about it, you actually have to dowse. This package comes with a dowsing tool called a pendulum, a conical brass weight on the end of a flexible cord.
Let's get right into the first dowsing exercise, and use this amazing little tool. We want to begin by finding out three different responses that can be made. The first is the search position. This is the, 'I'm ready to go' position.
Hold your hand with your thumb and forefinger pointing down, and the cord of the pendulum between them. Allow about 2 inches (5 cm) of cord between your hand and the brass weight. You can rest your elbow on a table if you feel this is more comfortable.
The search position is the place from which you will begin all of the other dowsing operations that you will learn in this book. In the use of the pendulum, there are no universal reactions. Not everybody's search position is the same. Usually, it is one of two reactions. Either there is no movement at all (the pendulum just hangs there as if the weight were dead), or goes back and forth, directly towards you and then away. Both of these are acceptable search positions. For several years, I co-headed the annual dowsing school for the American Society of Dowsers with Edward Jastram. Ed's search position was dead still, mine was, and still is, back and forth. Here's your first exercise.
Hold your pendulum as shown in the illustration. Say to your pendulum, 'Show me my search position. I want to see my search position.'
The best thing about this is that your first attempt at dowsing will be totally successful, even if your pendulum doesn't move at all!
Now for yes. Again, there is no universal yes response; however, most dowsers find that it is one of two reactions. If the search position is totally still, some dowsers find that their yes response is back and forth as when you nod your head, yes. Many dowsers find that their yes is a clockwise circle. Either response is fine.
Hold your pendulum in your search position, and ask the following question, 'In the Spring, when the grass first comes up, is it green?' Of course, you know that the answer to this question is yes, so watch your pendulum closely for any deviation from the search position. You might also try, 'Show me yes, show me yes.'
If your pendulum doesn't seem to want to move of its own accord, make it move! I recommend that you make it go in a clockwise direction. As you do, say to yourself (or out loud if you're not too self-conscious),"This is yes, this is positive, this is yang, this is yes.'
Now let's find no. If your yes response was back and forth, perhaps you will find that your no is from side to side just like you move your head to indicate no. On the other hand, if your yes was clockwise, perhaps you will find that your no response is counterclockwise. Try to find your no response by working through the next exercise.
Hold your pendulum in your search position, and ask the following question, 'Is snow green?' Again, you know the answer, so watch your pendulum for any deviation from the search position that isn't your yes response. This is your no response.
So it didn't work. That's ok. Lots of beginners have a hard time getting the pendulum to work on its own (at least that's the feeling one has when it works for the first time). So I suggest that you make it move counterclockwise, and say to yourself, "This is no, this is receptive, this is yin, this is no.'
If you do these exercises several times a day for the next week, your pendulum dowsing skills will be established. What is happening is that you are communicating with your unconscious, and setting up a code. It really doesn't matter what the code is, the important thing is that you have one, up to this point, with three different recognizable signals for search, yes and no. Promise yourself you will do these three exercises daily this week. It will really help you to develop as a dowser.
Left Brain And Right Brain
We live in a world today that emphasizes rational thought. When we went to school, we struggled with questions like, 'What were the five steps leading up to the American Civil War?', or, 'If the radius of a circle is four, what is the circumference?' While the question of who discovered Mexico was important, no one seemed interested in how the Aztec people felt when they realized what Cortez and his conquistadors were up to. We tend to see history as a series of outcomes and events. We have been taught to be analytical, to follow orders, and to regurgitate the 'right' answer, but it can be argued that few teachers seemed interested in strengthening our intuitive, feeling side.
Over the past ten or fifteen years there has been a lot written about the left and right sides of the brain. The left brain seems to govern the right side of our body, and our analytical, or linear, capabilities. If you have a stroke, and your right side is paralyzed, you might not be able to speak speech is a linear activity, the subject has to come before the verb, which in turn comes before the direct object. The right brain governs the left side of our body, and seems to be the seat of more subjective, intuitive abilities as well as the ability to function wholistically. It is this aspect of our being that recognizes other people. We don't look at someone's nose, their lips, eyes, and hair and' then say, 'Oh, that's you Jack!' It isn't a linear function, we take the person's face in all at once, and know who it is. It is also said that the right side of our brain governs our intuitive capabilities. While recent research has shown that it is simplistic to state that the left brain is rational and the right brain is intuitive, for the purposes of this book, it continues to be a useful metaphor.
