Dowsing has been used for centuries as a method for finding water, treasures, gold, metals, people, animals and to tell the past and the future. In fact dowsing has been used for nearly 7,000 years and probably even longer.

It was used by both the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. In the middle ages it was used in Europe to find coal deposits and water.

In the 20th century dowsing has been used in archeological and geological work, and by utility companies in locating damaged pipes and cables.

The traditional tool of the dowser is a forked rod made of wood. Certain wood such as Hazel, Willow, Ash and Rowan are the best.

Many dowsers prefer to work with a pendulum on a string. The dowser attunes themself to what is being sought usually through visualization.

The dowser holds the forked end of the rod making sure palms are turned upwards. The dowser walks until the rod trembles and dips down marking the spot.

In the case of dowsing with a pendulum the dowser hangs the pendulum over a map.

Dowsing, sometimes called divining or water witching, is the practice which dowsers say permits them to detect hidden or buried water, metals, gemstones, or other such objects without the use of scientific apparatus. A Y- or L-shaped twig or rod is used during dowsing, but some dowsers use other equipment or no equipment at all. Dowsing is widely practiced despite a lack of scientific evidence for its efficacy.


The Art of Dowsing

What Is Dowsing?

Dowsing is an ancient art of gathering information with the use of dowsing tools. There are historical records that indicate that dowsers have been around since the times of ancient Egypt and China. The best-known tools are the pendulum, the forked stick, and the Y-rods, but there are several others as well. The Europeans used dowsers during the Middle Ages to locate underground supplies of coal. There is no scientific explanation as to why dowsing works. It is thought to be an extension of psychic ability.

Today most of us associate dowsing with hunting for water. The ancient name “water witch” or “water wizard” is often still applied to someone who has a talent for dowsing for water. However, there is a lot more to dowsing than just finding water. Many psychics use the art of dowsing to help them enhance their abilities. It can be used for locating oil, deposits of other rich minerals — even lost people!

Dowsing can involve the different senses, especially the “feeling” and visual senses. Most dowsers say that they simply “get a feeling” that helps them make decisions. Others allow their feelings to create a visual image, or an image using other senses. Learning the art of dowsing is like learning to play a musical instrument. The more you practice and learn your strengths, the more you will define your abilities.

Getting Started

Just as with other psychic modalities, it is advisable for you always to take the time to center yourself before beginning to dowse. Once you are comfortable getting yourself centered, anchor the feeling so that you may recall it whenever you want to dowse.

Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. You can do this anywhere you are, standing or sitting. Now focus for a moment on your third eye, and feel yourself connecting to your Universal Mind. With your next breath, inhale the love and peace of the Universe. Allow yourself to be open to the psychic flow that guides your ability to dowse.

Why do you need to focus and center yourself?
The object is to enter an altered state and clear your conscious mind so that the unconscious and the Universal Mind can get their message up to the surface of your conscious mind.

Now you are ready to start dowsing. You can practice by focusing on your third eye. Focus and release; repeat the process a couple of times. Once you get used to focusing on your third eye, you will find that this will actually help center you. When you are dowsing, you may not have the chance to focus anymore than centering on your third eye.

Pendulum Dowsing

The pendulum is the easiest method of dowsing to learn; the term itself is a fancy word for any object suspended from a string or chain so that you can swing it freely. It should have some weight to it, but you don’t want a pendulum that’s either too heavy or too light. The weight can be of any material, from a fine crystal to a metal washer. The length of the chain or string can measure anywhere up to a foot.

Anton Mesmer was one of the first to use the pendulum to induce a hypnotic trance. The subject’s eyes would go out of focus when he stared at the swinging object, which established the first step of a light trance state. The term “to mesmerize” means to hypnotize.

You don’t need to make your own pendulum from scratch — a necklace with a stone would do just fine, as long as it will dangle freely and comfortably from your fingers. An old-fashioned pocket watch, which happens to be a traditional induction device for a hypnotist, can also be used for dowsing.

