Dowsing FAQ

Crosscurrents of Dowsing -  FAQ (and some less frequently asked questions) compiled from over twenty years of professional dowsing and teaching of the art.  Stephen Bosbach applies his teaching skills and his holistic understanding of the dowsing process to answer some of the more bothersome questions about the dowsing phenomenon.

    One of the fascinating aspects of dowsing is that it works at all!  Just think of the implications this has on our view of the world!  One would have a difficult time dismissing all the success that dowsers have had over the years as simple chance or use of subtle clues in the environment.  Once we experience for ourselves the phenomenon of dowsing and have success in locating something hidden or lost, we know that our mind is capable of much more than our culture normally credits it with.  
      After the first rush of ego that focuses immediately on the potential of your new found power, there will be a realization that our ego gets in the way of our success.  If we try too hard to force the dowsing process, the process itself will fail.  We are told by those more experienced than ourselves to adhere to certain procedures and mind states to insure success.  The overall picture we have of "dowsing" begins to become more concrete and more indistinct at the same time.   We realize it is both ultimately simple and infinitely complex.  
    From this seeming state of confusion we continue our practice and find that success comes often at the most unexpected times.  It comes when we have let down our guard, when there is someone else's' welfare at stake and we believe we can make the difference.  It comes when we have been tireless in our search to the point where the outcome recedes into the background of thought, and we are caught up in the delight of discovery in the process of the search itself.  It comes when we have abandoned hope of using physical means to control our situation and can depend on no one else for our rescue or success. When dowsing works in these situations there is the knowledge that 1) this was in no way just a roll of the dice 2) this was a connection of some sort between us and our environment and 3) when the chips are down and there is no other way to gather the information or affect a change, we have a way.
    Imperfect as it may be, dowsing is a doorway to mankind's highest potential.  We stand as explorers on the shore of a new continent, wondering at the strangeness of this place and yet captured by it's power and elegance.  It is a big land, this continent of consciousness, and we need many explorers willing to take a chance on a simple idea called dowsing.

    Dowsing is only as useful as we are consistent in our results.  (or a good dowser brings his own shovel!) With this in mind we should probably look at the dowsers that have a respectable track record of accuracy and see what they are doing different, if anything, to that end.  Those dowsers that have good track records of accuracy have almost always specialized to do most of their dowsing in one particular area.  There are good water dowsers, good oil dowsers, and many accurate dowsers in nutrition and health.  From observation, I find very few dowsers that are good in all of these.  Good dowsers tend to specialize in one particular area of expertise.  This seems to have a couple of spin offs that may make the dowsing done easier and more accurate.       
 1.) In the familiar search, the questioning becomes almost automatic.  It becomes easy to use the questions you need for the purpose and avoid the confusion and left brain struggle of formulating the correct question for the search.  Constantly dealing with new questions is more awkward and requires a greater degree of concentration and lack of distraction.
2.) Repeated familiarity with the object of search brings greater knowledge of how and where it is found, leading to better questioning and a greater understanding of the object of search.
3:) The often repeated question, so easily sliding off the tongue, begins to take on the subtle effects of a mantra, allowing the mind to quickly slide into the synchronous state necessary for accurate dowsing.  
All these points indicate that it is worth your while to specialize in a particular area of dowsing and work at it.  Your results will invariably be better than if you never concentrated in any one area.

    I have recently been dowsing for water for a neighbor of mine as his present well is no longer producing enough water for the household.  I think I have found him a location that will make him a better well, but wonder if there are other questions I should also be asking.  Can you help me out?
Daryl Istik

Dear Daryl,
    The first question you should be asking should be, can the present well be salvaged?  Are there divertable water veins that can add water to the well without drilling?  Are there well cleaning methods that can increase production in this well without drilling?  (this is often referred to a "fracturing" a well and methods vary from dry ice to dynamite.  Be careful here, and dowse the best method, as too much force in the wrong place can be just as bad as none at all.)  Are there any water flows below the bottom of the well that would only require the present well to be deepened?  Only when you have gotten negatives on all of these previous questions should you go on to looking for another site for a well.  
    If a new site is the only alternative, dowse into the past and see what the lowest flow rate was in that water vein in the past 20 years.  Past 50 years?  This will give you a feel for the water vein's consistency over time and should be a good predictor of future stability. (although with global warming trends this may not hold true)

A while back I ran on to an unusual situation on a parcel of about 20 acres looking for good, potable water flowing at over 10 gallons per minute. I walked the perimeter of the property and found one vein entering and two leaving the property that fit that criteria.  At first I assumed the single vein had split and picked up tributaries to make the second flow off the property.  Wrong assumption!
    Part of my error involved dowsing while the owner was present and wanting to instruct at the same time.  Dowsing on another day allowed more time for careful backtracking of the veins to see if they both connected.  They didn't!  The second vein ended in a dome that originated within the boundaries, so wasn't discovered the first time I walked the perimeter.  A second good flow from another dome was then discovered.  I'm not used to seeing strong flows of water over 10 GPM from domes in the Hill Country, so I was surprised to find two veins that each had over 20 GPM coming from domes.  Had I not taken the time to back track the veins or question why the in and out flows didn't add up, I may have underestimated the water resources on this property.  Points to remember - don't assume anything and be thorough!

