How does dowsing work? A comprehensive dowsing guide

On this site, we covered what is dowsing on several occasions. In this article, however, we want to give an in-depth overview on the following question: how does dowsing work? By this we mean how dowsing really works, from the psychological implications of it, to spiritual dowsing, going through all you need to know when discovering dowsing.

Dowsing as a way to develop intuition

Many people have the goal of developing intuition in some fashion. There are, of course, a huge variety of ways you can do this. But usually, dowsing is one of the best ways of attaining this goal. This section will help to explain why this is so, and will encourage you to get started.

The whole point of intuition is that it gives you information you could not normally get through any of your five senses. As you grow in your use and understanding of dowsing, you will also discover that you are, at the same time, developing your intuition.

This is because, when dowsing, you are unaware of what the answer is to your question. You have to be ready and willing to accept whatever the answer is.

Seeking answers through dowsing intuition

Now, at first, you will find that you get definite answers to your questions and you know what they are by the response of your tool. However, as you progress in your dowsing, you will find that you begin to sense what the answer might be. You could also sense if there is some shade of meaning to your answer.

So, for example, you get a ‘Yes’ when asking about the train arriving on time, but you sense that something else is involved. Perhaps it is that the person you want isn’t on it, or it arrives at a different platform. In other words, you begin to extend your sense further out from the question. And so you begin to gather more information than the dowsing tool provides. This is what developing your intuition is all about!

By actively seeking answers to questions, you are training your intuition to become more sensitive to what is happening.

Of course, you can use other methods to develop your intuition, but mostly they are not as interesting as dowsing. Because you are focusing on one thing, you are allowing your natural intuition to relax and extend and grow as you learn the skill of dowsing.

In other words, whether or not you develop your intuition as you dowse, you will be a better dowser anyway! And, as long as you keep dowsing, you will find that you will naturally and automatically recognize a growth in your intuitive ability.

What better use of your time than to learn two things at once?

Dowsing tools: you don’t need to spend a lot of money!

Dowsing tools are something that everyone buys at one time or another. Although there might be seem to be wide choice, there are, in fact, only three types:

  1. Bought tools
  2. Home made tools
  3. No tools (deviceless dowsing)

We will explain a little more about these in due course. Firstly, the bought and home-made tools are usually of a limited variety. The basic tools of dowsing are, in order of popularity:

There are other kinds like the aurameter, which is a variation of the bobber, and the Lecher antenna, which is a variation on the Y-rod. Plus there are some strange ones like the Spanish Needles which need two people to use them, or the P – shaped or revolving U – shaped rods developed in Russia.

Dowsing Pendulums

These can be extremely expensive as well as extremely fancy. Crystals, bronze, semi-precious stones, bits of turned and polished wood or weighty plastic are all available.

However, what makes a dowsing tool like a pendulum is just one thing: the weight at the end has to be heavy enough to keep the cord (or chain) stretched.

So, for example, a 3/4 inch nut on a piece of dental floss works very well indeed. So do car keys on a chain. There are some weird combinations out there, but they still work!

The pendulum has become the most popular tool of all over the last few decades, supplanting the y-rod and various types of bobber.


The L-rod is another very simple dowsing tool. In the simplest versions, it consists of a piece of sturdy wire bent at right angles so that there is one long arm and one shorter (hence the name). Of course, you can pay an enormous amount of money for these if you wish: from brass dowsing rods, to copper or steel ones, to even more expensive materials.

They are simple to use and an L-Rod can show certain aspects of the environment more easily than a pendulum.

The Bobber

This was probably the original dowsing tool consisting of a length of supple wood which was held in one hand. Bobbers can now be complex affairs and be quite cumbersome, but also portable depending on the design.

They tend to be less expensive at the upper end of the scale, although, of course, as ever it is ‘buyer beware’! They are very simple tools to use, as you might imagine, but can be very versatile as well.


Probably this is the tool which is most associated with dowsing because it’s the one which most water dowsers seem to use. And, as that is one of the most commonly visible methods of dowsing, so it has come to be closely associated with this skill.

It can be a tricky tool at first, but once mastered, it can be a great favorite.

Where Y-rods used to be of wood, they can now be of plastic in various guises and be very large or very small. Of course, you are welcome to cut yourself a wooden one as large as you like!

All these dowsing or divining tools can be learned and some of them can be mastered. It is up to you, of course.

Most of them, as you’ve guessed, can be made at home from various materials.

But what of dowsing without tools?

This is called deviceless dowsing and it is where you use your body to dowse with instead of a tool. For example, you can use blink dowsing as it’s quicker and if you’re on the phone with a client it’s easier than trying to use any of the tools. But there are plenty of other ways of performing deviceless dowsing. As your dowsing experience grows, you may even come up with your own methods.

