The Decline Of Dowsing

A Downward Trend

As dowsers we like to think that what we do is both important and of interest to others, especially to non-dowsers. We interact with fellow dowsers via social media or face to face at conferences and the like, so we tend to think that pretty much everyone likes dowsing and that there is a deal of interest in it. Powered by such thoughts, we write books, give presentations, teach, sell tools and do all the things that other people do who want to promote their interest or hobby.

But we are laboring under a misapprehension. Elsewhere, we've remarked on what we perceived as a decline in interest in dowsing. But that was based on our own observations. That was fine, as far as it went, but to be more accurate, we really need more data.

Enter Google Trends.

This is a tool which allows you to observe the relative interest in a topic over time. When I plugged in ‘dowsing', at first, it didn't look too bad. But that was because it only reported a 12 month period. When I changed it to show the trend from 2004, a twelve year analysis, the picture suddenly took a darker tone. The result is shown below:

It should be pointed out that the “Interest Over Time” simply means the interest relative to the highest point in time. So, in the above graph, dowsing interest was at its peak in 2004, and is now hovering around the 25 mark, meaning it has one quarter of the interest it used to have.

The USA is the biggest internet user, so it would make sense to see if there was a difference in the way dowsing is regarded in this country.

If we look at the USA over the same time period we see a similar graph:

Our perceptions weren't wrong. There is a decline in dowsing.

The first question to be asked is why? And the second is what can be done about it?

The answer to the first question is, I believe, down to the public perception of dowsing. Because there seems to be no consistent means of presenting or talking about dowsing, it has become whatever anyone wants it to mean. Dowsing is finding water? Yes. It's finding lost people or pets? Absolutely. It's healing? Yes, why not? It's changing your environment? Yes, let's add that one in as well. What about talking to angels and the like? Come on in!

In other words, it has become everything and nothing. If it is something to do with a pendulum or an L-rod, then it's obviously dowsing. If it means so many things to so many people, then is it really any wonder that people don't really know what it is any more? And, if they don't know what it is, how can they become interested in it?

The second question is harder to answer. It's more than having dowsing taught in a way which is consistent (which would be impossible to do anyway), it's about how dowsing is talked about, how it is practiced, what it is used for. If I said that Tarot is anything to do with a deck of cards, then poker could be considered a form of Tarot. Sounds stupid? Maybe, but that's pretty much where we are with dowsing.

The data shows that there is a decline of about 75% in terms of interest in dowsing from 2004. That's a large number.

If we, as dowsers, truly believe that what we do is of both interest and value to others, then it's more important than ever to present dowsing in a way which makes sense to non-dowsers. And that means we have to tighten up the definition and practice of dowsing.

Some people, some who call themselves dowsers, will undoubtedly protest and say that what they do is dowsing. But I am certain that the figures above show that it is long past the time to allow others to define dowsing any way they want. It is time now to stick to the simple definition of this wonderful skill and hammer it home time and time again: Dowsing is a means of getting answers to question which your rational, logical brain cannot answer. It is nothing more than that, a process of question and answer. Let's keep it to that, shall we?

Sacred Cow #2 – Greed

Sacred Cow #2

This is part two of what I consider to be two sacred cows in dowsing  which need more scrutiny than they have received so far. The first post looked at the idea of permission. This one looks at greed.


Now this particular sacred cow keeps barging around every now and then preventing people from doing things with dowsing. The name of this scared cow is ‘Needy’. Actually, to give it its full name, it’s ‘Need Not Greed’.

I have two questions for you. The first is, ‘Have you ever used this term on someone else or heard someone else use it about you or someone else in association with dowsing?’
The second question is, ‘Have you ever used this on yourself before dowsing?’

My guess is that it’s Yes to the first and No to the second.

This poor beast deserves some quiet rest, for the following reasons.

The term ‘Need not Greed’ is a judgment. Always. It is a judgment about what someone else is doing. And, as such it is totally invalid. Who knows the real reason why someone would want to dowse the winning lottery numbers? Greed? Or a need to help a relative, get out of bankruptcy, set up a charitable foundation dear to their heart?