I've been practicin' like ya tol me to, an I do believe I'm a gitten good enough ta charge folks for findin' water.  Out here in west Texas the water is often times a wee bit too strong in the taste department.  It seems dumb just to ask if the water is good!  How can I accurately dowse for water quality?  What do I ask?
                            Slim Pickens

Dear Slim,
    This is an area that is more difficult than just locating the water or determining rate of flow, but with practice it can be done.  You sound like you're ready to step up to the challenge.  Dowsing for water quality can be done with questions that are subjective or objective.  Subjective questioning relys on our own idea of what good tasting and good smelling water is.  We just recall this taste and smell (or lack of it) and program that into our questioning (Is this water flowing beneeth me now good tasting water? good smelling water?).  The second method relys on our knowlege of what contaminants in the water produce bad taste and smell and dowsing for the proportion of these in the water (usually parts per million).  I find this more difficult, and although it could be more accurate for what you dowse, it's easier to miss something and think I've got good water when in fact  I've just missed dowsing a catagory of contaminants.  A third method used by the old time dowsers is to take a selection of different well water from the area that are acceptable, and dowse for a match.  The samples can be held in the hand, attached to the dowsing rod, or just carried in a pocket for convenience.  In the end, this may be the most accurate of all.

    It often happens that the drill log shows information we as dowsers have missed.  It means we were incomplete in our dowsing and presented an incomplete picture to the client.  Only by checking ourselves like this will we continue to progress.  
    This gets me going on the topic of the stereotypes we hold about the underground water flows.  Dowsers generally consider themselves somewhat privileged to have access to information that is beyond the five senses.  I have in the past, fallen into the trap of assuming I had the theory
that correctly explained the flows of underground water and could proceed with my dowsing with only minor alterations to my ideas.  From the other side, traditional hydrologists have also assumed that they had the theory that explained most of the subsurface water flow and could proceed with their analysis with only minor changes to their ideas.   
    As dowsers and as hydrologists we have both fallen into the same trap of attempting to oversimplify the possibilities in subterranean water flow.  Unless these possibilities become part of our understanding, we will as dowsers never think to ask questions concerning them and hydrologists will never include them in an analysis of groundwater reserves.  As dowsers, we claim to be open minded about new ideas, yet we cling naively to the water "vein" theory as the only viable method to use in locating water.  This IS an important part of the total picture of underground water flow, but it is only a part!  Hydrologists have been touting the rain / evaporation cycle and the water table idea with equal fervor over the years.  This has led to the general public adopting the water table / hydrologic cycle as the only imaginable way that underground water can occur.  This has been an educational disaster of major proportions.  All it takes is one trip into a wet cave or mine to blow holes in the water table theory.  Yet there are situations where there is obviously a saturated layer that anyone with a well point can drive into the ground anywhere and get water.  In many cases we are both correct.  In some cases, we are both wrong, or at least incomplete!
    Any water dowser that has done a variety of wells in widely scattered locations will quickly admit that he or she didn't always find what was expected.  I had the opportunity early in my career to dowse in many unfamiliar areas.   In the first ten years of my professional dowsing I lived in five different states with vastly different geologies.  It kept me on my toes because I never knew what to expect.  I couldn't get complacent about a particular pattern of underground flow.    The possibilities are as varied as they are on the surface.  
    Here are some examples:  Rather than finding a vein, water may be in a large fracture filled with debris or a dammed up saturated layer with good recharge from a flow not in the immediate area.  A vein of water may flow into a cavern opening, but an outlet from the cavern at a lower level prevents the cavern from ever filling, resulting in an underground waterfall. Water may fill the contraction cracks around the basalt of a volcanic intrusion, resulting in a ring of water if the intrusion is vertical.  An easily missed source is a zone of saturated material captured between parallel fractures.  This may or may not have sufficient recharge to accommodate  the needs of the client, but should not be overlooked.   
    It is true that within a given geology, certain aspects of the underground structure limit what can happen to the water.  Most drillers will have a good idea of these patterns, because if you drill at random, this is what you will find.  This will back up the hydrologists theories and provides the basis for wide area predictions of catchment and water "production".  The times when, by chance, a large flow of water is intercepted, the driller is likely to dismiss this event as an unexplainable inconsistency, but without much merit because it is unpredictable!  Dowsers know these "chance" water sources are not that rare, but generally take dowsing to locate.  We dowsers sometimes tend to look our noses down at the local driller, when we should be gleaning all the information we can from him.  Water is where you find it.   I would only urge other dowsers who have occasion to look for water, to be aware that the water flowing into a well does not necessarily need to come from a "vein" of water.  Let's all keep our minds open and be willing to let the dowsing rods lead us into unexpected territory!

