Sunday, December 26, 2010

Excerpt from the book Practical Guide to Psychic Powers

A Search in Two Worlds

1. Dowsing, like other psychic abilities, is inborn in every person, and—like other psychic abilities—operates at the emotional-instinctual level.
a. The dowsing ability is released into activity by an absorption of the attention that inhibits the monitoring function of the rational mind.
b. The equipment used in dowsing, as that used in most other psychic work, provides a necessary focal point for the attention and a means to magnify and show the orientation of inward movement.

2. The key to dowsing is at the astral levels of the psyche and the external universe.
a. The forces that the dowser encounters, and which lead to his or her goal, are of the astral world. This is why the dowser may encounter "remanence"—the astral impressions of something no longer existing on the material plane, likewise, the astral world also holds impressions of "the shape of things to come" which can confuse the dowser.

b. In all cases, it is the astral "counterpart" that is encountered by the dowser—that of presently existing material objects, as also the astral phantasms of past objects and the foreshadowings of future objects.
3. The movement of the dowsing instrument is produced by a form of telekinesis that is directed by the unconscious mind of the operator.
a. The instrument must be held in some particular manner.
b. It is preferable to make your own instrument, choosing the materials carefully and shaping them lovingly and with pride so that the imagination can work along with the instrument as an expression of inward powers. Various instruments, and their easy construction, are described fully in the text—as is their proper usage.

4. To begin developing your dowsing ability, it is important to communicate your desire to your emotional-instinctual astral self, recognizing it as the source of this psychic ability.
a. Your meditation exercises, your diet and lifestyle changes, your contacts with the worlds of nature, humanity, and your inner self should all be continued.

5. Actual dowsing involves:
a. The "directive"—a small sample or token of what you are seeking.
b. "Self-programming": holding the directive in your hand, focus your mind and emotions on the full reality of that which you are seeking—seeing it in your mind and feeling the good that will come from it. Then take up the dowsing instrument and "talk" to it—telling it how you value it and what it is you are seeking and why. Make it come "alive" for you: it is your partner, and it will guide you to your goal.
c. Carry the directive in a convenient pocket while you are actually dowsing so that its subtle vibrations establish an affinity with the object you are searching for.
d. "Listen" to the dowsing instrument as you work with it—it is the representative of your own astral being communicating with you by means of a sign language. You will need to discover the "code" of the movements that express its meaning.
e. Focusing your attention on your instrument, holding it in the particular way required, and "listening" to it—all work to induce a special altered state of consciousness during which the ordinary consciousness that is closely linked to the material world is lulled, and the astral being—with its link to the astral world—comes to the surface. The astral level of the psyche can experience the astral level of whatever concerns it; that is why we use the directive.

6. Just as we used the directive to represent the object being sought, so can we substitute a map for the actual area to be dowsed, and with a pendulum as the instrument locate objects or persons sought.
a. In a similar fashion, a doll or picture can represent an actual person, and with the pendulum we can locate an injury or disease center in that person.

7. As with the other psychic abilities, practice is important, and the games described in the text are good starting points for developing the basic sensitivities that are part of dowsing.
• • •

Dowsing certainly is a most valuable ability and it often gives results whose accuracy and scope astonish the newcomer, but it is not "incredible" nor "supernatural" nor any of the other epithets that have been allotted to it by the skeptics. Dowsing is, as a fact, one of the most "natural" things a human being can do, belonging to the vital levels of our subrational existence.

Most usually a person seeking for water, minerals, or anything else by this method will use either a rod or a pendulum as an indicator, but these things, like the hands of a clock, are useful only to magnify and to show the orientation of the inward

There are a certain number of dowsers who, even without any such indicators, experience almost convulsive bodily movements when detecting whatever the object of their search may be. More experience tingling or burning sensations in different parts of the body; nor are any of these reactions triggered by the conscious awareness of the presence of the object, for many examples show unmistakably that the reaction precedes its interpretation.

James A., for instance, a man personally known to the authors, had never thought of himself as a water-finder. Such a possibility would not greatly have interested him, and he had no reason to imagine it until some painful circumstances led to his talent being discovered for him.

To begin with, he had a violent fall and cracked a couple of his lower ribs. These were set and healed normally, and he returned to his ordinary occupations. Inevitably, as with any fractured bones, he suffered, and expected at first to suffer, a certain amount of discomfort; what troubled him more and more was the fact that as he moved around at home he experienced now and then most violent twinges of pain from the mended ribs, and this particular experience seemed not to lessen as time went by.

Back he went for reexamination, but no medical cause for his affliction showed up. In the end, when he explained that apart from an occasional twinge when traveling his sufferings were all produced by walking from front to back of his house or vice versa, he was referred for psychiatric examination.

Now it was his psyche that was inspected inside and out, although with no immediate result. The psychiatrist however was an up-to-date intelligent man who mentally cross-referenced every fact that came his way, and at last by this method he found himself a clue.

Among the mass of wildly various details he'd collected from James in the hope one of them might prove fertile, somewhere was a statement that James always had his worst moments of pain when passing a certain crack in the wall of his hallway. Once again the evidence was sifted for negative associations to cracks in walls, but there was nothing much. So the psychiatrist looked at it another way. James A.'s ribs hurting and the crack in the wall were related. How?

Why was the crack there? he asked James.

Because the house had settled in the middle.

Why had the house settled that way?

Directed to put in some research on this, James discovered the existence of an underground stream he'd never known about. So, his lower ribs shifted each time he crossed that hidden water; and, because they had been fractured, they hurt badly. And so, he was a born water-finder and hadn't known about that either.

