dowsing rods

Beginner Dowsing Lesson

Written By Tom Stewart 4/30/2016
This lesson is written for the person who would like to try and explore dowsing for the first time. Anyone can dowse and it really isn’t a big deal. The big deal is being able to suspend your disbelief. I will cover how to dowse, using underground water as the target, it is the easiest to dowse. If you can master dowsing for water, it is very easy to use the same methods with other targets. Don’t complicate the process; keep it simple and keep it in your mind that practice, practice, practice and study are rewarded by success.

Dowsing has been around a long time.
Wall murals in the Tassili caves of North Africa show a man with a forked stick dowsing for water, carbon dated to be a least 8,000 years old. (Youngblood n.d.)
The British army used dowsers in the Falkland Islands to locate land mines for removal. US Marines taught dowsing at Quantico to dowse in Viet Nam for tunnels (used a single rod). (Matacia 1989) Some notables who dowsed are: Leonardo De Vinci, Robert Boyle (father of modern chemistry), Charles Richet (Nobel prize winner), Albert Einstein, General Rommel of the German Army, and General Patton of the U.S. Army.

What is dowsing?
Dowsing is a method of finding answers or objects with the aid of a hand-held instrument.

Notice the definition doesn’t say “the art of finding water.” You can dowse for any number of targets besides water. Some things commonly dowsed for are minerals, precious metals (gold), oil, lost objects, people, treasure, archaeology, utilities, ghosts, earth’s energies including noxious energies.

Misinformation about dowsing abounds.
First of all, dowsing rods do not contain any hocus-pocus powers. They don’t conduct energy or powers from the spirits. They are just metal rods bent in an “L” shape. One type of metal doesn’t work better than another; as a matter fact, they don’t even need to be made of metal.

There are some dowsers who would like you to believe they are gifted with special powers that enable them to dowse. Anyone can dowse if they suspend their disbelief and believe they can. Some dowsers do some mind-blowing things dowsing, and the reason they can is lots of practicing, studying and perfecting their skills.

So how does dowsing work?
The scientific explanation for what happens when people dowse is that muscle movements caused by subconscious mental activity make anything held in the hands move. It looks and feels as if the movements are involuntary.

Albert Einstein said that the dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time.

Before dowsing, get yourself ready.
You will have better results learning to dowse if you do your initial practice either alone or with someone who is experienced and willing to help. Someone who has never tried dowsing hasn’t developed confidence in their skills and is vulnerable to skepticism from others. An audience could really influence and affect the learning process in a negative way.

To dowse successfully you will need the following three things.

  • You first need a real desire to find what you’re looking for.
  • You need to believe that it can be found.
  • You need to believe you can find it.

The next step is to get permission. “From whom?” you ask. From your subconscious. To do this, relax, become quiet and drift into a prayerful mood (alpha state). I use the outline developed by Walt Woods in his booklet “ LETTER TO ROBIN, A Mini-course in Pendulum Dowsing.” He says to ask your subconscious self the following three questions.

  • May I? Do I have appropriate permission to proceed and be involved?
  • Can I? Do I have the ability to successfully dowse in this area and am I ready?
  • Should I? Considering all aspects related to this situation, would it be appropriate, proper and suitable to dowse in this area?

Before dowsing you must feel like you have the legitimate right to the information dowsing will provide you. If you don’t feel good about the answer to any of these three questions, you shouldn't dowse at that time. You can revisit the situation at a later time as things and circumstances change. You might want to investigate how to get a “yes or no” response using an “L” rod and use one when getting permission.

I have avoided situations more than once by taking the time to get permission before dowsing. If I have a bad feeling about the answer to any one of these questions, I don’t dowse. I’ve been glad I didn’t proceed on more than one occasion. In one such situation, I refused to dowse and later found out the person asking me to dowse didn’t own the property and the property was in dispute. In the Appalachian Mountains where I live, that has the potential of creating an unhealthy situation.

