The Best Way to Practice Dowsing


Written by Maggie Percy

How To Practice Dowsing

The best way to practice dowsing is probably not what you think. Just about everyone, including me, makes the same mistake as a beginner. They know practice makes perfect, and they want to measure their results, so they concoct a ‘test' of their dowsing. Most often, they choose either coin tosses or card suits.

I remember back in the 90s when I first started dowsing, and I was eager to see improvement, so I had an intense session of dowsing coin tosses. I even wrote down the results. They were depressingly close to the results you get when you guess. I asked myself why? I wondered if maybe I wasn't meant to be a dowser, or perhaps I just wasn't talented enough.

Looking back, it occurs to me that it is likely that many people quit dowsing at about that juncture. If you can't see progress, why keep dowsing? And what's the point of practice if you don't see progress? Most people give up on dowsing because they don't see results, and this is sad, because it's really pretty easy to see results if you practice dowsing the right way.

You Must ‘Need' An Answer

Dowsing isn't a psychic gift. It's a skill. You need to learn the basics, but once you have mastered them, you must practice dowsing to hone your skill. What most people don't understand is that dowsing involves an element of need. You are asking a question because you feel some need to know the answer. And there is no element of need in a test situation. The only element in a test situation is ego and a fear of failure.

So how can you practice dowsing with a proper element of need? Beginners will benefit from starting with everyday situations that their brain can't help with, but an answer would improve their life, if only by lessening stress. Some situations include:

  • Picking a good gift for a loved one
  • Choosing the best meal from a restaurant menu
  • Selecting a movie to rent or a book to buy
  • Picking the right jacket to wear to work for shifting weather conditions

These types of situations are called ‘tangible target dowsing' because you are dowsing about something in the physical world that will have a measurable result. You can check your answer later. And these are all situations where having the right answer can make life happier.

So What Are The Best Things For Practice?

Don't start by dowsing supplements. That has too long-term a goal for results to be easily interpreted. Don't dowse only about intangible targets like ghosts or curses. You can't prove results with intangible targets. Patrick MacManaway, past President of the British Society of Dowsers, recommends that 80% of your dowsing be tangible target dowsing. We suggest you keep a dowsing journal so that you can chart your progress.

Our book 101 Amazing Things You Can Do With Dowsing contains over 100 subjects for you to dowse about, many of them everyday situations with tangible targets. The ebook is free on all channels, or you can buy the paperback. Visit this page for links.

Please share your experiences below about what you practiced on as a beginner that was tangible and helped you gain confidence.

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  1. Jorge Rivas

    Hello again, Nigel. You mentioned supplements. I had been experiencing a nagging & lingering health problem recently. The doctor couldn’t pinpoint the cause & didn’t want me to go to his office due to the Covid-19 lockdown. So, he gave me a Rx over the phone to treat the symptoms. He also mentioned that it might be caused by a particular supplement I was taking. Using my L-rods, I determined that a certain herbal product was causing the problem. I eliminated it from my diet and there has been a noticeable improvement in my health & look forward to stopping the medication (don’t like the side effects). I finally realized that, months ago, I had to switch to a different brand of herb due to availability. The new brand had a much higher dosage, which my body couldn’t tolerate. I also used blind dowsing (Natural Hypnosis/ NLP) and the result was a very strong, definite confirmation of my L-rod test. Health dowsing is very effective and even more so when your doctor gives you suggestions as to where to look to find answers.

    • Maggie Percy

      This is Maggie. I’ll answer since I wrote the post. Health dowsing is a specialty of ours that we have found priceless for our pets and ourselves.

      You make a good point. Just because a medicine or a herb is supposedly ‘good’ for you doesn’t mean you will tolerate it, or at the recommended dosage. Dowsing side effects as well as efficacy is a great benefit of health dowsing.

      You can also avoid allergic reactions, toxic reactions and lack of effectiveness. We have written a comprehensive book on health dowsing called “Dowsing For Health: Awaken Your Hidden Talent” and our “Busy Person’s Guide To Natural Health” which can be seen at Using dowsing in conjunction with your health care professional is another way to improve results and empower yourself.

      Congratulations on your great outcome! What do you think about our suggestions for practicing dowsing?

      • Jorge Rivas

        Excellent suggestions. I look forward to purchasing some of your books.

        • Sam

          This post depicts my struggle literally! It has been 2 weeks and my pendulum still doesnt swing to the correct direction of my ipad…

          ‘101 things’ is an excellent book and so are others in ‘dowsing box set’ which I am going through. Newbies like me feel that lost items, bday gifts, best menu/dish etc .. offer fewer opportunities to practice (owing to their real life scenario) than doing cards/coins which can be done repeatedly.

          I even designed few tests to eliminate boredom factor but my pendulum tends to be incorrect only on the questions to which I dont consciously know answers to. All unknown questions are answered incorrectly. This makes me wonder if I am not tapping the universal source but only my working memory!