In reality, like every other psychic talent, the ability to dowse is inborn in every person to some extent, even though, again like the other abilities, some individuals have it in an already more developed state than others do. Such experiences as that of James A., however, naturally lead people to inquire what this mysterious ability called dowsing really consists in, and which of its characteristics enable us to identify its nature and the means by which it can be cultivated.

A favorite hypothesis with those who wish to seem scientific without examining the evidence for themselves, and one that tends to be applied to a number of subjects including dowsing, is that of "unconscious muscular movement." The idea is that the unconscious mind of the operator determines (by whatever means) the answer to the question, or the direction of the object of the search, and transmits through the nerves a series of extremely subtle impulses to the muscles, as a result of which they produce the appropriate movements. Aside from the fact that James A. (for example) wasn't searching for anything and wasn't asking any questions, it is not at first easy to fault that hypothesis, however, we shall find that the true cause of the movements of the body and/or the instrument in dowsing is quite other.

The keys to dowsing are to be found in the astral level of the psyche and of the external universe:

Dowsing is a faculty of the emotional-instinctual (astral) level of the psyche, released into activity by a complete absorption of attention that inhibits the monitoring function of the rational mind. This is certainly an altered state of consciousness, although not generally recognized as such.

What name is given to that state does not matter. Try, for instance, speaking to a person occupied in some creative skill, or to a mathematician or physicist pondering some abstract problem, or to a child building a castle with toy blocks, or to a pair of young lovers daydreaming about their future. You probably can't get through to any of these people, and even if they answer you sensibly they may remember nothing of it later, like people who have been spoken to while aroused temporarily from sleep. The dowsing state is very close to that, and the equipment helps in achieving that state by providing a necessary focal point for the attention.

Dowsing is dependent on the astral world for the impressions that lead the dowser to his or her goal. Although the dowser's quest is most often for something in the material world, the forces that are encountered, and which indicate the direction of that goal, are not of the material world (as the influence of the magnetic north upon a compass is, for instance) but of the astral world. This is demonstrated by some peculiarities in the mode of operation of those forces.

A good dowser has a high score of accurate findings, and so long as this accuracy is maintained we have no way of showing where the information comes from, but everyone slips up sometimes, and many of the mistakes made by dowsers are very instructive for that reason.


One type of error comes up so often that dowsers have coined a word for its cause: remanence. In simple terms, this means "the tendency of conditions to remain." Dowsers tend to pick up impressions of bygone objects as if those objects were still there; a dowser seeking a building, for instance, might easily locate a site where such a building had stood long before. The dowsing instrument could react so as to give not only the plan of the foundations (which could still be physically present, if only as a disturbance in the ground) but also the height and particulars of the elevation.

Now, that building just isn't there to be measured in the material world. All its "remaining," which can give through dowsing the same reactions as a solidly existing building, is in the astral world.

Besides the shapes of things past, the astral world holds also "the shape of things to come," and on occasion these images too can confuse the scene for the dowser; at first they are no more recognizable for what they are than the vestiges of the past.

Why is the dowser not able to distinguish those astral phantasms from the material objects that he is searching out? Because in the astral world, along with those lingering traces of the past and foreshadowings of the future, there is also the astral counterpart of everything presently existing in the material world; and it is that counterpart, not the material world itself that the dowser's emotional-instinctual nature is aware of. This area of the psyche, being our astral level within, perceives its kindred world just as our physical senses perceive theirs. By some psychic techniques, the astral perception is brought through into consciousness; in dowsing, it is instead signaled in movements. But these signals are apt, on occasion, to be triggered by the astral images of the past or future, exactly as they normally are by the astral counterparts of present material objects.

Dowsing is dependent on the astral level of the psyche for the movement imparted to the instrument not through the muscles, but directly.

This movement is produced by a form of telekinesis; telekinesis directed by the unconscious mind of the operator and not, as in the case of ordinary telekinesis, by the conscious mind.

The hypothesis of "unconscious muscular movement," previously mentioned, doesn't stand up to the facts; here are some it completely ignores:

People who use a dowsing instrument of the form of a loop or fork (these will be described in the next section of this chapter) have been known to have their fingers and palms blistered and even lacerated in some circumstances when the instrument moves violently and they are trying to keep it under control. At that time the instrument is clearly moving against their muscles, not with them. Nor is it an example of hand working against hand, for when the fork or loop twists around it moves in the same direction against each hand, besides, when the dowser uses "angle rods" each hand holds a separate rod so no interaction of the hands would then be possible, yet the violence of the movement is sometimes just as great.

So as to guard against hand injury, which could be particularly unpleasant with metal rods, people who use that type of equipment frequently fit them with "sleeves," in which the rods turn almost freely. No movement of the rods except for a weak swing to this side or that could in those circumstances be produced by a less-than-conspicuous movement of the hands, whether conscious or otherwise.

Furthermore, as pointed out in chapter 3, telekinetic force is characterized by the fact that distance makes an appreciable difference to its action. This, too, is a conspicuous feature of dowsing.


Some seekers for water or for metals use no equipment at all. The influences that guide them to what they seek are felt in their physical body, either as a movement of the bones—as James A. discovered—or as a sensation of heat in the numberless tiny nerve-endings in soles or palms.

These people have never had, or have managed to shed, the tendency of the rational consciousness to prevent the emotional-instinctual nature from physically signalling its findings. They are able to act almost as spontaneously as does a thirsty animal (or even a plant) moving toward the life-sustaining fluid. For most civilized folk, however, the instrumentality of dowsing equipment is an important factor in success. It gives to the consciousness a necessary focal point.

