Do you believe in... dowsing? I almost said magic because some doubters say it's the same thing. True, dowsing does seem magical in a way, but when it works it's not trickery. It works for real. Not always, not for everyone who tries it, but in the right hands, often enough. The proof? Water, often abundant, and just where the dowser predicted. And more than just a lovin' spoonful.
When you need water to fill a pond, to keep it topped off, improve water quality, or fill a supply well, dowsing can be the ticket. Even find a pond leak. If you yourself can't dowse, or if you're not sure, there are plenty of books that teach the basics. These books can help you discover if you have the touch. Cut a forked branch and give it a try. No luck? There are dowsers nationwide available to engage for your project. See end of article for links to dowsing books and contact outfits.
I've been thinking about dowsing, also called water witching, for a couple of reasons. The climate's been tough on ponds the last few years: droughts and high heat lower pond water levels, reduce freshwater exchange and encourage heat-loving algae and weeds, not to mention triggering fish kills. One helpful solution can be to add more water. Cool clear water.
But from where? Here's where dowsing comes in. With a forked stick or other witching tool, the dowser walks the land hoping the stick will take him or her in the direction of a water source. Depending where you look, and the strength of the water indication, you may find a spot that invites further exploration, by digging or drilling. With luck and skill you or your dowser may find a strong source of good clean water. That's a bit oversimplified, but you get the idea.
I can relate a couple of personal experiences that convince me dowsing is for real.
A couple of years ago a friend was having trouble with her well. The water had a chronic iron problem that was staining kitchen and bathroom fixtures and laundry, as well as running too low to use in dry weather. After several years using an expensive and erratic filtration system, she engaged a dowser to look for a better water supply. She also had a small pond that went dry in summer, which she hoped to supplement with well water. After exploring the area around her house, the dowser found what he said would be a strong and clean source of water. The owner hired a well driller, the well was drilled, and it yielded a whopping 40 gallons a minute of clear water. The house plumbing was rescued and there was enough surplus to keep the pond full.
My own household water supply was located decades ago by a dowser, as recounted in my book Country Planet. After cutting a forked branch from a tree, the dowser headed high up the hill behind my house. Using the witching stick to look for water he found
a vein he considered strong, and his partner drove a backhoe up and they dug a 14' hole. A spring erupted in the bottom and by the next day the hole was filled. Stones, tiles, and piping to the house were installed, and after years of carrying water from a dug spring, I had gravity feed water at the turn of a faucet. The well has never failed.
In addition to directly benefiting from the benefits of dowsing, and witnessing a
neighbor's dramatic dowsing score, I have studied dowsing in numerous books and articles (see links) and attended an American Society of Dowsers convention in Vermont. I tried dowsing a couple of times, but felt nothing more than a slight tug. Could have been my imagination.
When it comes to asking someone to drill a five thousand dollar hole based on the tug of a tree branch, I leave it to the truly gifted. Because in the right hands I've seen that dowsing works.
Books & Articles
"Witch Way to Water," from Country Planet by Tim Matson, Countryman Press.
The Divining Hand, by Christopher Bird
Modern Dowsing: The Dowser's Handbook, by Raymond C. Willey
World of Dowsing, by Dan Schwartz, Outside Magazine
P.S. Click Here to read an article about TM in the Valley News of the Upper Connecticut Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire
Topics vary from month to month and provide great information when researching where you want to build a pond, or how to keep it clean. Other areas of interest are pond use for more than swimming, and how to keep fish happy in your pond.