Our rational side is well fed over fed; however, for most of us, our intuitive, subjective side is starving. Our schools, our jobs, and our governments just don't seem to value this half of our being. It's like walking through life with one eye closed. Many people are awakening to the realization that for complete fulfilment they must begin to tap into the intuitive, subjective half of their being. Dowsing is a skill that can be very helpful here.
If one 'knows' something in today's modern world, it means that anyone else can also know it by using their own five senses (or have a needle move on an electronic instrument). To know something is to be able to prove it by using the scientific method. The verb 'to know' comes to us through Middle English; as knowen, which can be traced back to the Latin, gnoscere to know.
But gnoscere also has another meaning, one that was lost, or at least suppressed, along the way. The early group of Christian heretics called the Gnostics viewed many aspects of life in ways that angered and threatened members of the early Church. Among their ideas was the view that women were equal to men and indeed, women officiated at Gnostic gatherings. This was not very popular with the Church Fathers. Early Church history is called 'patristics', from the Latin, 'pater' which means father. It would seem that there was no room for the feminine (intuitive) energy of women in early Church hierarchy.
Gnostics intended to know, or, you could say to gnow, the spiritual realms directly and personally. While they were open to the teachings of many, ultimately, they felt spiritual responsibility lay within each individual. Gnostics could not accept that one person in Rome could be the ultimate arbiter of what was spiritually valid for everyone. This was because they had directly experienced the intangible spiritual realms themselves, and could therefore decide or gnow reality for themselves. They claimed the sole right for themselves to gnow what was true and what wasn't.
When one intuitively knows something, it is invariably not provable by any rational process. When one knows that God exists, one cannot smell, taste, see, hear or touch God; that realization does not come through the five physical senses. Knowing in this way speaks to the intuitive side of our being, not the rational. Dowsing, then, is a way of intuitively knowing.
Dowsing, as has been said before, is also a scientific art. Perhaps you've heard of dowsing, or divining, in terms of looking for water, and indeed this continues to be one of the most important aspects of this ancient form of divination. To be good at dowsing, one must be both good at science (read: rational), and at art (read: intuitive). Firstly, you must be able to ask the right question, for example, if some friends need a new well, you can't just go to their house and ask, 'Where's the nearest water?'
You might detect water that is 700 feet (213 m) down, yields 2 fluid ounces (59 ml) an hour, tastes like sulphur, and goes dry every year from April to September. So instead of, 'Where's the nearest water?', the question needs to be something like, 'I have to dig this well myself, so where's the nearest good potable (drinkable) water, less than 20 feet (6 m) down, with a year 'round flow of at least 5 gallons (191) a minute?' This is the right question. This is the 'scientific' part of the art of dowsing asking the right question.
Then comes the intuitive part, that portion of your brain that can apprehend things immediately without reasoning. Somehow, you have to temporarily shut down the left side of your brain, the analytical side, and open up the intuitive side so you can gnow the answer. The dowsing tool can then give you the best answer, and it is truly amazing how often, in the hands of a competent dowser, it does work. A good water witch, as they are called by some dowsers, is successful between 85 and 90 percent of the time!
Why do I place so much importance on intuition? I thought that we lived in a world where our rational mind could solve all of our problems. Many people believe that this is so, but interestingly enough, this isn't how it seems to work. From Archimedes suddenly discovering specific gravity while sitting in the bath-tub, and jumping up shouting, 'Eureka! (I've got it!)' to the most successful, modern businessmen who, studies have shown, go with their hunches, intuition has played an important part in the development of rational, linear-thinking, western man.
Albert Einstein is another good example. He thought in creative spurts. I live in a house that used to belong to Luther Eisenheart, who was one of Einstein's mathematicians at Princeton University. Incidentally, Einstein did not achieve high results for mathematics in elementary school; he thought in creative jumps. It was the task of Professor Eisenheart to complete the formulas and equations that connected Einstein's creative leaps.
Dowsing can also be seen as apparently irrational leaps. It gives answers to questions that can't be (or at least take a long time to be) found through rational means. The water dowser can't see, touch, smell, hear, or taste an underground vein of water, and yet, it can be found. Dowsing takes us beyond our rational mind, 'yet perhaps, most importantly, dowsing doesn't require that you reject rational thought. It is not either a rational or an intuitive issue. Dowsing requires both abilities. You have to ask the right question (left brain) and then let your intuitive side (right brain) search for the answer. And, it is possible to dowse for anything that you can think of; you're only limited by your imagination. In addition to underground veins of water, people today dowse for oil, minerals, treasure, missing persons, health, earth energies, and all kinds of other targets, both tangible and intangible.
