The Death Of Dowsing Is Just A Transformation

Is Dowsing Really Dying?

If you follow us in this blog and in our forums, you know that we've been pointing out that Dowsing as a meaningful activity is dying. Up until now, we appealed to those who loved dowsing to help us keep dowsing alive. It has been instructional to see how many people are in denial about the death of dowsing and how few really care. Today, I woke up with a new perspective. Let it die. Death is just another transformation. Why should we be against that?

It's hard not to regret the passing of something that you have loved for years, but dowsing is no longer what it once was. Everything changes, and dowsing has not grown stronger since I became a dowser. Among the many complex contributing factors in its demise are some historical trends in behavior.

Decades ago, dowsing expanded beyond water dowsing as the New Age sparked interest in invisible energies and empowering methods. Clever folks recognized that dowsing is just asking a question, and water dowsing is just asking, “Where's the water?” They eagerly plunged into taking dowsing into new applications.

The evolution of dowsing organizations to serving all types of dowsers was bumpy, but there was an admirable focus on expanding dowsing as a technique in general, and there was also a uniformity of how it was taught and regarded (even though the teaching was not what we would consider perfect in hindsight). At that time, it was understood that any type of dowsing is a search for answers, no matter what application of dowsing you specialized in. Thus the motto of the American Society of Dowsers is ‘indago felix'.

Training was a challenge, because going from teaching water dowsing (which is basically teaching one technique and one question) to teaching other types of dowsing (which is a morass of complexity) was an unknown path, and the methods used to teach water dowsing were clearly inadequate (in our opinion) to address the subjects of ethics, asking good questions, detachment and other subjects which were not as relevant to water dowsing, but were needed in order to become accurate at other applications.

Everyone muddled along trying to deal with these challenges in their own ways. Some of the more ‘creative' types decided to redefine dowsing and characterize it in nontraditional ways, which led to a multiplicity of new and contradictory ways to promote, teach and think about dowsing. Confusion followed.

Disturbing Trends In Attendance & Participation In Dowsing Events & Organizations

Years passed, and instead of membership and participation in dowsing events and organizations increasing, the opposite has occurred. These trends are disturbing. The ASD SW Conference, the best regional conference of the many we have attended, is no longer. Reliable sources in chapters around the country tell me that attendance is way down at chapter meetings, but even more disturbing, chapters are being taken over by conspiracy theory types and used to promote their agendas. We observed this firsthand in our local chapter. This is probably just an outgrowth of the longstanding tendency to book speakers about any topic of interest to dowsers, since actual dowsers were thin on the ground, and it will probably cause attendance to fall off even more, because at least in the past, the speakers were not outside the accepted realm of New Age thought.

A statistical study of the subjects of presentations at the ASD Annual Convention shows that this year a radical change occurred. About 75% of the talks were non-dowsing talks (depending on how you define that). In past years, dowsing talks were a much higher percentage as a rule. While it is wise to adapt to the demands of your market, we are concerned that this is an admission that dowsing just doesn't draw people to events. This may be supported by the fact that attendance at our dowsing events has been lower in recent years, as well, and we endeavor to have dowsing be an important part of all of our events. We are on the newsletters of a variety of dowsing professionals, some of whom have also shared that attendance is down for them recently.

Should We Try To Stop Dowsing From Dying?

We see a trend that says dowsing is dying. But maybe that's for the best. Maybe if we let it die, it can be reborn in a more vital and useful way in the future. By that I don't mean let's redefine dowsing so people will like it. I mean let's get clear about what dowsing is and how it can be used to help people, but not sell it as magic or religion or psychic activity.

Let's be honest and admit that accurate dowsing requires training and practice. We have withdrawn our support of things that are contributing (in our opinion) to the demise of dowsing, and we will continue to promote dowsing as a natural skill anyone can learn, but which takes time and effort to master.