    This is the first time I have ever written to ask for advice.  I'm usually a very independent person and can figure things out on my own.  This time however, I just don't know where to go with this.  I have been able to locate water and pipes using dowsing, so I began checking out several acreage we are interested in.  This took all of one Saturday, off and on, and I found myself getting real shaky, like I was sick or something.    The feeling slowly went away, but now I'm afraid of dowsing too much, as I might be seriously upsetting my nervous system.  What's going on here and what can I do to avoid the "shakes".
                            Ben Wagoner

    Your condition is not unusual and not serious.  I'm assuming of course you're not experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a chemical abuse.  Dowsing is a new way for most of us to use the nervous system, and we will fatigue the system quickly as beginners.  It's just like a physical work-out in an effort to get in shape, we often feel sick and shaky until our body becomes conditioned to the higher level of physical demands.  If we continue to dowse after we begin to notice some discomfort, our dowsing accuracy will also probably suffer.  A general rule of thumb is to rest when we notice symptoms like you described, for a time equal to the time you were dowsing.  This doesn't mean you need to lie down in bed, just switch to activities other than dowsing that result in a minimum of mental or physical stress.  As you dowse more often, you will find you can tolerate longer and longer periods of dowsing without discomfort.  Through contact with other dowsers and study on your own you will also learn some advanced techniques that will speed up the search process and render your dowsing both more accurate and less fatiguing.

    I seem to be able to get accurate dowsing responses when I'm dowsing alone, but when I try to show my friends what dowsing can do I'm inevitably wrong!  I know trying to demonstrate dowsing and prove it's accuracy makes me nervous, but still want to share the skill and convince others that dowsing is worth working at.  What can I do to get around this?
                        Titan Knotts
Dear Titan,                        
    We dowsers often face "prove up" anxiety.  We trust our dowsing, yet we don't.  We know there are inaccuracies in dowsing and are anxious about being tested, as this might show a weakness in our dowsing ability or shake our confidence in the dowsing process to locate a test object.  As I related in a past dowsing article, we are always dealing with both scientific experimentation and a belief structure about our dowsing.  When we let a dowsing experiment become a personal challenge, it can become a direct reflection of our general competence as well as our dowsing ability and sets us up for failure.  It can also threaten our not so firmly held beliefs about the efficacy of dowsing.  Since dowsing is still somewhat suspect in the general community, we might see our chance of failing publicly as a high risk proposition, where we may be seen as ingenuous or compromising our integrity.  
     These are not the thoughts we want in our mind as we dowse!   Any thought of failure and it's emotional consequence will surely lower our accuracy.  Take yourself out of the cycle of reward and blame for the outcome of the dowsing.  It's OK to become emotionally involved with the search when the emotion is leading towards a resonance with the target.  We don't want to get caught up in emotion that leads away from resonance with the target!
    To get around this problem when it is necessary to dowse in public, we may want to play a little game with ourselves to stay in the calm center of the dowsing process.  When the tension begins to build, tell yourself that this time the dowsing is really out of your hands.  All you can do is act as the conduit for the dowsing response.  You are going to ask the question and it will be automatically relayed through the correct channels and an answer will come without effort or any will on your part.  Like the old timers who knew it was the stick that found the water, you will simply observe the dowsing rod that will tell you the answer.  You will simply do your best to let the dowsing happen.  
    Another way to handle this is to dowse with others in a non-competitive fashion, simply attempting to show dowsing can succeed, rather than pushing for your success!  When a group of dowsers are all look for the same hidden object, one person will usually get to it first; but it proves to all who are present that dowsing can locate hidden objects, even if you missed it this time.  So take it easy with your dowsing.  Follow the precepts, and let it happen.

    I've been dowsing for several years and sometimes it seems that I'm anticipating answers, before I get the dowsing reaction with my rod.  I'm concerned about this, as it seems like this violates one of the precepts of dowsing, to be innocent and not anticipate.  How do I know whether the answers I am anticipating are true answers from the subconscious or just imaginings from my waking conscious mind?  Is the dowsing response being triggered by my conscious anticipation or a real reaction based on the original question?  