No matter what kind of equipment you use in dowsing, you have to hold it in a particular way, in a stressed or at least careful manner; and you have to keep your attention upon it, moment by moment, for the way it may be moving or for what it may indicate.

Types of Dowsing Equipment

The importance of your dowsing equipment doesn't mean it has to be costly or elaborate. There is an old saying that a bad workman blames his tools; it is also true that the good workman won't start in on a job without tools he can take pride in—even if it is pride in being able to use such primitive gear skillfully and effectively! So make your own dowsing equipment. Choose your materials carefully and shape them lovingly, and above all have something that your imagination can work along with, a means of expression to your inward powers.

Possible forms of dowsing equipment, other than the pendulum, include angle rods, a loop of stout rattan or flexible cane, the traditional fork of wood, and V- or Y-shaped pieces made from synthetic materials (of which nylon, being both flexible and tough, is still probably best). Remember James A.'s experience with his own ribs!—something of that nature, thin, pliant, partly free and partly fixed, is what you are seeking.*

angle rods are easy to make. You need two pieces of wire (mild steel or other suitable metal), thick enough to keep its form and flexible enough to be bent without cracking; each piece some fifteen inches long. Bend each wire to a right angle at about one third the distance along its length, so one leg of the angle is five inches long and the other ten inches. The exact dimensions don't matter, but it does matter that the two finished rods should be as nearly identical as you can make them. Make sure the two five-inch legs are entirely smooth and free from snags, sharp points, or edges, because this is the part that will be twisting around in your grip when you use the rods. If you wish, you can fit them with "sleeves" that will to a great extent obviate this problem, but even so, you still need to ensure the rods will rotate smoothly in the sleeves.

These sleeves are simply tubes of cardboard or plastic, just slightly shorter than the five-inch legs over which they have to fit, and wide enough to allow free movement to the rods while being convenient to grip. The end of the leg should be flattened, turned over, or enlarged by some other means to keep the sleeve from becoming detached.

The cane or rattan loop is made from a piece of tough, whippy vegetable stem about twenty-seven inches long; it needs to be bound securely with thin cord or strong synthetic string, in two stages as shown below. The loop and the two ends alike will need to be held steady by human or mechanical agency, while the loop is bound securely (as shown above left) and tied off, then bound (as illustrated above right) and securely tied off once more.

The traditional dowsing fork presents an initial difficulty, that of finding a suitable small branch to cut. Hazel, willow, and the fruitwoods are all good for keeping their resilience, not drying out and becoming brittle too soon after cutting, but hazel and willow also are conspicuous for growing twigs with a sufficiency of straight length between outgrowths that is not always the case with the fruitwoods. You need your fork to have at least ten inches of straight, clear wood about one-half inch in diameter, dividing into a symmetrical fork that you can trim into two equal prongs about five to eight inches long.

In preparing your branch as a dowsing fork, make the short ends as smooth and clean as you can, since in use they are likely to twist around in your hands. But don't strip off the bark, or the wood will quickly become dry, rigid, and unresponsive. When you have trimmed the fork to your requirements, melt some candle ends in a can, and, while keeping the wax at a high enough temperature, dip each in turn of the three cut ends of the fork into the melted wax. Leave it there long enough for the adjacent wood to soak up the wax, then remove. When the absorbed wax sets, it will seal the end and so help the fork retain its moisture and flexibility. If you can't for any reason use the melted wax, use corn oil, olive, or (best of all) linseed oil, warmed, to soak and seal the ends of the fork.

The next type of dowsing instrument that must be mentioned is the fork of man-made materials. (Wooden lath can be included here, too.) Any straight lengths of tough, lightweight, flexible material are worth trying, and some are excellent. Two plastic pointers, for instance, will serve the purpose well.

With many types of rod or strip, there is no need to form a V- or Y-shape; you may have to cut convenient lengths—about twenty inches, less or more according to general bulk and proportion—but no further shaping is required. Place them side by side, and, starting at one end, cement, and/or bind them together through about two-thirds or three-quarters of their length, as you may choose. Even if the pieces are glued together securely, it is still a good idea to use a few turns of strong thread or wire to bind them at what will be the point of greatest stress: that is, at the juncture of the glued section with the free ends. Then, to use the instrument, you simply take the free ends one in each hand, as will be described below, and pull them apart.

The remaining rod-type instrument for dowsing to be included here is, somewhat surprisingly, a minority choice: the single wand. This can be of any material—wood, metal, synthetic—if it be long, straight, slender, flexible, and of moderate weight. A lecturer's pointer, an antenna for television or radio, a slender bamboo, or, again, a curtain rod, but this time of round cross-section, all make acceptable "wands." Don't pass up a chance to make or adapt for yourself a dowsing instrument of this probably most ancient form. You may be one of those people for whom it becomes the favorite!

All the dowsing instruments described above work best in the conditions for which they were developed, that is, you should be walking about in the open air. Practice in other conditions can be disappointing and therefore discouraging, but there is no reason why you shouldn't "go through the motions" indoors if you wish, for practice in holding the instrument.

Go outdoors however, and preferably into the open country, to practice properly as soon as you can. If you can go in the company of an experienced dowser, so much the better!

The method of using the angle rods is illustrated on page 158. In holding them, the thumb rests upon the top joints of the forefinger, and beside the top of the sleeve; the fingers grip only the sleeve, so that the angle rod will rotate within this almost free from friction.

The loop, and the various types of fork, are all held in one way: with one of the fork ends in each hand and the loop or rod pointing upwards. This should involve a certain amount of tension in the instrument (whether the instrument be natural or man-made) as the free ends are pulled away from the central axis, but you should experiment with it and discover what is best for you.