If after asking ”May I, Can I and Should I” and you have the go-ahead, while you’re still in the alpha state, program your subconscious mind to what your target is and be precise. If you are dowsing for a good location to drill a well, it is not enough to focus on finding water. You could locate an area above an old septic tank. The dowsing would be correct, but it wouldn’t be what you were searching for. You have to be specific and complete in what you are looking for. The subconscious mind works very literally.

In the Quarterly Digest published by the American Society of Dowsers (ASD), someone shared that in a demonstration an experienced dowser/instructor asked his “L” rod to point to north. Instead of pointing north, it pointed to the audience. This was strange because it had always worked before. He tried again with the same results. While he was discussing some possible causes for this with the audience, a hand went up and a man said, “My name is North.” The dowsing was 100% correct.

When I dowse for the best drill spot for a single residence, I program my subconscious to locate potable and palatable water, with a 3 gal/min. minimum year-round flow that is within 400 ft. depth. It also helps to form a mental picture of what you are looking for.

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Hold the rods in the search position.
With an “L” rod in each hand, stretch your arms out away from your body about shoulder width. You shouldn’t be straight-armed. Be in a comfortable position. Position the rods so they are pointing straight ahead of you with the pointers parallel to one another. If the pointer tips are above level, they will flop from side to side. If the tips of the pointers are down from level too much, gravity takes control and they will not swing at all. You should get your pointers level and parallel to each other, and then drop the tips down just slightly from level. This is the search position.

Practice walking while keeping your rods in the search position. This is an important part. You need to be able to walk comfortably and at a good pace, keeping the pointers parallel to one another and almost level. You need to master this before dowsing.

Practice Session One
Locate water flowing through a pipe.
  1. Stretch a garden hose across your yard and turn on the water to a slight flow.
  2. Now, walk about 15 feet from the hose.
  3. Take a moment and focus on what you are doing and program your subconscious mind. You are trying to find flowing water.
  4. Walk perpendicular toward the hose with your rods in the search position, keeping the rods parallel. Walk over and beyond the hose, maintaining the search position of your rods. They will cross as you walk over the hose and then reopen.
  5. Come back over the hose in the opposite direction. Once again the rods will cross as you step over the hose.

If you are saying to yourself, “Yes, it worked, but why wouldn’t it? I can see the hose,” you’re right. You can see the hose, but that doesn’t matter. The rods would have crossed whether it was on top of the ground or 2 ft. below. Practice with the hose until the rods work smoothly each time you dowse for it. The transition from a hose you can see and a buried pipe is negligible. The advantage of the garden hose is you don’t have to dig it up when you locate it to validate its location.

If at first the dowsing rods didn’t completely cross but moved slightly as you crossed the hose, then you are doing just fine. You just need more practice to build your confidence. Are you staying focused? Don’t get overly intense. Dowsing is not a big deal. Just relax, stay focused and it will work. Anyone can do it. Animals will travel long distances to find water. They are dowsing. The only people I’ve worked with who couldn’t dowse were those who tried it once, said “I can’t do this!” and quit, or had so much disbelief that they didn’t even try. When I teach dowsing, I have to spend very little time with children. It is easy for them right from the beginning. I attribute it to the fact that children think they can do anything and don’t carry the baggage adults have. You need to build up confidence. With some people the rods swing outward instead of crossing inward. If this happens with you, don’t worry about it.  You get the same results. When I dowse, the rods always swing inward except if I’m dowsing someone’s aura; then they swing outward. Why, I don’t know. They just do.

Notice that when your rods cross, they tended to line up with the direction the water is flowing in the hose. When you are dowsing for an underground pipe or electrical cable, the rods will line up with the direction the pipes or cables run.

Practice Session Two
Dowse around your dwelling and locate the utilities: water, electrical, cable, and sewer. If you have markers you can drop on the ground, you can locate the utilities all the way to the road. Most likely you have an idea of where the utilities are located, but this is good practice. Remember, the more you practice the better you will get.

