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To: alt.magick
From: Mark Kampe
Subj: Dowsing (
Date: unknown

> Can anyone tell me anything about dowsing?

I was taught dowsing by my maternal grandmother, and it is still practiced
by much of my mother's family (who have lived much of their lives in very
rural places).

I have seen and done both willow-wand-water-witching and iron-rod-pipe 
location.  I neither trust nor advocate either technique, but I have on
occasion been able to locate springs and pipes.  I have observed other
people (MUCH more experienced than I) to employ both techniques successfully
on many occasions.  I have observed inconclusive results, but I do not
believe I have ever observed a false-positive (if multiple people, doing
multiple independent passes all consistantly find the same spot, water 
or the pipe has always been found within a few feet of the surface).

I have never trusted my own results and have always tried to confirm 
all suspected finds from different directions and over different courses.
If I found something fairly consistantly, I would then ask someone else
to go check out that general area.  Sometimes they agreed, and sometimes
they did not.  (I'm not very good)  In the mountains where I learned
'water witching', there were one or two old-timers whose judgement was
often sought ... and if they pointed at a place, that is where people
dug (no second opinions were requested).

Willow water witching is done with a Y-shaped section of willow, roughly
1/2 inch in diameter 8-10 inches long (each of the three segments).  The
rod should be relatively fresh (I have seen it done with rods a day or two
old, and with both peeled and un-peeled rods).  The tips have occasionally
been whittled to a rounded or conical point, but this may have been purely 

The key is how the wand is held ... I can try to describe it, but it is
a kinesthetic thing that must be experienced by your body.  Briefly, it is
held very gently, just firmly enough that it is not free to pivot in
your hands, and with just enough pressure that you would be able to
feel it if there were any torque on the wand.

Iron rod pipe location is kinesthetically simpler.  For this you need
two ferrous rods (generally a little heavier than coat hangers, welding
rods are often used) 12-18 inches long, bent into a 90 degree angle at
or a little above their mid-points.  They are held very loosely, on in
each hand, around 10 degrees forward of vertical.  The upper-arms are
generally hanging pretty straight down, with the fore-arms extended
parallel to the ground and the hands 6-10 inches apart.  If you walk
across a pipe line, the tips will swing and cross (whereas they normally
hang straight down). 

I doubt that it has much to do with magick ... other than the fact that
it requires training and developed sensitivity.  I have little trouble
coming up with scientific explainations for iron-rod pipe location to
work, and I find nothing particularly disturbing about the fact that
willow-rod-water-witching seems to work.

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