The simple wand has its own peculiarities. You hold it forward horizontally in one hand, usually your stronger hand but some people get better results with the other. The interesting thing is that if your wand tapers to one end, you should hold it by the more slender end, not by the thicker one. That gives it more stress and "whippiness."

Beginning Dowsing

Help from the unconscious

When you want to begin developing the faculty of dowsing, your first concern should be to convey effectively to your emotional-instinctual nature that this skill is necessary.

An excellent way to do this is to take a time when you feel quiet and meditative; sit down then and talk—talk aloud, in all seriousness—to your astral being. Give it a warm greeting, tell it how gladly you recognize its presence, how much you cherish it and value its assistance at all times; then go over the reasons why learning to dowse is necessary to your happiness and lifestyle. Give an assurance, too, that this new ability is one in which your astral being will take a vital part, and will gain the means to communicate much of its hitherto mute knowledge and perceptions. Align yourself with all that you say as positively as you can, dwelling especially upon every emotional aspect of it. Speak gently, kindly, but with authority; be confident, so as to avoid both anxiety and casualness, and express yourself in simple words because your astral being is in some respects very childlike.

This address should be repeated from time to time, as you feel moved. As you begin to have success in developing the faculty and you acknowledge in this way the part played by your astral being, your recognition will encourage its further and more effective cooperation.

It is important, if you want to dowse competently, to keep up your regular meditations, keep up your good diet and simple lifestyle, keep up your contacts with the world of nature, the human world, and the world within. These are important factors in all psychic development, but they have a special relevance to the powers we are discussing in this chapter.

Before setting out

When you have made your first piece of dowsing equipment, be it loop, fork, wand, or pair of angle rods, all you can do with it in or around the house to get the feel of handling it, how this particular kind of instrument is to be gripped and carried when in use. For real practice in dowsing, however, you should go out into the right place, into the open country. (If that is impossible for you, at least at present, you have other options: later in this chapter there is a section on pendulum dowsing that can open most exciting dimensions without crossing your threshold, and also some games to help you develop, and have different kinds of fun with, some of the same faculties that are used in dowsing.)

Before you set out on a dowsing expedition, there are some preparations to make. Whether you are a beginner or experienced dowser, you will need a directive, and you will need to program yourself.

The directive. A directive is a small sample, or token, of what you are going to search for: a little bottle of water for instance, a chip of whatever mineral, a sample coin or artifact, a few leaves if you seek a particular plant, or, no matter what may be your quest, its name in bold lettering on a piece of card. These are only a few example of possible directives; there is no end to their variety, and dowsers exercise great ingenuity sometimes in devising tokens to represent successfully something of which no sample can be had.

Programming yourself. As shortly as possible before setting out on a dowsing expedition, you should spend some time alone with the directive and your dowsing instrument.

Hold the directive in your hand while you focus your mind, and especially your emotions, upon the full reality of that which you will be seeking, and upon the need for finding it. Let your imagination dwell upon various aspects of the object of your search, so as to make it as vividly present to you as possible. Conjure up in your imagination not only all the good qualities of the object of your search, but also all the good that you can expect from its finding. Remember, your astral being, for which you are creating this image, is not attracted to abstract ideas but to simple, direct pictures and sense impressions, and the simplest and most direct of emotions.

When you feel you have given sufficient time to this, lay down the directive and gently let the image or impressions you have built up fade from your consciousness, then take up your dowsing instrument.

Hold this, sometimes as you would while dowsing, sometimes in a tender, caressing manner, while you talk softly to it. Tell it how much you prize it, tell it of what you are going to seek and of the great importance, the necessity of finding it. Regard your dowsing instrument as a living entity with which you have an understanding, an affinity. You and it are partners; while you carry it, it will guide you. Speak to it of these matters, and while you do so, begin to walk about with it until you feel the bond between it and yourself is fully activated, and the instrument is "awake."

On setting out

If you can go, at least for your first few ventures in dowsing, with a friend who has a working ability in it, that will be the greatest help you could have.

With dowsing as with some other psychic powers, the more experienced and skilled in it is the person you set out with, the better you are likely to fare. At the same time, never forget the whole potential of dowsing is within you, and whatever the circumstances, you can, with perseverance, cultivate it.

Besides your dowsing instrument and your directive, you should in any case have with you the following: a map of the area, a pen and notebook so you can locate at least roughly any interesting spot on your route, make notes, and enable yourself to keep a record, besides being able to collect, dig, measure, or photograph as may be suited to your quest.

Carry your directive in a convenient pocket. During the time you are actually dowsing, you will be intent upon watching your instrument. But your directive will be there with you all the time, maintaining its subtle vibrations of affinity with what you are looking for and conditioning your activity accordingly. You don't have to keep consciously remembering that your directive is there; your astral being knows it is. Whenever you take a rest from dowsing, however, you should use the opportunity to take out your directive, look at it, and handle it.

Having arrived at your starting-point, don't set off in a rush. Take time to look over the landscape and to review mentally what you are going to do. If you feel any traces of tension, close your eyes and draw a few deep breaths, right in and right out, slowly; then you should be ready to begin. Take the dowsing grip on the instrument, and begin walking.

(When you are experienced, you may get an initial indication from the instrument about the direction. At first, the starting choice of direction is likely to be yours, or an experienced dowser's if there is one present.)

The first signals

As you walk along, at first you may not find it easy to settle into the serenity of mind that is right for dowsing. To a great extent, any unsettled feeling is likely to be due to an initial self-consciousness that will soon disappear, but another cause is likely to be that you don't quite know what your dowsing instrument is going to do, or when. Trust it, talk to it, attune yourself to it, and it to you. You will know the first dowsing signal when it comes!