    Your dowsing is coming right along!  Sounds like you are on the edge of deviceless dowsing when answers begin to pop into your head soon after the question is asked!  The confusion we all feel about these answers in our head is the same that all people feel as they develop their psychic skills.  As we become more sensitive and resonant with a particular class of target, it becomes natural to pick up answers before we get a response from the dowsing rod.  The confusing part is separating the real information from our own imagination.  It's best to practice with things we can prove up with, but this isn't always possible in much of our dowsing.  I found that the quick, unexpected flash of an image is often correct.  This image is almost like an after-image, like when a flash bulb goes off, or a lightning strike illuminates the landscape.  Like something flashing by our peripheral vision, intuitive information seems almost not there.  An imagined thought seems to develop slower, has greater intensity and seems more solid.  
    To get right to the point, there is no real way to know whether your answers are just imaginings or real answers from the subconscious except by proving up!   Just keep practicing and watching for those times when you can prove up on your deviceless dowsing quickly.  Keep a journal or log book to record your experiences and soon a pattern will evolve to show whether you are on the right track or not.

    Recently I participated in the building of a labyrinth where I was instructed to dowse for every rock placed in the labyrinth to make sure "it wanted to be there".  When I asked why, I was politely told that the instructions had been channeled from the "Elementals", so I needed to follow the instructions.  My dowsing indicated that rocks didn't care how they were used, but I didn't want to argue with someone who had channeled information from the Elementals!  What should I do in a situation like this?
                    Bjorn Aghain

Dear Bjorn,
    Sounds like a case of psychic one-up-man's-ship.  This is a fallacy that evokes awe in born again New Ager's and haunts many old dowsers who should know better.  The idea is that because information was obtained through a "higher" (read more difficult) method, then the accuracy of the information gathered is of course much better.  There is not a shred of evidence to support this.  In fact, there is much more variation in the accuracy of different practitioners of psychic skills than in the methods employed by them.  So it matters little whether information is obtained with a dowsing rod, a Ouija board or channeled direct from the Head Elemental, accuracy is more affected by the state of mind and physical condition of the practitioner.  And since we are all human and all subject to error, all or part of the information that filters through us may have errors.   When we are unable to prove up our dowsing, our dowsed information is often taken on faith.  It is in this kind of dowsing especially, when we must take our own dowsing with a grain of salt, and resist the temptation to force our dowsed information on others as if it were proven fact.  If you dowsed that the rocks didn't care one way or the other, whose dowsing is more valid?  How could we make that judgment?  On what criteria would we base it if results could not be proven up?
    There are often significant discrepancies between dowsers when dowsing earth energy.  Many of the energy patterns are poorly defined and little understood.  Couple this with the natural inclination to interpret the unknown through our personal experience and it is no wonder that the location of earth energy often results in different responses from different dowsers.  In this case it would have been better if each person was allowed to decide for him or herself what to dowse in building the labyrinth, and then to accept the dowsing as valid only for him or herself.    Each person should be given the opportunity to develop their own dowsing /psychic talents without being made to feel inadequate by more experienced dowsers or psychics.

    I have been doing a lot of outside dowsing as the weather has warmed up, and find it more difficult to dowse at mid-day when the sun is right overhead.  Is there something to this or is it all in my head?
    Nancy Caputi

Dear Nancy,
    Yes, it is probably all in your head, because that is where the pineal gland is located!  This area of the brain was isolated years ago by Z.V. Harvelick, past science advisor for ASD as a site of electromagnetic sensitivity in dowsers.  He exposed dowsers to a narrow beam width of very high frequency electromagnetic waves and found that when certain areas of the body were shielded with a metallic band, the dowser would lose the dowsing response for detecting the electromagnetic beam.  One of these areas was the forehead where the pineal gland is located.
 Other dowsers have also reported this effect, one of lessened sensitivity or greater effort required to complete the dowsing when dowsing at mid day.  Dowsers have also found that some earth energies wax and wane with solar and lunar cycles, with evidence of electromagnetic components to the energy.   It might be that when the sun is most intense, we are dealing with a kind of background static that can interfere with one's dowsing.  
        I recently participated in a medical study in which vital signs were taken on a regular basis.  It was interesting to find out what my average temperature and blood pressure were.  My body temperature averaged around 97.6 and sometimes fell to 96.6!  I thought this unusual, but then I found an article on circadian rhythms of the human body that showed the temperature of the body does indeed swing one or two degrees over the course of the 24 hour day, peaking in the  late afternoon and troughing in the early morning hours.  Pulse rate and blood pressure also follow these patterns. Levels of glycogen, a carbohydrate essential to fuel the body, start decreasing about noon.  By 3 AM to 6 AM, the body has used up much of it's supply.  Senses of hearing, taste, and smell are more acute at certain times of the day.  Studies show sensory acuity is highest at 3 AM, then falls off rapidly to a low at 6 AM, then rises to another peak between 5 and 7 PM.  People react more strongly to substances they're allergic to around 11 PM, while antihistamine drugs have the greatest impact in the morning.
    If our physical senses are more sensitive at certain times, should we dowse when they are at a peak or a null?  We know dowsing often increases pulse rate, but does body temperature and pulse rate affect our dowsing?  Many good dowsers will do their difficult remote dowsing in the wee hours of the morning when things are quiet and still.  This may also be the best time for our body / mind chemistry to deal with the demands of dowsing.


