teaching the ancient art of water divining
in the desert state of Rajasthan
David Yarrow, March 2006
February 1, 2006, I flew to India as an invited speaker at the World Council of Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures conference on “Spirituality Beyond Religion" (www.iccsus.org). I was asked to explain why Onondaga Lake is one of North America's most sacred sites: the Birthplace of Democracy in the New World and the Place of the Mother.
My flight’s first leg from Newark, New Jersey to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, I sat by a businessman who was born in India, but moved to the U.S. in his 20s. He told me Jaipur, the conference site, is four hours southwest of Delhi in the Rajasthan desert. I was surprised. I thought Jaipur is north in Himalayan foothills. Nor did I know India has deserts, but believed it is mostly tropical forest. I was glad I tucked dowsing rods in my bag. My skill as a dowser (water finder) might be useful on my globe girdling journey. I wondered if India has dowsers, or any traditions of intuitive water location.
Two days later, I peered out bus windows at countless miles of increasingly arid farmland that reminded me of New Mexico—parched, dry, sandy, with only stunted trees, but lacking majestic mountains and colorful clay soils. Immediately on arrival in Jaipur, while still in the bus terminal awaiting the greeting ceremony of our conference hosts, I began to study the water under this desert. Dowsing rod in hand, ignoring curious stares all around, I identified nearby streams, springs and domes. My initial survey revealed substantial water circulates under the desert rock and sand, but twice as deep—yet larger—than those I find in New York.
The day after, our host took us to Jaipur’s Rose Garden—a few acres of roses in bloom. While others examined roses, I searched for water under the ground. The few veins were widely spaced, and deep—over 200 feet. In the entire garden, I detected only two springs—both over 25 feet deep.
north of Jaipur, capital of the State of Rajasthan
The next day, I arrived at the conference site, and began a dowsing survey of the neighborhood. Land behind our dormitory was exceedingly dry and sandy, without a trace of moisture or clay, and abundant brittle, spiny seed capsules. Again, I found waterflows are deeper and larger, and springs fewer. The only nearby spring was 32 feet deep, but close by, a water column fed a remarkable 21 veins.
I decided to make a public show of dowsing. Normally, I’m discreet when dowsing—even secretive—partly to avoid distracting questions, but also to avoid negative, fear-based reactions. At the least, a dowsing rod in hand looks like a gun to a fearful mind. But at a Council of Ancient Traditions, this ancient art is a valuable tradition to present. At this meeting on Spirituality Beyond Religion, teaching that water is the gift of the Mother is a crucial message. And in this desert land, water is a precious and vital resource.
So, every day, when possible, I got out my dowsing rods and made a show of dowsing the local terrain. People were quite mystified by the spontaneous rotation of my rod. Inevitably, someone asked what I was doing, and I began explaining my 30 years of adventures searching for water and sacred space.
|East Road to Agra
lined by ancient ruins
Eventually, someone would ask if they can operate my dowsing rod, too. This was the opening I hoped for, and I then led them through my three steps to discover their inherent ability to detect water underground. I continue to be delighted by the look on the face of someone who watches the rods swivel in their own hands the first time. By the conference end, over two dozen people learned they had this “sixth sense." As ever, some folks picked this up easily, and soon were finding water veins. Others had difficulty, and needed many minutes of guidance to get a dowsing reflex. A Swiss couple had both extremes: he picked it up immediately with eyes closed, but she barely got the slightest response of a dowsing rod.
Late the second day, a newspaper reporter interviewed me. I talked at length of dowsing’s ancient origins, hydrogeology’s external water cycle, internal flows of living water, physiological evidence of magnetic sensing, and mysteries of water. I gave the reporter a broad view, realizing little would find its way onto a crowded newsprint page. Then there’s the difficulty translating between languages and cultures. After 45 minutes, he took my photo holding a dowsing rod, and I left late for dinner.
Comes to India
Jaipur Daily News, Rajasthan, India
February 8, 2006
Learning a relation between the human body and the Earth, Mr. David was turned into a water angel. Now he has mastered that study. Based on his 30 years experience, people in America call him “dowser" (water discoverer).
He is David Yarrow, who came to Jaipur during the World Elders Summit. Through a metal stick, he predicts about the availability of water. He always carries his stick along with him. And wherever he goes, he just starts mooting scientifically. According to David, the water level has gotten pretty deep, but still there are places having fresh waters.
