The Many Definitions Of Dowsing?

Written by Maggie Percy

A Rose Is A Rose

Shakespeare was right. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. But does that mean we don't need to agree to a name for that flower?

What if you thought a Peace rose (a particular variety of rose) was white, and someone else thought it was red and yet another person thought it was yellow? When you had a discussion about a Peace rose, you might even get into an argument, because your assumption about color didn't match the other person's assumptions. That is where defining your terms comes in.

Check your dictionary, and you will find that define means: ‘state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of; mark out the boundary or limits of'. A definition makes something ‘definite, distinct or clear'.

How can anything have more than one definition? It can't. By definition, it can't. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.) A Peace rose must be a certain agreed upon color or range of colors. By definition: ‘The cultivar has large flowers of a light yellow to cream color, slightly flushed at the petal edges with crimson-pink.'

What would happen if someone came along and started pointing to a dark crimson rose and telling all his followers that was a Peace rose (whether through ignorance or for a personal agenda)? What if his followers, through trust and ignorance, told others that a Peace rose was red. What if that went on for years? At some point, you would have camps that were committed to the perception of Peace roses being red and others to the correct definition. Would it be proper to then say both colors were Peace roses?

I had such an experience today, when surfing the net looking at various dowsing sites. I ran across this statement on the site of the American Society of Dowsers: “There are many definitions of dowsing.” ( I am not taking this out of context.) How could anyone not understand that a definition makes something definite, distinct or clear?

Perhaps the person meant to say ‘there are many applications of dowsing'. We all know this to be true. You can use dowsing in an infinite variety of ways, but it is always the same thing: asking a question and getting an answer. Dowsing is a way of getting answers to questions your rational mind cannot answer. That's the definition of dowsing.

You can tweak that definition to make it even clearer by adding a phrase or using better wording, but the intent and meaning will remain the same. That is all dowsing is and all it will ever be.

I am sure some readers will think it is being picky to write a post about something like a definition, but in the past 15 years we have seen people unilaterally decide to redefine dowsing, to use the word ‘dowsing' in ways it was never intended to be used.

Some people want to call healing or intention dowsing, simply because they have a pendulum in their hands. More than any other factor, this movement to change the definition of dowsing has led to the decline of dowsing, to the perception of dowsing as chaotic and scattered, to mis-communication and conflict among dowsers and to downright wrong teachings about dowsing that have now reached the highest levels of dowsing organizations, as seen on the ASD site.

If we all agree to use the proper definition of dowsing, we will be better able to communicate among ourselves about this exciting skill. We will be able to teach it better. We will attract new people with our clarity of thought and not confuse them with fuzzy thinking.

It's time to be impeccable with our words about dowsing. Pendulum healing is NOT dowsing. Intention is NOT dowsing. Both are wonderful things, but let's stop mis-communicating and calling them dowsing. Let's call them what they are.

Have you found that not all dowsers mean the same thing when they refer to dowsing? Have you ever read a book or gone to a presentation about dowsing, only to find it wasn't what you expected? Share your experiences in the Comments below.


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