My father was a dowser and used a pendulum, and I first learnt the skill – the art, technique, call it what you will – from him. But whereas his main interest was the use of the pendulum as a medical tool in diagnosis and healing (radiesthesia), my own interests have always been rather different. What I liked, as a kid, was how he would use the pendulum to lead him straight to something we had hidden. Then he showed me how to do the same thing, but using a map. This was incredible! I was hooked. At school, we were being presented with the “scientific” world view, and taught that if something couldn’t be explained – if it had not already been explained – according to the physical laws they knew and accepted, then it was false, a fallacy, superstitious nonsense. I agreed, of course. How could I not? But this wasn’t nonsense: I had seen him do it, not once but many times. And now I had done it myself. I told my physics teacher he was the same as those scientists who refused even to attend the first demonstration of television because they knew it was impossible, that it could only be a hoax. The same thing had happened with the first heavier-than-air flying-machine. And the hundreds of top scientists (that so-called “scientific consensus” as in global warming) who signed a letter informing Einstein he was an idiot.
Nevertheless, it is reasonable to ask how the pendulum works, how it gives the answer to questions that neither the dowser himself, nor (sometimes) anyone else, knows the answer to. Either it is tapping into the dowser’s subconscious or unconscious, where he does already know the answer. Or it is tapping into some kind of universal reservoir of knowledge – possibly via the dowser’s superconscious – or as some would have it, through the aid of a “spirit guide”. Or the pendulum detects, is sensitive to, certain kinds of radiation – which is the obvious explanation for water-dowsing and physically finding lost objects, and also some forms of radiesthesia; but it does not begin to explain map-dowsing and other forms of teleradiesthesia; nor does it seem to explain Tom Lethbridge’s findings, when by using different lengths he obtained results from what he supposed were a different time – from the past – but which may equally well have been from a parallel universe.
Presumably my use of the pendulum as an accessory to Tarot and to investigate Past Lives fits into the “via the superconscious” category.
But how and why it works really matters no more to you and me than how and why a computer works. What is important is that it works.