The 5 Biggest Dowsing Mistakes

Written by Nigel Percy

Do You Make These Dowsing Mistakes?

What are the 5 biggest dowsing mistakes made that cause dowsers to mistrust their own dowsing?

The following 5 dowsing mistakes, in order from #5 to #1, all contribute to doubt and mistrust about your dowsing response. If you can fix these 5 common errors, you will become a confident, more accurate dowser.

Top Dowsing Mistakes #5: Being attached to the answers.

When you dowse a question, you are waiting for an answer, and if you have an attachment to a particular answer, or you feel that one answer is good and the other bad, or you are afraid of being ‘wrong' with your dowsing, your accuracy will crash and burn.

No one can teach you how to be detached. Either you are, or you aren't. The first step is never dowse any question that you know you care so much about that there is a ‘right' and a ‘wrong' answer. If you fear hearing the answer, you shouldn't be dowsing it.

Practice your dowsing on things that interest you, but that are not life and death. Learn to recognize how you feel when you are resisting hearing the truth. You may feel tension in your body or you might hold your breath. (You might even hear a little voice in your head making fearful comments.)

See how it feels when you dowse about something you are merely curious about, and compare that to when you try to dowse a serious question. Cultivate a curious attitude whenever you dowse, and know that whatever the truth is will help you in the long run. If you find yourself resisting the answer, don't dowse. Practice on things that you are able to approach with curiosity alone.

Top Dowsing Mistakes #4: Lack of experience.

Sounds obvious, but if you don't dowse, you don't get confident. Lack of practice leads to mistrust when you dowse. Often, people who don't practice only turn to dowsing when they have a serious question they need answered. Unfortunately, dowsing that way is like going to play a concert without practicing at all. If you really want to be able to use dowsing when it counts, you must practice dowsing. And that means starting with small subjects and working up to bigger ones.

Give yourself the chance to learn and grow in your dowsing. Don't expect that you either are great at dowsing or not. Very few people are prodigies. Most have to practice. Enjoy the process of becoming the best dowser you can be. We have found that almost anyone can become an excellent dowser if they do the right things.

Top Dowsing Mistakes #3: Not being aware of the common pitfalls, and not knowing how to remedy them.

All skills have pitfalls. Unfortunately, most dowsers are given the impression that they can dowse just by learning to get a yes/no response with a pendulum or other dowsing tool. Then they go off and dowse, not knowing anything about proper technique or the traps that await them. Even basic dowsing courses rarely touch on important aspects of technique. They tend to focus on the use of the tools, but that is by far the smallest part of learning to be a dowser.

One of the most common dowsing pitfalls that can mess up your dowsing is polarity reversal. The body has polarity, a north and south pole. When those poles get reversed, everything becomes backwards. Symptoms of polarity reversal include feeling prickly and not wanting to be touched; switching left and right; being clumsy with words or with your body; getting things backwards.

A good way to test your polarity is to ask a clear question to which you know the answer. We find that using your birthplace in this lifetime is usually a good polarity question, unless you don't know your birthplace or have some strong negative emotions about your birth. Make a question or statement about your birthplace, such as, ‘I was born in _____________in this lifetime.' The answer should be ‘yes' if you fill the blank with your birthplace. Retest by inserting a place you were not born, and you should get a ‘no'. What if you got the ‘wrong' answer when you dowsed? Your polarity is reversed.

  • Polarity can reverse for a number of reasons. The most common are dehydration, improper mineralization of the body; your own emotions and noxious environmental energies.
  • When your polarity is reversed, ‘yes' becomes ‘no' and vice versa. Nothing is more demoralizing to a dowser than to have his polarity reversed and NOT KNOW IT. Yet it is a common problem.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of pure water. Get your vitamins and minerals. Water and mineral frequencies are ‘burned up' in intuitive and energy work.
  • Do not dowse about anything you have strong emotions about, as it can reverse your polarity.
  • And be aware that if you are in a zone of noxious energies, your polarity can reverse.

Fixing polarity is usually pretty easy. For most people, doing the ‘thymus thump' works fine. Just make a fist with either hand and tap your sternum (breastbone) several times gently while intending to restore your polarity to right and perfect function. Retest your question and see if the answer to your question about where you were born is now correct.

If you cannot fix your polarity no matter how hard you try, by drinking water, moving to a different location or doing the thymus thump, you can still dowse. Just keep in mind that yes is no, and no is yes.