If you are like us, you are one of the very few who regard dowsing this way. We will do our best to support your dowsing needs as we go through this time of transition. No matter what happens to Dowsing in the long run, you can still master dowsing and use it to improve your life in many ways.

Use your ability to think critically and don't support activities or groups that do not promote dowsing in ways that you feel helps expand its meaningful use and credibility. If we stop propping up things that aren't working, we will be able to rebuild a strong edifice sooner.

Have you seen any signs that dowsing is dying? Do you think it best to focus on rebuilding a stronger foundation for dowsing in the future, or do you think we should strive to save it in its current form? Please post your comments in the section below.




14 replies
  1. LuAnne White
    LuAnne White says:

    You statistics are impressive. I don’t know much about the statistics of it but I’m not sure I can term it dying. It’s more that,for me anyway, it’s difficult to explain what dowsing is in a way that doesn’t allow people to tune out before I’ve finished explaining. There is no simple way to get them to comprehend in just a sentence or two. In other words it just never gets off the ground in the first place for me. As for meetings, most of the Dowsers I meet in my area are more interested in space clearing, ghostbusting, and water witching. It is a shame we don’t spend time together exploring this lovely tool.

    • Maggie Percy
      Maggie Percy says:

      This is a good point, LuAnne. We have struggled for years over the question of how to present dowsing to a non-dowser, or even how to describe it to a dowser to help her understand the real potential of this natural skill. Everyone focuses on the yes/no response and applications, but they don’t talk much about what dowsing IS. Yet, you are right. Eyes glaze over if you try to talk about it. We’ve tried that, and people just don’t ‘get’ it. That’s probably why everyone goes to the applications so fast.

      Until and unless we can get an approach that helps portray dowsing in an attractive way without simply selling the ‘sizzle’ of applications, we will tend to attract faddists and dilettantes, not serious people who really want to learn this skill. I have come to the belief that maybe it should be that way. Maybe dowsing should remain esoteric and largely unknown by the public. I have observed that things that become broadly used, like Reiki, get diluted and downgraded in the process of becoming more available. They get dumbed down to the lowest common denominator as people rush to sell it cheaper and cheaper to more people. I’d hate to see that happen to dowsing…oh, it already has, in a sense, with gurus who have oversimplified and redefined it to remove the ‘hard’ parts.

      • Soni
        Soni says:

        The way that I have found effective for presenting dowsing as a tool to reach answers to questions beyond the conscious level of thought is to simply put a dowsing tool into the hand(s) of the person seeking answers to their question….”What is dowsing?”

        I tried explaining about the energies and connecting to the energies, the mass consciousness and using one’s intuition, but that all fell on deaf ears.

        People are more stimulated if they can “see” something happening. Unfortunately, we are in an “instant oatmeal” society that lacks patience that will produce understanding. We have to “morph” into the intellectual level that exists in today’s world where instant gratification is ever ready at the “Google”, iPad, iPhone, Tablet, and computer level where answers are very accessible…accurate or not.

        That is, except for those that cannot be explained in the mundane world. Harry Potter…..Here we come!!

        There are energies that cannot be seen or explained by the means indicated above, nor can they be explained in words understood by those who are asking the questions because they believe they already have the answers. They believe that the thoughts formulated in their minds due to the stimulation of the mass media are correct and those thoughts or indications that are produced by dowsing are not.

        You are correct to presume that allowing dowsing to “die” is the way to a better future. It will never die because the energies produced by those of us who still believe in it and still use the dowsing energies to formulate the answers will keep it in dormancy until the people in our world today and in the future discover that they do not have the answers they seek. So, they will seek another way to find the answers and Dowsing will once again gain the attention it deserves.

        Happy Dowsing and Blessings everyone!

        • Maggie Percy
          Maggie Percy says:

          Good points! I remember years ago, our neighbor, a retired Math Professor who liked us but said we were weird, came sheepishly to the door asking if we could use dowsing to locate an underground water line. He was building a garage and needed to know where the line was. We went over and showed him the use of the L-rod, and he found the line right away, confirmed by us. He ran into the house telling his wife he could dowse. Suddenly, he was excited about it.

