if you suspect you could be moreattuned to your intuitive powers than you are, it might be time for an encounter with a pendulum. This trusty piece of tech operates, like the ancient divining rod, by tapping right into your own innate wisdom -- or so its proponents argue.It's used this way: Hold the string of the pendulum loosely and ask it to show you a "yes." Watch how it vibrates. Then ask it to show you a "no." Now you're ready to pop the question: Does this herb agree with me? Will this food cause a reaction? Is this the best dosage of a particular supplement? Or, Is this what I should do with my life?
My own adventures in dowsing started some years back in a workshop. I was feeling intrigued but hardly blown away when the presenter had us scan one another's auras with a pendulum. (Hey, it works if you believe in auras!) The pendulum my partner held swung gently and uneventfully -- but as soon as she reached the area below my right knee, the thing went wild, moving chaotically. Truth was, I'd recently had a severe injury to my lower leg that I hadn't mentioned to my workshop partner.
The experience was compelling enough to prompt me to buy a pendulum that very day, and I still use it and other methods of divining to help me figure out what flower essences I need, or what my next best step is in a creative project.
But is this just hokum? Dowsers say the pendulum's motion is actually an amplification of minute muscular movements and is the form in which the universe feeds back information to those who sincerely want to know. Dowsing for water is certainly a time-honoured practice.
One explanation holds that sensors located in the pituitary and on each adrenal gland of the diviner pick up minute variations in electromagnetic energy. Dowsers train their unconscious mind to trigger involuntary muscle responses when they detect an electric current created by flowing water.
And they explain some difficult-to-understand phenomena like divining for missing objects from maps by claiming to be tapping into the information held by an energy field that connects all of life.
But you should know that serious inquiry into all this is in its infancy. Various forms of dowsing have been tested in Europe and in the American and Soviet military. Results have varied from abysmal to impressive.
So, should you bother? I think there are things to be learned here, but exercise caution. Try beginning with minor issues and track your results. With time, you'll figure out whether divining brings you closer to the cosmos or merely to weirdness.
EXPERTS"When you're dowsing, your brain waves are emanating at 10 cycles per second, which is in the middle of alpha, kind of the semi-sleep kind of stage -- prayer, meditation -- and it's close to the frequency of the earth. You can ask for anything you need to know for the highest good. If I'm just asking questions for trivial reasons, I usually don't get good answers."
JOAN DE NEW, president, Canadian Society of Dowsers
"I find dowsing hard to accept. People dowse over my name to see if they should visit me. Sometimes it's to their advantage, sometimes it doesn't help them. As a practitioner, I wouldn't hang my hat on it. I've seen medical intuitives diagnose correctly; I've also seen medical intuitives misdiagnose. At least with lab tests -- something you can see, hear, touch, measure -- you have more certainty. The people who are more successful with these modalities are the ones who verify an answer with more conventional means."
ZOLTAN RONA, holistic MD
"In one experiment by the U.S. military, they got a map of the oceans and challenged remote viewers to find their nuclear submarines. Some of them used pendulums on a map. The results were somewhat impressive, although the difficulty is consistency. As to water, a mammal that can't find it doesn't have much chance of surviving. Our ancestors must have been able to find it. It's a biological phenomenon."
SALAKO KALFOU, Occult Research Bureau
"Some dowsers who search for water can probably do better than random chance, but not for the reasons they state: they're correctly interpreting a lot of cues. The dowsing rod is like a little rabbit's foot, it's part of the ritual, and as we all know, rituals help us do things we're good at."
RICHARD BAILEY, physics/geology professor, University of Toronto