          • Maggie Percy

            Do not be discouraged. It is normal as a newbie to have challenges. Here are some suggestions, but of course, keep reading the posts here and ask questions as needed.
            1. The element of need is important to dowsing. The reason we wrote the 101 Things book was because we wanted to give you at least one way every day to use dowsing. From choosing whether to take an umbrella on a gray day to which jacket will be most comfortable to which route to work will be fastest, on down to finding a legal and empty parking spot as close to the door as possible at Costco. Your mind doesn’t need or really want to know heads or tails in a coin toss, so you need to find something that you can’t be sure of mentally that you need or want to know. If you read enough here and in our books, you will get lots of ideas.
            2. You aren’t dowsing if you aren’t in a dowsing state. A survey of our list some years ago showed that over 60% either had never heard of the dowsing state, didn’t know what it was or had never used it. That means they were not dowsing. You need to get into that altered state in order to dowse. There are some posts on the subject here (use the Search feature), and we wrote a book on it, and of course the Discovering Dowsing course teaches you. I suspect the dowsing state is one of your key things to learn.
            3. Your dowsing questions need to be clear and specific and often long. A poor or vague question can get bad answers. Again, there are posts on that here on the site. Feel free to ask a question after reading any post.
            4. I don’t know what your ‘unknown’ questions were about. Don’t make it a test. It is a skill. Learn as you go. Don’t expect to be perfect. Learn proper technique and then practice. Dowse which item on a menu to eat, which movie to rent, etc. Keep a journal and go back and see if you think you were right. Sometimes you won’t know, or it might take a while to find out, so keep a journal.
            5. Use proper dowsing ethics. Just because you want to know something doesn’t mean you should dowse about it. If the unknown subject is infringing on someone, your dowsing may give you wrong answers to tell you to back off. Only ask questions about and for yourself, not about anyone else.
            6. Don’t dowse the future. You can search that term here and see why not. It’s a waste of time.

            Those are a few things you can do that could really help you improve.

            You can learn a lot be reading the posts here and watching recorded presentations, but our Discovering Dowsing course takes you by the hand and teaches you in a stepwise fashion, and you can ask questions of us at any time. So if you decide dowsing is for you, get our course. It’s wonderful. Until then, enjoy the free articles and post questions as needed.

  2. Teylar

    Just commentary. But I received my pendellum from my boyfriends mother for Christmas. A little back story: I found out I was pregnant in October and kept saying how I wanted to do a gender pendulum reading. But on December 24th, Christmas Eve, I went for my 12 week appointment and found out my baby had passed a few weeks earlier and I had to get a DNC to avoid infection. Believe me when I say I was crushed. I have always been a spiritual person, in tune with energies and my spirit guides. I have been reading Tarot for 3 years. So when I say I knew my child’s essence, even that early, I really did. After that things got dark fast. I avoided all of my tools for about a month. During one of my mid night breakdowns, I picked up my pendellum and asked it test questions, “show me yes, show me no, are my eyes brown, is today (the date)” and so on. Then I asked it if I could ask a question. It said yes, then I asked of my baby will come back to me. I didn’t know what answer I wanted, just that i needed some type of answer in order to heal. I got a yes.
    Just on how you said that you have to need an answer. Ive asked it questions since then and have got mixed answers. Nothing as strong as that night with that question. Definately put my pendellum in perspective for me, and will be more intentional when using it from here on out. Thank you! <3

    • Maggie Percy

      I am very sorry to hear of your loss.

      Pendulum dowsing is a powerful tool, but only if you use proper technique. Even then, future dowsing is very tricky. So I have a few comments on what you said. You talk about your pendulum like it is giving you answers, as if it’s one of those eight balls we used to use. This is a common misconception. The pendulum is just a tool for amplifying your body’s response to your question. Your body is giving you the answer. The tool is not required; it’s just a way of making it easier to see the answer. You do not even need a tool to dowse. It’s best not to regard the tool as having any special capability.

      It is vital to get into a dowsing state, that special brain state required for accurate answers. Lack of this can lead to mixed answers and probably explains your inconsistent results. Also, you need to form a very clear question. There are many posts on this site that will explain these things, and you can post questions there if you have any.

      Lastly, future dowsing is not really something we recommend. Usually when we dowse about the future, it is unreliable. We want so much to hear a certain answer that we cannot be detached. I believe this is true for you. You needed support and reassurance, and so you asked a question and got the answer you needed to hear. And it may very well be true. However, I don’t think you were dowsing, because there is no way you were detached. Having said that, dowsing is a powerful tool if you learn how to do it well. Enjoy the free posts here on dowsing, and when you are ready to hone your skill, get our Discovering Dowsing course.

  3. Jennf

    Hi Maggie and Nigel Iknow you discuss being in a dowsing state for accurate results
    Do you also mention open and closing the highest spiritual state for best protection when dowsing
    Thank you

    • Maggie Percy

      Thanks for bringing up the subject of protection. You can use the Search box to bring up the articles and videos that mention protection; there are some here. We are often asked about the need for protection when dowsing. It is a complex topic. If done properly, the way we teach (which not everyone does), dowsing as a technique is not dangerous in itself.

