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Dowsing Rods: History and Uses

Updated on June 17, 2013

History of Dowsing Rods-

Dowsing rods have a long and healthy history and have appeared in many murals around the world, such as the walls of the Tassili Caves in Northern Africa’s Atlas Mountains where a mural depicts a man with dowsing rods surrounded by a group of admiring tribesmen. This mural has been carbon dated to be 8,000 years old. It is also mentioned several times throughout the Bible concerning Moses and his son, Aaron and in several parts of the Old Testament including the choosing of the city of Jerusalem for capture. In the great work “The Odyssey,” by Homer he refers to dowsing rods as Caduceus which was originally a gift given from Apollo to Asclepius, who was the ancient God of healing. This staff once thought to have been used by a God is what we recognize today as a symbol of our medical community.

It is also interesting to note that there are literally thousands of book either on dowsing or that mention it throughout the world, in some of the finest libraries. Unfortunately in current literature you will not often hear of dowsing or dowsing rods as some believe that it is all folklore and does not readily exist. Believers in dowsing know that in its true form dowsing can be used to search for just about anything from water to paranormal hot spots. One of the best quotes I have ever read on dowsing came from a book borrowed from a friend called, “Modern Dowsing,” it was published sometime in the 1970’s and was written by a man named Raymond Willey. "Dowsing is the exercise of a human faculty, which allows one to obtain information in a manner beyond the scope and power of the standard human physical senses of sight, sound, touch, etc."

Evolution of Dowsing Rods-

When the rods are depicted in old wall murals or paintings you will notice that they are often a Y shaped apparatus, most often a stick or branch from a tree. Also it can be noted that many people prefer a certain type of wood and also have criteria as to whether the stick or branch must be freshly cut. In European culture it was traditional to use hazel sticks while in the United States branches from the willow or peach tree are often utilized. It was common practice to grasp the two “handles” of the Y shaped branch in hands with palms facing downward thus the dowser would then walk slowly along waiting for the tell-tale dip or twitch in the dowsing rod to find its quarry.

Today however, dowsing rods can be made from anything from plastic to metal some people have been known to just use an old wire coat hanger that has been straightened and severed to make two parts. Today you will see most dowsing rods in an L shape, with the shorter part being used as the hand holds.

Uses of Dowsing Rods-

It is said of course that you can use dowsing rods to find just about anything, historically they were used to find water, than they were often used to try to detect minerals and even later gemstones. Dowsing rods have also been used by many to find unmarked graves but one of the most popular use of dowsing rods today is in the paranormal field, it is believed that energy fields and even ley lines can be found using the rods, also it is said that a spirit can communicate by answering yes or no questions using the rods as an indicator.

Many people rely on the rods when conducting a paranormal investigation and believe them to be accurate in their findings. It is possible to speak with a spirit and find out information from them that can later be verified by records. In one such instance finding out the name of the spirit enabled the dowser to better understand what was happening in that particular spot and how to get rid of it. Personally I have found out many interesting tidbits using dowsing rods including names, ages, how they died and why they may still be present.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced dowser, many things can be learned using the rods and not only is it informational, it is a fun experience that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.


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    • JesadaB profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Home!

      Glad to be of service then :) there are many uses for dowsing rods that is why they are so popular even today. Thanks for stopping by!

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 

      5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I've read so many weird ideas about dowsing rods are for, especially when used in fiction. Nice to hear a bit more about them, in non-fiction.

    • JesadaB profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Home!

      Thank you very much billybuc! I am glad you enjoyed it! I am also happy that you learned something new, isn't that what writing is all about!

      OldWitchcraft- I have never owned my own, I have however used what was available near where ever I am that I need them, it always makes me feel more connected to where I am using them. Thanks for the vote up and thanks for visiting me again!

    • OldWitchcraft profile image


      5 years ago from The Atmosphere

      Great article. I use dowsing of all kinds quite a bit. I made a neat set of rods similar to the ones in your last image. Honestly, a twig - any twig - works just as well, if not better if you're working outdoors trying to locate something.

      Accolades and a vote up!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Of course I have heard of them, but until now I had never read their history...very interesting!


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