Let’s take someone at random, Warren Buffet, for instance. Now, that is one rich man. A billionaire. That man attracts money like a large magnet. He doesn’t need it. He must be greedy, right? And what about Bill Gates? Huge amounts of money floating around and getting bigger every day. Obviously very greedy. They don’t need any more, do they?


Both of these men got together and organized a Giving Pledge, encouraging other billionaires to donate at least 50% of their fortunes to charities. As of November 2012, 91 billionaires had signed the pledge. The contribution of the first 40 donors alone has been estimated at $125 billion. Not bad for someone who is greedy, is it?

It’s safe to say that, if you want to help people, either through money you leave in your will or more directly in your life, you need money. The more you have, the more you can help. It's an attitude of mind, not of money.

The other reason this phrase is thrown at someone is a based on a misconception. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it applied by someone who is wealthy. And that is because there is, amongst many people, the erroneous belief that being poor is somehow more spiritual. Having less means you are somehow worth more.

But, the misconception is that neither you nor I can pick and choose what is spiritual and what is not. Either everything is spiritual or nothing is. I prefer to believe that everything is, and that must, automatically, include money. The size of money, the amount of wealth, cannot alter the spiritual nature of it at all. Therefore, the term ‘Need, not Greed’ is always a judgment based on a misconception aimed at stopping people from becoming ‘unspiritual'.

For goodness’ sake, if you want to win the lottery and spend the next seven years on permanent vacation on a cruise ship, good luck to you. If this is you, I think I NEED a vacation like that as well!

Do you agree with this post about greed? If not, why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below

Sacred Cow #1 – Asking Permission

Asking Permission and Dowsing

Now, before anyone’s feathers get ruffled, what follows is my own personal take on something which seems, somehow, to cause a great deal of concern every now and then amongst dowsers. I don’t think it ought to, so I’m writing this to make my thinking clear and, hopefully, help others get theirs clear as well.

There are, it seems, two large and fairly active sacred cows wandering loose amongst the dowsing community and nobody appears to be able to rope them and bring them back and stop them from blundering around into dowers’ consciousnesses. So, here I am, getting up on my horse and riding after them, rounding them up and bringing them back for you to have a look at and see how you react when you’re face to face with them. (The second Sacred Cow is in a separate post.)

Ready? Then off we go!

Asking Permission

The largest of the two cows is the one called ‘Asking’. Asking is the stumbling block for many dowsers, especially when they are starting out.

The usual question is something along the lines of, ‘Do/Should/Must I always be asking permission before dowsing?’ Or it’s, ‘I was taught to ask Can I, May I, Should I, whenever I want to dowse about anything. What happens if I always get a ‘No’ to one or the other of them?’

Those three phrases, Can I, May and Should I seem to be taught as a mantra to repeat by the majority of new dowsers nowadays. But, I suspect that not many people know why they are taught or have even bothered to give this any thought at all.

I’ll be quite blunt here. I don’t ask permission. I don’t use the phrase or any part of the phrase. I don’t start off every dowsing activity with even a glance or a nod towards asking permission. What I do instead is… I dowse!

Crazy, aren’t I? That must mean I’m mad or even that I have absolutely no sense whatsoever of simple politeness. I shouldn’t be trusted with a pendulum, because I just bulldoze my way to whatever I want…

Well, you can think that if you like, but I’d like to explain why I think this sacred cow, Asking, should be gently led away into a quiet barn and never bothered again.

First, it occurred to me that asking those three things, the mantra above, was, to put it delicately, a bit silly. After all, you are actually dowsing about whether you can dowse. Each of those three things require you to dowse about your dowsing.

Now, that alone, doesn’t make it worth ignoring. But it should be asked why it ever started up in the first place.