Until it comes, you will not be sure whether any slight movement of the instrument might be a signal, or whether it might be caused by uneven ground, a gust of wind, a nerve jumping in your arm, or pure imagination. But when a real response occurs, it will be unmistakable.

It will feel as though an invisible person had taken hold of the instrument and is trying to point it in a new direction, even to twist it out of your hands; or it may just give one sudden jerk. The distinctive thing is the feeling of "another person" causing the movement deliberately. At the same time, or just before the pull, you may get an "electric" tingling, or hot or creeping sensations somewhere in your body: arms, spine, and feet are the likeliest areas.

Your next question will be: what does this signal mean?

If you are using angle rods, for instance, the long arms may twist outwards simultaneously. If you have a loop or a fork, it may insist on turning down or to one side. Or the free end of a wand may circle at frantic speed.

Does it say, "You are on the right track" or "Stop here"? Is it, "Turn"—perhaps "Turn around"—or "Dig"? The first time you receive a particular signal, your best plan is to go back a little way, then come up to the spot again, more slowly. This may result in your receiving the same signal, or a different one.

If no light is shed on the meaning by the new occurrence, you can again approach the spot but from a different angle, or you can ask the instrument whether the same meaning can be expressed by a different signal, or you can try doing what the signal looks to you as though it means.

In such a situation, realize that the dowsing instrument has become the representative of your own astral being; and the intention of your astral being is not to set puzzles for you (however it may seem) but to use the dowsing instrument as a means to establish a code for speaking to you by sign language. You need, therefore, to find out in quiet reflection what is the most simple and natural meaning, to your astral being, of this particular movement of the instrument. This is best done at the time, if possible; your early experiments in dowsing will gain more value from settling a few points of this kind, than from mere mileage.

One complication is, however, possible. If your early expeditions are made in the company of an experienced dowser, it is likely that this friend will be able to tell you the meaning of every signal you receive from the instrument. A complete "code" may be given you in this way—the same one that exists between your friend and his or her dowsing instrument. Afterwards, when you go out dowsing alone, you will be likely to find that the "code" changes in some particulars. Soon it will become your own code, the one that is to be permanently established between your dowsing instrument and you.

The interpersonal aspect

Here is another well-known fact: many people, who, from one cause or another, had real difficulty in finding and developing their dowsing ability, have experienced a complete change in the situation when they were helped by an established dowser, who placed his or her hands upon their arms while they held the fork. On approaching the sought-for objective they felt the fork turn in their palms, sometimes violently.

Usually this procedure was repeated two or three times, then the learners were able to continue unaided.

That fact, and the one mentioned above, of the astral being of the learner temporarily adopting the "code" of the established dowser, is not very surprising when you realize how interrelated human beings are at the astral level, especially when they share an avocation or other great interest. With regard to dowsing, fortunately there is everything to gain from this, because dowsing is one of the most readily "contagious" of psychic powers; if an able dowser is helping you, you should rapidly get beyond the dependent stage and be able to discover your own direction. And "your own direction" applies to more than the code with your dowsing instrument.

Most dowsers, whatever their general standard of achievement, have one particular subject of search for which they are more successful than for any other. It may be missing persons, or oil, or fossils, or herbs—almost anything the world harbors! Nobody but you can discover your particular flair, and it may take time. Initially, you will probably go along with your friend's speciality, or the needs of your district, or the fashion of the day (for there are fashions in dowsing as in other matters.) However, when you find yourself there will be no doubt about your particular "idiom" of dowsing, your personal matter and manner of search. In general, dowsing is not a conspicuously sociable activity. While dowsing, each person is necessarily limited to communication with the dowsing instrument, the representative of his or her astral being. If your group takes up dowsing, and if when members reach a degree of proficiency an expedition is organized to some specially interesting area of country (to dowse for archeological remains for instance, or for fossils or minerals, or to trace an underground watercourse or ore vein, or to find useful plants) social fun must be limited to the period of rest and refreshment when dowsing is over. The expedition will, however, have the high exhilaration of a shared outdoor activity that brings mutually enhanced psychic power to all the participants.

Exploration by pendulum

The pendulum can be used outdoors, suspended from the fingers, for the same purposes as a large-scale dowsing instrument. It is not recommended to be used in this way, only because in a wide landscape it may be less precise as a direction-finder than are the larger and more rigid instruments, and because a breeze might interfere with its working. Despite these disadvantages, it has been used in the open air with notable success, both alone and as an auxiliary to other instruments. It is in indoor work, however, that the pendulum really comes into its own; and this distinctive form of dowsing, besides being a valuable psychic technique in its own right, also throws more light on the nature of dowsing in general.

Whether indoors or out, if we use the pendulum as a dowsing instrument, a great deal of the earlier part of this chapter will apply to it. We need means to associate ourselves with the intended matter of exploration, and the "directive" (or "witness") method is highly effective. Whether dowsing by pendulum or other means, to have with us something representative of what is sought, and to advert to it from time to time as convenient, is a truly powerful means of getting our astral being, via the dowsing instrument, to lead us to our goal.

The level at which such directives "work" indicates that although in some respects we are operating very close to the material level, the faculty that is being employed is in fact a psychic one and not a physical one, however subtle.

For instance, supposing we are seeking a missing person. We can use as a directive a garment or other article belonging to that person. A bloodhound setting out to track someone would likewise be given a garment or other article to sniff at. So, are we in our fashion using some ultra-refined and attenuated form of the sense of smell, or some related physical sense, in our dowsing?

