Dowsing: Fact or Fancy?

How to practice the ancient technique of dowsing.

| January/February 1984

Last fall, carrying a sparsely packed knapsack and all manner of misconceptions about dowsing, MOTHER EARTH NEWS staffer Fran Adams trekked off to the lovely Green Mountains of upstate Vermont to visit the Dowsing Center of America in order to seek out the truth behind the legendary forked willow branch. She made two startling discoveries: [1] that modern-day dowsers think there's a whole lot more to their art than just snooping out water, and [2] that—son of a gun!—as far as she could tell, it really and truly . . . well, read Fran's report to see for yourself what happened. 

In mid-September, equipped with what I considered to be enough skepticism to ward off any potentially mind-boggling phenomena, I headed off to Danville, Vermont to attend the 23rd Annual Convention and the school of The American Society of Dowsers, Inc. Since I'd read in the brochure that the implausible-sounding theme for this year's week-long event was "Dowsing: Steps to Higher Consciousness", I figured I was in for little more than a few pleasant days of enjoying the fall colors and watching a bunch of spacey old codgers in overalls wander about in search of the Zen of water.

This mind-set (or more accurately, ignorance) left me totally unprepared for what I actually observed and absorbed during my brief but intensely thought-provoking sojourn in New England. For, as it turned out, I soon found myself far too busy trying to learn how to dowse (and then attempting to figure out what the heck it was that I'd just learned how to do) even to remember to enjoy the autumn landscape . . . until I was flying over it on my way home.

Now I realize that this may sound a bit confusing and—let's face it— hokey to you unless, of course, you're already a dowser. I mean, first I claim that I'm an avowed skeptic, and then I claim that I learned to dowse? What's going on here . . . where did all that good, honest disbelief go? Well, the only thing I can tell you is that—when I found myself in the company of some of this country's (and Canada's) finest and most respected practitioners of the art—my reservations, like the fall flora, just didn't seem as important as what these folks had to teach me.

Dowsing Lessons

The first thing I learned was that dowsers aren't the aloof, overall-clad social drop-outs I'd imagined them to be. (In fact, the only overalls I saw all week were the ones I'd brought with me, thinking they'd help me blend in!) Rather, most of the folks I saw and spoke with were extremely friendly and down-to-earth. Maybe there used to be a stereotypical water diviner, but today's dowsers come from all walks of life (they range from professionals to homesteaders), and most of them are well educated. At the convention I met a nurse from New York City . . . a businessman from Atlanta . . . an airline pilot (with his wife and two sons) from Montpelier, Vermont . . . a therapist from Danville . . . a young film-maker from Boston . . . a carpenter/farmer from upstate New York . . . and a handful of students (on ASD scholarships) from Washington, D.C. The only thing they all had in common was dowsing.

If I had to characterize them as a group, I'd say that dowsers are a warm, generous, concerned "family" of people who trust wholeheartedly in their divining abilities and who are always ready to use their special talents to help someone else out. Moreover, ASD folk adhere to a strict code of ethics, believing that their activities should be used only to serve—as they say—"the good of the higher self". In other words, whether searching for water, oil, minerals, health, earth energies, or whatever, a dowser should never give in to greed or seek anything that he or she has no business exploring.

Herman Torrelavega
6/17/2011 10:08:52 PM

A scientific explanation for dowsing is at the site titled "Dowsing for Water, Preexploding Planet Earth and Exploding Galaxies" with the link below >>--->

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