Chronic polarity reversal can be remedied, so if you find that even when dowsing simple questions, your polarity is often reversed, it would be worthwhile to discover the cause and do your best to balance your polarity. Start with things like hydration and mineralization and work your way through to space clearing if things don't become balanced. Or seek outside assistance from someone familiar with this condition and how to balance it.

Top Dowsing Mistakes #2: Not formulating a good dowsing question.

It may seem obvious to say that your dowsing answers are only as good as your questions. As with computers, it's garbage in, garbage out. Therefore, it makes sense to spend appropriate time crafting a specific question that will give you accurate answers. But that takes time, effort and practice. Most courses don't spend a lot of time teaching you how to create good dowsing questions. Furthermore, even if you have taken a course that did cover this important topic, if you are right-brain dominant, you are going to feel like launching right into the dowsing rather than doing a left-brain thing like making up a good question.

We like to tell our students that there are no wrong dowsing answers. Often, there are inappropriate or poorly worded questions that mislead the dowser with answers that do not address his or her true question. The answer you get is the answer to the question you asked. And most of the time, it is an accurate answer for that question, or as accurate an answer as you can get for that question.

Good dowsing questions are usually long, detailed and very specific, because they have to be in order to include all the critical factors of a good question: why, when, what, how, where and who. Often, if you leave one of these factors out of the question, your answer will not be accurate.

Another common problem is the use of vague words that have emotional meaning or multiple connotations, which makes the question unanswerable. ‘Good', ‘for my highest good' and ‘best' are often used in dowsing questions, but if you ask three people what those words mean, you will often get three different answers. Avoid the use of judgmental and trite phrases.

Here's an example: before you dowse whether to commit to the person you are currently in love with, sit down and use your left brain to make a list of the aspects of a committed relationship that are important to you, that will contribute to your happiness. Everyone is different. But include everything from health to finances. Put in values like honesty, open communication and fidelity if they are important to you. Make sure your list includes every aspect of a committed relationship that matters to you.

Next, you can then begin to formulate your question. List the who, what, where, when, how and why as appropriate. For ‘who', that's easy. It's the name of your lover. The ‘what' is your definition of a committed relationship. If your question seems to get too long, substitute a word or phrase for that complete definition of your perfect relationship after intending that the two are now equal for dowsing purposes. Be specific. The ‘where' might actually matter in some cases, so include it if you think it is appropriate to your relationship. ‘When' is vital. The phrase ‘at this time' is a common one in many dowsing questions, as you do need to specify a time for most things. ‘How' and ‘why' are also useful in many dowsing questions. In this case, the ‘how' may refer to the type of committed relationship, while the ‘why' could refer to the maximum long-term happiness you can experience, or perhaps attaining your spiritual goals by having a life partner who is in alignment with them.

Do not be afraid of long dowsing questions. You may want to write them down at first, so you don't have to remember them. You want to have them clear and in your head, but you don't want to only be focused on the question itself. The goal is to allow this to become easier for you, so that what you are focusing on is not the tool or the question, but that moment between question and answer, the essence of dowsing.

Top Dowsing Mistakes #1: Thinking that just taking a basic dowsing class is enough training to become an accurate dowser.

Or an even bigger mistake, thinking that a friend showing you how to use a dowsing tool is enough to make you a good dowser. Learning to use a dowsing tool, which is the focus of most basic courses, is not complete training. Going to a single course is just the beginning of your dowsing training. Reading and attending conferences and meetings will help you a lot. But I did all of those things, and I soon ran out of ways to improve my dowsing. Nigel learned dowsing in the U.K., and he also found it hard to get the training he wanted.

Luckily, training opportunities are becoming more abundant, affordable and convenient. As dowsing becomes more popular, there are more people offering courses that will show you techniques and applications that can guarantee your dowsing will be as reliable and accurate as you want it to be. You wouldn't take one piano lesson and think that was enough to make you a good pianist. Dowsing is a skill, and like all skills, training will improve performance. Learn from the masters and become the best dowser you can be. Our Discovering Dowsing course is available as a physical product or online course, and we help you every step of the way. See details here.

What have been your biggest problems to overcome in dowsing? And, how did you overcome them? Post your story in the comments section below.


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  1. Radhikagcr

    IAm new to dowsing.i have attended 2sessions of classes and practitioners regularly.i am able to get correct answers mostly but for my sugar reading I am not getting the correct is absolutely diff. From lab shows correctly for my husband and not for me.please suggestions please.

