Dowsing: Magick for the 21st Century
A zoom presentation by Grahame Gardner
to the Tamar, Devon and Trencrom Dowsing Groups
3rd December, 2020
Things are changing very fast - important things. A decade ago Grahame Gardner, then President of the British Society of Dowsers (BSD) would never have been so foolhardy as to use the M word - with or without its mediaeval ‘k’ - in the same sentence as dowsing. The hardcore materialists still ruled the roost and radical science, let alone philosophical speculation, were tolerated only grudgingly.
Today, GG not only integrates the two threads, but provides a well-argued and well-delivered chain of reasoning that purports to show that magick and dowsing are not only part of the same whole, but are in fact entangled siblings.
Few theorists have tried to integrate Schrödinger’s cat, Young’s double slit experiment, the observer/observed effect and collapsing alternative information outcomes into a discussion about the roots of the dowser’s craft. Indeed, until I first heard Grahame give this talk, I had assumed that I was the only dowser of a philosophical bent crazy enough to try to weave the classical theory of panpsychism (the concept that consciousness exists in all matter, from the most minute particle to the total mass of the universe) into a discussion about why dowsing works!
Another aspect of the progressive change in the direction of dowsing is in its scope. Until quite recently, the very definition of dowsing was that it enabled us to sense information that was beyond the five gross senses. That was it - and many of still think of it that way. However, Gardner and others have widened their approach to the subject to incorporate what the dowser goes on to do with the information they glean. GG’s close colleague, the Canadian dowser Susan Collins, sums up this revision by describing dowsing as ‘the detection and transformation of energy’.
Grahame has put a lot of his own research into this matrix of hypotheses which describe the essence of dowsing in action today, but he has also had the good fortune to have rubbed shoulders - and indeed to have worked on projects - with some of the most profound thinkers about the subject in the modern period.
While many of the nuggets of wisdom that came over in this talk have been around for a while, here they are presented in a compelling new dowsing context, and in a strikingly coherent manner.
These include the ancient sense that things that were once connected remain connected, at least in some form, essentially forever. It’s an idea conventionally rolled up into the generality of co-incidence, but now strangely rebadged for a different era as quantum entanglement.
Another nugget of wisdom is a core mechanism of the dowser’s craft - the demonstrable ‘mode of operation’ of setting intent and then detaching from the task in hand to allow ‘the universe’ to deliver the desired outcome. The researcher, Rasmus Gaupp-Berghaussen - a co-worker of the late Dr Masaru Emoto - summed up the efficacy of the dowser’s approach as ‘relaxed awareness’ rather than ‘concentrated attention’. GG sees engagement followed by detachment as a prime example of how the dowser is interconnected with an all-embracing energy field that surrounds and includes us.
As part of the emerging departure from previous ways of looking at ‘how dowsing works’, Grahame includes quotes in his talk from the parapsychologist, Dean Radin - another author unabashed at bringing the idea of modern magic into the world of the new normal. Radin’s book Real Magic (2018) is highly recommended by GG for further insight into this niche field.
The measure of a thoroughly thought through worldview is the ability to apply it in unexpected circumstances. In the Q&A at the end of the session, Grahame was asked where nature spirits fitted into his scenario. His reply was (words to the effect that) these are manifestations at the human end of the information chain - our personal interpretation of how the dowser seeks to make sense of the experience of shared structures in the energy field. It probably wasn’t quite what the questioner was expecting, but it flowed seamlessly from the integrated set of ideas presented to us previously.
In order to exchange information and develop themes of research, Grahame feels it is vital that we are all talking about the same concepts - and that the words we use to describe our ideas are based on a common understanding of the dowsing vocabulary. The seminal Glossary of Terms, originally collected by the Northern Ireland dowser, Billy Gawn, has been preserved and progressively updated by GG.
The current glossary can be found on one of his own websites at www.britishdowsing.net ‘British Dowsing’ currently consists of mainly former BSD material, and includes the complete archive of Earth Energy Matters magazines, compiled and edited by Billy Gawn up to 2005. It is a free website - with donations welcome.
Despite the rapidly fracturing and diversifying dowsing community, GG makes a valiant and, I feel, highly successful attempt to integrate the essence of the magickal approach with unfolding scientific theory. None of the steps between the two pillars is too large to be understood by the serious novice, and most of the links in the chain appear to stand up to everyday experiential examination.
The Q word does appear from time to time, but while so many speakers seem to use it like an all-purpose cure-all, here Grahame blends quantum physics into the warp and the weft of the much more nuanced tapestry that he portrays.
At the 2020 West Coast Dowsing Conference in the USA (well, zoomed from the USA, if you get my drift) Grahame was one of the keynote speakers, and I felt he did an excellent job of representing the direction of British dowsing on a world stage, with a version of this talk.
While there are no doubt as many ways of presenting this material as there are researchers in the field, this particular incarnation of integrated themes is clearly the current gold standard of its genre.
Many thanks to Grahame for such an enjoyable and accessible talk. It has been one of the massive, and quite unexpected, benefits of lockdown that we have come to realise how easily we can liaise and collaborate with our colleagues from across the globe - and in this case from Glasgow. No doubt, the periodic social get-together will remain the heart of the dowsing community for some time to come, but like incoming waves overlapping on a beach, new ways of sharing and exchanging experience and information are quietly slopping up the foreshore.
Books by Grahame Gardner can be obtained from Penwith Press:
or direct from the author at: