Dowsing: A ‘Sixth-Sense Art’
For most of her life, Elizabeth Brown’s hands have featured predominantly in her work. Insured for some £500,000 thirty years ago, Elizabeth’s long, honey-coloured fingers and nicely shaped nails modeled jewelry and watches in magazines such as Tatler, Vogue and Harper’s – and were even the embodiment of class and wealth in many DeBeers diamond advertisements.
Today those very same hands are still at work, but this time doing something very different: dowsing.
Two L-shaped metal rods in either hand, Elizabeth – a dowsing practitioner for the past 20 years and now the author of Dowsing: The Ultimate Guide for the 21st Century – “taps into” the Earth’s energy to identify nutritional deficiencies in herself and others, determine the pesticide content in supermarket vegetables, and help answer everyday questions about life.
And that’s just a taster of what dowsing can do, she says.
For centuries, dowsing – or its more antiquated name, divining – has been seen as the work of “the occult”, a dark science performed by witches, hippies and heathens armed with yew branches on their search for either water or precious minerals.
But this practice – once heralded by Queen Elizabeth I – is now being used to help identify electromagnetic radiation, energy lines and blockages, archaeological remains and even missing persons, according to the British Society of Dowsers [www.britishdowsers.org].
And while no scientific explanation has been proffered to make sense of this ‘sixth-sense art’, Elizabeth compares her work as a dowser to the machinations of a seismograph, picking up little fluctuations in the Earth’s energy to help her answer questions and discover the “ultimate truth”.
“When you dowse, you tap into a quantum field of information,” explains Elizabeth.
“We are all in harmonant connection with the field of information without any of us actually knowing it, yet we tap into it when we’re being creative – painting or writing or making music. It’s the same thing when you’re driving and suddenly have an intuition that you should slow down.
“When you dowse, you tap into that information field in a more methodological and structured way, asking a deliberate question with deliberate intent.”
Elizabeth knew little of the practice when she was first introduced to it 20 years ago. Working as an interior designer in New York, one of her clients handed her his brass dowsing rods and told her to have a go.
“We were standing in his library, a great big room filled with books and artifacts, when he said, ‘I’m thinking of a particular object that was given to me by my father in 1962 and is of great sentimental value to me. Use the rods to find it,” she says.
“I just looked at the rods and they started to move. They led me to an instrument on the bookshelf, and that was it.”
Elizabeth was blown away by the accuracy of the rods and became hooked, practicing with brass Y-rods, coat hangers, and even the occasional sticks.
But it would take another 10 years for her to feel skilled and confident enough in the trade to become a professional dowser. Today she focuses on the fields of health and environmental pollutants, using two sterling silver rods that were a gift from her husband.
“Most people find that when they pick up the rods, they move, as anyone can dowse,” she says.
“But the key is to learn the process behind it, to train the mind and body to make some sense of what the rods are doing.”
Much like in any field of work, every dowser has his or her own specialty. Some focus on water divining, others on mineral extracts or missing persons.
But every dowser has certain things they shouldn’t try to dowse – and for Elizabeth, that’s missing items.
“I was asked to find a lost dog once and it was apparent very soon that finding lost things is not my forte. It was a total disaster.
“But I was told that dowsers are as much specialists as brain surgeons. You wouldn’t ask a brain surgeon to look at your feet, so you wouldn’t ask a health dowser to find water. Or dogs.”
Critics have long cited dowsing’s lack of scientific evidence as proof that the rods aren’t necessarily picking up “Earth’s energy” so much as that of the practitioner – and that the practitioner’s rate of accuracy is often no better than chance.
But Elizabeth is not convinced.
“I’ve been wrong in the past, but it’s always been with personal questions for myself,” she admits.
“Many dowsers say you can’t dowse for yourself, but that’s not true. The trick is to have no vested interest in the answer apart from finding out what the truth is. The challenge is that, if you’re not objective about it, you’ll get the answer you want instead of the truth.”
She cites examples of whether or not to go on holiday and affairs of the heart – and says that being objective has taught her a lot.
“I was out at a restaurant recently and had just ordered a plate full of oysters when I dowsed them using my arm as a pendulum and was told they weren’t safe to eat.
“I was famished, but not willing to sacrifice my health!”
Using one’s body to dowse instead of rods – called device-less dowsing – is also used by Elizabeth’s husband, the “perfect English gentleman” Piers, who dowses for everyday questions too.
The two met on the job when Piers requested Elizabeth’s help in figuring out the “energy patterns” of his office, a converted barn in the countryside, where he found it incredibly hard to concentrate.
Armed with her rods, Elizabeth discovered a line of “electro-magnetic pollution running right through the middle of his desk” which she then “de-activated”.
Nine months later they were a couple.
They now spread their time between London, Cornwall and Umbria, where they have a farmhouse amidst the “rolling vineyards, tiny hilltop hamlets and olive groves of the green heart of Italy”.
It might sound idyllic, but Elizabeth spends every day hard at work dowsing for clients in 20 different countries, most of the work over the phone, most of it revolving around health [www.gentlepowers.com].
“Using the rods, I identify causative, contributory and trigger factors behind my clients’ illness, disease or symptoms – ranging from allergies to cancer to ME.
“I then provide a checklist to restore that person’s body to balance, suggesting procedures, treatments, lifestyle changes and so on.
“So my work is, in many ways, a three-way conversation between me, the rods and the information field.”
Elizabeth long considered her career choice an odd one. But having recently discovered that her great-grandfather was a water dowser, she feels that her occupation is a true gift.
“I’m nearly 55 and it’s been a long journey of learning,” she says. “You’re only as good a dowser as the questions you ask. Truly, the greatest gift of dowsing is to find out the truth of any situation or circumstance, an invaluable asset in the world today when there are so many people with vested commercial interests.”