How Dowsing Works

(Transcript is below, if you'd prefer to read)

How dowsing works

This is one of the most common questions about this simple skill. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest to answer.

And the reason for that is that nobody really knows the answer. Many people have ideas, guesses and suppositions, but nobody really knows for sure.

So, if you’re looking for the one and only really true answer to the question of how dowsing works, then I can’t tell you.

I can’t tell you how any sort of dowsing works. Whether you use a pendulum to dowse with or no tool at all, the answer is the same: I don’t know how it works. I do know how the pendulum moves but that doesn’t explain why it moves.

But, don’t be disheartened. Just because there is no simple and clear explanation doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to suggest ideas!

So, let’s have a look at one idea in particular.

If we recall that dowsing is a simple and natural skill which provides answers to questions your brain can’t provide, then, in order to answer the question about how dowsing works, we really have to talk about where those answers might come from.

Now think about intuition. We all have intuition. It seems to be something which is basic to being human. And we all have intuitive hits. I guarantee you have had the experience of knowing something without understanding how you knew it. It could have been a feeling, a voice, a flash of a vision about something. Whatever it was, it did not seem as though your mind was involved in it at all.

And that is just the same as in dowsing. The only difference is that, when you have an intuitive hit, it could be about anything and at any time. It could have been the answer to something that had been bothering you all day long, or about suddenly realizing what you need to do about a certain situation. We accept that as normal and natural. But, in dowsing, because we ask a specific question and have the right mindset to allow the answer to appear, it seems, somehow, more magical or less understandable. In other words, in dowsing we expect the answer. When we have an intuitive hit the answer is unexpected.

But, really, is there any difference in where the answers come from?

It’s doubtful.

Rather than waste time on working out how dowsing works, it might be more useful to accept that it really does work. And, more than that, it really does work for everyone. It’s a simple, natural and above all, useful skill which every one of us can use in our daily lives.

I don’t know how a cellphone works, but that doesn’t stop me from using one. And that should be the same attitude we should all have about dowsing.

Happy dowsing!

Do YOU have a favorite theory about how dowsing works? Why not share it in the comments section below?

The Many Definitions Of Dowsing?

Shakespeare was right. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. But does that mean we don't need to agree to a name for that flower?

What if you thought a Peace rose (a particular variety of rose) was white, and someone else thought it was red and yet another person thought it was yellow? When you had a discussion about a Peace rose, you might even get into an argument, because your assumption about color didn't match the other person's assumptions. That is where defining your terms comes in.

Check your dictionary, and you will find that define means: ‘state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of; mark out the boundary or limits of'. A definition makes something ‘definite, distinct or clear'.

How can anything have more than one definition? It can't. By definition, it can't. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.) A Peace rose must be a certain agreed upon color or range of colors. By definition: ‘The cultivar has large flowers of a light yellow to cream color, slightly flushed at the petal edges with crimson-pink.'

What would happen if someone came along and started pointing to a dark crimson rose and telling all his followers that was a Peace rose (whether through ignorance or for a personal agenda)? What if his followers, through trust and ignorance, told others that a Peace rose was red. What if that went on for years? At some point, you would have camps that were committed to the perception of Peace roses being red and others to the correct definition. Would it be proper to then say both colors were Peace roses?

I had such an experience today, when surfing the net looking at various dowsing sites. I ran across this statement on the site of the American Society of Dowsers: “There are many definitions of dowsing.” ( I am not taking this out of context.) How could anyone not understand that a definition makes something definite, distinct or clear?

Perhaps the person meant to say ‘there are many applications of dowsing'. We all know this to be true. You can use dowsing in an infinite variety of ways, but it is always the same thing: asking a question and getting an answer. Dowsing is a way of getting answers to questions your rational mind cannot answer. That's the definition of dowsing.

You can tweak that definition to make it even clearer by adding a phrase or using better wording, but the intent and meaning will remain the same. That is all dowsing is and all it will ever be.

