Water Witch

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Water Witch

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

"Water Witch" is a term often applied to a water diviner or dowser. The tools used by dowsers are many and varied. Some use a forked twig (hazel seems the most popular), while others can use objects such as bent clothes hangers, metal rods, and pendulums.

The diviner is able to use the chosen tool to locate whatever is being sought: water (hydromancy), metal, oil, treasure, coal, gold, or any other mineral or object. The first dowsers were probably the prospectors operating in the Harz Mountains of Germany in the fifteenth century. No records of the practice before then exist although it may well have been in use previously. In the reign of Elizabeth I, these German miners brought the practice to England, where it became popular and well established. Since that time dowsing has been in use around the world with great success but, as might be expected, with little acknowledgement from the scientific community.

The most popular form of dowsing involves use of a forked stick, the ends of which one holds firmly with the palms of the hands upward. With the single prong of the stick pointing straight outward, the water witch will walk the land until the stick suddenly and very forcefully twists to point downward, indicating the presence of water or whatever else is being sought. Most water witches say that they must concentrate on what they are looking for, seeing it in their mind's eye.

Divining can be done from a distance by working with a map, usually using a pendulum. The necessary information may be obtained by slowly moving a pointer over a large-scale map while holding a pendulum. The pendulum will swing when the pointer passes over a spot with water (or whatever is being sought). The pendulum can then be further used to determine the depth at which the object will be found and, in the case of water, even the amount and rate of flow. (Working with a pendulum is usually referred to as radiesthesia, which has now extended to include medical diagnosis and prescription.)

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.