26th June 2019. Reading Time: 6 minutes General, Paranormal Equipment, Paranormal Investigation. 1770 page views. 0 comments.

Dowsing is a form of divination originally used to find water and certain metals and materials. Spiritually, a lot of people like to using Dowsing as a form of spirit communication. So let's look into the different forms of Dowsing and the ideomotor phenomena.

The concept of dowsing has been around for centuries. It involves using either a Y shaped or L shaped rod held by a person who will then use the items to search for water or other materials such as metal or oil. Dowsing, also known as divining is said to have been around since Ancient Egypt. While associated mainly with finding water or materials, it is also used for geomancy, healing, divination and even spirit communication. When you hear the word dowsing, you will often think of dowsing rods, however people also use a pendulum and sometimes a glass as well.

Divining Rods or Dowsing Rods

There are two kinds of rods which are used either for finding water or for spiritual purposes.

Y Shaped dowsing rod

Image Source: Amy Oscar

The Y shaped rod is thought to be the original type used for dowsing. Materials such as copper, steel and even wood was often used. These are also referred to as witching rods, divining rods, forked sticks and water rods. When walking across a field to detect a mineral, the Y rod is known to bend downward when a person crosses water. This is known as the dowsing pull.

L Shaped Dowsing Rod

Image Source: Geomancy Australia

The L shaped rods were typically used for field dowsing work outdoors with copper being the material of choice. The rods can open, close of cross over when asked a question and are also said to point in the direction where there is water. They are also used in this manner by some to communicate with spirit. They will often ask for a sign for YES and the rods will either separate or cross. They will then ask YES or No questions and do their communication sessions using the rods.


Geomancy means 'divining the Earth'. It means that we are able to communicate with the Earth using methods such as Dowsing to detect the best place to dig a bore hole for water. It also allows a person to gain an insight into it's surrounding environment by tuning into the Earth's energy. In a lot of ways, it is compared to Feng Shui and they share a lot in common.

Geomancers seek to find compatibility between the subtle energies of a place and those who live there. Central to geomancy is the notion that we have a close connection with the environment, particularly the subtle environment, in which we live or work. This relationship can impact on our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual lives, reaching beyond the more immediately obvious physical connections. A large part of geomancy involves locating different stresses and energy meridians in the landscape, and remedying or harmonising those determined detrimental and in need of healing. These meridians are channels of earth energy that act in the same way as meridians in the human body.

Geomancy Australia

The Ideomotor Phenomena

The entire concept of dowsing scientifically is referred to as a pseudoscience as there has been no proof that the rods are an effective means of finding water, materials or communicating with spirit. As there is a human element involved, one of the things to watch out for is the ideomotor effect. This term was originally coined by William B. Carpenter in 1852. He used this as an explanation for the movement of dowsing rods, pendulums, sticks or even a planchette on a Ouija board. He wasn’t at all claiming that people were being deliberately deceptive but were completely unaware that their slight muscle movements were causing these items to move. One of the examples he commonly used was that of dowsing rods. Using dowsing rods to track water, if you were to tell someone who hasn’t used the rods before that there is water at a certain point in the ground, when they reach it, their rods will cross. They aren’t doing this deliberately. It is because subconsciously they know where the water is so their subconscious is controlling the muscle movement.

Finding lost items

A lot of people like to use dowsing as a way to help them find lost items. When we look at the ideomotor phenomena, it tells us that a person is unknowingly controlling the results from their subconscious. Perhaps this is why this technique is so successful in helping a person locate a lost item. Their subconscious knows where it is, so by using a technique such as pendulum dowsing or using dowsing rods, it allows them to tap into this information and find where they left their lost item.

Pendulum Dowsing

This is one of the simplest forms of divination. A pendulum is generally a weighted object which is symmetrical (most often it is a crystal) which is hung from a chain or a cord. Sometimes people use a favourite trinket or a key, metal ball or a bead, as long as it is not something that is magnetic as this would interfere with your results. The aim of the pendulum is to use it as a simple tool for the user to tune into their intuitive powers. It is believed by many that we all have these powers, it is just a matter of unlocking them and fine tuning them. The pendulum itself acts as a receiver and transmitter of information and moves in different ways in response to the questions that you ask.

A person holds the pendulum with a steady hand and asks for a sign of yes. They wait to see a response. Which could be the pendulum swirling in a circle or perhaps rocking in a certain direction back and forward. The person then asks for a sign of no. Once the signs have been established, the user asks yes/no questions. Other people like to use a special board under the crystal which has yes or no and other words or letters on it and people use it in a similar way as they would use a ouija board by looking at where the pendulum is swinging to on the board.

Image Source: Little sorcerer

Glass Dowsing

In a similar way to how a person would use a pendulum with a board, some like to use what is called Glass dowsing. It involves a simple board and a small glass like a shot glass. A person puts their fingers on the glass and uses it much the same as a planchette on a Ouija board to receive information.

Dowsing Healing

While Dowsing itself is not a method of healing, some cultures or practitioners like to use dowsing as a way to find out where stresses in a person's Aura may be. Others believe that subconsciously, a person knows what is wrong with their body and can help point out the areas which need help. A pendulum is often used to identify parts in a person that need attention for healing. Questions are often asked with YES/NO responses helping the hone in on the area needing attention.

Dowsing is predominately a way to tap into your subconscious to get answers. Some believe that it is spirit manipulating the person behind the dowsing. At the end of the day, it is how you interpret the results you receive while dowsing. What do you think? Do you use dowsing as a form of spirit communication? Does it work or is it just the ideomotor phenomena?

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