No! Instead of a garment, we can be given a photo-graph of the missing person, and this may be a print straight from processing, that the person has never touched or even seen. But the likeness is emotionally and psychically as potent a directive to guide us in our dowsing as any garment could be.

Much the same principles apply to a stretch of country, or to a building, about which you mean to do some dowsing. A visit is not always possible; in such cases the pendulum dowser can operate by means of photographs and a map.

Thus, pendulum dowsing in particular has some major characteristics that can only be understood in terms of the essential interaction with the astral world in dowsing. If it is usual—as we consistently see it to be—for a dowser to go into a mildly altered state of consciousness through keeping the attention for long periods on the instrument, even more strongly and positively is such a state likely to be induced by focusing attention upon the silent rhythm of a pendulum. The ordinary consciousness, with its powerful link with the material world, is effectively lulled, so that the quiet and less aggressive activity of our astral being has more freedom to surface and to bring into effect its own natural link with the astral world.

And, because of the particular nature of the astral world, a link with it is a link with the whole of it, so that even without "astral projection" strictly so called, the astral level of the psyche can experience the astral level of whatever concerns it. Theoretically, at any rate, there is no limit to this possibility.

This last is a principle we see operating over and over in pendulum dowsing. People boggle and stumble over how pendulum dowsing gets at unknown facts, to such an extent that they very often find it more comfortable to deny the very occurrence of it; but the real trouble is that they are trying to see how the pendulum works in terms of the material world, when it is an astral-world function operating at its own level of cause and effect.

Thus, if you say a paper doll temporarily represents a given person's anatomy, and you get your astral being to accept this, then your pendulum, when you hold it over the paper doll, should indicate where that person hurts, and it will, if you have a flair for diagnosis. Or if you are seeking buried treasure and you have a map of a likely island, then your pendulum will indicate (again, if you have a flair for treasure-finding) as clearly on the map where the treasure is, as your dowsing fork would indicate it if you were physically to visit the island.

These things happen. Numberless dowsers could tell their true histories of incidents along these lines. Their astral being is able by means of a symbol—the directive—to reach out to the reality and to contact it. Sometimes the dowser has a sense of making this contact, and sometimes there is no perception of it, but, either way, the pendulum registers the direction and locality found by the astral being.

The only limitation upon possibilities of this kind is our astral being's conception of what concerns it. That is why, if we want our range of inquiry to extend beyond our immediate and spontaneous interests, a strong degree of communication with our astral being is essential.

The initial data. If you are planning some work at a distance, by pendulum, you should obtain maps, photographs, diagrams, as well as verbal descriptions. Ask questions to fill any gaps you can think of, particularly gaps in your visual impressions. Don't worry about things you can't find out; this is not an attempt on the part of your rational mind to do your astral being's work for it. You simply want to begin your explorations with the clearest possible data for your imagination.

Seeking a missing person. If it is a person you seek, therefore, you want a vivid mental image of that person; not only a photograph, but also a clear idea of the personality, voice, interests, everything to make that person "present" to you. You need to associate those qualities strongly with the photograph or other directive.

You also need a large-scale map of the area from which the person disappeared. You may also need a map of some other area if there is a strong presumption the person may have gone there, but otherwise you will do best in most cases to stay with the one map unless and until you get an indication on the direction of further search. Spread the first map out flat on a large table and have your directive and any other photographs or possessions of the person on hand, preferably on a smaller table.

Before you begin dowsing, program yourself. Look at the map and note its main features; use your imagination to see it as an actual expanse of country as viewed from an airplane or helicopter. (You will use that concept again while dowsing, so accustom yourself to it now as much as you can.)

Take up your directive, gently turning your attention away from the map and give it to building up your sense of the person. Dwell on the reality of the person; imagine you see him or her in front of you. This person smiles, moves, speaks; you hear the sound of the voice. Don't begrudge the time building up this image of the person; you will not be able to do it to the same extent while you are dowsing, and you need to keep the "feel" of that person associated as strongly as possible with the directive.

When you have spent sufficient time with the directive, put it aside, and take up your pendulum. Caress it, warm it in your hands, speak to it with a few words of friendly greeting, and then suspend it from your fingers. (It is best to place your directive close to the hand you will not be using for the pendulum.) Talk to the pendulum about the missing person and why it is necessary to find this person. Remember to give the emotional reasons rather than the rational reasons, and at some point lay your free hand on the directive while you are softly talking to the pendulum.

Then, gently and without haste, carry the pendulum across the map so that it hangs right above the place the person disappeared from. (If there is any doubt about the details, choose the person's home as your starting point.)

Suspended thus, your pendulum will, perhaps at once, perhaps after a pause, take up a directional swing. (You don't, of course, visualize the pendulum swinging.) As there are two ends—turning-points—to the swing, you may have to check which direction is meant by this. If you don't have a technique for testing this point, try the following.

Smoothly and evenly, carry the pendulum to a point over one end of its former swing, and wait. If that is the correct direction to move in, the pendulum should continue swinging. If, however, you have taken it in the direction opposite to that of the person's travel, it should stop dead. Carry it back to the starting point, wait until it takes up its former swing, then, slowly and gently, take it along the way it has indicated, until it changes direction.

Verify the exact point on the map where the change of direction takes place (this may be indicated by the pendulum circling when you hold it above the right spot), wait for resumption of the normal swing, and then gently take it along in its new direction.

Sometimes the pendulum can react quite violently; it may circle violently over a place where the person stayed or now is, or it can swing violently in a particular direction, trying to get off the limits of this particular map altogether. The implications will be clear to you.

