On Dowsing or Water-Witching

T1200 Tom demonstrates proper method of holding dowsing stick

Dowsing has always been on my list of things to do. It has been practiced for thousands of years, so I was pretty certain it was for real. By some stroke of luck, I met a dowser/water witch named Kris at an outdoor barbecue event a few years ago. We were exchanging information about what we did for a living, and after I handed her my Realtor business card, she handed me her business card. It had a hand illustrated, forked branch on it, with the quote, “The wish to reveal what the earth has hidden”. Kris was the person the drilling and pump contractors called to find water in the area. She was often called to travel to other communities for a fee plus mileage and per diem. It was a viable business for her.

We visited all evening, and really liked each other. I asked her if I could tag along with her on a job one day to either watch or try it myself. She took my number and said she’d call me to join her on the next residential job.

Kris called 2 weeks later and we set the time. She told me we’d have a short hike into a wooded area near the foot of Stevens Pass, and advised I wear a long-sleeved shirt and hiking boots. She also advised I bring a sharp, sturdy pocket knife. Being a novice, I had no idea why, but I brought a sturdy Swiss army knife with me.

Kris showed me how to select the forked branch. She said she preferred Willow, Alder, Apple or Cherry tree wood, though she felt it was better juju to cut the Y-Rod from a tree near the site, whatever was available. Some dowsers swear by Hazel or Rowan, but those aren’t native to our area.

During the selection process I learned that the forked tree branch should be about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick, with each fork equal in size, and the base of the “Y” should be cut about 6-8 inches below the fork, for balance, to form a perfect “Y”. Kris had a handy little 6″ gardening saw hanging from her belt to remove the base of the rod from the tree without having to break it off. The forked portion was about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long, so the entire length of the branch was just shy of 3 feet.

Following her lead, I stripped/peeled off most of the fresh, rough bark on the forks, where our hands would be placed. We cut off any little branch nubs also. (I evidently didn’t remove as much of the rough stuff as I should have!) She pulled a folded plat map from the title company out of her pocket, and the preferred home and well locations were marked. The property was for sale, and had a current offer that was contingent upon locating potable water.

With the physical requirements for the Y-rod completed, Kris explained that the mental attitude of the dowser was as every bit as important as choosing the right dowsing rod. The best mental attitude is to be relaxed and focused, with no mental chatter. Strive for a mindset similar to meditation, where you clear the mind. Visualization in your minds eye of the specifics you are dowsing for is also advised. To simply dowse for water might turn up plenty of water that is too shallow and polluted to drink! Take some time to consider and plan your query for the outcome you desire.  Be specific! In this case, we wanted a deep vein of fresh, potable water that would be suitable for a 80 – 120 ft. deep well and provide for a flow of at least 4-5 gal. per minute (gpm)for four hours straight. We focused mentally and visually on those objectives. By the way, the long sleeved shirt was recommended because the mosquitos were legion!

The first challenge was to hold each branch of the fork overhand, initially, towards the tips of the branches. Once I was holding it, she told me to invert my wrists inward and flip the Y-Rod so my hands holding each fork were now facing up, with my thumbs pointed up, and the 6-8 inch base of the branch pointing straight out. Note: Keep your arms extended and your head out of the way until you’ve flipped the rod! The base of the Y-rod bonked me in the forehead the first time.

Once the rod was correctly flipped, Kris said I should pull outward slightly with each hand to put a little tension on the fork.   She cautioned  I should keep my elbows in close to my sides and grasp the handles of the fork firmly, with the rod pointing straight out. She told me if we located water, the action might be strong enough to make me lose my balance. We began to walk slowly forward, focusing our minds on potable water. We probably only walked 15-20 feet when suddenly the Y-rods came alive!

The branch literally threw itself down, with me holding it so tightly it stripped some skin off the palm of my hand as it lurched downward. It is not a gentle motion. I had anticipated the branch might jiggle a little or something. Oh, no. It was a powerful force, and I literally couldn’t hold it back.

Kris used the side of her boot to drag a line in the dirt where the rods had dipped. Then she marked the scuff line at each end with a small twig pointing up. We then moved forward, slowly. We walked about 12 feet when the rod reacted again. To double-check, we walked a few feet further and then doubled back. The rod threw down again about 12 feet from the first throw. Kris marked another line in the dirt with her boot, and marked that line with twigs, also.

We walked to the center of the two lines, and Kris asked out loud, “Tell me how many feet deep?” The rod bobbed up and down as she counted by 10’s. Then she asked, “How many gallons per minute?” The rod bobbed up and down again like it was spring-loaded. Kris was satisfied. She said confidently,”They can put a well here.’

Dowsing works best on a need to know basis, like most psychic and intuitive information. It is not limited to finding water, either. It is useful to archaeologists, orchardists, homeowners and virtually everyone. If you are open to it working and can focus your thoughts, chances are you’ll be able to dowse anything, sooner or later. Kris told me the energy from her dowsing would probably transfer to me, and it sure did, big time. If you can find a dowser to work with you the first time, that might be a shortcut to success.

Some people dowse successfully with bent copper rods, or even their hands. Kris said the energy was stronger for her when using a Y-rod, cut fresh from a tree. Like any other intuitive skill, every one experiences it differently.

If you want to learn to be a really good dowser, so you can depend on it when you need it, it is crucial to practice often when it doesn’t matter. Dowse for lost things, for bones your dog buried, whatever you can think of. You will learn by doing. Go forth and dowse!

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Green Magick

I enjoy learning about and growing medicinal and culinary herbs, making herbal soaps, salves, tinctures, syrups and my own herbal tea blends. A lifelong interest in dreaming led me to a 4 year, formal, Jungian Analysis. I’ve studied Spirit and the paranormal for over 40 years, and I’m still amazed at the symmetry and sparkling intelligence of the universe.

12 thoughts on “On Dowsing or Water-Witching”

    1. Yes! You start overhand, then flip your wrists inward so you are holding it palms up, with thumbs up. Not sure why you don’t just start that way, but that’s how I was shown.

  1. A very interesting post. The first dowsing workshop I went to back in the 80’s left me feeling very disappointed as I could get no results. I was trying too hard. I persevered and eventually earned my Licentiate in Radionics – a very specific form of dowsing for health and healing.

  2. I enjoyed reading this very practical, detailed description of how to do dowsing. I don’t need to do it at the moment, but it’s good to have this information for future reference.

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