    I have just returned from my first major dowsing convention and it feels like my dowsing has suddenly gotten significantly easier!  Is this possible?  I know it is just a feeling, but could something "rub off" when around other successful dowsers like that?  
Ann Eration
Dear Ann,
    This is a difficult one to pin down with measurable data, but many other dowsers and people active in the area of psychic development have mentioned the same feeling.  It is as if the teaching material was secondary to just being in the presence of the teacher.  I think there are specific moments when this is true, but for the most part, valuable learning takes place when a technique is learned that seemed beyond your ability before the meeting.  The process of witnessing another dowser do the technique in your presence makes it real and attainable.  Trying the technique in the presence of the teacher, you are given a boost from the encouragement of the teacher and their strong belief in your ability.  I feel there is also something intangible that acts to jump-start the  student in the new technique.
    I remember a dowsing instructor that once gave me a task of dowsing slide projections and in  noticing my dowsing responses were coming very slow, implanted the suggestion that I would get my dowsing response within three seconds of his question.  He would proceed to ask a question and count off seconds.  Invariably, by the time he reached three I had gotten a dowsing response!  Since he knew the answers to the questions he asked, this was a test of my skill as well.  The dowsing responses not only came faster, but they were more accurate, coming quickly from the subconscious rather than having time to be modified by logical preconceptions.  How did this new found ability come about?  Could I have learned this from a book?  I think not.  Something of the instructor's presence was transferred, and I carry it still.   I left that dowsing conference with one technique more than I came with and a renewed sense of confidence.  That one "jump start" made the whole conference worth while.  A good dowsing conference will stretch the attendees' abilities and their perception of themselves.

    There is one problem I would like you to address.  I have been using my dowsing lately with good results for water, but have been stymied by an inability to locate hidden objects.  This should be a simple matter of homing in on it.  Why is it so hard for me (and many others) to locate missing objects?
    Miss Ingledge

Dear Miss Ingledge,
    You have a good question, and I will attempt an answer without seeming evasive.  First, we know that the easiest dowsing responses are gotten over physical changes in the energy field at a given location.  When I want to start a beginner dowsing, I will bring them to a significant fault zone or confluence of underground streams and they will almost certainly get a dowsing reaction. Old buried pipes, culverts, foundations, tunnels and ore bodies would also fit into this category, but would be a second choice.  Things get more difficult when we look for objects that are above ground and get moved around frequently.  There isn't a significant shift in the energy field associated with most of these objects, and many have other problems associated with accurately dowsing their whereabouts.  A set of car keys, for instance, may be very similar to other car keys elsewhere in the area and may have been moved many times in the last few days.  This often leads the dowser on a merry chase to all the previous locations they were set down at in the area of search and may lead the dowser to other sets of keys that are similar in description.
Try to keep all the dowsing precepts in mind as you tackle this kind of search.  Be clear, be centered, be innocent, be thorough and be specific.  The more difficult the dowsing project, the more necessary it will be to maintain each of the precepts as you dowse.

    I recently got a call to do some geopathic dowsing for a client who wanted to check out a piece of property before purchase.  While talking to him on the phone about the size of his property and his needs, I got a brief flash of a rock ledge with a rather small flat area behind it that would be his primary building site.  It seemed to be on a hill side, overlooking lower land.  I didn't mention my vision to the client, but after hanging up the phone, I did tell Crystal what I expected to find.  No hint of the land forms had been given by the client.  Since I had scheduled to do the dowsing that weekend, we didn't have long to wait to see if my remote viewing had been correct.  On driving out to the site, Crystal and I got out to walk the property and locate any major geopathic energy.  The prospective owner quickly pointed out the site that he had in mind for building, a small level section of the hillside, just back from an overhanging ledge that overlooked Sycamore Creek!   I'm not sure whether this was remote viewing or if I was picking up the client's thought pictures from over the phone.  I was pleased that this remote view had panned out, but more so that I had paid attention to it!  It is my normal mode to ignore these trivial flashes of thought as musings of an overactive mind.  This time I had succeeded in attending to that intuitive side that I usually want to control through the question and answer format of dowsing.  It was a good lesson.  Even though we may feel comfortable with our dowsing procedure, we should not grow complacent, and limit ourselves to only the methods we have been previously shown.  We should pay attention to the fleeting pictures and gut level feelings we experience.  Rigorously check them against reality and make them a part of your dowsing!


