The History Of Dowsing
When people talk about the history of dowsing, they usually want to explore how far back it can be traced. This has led to interpreting Bible verses and even prehistoric rock art. None of this is provable. But that does not deter people from proclaiming what they feel is their ‘truth'.
I take a different view on the history of dowsing. I don't believe that it needs to have a history, or even that any history can be produced for it. The reason for this stance is based on the idea, which virtually ever dowser agrees with, that dowsing is a natural human ability.
Given that idea, then it becomes an impossibility to point to a time when dowsing was not used in one form or another throughout human history, whether it was written or not. At some point, some early human found that he or she could ‘know' where water was, or whether a particular plant was healthy to eat or not. Or they ‘knew' which way to go in a strange country, or where to dig for metal ore.
In this sense, dowsing is very much like breathing; everyone can do it, it's not unusual, so why mention it as something special?
In that sense, dowsing needs no historians. It is a continual presence in humanity. However, that doesn't stop people trying to prove it has a long and wonderful history.
However, there are two other better reasons for looking at the history of dowsing. The first is to see how it has been perceived over time and the second is to see how it has changed in that time.
The first is easier to answer. Dowsing, because it lacks a clear explanation and has no single accepted theory about how it works, has usually been viewed with skepticism. Such skepticism has either been outrightly hostile: the Catholic Church, for example, or it has been ignored and dismissed as the work of charlatans whose only interest is to hoodwink the public. Dowsing has been identified as the work of the devil, even though some of the best dowsers as well as the best objective investigators have been members of the church. In the vast majority of cases, dowsers have been viewed with suspicion and any successes they have had have been put down to luck or chance.
The second way of looking at the history of dowsing is to examine how it has been used over time. The earliest competent references speak of using it for ore location. Later, it was used more extensively (i.e., it was noted down) for water dowsing. Although there were some references to what was, at first, referred to as moral dowsing (dowsing about other people and what they had or had not done), the twentieth century saw an explosion in varieties of applications. Health dowsing became very popular and so did a whole slew of other applications, so that, by now, dowsing is being used in a vast range of activities which would never have occurred to its earliest recorded practitioners.
To gain a better overview of this subject, refer to The Dowsing Encyclopedia which is able to give a far better treatment to this and many other dowsing subjects.
What do you think about this version of the history of dowsing? Add your comments in the section below.