I am sure some readers will think it is being picky to write a post about something like a definition, but in the past 15 years we have seen people unilaterally decide to redefine dowsing, to use the word ‘dowsing' in ways it was never intended to be used.

Some people want to call healing or intention dowsing, simply because they have a pendulum in their hands. More than any other factor, this movement to change the definition of dowsing has led to the decline of dowsing, to the perception of dowsing as chaotic and scattered, to mis-communication and conflict among dowsers and to downright wrong teachings about dowsing that have now reached the highest levels of dowsing organizations, as seen on the ASD site.

If we all agree to use the proper definition of dowsing, we will be better able to communicate among ourselves about this exciting skill. We will be able to teach it better. We will attract new people with our clarity of thought and not confuse them with fuzzy thinking.

It's time to be impeccable with our words about dowsing. Pendulum healing is NOT dowsing. Intention is NOT dowsing. Both are wonderful things, but let's stop mis-communicating and calling them dowsing. Let's call them what they are.

Have you found that not all dowsers mean the same thing when they refer to dowsing? Have you ever read a book or gone to a presentation about dowsing, only to find it wasn't what you expected? Share your experiences in the Comments below.


What Is Dowsing?

A transcript of the video is below, if you'd prefer to read instead.

A Frequently Asked Question

What is dowsing?

This apparently simple question can lead to a surprisingly wide number of answers. For example, you’ll hear people saying that it is something you do to find underground water. Others will speak of it as something you can use to find lost objects, people or pets. Or, you might hear people talk about it as something which is like intuition or something similar.

The variety of possible answers can make dowsing appear to be a very confusing thing indeed.

However, dowsing is really only one thing, no matter how people say they might use it. And that one thing is this:

Dowsing is a simple, natural intuitive skill which can be used to provide answers to questions which your logical and rational mind cannot answer.

That’s what it is!

So, for example, someone who is using dowsing to find underground water is asking a question about where to dig a well. Their rational mind cannot answer that question, but dowsing can. The same thing with finding lost objects, people or pets. In other words, dowsing is what you turn to in order to help you when you can’t find the answer by thinking, or simply researching a problem.

It might help if you understand dowsing as ‘focused intuition’. Normal intuition comes out of nowhere and it comes at odd times, and usually is not about what we are currently thinking about. But dowsing is a way of getting our intuition to respond to provide the information we want at the time we want it.

So you can see, dowsing really isn’t a psychic ability. After all, we all have intuition, which means we all the ability to dowse.

Dowsing is something everyone can do. And you don’t need any special tools to dowse with, either. Remember the earlier definition? Dowsing is a natural, intuitive skill.

Of course, there are tips and tricks about dowsing, like with any skill. The most important thing to remember about dowsing is that it only gives yes or no answers. So you have to ask a good question to get a good answer. Once you have that idea firmly in place, you are making progress!

So, next time you have a problem or a choice to make, and you can’t think your way to a solution or decision, or it all seems way too complicated or detailed, then you should consider using dowsing to help you.

How have you answered the question, ‘What is Dowsing?' Do you have a short way of explaining it to non-dowsers? Let us know in the comments section below

Are Dowsers Impeccable With Their Word?

Good Intentions…

Politicians today are known for not being impeccable with their words. We practically expect them to dissemble, mislead and lie. But even people with good intentions can fail to be impeccable with their words. And more and more, I'm seeing dowsers fall into this category.

The epic fail I am seeing is the total lack of awareness about what ‘dowsing' actually is. More and more, I am seeing people re-define dowsing, as if that is a legitimate way to market their method or push their agenda. They get a natural audience by calling whatever they do ‘dowsing', but they are misleading people. What they are doing is NOT dowsing. It could be some new healing method, or a type of intention, and it might even have value, but it isn't dowsing.

… and lies

More and more I see people are not inclined to practice, study or learn how to dowse well. This is the natural outcome of portraying dowsing wrongly. If you think dowsing is swinging a pendulum and wishing for an outcome, you aren't going to be interested in investing time and effort in training and practicing your dowsing skill. You don't believe that's dowsing.