Mr. David stands straight, revolves the stick. It takes a big curve, then moves in the direction where water veins are flowing. By his sixth sense, he can tell that a certain place has fresh water possibilities. Accordingly, he can tell the depth also. It depends on the rotation on the first degree.
The next day, a photo and article appeared in Jaipur’s newspaper. The article was in Hindu script, so I had no clue what the two brief paragraphs said, but the conference office was deluged by calls for the “water angel." That afternoon, a young man sought me out whose small farm 15 minutes east of Jaipur had no water. I asked my dowser’s mind, “Can I help this man," and got a vigorous, “Yes!" I asked if I should help; the reply was equally emphatic: “Yes!"
So, the next morning, after the daily spiritual ceremonies at Jawahar Kala Kendra cultural center, with his father driving and his brother in the back, we set off through Jaipur’s controlled chaos of crowded streets, onto the east road to Agra, down a narrow valley tightly lined with ancient ruins and congested by cars, bikes, motorbikes, rickshas, buses, trucks, camel carts, pedestrians, and more. Reaching the foothills, we turned north through twin arches of the ancient royal Sisodia Rani Gardens, out of the mountains and across desert flatland to a small village. Their farm was a few acres of bare, dry sand enclosed by stone walls. The only water source was a concrete tank filled by a groundwater well that had gone dry. A few doors down, a Jain temple’s massive, elegant beige spire rose over one-story houses and huts in the village.
Dowsing rod in hand, I searched to find large veins over 200 feet deep, all radiating from a vertical column rising near the southwest corner of the property. Stumbling across the sand for a close look, I counted an extra-ordinary 19 veins. A six inch tall, thorny plant grew in an irregular circle directly above this rising deep water source. Pointing out this indicator plant, I explained to the owners they should never drill a well at this place, as this may disrupt water flow in a wide area. Instead, I suggested they set aside this small area to plant flowers, herbs and healing plants as a ceremonial space for thanks to honor where the Earth offers its gift of living water.
Watching the three men’s faces, I felt doubt they would respect my request. So silently I asked again if I should help them, and again the reply was clear and firm: “Yes."
Searching again, my dowsing rod pointed to a spring near the northwest corner, but only a small flow over 30 feet deep. So, I searched for a site to drill a deep well. My rod pointed to where two water veins cross—one near 170 feet, the other over 250 feet deep—the latter from the water column I first found. I explained to the owners about the precise location to drill.
east of Jaipur
Again, I felt doubt the men would honor my instructions, but again, my dowsing affirmed my permission to proceed. As I spoke to emphasize this was where to access the gift of the Mother, my handful of rice that was blessed at the morning’s sacred ceremony fell out of my nametag and onto the drilling spot. Pointing out this synchronicity, I told them nothing is by accident, and this unintentional blessing by sanctified rice was a certain sign this is the place for their well. Their eyes all agreed.
After I finished, the owners asked my fee. I replied I hadn't come to India to find water, and didn’t want money. But what I want is, if the well has water, for them to tell everyone, so awareness that this method works will be known and respected.
|with Muslim Elder Ibrahim
from Mount of Ollives, Jerusalem
listening to the morning spiritual ceremony
The next day, I returned to the same small village to locate water for a larger farm with no water and over 400 mango trees in bone dry sand. Quickly, my dowsing pointed to a huge deep water column rising nearby with an astonishing 33 water veins, but outside the farm, under the road or the adjacent farm’s house.
Searching more widely, I located a second deep water column, this with a more ordinary nine veins at over 300 feet. Eventually, I dowsed for suitable well sites, and one was just a few feet from their farmhouse and animal shed—a crossing of two veins at 180 and 240 feet. I explained this to the owners and had them carefully mark the exact center of the crossing.
After this, the owner asked me to look at a stone pile that, at an earlier time, had a goddess statue. We walked diagonally across fruit tree rows to a haphazard heap of angular rocks. My dowsing detected a rising deep water column radiating 13 veins. I explained this is a holy spot—where Mother Earth offers her gift of living water from the deep. The 13 veins reflect 13 moons of 28 days in a lunar year, so dedication to a goddess is proper. I urged them to make a shrine there to the Earth goddess and offer thanksgiving and prayers there. Happily, I saw they accepted the sense of this spiritual suggestion.