    At this time of year I find out that my dowsing is not nearly as good as I thought.  Right up to Christmas I tried dowsing for what was under the tree, and I was wrong every time!  I tried to dowse how many Christmas cards had money in them and again I was wrong.  None of them did!  How am I supposed to really use this dowsing business if it can't be profitably applied?  Over the years I've managed to accumulate those things that make life easier and comfortable, but with the world as it is today, a little extra insurance (information) would be extremely useful.  So how can dowsing be used in these uncertain times if I can't even dowse my own Christmas gifts?
                                E. Scrooge

Dear Mr. Scrooge,
    All of us have experienced similar failures in dowsing for something that we felt entitled to.  It is also true that these are uncertain times and your anxiety about it shows.  As dowsers, it is often difficult to deal with dowsing accuracy, because like meditation, applying more effort to the problem does not always result in success.  In fact, trying to force the dowsing process sometimes just leads to increased failure.  Too often our dowsing success becomes a badge for us to wear.  Another feather in our cap full of other feathers marking our success.   If we focus instead on the welfare of others, our success is often very high.  Need plays an important part in dowsing accuracy.  Not so much from a mystical "he who deserves will get" kind of approach, as simply establishing a resonance and connection between the dowser and the target or problem.  Need also focuses us in the present, without thought of consequences for our success or failure.  We should be dowsing without a badge to keep shined, and without the ego involvement  success often brings. The heart of this is that we are in fact co-creators of our life situation.  In these uncertain times we should not be searching for the light from without, but releasing our hold on the doors of our heart to let out the light from within.  So don't be too concerned about your failures at dowsing Christmas cards, just send out your light, and you will find what is needed.

    I've been dowsing a number of years and have had a fair degree of success when dowsing in the kitchen.  I use dowsing to tell when baked goods are done and finding just the right spice to make a dish just right.  I've been wondering though, why I continue to get strong dowsing reactions when the answer was either wrong or partly so.  For instance, the other day I was dowsing to see if the pears I had bought a few days before were ripe enough to eat.  I got a strong positive response that they were, but when I tried one of the pears it was still hard as a rock!  When this happens I wonder what I am doing wrong!  
                            Pat DeMellon    
Dear Pat,
    I commend your dowsing in the kitchen, as this is a wonderful way to prove up your dowsing and gain confidence in your dowsing skill.  Food combinations can be dowsed for compatibility and greater health as well as creating that culinary masterpiece.  Your experience with wrong answers is no different from anyone else's, and we must look at our dowsing from the perspective of analog and digital problem solving.  Our dowsing answers come out "yes" and "no" only because we structure our questions and dowsing instruments to answer that way!  Our mind works more like a slide rule than a pocket calculator.  Answers are received and decisions are made based on relationships, relative values, approximations, and judgments based on available data.  Everything is approximate.  We structure our analog mind with digital symbols ( time, mathematics, and to some degree language) to allow us to structure our world in predictable patterns.  The answers we receive through dowsing will always be analog and approximate to some degree.  Some instruments, like the "Y" rod may have a propensity to flip strongly to a definite "yes" or "no" response even when the correct answer is "maybe".    When you suspect the answer may not be a definite "yes" or "no", you may want to use an instrument like the pendulum, that has a greater variation in response and can easily show you a "maybe".  Keep practicing in your kitchen and don't get discouraged.  Your pears probably were ripe enough to eat, just not as soft as you like them.  Remember we will get what we ask for, even if it is not quite what we wanted!

I have heard the theory that dowsing works because we are all somehow connected and can make psychic contact with anything we can visualize or put in a question.  Is this true of all dowsing, or does some dowsing work purely from a physical sensing?  
                        Hans Geiger
Dear Hans,
    Both aspects are working when a dowser is in the field dowsing for an earth anomaly like a fracture, mineral deposit or water flow.  No matter what kind of dowsing one is doing however, the dowser is using some part of his psychic ability to resonate with the target or information and become selective enough to make the dowsing useful.  Without this, we would be getting dowsing responses and would not know what we were responding to!  So we can have purely bio-psi dowsing without any direct physical interaction between our body and the target, but we can not have purely bio-physical dowsing without any psychic interaction between our mind and the target!  Tompkins and Bird wrote about this in Secret Life of Plants, that we can not separate ourselves from the experiment, and the hypothesis has been verified many times.  Just thinking about the experiment can have subtle effects that change the outcome!  Check the web for the Princeton Engineering Anomolies Reasearch Lab.