I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness, but I see dowsing, real dowsing, slipping away unless people like us are willing to stand up and say, “That isn't dowsing.” We take a lot of flack for doing that, but if we don't, the precious skill of dowsing, which has such great value, will vanish, because it takes too much time and effort to learn to do it well compared to the bastardized versions multiplying in the spiritual marketplace today.

What lies have you come across about dowsing? There are some very strange concepts indeed which have nothing to do with what dowsing really is. Share them with us in the comments section below

The Evolution of Dowsing

Where Is It Going?

Dowsing has been around for at least hundreds of years. In all cases, dowsing is depicted as a process using some kind of tool for finding water and minerals. While some may argue that dowsing for water is bunk, it has been scientifically proven to be the real deal.

Credibility cover
For in depth information on a scientific investigation of water dowsing, see “The Credibility of Dowsing” by Professor William Barrett, edited by Nigel Percy.

What's really interesting is that dowsing didn't change much at all for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Then sometime in the mid-twentieth century, a new wrinkle was added to dowsing. People started using dowsing to find not only water and underground minerals and pipes, but lost objects and information about all kinds of subjects. Suddenly they realized that dowsing has always been about asking questions and getting answers via a non-rational method. So why not ask about other stuff besides where to find water?

These new dowsers, “New Age” dowsers, tended to use a different tool from water dowsers. Since they were sitting while dowsing, they didn't need cumbersome L-rods, or Y-rods that can slap you in the face. A simple weight on the end of a string gave a nice yes or no response. These pendulums had many historical uses not associated with dowsing. Perhaps the most common was during hypnosis sessions. But that fact was soon to be lost…

Naturally, these new dowsing enthusiasts wanted to differentiate what they were doing from boring water dowsing. So they called it ‘spiritual dowsing'. They dowsed all kinds of cool things, like the types of energies at sacred spots, causes of health issues and even realized that they could communicate with animals and advanced beings using yes/no questions, which really pushed the envelope.

Still, at that time, everyone realized dowsing was just about asking questions and getting answers you cannot get rationally. But people are human. And what happened next was perhaps predictable. Dowsing had always been categorized as a psychic power. This didn't give it credibility. Quite the opposite. But it had one big effect. Suddenly it seemed possible for anyone to be psychic, because anyone could swing a pendulum. This was not true of other psychic powers, which seemed unattainable to the average person. And that opened the floodgates.

Dowsing is just a natural human skill. Anyone can learn it. Like all skills, it takes training and practice to become good. Like all skills, some people are better than others at it. But since it was labeled psychic, and since almost anyone can get a yes/no answer with a pendulum in 5 minutes of ‘training', lots of people were attracted to the idea of dowsing.

The problem with evolution of dowsing…

Unfortunately, those who promoted dowsing were so eager to expand the interest in it that they downplayed the practical and the real. They made dowsing out to be a pendulum and a yes/no answer, just to keep it simple. Dowsing came to be associated with the tool, as if anyone holding a pendulum was dowsing. Maybe many of them didn't realize the inaccuracy or disservice they were doing to dowsing in the long run. They saw it as magical, and they sold the sizzle, not the steak, a typical mlm tactic. Harry Potter fans loved the idea of a pendulum as a magic wand. Now a normal person could be Harry Potter. Some gurus took the next step and began to tell people that was the case. Just swing your pendulum and you can change the world to whatever you wish. Suddenly, dowsing was not dowsing at all anymore…

Of course, people will always be attracted to silver bullets and magic wands. We all want easy solutions to our problems, even though we know at heart that they don't exist. We all have an innate laziness and desire to do things the easy way. This isn't bad, but we need a dose of realism, or we get snookered. This attitude of selling dowsing as a magic wand has lowered the credibility of dowsing and steered people away from using it properly and meaningfully, which is really a sad thing. It has caused them to believe they need no training or practice to become good dowsers. It has steered them away from honing their skill and using it practically to change their lives.