If at any time the movement falters or stops in an indeterminate manner, keep it suspended where it is while you renew your contact with the directive and renew your mental image of the person. At any stage of the procedure, talk softly to the pendulum about the search, about the places passed over—this will help keep the landscape real to you—and about the person sought for. The more completely you can imagine yourself out of the material world of map, chair, and table, the more rapidly and decisively your pendulum is likely to tell its story.

Dowsing—in Conclusion

The example above should give at least an idea of the scope and possibilities of pendulum dowsing. Not only every dowser, but every individual venture in dowsing will produce distinctive variations in the requirements and in ways of meeting them. Once you have your basic "code" established, dowsing is as much an art of continual improvisation as is any dialogue. In any sphere of human inquiry, the possibilities are limitless, but the principles involved remain the same, and are very clearly intelligible, once the essential relationships of the dowsing instrument with the astral being, and of the astral being with the astral world, are accepted.

Pull, Glow, and Swing
Astral Power Games for the Group

On first reading through this chapter, you may very likely decide you want to begin experimenting with instruments and getting into dowsing at once. Or the time of year may be wrong for a beginning of fieldwork, or there may be some other reason why you can't, or don't want to, make a start just now.

In that case, if you have a group, the games that follow offer at least a means of meeting with, and getting into practice with, some of the powers that are used in dowsing. If however you do begin to practice dowsing at once (which, if the conditions are at all right, is a good idea while the impulse is fresh and clear to you), these games again can be very interesting and helpful.

Thus you can use them in your group as an introduction, to get the feeling of these powers and forces before you take up dowsing, or you can use them to provide some variety in approach, and to keep up the united group spirit when people are already into dowsing. They are, besides, good social fun at any time, the first two in particular being fine to "warm up" group energy for various occasions.

The first game, "Magnets," is an old high school favorite although most people who have played it will probably not have thought much about what can be learned from it. Try it, and find out how it feels to be a dowsing rod!


(Best for four, five, or six players.) All the players except one form a circle; the remaining player—the "pin"—stands in the center, blindfolded or with hands over eyes.

The players in the circle silently agree to one of their number as the "magnet." Then each of them, the "magnet" included, lays the tip of a finger lightly upon the "pin." (No prodding, please!) The fingers may touch bare or clothed skin, it makes no difference.

Now each person in the circle thinks about the "magnet," or about the "pin" moving toward the "magnet"; the "magnet" will find the latter idea easier. The "pin" doesn't have to think, and will do best not to speculate as to the direction of the "magnet."

A few minutes may pass while the circle "warms up." Then the "pin" will begin to sway out of vertical, to tilt in one direction or another; then will lean over further, will try to regain a balance, and at last will go conclusively over to the "magnet," who may have to lend a supporting arm!

Let two or three people in the circle try being "magnets," then let someone else have a turn at being "pin." This may bring out some new aspects of interrelationships within the group:

all do equally well as "magnets"?

Or as "pins"?

Do some pairs do exceptionally well when one is "magnet" and the other "pin"?

Do people's results tally with their degree of friendship with each other?

You may have one or two instances of reverse effect: people who, when they are "pins," don't simply get it wrong but almost always move in just the opposite direction from the "magnet."

This peculiarity has much the same significance as getting a "lower than hazard" average with the ESP cards. There is distinctly a good degree of psychism in evidence, but it is being psychologically negated; either the situation, or some personal aspect of it, is uncongenial, or else this person at some level doesn't want to be psychic—but is developing all the same! You may never know the underlying facts, but all such things contribute to the human reality of your group.

After the initial game of "Magnets," have the players talk over their experiences, especially their experiences as "pins." (They will describe in their own ways how they were not pushed but, in fact, "magnetized"; it was not the pressure of the fingers that directed them, but some force that seemed to be working upon and through their whole body.)

In general, we can say that what happens to the "pin" is the same sort of action that occurs with a dowsing-rod!

By way of further experiment and added interest, you might try this variation too.

This game is organized just as in the original version, except that the "pin" is not touched by the other players; each extends a finger toward him or her, but the fingertips remain about two inches away.

This requires some watchful moving with the "pin," so as to remain near but not to make contact. Many players find the effect exactly the same as with contact, the "pin" moving unerringly toward the "magnet," but some "pins" have said they felt more conscious of the tension of force when the game is played this way.

The purpose in the next game is to test whether persons who don't know which of many objects has been touched, can identify the right one by touching it themselves. This is very good experience for the aspiring dowser as well as for the budding psychometrist, giving an opportunity to know, rather than just to believe in, the reality of nonmaterial influences.

Hot trail

(For any number of players.) You know the way children ask, "Hot or cold?" in a treasure hunt. You have to tell them they are "hot," or "getting warmer," when they are in the region of the treasure, "cold" when they move away from it.

In this game, nobody tells anyone if they are "hot or cold"; the player who is doing the hunting has to find out by ESP.

Draw lots, or by some agreed method, decide who's to go out of the room. In that player's absence the remaining players decide, silently, on an object in the room. Each person in the room then touches that object for a moment, not thinking anything in particular; and all return to their places. The object has been "charged."

The player outside is re-admitted, and is at liberty to move around the room, touching various objects at will until the right one is discovered. Nobody is allowed to give any clues; the object has to be identified by the one player unaided.

Occasionally the game "shorts"; the player from outside will come right in and state, "The object is that picture," or, "That pen," or whatever it is, thus scoring an easy point. Generally, however, after some experimenting, the player will find the sensitivity of fingertips that gives an awareness of the chosen and handled thing, and so will locate and name it.

