Dowsing: The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century

By Brown, Elizabeth

From the publisher’s website: Dowsing - The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century is a book for its time. It brings the undoubted benefits of this ancient art to a modern world, and makes dowsing, and its unlimited applications, accessible and relevant for all.

Find out what dowsing is; who can do it; how to do it; when and where it works. Learn about the pioneering scientific discoveries that explain the mechanics of dowsing. Understand how dowsing can become an invaluable tool to optimise your own health, well-being, and quality of life, by giving you the means to discern truth from non-truth, and to identify what is, and what is not, in your individual best interests.

And at this pivotal time in the evolution of human consciousness, discover how dowsing physically demonstrates on a tangible level the existence of an invisible world of energy outside the one we perceive with our five senses - and our ability to connect with it.

Dowsing, Hay House, June 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1848502208

Reviewed for the SPR by: Tom Ruffles

Dowsing: The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century, Elizabeth Brown, Hay House, 2010.
Dowsing tends to conjure up the image of an old boy with purple teeth, trousers up under his armpits secured by belt and braces, a hazel twig in his hands striding the fields while spouting bits of weather lore. For anyone expecting Jethro, Elizabeth Brown’s book will come as something of a surprise. She occupies the terrain where the spirituality end of parapsychology meets the New Age, with much talk of tapping into a quantum field of information and Akashic records, the sort of book which is happy to mingle Max Planck, Dean Radin and Deepak Chopra.
Brown has long experience of the subject and writes clearly and engagingly. She sketches in the historical background, particularly the vexed relationship with the Roman Catholic church, and notes some significant dowsers. The instructions on how to dowse are surprisingly brief for a 300-page book, but are easy to follow and should encourage anyone with an interest to pick up their dowsing tools and have a go (actually, even the tool can be dispensed with by experienced dowsers, instead using their bodies in ‘device-less dowsing’). It is not something that only a few people can do; anyone is able to do it, but to achieve expertise requires experience and commitment, becoming attuned to what the rods are saying, asking the right questions, interpreting the answers, and learning to achieve the necessary degree of emotional detachment.
The scope of dowsing has certainly enlarged since Jethro’s day. Where at one time it was solely used to find water, precious metals and the like, it is now used to help with physical and emotional difficulties to optimise physical and mental health in a stressful and polluted world. By structuring questions in an unambiguous manner, dowsing assists on a practical everyday level. It can check pesticides in supermarket foodstuffs, identify imbalances in body chemistry and tell you if you are living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, as long as it is used in the right way, it can assist with any aspect of modern living, even though it does not always give the right answer (Brown self-deprecatingly acknowledges, with examples, her failures at trying to locate objects). It can even assist us to communicate with discarnate entities and enable us to connect with subtle energies far beyond the limited range of our senses. A by-product of dowsing appears to indicate that the universe is actually, contrary to appearances, essentially a benevolent place willing to assist us if we approach it in the right way.
Don’t think you can pick up this skill overnight. It takes effort, and failures can be attributed to the novice’s attitude, or failure to ask the proper questions in the right way. Nor is dowsing particularly amenable to testing, as the stresses of being assessed, plus the negativity of sceptics, can block the dowser’s abilities and produce results at chance levels. Sceptics also have a habit of employing inexperienced amateurs for tests, so increasing the likelihood of failure. This is unfortunate as we are left with anecdotal evidence which will convince many but not provide any kind of rigorous scientific evidence. That this matters can be seen by the recent scandal over the production of anti-explosive devices which were effectively dowsing rods and were dismissed by the US government as “bogus”. While perhaps it was not the device that was ineffective but the users, the consequences of failure were still unacceptably high.
There is a long-standing criticism that dowsers are not tapping into any kind of intangible information network but are responding to intuition and environmental cues. Significantly, one of Brown’s star dowsers, George Applegate, is also an engineer and geologist, and applies this knowledge in conjunction with his dowsing expertise. However, if the evidence Brown presents is accurate, then dowsing can be used in situations, such as map dowsing, where such cues cannot be picked up, and tapping into holographic reality is the more likely answer.
Whatever one’s opinion of the explanatory mechanisms provided by Brown, her book is very readable, and may encourage further research. If that leads to some means of subjecting dowsing to controlled tests then it will have served a valuable purpose, whether dowsing really works in the way described here, or whether success is due to intuition mixed with luck, selective memory, wishful thinking, and all the other ways in which we can fool ourselves to interpret an outcome in a satisfactory way.