7.11.13

Pendulum says "NO!"

I didn't always used to be a crappy dowser.

When I decided to take my vocation as reader seriously and found myself a mentor, I soon became seduced by the promising swing of the pendulum. Shirley, the septuagenerian card reader who had adopted me as her student, was a fierce dowser. She also was an annoying dowser. Aside from the excellent use she put the tool to in readings to refine time frames and other handy specifics - that bloody pendulum would get whipped out for everything; to choose new decks of cards; buy books; and even make dinner decisions. If there was any doubt about what should happen next, out the amethyst bauble would come from the mysterious depths of her handbag. Any protestations as to the pendulum's choice of, say, location for our sunday walk on the beach would produce a sharp look from Shirley.

"But Noordhoek beach is so lovely and quiet this time of day, Shirlz" I'd say.
"The pendulum says no" Shirley would state as a matter-of-fact.

I would restrain the urge to grab the amethyst dangling in front of my face and fling it out the car window. The pendulum had the final word, and that was that. Perhaps that's why Shirley's pendulum was so accurate in readings. For Shirley that pendulum was more than a crystal dangling from a chain. It was a natural law. Resultantly, I got my own pendulum and started practicing based on my mentor's instruction. The results were lackluster at best. I couldn't trust the damn thing. You see, in order to get accurate dowsing responses you need to trust. And, perversely, in order to trust you need accurate answers. A veritable divinatory chicken and egg scenario for a doubting Thomas such as I.

After a few weeks of frustration I had an idea. I asked Shirley to ritually bestow upon me the ability to dowse. With a raised eyebrow, my cranky mentor agreed. We created a small ceremony and I went upon one knee as a knight might before his queen. Shirley took her pendulum in hand, as did I. She then lay the other hand on my shoulder and as we swung our pendulums together in unison she declared that from this day forth I would be a dowser.

To our surprise it actually worked. I started getting accurate, consistent dowsing responses. I wasn't prospecting for minerals yet, mind you, but I was well on my way to a good solid level of dowsing proficiency. Thrilled to have another arrow in my quiver I enthusiastically set about working with the pendulum in a variety of settings. Time moved on and I eventually moved to Europe. Intercontinental phone-calls are expensive, Shirley was clueless with the internet and eventually Shirley and I lost touch. I suspect that her kids moved her to a different retirement home. The pendulum took a back seat to my study of geomancy for a while and when I decided to take it up again two years later the ability was gone. It was as if losing touch with Shirley had broken the spell and whatever she had bestowed on me that day had slipped away. I was a crappy, doubting dowser again.

In fact, I was worse than crappy. In one test, I performed far better with random guesses than with dowsing! Deeply discouraged I packed up my pendulum with the grim acceptance that the pendulum would never work for me again.

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I receive a particularly vivid dream in which I am taken to some kind of secret lodge where I am introduced to a smartly dressed gentleman with a continental accent who describes himself as a "master diviner" and proceeds to show me a variety strange dowsing implements. Most of these devices I have never seen before. I woke from that dream with the knowledge that a new guide had been incorporated into my cuadro. Not an uncommon event for a spiritist medium - but a dowsing guide? For the worlds worst dowser?

I let the dream marinate for a couple of days before digging out the troubling cherrywood pendulum.

I asked my principle guide to 'bring in' the new guide as I fired up my pendulum. What followed could only be described as the worst dowsing test the world has ever seen. Every single dowsing response wrong. Dead wrong. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! Unimpressed by my new guide's influence I stuffed the pendulum back in its pouch, swearing under my breath. The situation had created an intense cognitive dissonance. On the one hand I was certain that this guide's arrival was important, on the other, the sheer earth-shaterring badness of my dowsing was undeniable.

I do not like being bad at anything.

As is the way of spiritual guides I started getting whispers in my ear along with this nagging urge to take up the pendulum and swing it. Flashes of it would come accompanied by a satisfied joyful feeling at the prospect of its wooden contours in my hand. What was the point, I'd ask myself? More whispers. No, I don't want to. Go on. But why? In my minds eye flashed the my most recent disaster of a dowsing test. Why was he showing me that? Again the session flashed before my eyes. Listen, I say to the new guide. I don't know what you are playing at but I got almost every single answer in that test WRONG. I would have been better off had I chosen the OPPOSITE of what the pendulum had indicated!

And then it dawned on me. The pendulum would have been correct if I had chosen the opposite answers. Could it be that my dowsing responses had in fact reversed direction as I crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere? At this thought I received what could only be described as a telepathic 'duh' from the new guide.

I gingerly took out the cherrywood pendulum and set up a new test attempting to locate a randomly concealed card amongst several stacks of cards, reversing the answers to my dowsing response: this time anti-clockwise = yes and clockwise = no.

Would you like to guess what happened next? The majority of tests were a success. And by a far greater margin than I have ever scored before, even at my best. More than enough to ensure me that I am back in the dowsing saddle again. What's most interesting is that results in frivolous tests - even for master dowsers - can be notoriously variable. Thats because the very nature of a test implies doubt; the outcome is unimportant; and there usually is some skepticism involved. Nonetheless, one needs to do some legitimate 'frivolous' testing in order to know you are getting a solid amount of valid dowsing responses. This then establishes confidence which in turn allows you to apply the skill to more serious pursuits.

A few quick pendulum dowsing tips:


  1. Attempt to contact a spiritual guide that can assist, if you are thick skulled like me.
  2. One of the beautiful things about dowsing is that it provides direct answers to questions through the ideomotor effect in arm and hand of the dowser. When the dowsing response is correctly calibrated your body is bypassing your conscious mind and receiving information from the unconscious mind which in turn is receiving information from the superconscious mind (if you choose to use that model). I personally choose to believe that tiny fairies are twerking in the tendons of my arm. Whatever you believe, when the dowsing response is well calibrated you will notice answers that surprise you in their spontaneity. Which means you should cultivate an expectant attitude of not knowing the answer. Preconceptions will pollute the response, just as they do with clairvoyance and card reading.
  3. Focus on the question as you ask it. Don't just say it. Feel it. The dowsing response is a yay or a nay based on that felt question. When I get an incorrect answer now it's usually because I spaced out when posing the question.
  4. Enjoy the motion of the swinging pendulum. Sounds odd, but first play with it - when your "yes" response brings pleasure and your "no" response brings coolness or indifference then the wires are connecting.
  5. Don't give up. It isn't as easy as it is made out to be. Getting a response is one thing, getting and accurate response to a real query is another. 
  6. Devise tests. Find lost objects etc. Part of being a good reader is providing proof - not just to yourself but to others. It's all good and well to check if your chakras are open or if you are standing over a lay-line but these kinds of things can't be corroborated. 
  7. Don't be too hard on yourself with tests. You should aim for a result beyond the probability of random guessing, but 100% accuracy rare even for master dowsers. As I said, tests are diagnostic - and by their nature discourage accuracy.  

(This post is dedicated to my friend and mentor Shirley Addlington - wherever she may be in this world or the next)