Is Dowsing Dying?


Written by Maggie Percy


What Is Going On?

Is it stupid to ask, “Is Dowsing dying?”? Dowsing certainly isn't dead yet. But it isn't thriving, either. The article will explore the state of dowsing today, why dowsing is not thriving and what might actually help turn things around. There are some facts in this article, and there are opinions. If you look at the facts, they tell a story. This is the story as I see it at the time of writing.

It would be incorrect to say there are no serious dowsers and no meaningful dowsing being done today. It would be incorrect to say there are no leaders in the dowsing community who are trying to make dowsing strong, credible and accepted. But the general trend is worrying, as the results speak for themselves. And my opinion is that unless this trend changes, dowsing will become moribund.

If you are a dowser, you won't believe that dowsing is dying. After all, there are big national organizations for dowsing in most countries. On Facebook, Nigel and I moderate a group of over 1700 dowsing enthusiasts. The ASD (American Society of Dowsers) annual conference draws a good-sized crowd. How could dowsing be seen as dying? In 2012, 2013 and 2014, we put on the Dowsing World Summit online and drew thousands of attendees.

But if you look beneath the surface, you will see the cracks appearing in the edifice of dowsing and the reduction in key areas that indicate dowsing is on the decline. And my opinion is that if we wait until it is in full blown retreat, we may lose dowsing altogether. Now is the time to strengthen dowsing and help it grow.

The fundamental problem as I see it has been growing like a cancer for decades. It is now at the point where real damage can be done to dowsing as a whole. That problem is that dowsing has been redefined by several gurus, consciously or not, eroding the meaning of dowsing, sowing confusion and turning people away from the original concept and purpose of dowsing.

This has resulted in factions forming within the dowsing community, in dowsing being seen as less credible than before (it wasn't that credible to begin with) and a movement away from dowsing as a unique skill with unique benefits. Before long, dowsing will possibly be seen only as yet another energy healing method that doesn't always work, competing with a large field of much better-known, better-marketed and proven techniques. That will virtually guarantee dowsing disappears.

Proof of dowsing dying…

Here are some facts that indicate dowsing is not growing:

  • In 2014, the Dowsing World Summit, a free online event, had record low attendance.
  • For the past several months, attendance of monthly online dowsing meetings offered by us have had 75 or fewer attendees, with lower numbers each month. These meetings are always about dowsing in some fashion and are widely promoted to nearly 5000 supposed dowsing enthusiasts.
  • Local dowsing chapters that we are familiar with seem to be having lower attendance. We recently went to a chapter meeting in person and discovered there were only about 10 other attendees (this in a tri-city area of at least 80K people), and they talked almost exclusively about conspiracy theories and metaphysical subjects during the meeting, not dowsing.
  • The 2015 annual conference of the American Society of Dowsers, the biggest in person dowsing event in the U.S., is listing 73 speakers at its event. Only 14 appear to be talking mainly about dowsing. That's 80% of the content of the event on non-dowsing topics. Whether this is a reflection of the lack of interest or expertise in dowsing, or a reflection of a choice to try and draw a wider crowd, it shows that dowsing is not a big part even of dowsing events. That means that regardless of how many attend, you can be sure many aren't that interested in dowsing, and with so many topics to choose from, dowsing will end up getting short shrift.

My opinion is that although there may be record numbers of people who say they've heard about dowsing, very few of them have any interest in learning how to dowse. And among the small percentage who are willing to learn, most are siphoned away by the dowsing-as-magical-healing segment of the dowsing community, because that method is not preached as something you need to study, practice or learn to do well. It is presented more as a psychic ability.

The more people see dowsing as something psychic that you can do without training, the fewer people will be willing to train to dowse accurately. The apparent numbers of dowsers may swell, but actual dowsers are diminishing. Most (I would say about 90%) of the people who say they are dowsers or interested in dowsing lack an awareness or expertise with key dowsing subjects like the dowsing state and how to ask a good dowsing question. In point of fact, many of them don't regard dowsing as being about asking questions, or they have given it a different name. Whatever, they aren't using dowsing the way it was originally. And they aren't motivated to do so. If you are among the 1 in 10 or fewer who actually study and practice your dowsing technique, you deserve a medal. You are in the minority.

We are all aware that water dowsing is a vital skill, and that it is becoming harder to attract students to this discipline. In large part, this is because as long as dowsing stays in-credible, no one will pay for dowsing, or few will. Unless we can make dowsing credible, people won't be able to make a living with it. If it's just a woo-woo hobby, it will never be accepted. If it's seen as magic or freakish, it won't be accepted. There are some brave souls making a living dowsing for water and other things, but they are few and far between, and most of them aren't making a great living.

Dowsing can give you results. It can make your life measurably better. I believe that we need to get back to the real definition of dowsing and teach people the right way to dowse accurately on real-life subjects that improve their lives. That alone will make dowsing acceptable.

People don't care how cell phones or even cars work. They just want them to work. If they work, they make life easier. That's all anyone cares. And if we can present dowsing in the same way, they won't care how dowsing works, except maybe for a small religious minority who see it as the devil's work. But let's face it. Some religions won't even use electricity. So that's ok.

Dowsing as a magical, psychical activity that you use on things you cannot measure won't ever help dowsing thrive. Turning dowsing into a healing method that combines intention with a pendulum is confusing the public and reducing the interest in real dowsing. Unless we put dowsing ‘on the map' by having it change life for the better, we may be the last generation to do actual dowsing, except for the few diehards who will be seen mostly as crackpots. I'm wondering how dowsing will look in 30 years. I'll be dowsing. But if the numbers are telling the truth, I'm not sure a lot of people will be.

Do you think that dowsing is dying? What makes you hold that opinion? Let us know in the comments section below and help us gain a broader picture


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