Many times, instead of actual physical targets, people dowse to get the answer to yes or no questions from, 'Is this pear ripe?', to, 'Is this a positive direction for me in my life right now?' It is this questioning aspect of dowsing that we will focus on in this book how we can get answers to questions that are of particular relevance and importance in our own lives.
How Does It Work?
This is the question I know you must be dying to ask. The honest answer is that we really don't know, but there are a few theories. The first one has to do with radar. When looking for an underground vein of water, perhaps, like radar, the dowser sends out some kind of signal that searches for the target. When it finds the target, the signal bounces back to the dowser and makes the tool move. Another possibility is that perhaps the vein of water itself sends out some kind of signal which is picked up by the dowser.
But how can radar or emanations from beneath the earth explain how dowsing can give you the answer to yes or no questions like, 'Is this a positive direction for me in my life right now?' How can the water dowser find a specific vein of water that will produce over 5 gallons (19 l) per minute, and will also run all year round? Radar, at least as we presently understand it, can't account for this. Radar can monitor and detect existing objects but can't look into the future or into the past. It can't tell how much water the vein has produced in the past, or what its capacity will be in the future. So, either radar is not the way dowsing operates, or it is only one of several ways that dowsing can work.
One possible explanation for the question of how dowsing might work, utilizes the hologram. In 1981, Rupert Sheldrake, a London based biochemist, wrote a book called A New Science Of Life. In it; he proposed an old/new way of looking at reality. Instead of a three-dimensional or linear view of reality, he had a vision that had the hologram at its foundation. This view gave me a totally different perspective, concerning the question, 'What is reality?'.
Unlike a normal photographic negative of, say, a banana, a holographic negative looks like.someone threw a handful of pebbles into a calm pond a series of concentric interference patterns. If you tear off a corner of a photographic negative, and then print it, you'll only see a portion of the picture, let's say of a banana; however, if you tear off a part of a holographic negative, and then put coherent light (a laser beam) through it, you'll still see the whole banana perhaps not quite so sharply, but still, the whole thing.
Perhaps the entire universe is like a holographic negative, and we are each tiny pieces of that negative We have it all inside us. If God is within, and God is omniscient (all knowing/gnowing), then of course we can find the answer to the question, 'Does this vein of water run all year 'round?'
If we are part of the hologram of the entire universe, then the answers can be found by going within ourselves. Many people who meditate will tell you that this makes sense. According to the holographic model, somewhere within our beings is that tiny piece of the hologram that has the answer to any question we might ask. Others call it the still small voice.
The holographic model therefore, suggests that dowsing answers come from inside each dowser. Radar, on the other hand, is external. Some signal from inside us goes out, and when it's found the target, it bounces back to us. Another possible explanation is that dowsing tunes us in to a 'big library in the sky', similar to the Akashic Record of the Hindus, a place where all that has ever been is recorded. That's outside again.
The pendulum is a tool that can open us up to our intuitive side. In order for it to work, we must use both the rational and intuitive aspects of ourselves. The Gnostics were able to use this intuitive way of gnowing, and dowsing can make it available to us today. So how does dowsing work? The actual answer is probably found in all of the above explanations. We really don't know. At different times, and for a variety of reasons, dowsing seems to operate in diverse ways and on contrasting levels. We have compared the action of dowsing with some other mediums, including radar and a hologram, but from a pragmatic point of view, ultimately it doesn't matter how dowsing works; the main thing is that it does at least most of the time. This does not sound very reliable, but it's important to keep in mind that our rational side isn't always 100 percent accurate. However, working together, the rational and the intuitive can greatly increase our chances of finding the best answer. The purpose of this little book is to make our intuition, our sense of gnowing (intuitively knowing) work more often than it does now.
Let's begin by doing those simple pendulum exercises again. Hold the pendulum between your thumb and forefinger and say, 'Show me my search position.'
Once you have that say, 'Show me yes.' Watch your pendulum respond, 'This is yes, this is positive, this is yang, this is yes.'
And now try, 'Show me no.' Then, 'This is no, this is receptive, this is yin, this is no.'
Congratulations, you're on your way to becoming a dowser!
Please remember to keep up these exercises. Sometimes you'll be asked to put down this book and get some things together for another exercise. If at all possible do the exercises as you read this book. Later chapters will make more sense to you if you do the exercises as you go along.
Copyright © Eddison Sadd Editions 1990