Next get permission from a neighbor to search for water and sewer pipes around his/her home. When finished, ask if he/she knows the location of each to validate your work.

You can use the same procedure to find the best place to drill for water.
Before you dowse your property, you need to go to your local building supply store and purchase marking flags, the ones mounted to a piece of wire or plastic rod. If the property is densely wooded, get plastic marking tape. In a wooded area you can see the tape tied to limbs better than flags in the ground.

Now you are ready to dowse the property for water. Establish which areas of the property would work to meet the homeowner’s needs and any building codes. Don’t forget to take a few moments when you get there to get focused. Relax, and drift into your alpha state and ask permission to dowse the property, then program your subconscious to locate water which is potable/palatable, with enough year-round flow and at a reasonable depth.

When you are focused with your dowsing rods in the search position, begin to dowse from one side of the target area to the other. When your rods cross, note the direction they line up and mark that spot with a flag. Then move about 30 ft. from the flag in the direction the rods lined up and dowse again to find the same underground stream. Mark it. Keep doing this until you can see from your flags where the underground stream of water flows.

The more flags you add, the better picture you get. Remember, water doesn’t always flow in a straight line.

Continue dowsing across the property until you have located all underground streams of water.

When you have a good idea of where the water is on your property, there are some things to consider before choosing a drill site.

Before locating where to mark for drilling, consider the following:

  • Where would a well work best in reference to any structures?
  • Does a septic system come into play? If so, how far from it does the well need to be?
  • Can the well-drilling rig get to the location?
  • If there is a creek, stream, or pond on the property? If so, how far does a well have to be from them?
  • Make sure your well and any driveways work together.

When you have studied all possibilities, choose a location for the well. Check to see if you need to have the well location inspected for approval before drilling.

Pin Pointing the Well Location
Now go to the best place to locate the well. Focus, and get in your search position once again. This time when you dowse, I want you to pay attention to the rod movement. Take notice where you are:

  • when the rods first begin to swing (flag it)
  • when they are crossed (flag it)
  • when they have opened back to parallel (flag it)

Dowse one more time coming from the opposite direction. Adjust the flags each time you dowse until you are comfortable with their location. The outer flags show the width of the underground water flow and the middle one shows the area of greatest volume flow. The center flag is where you want that drilling bit centered.

You need to be there when the well drillers are setting up the rig. It is very important that they take the time to get the rig plumb (vertical) before they start drilling. If it is not vertical and your source of water is not that wide, they could miss it. Example: If the rig is 2 degrees off plumb, and the water is at a depth of 200 ft., they will miss the center by 7 feet. If the outside edge of the underground water stream that you marked is 2 ft. from the center, then they have missed the area located.

The first few times you dowse I recommend you get a second opinion. This will gives you piece of mind and will help build your confidence. Ask around your area who dowses well sites. Well- drilling and plumbing shops are a good source. Before the dowser comes for a second opinion, make sure you remove all flags. Replace the ones which pin-point the perspective well site with a rock or something. The dowser may not pick the same exact spot but will be on the same source you located.
Notice that when your rods cross, they tend to line up with the direction the water is flowing in the hose. When you are dowsing for an underground pipe or electrical cable, the rods will line up with the direction the pipes or cables run.

Dowsing Ethics
Always Ask Permission: May I?, Can I?, Should I?.
Don’t dowse for personal gain or for your ego.
Don’t dowse if you are too emotionally involved in the outcome.
Don't misuse the gift you have developed.

What I have given you are the very basics on how to locate potable water on your property. I tried to keep it simple. I didn’t cover things like dowsing for the depth or how many gallons, etc. If this experience has whet your appetite, you need to do a lot more studying and practicing. You might also research “The Bishop Rule.”

I wish you good luck, good water, and plenty of it.

Why do you never locate a house above an underground flow of water, especially not under the sleeping areas?