    • Nigel Percy

      There could be several reasons. 1) Your emotional involvement could well be causing the difference in readings. 2) Any lab tests show the result for that one single moment. Your reading, taken at a different time, could be accurate, depending on a whole number of things such as when the reading was taken, the emotions of the time, what has recently been eaten and so on.
      If you are new to dowsing I suggest that you gain practice and experience, improving your accuracy before you dowse these types of issues.
      I would recommend our course on Accurate Dowsing (available at to help you in these areas.

  2. Mohammadreza

    Dear Nigel Percy
    Thank you for letting me ask you my problem. I like dowsing very much but one problem does not let me continue with dowsing. I have asked some experts for help but I failed to resolve my problem. I explain it and also confirm that I will happily pay for your time and energy you put to help me.
    When I ask a simple question which does not involve any attachment, like is this book good to buy for my friend, the pendulum does not move until I watch it and any idea in my mind will reflect on the pendulum direction.If the word YES comes to my mind, the pendulum says yes. It means, my conscious mind is answering me not subconscious mind. If I close my eyes to keep my conscious mind away, the pendulum does not move at all even if I don’t watch it for a long time. How can I solve this problem? Is there any way to do this?

    • Nigel Percy

      Firstly, don’t start with a static pendulum. Have it moving to begin with in a neutral fashion, making it easier to indicate yes or no. Secondly, have a really clear question in mind (hint: the word ‘good’ does not make a clear question – see elsewhere on this site for the reasons).
      Thirdly, how do you know that the answer you get in your head is not the right one? Try it on other things and see if you are correct when such a thing happens. It could be you don’t need a pendulum at all…

    • Anaidxi

      Just curious do you make sure to ask may I, can I should I? Before every dowsing session and before every new topic? Do you check your accuracy? Sometimes pendulum moves very little. Sometimes it’s not right time to dowse. Make a chart for reasons for dowsing inaccuracy. Maybe this will help?

      • Nigel Percy

        Asking permission in the form you quote causes more problems than it solves. See our post here at As for accuracy, that is something which develops with practice. Dowsing is a skill and, as such, it requires practice to become good at. The best way of becoming accurate is to dowse as much as possible on things which you can personally verify.

  3. Anaidxi

    I noticed that the question does matter a lot. When I ask if something is ideal is totally different from what G-d wants. Even what G-d wants is different from His will. So dowsing questions need to be worded very carefully. It feels like I am asking different people their opinion.

    • Nigel Percy

      The question is probably the most important aspect of dowsing. Without a good question, you get a weak answer. Asking if something is ideal is not a good question. Whose ideal? Compared to what? We have various posts on here about questions (for example: and also we have a book available on asking questions, called Ask The Right Question (available on Amazon and other outlets).

  4. Magic

    Hello. Thank you.
    Question… I used to does up to 2 yrs ago. Then I got “off” answers and stopped. Recently my psychic abilities have increased. I picked up the dowsing rod yesterday. I get correct answers on known subjects.
    Here’s the issue though…trying to find a stolen cell phone. I got clear answers to good questions that it was on one street. Didn’t find phone.
    Then tonight it gave me a different street. Rod pointed to one bush and despite looking all around the bush…nothing. yet walking all around and away , rod points directly to same spot.over and over. Even with a 2nd rod.
    How can this be??

    • Nigel Percy

      Lots of possible things to consider. First, the question itself and how very precise it might be, which I’ll also refer to later. Second, the possibility of emotional attachment to the object in question. Any such attachment can really mess up your dowsing. Third, the problem of time. You might have been in precisely the right spot at the wrong time, hence the two sites. Fourth, you might have actually been in the right place at the right time but looking for the wrong thing. For example, you might have been looking for the phone body but overlooked the sim card, which is the heart of the phone and would often be thrown away to be replaced by the thief, hence the precise phrasing of the question which I referred to earlier.
      As an aside, I don’t really count dowsing as a psychic ability but as something commonly human in that we can all do it. But, as it is then a skill, it requires, as all skills do, practice in order to become proficient at it. Add in to that mix that some people, for whatever reasons, are definitely better at some dowsing activities than others, and you can begin to see that there is not a simple answer to your question. You might be very good at finding lost objects (not that many people are in real life) or superb at health dowsing or locating water or map dowsing for minerals or finding out how to help plants to grow better and provide bigger yields. The list is extensive, but the key to success in any of them is practice and 80% of that practice should be on things you can verify. The more you can verify your answers, the greater the feedback to you and therefore the greater confidence in yourself and your abilities and so on. It’s not a vicious circle but a productive one.
      I hope that has helped you or given you some ideas as to how you might wish to proceed. Whatever you choose to do, I wish you great success in your dowsing journey.