Some people, on touching the right object, experience a sensation of heat; sometimes with this, or instead of it, there can be a magnetic pull. Having discovered the object, the "hunting" player scores a point, and remains as one of the company in the room while someone else takes a turn outside.

It is possible the "hunter" may guess wrong and may say, "It is this!" when it is not. Wrong guesses are dealt with according to the number of players and the time available for the game; several mistakes, perhaps two or four, being allowed before the player is "out" on the next one. A player who is "out," having either guessed wrong at the final attempt or having exhausted his or her allotted time, rejoins the company without scoring.

The winner is the player with most points when everyone has had the same number of turns. If two or more players have the same score, judgment should be made in favor of the one out of those players who made the least number of wrong guesses.

Details of organization for this game are quite elastic, and can be decided in any group to suit its own needs; the above outline is a general guide.

This is a good game to come back to from time to time. Your group might introduce it at a party, too, after a little practice!

Now we have two pendulum games. There is a likeness between them, certainly, but there is also an important difference.

Whose? A pendulum game

(For any number of players.) Fit a fabric cover to a box or basket, so each person in turn can slip a hand under the cover to deposit two or three small objects that have been kept concealed.

Such objects can be quite trivial items: a small pencil, a pack of gum, a ring, a pocketknife, matches, a pebble, even a small coin if the owner is quite sure of recognizing it again. (Someone else might put in one of the same kind!) Members of the group can have been asked beforehand to bring such items with them, and not to show them or name them to any other person present. Watches are generally found unsatisfactory, both for this and for psychometry practice; it may be because they have such an intense "life" of their own.

These items having been collected undercover, the players draw lots for their turns as pendulum operator. The first pendulum operator extracts an object at random from the box (if it happens to be one of the operator's own, it can be put back without comment and another one taken) and places it on the upturned palm of the nearest other player. That player remains with the object on the extended palm, so the operator can suspend the pendulum over it.

Now the question, spoken or silent, is, "Does this item belong to this person?" The pendulum should, before too long, react according to its established code for answering "yes" or "no." After it has settled down to one of these two movements, the person holding the item is asked if he/she is the owner.

If the pendulum's response is "no" and the person confirms this, the same item is tried on the next person, and so on. If it is "yes" from both pendulum and person, the owner removes the item from the game but personally remains a participant. At this point, however, the pendulum operator takes another item from the box, places it upon the palm of the next person, and proceeds as before.

If the pendulum signals "no" when the true answer is "yes," this too puts the item out of the game—its ownership has had to be stated—and the owner remains as a participant; but the pendulum operator relinquishes office and hands over to the next in order of lot, who takes a fresh item from the box and continues. If the pendulum gives "yes" when the true answer is "no," then the ownership of the item remains unknown and it is tested upon another person's hand, but—as in the other case of error—the pendulum operator is changed. If a new operator chances to be the owner of the object then in circulation, he or she simply removes it from the game and take another item from the box.

Play continues until there are no more items left, or until every player has had a turn with the pendulum.

(Another version of this game follows that is well worth using as people become more advanced; it calls for somewhat more preparation beforehand.)

Whose name?

Each player writes his or her name, in the form that is most often used. All the written names are collected and are taken, with the covered box described in the previous game, to a helper who is not a member of the group and does not know most of the members.

All the names are then copied out (preferably typed) by this helper, on a sheet of paper that is afterwards cut into small slips, a name upon each. Each slip of paper is then enclosed in a "case" made of two little squares of card taped together on opposite sides, so the slips can easily be removed but can't easily fall out by accident. These encased slips are then put by the helper into the covered box. Each name can be used on two or three slips, and there can also be some blanks.

The game is then played in almost the same way as "Whose?" but the player on whose palm one of the encased slips is laid has, of course, no means of knowing whether the name inside is his or her own or not. The question asked by the operator, on suspending the pendulum over the case, is, "Does this name belong to this person?" When the pendulum has responded, the player who is holding the slip takes it out and shows it to see if the response was correct. (Blanks always count as "no.") In any event, that slip is then removed from the game. A fresh item is then drawn from the box to be placed on the palm of the next player. As in "Whose?" the pendulum operator remains "in office" until his or her pendulum gives a wrong response, then the next operator in order of lot takes over. The game continues until every player has had a turn as operator.

As the players have not seen or touched the slips bearing their names before the game, and each slip is withdrawn after being looked at, this game is a strict trial of the players' dowsing ability. It is not a "test," not being geared for each operator to use a standard number of slips, but it is an interesting challenge for those of some degree of proficiency, and is a proportionately good energizer.

In the above games, only the essentials are given; each group can decide the finer points for itself


In view of James A.'s experience, related earlier in this chapter, it may be asked why mended fractures generally do not produce such symptoms. Certainly the flexibility of the "floating" ribs is involved, and a special aptitude for dowsing on the part of James A. is probably involved also; but another, and important, factor is the proximity of the lower ribs to the solar plexus.

The solar plexus is highly "astro-sensitive." (We remark on this in Llewellyn's Practical Guide to Astral Projection, and employ it accordingly.) Simon Tamenec, head of Aurum Solis in France, has designed a dowsing device that enables him to touch his solar plexus while holding it; he is thus able to measure psychic influences very accurately. Significantly, too, Dr. Zaboj V. Harvalik, at Lorton, Virginia, has made exact tests that likewise show supreme astro-sensitivity in the solar plexus. (Harvalik, Z. V., "A Biophysical Magnetometer-Gradio Meter" in The Virginia Journal of Science vol. 21, no. 2, 1970: also P. Tompkins and C. Bird, The Secret Life of Plants, Harper & Row, 1973.)

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