Try Dowsing for a Greener Garden

This ancient art of detecting water sources led to a plentiful season of gardens and flowers.

| May/June 2002

Although I love a beautiful garden, I have always considered my own thumb to be somewhat less than green. While others coaxed luxuriant blooms and vegetables from the soil, my own results were always modest. So when dowser Marty Cain introduced me to L-rods at a sustainable building conference last spring, I was intrigued by her assertion that dowsing can be used as tool for creating a successful garden. Following her advice, I enrolled in a one-day course for beginning dowsers with the Living Waters Chapter of the American Society of Dowsers (ASD) in southern New Hampshire.

While my fellow beginners and I learned to use the various dowsing tools to detect water sources—the traditional and best-known application of this ancient art—our instructor also encouraged us to use dowsing to answer gardening questions. Returning home, I decided to let the tools help me site the replacements for two dead, deer-ravaged azaleas. Holding L-rods in my hands, I mentally defined my search: The azaleas needed a shady spot with well-drained soil, out of the path of any creature who might want to eat them. Assuming the proper posture, rods pointed forward, I began trudging through the shaded sections of the landscape, visualizing my new azaleas as the healthy, blooming specimens I wanted them to become. The L-rods finally crossed at a point near some stone steps not far from the back door of my house.

I made my plantings there, and after an entire cold season the shrubs are still healthy, full of buds, and untouched by the local herbivores—my first garden dowsing success. This year, I plan to use dowsing to site some beds for annuals and vegetables, as well as take the rods to the local nursery to help me choose the best and healthiest specimens for planting.

How dowsing works

Although dowsers have different preferences in tools—some like L-rods, others pendulums, still others the traditional, forked, green branch—dowsing equipment has no inherent power to access information.

Dowsers assume that the world and its contents all pulsate with energy. They also assume the human capacity to detect and differentiate various energies in their surroundings. The living human body acts as the detecting antenna for specific energies—an underground stream or, in the case of gardening, a hospitable site for azaleas—and the dowsing equipment serves as a reader for what we discover. The rods, pendulum, or wand simply make the answers received in the search more apparent.

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