    Hello everyone,
    I just started using a simple necklace to douse with. One question answered the complete opposite of my desire, because I already knew the answer to the question. It was “do I love my husband?” I thought it would say yes because this to me is the truth but it told me no. But I have been asking it so many questions..can it become confused or trick me if it’s annoyed? Can it play into insecurities? It’s making me question all the things that make me so happy in my life.

    • Nigel Percy

      The first thing which comes to mind is why would you ask that question in the first place? If you want to ask a question which would be useful to check on polarity and so on, then I’d suggest asking about your place of birth (in this lifetime, if you have beliefs about reincarnation).
      As a general rule, you shouldn’t really be asking questions you already know the answers to. It’s not helpful and it’s not going to improve your dowsing. I would suggest dowsing about things which can be checked on as a way of learning this skill. Things like the number of red cars you’ll see that day, which menu item you’ll like best, which movie to watch for greatest enjoyment and so on. This will help hone your skills in asking questions as well as improving your self-confidence.
      Dowsing certainly can play into insecurities and you will find sometimes that you cannot get an accurate answer to some questions because your subconscious is trying to protect you. That’s another good reason to practice with questions where you can confirm the answers.
      Dowsing appears to be very simple, and it is. But ‘simple’ does not equal ‘easy’.
      If you are happy in your life, that’s great. Don’t question it. But there are plenty of other things you can ask about: your garden, your diet, your entertainment, what to cook and when to cook it and on and on and on.
      Don’t let this episode derail your interest in dowsing. Instead, take a step back and begin again with some of the suggestions I’ve made. I’m sure you’ll find your confidence growing again very soon.

  6. Tomas

    I learned to dowse and practiced infrequently by having someone put a coin under one of several styrofoam cups. I would use a pendulum to determine which cup it was under. It was wonderful. For the last several weeks, I haven’t been able to detect the coin. I’m getting no pendulum response. Can you point me to what I may be doing wrong?

    • Nigel Percy

      I would suggest that what you’re doing is boring. You know you can do it. It doesn’t make any difference and you’ve proved you can do it already. So, your brain thinks, ‘This is boring!’ and switches off. Instead of doing the same thing over and over, try dowsing other things around you. Use dowsing in different ways so that the answers you get are actually helpful and useful for you, instead of finding coins over and over. There are lots of suggestions on this site for you to try.

      • Tomas

        Coins under cups are not the only thing I can’t dowse any more. I have attempted to use the pendulum for other inquiries and I get no response. I also have dowsing rods which I successfully used to find misplaced items around the house. Those don’t respond any more.

        • Nigel Percy

          I would suggest that you don’t use any dowsing tools for a while but instead focus on using deviceless dowsing. Use the body sway method, or the blink method. Both are fairly easy to do. But, before you start, make sure that you have a good, well-formed question to ask, otherwise whatever you do you will not have great results.

  7. Escarpment River Hollow

    Hello and thanks for the chance to post. Are you use L Rods and generally search for wellheads water lines septic lines but here lately have been going to cemeteries and practicing locating bodies in a 10 to find my great great great great grandfather whose tombstone and burial place has been lost to time. Other day grabbed rods went out y yard & cow pasture. It seems like bodie r everywhere. So tried a yard cple miles away. Same result? Did notice that flagstone or large flat limestone r triggering me & limestone everywhere here so bad bad. Any thoughts or ideas.
    Note there is chance both yards & cow pasture cld be high traffic native american grounds or burials

    • Nigel Percy

      This might be better placed on the grave dowsing post, but I’ll leave it here. I’m assuming (although you haven’t said) that you’ve used dowsing to locate bodies before this? Also, I assume that you are quite certain as to the approximate location of your relative? If it is indeed certain types of rocks or minerals which are causing the reaction, it is not clear why it would seem to appear as graves (i.e. continual reactions rather than a general alteration; a dampening or similar problem to your dowsing response). If you do think that your yard could be a burial ground, you could make efforts to find that out through local history. You could also use a geological map to see what is really beneath your yard. Either way you’d have some way of identifying the issue. In other words, you need to clarify what could be happening by using rational means before going much further with your dowsing. Good luck with it!