          The problem is doing that while NOT having people think of Harry Potter. Dowsing is NOT magic. It is NOT a psychic ability, which is what they assume the minute it appears to work. As you say, they don’t want to hear it is a skill that takes training to master. That is the disconnect. People only like it if it is instantly perfect. And dowsing is not.

          Our challenge is to somehow get them interested, yet encourage further training. Thus, I think dowsing will never be a big thing. Our culture isn’t that interested in anything that takes time to master. Only a small percent will ever master dowsing. And perhaps that is how it should be.

  2. FERN
    FERN says:

    I really do think that we are ahead of our time with Dowsing; like EFT, Brain Gym and so many other wonderful techniques that are quick and easy and produce amazing results. Even though these techniques have been around forever there is a huge part of the population that seem wired not to recognize the value. It is a profession that requires a lot of patience and understanding and perseverance. I think it is all on the verge of becoming great!!! Thank you so much for your loyalty to what you believe.

    • Maggie Percy
      Maggie Percy says:

      I agree, Fern. In every field, the majority of people exposed to a concept just aren’t interested, and we have to learn to let that go and not see it as a judgment on our technique or ourselves. It’s just the 80/20 rule in action.

  3. Jim
    Jim says:

    I am just a beginner. I do not have years of experience to drawn upon its been trail and error. My point of view is this STOP TALKING ABOUT IT AND START DOING IT WITH GROUPS OF PEOPLE. Nothing teaches better than experience. In the very beginning I looked for people who worked with dowsing and not juse play with it from time to time. I could not and cam not find anyone in my area who actually works with dowsing to make time to actually teach me. Thank God for Letters to Robin but reading in not experience. Being with someone with experience actually helps people learn faster. If dowsing is dieing itake because the people with experience are too busy talking or writing about it. Instead of taking the time to teach it in person.

    • Maggie Percy
      Maggie Percy says:

      I totally agree that practice is a huge key to becoming an accurate dowser. I would point out that it isn’t either/or. One doesn’t have to choose between talking about dowsing and doing it. One doesn’t need to choose between writing about dowsing and doing it. Nigel and I dowse ALL the time, every day, about lots of subjects. We also write, blog, teach and present about dowsing online. We used to do in person events, but chapters have dried up, events are few and far between, and we choose to spend our time, effort and money online, as we can leverage our efforts and reach more people. At a given in person event, you might have between 10 and 50 people to speak with or teach. Online, there is no limit to attendance and you have the benefit of flexibility in scheduling. Anyone who wants to learn how to dowse can use our free website & forum, our online courses and our free and paid online events. If you use what we offer, you can become a very good dowser. But like you say, it’s up to you to practice.

  4. Jess
    Jess says:

    What a wonderful site thankyou. My grandfather introduced me to dowsing as a small child. I learnt to appreciate the skill and art sitting at his knee watching and listening, though he only called searching for water and metal dowsing. The other ways he used dowsing with the natural world was just ‘good horse sense’, now he has passed it is truely great to find somewhere to continue to learn what for him was his most important life skill. Thankyou.

    • Maggie Percy
      Maggie Percy says:

      Thanks, Jess. We are in the process of revamping the Discovering Dowsing site and expect to launch a new version in July or August of 2017. We’re pretty excited about the new model, because it will be focused on helping people to reach their goals concerning dowsing.

