by Susan Collins
As a professional dowser I have met people who are afraid of becoming involved with dowsing because they don’t want to be in conflict with their Christian or other religious belief systems. I am convinced that responsible dowsing practices fit comfortably within all religious traditions, and in this article have brought together quotes from a variety of sources to support this view. As Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it shall be opened unto you:” 1
In some ways, individuals who fear that dowsers are controlled by evil entities are like people who fear fire because it can cause destruction. Just as controlled fire is a beneficial tool in the proper hands, so dowsing can be a benefit to humanity when done correctly. It is of utmost importance that dowsers be properly trained, and that is why organizations such as the Canadian Society of Dowsers are so important: they offer a forum in which responsible practices can be developed and taught.
Religious Leaders Support Dowsing
From the 17th century on, many priests wrote about the use of dowsing for healing and helping purposes. These include: Jesuit Father Kircher, Jacques Le Royer and Abbé de Vallemont. Abbé Alexis Mermet, a country priest, wrote the Principles and Practice of Radiesthesia in 1935. In Quebec in the 1960’s, a catholic bishop, Edouard Jetté, was a well-known dowser and wrote a book titled Au Seuil du Subconscient.
The Vatican endorsed dowsing in a letter written in May 1935 by Mgr Eugene Tisserand, Prefect of the Vatican Library, to Monsieur Delattre, Secretary General of the Society ‘Amis de la Radiesthesie’. [In 1929, priest Alexis Bouly gave the name of “Radiesthesia” to describe dowsing phenomena, from the Latin “radius” (rays) and the Greek “aisthêsis” (feeling).] He wrote: “I was required to attend an audience of the Sovereign Pontiff for the purpose of explaining to Him personally the nature of the researches to which the members of your Association are dedicated, and to tell His Holiness of your wish to have for the officers of your Association, and for its activities, the Apostolic Blessing. The Holy Father was touched by the sentiments expressed in your letter, and has charged me to communicate to you His Paternal Blessing.” 2
The Vatican also used dowsing when the engineer Czepl, a leading Austrian dowser, was invited to assist, as a dowser, in planning a restoration of the Cathedral of St. Peter. 3
Many other religious leaders have used dowsing to benefit humanity. “I have met doctors, pastors, missionaries, and even evangelists who use the rod or pendulum and believe they have received this gift from God.” Dr. Kurt Koch 4
What the Bible Says About Dowsing
The word “dowsing’ does not appear in the Bible, which is not surprising since it is a modern word. Sometimes dowsing is referred to as divining because of the belief that the answers obtained are of divine origin. What the Bible talks about extensively, is the use of the “rod of God” to find water, feed people and measure things.
In Exodus 3, When Moses communicates directly with God for the first time through the burning bush, Moses is afraid his people won’t believe that God has asked him to lead them out of Egypt. God says to him in Exodus 4:17 “And thou shalt take this rod in thy hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.” Reassured that God would show himself through the tool he had been given, “…Moses took the rod of God in his hand.” (Exodus 4:20)
Dowsing, or something like it, is described in Exodus 15: 24-25. “And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” Exodus 17:5-6 goes on to describe how Moses found water when his followers were thirsty: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
In Numbers 17 God sets up an event to show through the blossoming of Aaron’s rod, that he has been chosen as the principle priest. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel and take of every one of them a rod, according to the house of their father’s … And it shall come to pass that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom …” This passage underscores the use of the rod by the priesthood as a means of divine communication.
Following are other passages from the Bible that refer to the rod as an instrument of God:
Psalm 23:4 “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Ezekiel 20:37 “And I will cause you to pass under the rod and I will bring you under the bond of the covenant”
Jeremiah 1:11-12 “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten over my word to perform it.”
Micah 7:14 “Feed thy people with thy rod.”
Hebrews 9:4 “… the arc of the covenant … wherein was … Aaron’s rod that budded and the tables of the covenant.”
Revelations 11:1 “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.”
The Bible also includes passages that have been subject to controversial interpretations.
In Deuteronomy 18, Moses tells his people to follow the teachings of the priests (the Levites), and cautions them not to follow practices that are not inspired by God. “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any that … useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.” Moses goes on to reassure his people that God has told him that he “will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto him all that I shall command him.”
Deuteronomy 18 is a difficult chapter for people not sure whether or not dowsing is sanctioned in the Scriptures. I believe this chapter’s message is that dowsing should only be used responsibly in communication with the best and highest good, and should not be used for personal gain or evil purposes. This chapter also tells us that ordinary people can speak God’s word. As Rudolph Steiner said in 1911: “As people become clairvoyant, they must also become able to distinguish between the particular types of supersensible being and occurrences they perceive.” 5
Hosea 4:12 “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God”. This verse underscores the necessity of working under God’s direction and not for personal gain.
