Dowsing Misconceptions Can Hold You Back

Written by Nigel Percy

Common Dowsing Misconceptions

Do you have any of these beliefs about dowsing?

  • The pendulum (or tool) is what gives you answers
  • Dowsing is a healing method
  • You have to do certain rituals if you want accurate dowsing answers

You probably expect me to say that all of the above are wrong. Well, the bad news is just the opposite. If you believe those things to be true, then they are true for you. But they are common dowsing misconceptions, and if you believe them, and they are your ‘truth', then more than likely, they are blocking you from becoming the great dowser you can be.

The Tool

I wish I had a dollar for every person I have ever heard say, ‘The pendulum told me….'. It is an unfortunate belief if you think that your tool has all the answers. A piano doesn't produce music any better than the person playing it. A tool is a tool. It can only give answers that are as accurate as you are. The tool indicates answers, but it is not the source of them.

Time and again, people speak in ways that gives their power away. Giving your power to the tool will not enhance your dowsing ability. Take your power back and speak and act knowing that YOU are the one getting the answers, not the tool. That will also inspire you to find ways to improve your technique, much as the pianist practices his or her craft to hone skill.


A common collection of dowsing misconceptions are about whether dowsing is a healing method. It certainly is not. Dowsing is a way of getting answers to questions. That is all dowsing is. Too often, we hear people, even veteran dowsers, suggest that one can use dowsing to heal or change a situation. Not really. Dowsing is a way of finding out causes of problems, and it can help you pick the best solutions. Dowsing never changes anything.

So why do people think of dowsing as a technique to create change? They confuse the use of intention with dowsing. Intention is what is causing the change when they spin their pendulum and clear energies, not the act of dowsing. Often, they use the spinning pendulum to indicate when the process is complete, but it is not dowsing that is transforming the situation. Intention is. This confusion leads people to think of dowsing as a healing technique rather than a tool for getting answers to any kind of question. Like the first misconception, that will lead to sloppy thinking that takes the place of actually practicing your craft and learning new ways to dowse better.

Dowsing Rituals

Many dowsers have rituals they feel they must perform to get a good dowsing response. One of the more common is the ‘Can I, May I, Should I' question. One of the strangest I have ever heard (at least to me) was the insistence that accurate answers can only be had if you face the direction of your specific planet. (?) And it wasn't always a known planet, and wasn't obvious what planet you should use. And if you had to dowse to find out ‘your' planet, how could you get an accurate answer, since you wouldn't know which direction your planet was in so you could face the right way when asking?

Rituals are meant to help you focus your intention, but as in some religions, they often lose their original meaning and then just become a routine you follow blindly, as if the ritual does the work. And since you have no intention behind the routines, they are pretty useless and become more of a drag than a help. Dowsing ‘un-consciously' is not going to help you become a better dowser. Learning proper technique, improving your dowsing questions and finding new applications will help you be the best dowser you can be.

Dowsing misconceptions come in many shapes and forms, but the three that hold dowsers back the most are: thinking the tool gives the answers; thinking dowsing does things it does not; and thinking that specific rituals are vital to getting accurate dowsing answers.

These beliefs block progress by giving your power away and by making you think of dowsing as something outside of yourself that isn't really a natural skill you have to learn about or practice. Truly excellent dowsers are those who study, practice and hone their dowsing, knowing that although it seems magical, dowsing is a natural ability like any other. Thus, education and practice are required for the best performance.

What other dowsing misconceptions have you come across? Share them in the comments below.

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  1. Jen

    I have just started dowsing a few months ago. Not proficient at it, yet. I think my higher self keeps lying to me, for some reason. I ask some pretty outrageous questions, but they are serious…and the answers I get are quite outlandish! However, tax questions are not outlandish. I don’t think it’s a far stretch to think someone I used to live with, could be a serial killer, either, considering how he was when I lived with him, but still…I get some really out there answers from this thing! The questions are serious, though maybe a bit ridiculous, but even so, my emotions don’t really play any part, other than maybe a little bitterness, considering the way I was treated by this person. But I can’t even get a correct answer about the mail! It’s frustrating. I get correct answers when I ask about my name and such, but then I get inaccurate answers about other things. BTW: I do feel like something big is going to happen, but I don’t believe anyone is going to leave me billions of dollars, or even millions! Lol! This is another thing it tells me. If my higher self believes these outlandish things, then I must be insane! I seem to get what I believe to be true answers about cosmic/spiritual questions, though I have no way to prove that, but when I ask about every day things (such as mail in the mailbox), it’s wrong! I believe in power of manifestation, but some of those answers just are not going to happen! What am I doing wrong? This person just came up one day. I was told I’m going to get money, and it would be from someone I know. I don’t know anyone that would give me money…kept probing…and this is how I came to such outlandish answers…the questions were legit, but I don’t believe the answers. I do keep asking, and keep getting the same answer, no matter how I ask, but when I say “I’m not getting this”…it says no, but try to confirm, and it goes back to yes! AAAARGH! What am I doing wrong? Yes, I did reroute polarities, tested, same answers! HELP!

