Artistic Anachronism




Reimagined from a past that never was...

but should have been.




Dowsing: What is it, and how is it used?

by Alison Sheehan-Dion 2009

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Dowsing has been around for a very long time. I have no idea when it began, but I do know that it was used by farmers and villagers for hundreds of years to find water before drilling for wells. There are many ways to dowse. Some people use two L shaped sticks or rods. They hold the short side of the L and allow the long end to swing around until the two long sides cross or move away from each other.


My preferred method for dowsing is to use a pendulum. A pendulum can be made from almost anything. Basically what you need is a weight on one end of a long string, thread or chain. Examples are a needle tied to a thread and allowed to swing or a stone or crystal at one end of a long chain or cord. I prefer something a bit heavier than a needle, like a pendant or crystal.

In order to use a pendulum to dowse, you hold the string or chain or cord in one hand, with the weight hanging free. You start by asking the pendulum to show you 'Yes'. Focus on the word Yes while you do this. In a short time you will see the pendulum begin to move, possibly in a circle, or maybe side to side. Each person and each pendulum has it's own way to show you yes.

Once you know what yes looks like, ask it to show you 'No'. In a short while you will probably see the pendulum begin to move in another way. Possibly counter clockwise circles, or back and forth in another direction. Once you know how to interpret yes and no, you are ready to use the pendulum to ask yes or no questions.

What to do with it?

Once you know how to interpret the answers, pendulums can be used for many things!

I once used a pendulum to find my lost passport. I was heading to Europe, and while packing realized I couldn't find my passport where I left it. I was in a panic.

I picked up the pendulum, and began going room to room asking it: "is it in this room"? Again and again it said no (for me, a swing in a circle, counter clock-wise is no). Finally, I came back to the room where I thought I had left it in the first place.

This room was very small, perhaps 8 x 8, and I was using it as an extra large closet. It had clothing hanging along one wall, some shelving and a small dresser in it. I asked again, and this time it said 'Yes' (swung in a clock-wise circle). Hmm, I thought. OK, I'll bite.

"Is it in plain sight?" No, said the pendulum.
"Is it in an article of clothing?" Maybe, said the pendulum (swung back and forth in a straight line).

Well that could take all day, I thought. This is a closet! Time to re-phrase the question a bit.

"Is it in a pocket?" No. I looked around the room again, baffled. There were not that many places for it to be. OK. It said it "might" be in clothing, but not in a pocket.

"Is it near a shoe?" Yes! I looked down. All the shoes were on the floor along the walls. Interesting.

I got down on my knees, and looked around the room at each pair of shoes. And there, underneath the dresser, sitting inside a shoe, poking up, was my passport. It had apparently been on top of the dresser, and must have slid behind it onto the floor, but landed in a shoe and stuck there.

Not a bad "guess". That was my first profound experience with using a pendulum in a way that sold me on how useful they can be!

So how does it work? Well, I am not really sure, but I have a pet theory: we all know we have information in our heads that we can't access easily. It is there, trapped in our sub-concious, but we can't access it. I think using a pendulum allows us to access some of those sub-concious memories. I am guessing that on some level, I rememberd having the passport in that room, and maybe even remembered it being on the dresser. Thus it was easier for me to disengage my concious mind and simply allow my sub-concious to guide me to the lost object.

There is lots of great information out there about Downsing, including books and various web sites. One group that are amazing to visit are the 'American Society of Dowsers'. They have various chapters in different states, and go on trips and have events. I highly recommend them as a fun and interesting group to look into if you have any interest in dowsing.

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