Midsummer or Litha


A Summer Comfort Kit


Oh No Don't Eat the Daisies

Making and Using a Divining Rod (Dowsing)


Litha Correspondences

Litha / Summer Solstice Ritual

History of Litha (MidSummer)


A Song for Mid Summer


The Midsummer Bonfire


Midsummer Specials


Making and Using a Divining Rod (Dowsing)

Hand crafted Dowsing Rods

                      from Angela Jeffreys                     

dowsing rods 150 pix high

(Click here or on Pictures for more details)



Divining, or dowsing is the practice of finding things using special rods. Here, we will cover how to procure a dowsing rod, how to use it and how it works. Midsummer or Litha is traditionally the time to choose your divining rod or wand.


A divining (or dowsing) rod is traditionally a Y shaped branch - preferably of hazel (in Europe and witch-hazel in N. America), but apple, peach or willow may also be used. They’re all porous, flexible and light enough to carry easily. Alternatively, you may use two L-shaped metal rods, held in tubes which allow them to move freely. These are also light and convenient to carry and many people find them much easier to use. In the past, divining rods were used to search for gold, hunt criminals, find lost livestock or other items, and for a number of other functions These days, they’re typically used to locate underground water, detect energies (such as auras) and to find lost items.


If you want a wooden rod, it should be uncut natural wood, kept exactly as it was found. Witches used to break dead branches off trees without cutting live wood. In other traditions the wand is cut from a one-year-old tree, at sunrise, with a single stroke (after asking permission and thanking the tree for the gift). Choose a healthy tree from which you can cut a forked branch small enough to hold in your hands. When you have it, remove all leaves and twigs from it so that you are left with an even Y shape. Each arm of the Y should be 12 to 18 inches long (whatever is comfortable), and the stem of the "Y" about four to five inches long.


Metal rods, of course, can be purchased (or you can make your own if you’re the ‘crafty’ type). In either case, you may want to bless or dedicate the rod(s) and keep it with you for awhile to form a bond with it before you start to use it.


The first time you use your dowsing rod(s), have someone hide something in a small area so that you can get used to how it works. Hold one fork of the Y (or one metal rod) loosely in each hand and point the rod(s) out in front of you and either parallel to the ground or very slightly downwards. If it’s pointed too high, it'll swing around, and if it's too low it loses sensitivity. Keep the rod away from your body.  Walk forward slowly and systematically over the search area, thinking about whatever it is you hope to find (water, oil, gold etc.). The dowsing rod can be used to locate any object - graves, and even currents of earth radiation, without the use of scientific instruments.


Ask to be shown when you pass over the thing you’re looking for. Don’t try to control it - relax and stay open. The divining rod may vibrate or twitch slightly to give you a hint as to which direction to go. Pause if you feel a downward pressure on the rod - it's unmistakable. When you find something, the Y-shaped rod is supposed to suddenly dip down towards the ground or up towards the sky – metal rods swing towards each other and may even cross over one another. That’s where you must look or start to dig. This little exercise will give you some idea of what to expect when you’re working with dowsing rods.


There are many suggestions for getting better dowsing results, like wearing rubber shoes, for example. It’s important to have a clear mind, to eliminate negativity, and it helps if the area is quiet too. You’ll soon learn what works best for you. It may take time and practice to get the feel for it, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be dowsing very soon.


The use of divining rods was popular in early 19th century New England and during the Vietnam War, in the late 1960s US Marines used dowsing to locate weapons and tunnels. Their origins, however are lost in antiquity.


Many references confirm that divining rods or wands were in use among ancient peoples for forecasting events, seeking lost items, and in occult practices generally. The ‘rod’ is mentioned many times in the Bible in connection with miraculous performances, especially in the books of Moses. The passage describing the "smiting of the rock'' (Numbers 20, 9-11) has been regarded by enthusiasts as a significant reference to the divining rod, We know that the Scythians, Persians, and Medes used them; Herodotus says that the Scythians detected perjurers by means of rods. The Greeks practiced this art - Ctesias mentions a wooden rod which attracts gold, silver, other metals, stones, and other things. Marco Polo reports the use of rods or arrows for divination in the Orient, and a later traveller describes it among the Turks. Tacitus says that ancient Germans used branches of fruit trees for this purpose. One of their tribes, the Frisians, employed rods in church to detect murderers.