Let the Session Begin

Many people make daily decisions with the help of their pendulums, through the responses they receive from how the pendulum swings. Using a dowsing pendulum is another way for keeping in touch with your inner guides and your unconscious and the Universal Mind.

When you have found the right implement and have centered yourself, take hold of the string with your thumb and first finger. (If holding it that way is a problem, you can try another position that is comfortable for you.) Let the pendulum swing freely at a length of anywhere from eight inches to a foot below your thumb and finger. Now hold the pendulum in front of you, with your thumb and finger at eye level, and at a comfortable distance away from your head, approximately eighteen inches.

If you have trouble holding your arm steady, you can brace it with your other hand by holding your forearm just below the elbow. You can also rest your pendulum arm on a support that still allows the pendulum to swing freely.

Show Me “Yes”

First, you’ll want to figure out which movement of the pendulum will indicate a positive answer. Let the pendulum dangle freely for a moment. Keep your two eyes focused on the hanging part as you focus on your third eye. When you are ready, ask the pendulum, “Show me ‘Yes.’” The pendulum will swing in one direction. Keep your arm as steady as possible and let the pendulum go to work. It may swing back and forth, sideways, or front to back, or it may rotate in a circle either clockwise or counterclockwise. Let it swing freely for a few moments until you can clearly see what direction the pendulum swings to indicate “yes.”

Show Me “No”

Now that you have established the direction of “yes,” ask the pendulum to show the direction of “no.” Again, make sure that you are allowing the pendulum to swing freely, and pay attention to how it changes direction to indicate “no.” Now ask it to reaffirm “yes” again, and watch as it changes direction again. You can practice changing between “yes” and “no” several times so that you will get used to the different ways the pendulum swings.

When you begin to work with your pendulum, you may find that it swings in very small movements. If that’s the case, you may need a little more weight to help build up the momentum. Try different devices until you get one that works best for you.
Now ask the pendulum to stop, and wait until it comes to a standstill. Your pendulum should slowly stop its swinging. As you practice, this exercise will relax you while you keep yourself focused on your third eye with your mind and on the pendulum with your eyes.

Ask Permission to Dowse

Now you are ready to ask your pendulum questions. All questions need to be phrased so that the answers are either a “yes” or a “no.” If the pendulum cannot answer the question — if, for instance, the answer is not available — it will come to a standstill.

First, ask your pendulum for permission to ask questions at this time. If it swings in the direction of “yes,” you are free to ask questions directed to the source that controls the pendulum. If it is “no,” you may not be totally centered or the subject matter may not be appropriate at this time.

What Questions Do I Ask?

You might start with something simple, like a question about the weather: Will the weather be fair tomorrow? Try something that is relatively unimportant and at the same time can be checked for accuracy. Here are a few other ideas:

• Will the stock market go up today?

• Will I hear from my friend today?

• Will I get a response for a question I’ve asked today?

Many pendulum users ask questions that they would pose to their guides, angels, or the Universal Mind. They are usually looking for some sort of direction to take when making a decision. These decisions can be as simple as where to eat or as complex as guidance in career moves and relationship situations. Some people involve dowsing in every decision-making aspect of their lives. It is their way of consulting their Belief System.

Who or What Controls the Pendulum?

So who or what is really controlling the pendulum? Is it you, your unconscious mind, or your Universal Mind? Maybe the communication comes from your guides or angels? Or is it purely by random or involuntary body movement related to your questions so that you are giving yourself the answer you want? No one knows for sure.

You will have to decide for yourself as you continue to experiment with dowsing. However, it does seem that there is a strong connection between dowsing and psychic ability. It may become a very important psychic tool for you. Don’t get discouraged if your results aren’t earth shattering at first. If you find it enjoyable and positive, you can always pick up a dowsing tool when you want to ask for a little more help from the Universe.

