Dowsing is a method for finding (divining) energies or answers; though of course it is most known as an unconventional way for finding underground water and minerals. The term, 'geomancy', deriving from the Greek word 'manteia' (divination, prophesy, prediction) refers to the act of interpreting the meaning of patterns on the ground or in the landscape, or anywhere in nature, in order to help people live more harmoniously and successfully in the natural world. There are many possible methods of dowsing, and many ways have been used in various cultures and for thousands of years. Dowsing can be used to predict the right answers to important questions, as with using a pendulum technique, but dowsing can also be used to find earth energies. The easiest dowsing tools to use are the pendulum and dowsing rods. There are many books and information sites to explain ways to use these tools. But the methods are fairly easy to explain; then one has to learn mostly by experience.
In using a pendulum, one is holding lightly weighted object by a string or chain and allowing this little object to move back and forth or else in a circular motion. Then, for example, the pendulum might move either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The former is usually regarded as a yes answer, while the latter is a no answer; however, it all depends on what the person decides and believes is the signal for either yes or no, which needs to be self-decided before embarking on the discovery of the right answer.
Dowsing rods are used in a generally similar way as a pendulum; except that the rods provide a better tool for 'pointing' in a certain direction, which is especially useful for discovering the direction of water, minerals, or earth energies. For example, the dowser can walk about the land while allowing the rods to point towards the direction of incoming positive energies, or towards a best spot to build, or to drill a well, or to whatever one is looking to find. The dowser must obviously hold on to the rods and do the walkabout and turn around in the various directions, but one must allow the tool itself to move and point, rather than willfully move the rods by conscious choice.
The essence of any dowsing is to allow the tool to move on its own without trying to consciously make it move one way or another. Of course though, one does not need to believe that the tool itself is intelligent or sensitive to energies; rather, the tool is being moved by the force of what one is searching for, and also at work is one's 'subconscious natural sensitivity' or subconscious intuition. In fact, the tool provides a way for one's subconscious and natural sensitivities to reveal where energies are coming from or the answer to a question, without the will and logic of one's conscious mind to get in the way. Therefore, one needs to be extra consciously present in dowsing, yet allowing (rather than willfully forcing) the tool to 'move on its own' – by the forces of nature, or else by one's subconscious natural sensitivity and intelligence, or a combination of both.
Dowsers tend to have their own favorite tool. Many water dowsers tend to use metal rods, often with iron in them and sometimes with added copper, but some dowsers say that a reshaped metal clothes hanger will work just fine. Some dowsers say that a true dowsing rod ought to be made from a tree, such as from a willow branch. Others prefer flexible plastic rods because of their flexibility. Even though these are plastic, they seem to work well in dowsing earth energies and power points. If one is really serious about dowsing, then one might try different kinds of rods to see what works best.
A simple plastic dowsing rod is inexpensive and easy to make, plus easy to carry or travel with. You just have to buy three feet of slim plastic rod, about a half inch diameter. You want a size that can be comfortably gripped in each hand; but the thicker it is, the less the rod will easily move. Then you cut this in half to make two pieces. The best general length for each rod is eighteen inches. Then you tightly tape up the rods at one end. So at one end the rods are tightly connected, while the two rods are loose at the other end. Now as an alternative to the plastic, one could use two flexible tree stems, such as from willow for instance, if strong yet flexible and a good fit in the hands; and to make this, just connect two cut pieces together at one end.
The loose rod ends are gripped in the hands, while the connected part is the pointer. Grip the rods so that the little fingers are closest to the connected end. Then open and slightly twist the held rods in such a way that one's wrists are upward. Elbows could be touching the body or they could be extended out from the body. The wrists could be downward, but it works better when they are upward. The arms are slightly bent as if one were in process of exercising the biceps.
Now one has a working dowsing tool. The way it works best is to find the right balance of having a relaxed grip combined with enough tension in the rods so that the rods move somewhat easily in one's grip. But with too much tension, the rods will slip in one's grip too easily and seem almost out of control. To actually use, first make a definite decision, in mind and heart, about what is to be looked for. Hold the question in one's mind, or at least affirm the question or intention enough so that it definitely imprints into the subconscious. Then, point the rods outward, horizontal to the ground. Begin to open and slightly twist/bend the rods in one's grip, in order to produce a noticeable tension in one's grip, but not so much that the rods start to actually move. In other words, find the most tension possible while also maintain a grip such that rods do not yet move. This is the best tension.
Then, begin to walk about some and also turn slowly towards different directions, while trying to maintain steadiness in the rods but twisted/bent with enough tension that the rods seem on the very verge of suddenly getting loose in one's grip. This tension is the key. So now allow the rods to shift in one's grip without consciously trying to make them move one way or another. The rods will at times seem to jump forth, pointing up or down, depending on where one is standing and in what direction one is facing. Anyways, these things are difficult to explain in writing; so each person will have to experiment and learn on their own.
With any dowsing tool that is hand held, or with any dowsing method involving the hands, the hands will play a significant part in the process. Thus, in a sense, a dowser has to trust in her/his hands. Also, a dowser has to trust in her/his subconscious, at least to some extent, since one requirement of any dowsing or diving is to not consciously-willfully decide or make the answer be what one thinks it should be or wants it to be; but rather instead, allow the dowsing process to work without conscious will, except for the consciousness and will needed to actually enact the dowsing steps or make the dowsing effort.
Finally though, it should be realized that one's own hands, and even one's own sensing body, are potential dowsing 'tools', because through our hands and our natural sensitivities we can feel or sense earth energies and especially distinguish positive from not-so positive energies.