Spiritual dowsing and energy fields

It’s common nowadays to say that everything is made of spiritual energy fields. These fields of energy extend around just about anything you care to name. The trick is finding them and, maybe, understanding what they can tell you. This is how spiritual dowsing can help.

Let’s say you’re a beginner at dowsing. Or maybe you’ve been dowsing a while and you want to explore something which is not visible. Spiritual dowsing is just the thing for you!

First, some spiritual dowsing basics

Don’t worry! It’s nothing to worry about. Just some gentle hints and reminders coming up:

  1. Keep an open mind when doing this sort of dowsing. Don’t EXPECT certain things to happen.
  2. Sometimes, certain types of energies can be difficult to dowse. Don’t worry. Find an easier type first to practice on.
  3. Sometimes, you might need a different tool to dowse with. So, be prepared to try something new.
  4. It’s possible you might find yourself being very sensitive to one or more types of energy fields. If so, good for you! Those might be areas where you become an expert in.
  5. Be imaginative! Try new approaches, new ways of thinking and new dowsing subjects. Extend your repertoire and you’ll extend your understanding.

How to go about spiritual dowsing

It’s really very simple at first.

Begin with something alive! For example, your pet asleep on the bed. Excellent! No movement, you aren’t going to touch it, no-one should be around and bother you with questions and you should be in a space to dowse the energy field happily and in your own time.

You might not be so lucky as to have an accommodating pet. Maybe you have a person you can try your skills on. A friend, maybe, who’s understanding of you.

Failing that, how about a big plant or a tree? Anything with a powerful, vibrant energy field is what you’re after to begin with. That’s why we recommend ‘something alive’ at the start. It’s going to make your life easier.

Practice spiritual dowsing

To get an idea of the energy field, start off by asking if you are already inside it. (It’ll make it a lot easier if you begin from outside, at least to start with.)

Assuming you’re outside, then you can move slowly towards it and expect your dowsing tool to indicate a ‘yes’ response when you reach the edge of the field.

Repeat this from various angles and from different sides (if possible). It will allow you to build up a better picture of the energy ‘signature’ of the object.

Ideas & auras in spiritual dowsing

The field around living things (particularly people and animals) is usually called the aura. There are many books you can buy which deal in great detail about the aura and what it is, how it looks, what it does and so on and on.

If you are drawn to this type of dowsing; checking the energy field of people and animals, then you need to do some more research about the aura to help get you on track.

However, there are many other types of energy fields you can check with dowsing. A reasonably full list of things to dowse for would include

  • People
  • Animals
  • Plants and trees
  • Electrical cables and equipment
  • Rocks and minerals
  • Crystals
  • Buildings
  • Metals (precious and non-precious)
  • Water – Different types (sparkling, tap, sea, well, etc..) flowing and in a container
  • Wood (lumber, cabinets, etc)
  • Photographs of places and people (living and dead)
  • Supplements
  • Foods; raw, cooked, organic, etc..
  • Colors
  • Shapes: hand-drawn, photos, etc..
  • Furniture; antique and modern

In other words, just about anything you can think of will have an energy field around it. How far that field extends outwards depends on a variety of things:

  1. How sensitive YOU are to it
  2. How sensitively you can get a reaction from your instrument
  3. The history of the object; whether it has been handled a lot (if inanimate), or come into contact with many other people (and what they were like!) and so on.

In other words, what you find may not be the same as someone else dowsing with you might find. It doesn’t matter!

What does matter is that you begin to build up a picture of the unseen energetic world around you and you begin to understand why things ‘feel’ as they do.

Advanced spiritual dowsing

Now that you have begun to explore spiritual dowsing, you can move on to finding out some other aspects of them. For example;

  • The strength of the field.
    Is it optimal for that person / object / etc?
  • The shape of the field
    This might tell you more about the object that you are dowsing.
  • The effect (good or bad) on you
    It would be a good thing to know if something is bad for you, wouldn’t it?

Once you have a good grasp of the principles involved, you can begin to extend your examination to other unseen aspects. For example, you can begin to trace underground water, by its energy field. Or track an animal or person.

You could investigate the energies in places like churches, temples or monasteries, and see what that tells you about the place. An old idea was that similar objects (or an object and the dowser) were connected by things called ‘rays of union’. These were supposed to be dowsable lines of energy which acted as some sort of link between the two.

You might like to check if that is true for you. Think of something you know is in your property. Think of it clearly. Hold it in your mind and then dowse if you can find a line between you and it.

If you can dowse one, you can begin to think about such things as whether you just found it because you wanted to find it, whether it really exists, whether there are these things all the time and they just fade in and out. Come to your own conclusions about this and see where it takes you.

The great thing about dowsing is that it allows you to discover so much about the world by yourself. And spiritual dowsing for energy fields is an excellent place to start!

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