An old tale claims that if you hold a needle suspended on a thread over a pregnant woman’s stomach, you will be able to determine the birth date and the sex of the baby. Ask where “yes” and “no” are; then ask permission. With those basics covered, you can then ask the month and day of birth and sex of the baby.

Forked Stick Dowsing

Using the forked stick, also called the Y-rod, is the most popular and best-known method for water dowsing. The material does not have to be made of wood, although many an old dowser uses a fresh twig cut from an apple or willow tree. The Y-rod can be made from a coat hanger or even plastic wire. The only requirement is that the tool be stiff enough to hold its shape and flexible enough to bend.

If you are cutting a branch, choose one that can be pruned to a Y shape. Leave two to three inches on the stock end before the Y forks. The length of the Y’s branches should be between one and two feet in length. The size and flexibility of the branch may determine the length to which you cut it. Trim off all the “nubs” on the branch that may interfere with holding the stick.

Remember that other dowsing implements are meant as guidance tools for your decision-making process. For major changes, always make sure you have a system of checks and balances so that you are not relying entirely on your dowsing information. Work with your guides, your Belief, and your common sense.

To find your correct dowsing position, bring your upper arms and elbows in, close to the sides of your body, with your forearms bent slightly upward. The palms of your hands should face upward, with your fingers clasping the ends of the Y-rod and your thumbs pointing outward beyond the ends of the rod. Grip the ends tightly in the palms of your hands. The shorter the handles of the Y-rod, the closer your hands need to be together.

Pull the rod handles apart until the entire rod, including the point, is parallel to the ground. You are now ready to dowse. The Y-rod may not be as easy for you to work with as the pendulum, so remember to be patient. As you move closer or over a target, the tip of your dowsing rod will begin to pull downward. The closer you get, the more you will feel the pull.

Dowse for Water

The best way to test your ability in using a Y-rod is to look for water. Try it over a sink or a known water pipe. Don’t hold the rod over the water at first. Make a slow swing until you are in the direction of the water. You should feel a pull. Now move over the source and see if the tip of the rod is pulled downward.

The feeling of the energy that the Y-rod picks up is like an underwater current. This current pulls and bends the rod. Practice dowsing different known water sites, both inside and outside your house or apartment. The more you work with your Y-rod, the more comfortable and confident you will be in your dowsing abilities.

Then, move on to places where the source of water remains unknown — in your backyard, a vacant lot, or out in the country. Ask your Y-rod to locate the best vein of water. Slowly turn in a circle until you feel a pull. Follow the direction of the pull until you are directly over the water supply.

Getting the Details

Ask the rod to tell you how deep the water is. Hold it in position and count slowly upward from one. Eventually, you will reach a number when the rod tip is pulled downward. You might want to start in increments of ten feet, such as, “Is the water ten, twenty, thirty, forty feet belowground?” Once you have determined the depth within a ten-foot range, you can go to single feet.

To try a fun dowsing experiment, have someone hide a jar of water within a specified out-of-doors area. See if you can locate the water by dowsing for it. You can also try this experiment with other items.

Next, ask the rod how many gallons a minute the water flows. Again, count slowly from one to the number at which you get the greatest pull on your rod. This should give you the speed of the water flow. It is always fun to try this exercise with more than one person and then compare notes after you have finished.


Map Dowsing

Believe it or not, you don’t have to go to a site in person. You can dowse for water from a map of the property. To try map dowsing, have someone draw a map of their property, leaving out the locations of their water and septic systems. Hold the rod over the map and ask where the water supply is located. Mark where the rod indicates it is.

Try the same for the septic system. If you have more than one person involved, you can compare the results of your dowsing. You can use this method for many other uses as well — for instance, to search for missing people or animals. You can also ask your Y-rod to locate lost items.

Over the years, map dowsers have been employed to locate oil, gold, and uranium deposits using geological maps. A good dowser can hone in on the goal from many miles away. Even Edgar Cayce tried his hand at hunting for oil.

