Sacred Cow #1 – Asking Permission


Written by Nigel Percy


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.

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