The origin of the permission problem

Did you know that it all began with someone called Sig Lonegren? And it started back in 1986 when he published a small book called ‘Spiritual Dowsing’.  On page 9 he speaks of the difficulty beginning dowsers have of ‘tuning in’ to the target. Then he says (and I quote);

‘One way to start this focusing process is to try the following process whenever you begin a quest with your pendulum:

  1. State what you want to do
  2. Ask, ‘Can I do it?’
  3. ‘May I do it?’
  4. ‘Am I ready to do it?’ ‘

Now here’s where it gets interesting. (And note, by the way, there’s no mention of the word ‘Should’ in the above.) As Sig writes:

‘First of all you state what you want to dowse. Your pendulum will give you an affirmative to indicate that it understands. ‘Can’ means do I have the dowsing skills? Am I capable of doing this? ‘May’ talks about permission. Am I allowed to do this? While most kinds of dowsing hold no kind of danger to the dowser, a few of the areas could get you into trouble if you get in over your head… And finally ‘Is there anything I may have forgotten? Am I sufficiently tuned in? Am I ready to go?’ ‘

Let me state right now, that I think Sig Lonegren is a fine dowser and has helped many, many people with his books and website and ideas. But I don’t think this set of suggestions is one of his finest contributions.

For example, how does the pendulum, by itself, understand what you are dowsing about? It’s a pendulum. It does not have consciousness. The use of this phrase implies that whatever is going on in dowsing is outside of you. Who knows if you have the dowsing skills? Who is being asked and why?

The ‘May I’ part, the asking permission part, that also, according to Sig, lies outside of you is not helpful. Dowsing is a human ability and to suggest that it relies entirely on some unseen ‘gatekeeper’ is not helpful to anyone.

The last part seems a little redundant as well, but I have fewer issues with that.

Overall, the intention behind the mantra is good. And, as Sig suggests, it might only be helpful for beginners, not for every dowser, as its intention is merely to help you focus your intention, nothing more. It was a phase, he thought, you should pass through, grow out of.

Yet, because it has been taught so often, it almost has the status of a law of dowsing, when it clearly was intended as anything but.

Asking permission is not the best approach

So what do I do that’s different and how do I wriggle through the asking permission hoop? Simple! I have a set of ethics. I apply those ethical considerations when I dowse. I don’t believe in dowsing about other people unless and until I get their specific permission. I dowse about things which relate to me. Nothing more.

My biggest grouse with this ‘Asking permission’ thing is that it distances the asker from their own power. And, it will not help anyone get a sense of their own ethics. I have seen, many times, people ask this in order to justify their own intrusive questions. ‘Oh, but I got permission for this!’ Well, of course they would, because that’s what their ethical stance would have granted them anyway! Asking a set of questions to justify your own predisposition is not a good mode of living or of dowsing.

My suggestion would be to be aware of what you feel comfortable with doing and do just that.

What about  the few areas which could get you into trouble if you get in over your head, as Sig mentions? What about your own safety? I’m not sure what experiences Sig has had or witnessed which caused him to say that, but I am unaware of any dowser I have spoken to or heard about who has had ‘nasty things’ happen to them as a result of their dowsing. And I firmly believe that any dowsers who have experienced such things probably were doing things which a strong sense of their own ethical boundaries would have helped them avoid.

If you go into a place which makes your hair stand on end, do you continue anyway, or just do a quick sanity check? If you’re going somewhere new to you, do you just travel blindly or do you look around as you go? The same thing applies to dowsing new areas. Common sense is what is needed, not some set of mantras.

An example

To end with, let me take you through how I go about dowsing with an example. A friend phoned recently, asking Maggie and myself to dowse something about her health. There’s the asking permission part right there. There were all sorts of questions which could be asked as it was a fairly complex subject. So, asking myself, I said, ‘Do you see X’s problem?’ By that, I’m assuming that, as everything is connected, anything happening anywhere at any time is available to me now. So, by asking that, I’m simply refining my focus on one specific thing. How it works I don’t know. I just know it does. It’s not my physical eyesight at work, but some part of me has to be able to tune in and ‘see’ what’s happening. Then I asked various questions and reported back. End of story!

Mad, aren’t I?

Do you agree with the ideas here? Or do you disagree? Either way, let us know where you stand on this issue by posting in the comments below.