The Decline Of Dowsing


Written by Nigel Percy


A Downward Trend

As dowsers we like to think that what we do is both important and of interest to others, especially to non-dowsers. We interact with fellow dowsers via social media or face to face at conferences and the like, so we tend to think that pretty much everyone likes dowsing and that there is a deal of interest in it. Powered by such thoughts, we write books, give presentations, teach, sell tools and do all the things that other people do who want to promote their interest or hobby.

But we are laboring under a misapprehension. Elsewhere, we've remarked on what we perceived as a decline in interest in dowsing. But that was based on our own observations. That was fine, as far as it went, but to be more accurate, we really need more data.

Enter Google Trends.

This is a tool which allows you to observe the relative interest in a topic over time. When I plugged in ‘dowsing', at first, it didn't look too bad. But that was because it only reported a 12 month period. When I changed it to show the trend from 2004, a twelve year analysis, the picture suddenly took a darker tone. The result is shown below:

It should be pointed out that the “Interest Over Time” simply means the interest relative to the highest point in time. So, in the above graph, dowsing interest was at its peak in 2004, and is now hovering around the 25 mark, meaning it has one quarter of the interest it used to have.

The USA is the biggest internet user, so it would make sense to see if there was a difference in the way dowsing is regarded in this country.

If we look at the USA over the same time period we see a similar graph:

Our perceptions weren't wrong. There is a decline in dowsing.

The first question to be asked is why? And the second is what can be done about it?

The answer to the first question is, I believe, down to the public perception of dowsing. Because there seems to be no consistent means of presenting or talking about dowsing, it has become whatever anyone wants it to mean. Dowsing is finding water? Yes. It's finding lost people or pets? Absolutely. It's healing? Yes, why not? It's changing your environment? Yes, let's add that one in as well. What about talking to angels and the like? Come on in!

In other words, it has become everything and nothing. If it is something to do with a pendulum or an L-rod, then it's obviously dowsing. If it means so many things to so many people, then is it really any wonder that people don't really know what it is any more? And, if they don't know what it is, how can they become interested in it?

The second question is harder to answer. It's more than having dowsing taught in a way which is consistent (which would be impossible to do anyway), it's about how dowsing is talked about, how it is practiced, what it is used for. If I said that Tarot is anything to do with a deck of cards, then poker could be considered a form of Tarot. Sounds stupid? Maybe, but that's pretty much where we are with dowsing.

The data shows that there is a decline of about 75% in terms of interest in dowsing from 2004. That's a large number.

If we, as dowsers, truly believe that what we do is of both interest and value to others, then it's more important than ever to present dowsing in a way which makes sense to non-dowsers. And that means we have to tighten up the definition and practice of dowsing.

Some people, some who call themselves dowsers, will undoubtedly protest and say that what they do is dowsing. But I am certain that the figures above show that it is long past the time to allow others to define dowsing any way they want. It is time now to stick to the simple definition of this wonderful skill and hammer it home time and time again: Dowsing is a means of getting answers to question which your rational, logical brain cannot answer. It is nothing more than that, a process of question and answer. Let's keep it to that, shall we?

What do you think about this decline? Add your thoughts in the comments section below


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  1. Jorge

    I like your last sentence–spot on. The way I explain it to others is to use the wireless communications analogy. The answers are out there and our instruments pick them up sans wires, within a certain degree of accuracy. The more you develop your intuition, the greater the success & accuracy. I often have the answer before I even dowse. I dowse to confirm my answer and find that most of the time my hunch was correct. Dowsing is very useful and accurate in the area of personal health and hygiene, e.g., do I have a virus, do I need an antibiotic, is my medication causing this problem, etc. L rods are my instrument of choice but I use other techniques.

    • Nigel Percy

      Thanks. This decline is something many dowsers don’t want to acknowledge. So, anything which emphasizes that it is a natural ability within all of us, and doesn’t need to have anything extra added to it is all to the good as far as I’m concerned!


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