  5. Paul Weeks
    Paul Weeks says:

    Hi Maggie
    I am 55 and have known about dowsing most of my life, a distant relative and renowned dowser for water and oil, Col. Merrilees tried to show me thirty years ago but I couldn’t get the hang of it. Recently we were looking for water in the garden to fill a large pond. the digger driver showed my youngest son and he can really do it. He could find the underground stream the digger driver found, (using two rods or coat hangers)
    To test him, I walked along the side of a field ditch and could see the 4 inch land drain pipes sticking out and my son walked in the field (paralel to me) and I asked him to tell me when he passed over the empty dry land drain pipes (about 20 metres apart), he was spot on everytime. There is no way he knew where they were and could not see the ends as they were down in the ditch. There was no water in the pipes either as it had not rained for ages.
    He could also follow the underground stream into the next field and show it slowly going off at an angle.
    A more experienced dowser came and also found the underground stream, he flicked his fingers and said the water was at about 50 to 60 metres, (East Anglia, England). I called a drilling company and they said at my postcode we will find water at that depth. I have no idea if the experienced dowser knew that already or not!
    I wonder if dowsing techniques cross over into magic. One can think Dynamo the magic man would be good at dowsing. Can he read peoples minds for the cards they have picked out of the pack?
    What should I get my son to concentrate on next? Any ideas to keep him interested?

    • Maggie Percy
      Maggie Percy says:

      Congratulations on your son’s interest in and affinity for dowsing. Dowsing is not magical. It is a natural human ability. Children in general should be able to dowse more easily, because they have not been programmed like adults to be skeptical of things that they cannot explain. Science cannot explain huge amounts of things in life and on earth, yet for some reason, everyone acts like Science knows all. It does not. “Magic” is a term used by science (and long ago, by religion) to explain things that at any given time seem to be inexlicable to whatever paradigm is in favor. A flying machine would therefore by magical in the 1600s, and a laser would be magical in the 1800s. The line between science and magic is movable depending on the sophistication of a given society, but it is a pretty meaningless term in itself and more a reflection on the fact that there are more things in heaven and earth than science can explain.

      We have a course in dowsing, as you can see on this website, that is the definitive training in this skill. You don’t say how old your son is, but if he is a teenager or approaching that age and is interested, that would be a good thing for him. The training consists of a basic and then an advanced course, all with short videos that are pretty easy to digest. It also has some exercises and useful applications explained.

      The most important thing is to get him a good grounding in technique, and the course will do that. Then, having him apply his dowsing will help him determine what specialty he favors. There are many applications, like the different musical instruments in an orchestra, and no one masters all of them. He will be drawn to one or two, like water dowsing or health dowsing, and then he can pursue it further and master that specialty. We are not water dowsers, but the technique is the same. But once he masters basic technique, it would be good to have him work with a specialist in whatever field most interests him.

      Our book “101 Amazing Things You Can Do With Dowsing” gives you a look at just some of the many applications. It is aimed at the adult audience, but depending on his level of maturity, once he has basic dowsing mastered, it might be a good next step. You can learn also, and it might be worthwhile to do this together, because it is fun to do with another person, and doing it alone, he will eventually lose interest.

      Finding lost objects is a specialty, and one person can hide things like a candy bar and let the other dowse to find the object. Learning to ask a good question and get into a dowsing state is vital for success. Finding water is a bit more basic (it’s just one thing and one question needed) compared to other applications.

      It would be a mistake to think that getting the answer is all it takes. It is much more than that. If he is very young, keeping it fun is important, so maybe do the basic course with him and them try finding hidden objects. Another application is that you can use dowsing to choose a present for someone (this is covered in the 101 Amazing Things book). You can dowse which item on the restaurant menu you will most enjoy (in a place you haven’t eaten before), or you could get him to dowse for your meal if you wish. Again, be sure he trains in the basic course first for best results. You can use dowsing to pick the perfect avocado or melon–this is a good exercise in the importance of a proper question. Scan this site for articles on the dowsing state, asking a good question and especially deviceless dowsing. He’ll have fun with deviceless dowsing. You can do some blind dowsing (see this site, use the search box) to pick what movie to go see among a choice of three (write the names on separate papers and fold them up, then dowse which one to go to for your goals). I think the book will give you some ideas. You can become more advanced and have him map dowse a sketch of the floor plan of the house to find an object you have hidden there. These are just a few ideas. But proper technique is a must. Good luck and let us know how it goes!


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