      However, channeling–getting answers from some advanced being, which is not dowsing–requires training and the ability to protect yourself. So it’s important you regard dowsing as an inward turning for answers rather than an outward turning to ‘anyone’ whom you can contact.

      Another potential issue with danger during dowsing is some things are dangerous or potentially dangerous to dowse about. A small percentage of nonhuman entities are dangerous to have contact with, and trying to clear them can put you in danger. Some locations have noxious energy that might be dangerous to certain people, so doing a space clearing there might be a problem. In other words, it is safe to dowse for yourself about your health, big and small choices and that sort of thing, but if you venture into the astral/invisible plane, it can hold dangers.

      Setting your intention to be safe while dowsing is important. And using your intuition and rational mind and not ‘playing on the railroad tracks’ energetically will go a long way towards keeping you safe. We also recommend dowsing before you do any outside work (nonpersonal work or work on another space other than your own) to see if you need protection during the process in order to stay safe, and if you get a ‘yes’, dowse if you can protect yourself, and then dowse how (crystal, symbol, color, statement of intention) and make sure that your protection is a 10 on a scale of 10. If you can’t get it to 10, do not dowse.

      I’ve never heard of what you are referring to, and so it would depend a lot on definitions if what you are suggesting would work for you. I would think our goal is always to be open to the highest vibration state possible, no matter what we are doing, all day long, so to me, it doesn’t sound like much protection. My feeling is that we need to accept that some things are dangerous; some are too dangerous for us to do at a given time; and to do something specific to protect ourselves as needed–what you do will vary depending on the situation, but not to dowse when we get it is dangerous. For most people, it’s hard to accept that sometimes you should not dowse.

      As a final note, we feel that the concept of protection is important, so thanks for bringing it up. Working in the invisible realm has some dangers and pitfalls. But we don’t regard protection as the be-all and end-all. The goal should be not to need protection. Like attracts like, so theoretically, ‘bad’ things only happen due to our own programs, energies, etc.

      We recommend daily self-work to remove fear, anger, etc, because those energies attract noxious entities, empower curses and cause you to be a magnet for dangerous stuff. So the goal is to not need to use protection so much–eventually–but to use it now and work to become as bulletproof as possible in the future. In other words, don’t regard protection as perfect, because it isn’t. The best thing is to get so you don’t need it, which is a good goal, even if it’s unlikely to be attained.

      Thanks for bringing up this subject!

  4. fred mulch

    about 2 years ago i watched a video on youtube where a guy from france said that “before you ask anything. . draw a straight line about 4 inches long forward and back ,and a line side to side .,a clock wise spiral counter clockwise , and a spiral clockwise. then just swing the pendulum over the straight line till it swings on it’s own . so i sent for a 4 plate brass isis pendulum.when i got it i drew a straight line forward and back . i sat it by my easy chair and every hour or so i’d swing it over the line for 5 minutes or so. while watching tv. legs crossed . not really caring whether it swung by itself or not. it took about 3 days of this till it would give a good swing from a dead stop.then i did this to all the other lines one at a time. if i tried to swing it with my brain it wouldn'[ swing as good.
    meanwhile, i was reading a book that said it’s best to train your pendulum to go forward and back like you shake your head for yes. and side to side for i did that for 6 months . forward and back for yes was strong. but side to side was a very weak swing. then i thought that maybe i should not be using my physical brain for this . i asked my pendulum (intuition) what was it’s prefered no. it said counter clockwise. bingo! i have never had a day since , when my pendulum would not respond energetically. most people on youtube use the full lenght of the chain. i don’t have that much patience. since i have no idea what i’m really doing . iwant to learn from you.mostly about past lives.fred prescott AZ

    • Maggie Percy

      Hi, Fred,
      Interestingly, we live in Chino Valley, AZ and are preparing to move to Georgia in about a week. During the move, we will be out of touch for a while, so we thank you in advance for your patience. We answer every question posted here, but it may take longer than usual as we drive across country and get settled.
      There are a lot of misconceptions about dowsing being propagated online and in courses. We try to present dowsing as a simple human skill that requires only a few steps. You don’t even need a tool to dowse, and in fact, deviceless dowsing is better in most cases for a number of reasons we go into in our books and course.
      This site has loads of useful information, but it is not presented in a linear fashion, so you might want to use the Search feature to mine what is here. You can search by putting a phrase or term in the search box or click one of the keywords in the tag cloud. Start with dowsing basics, then search for dowsing state, asking a good question, detachment, etc.
      The extra stuff many people tack onto dowsing is not necessary, and it makes dowsing seem something it is not. As you enjoy the material here, you will see what our viewpoint is, and if you resonate with it, you can learn how to dowse well using our free resources. We look forward to supporting you in your journey.


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