Dowsing with L-Rods

Another method of dowsing uses L-rods. L-rods are usually made of metal, with the most popular being made from a bronze welding rod. The metal rod is cut in approximately two-foot lengths. The rod is bent at a right angle about four inches from one end. Often a cardboard or plastic tube is placed over the short end, and the tip is bent again to keep the tube in place.

When you grip the rods with your fingers, holding the tubes, the L-rod is able to swing freely. Hold the rods approximately chest high, with your hands at the width of your shoulders. Let the long ends of the L-rods point toward each other. They swing easily, and if you are not careful you could poke your eye. Sometimes, the rods are lightly tapped against each other before each dowsing experiment so that they can be cleared of the past energy.

L-rods have traditionally been used to locate underground water and sewer pipes. The dowser starts with the rod tips pointing away, and when the pipe is located, the rod tips cross. You can make L-rods from metal coat hangers. You can also ask “yes” or “no” questions of L-rods in the same way you would with Y-rods.

Measuring Auras

L-rods are great instruments to use for measuring auras. Your body has an energy field that extends a distance out from you. Some of you may have very small auras, which may mean you are open to having your space invaded. If that is the case, the L-rod won’t open until it’s very close to you. If you have a strong aura, you can spin the L-rod from several feet away from your body.

If you are very sensitive to the energies of other people, make sure you are sufficiently grounded and protected before you work with your L-rod. You are just measuring the energy and do not need to absorb the aura you are measuring.

To measure someone’s aura, start from a distance of approximately ten feet, making sure that no one else is in your subject’s energy field. Begin to walk slowly toward him, with the L-rod tips facing each other. As you get closer, note the point where the rods swing open. That is the point at which you have entered the person’s aura field. Even ten feet may not be far enough away for some people, and if the rods are already open, you may have to step backward until you step outside of the aura.

It is educational and fun to work with several people when you practice your skills at measuring auras. You may also be able to see the auras you are measuring. They may look like colorless waves of energy, or you may see the auras in color. If the L-rod responds well to you, you may have the ability to measure changes in people relating to their attitudes, health, and their positive or negative spiritual growth. You may be able to help many others if you have the gift of working with and changing someone else’s aura.

Dowsing with a Bobber

Another dowsing tool is the bobber. It can be made of different materials, including a wooden twig, a flexible metal rod, or even a piece of plastic. The device can also be made from coiled wire. For the tool to work, there needs to be a weight at the end.

Whatever you use, the bobber must be flexible enough to respond easily to your questions. The length and size can vary from eighteen inches down to a very small device. A spring on the end ensures that there will be a lot of play in the bobber.

To grip a bobber dowsing rod, hold it in the palm of your hand with your thumb on top and pointing away from you. Your forearm should be level, which will mean the bobber rises slightly toward the tip. The bobber on the other end will either bob up and down or sideways. Ask it to show you which way “yes” is, and then where “no” is. Once you have determined “yes” and “no,” you are ready to ask your questions.

Dowsers played a very important role in the Vietnam War. They were used to search for and find land mines. The ancient art of dowsing was regarded by some as more accurate than modern mine-detecting technology.

Finger Dowsing

If you find that you have a natural gift for dowsing, you may not need to have a tool other than your fingers. This ability is part of your mental makeup. Each of you will respond a little differently whether you dowse with a tool or with your fingers. Some of you may feel tingling or heat or cold or heaviness or even have a response through one of your other senses when you use your fingers to dowse.

It is always important to make sure you are centered, grounded, and protected before you begin to dowse with a part of your body. To use your fingers effectively for dowsing, the energy must flow and circulate freely through all of them. Rub your hands together to raise your temperature and get the blood moving. Next, shake your fingers to make sure that you have released any energy that has been absorbed by other fields. Ask your Universal Mind to show you how you will receive accurate information through your fingers that can be used positively to help yourself and others.

