Dowsing can be healing, revealing, ‘masters’ show
Jaclyn Youhana The Journal Gazette
“Don’t sit there. They do emit frequencies, and you can get a headache.”Sharon Martin warns a guest to sit to the side of the pendulums displayed on black velvet on her kitchen table. Martin, of Fort Wayne, uses the pendulums – metal weights in various shapes hanging from a string, or what she calls the “antenna” – to dowse, or to predict.
Dowsing is a practice that dates to around 6,000 B.C. and involves a rod or pendulum answering a question. Historically, that question is often “Where is water?” and dowsers – also known as “well-witchers” – would stalk the land, rod in hand, and wait for a Y-shaped branch to twitch or two L-shaped rods to cross and show, “Hey, dig here; there’s water.”
Martin dowses for a variety of reasons: for fun (“Should I eat pizza for dinner?”), for health (to figure out why she wasn’t feeling well – turned out to be kidney stones) and for healing (using her pendulums to draw negative energy out of a person in pain).
All objects – living and inanimate – emit frequencies and the pendulums pick up on them, Martin says. She is a Reiki master, a discipline that deals with balancing frequencies, which is what dowsing instruments like pendulums or rods detect.
She illustrates how dowsing works. The previous night, she had sliced an apple, which had browned and softened the next day. She brought the slices on a tray to the table and retrieved a fresh, whole apple from the refrigerator.
She dangled the pendulum above the browned apple slices and asked, “Is this good to eat?” The pendulum started to swing in a circle – the motion Martin’s pendulum makes for “no.” When she dangled the pendulum above the fresh apple and asked the same question, it swung in a horizontal line, Martin’s “yes.”
Martin, who draws business by word-of-mouth and works out of her home, has dowsed to make serious decisions, too. Four years ago, she needed an anti-virus program for her computer. She did research and collected advice from three or four sources, leaving Martin unsure which program to buy. So she got out her pendulum and asked, “Which virus-protection software should I buy?” She listened to the pendulum and hasn’t had any problems with the software.
Martin dowsed for healing purposes when Leanne Agostini, a fellow Reiki master whom Martin taught, asked her to use pendulums on her throughout her pregnancy. She experienced morning sickness for six months and indigestion for the last three, she says. Martin would relieve stress and calm Agostini’s body; for a time, her indigestion would go away.
“For the hour, hour-and-a-half I was on her table, I would feel great,” says Agostini, of Fort Wayne. “And afterward, too. Indigestion would come back eventually, (but) there was a noticeable difference, and the baby responded very well to the Reiki. He would just kick like crazy because he was enjoying it. I would calm down and almost fall asleep.”
Agostini describes the feeling of stress relief from dowsing – everyone has a different reaction – but she would feel like weights were being lifted from her shoulders.
Martin doesn’t do much work with environmental dowsing, though she has taught the method and has seen its successes, especially with “negative green energy,” or sections below ground that have negative frequencies and can cause health problems or chronic illnesses. Before building a house, Martin says, some people will test for negative green energy to assure, for example, that the bedroom isn’t over a hot spot.
Craig Arnold, the field and laboratory supervisor for the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Archaeological Survey, says he’s never seen dowsing work to find water.
“I know a lot of the old-timers swear by it,” he says. “I’ve had guys tell me they can find water. As far as scientifically, I’ve never had anyone be able to walk out and show me, ‘That’s where something is.’ ”
However, Arnold has experience with electrical dowsing, or witching. He used to work in construction, and on at least one occasion, he says, it saved his life.
“We were asked to drill in a certain location, and it turned out that location was put right on top of a high-voltage electric line that hadn’t been located,” he says.
A witcher located it.
“In that instance,” he says, “if I’d have drilled there and I’d have hit it, it would have killed me.
“The mind is an area that we really don’t even understand the depth of it. I can’t sit here and say there’s nothing to it, but once again, it gets into that realm of, ‘How do I scientifically test that?’ – which is not a possibility.”
Martin acknowledges that her specialty has plenty of skeptics.
“I believe that if you’re drawn to something (as she is drawn to Reiki and dowsing), you’re drawn to something, and if you don’t believe in something, don’t believe in it,” she says. “I don’t feel I have to convince somebody.”