Radiesthesia: Skepticism, Harmony and the Mystery School

Borderland Sciences Research Foundation has developed and maintained a research catalog for over 77 years. 

One of the most important areas of research has always been physical radiesthesia and dowsing.  We have gathered a very important set of books on physical radiesthesia.

This section of the catalog archive is designed to help you develop your radiesthesia and dowsing detection skills. 

The primary benefit of reading about physical radiesthesia and dowsing is that language and practice combined create the elements required to enhance perception.

Practice is the primary way to develop your perception of the subtle physical radiations which are at the heart of all phenomena. Direct experience of the interaction of your nervous system, the environment and instrument results in the development of method and convention. 

Language structures the methods of practice. Language allows you to frame your perceptions. Language provides the world view that allows the senses to operate and provide feedback. Reading provides this language. 

Reading from several sources from different historical periods helps provide alternative points of view on how the language changes that are used to describe the science of the practice. 

To quote Thomas Norton’s Ordinal of Alchemy:

“Hence you must not be content with reading only one book, but you should study a variety of authors; because according to the learned Arnold, one book opens up the understanding of another. The same thought is expressed by the learned Anaxagoras, who testifies that if a man will not take the trouble of reading many books, he can never attain to a practical knowledge of our Art.”

Mira Louise, Erwin E. Stark, and Arthur J. Ellis are three such authors whose excerpts will tie together a short conversation about the historical controversy surrounding the mystical and practical roots of dowsing.

We will start with Mira Louise who is just back in the catalog. She had fallen out during the migration of the website over ten years ago.

I find her reactions to the “deep-rooted fear and prejudice” interesting as it points out that it goes deeper than religious persecution. It may be most important to be aware of the “deep-rooted fear and prejudice” when it confronts us during practice. Skepticism is healthy but may just be an excuse for not wanting to confront the difficulty of awakening the senses.

“Actually, the science we are trying to simplify is RADIESTHESIA, the modern name for the FACULTY OF DIVINATION, which is not a new science, neither has it been neglected. Suppressed it has been and scorned, persecuted and belittled, but not neglected. It dates back to long before the Christian era and was carried on by lone investigators in the form of Water Diviners and Soil Analysts throughout the centuries. Even during the darkness of the Middle Ages, when the religious wars drove honest men into caves, there was still evidence of the faithful few handing on this faculty, not always from father to son, but from adepts to younger members of the tribe.

“Unfortunately, owing to the deep-rooted fear and prejudice towards anything that cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, heard or felt, that mankind has inherited from his primitive forebears, this Faculty for Perception or Divination has been the stumbling block of the Water Diviner, the Dowser and the Pendulist from time immemorial…”

In Search of New Horizons of Colour, Art, Music, & Song. By Mira Louise. 1955

We now take a random look at “The Divining Rod, A History of Water Witching”, this thin but powerful book published by the US Government in 1916. 

Looking at this remarkable bibliography, what I observe is a curious mixture of the practical and the mystical even from the earliest roots of information being published on radiesthesia.

It is clear from the earliest times that the dowsers and the natural magicians share a common “sympathetic physics” !

It begins in the 1500’s:

15– Melanchthon, Philippe, Discours sur la sympathie [Discourse on sympathy (=sympathetic affinity)]..

1532 Bernhardus, R.P. Vera atque brevis descripto virgulae, etc [The true description of the wand of Mercury, etc.] , Prag.

1550 Agricola, Georgius, De re metallica [On Metals], book 12, 1st ed.; Translated into English by H.C. Hoover and L.H. Hoover and published for the translators by the MIning Magazine, London, in 1912.

1509 Porta. Jo. Baptista, Magiae naturalis sive de miraculia rerum [Natural magic].

-The Divining Rod, A History of Water Witching with a Bibliography by Arthur J. Ellis

As difficult a skill as it is to acquire, radiesthesia is clearly not a new fad. What is it that keeps an idea alive for thousands of years?

Our Friend Erwin E. Stark takes us back 9,000 years to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa, where on the walls of the “caves of Tassili” it depicts a man holding a forked dowsing stick.

“The teaching of mysteries, or psychic functions, which pre-dates the dawn of Christianity, is significant in that it taught dowsing as a psychic technique. The dowser was regarded as a highly intuitive or illuminated being, who achieved this level of awareness through dedicated study and practice of the mysteries. The ancient mystery schools taught and trained their followers so effectively that early Christianity’s chief competitors included those practitioners trained in the psychic sciences. The emerging Christian church gave considerable attention to this problem. Should the church embrace or reject the practice of mysteries? Dowsing was a common and important technique used by many peoples…”

“One of the most famous dowsers today is Abbe Mermet, who formerly was a member of a Catholic order.”

“Nonetheless, since most of the world’s leading colleges and universities were founded by religious organizations, they have perpetuated to this day the tradition of rejecting psychic phenomena or mysteries. Is it any wonder that their products of learning are so unlearned in subjects like dowsing? As former President Harry S. Truman observed, “College know-it-alls don’t realize that it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” To quote the Kabalist adage, “Those who teach have trouble for their pay.”  

-A History of Dowsing and Energy Relationships, Erwin E. Stark, 1978

Well. Mira just can’t let Stark have the last word denigrating universities. I sometimes wonder how much more I need to guide these sessions?

“Another point worth considering is that when one person sits down to study, the vibration is very high; when he is joined by a companion the vibration is lowered. Therefore, the larger the crowd of students, or any body of people, the lower the vibration. This is the reason why Universities of the world, overcrowded as they are, produce comparatively few Understanders. It explains, too, why so many of the sub-standard under-graduates, overwhelmed by the mob mind, resort to low vibrational pranks.”

But Mira makes clear the real work at hand here:

“Harmony; The Outspread Process of Existence”

“Although we stress the importance of being able to detect the Positive and the Negative forces, it is becoming more and more apparent that the real emphasis is on balance.”

“The Law of Polarity may be called the first and fundamental law of all creation,” wrote Dr. Oscar Brunler in his book “Rays and Radiating Phenomenon.”

“The earth, and everything contained therein, follows this law, and is a manifestation of the union of two forces, that of a positive and a negative, with a line of balance or neutrality in the center. Every three, every shrub, eerie flower, and every vegetable has the same polarity. The root is negative, the central portion neutral, and subsequently where the seed will appear, is positive. It is in the repulsion and attraction that a constant struggle for survival takes place, and during the struggle, waves of energy are liberated. These waves are called radiations.”

In Search of New Horizons of Colour, Art, Music, & Song. By Mira Louise. 1955

The language of 1955 and the language of 1550 when taken together provide a timeless doorway to experience perceptions of radiations of waves of energy that surround us with psychic information.

Our psyches are embedded in this sea of energy. Language and practice of radiesthesia & dowsing open to us a world of perceptions known in the mystery schools for thousands of years.  

When we confront the difficulty of awakening the senses, to use the words of Dr. Oscar Brunler, “during the struggle, waves of energy are liberated.”