If you are dowsing an aura, hold your hand open, with the palms facing the person you are measuring. You may start about two feet away from her body and slowly move closer. As you move in, you should begin to have some sensation in your fingers. You are now feeling the other person’s energy field. As you move slowly around her, you may feel differences in her energy.

As you develop and fine-tune your dowsing abilities, pay close attention to all the information you are receiving. Are you getting images in pictures, sounds in your head, tastes in your mouth, or the aroma of certain smells? If so, these may become very useful as you further develop your psychic gifts.

Remote Finger Dowsing

You can use your fingers in the same way as other dowsing tools to get information from maps or other items. Remember always to ask for specific information. The clearer you are about what it is you are asking for, the more accurate the information that comes back will be. Always start with a large area or general information and then begin to hone in on the target. Check from several different directions.

You can also dowse items such as clothes from a missing person. You can ask for “yes” and “no” sensations through your fingers or other parts of your body and get the same response that a dowsing tool would give you. Your entire body is a resource ready and waiting to assist you in reaching your psychic potential. The more you are aware of your feelings, the more you will begin to know your special gifts.

What Works Best for You

Now that you have had a chance to experiment in several different dowsing techniques, you can choose what’s best for you. Once you have determined whether it’s the pendulum, the Y-rods, the L-rods, the bobber rod, or your own fingers, you can search out your best tool.

One option is to find a family heirloom such as a special gold chain that means a lot to you and will be the most sensitive to use. You can also purchase or make dowsing tools; rely on your psychic intuition to pick out something that feels right. It is important for you to have something that is comfortable to you and also that gives a strong answer. At the same time, you want to remember that it is not the tool that provides the answers. Those come through your unconscious and your Universal Mind. It is also a good idea to find a small dowsing tool that you can easily carry with you at all times. A pendulum fits into your pocket or pocketbook, where another type of rod may not.

Once you’ve picked out a reliable dowsing tool that responds well to your questions and returns good information on things you are searching for, you can use it to look for other psychic tools. Use your dowsing tool to select a good crystal ball, rune set, or a tarot deck. Take your dowsing implement to a psychic store that sells some of these aids. Let your dowsing tool and your intuition help in the selection. For instance, you can ask your dowsing rod for a “yes” or “no” answer to the question of whether a specific psychic tool is right for you to use.

If you find that dowsing is one of your psychic gifts, the more you use it, the more it will work for you and others in your life.


The Pendulum 

A pendulum is great for obtaining information quickly, and it can be used to answer virtually any yes-or-no question. Typically, a pendulum consists of a small weight — a crystal or some other stone, for instance — hung from a chain or a piece of string. You hold the chain or string loosely, allowing the pendulum to dangle from it, while you ask your question. The pendulum responds by swinging in a certain direction. You don’t jiggle the pendulum but rather allow it to move of its own accord.

Different stones appeal to different people. A dreamy sort of person may respond best to a hematite or onyx pendulum that helps her stay grounded, whereas someone who isn’t particularly intuitive might benefit from using one made of a sensitive stone, such as amethyst or moonstone.

Most of the time, if the answer to your question is “no,” the pendulum will swing from side to side. A back-and-forth movement generally means the answer is “yes.” However, it’s a good idea to check with your pendulum before you ask any questions to determine which direction will indicate yes and which will indicate no. The motion isn’t always the same for everyone.

Once you establish the significance of different directions, it’s time to pose your question. Keep it simple and direct. Try to hold your hand still — you may want to rest your elbow on a table or other surface to provide support — and give the pendulum a chance to respond. Sometimes it will start swinging right away, but at other times it may take a few moments. If the pendulum swings in a diagonal line, it can mean that the matter is uncertain or that your question can’t be answered at this time. If the pendulum doesn’t move, you can try asking another question or phrasing the same question in a different manner.

Your pendulum might swing in a circular motion. Usually, if it moves in a clockwise direction, the situation you’re asking about is favorable. If the pendulum circles in a counterclockwise direction, conditions seem unfavorable. Once again, it’s wise to confirm in advance which direction means what, to make sure you and your pendulum are both on the same page.