Divining rods were used to find metals in Germany during the 15th century. In 1518 Martin Luther listed dowsing as an occult act. Agricola's “De Re Metallica” (1556), included a detailed description of dowsing for metal ore. German miners came to England during the reign of Elizabeth (1558-1603) to lend an impetus to the industry in Cornwall, which had been undergoing a period of depression. They brought the divining rod to England, and before the end of the 17th century it had spread throughout Europe where it aroused controversy. Its champions, amongst whom, were some of the most learned men of the time, explained its operation, as, indeed, they explained nearly everything, on the principle of "sympathy" or "attraction and repulsion." The phenomena of gravity and magnetism doubtless suggested this interpretation. The adversaries of the divining rod, on the other hand, like Paracelsus and Agricola, condemned its use as superstitious and vain, without attempting to refute the arguments advanced by their opponents or flatly denying its super-natural connections. In 1662 dowsing was declared to be "superstitious, or rather satanic" by a Jesuit, Gaspar Schott, An epigram by Samuel Sheppard, (1651) runs thus:


"Some Sorcerers do boast they have a Rod,

Gather'd with Vowes and Sacrifice,

And (borne about) will strangely nod

To hidden Treasure where it lies;

Mankind is (sure) that Rod divine,

For to the Wealthiest (ever) they incline."


The rules advised for cutting the rod were to some extent, unconscious memories of the old European ways. But the rods were “Christianized” by being laid in a bed with a newly baptized child, (by whose Christian name it was afterward addressed). The motive for immersing this practice in a religious atmosphere was probably because at that time anyone found engaged in mysterious works was in danger of being charged with sorcery and burned to death. In Cornwall a belief was common among the miners that the divining rod was guided to the ore by the pixies, the fairy custodians of Earth’s mineral treasures.


Early attempts at a scientific explanation of dowsing were based on the notion that the divining rod was physically affected by the substances of interest. One advanced view was that both the dowser, and the rod, had a special faculty. Some dowsers claim best success with rods made of particular materials, but others say that the material is irrelevant if it’s the person that does the detecting.


Dowsing could be explained in terms of sensory cues, expectancies and probability. Some believe that dowsing apparatus has no power of its own but merely amplifies slight movements of the hands caused by a phenomenon known as the ideo-motor effect: where the subconscious mind may influence the body without the person consciously deciding to take action. This would make the dowsing rods a conduit for the diviner's subconscious knowledge or perception. The device is certainly in a state of unstable equilibrium and slight movements may be amplified.


There is evidence that dowsers may be sensitive to the environment (through telluric currents magnetoception, electroception, or other paranormal faculties). Soviet geologists have made claims for the abilities of dowsers, which are difficult to explain in terms of sensory cues. They may, however, be explained by human sensitivity to small magnetic field gradient changes. One study investigating possible physical or geophysical factors, concluded that dowsers "respond" to a 60 Hz electromagnetic field, but this response does not occur if the kidney area or head are shielded.


In conclusion, although there’s no ‘scientific’ proof that dowsing works, this process has been used to successfully discover all manner of things from water to missing people. Dowsing rods come in many forms.



If you'd like to explore the wonderful world of dowsing, you should take a look at these!


Hand crafted Dowsing Rods

from Angela Jeffreys,    

dowsing rods 150 pix high


(Click here or on Pictures for more details)



By Sylvia Richards May 30th 2010

© 2010 Sylvia Richards and  All rights reserved

About the Author: Sylvia Richards is a well known natural psychic who can provide you with a psychic reading using Tarot cards by email. To know more about Sylvia and how to book an email reading, please visit