    The only thing keeping dowsing from being totally accepted as a useful part of western society is the inaccuracy that often plague the technique.  But lets look at this from another perspective.  Dowsing has no more errors inherent in its methodology than investment decisions made by stock brokers, success of fresh water fishermen or the percentage of completed wells by major oil companies.  All these endeavors are the product of human judgment, and people in decision making capacities in these areas of endeavor are paid well for their decisions, even when many of them are wrong.  My father in law once said that the only difference between a good manager and a poor manager was that a good one didn't make as many mistakes, but they both made plenty!  Why is our society willing to accept such shoddy performance from some areas of our economy and not accept the inherent inaccuracy of Dowsing?  
    I think that as long as we feel we must prove our dowsing to the world, the world will require proof.  As long as we make claims about our dowsing accuracy that we can not fulfill, we will be forever frustrated by our own humanity.  We are not machines, yet in order to make sense of the dowsing response we digitize it into yes and no answers, effectively making black and white out of shades of gray.  We readily count off depth, rate of flow, distance to the target, etc.. in discrete numbers that belie the analog nature of our mind.  We then go on to state that the water will be found at X depth and X rate of flow, and maybe counsel the client that there may be some degree of inaccuracy in the estimate.  
    There are dowsers who are more accurate than others.  There are dowsing subjects that we each will find we are more accurate at than other things.  But we must always be aware that we are human, and subject to the variability of human nature.  It is much like trying to control the level of performance of athletics or the arts. There are times when everything comes together and we feel like we have been carried along by some outside force and everything goes well.  A peak performance.  At other times, no matter how hard we try, there is no success and no escape from the frustration and the struggle we feel.  Why pretend that dowsing is somehow different and can be controlled any better?  
    The better dowser we become, the higher the general level of performance we can achieve.  But if we continue to work at the limit of our ability, expanding the envelope of our dowsing, we must accept the higher level of inaccuracy that must result.  

    I have been trying various instruments since learning how to dowse and I've gotten responses with most of them.  The Y rod, however, is giving me fits.  I've tried and tried and still I can't even get a wiggle!  What's wrong?  I'm holding it in the recommended palms up style and keeping my elbows out in front of me.  I have no problem getting a dowsing response with the swing rods or the pendulum.  What do you suppose I'm doing wrong?  
        Jack F. Altraeds

Dear Jack,
    You seem to be an enthusiastic beginning dowser.  I don't want to squash your enthusiasm, but you could start by slowing down.  Don't be concerned about dowsing instrument use so much as dowsing results!  Practice with one instrument until it's operation becomes very automatic and your results with it are fairly consistent.  Then move on to another instrument!  People ask what my favorite instrument is.  There is no favorite.  Different instruments are better suited to different tasks and will be used accordingly.  The pendulum is more suited to indoor work, especially map dowsing.  The Y rod is better in the outdoors where quick movements and wind often upset other instruments.  The swing rod can be used for either area, but is sometimes difficult to control in a high wind.  Some dowsers may also find a particular instrument responds faster and easier for them.  Differences in body type, musculature and joint flexibility  may also create a situation that favors the movements of a particular instrument.
If you insist on mastering the Y rod right away, you might try this.   Hold the rod as you normally would, but extend your arms up and out to head height in front of you.  Now reposition the rod to point straight up and program it to bend back toward you when you are over the target of search.  This has been a very successful technique to use when beginners have trouble using the Y rod.  After some practice with this, return to holding the Y rod normally and you should be able to still have a good response.

    When I dowse for a well site anymore, I will quickly locate the best site on the property for a well by simply asking for the best site that fits my criteria and following my rods to the site.  Follow up dowsing is then done as a check to determine why the site chosen is the best.  Going through the arduous process of defining the exact cause of a problem is like dowsing for information about all the water flowing under the property .
 If we are searching for a well site that is dependent on three previous locations, we would be foolish to drill the final well site without first proving up on the other sites first.  Dowsing for answers in a sequence is similar.  If we have not proved up our dowsing, we forge ahead on faith alone, and all our answers are suspect.     When money and health are on the line,  keep it simple!  Be thorough, but avoid getting tangled in the web of dependent answers.
       Recently I was called out to do a geopathic survey of a townhouse in north Austin.  The woman calling mentioned she was seven months pregnant and was having a great deal of difficulty sleeping.  Pregnancy can make many things more difficult, including sleep, but it also increases the woman's sensitivity to all manner of external energy.  
    When I went through her home, I did find a geopathic zone near the head of the bed, but the bed had been moved away from the wall, avoiding the zone.  This was on the suggestion of Dr. David Kolb, chiropractor (nice work David!).  I was puzzled by her description of what seemed to be symptoms caused by geopathic energy and yet I wasn't finding anything in the bed that fit the criteria of "harmful to her health".  I remembered a similar situation a while back however, and broadened my questioning to include any energy that would interfere with her sleep.  Now I got a solid response across a wide area of one side of the bed!   I dowsed that this also could be shielded with aluminum foil, but given the sensitivity of my client, would require approximately twice the thickness of foil normally used ( four layers of regular thickness foil or 2 layers of heavy duty foil).  
    The observation made here is that we must take into consideration the extra sensitivity generated by pregnancy and look for geopathic zones that not only directly harm the health of the individual through mutation of cell growth, but also those that simply interfere with needed rest.  

