Usually people dowse for water or minerals hidden underground. However, dowsing is much more versatile than this. Recently I was in Munich and saw two people using a pendulum to decide which of two places to visit. I know someone who uses a pendulum to determine the sex of unborn chickens. While my children were growing up, they frequently asked me to find lost objects for them with my pendulum.
The Dowsing Rod
We commonly visualize someone holding a forked stick that reacts when the person is standing over an underground source of water. This is the traditional dowsing tool, easily be made from a V- or Y-shaped branch cut from a peach or willow tree. The dowsing rod is held with the palms upward, holding the two ends of the forks. The elbows are held close to the body, keeping the stick in a state of tension. If you are searching for underground water, think casually about your desire for water, and then walk over the ground until the forked stick reacts. Usually, this is a strong downward pull, known as the dowsing response.
Angle rods make a better device to start with, as they are more sensitive than the forked stick. They consist of two L-shaped pieces of metal wire, approximately twelve inches by six inches. The dowser holds these loosely, with the twelve-inch sections pointing forwards. The two rods should be parallel. Again, thinking of what you are dowsing for, walk forwards until the angle rods react, usually by crossing over each other, but sometimes by moving outward. Some people grip the angle rods too tightly, restricting the movements. If this is a problem, cover the shorter section of the rods with plastic or wooden tubing that allows the rods to move freely inside. The casing from a ball-point pen works well.
A small weight attached to a length of thread, cord, or chain is probably the most convenient device for dowsing. This is called a pendulum. The weight should be at least a few ounces, and the thread should be four to six inches long. The cord is held between the thumb and first finger, allowing the weight to move freely. Stop the movement of the weight with your free hand, and then ask the pendulum to indicate a "yes" response. It might take a minute or two for the pendulum to react the first time you try this, but eventually it will move from side to side, backwards and forwards, or in a circular motion, either clockwise or counterclockwise. This is what makes the pendulum so versatile, as the different movements allow it to give a range of different answers. Once you have the movement that indicates "yes," you should ask for "no," followed by"I don't know" and "I don't want to answer."
Ask the pendulum any questions that can be answered by one of these responses. You will be impressed with the quality of information you receive. However, there is one important caveat: do not ask the pendulum any question in which you are emotionally involved in the outcome. In these cases, the pendulum will give you the answer you want, rather than the correct answer. If, for example, someone close to you is pregnant and you want to find out the sex of the baby, the pendulum will provide the correct answer only if you do not care whether it's a boy or girl. But if you already have three sons and are hoping for a daughter, the pendulum will probably indicate a girl, even if that is not the case.
Some people are able to dowse with their hands. The most common way is to shake the hands while walking over the area being dowsed. Once you have located what you're looking for, the hands stop shaking.
An extension of this is to use the entire body. I find this particularly useful when buying books. If I have a choice of two books and am not certain which one to buy, I place one to my left and the other to my right. I then close my eyes, and silently ask which book I should buy. My whole body involuntarily leans toward the book that would be most useful to me. What I like about body dowsing is that it can be done without anyone noticing. It is more difficult to suspend a pendulum over different books without attracting attention.
All of the different methods work well, and I use all of them at different times. Like everything else, practice is required, but it is a useful skill that can enhance your life in a variety of ways.