Sins of Commission and Omission …

by Terry Ross

The following article was first published in Rod & Pendulum magazine No. 68 September 1992 under the heading TERRY ROSS’ COLUMN.

In 1958 T. Edward (Terry) Ross was present at the founding of the American Society of Dowsers, at Danville, Vermont and later served as its president and editor of its journal The American Dowser. He lectured and wrote extensively on the theory and practice of dowsing and travelled internationally to locate water supplies for clients in industry, government, and agriculture. He co-authored (with Richard C. Wright) an excellent book entitled The Divining Mind. Terry died July 6, 2000 at the age of 83.

As in life, sins of commission and omission are often fatal. I can write with feeling on this subject , having dowsed in more instances than I care to remember things that I ought not to have dowsed and left undowsed those things I ought to have dowsed. If any dowser worthy of the name has erred, I have committed at least double that error, no matter what it may have been. I continue, however, zealously apprenticed to our calling, prepared to risk mistakes and anxious to share them with my peers for what that is worth.

Here, then, are the ten shortcomings that have most plagued and bedevilled me along the way. Expressed as affirmations, they may surprise you because of their non-technical simplicity:

  1. I will satisfy myself as to the sincerity of the person who is making a request of me, and as to the validity of the request. 
  2. I will define the problem. 
  3. I will pose the question to be solved as precisely and as completely as I can. 
  4. I will condition the undertaking with the questions May I? Can I? Should I? 
  5. I will choose the device that is most likely to get the job done. 
  6. I will make a preliminary scan before going on station. 
  7. I will record these early findings, quantitatively and qualitatively. 
  8. I will make a second dowse on station without reference to the earlier attempt. 
  9. I will compare and refine the data on the spot and give a detailed report of it to the client and retain a copy of it for myself. 
  10. I will provide the data on a ‘best efforts’ basis, without claim or promise of success. 

These ten commitments have helped to keep me on track over the years, rendering the various challenges the dowser meets manageable and eliminating uncertainty and stress. A brief commentary keyed to each item on the checklist might be in order.

  1. Unless one is asked, and asked sincerely, to meet a real need, the request cannot be worthwhile and is an insult to one’s own sincerity and demeans the art. 
  2. Quite often a series of queries will be required to elicit the dimensions of the problem; before anything is attempted, its nature and scope must be clearly understood by all concerned. 
  3. Once the extent of the problem becomes clear, it must be reduced to a single, comprehensive question that can be answered by a “yes” or “no” – the binary language of the dowsing device. 
  4. May I? refers to the fitness of what one proposes to do. Can I? refers to one’s own competence to do it. Should I? refers to the time to do it. 
  5. There is more than personal preference at stake here, for a pendulum is not as satisfactory as an L – rod for measuring the intangible boundaries of energy lines, and a Y – rod is usually more helpful in forecasting depths, widths and flows. 
  6. A minute’s dowsing in solitude is worth an hour in company at the site; it not only gives one a preliminary idea that is often the final solution but tends to insulate one from the effects of any subsequent distractions and the presence of skepticism. 
  7. Records made before the event help one to remain in control of the situation, even if the data are subsequently changed on site. 
  8. The on-site dowse, which may or may not accord with the absent one, should govern. 
  9. One copy of the findings from the field dowse should be retained for future reference and review, and the original record given to the client. 
  10. Claimless is blaimless is a motto that is compatible with the present state of the art and its acceptance; in water dowsing one must usually defer to that often unceremonious expert – Dr. Drill. 

How I wish we could venture forth on a dowsing trial together – I know I would learn something new about this mysterious and wonderful art.

Reprinted with the permission of Michael Guest, editor of Rod & Pendulum magazine (R&P). West Midland Dowsers (which he runs and for which R&P is edited) does not have its own website but information about them is carried on the BSD Website.
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