  8. bharati

    Hello. Thank you for the very useful information on your site. I like dowsing very much but one problem does not let me continue with dowsing and that is when I start dowsing I feel tensed up, my heart beats fast. Though I control my feelings or emotions calm down myself I am unable to continue even for the issues which are not having any emotional attachment as such. Where I am doing wrong. Pl. guide.

    • Nigel Percy

      I would suggest that you find a way of calming yourself before you begin to dowse. One simple method is slow deep breathing. Once you feel you are calm and your heart rate is calm then think about what you want to dowse about and see what happens. If your heart rate starts to rise, then go back to calming yourself and then repeat this process until you can think about dowsing without tensing up. In the end, you will be able to dowse without a problem. All that is necessary is for you to control your bodily reactions. It can be done. Just take your time and you will end up being able to dowse about whatever you want.

  9. Jeffrey Garrison

    Hi, i just got my dowsing rod from Amazon, i tried ask it’s questions not sure what to go about it. If rods has crossed together some people say it means no, other people’s perspective it means yes, i want to know a second opinion from you to clarify with all of this. How do you subconsciously move or feel connected with divine rod? What does it feels like like if i excessively use it too much, are there any possible side effects at all? I read on internet it says dowsing is a door way to portal, or not using properly can trap your trance in state, or it could make you space out a lot of what is?

    • Nigel Percy

      Have a look at the articles about dowsing rods on this site (use the search box). The most important thing to remember is that dowsing is an entirely natural skill and that the rods are simply showing the minute muscle movements you are making. So, in that regard, you are always connected to them. As for using them too much, that depends on what level of skill you have and what you are using them for. It’s easier and less tiring to track underground pipelines with them than it is using them for, say, map dowsing. But that’s all pretty subjective. As dowsing is natural, all this stuff about trance states and being spaced out is what people who don’t know how to dowse properly think. Finding out which way your rods move for yes and no is one of the basics. I suggest that you take a look at the contents of our dowsing course which covers a huge amount of ground for a reasonable price.

  10. Native New Yorker

    I believe my pendulum is accurate and because I?m new to using one I practice daily with mundane objects to make sure I get an accurate reading before asking anything else. I received an inaccurate answer that was related to time. I was wondering if it had anything to do with divine timing not being equal in 3D and if there is a way to properly ask if something will occur during a certain number of days, a date, or timeframe. I might have been emotionally affected as well, but it would be helpful to rule out my question on timing first. Thanks!

    • Nigel Percy

      Let’s begin by saying that it isn’t the pendulum which is accurate, but the person holding it. Then there’s the issue of accuracy as well. Dowsing, like anything else, is not 100% accurate all the time. Then there’s the issue about time and the future. The future is uncertain and fluid. If it was fixed, it would mean that we have no free will and that all our actions are pre=ordained. That’s not something I’m happy with so I go with free will and that in turn implies that the future is not fixed. That therefore means that dowsing about the future is also not going to be accurate. It can vary greatly, depending on the subject as well as the emotional state of the dowser. Leaving emotion aside in dowsing is hugely important. The ‘dowsing state’ is something to be cultivated through practice if you are going to use dowsing as something beneficial in your life.

  11. Miranda

    What energy is typically influencing the pendulum? Many times I’ve asked my Spirit Guide to communicate to me through my pendulum and have received very impressive answers. But I see some people say it’s a way to connect to Spirit. I see some people say it’s your own energy. I do see the connection as we are all related and one with Spirit. But when my pendulum tells me that the answers are coming from my Spirit Guide… is this just my own will of wanting to communicate so easily?

    • Nigel Percy

      As you’re the one holding the pendulum, you’re the one influencing what it does. Your questions, however, are not about dowsing but about channeling. Just because there’s a pendulum involved doesn’t make it dowsing. If you wish to learn about dowsing this site has a mass of information, but nothing about channeling.

      • Miranda

        That actually helps me a lot in making sense of what I was trying to understand. Thank you.

  12. Agh

    Hi does dowsing intution open you to entities attack?

    • Nigel Percy

      You use the phrase ‘dowsing intuition’ but really dowsing is a focused use of intuition, a variety of it, if you like. Dowsing relies on you being focused on a question and being able to notice the response your body makes to it. If you’re concerned about entities attacking you, then you’re really thinking that dowsing is the same thing as channeling, which it is not, for the reasons given above. Channeling is purposely leaving yourself open to some other consciousness.
      You might find this post on dowsing and protection of some help.


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