by Margaret Ball

This ancient art - a human resource faculty - has come into its own in the last 40-50 years to a degree heretofore unknown to modern man. Its legion has been quietly growing in the modern world in the industrialized nations. There are dowsing groups and societies in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany and other countries of Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, China, the far east and elsewhere. These groups have been formed over the years to teach this simple art form, disseminate and share information on the art of dowsing and its various applications in modern day living. Information on dowsing has been translated into English from German, Russian, Chinese, Latin, French and other sources.

Some Background and History

Ancient civilizations and so-called primitive peoples have used dowsing tools of various kinds for centuries to access information they were seeking. Many people know or have heard of someone who has walked a field with a hickory stick (Y-rod) or L-rods to locate potable water sources. Thousands of wells worldwide have been found in this manner. For years well diggers have used the skill of a dowser to accurately locate sites for wells. A dowser will not only pinpoint where the drilling should be done but also how far down potable (fit for drinking) water will be found. An experienced dowser can also tell how many gallons per minute will flow and for how long..usually years. He/she can tell in which direction the water vein flows ...where it is coming from and in which direction it is going. A dowser can analyze the water as to its components, the elements and the chemical compounds from pesticides, insecticides, fungicides down to ppm (parts per million).

Dowsing is also known by several other names....divining, water witching. For years...yes, centuries the art and ability to dowse has been shrouded by fear and superstition. Many times the flames of these superstitions were fanned by the church and the prevailing religious practices of the day. We have to consider that soothsayers, seers, shamans, witch doctors and others of past centuries had the ability to come up with answers using this art form. Many also lost their lives - witches burned at the stake. They were put to death because of the fear and superstition of the populace ....their inability to understand this mode of asking, seeking and searching for answers.

Intuition ( usually associated with women), having a "hunch" or feeling are other forms of divination (dowsing). References to the 'rod' as a pointing stick by island people of the Pacific basin... the mention in the Bible of the 'rod', or 'wands' or scepters...these were all tools of divination.

Herodotus, the 5th century B.C. Greek historian wrote of the use of willow divining rods by the Scythians, a nomadic Iranian people who travelled the prairies of what is today southern Russia. Another reference to the use of the willow divining rods appears 800 years later in a Roman history written by Ammianus Marcellinus. Various types of tree branches were used - hazel, as well as other nut and fruit trees - always trees that were indigenous to the area. Mention is made of using divination by the Germanic tribes when the Roman Empire was in its glory. Variations in instructions on how to cut (dowsing) rods appear in the archives of nearly every European country. Instructions on the use of rods were left by Basil Valentine, a Benedictine monk and alchemist in the 1300 hundreds in Saxony.

On the other side of the world ancient Chinese statements speak of "gifted diviners using rod like instruments" able to detect subterranean water and even start it from the ground. The Emperor Ta Yu, born 2,205 years before Christ, is represented in a bas-relief holding a double branched instrument which some believe represents the earliest example of a forked dowsing rod.

There is a famous woodcut from Agricola's 'De Re Metallica' (1530 A.D.) illustrating a dowsing rod being cut from a tree, and two rods used to locate places where miners were to dig for ore.

Queen Elizabeth the 1st of England was proturbed to find that the rest of Europe was ahead of England in technical advances. She and her advisors decided to get and use the expertise of German mining experts to help find copper and zinc which were vital in the production of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc. The Germans were reluctant to part with their knowledge. Eventually after long negotiations, with various mining experts from the continent, calamine deposits (a zinc ore) were found in Someretshire. So, the dowsing expertise for minerals had finally, after many years, been successfully exported to England !

There were many moral qualms about this 'occult' physics among the ecclesiastics in France and yet the diviners talent was sought after. Around 1630 or thereabouts there was a famous case in Lyon where a dowser was called by the police to help find a murderer . Using his rods he walked through the streets of Lyon, crossing a bridge over the Rhone River. Constantly guided by his rod's indications, he eventually found a man who played a significant role in the murder of the vintner and his wife.

The various branches of the military has trained select servicemen in the art of dowsing. The credit for introducing dowsing to the military goes to Louis Matacia, a dowser and professional land surveyor who demonstrated to the top brass what could be done by utilizing dowsers on the field of battle. During the Vietnamese war, the U.S. marines were able to find the Viet Cong underground tunnels with the help of dowsing marines. The men in the field came to rely on the dowsers more so than on the sophisticated instrumentation because of their high rate of accuracy. Even today, the various branches of the military continue to train some men in the art of dowsing. Little did the Viet Cong know that the "secret weapon" they felt the U.S. military had to locate and destroy their system of underground tunnels were men in the field with dowsing rods !

Some Uses of Dowsing

The use of dowsing in the last 20-30 years has broadened from the very important locating of water and minerals and oil to encompass so called esoteric areas. Today, it is used to find missing people, lost objects. It is used in the determination of : what a person needs for good health ; what is causing discomfort and illness and what measures to take to eradicate the causes of said illness or condition. Dowsing can be used to determine the psychological wellness of a person, the cause of an infant , unable to talk, crying e.g. There is no limit to it's use. Information of past lives can be found through dowsing. All one has to do is be able to pose questions in a yes or no mode and count to utilize this skill. Dowsing enables you to answer the 'how', 'why', 'where', 'when' questions.

A person can tailor make his/her diet, their vitamin and mineral supplementation...the use of herbs...what ever. You can dowse to see if your plants want water and how much. You can dowse to find out what is wrong with the car and pinpoint the trouble spot.

Dowsing can help people in business by indicating the best time e.g. to approach a customer to obtain the desired results. Dowsing can help you determine how accurate the information is that you are being given . Not only can we dowse the yes or no or 'no answer at this time' but we can also dowse percentages and numbers as I indicated earlier. You can dowse the ppm (parts per million) of anything as well as the number of gallons per minute of a prospective well site. People have used it successfully in the stock market.

For those of you who are new to dowsing , I suggest you start by asking simple questions where an error will be relatively insignificant. For example..."Will it rain today where I am?" "Will so and so's plane arrive within a 1/2 hr. of the scheduled time ?" Like any skill or art, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, is the base foundation to build on.

So...what is dowsing ?

Dowsing is seeking an answer with the aid of a hand held instrument.

The three main dowsing tools are :

I will discuss these tools in detail and their use in my next article. I personally can tell you it changed my life when I learned to dowse 20 years ago. It empowered me in a way I never dreamed possible. Yes, this self empowerment is the real gift that comes with learning how to dowse. Over the years I have taught classes to hundreds of people and to date have found but a handful who truly were not able to dowse. Almost everyone can do it. I still find this to be true in the classes I teach today. I find the increased interest in dowsing among young people very exciting and gratifying. The ability to dowse has helped many a teenager in test taking.

Bird, Christopher, "The Divining Hand", E.P.Dutton, New York, 1979

Copyright 1999-2000 Margaret Ball, all rights reserved. Republished by permission of the author. Ms. Ball posts regularly on the Athena List, moderated by Eileen Nauman. You can contact Ms. Ball by e-mail, or by writing to her at 720-309 Major Mackenzie Dr.E., Richmond Hill, Ont. L4C-9V5, Canada or by telephoning her at: 1-905-770-9012. And you can check out the Athena Web Site for more information and articles on health, healing, the environment and ways to improve our quality of life.

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