We'd like to see dowsing be understood as originally intended. Dowsing is asking questions and getting answers. It isn't intention. It isn't a healing method. It isn't a transformational method. This whole swing a pendulum thing is out of control. Just today I saw in a dowsing forum that a new member underwent a past life regression with someone who had a pendulum and thus called the process dowsing. She was wondering how dowsing does past life regressions. Sheesh! You can do anything with a pendulum, but unless you are asking questions and getting answers, it is NOT dowsing. The pendulum is NOT dowsing. In fact, we don't use tools for dowsing much at all anymore. We don't teach dowsing with tools until we've taught it without them. It's too easy to confuse the tool with dowsing, as history has proven.

It may be a long road to restore the integrity of dowsing and get people to regard it as it really is. Even in the 90s, when I was learning dowsing, many of the courses I attended had elements of confusion in them, saying that the use of intention while holding a pendulum is dowsing. It took me years to unravel the many things dowsing is called and understand the real truth. It may be a losing battle to try and share this with others, because what we say asks people to study and practice and be impeccable with their word. And that isn't sexy. We're selling the steak, not the sizzle. But we believe there are lots of people out there who want to do dowsing the right way, and we look forward to supporting them in discovering just how powerful real dowsing can be. And in the end, it does open doors to transforming your life in ways you never imagined. So it is actually quite magical. You just have to work a bit to discover the magic.

Do you agree with this assessment of the evolution of dowsing? How do you see it developing (or not) in the near future? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below

What Dowsing is… and isn’t?

Right Question, Wrong Answer

Instead of answering the question, “What is dowsing?”, most people tell you what you can do with dowsing. Dowsing IS an incredibly practical skill, but your results with dowsing will benefit from your having a clearer concept of what dowsing really is.

There are a lot of misconceptions about dowsing. I'm not talking about the ones that call it black magic or the devil's work. This may stir up a hornet's  nest, but in my opinion, a lot of dowsers are confused about what dowsing is. And no wonder. Dowsing instruction is rare, and even courses put out by professionals and societies often don't cover basic subjects required to help people dowse accurately.

Worse yet are the situations where people are saying dowsing is a healing method. I have a theory about how that got started. Dowsing is not glitzy like EFT or The Emotion Code. So some people felt that if they showed dowsing as a healing or transformational method, it would catch on faster. One can't blame their passion and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that's not what dowsing is.

Dowsing is WAY bigger than just a healing modality.

Here's what dowsing is:

Dowsing is a way of getting answers to questions you cannot answer using rational means.

When done properly (which isn't as often as you would think), dowsing balances the brain, because it uses both left and right brain to get results.

Dowsing uses your left brain to create a good question and your right brain to get an answer via your intuitive senses. 

When people get into a real dowsing state (which isn't even taught in lots of courses), they are actually in an altered state that has been measured by science to be a combination of a number of other brain states. This makes sense to me, because if done correctly, you are both focused on one thing (the question) and completely detached (as in meditation), pulling the answer in without attachment. This is unlike any state you normally experience.

Dowsing is an innate skill, but it must be trained in order to do it well. And training is sorely deficient. We aren't excluding ourselves from this judgment–in early 2013, based on survey results, we decided to dump all our courses and start over, because we didn't feel we were helping people learn to dowse well.

If you get good training to use your dowsing skill, you can transform your life completely. The ability to get answers to any question on almost any subject will give you serenity. Stress, anxiety and trouble lose their hold on you. You become the person you always wanted to be. You find happiness. If these things don't describe you as a dowser, you aren't getting the full benefit of what dowsing is.

Don't let dowsing be a hobby you play at now and then.

Dowsing can be an integral part of creating the life you want, but you have to use it and use it well!

If you've dowsed a while now, can you tell us what dowsing is to you? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share them in the comments section below