When you use a pendulum, you’re doing a form of dowsing. Most people think of dowsing as a way of searching for water that’s hidden underground. When you use a pendulum in the manner described above, however, you’re dowsing your own inner wisdom. You can use a pendulum to dowse for just about anything, including underground springs or buried treasure. If you don’t want to actually walk the land in search of your quarry, you can dowse a map. Hold the pendulum over a map of a particular area and ask, “Is this where [whatever you’re looking for] is located?” If the response is no, try another area. Keep at it until the pendulum says yes. You could even dowse a map of a city where you wish to find an apartment — the process is a lot faster and less hassle than pounding the pavement.

Some pendulums are designed with chambers that can be “loaded” with particular substances to aid the dowser’s search. Open the chamber and insert a small amount of whatever you’re seeking — gold, water, oil, and so on. The pendulum, thus programmed, will lead you to that substance.

It’s a good idea to cleanse your pendulum before using it. One way to do this is to hold it under running water for a few moments. If you prefer, place the pendulum on a windowsill and let the sunlight clear away any unwanted vibrations. Store your pendulum in a small pouch or wrap it in a piece of silk cloth to protect it.


Dowsing with Pendulums

To do a pendulum reading, you bring yourself into a trance state and then set the pendulum moving. This can be sunwise (also called deosil or clockwise) or anti-sunwise (widdershins, or counterclockwise). The direction you set it circling depends on the question. For matters that are masculine, or pertain to Fire or Air set the pendulum sunwise. For matters that are feminine, or pertain to Water or Earth set the pendulum to anti-sunwise. Either mentally or out loud state your question in a yes-no form and observe the motion of the pendulum. Eventually the pendulum will stop moving in a circle and either move toward and away from your body~ a definite yes….or side to side~ a definite no. The pendulum may also continue circling (in smaller and smaller orbits) until it stops…this means yes and no are equally balanced and you need to rephrase your question. A diagonal swing can indicate direction (if for example you were using a pendulum to dowse for water) or the question has more than one correct answer…also to rephrase your question and redo your pendulum swing.

Pendulums can also be used to detect unseen energy flows like auras or ley lines. In this instance you hold it still and move it from location to location pausing long enough in each spot to see if something happens. The pendulum indicates the presence of energy by beginning to move on it’s own. Polarity and type of energy in a spot can then be determined by the direction it moves (sunwise~masculine, waxing…antisunwise~feminine, waning…side to side~negative…to and fro~positive) and the intensity is shown by how forcefully the pendulum moves~from a barely perceivable twitch to full blown swings (I have seen both).

Dowsing is a specific type of divination that seeks to locate hidden or lost objects. Common things that are dowsed for are underground minerals: water, oil, gold deposits and the like. Or lost things. (I dowse for my car keys and the remote controller for the TV all the time LOL). Dowsing has also been used to aid the police when looking for hidden crime scenes (buried victims) and lost children. When dowsing with a pendulum you use the same yes-no type questions. Like: Water here? Ten foot down? Twenty foot down? Dowsing with rods or a stick works in a similar manner, yes’s are indicated by a downward motion of y-branch or a crossing or opening of the rods, no’s are indicated by no movement. The relative nearness or intensity of the desired object is shown by how quickly or forcefully the dowsing branch or rods move.

It is important when dowsing or using a pendulum that you do it in the right frame of mind. It will not work properly unless you are in a state of connection with your dream consciousness, a light trance or reverie. It takes a bit of practice to achieve the right blend of unconscious consciousness to be effective but like everything else practice and experimentaion makes perfect.