    I have just recently started dowsing and find I am questioning every answer I get!  I am trying to use exercises that allow me to prove up my dowsing, but many times it just isn't possible.  How do I build up my confidence in this dowsing stuff?
Ino Imwong,   Hawaii

Dear Ino,
    Dowsing is no different than any other skill when it comes to building confidence.  Confidence is born from success, and the only way we can experience true success is by proving to ourselves that our dowsing worked.  Eventually, we begin to have confidence in our ability to locate specific classes of objects or provide certain information and know that the information given will probably be correct.  This leads to the dowsing precepts of being centered, clear, thorough, innocent and specific.  The more we hold to these, the more successful we will be.  There is no substitute for practice and proving up.
    There is another element to confidence, however, that comes from the personality of the individual.  I call it the "Cosmic Yes".  I see it in many successful dowsers.  It is a blend of answer and affirmation about life in general, and dowsing in particular.  It says yes to the questions  "is dowsing  real?"  and "is dowsing really useful?".  It also means yes I will try and yes I can.   It is the Carpe Diem approach that looks back from the mirror and says YES!  
There is some boldness inherent in this confidence, but we should watch that it does not become over confidence.  Many dowsers, once sure of their results in one area, quickly branch out to other dowsing without proving up.  I have seen many examples of dowsing error occurring when dowsing targets or questioning procedure was changed.  We must have confidence to try the new and unusual, and still have the good judgment to know our limits and prove up when those limits are pushed or exceeded.  If dowsing is the true information super highway, there may be no speed limits, but you better know where the edge of the road is!

    I have always wanted to be able to dowse without an instrument, but so far I have not had much success.  What is the key to deviceless dowsing?  What is the best way to get started?
                         Rodney Bender

Dear Rod,
    Getting started in deviceless dowsing is really easy.  Just apply the same principles you use when dowsing with an instrument, but use your body (or parts of it) instead.  Most instruments are only amplifiers of a slight subconscious muscle movement.  In other words, we are already dowsing with our body anyway, but usually aren't aware of it!  It is helpful to get proficient at several different instruments so more than one muscle movement can be utilized, but it isn't totally necessary.  One way to start putting down the instruments is to create an instrument with opposing body parts such as both thumbs pressing together or the palms of both hands pressing together.  The opposing muscle groups will produce a state of tension that makes it easy to see any change in the balanced position of arms or hands.  Once you can see your hands or thumbs move in this manner to a dowsing question, you need to put that muscle group on subconscious autopilot and not be concerned about whether the movement occurs or not.  Just let it happen!  As this muscle response becomes more familiar, it becomes easy to branch out to other methods of signaling from the subconscious.  Some methods that have worked for others are muscle twitches, arms dropping to sides from over head, heat sensations, prickly sensations, changes in skin moisture (rubbing plate method where finger slides or sticks), head bob, and many others.  
    So don't be concerned about making a great leap from devices to deviceless dowsing.  You are using the very muscles you need for the task when you dowse now!   

    I am retired and would like to travel around and try my dowsing out on various projects.  I am planning a trip to the diamond fields of Arkansas to try my dowsing on precious gems.  I should be able to use a diamond ring as a sample and walk right out to the nearest diamond in the rough!  What do you think?  
                        Chip Isenglass

Dear Chip,
    You may be able to use a cut diamond as a sample to locate a rough diamond in the field, but you must know what you are looking for and be able to describe it accurately, as the diamond on the ring is a far cry from a diamond in the rough, even though they are the same substance.  How small a piece are you willing to dig for? (yes, you will have to dig!)  How will you sort out small pieces?  What is the value of your minimum size piece?  What will be the break even point in diamond pieces for your expenditure of time and money?  
    You might get lucky and find a diamond chunk washed down a stream bed, now dry, leaving the diamond on the surface.  It is far more likely that the locations you are drawn to will have small pieces of diamond, scattered under several feet or even several tens of feet of overburden, usually hard clay!  Be specific in your questioning about location below the surface.  How far below the surface to what concentration of diamond.  Ask for the total quantity in a given area at that depth below the surface or in however many cubic yards of material you plan to excavate.  You might also try map dowsing as well as field dowsing to better survey the area in question.  Do this with no distractions around and a settled mind not overly excited about the prospects of getting rich on a vacation!  
    This level of preparation and questioning should be expected on any serious dowsing search.  Because the potential for gain is high, the level of work and risk involved is also usually high.  Many novice dowsers see dowsing as a short cut, a time saver that allows them to make sizable gains without the risk and sweat of more conventional methods.  It is a time and effort saver, but dowsing does not eliminate the need for effort and careful planning.  Take your time to aim true, and the arrow of dowsing will fly to it's mark.  

The tuition for intuition is letting go of our fears, remaining gently in the moment.        Stephen Bosbach

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2006 at 05:46PM by Registered CommenterStephen Bosbach | CommentsPost a Comment