Category:Dowsing, Doodlebugging, and Water Witching
From Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
Dowsing, Water Witching, and Doodlebugging are forms of divination in which a dowser or water witch uses a simple tool or device such as a dowsing rod, dowsing sticks, doodlebug, pendulum, plumb bob, or divining rod to attempt to locate hidden water wells, underground streams, oil reserves, lost septic tanks and leach fields, caves, utility lines, water and gas pipes, buried metals, ores, minerals, gemstones, people, pets, or missing objects for their clients.
Many dowsers specialize in the types of things they will attempt to locate for clients. The most common kinds of dowsing in America are water witching preparatory to the digging of wells and doodlebugging during exploration for minerals and oil.
Because dowsing is a practical form of divination, it is generally not performed at an altar, but most spiritually-minded dowsers do keep their dowsing rods with their spell-casting tools and handle them with both reverence and respect.
Dowsing with a Y-Rod
The most common divining rod is a Y-shaped branch cut from a tree or bush. Old style dowsers and water witches in the United States prefer branches from the witch-hazel, willow, or peach tree and often favor rods of freshly cut or green wood because "wet wood recognizes water."
The dowser holds the Y-shaped rod with one short end of the Y in each hand and the long end of the Y pointing forward.
Exercising a slight outward pull on the forks of the Y to keep the end under tension, the dowser steadily walks over the area in a regular grid pattern, carefully covering the entire territory to be searched. When the dowser passes over or near the searched-for material, the rod points down, showing the spot.
Some dowsers clam that they can determine not only the place where the item will be found, but also its depth, as indicated by the strength of the downward pull on the tip of the Y-rod, or the speed at which it "dipped" when they approached the area.
Dowsing with L-Rods
Some dowsers prefer to use a simple pair of L-shaped rods. These may be made of metal, and generally have loosely fitted wooden or cardboard tube handles which allow the long arms of the rods to spin loosely when the handles are tightly gripped. Professional dowsers often prefer their L- rods to be made of particular metals, especially brass and copper, but many a learner has picked up the practice with a home-made "starter" set of L-rods made of coat-hanger wire sheathed in tube-handles made from discarded and cut-down paper-towel cores.
The dowser holds one rod in each hand, with the short part of the L held in the hand and the long part of the L pointing forward. Walking the territory in a regular grid, the dowser observes the rods. If they turn to the right, the dowser walks to the right. If they turn to the left, the dowser walks to the left. When the dowser passes over or near the searched-for material, the two rods will either cross or uncross. If the rods stop pointing straight ahead and form an "X," the dowser marks the spot. The field may be walked several times, confirming the marked spot until the dowser is satisfied that the L-rods have accurately presented the sought-for information.
Dowsing with a Pendulum
Pendulums made from surveyors' plumb bobs, as well as specially constructed hollow pendulums that can contain a small sample or "witness" of the item being sought are used by some dowsers.
Dowsing pendulums, with and without the contained sample, may be taken into the field, but more often they are hung on a chain or bit of string and employed in the practice of map dowsing or remote dowsing.
Map Dowsing or Remote Dowsing
Map dowsers use a pendulum, plumb bob, or a single L-rod over maps to locate oil, minerals, persons, water, or old constructions. The movement of the pendulum or rod over locations on the map indicates to the dowser where searched-for materials can be found. The dowser first determines which direction (left-right, up-down) will indicate “yes” and which “no,” and then moves the pendulum or rod over the map and notes the reaction over certain geographical areas.
Although map dowsing with a pendulum superficially resembles pendulum divination, especially divining the sex of a baby by hanging the pendulum above a pregnant woman's belly as she lies on her back, it is a separate art, as the answers sought are not to "yes" or "no" questions. Rather, the map is used as a stand-in for the territory to be dowsed. The pendulum indicates areas of interest, which may later be searched in person.
Likewise, when a single L-rod is used to dowse a map, the dowser is generally looking for indications of coordinates to search in the field at a later date. The L-rod may be held with the handle up rather than down, and as it is moved slowly across the map's edge coordinates, the diviner observes "dips" or "lifts" in the rod. The marked dips or lifts along two edge coordinates are then graphed to a plotted point on the map, which is further searched in person.
Map dowsing can be used to pinpoint a location, but it finds more general use as a way to narrow down a large area, in order that the dowser may avoid walking a grid over a several-acre territory. In these cases, the map dowsing draws the dowser's attention to productive smaller areas that may be walked and dowsed in the field for confirmation of the indications first found on the map.
Divining with a Mosaic Rod or Rod of Aaron
In addition to dowsing, divining rods are also used as revelatory devices. A rod will be held up in the air, and the diviner or rodman will ask a question. If the rod moves, the answer is considered a “yes”. If the rod does not move, the answer is considered a “no.” The rod is believed to be moved by either a spirit or God.
A divining rod of this type is referred to as a “Mosaic rod” or a “Rod of Aaron”, in reference to the prophet Moses and his brother Aaron, who both used rods given or blessed by the Lord.
When a rod is used for "yes" or "no" divining, its function closely resembles that of a pendulum used in divination.
- Divination and Fortune Telling by Dowsing, Doodlebugging, and Water Witching