History of dowsing:
Dowsing has existed in various forms for thousands of years. The original may have been for divination purposes to divine the will of the gods, to foretell the future and divine guilt in trials. Dowsing as practiced today probably originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals. The technique spread to England with German miners who came to England to work in the coal mines. During the Middle Ages dowsing was associated with the Devil. In 1701 the Inquisition stopped using the dowsing rod in trials. In the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, some U.S. Marines have used dowsing to attempt to locate weapons and tunnels.

Dowsing equipment:
Traditionally, the most common divining rod was a Y-shaped branch from a tree or bush. Some dowsers prefer branches from particular trees; hazel twigs in Europe and witch-hazel in the United States were commonly chosen. Some dowsers prefer the branches to be freshly cut. Many dowsers today use a pair of simple L-shaped metal rods; some even use bent wire coat hangers. One rod is held in each hand, with the short part of the L held upright, and the long part pointing forward. Some dowsers claim best success with rods made of particular metals, such as brass. Pendulums such as a crystal or a metal weight suspended on a chain are sometimes used in divination and dowsing, particularly in remote or “map dowsing”. In one approach, the user first determines which direction (left-right, up-down) will indicate “yes” and which “no,” before proceeding to ask the pendulum specific questions. In another form of divination, the pendulum is used with a pad or cloth that has “yes” and “no” written on it, and perhaps other words, written in a circle in the latter case. The person holding the pendulum aims to hold it as steadily as possible over the center. An interviewer may pose questions to the person holding the pendulum, and it swings by minute unconscious bodily movement in the direction of the answer. In the practice of radiesthesia, a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

Possible explanations:
Both skeptics of dowsing and many of dowsing’s supporters believe that dowsing apparatus have no special powers, but merely amplify small imperceptible movements of the hands arising from the expectations of the dowser. This psychological phenomenon is known as the ideomotor effect.

A divining rod (also known as dowsing rod) is an apparatus used in dowsing. There are many types of divining rods: two brass “L” shaped wire rods (commonly made of brazing or welding rod, but glass or plastic have also been accepted)that are to be held one in each hand. When something is found, they cross over one another making an “X” over the found object. If the object is long and straight, such as a water pipe, the wires will point in opposite directions, showing the direction the object is pointing. Brass is commonly used. A forked (or “Y” shaped) branch of a tree or bush. The two ends on the forked side are to be held one in each hand with the third pointing straight ahead. Often the branches are grasped palms down. The pointing end turns up or down when water is found. This method is sometimes known as ‘Willow Witching’. Hazel or willow branches were commonly used; these were called virgula divina. Divining rods are used in dowsing, a type of divination that claims to be able to find ground water, oil, and other mineral resources by non-scientific means. Expert dowsers are allegedly capable of dowsing exact depth measurements of water veins, electromagnetism, currents and telluric phenomena. They are also allegedly capable of measuring blood toxicity, white cells, and sugar levels, and detecting human illness and health. Expert dowsers are allegedly not limited to any specific time and space, claiming the ability to dowse any material at any given time from any location.

Virgula divina:
Virgula divina, or Baculus divinatorius, was a form of divining rod created from the forked branch of a hazel tree, used in the discovery of underground mines, springs, etc. The claimed method of using this Y-shaped branch involved the following: the user walks very slowly over the places where he suspects mines or springs may be; effluvia would then exhale from the metals or the water, impregnating the branch’s wood, making it dip or incline. Such motion was supposed to indicate a discovery. Many experiments alleged on its behalf, authors searched for the natural cause. The corpuscles, they said, rising from springs or minerals, entering the rod, force it to bow down, in order to render it parallel to the vertical lines that the effluvia created as they rose. In effect, the mineral or water particles were supposed to be emitted by means of subterraneous heat, or of the fermentations in the interior thereof. The virgula, being of a light, porous wood, gave an easy passage to those particles. The effluvia, driven forwards by those that follow them, and driven backwards by the atmosphere incumbent on them, are forced to enter the tiny regions between the fibres of the wood, and by that effort oblige it to incline, or dip down perpendicularly, to become parallel with the little columns which those vapors form in their rise.

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