What Leading Dowsers Say About Responsible Practices
Responsible dowsers always seek to work with and for the best and highest good as appropriate in a way consistent with, but not limited to, Christian philosophies. Following are a series of quotes that support this view. “Never use the pendulum for speculation, to gain power over others, for prediction and what not. It is a device of measurement and one that uses it correctly is under the covenant of the Most High as the Bible said.” Rev. Hanna Kroeger 6
“All good things can however be abused and thus also the work with rod and pendulum. Therefore the Church warns people not to use these instruments for occult experiments. We draw attention to the fact that work with a rod and pendulum can be dangerous if arrogance, curiosity, evil thoughts or greed are the sole motive. If however a Christian wants to do God’s will and protects himself with prayers when doing radiaesthesic works and uses his or her instruments only in a helping way, based on love, when examining houses and finding water, then this work is blessed by the Church (Decree of 26 March 1942).” Dr. Karl Berg, Archbishop of Salzburg 7
“As a Christian my gifts are a part of my offering when I yield myself to my Savior [sic]. Love is the way in which gifts are to be used….” Rev. Norman Evans 8
“The dowsing rod and pendulum are physical objects, and thus neutral, which means they are beyond good and evil, as would be a knife, or fire or water. It is true however, that the misuses of those instruments could become dangerous. But in the hands of people with integrity, who use the pendulum and the dowsing rod only in the service of their fellow men, the effects are most beneficial.” Kathe Bachler 9
“Ask permission first. The permission is asking to access God’s wisdom. If permission is not granted, we can receive no answers. I consider my pendulum to be a sacred tool, a way I have of understanding what God wants me to do, a way I have of being able to observe what is appropriate to request, and a way I have of being able to see healing energy being delivered to the person for whom it was requested. And I request answers that are for the highest good, not just what I might want or think is best. For me, dowsing is a way of accessing my intuitive wisdom, my God-connection. Some people need glasses to see, or hearing aids to hear. My pendulum helps me connect with my intuition. It is not the only way, but if it works for me, then I am happy to use it.” Joan DeNew, President, Canadian Society of Dowsers 10
“Some folks say that it [dowsing] is the work of the devil …”, [but when you are dowsing]”You are in tune with the Infinite, and your journey on the path of life will be richer and fuller as you grow in the Light of Truth.” Virginia Baker, ASD Trustee Emeritus 11
“The work with the dowsing rod and pendulum opens new vistas into God’s beautiful world and into the wonders of creation” Father Kunibert Reisinger, South African Missionary 12
The American Society of Dowser’s Prayer reads: “Lord, guide my hands, enhance my sensitivity, and bless my purpose that I may be an instrument of Your power and glory in locating what is searched for.” The Dowser’s Prayer 13
“It is important to have ‘Good Intent’ whatever one is doing – including Dowsing – and to check that those who send answers are ‘In the Light’.” John Living, Executive Secretary, The Holistic Intuition Society 14
Dowsing, when done appropriately for and with the Best and Highest Good is a tool that can be used to benefit humanity.
Most of the material comes from the Jewish/Christian tradition, simply because I have not found other sources. I will include other denominational references in this document as they become available. Thank you to the many individuals who suggested source materials: Eva Angyal; Jean-Paul Choquette, past president of the Canadian Society of Dowsers affiliate in Montreal; Joan DeNew, President of the CSD; Mike Doney; John Living, Executive Secretary, The Holistic Intuition Society; John McFarlane; Mladen Mildragovic; Barbara Prisbe; Albert Schatz; and Bernie Urben, past president of the CSD.
Please send further references to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (905) 833-2440.
- All biblical quotes are from the Holy Bible, Authorized (King James) Version.
- Abbe Mermet, Principles and Practices of Radiesthesia, Robinson & Watkins Ltd., London, 1975, 6.
- Kathe Bachler, EARTH RADIATION – The Startling Discoveries of a Dowser, Wordmaster Ltd., 1989, Paper, Austrian Congress of Dowsers, 1975, Puchberg.
- Dr. Kurt Koch, Occult ABC (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1980), 185-86.
- Rudolph Steiner, The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity, Anthroposophic Press, 1992, 47.
- Hanna Kroeger, The Pendulum, the Bible and your Survival, New Age Foods, Boulder, 13.
- Bachler, xiv.
- Rev. Norman Evans, Dowsing: Its Biblical Background, The American Dowser, May 1979, 78.
- Bachler, 51.
- Joan DeNew, President Canadian Society of Dowsers, personal letter, May 14, 2002
- Virginia Baker, ASD Trustee Emeritus, To Dowse Is Divine, ASD’s Digest.
- Bachler, 52.
- The Dowser’s Prayer, as given in The American Dowser, November 1977, 169.
- John Living, Executive Secretary, The Holistic Intuition Society, personal letter.
© Copyright 2002, Susan Collins.