    • Nigel Percy

      Hmmmm, quite a few things here. First, I’m not sure about the whole ‘higher self’ concept, but if it works for you, stay with it.
      Second, you say you’ve started dowsing only a few months ago, but you’re already asking really difficult questions. The first thing you need to do is give yourself confidence in your ability by dowsing thing which you can verify. I know you’ve said about the mail, but do other things as well. It could well be that you are going to be accurate (at first) only in certain small areas. Find out what those are and practice, and then spread your wings bit by bit. The thing is, dowsing is a skill and as such needs to be practiced a lot in order to become proficient.
      Third, you say you can keep your emotions out of it, but from what you’ve said, there are still a lot of emotions floating around about that person, and asking about a serial killer is an emotional thing all on its own!
      My biggest suggestion would be to rein yourself in a bit. Keep away from the questions you have been asking and train yourself on the small, inconsequential stuff. Dowse over plants to find out what they need to grow well, dowse over menus to identify the best/tastiest/most nourishing/whatever you should choose that day, dowse as you cook to see when it’s going to be done perfectly for your taste, dowse the amount of money you’re going to spend on groceries, or how much gas you’ll need to fill up. There are countless non-threatening things you can develop your skill with. Just use it for yourself in everyday situations first.
      And, finally, just because you can’t think of anyone who would give you money doesn’t mean you’re right or that’s the only way you can get money. Be open! :-)
      Also, finally, finally, don’t give up on dowsing. Just get used to using it regularly for yourself before going too far too quick. You’ll get there, but it might take a little longer.

    • Maggie Percy

      When Nigel says dowse verifiable subjects, he does not mean how many letters are in the mailbox. Dowsing is meant to ask questions you can’t get answers to rationally or physically. So use questions like he suggests. Those are questions your brain cannot answer; you can’t just check and see. That’s the strength of dowsing, and that’s the type of question you always should ask. I’m not a fan of coin tosses and card suits. It’s boring and also goes against the principle of dowsing, because dowsing isn’t for frivolous questions. It’s for things that can change your life or make it better.
      Dowsing ethics makes it unlikely you can ask questions about someone from your past and get accurate answers. You should not dowse about other people without their permission. It’s like tapping their phone. That’s illegal and an invasion of privacy. On rare occasions, you could maybe ethically dowse about someone without permission, as in the case of you want a feel for how compatible a potential person is with your values for a partnership or friendship or marriage. But that isn’t asking personal details so much as how compatible they are with you. Asking if someone is a serial killer is a total invasion of privacy, and the fact that you even think that shows you have a lot of emotion and judgment about that person. It’s an unethical question and won’t yield good results.
      Nigel reminds you dowsing is a skill, and so 80% of your dowsing should be on tangible targets like picking a good movie to rent or finding the closest open parking space at Costco. Then move on to bigger things once you see progress. Our book “101 Amazing Things You Can Do With Dowsing” is a great place to start. It’s on all online bookstores.

      • Jen

        I don’t dowser on how much mail, but whether there is any mail. Hardly a stupid question. As for the serial killer thing, you didn’t live with the guy. However, he may not have been, though I’ve no doubt he has killed, before, based on his behavior, but I can’t prove, nor disprove any of those questions, so it’s a moot point.

        If I can’t even get simple, accurate answers about something as simple as mail in the mailbox (as in is thereally ANY mail), then why should I expect anything else to be accurate? Also, there is nothing illegal about asking questions about someone. Besides, it’s not like they would ever know you asked, unless you told them. Given who I ask anything about, I’m pretty sure I won’t ever have that opportunity, so again: moot point.

        I’ll stick to questions about Rapture, God, Yoshua (not Jesus, according to the answers I’ve received), and soul origins. Spiritual stuff. I won’t get accurate answers to anything else, obviously. Maybe even talk to the dead…relatives, and celebrities…nothing else, and only certain ones. I can’t guarantee I’m talking to them, but it’s still fun and fascinating. I take everything with a grain of salt, and write nothing in stone. It’s just more of a parlour trick for me. I won’t take it seriously, if I can’t even get answers to anything about myself or my future. After all, it’s always subject to change, and always does. Thanks. I appreciate the answers. I think I should just enjoy it as a toy, more so than a serious form of divination. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t treat it as such, but that’s pretty much what it might as well be. I’m obviously never going to get anywhere with it. I don’t have much patience, so it’s kind of a let down for me. Glad it works so well for others, but I’m apparently not meant to know anything about my future, so I won’t ask anymore.

        • Nigel Percy

          Thanks for your thoughts. From what you have said, there’s only one thing I would suggest and that is develop some patience with yourself. Give yourself some space and time and enjoy dowsing for its own sake. Sure, it can be seen as a toy and a parlour trick, but it has far greater potential than that.
          Actually there’s two things :-) and the second thing is that dowsing the future can be very tricky because, well, it’s the future and not always set in stone. Present day dowsing and patience; they’re the two things. Whatever you choose to do, I wish you increasing success in your dowsing.

  2. Jump

    If Dowsing, through the use of a given ‘tool’, gives you answers, couldn’t almost any object be used via intention. I use an old 8 ball. I have received many answers that came forth – save deep future. It seems to get very close but sometimes misses (when we practice our positive words and actually change the perceived dowsed future).

    • Nigel Percy

      Certainly. Any tool can be used, if it suits the purpose. After all, it’s just magnifying your small movements. Keys on a chain, a garden gnome on a rope, a postcard held under tension; all of these can be tools. But always remember that it’s you that’s doing the moving, so if you can learn to dowse without tools, that’s even easier!


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