Again, the owners asked my fee. Again, I said my want wasn’t money, but if their well yields water, to tell everyone, so this method will be known to be effective.
|Tourists Riding Elephants
along the road to Agra
That evening, after a keynote speech, I detected a column of deep water rising to feed 13 veins under the courtyard outside the auditorium. I had my new students dowse this space, counting the veins and mapping this complex waterflow system. All of them quickly confirmed this hidden feature beneath the land.
Friday morning, the conference’s last day, I took a third trip to that same small village, this time to a large farm next to the Jain temple, with a large, comfortable, well furnished house and irrigated lawn and gardens. The owner showed me two dry wells he had drilled—neither near any water veins.
One well was ringed by fine gray powder, so I interrogated the owner about the depth of the well and bedrock. I explained the desert doesn’t lack water, but the water is deep underground, and its connection to the surface and the external water cycle is broken because the sandy soil is depleted of minerals. Without elemental nutrients, plants—especially trees—can’t thrive to create the links needed to bring water to the surface to form an external water cycle. Healing the land begins by restoring those elements to soil, and the dark gray dust indicates deep under is crystalline igneous bedrock able to provide the missing minerals.
|Ancient Mountaintop Ruins
along the road to Agra
Standing at the farm’s edge, I asked my dowser’s mind, “Where should I go? How far away?" Setting off toward the temple, I soon stood on a modest mound of sand, three feet high and 20 feet across. Stepping down and walking around, I counted the veins out loud at each swing of my rod, reaching 21 at a full circle. I said this mound marked a special space where deep water rises up to within 260 feet of the surface. I cautioned not to drill a well there to not disrupt water flowing out to a wide area of land. Instead, I suggested making a shrine to give thanks to the Earth for the gift of living water. The wife’s face shone with passionate appreciation for this simple spiritual act.
I asked my rod, “Where are the best sites to drill a well," and it pointed to four. We visited them, and I mapped, measured and explained each. Three were crossings of two veins; the fourth, a three-vein intersect. At each, one vein radiated from the mound by the Jain temple. Two were where the owner wouldn’t drill, so I carefully marked the others, writing down depth and flow rate.
After, we went in the house for water and conversation. The owner asked my fee, and I repeated my desire for water dowsing to be validated and communicated. So, he gave me a colorful print of an ancient Indian spiritual celebration, and his son translated the Jaipur news article into English. I chuckled to discover I was a “water angel." In Europe and America, dowsing has been rejected and ridiculed as quaint folk superstition, and dowsers were branded “water witches”—a derogatory term with devilish implications. I was overjoyed to be in India where spiritual and intuitive modes of consciousness are respected.
Returning to the elders’ conference, I sat in the lobby to read and wait for morning ceremonies to end. Soon, a reporter from a Delhi newspaper sat down to interview the “water angel." I took him on a long discussion of ancient traditions of finding living water in underground veins using our magnetic "sixth" sense.
As this interview ended, a TV reporter appeared. I answered his string of questions, then went outside to tape an interview and dowsing demonstration. His final question was one I hoped for: "Will you come back to India to locate wells for farms?"
"No," was my wry reply, "but I will come back to India to train people how to locate water wells so there are people here who can do this work." This I said as a prayer, hoping the right government official or businessman will hear this on TV and make it so. With that, the interview ended.
At lunch, a woman appeared who wanted the water angel to find a well for her farm. On learning she is in the same village at the foot of mountains east of Jaipur, I realized something more than water was calling me there. I ad already been asked to go there three times, and each time, I found remarkably large, complex flow systems deep under the land. But a sacred site survey would require at least a full day to dowse, map, meditate, and ponder.
After lunch, I guided a few more folk to discover their inherent water finding ability. At 3:30, an older man introduced himself as Suresh Pareek, chief of Hydrology for the State of Rajasthan. He invited me to talk to his staff about my water finding abilities. Delighted at this answer to my prayer, I accepted, with trepidation to teach science-trained geologists this ancient, still-mysterious, intuitive method of water sensing.
Soon, I sat in his office amid two dozen attentive men and women. I gave my best credible, rational explanation of how dowsing works. I began with the book I read about Henry Gross, Maine conservation officer who found water on the island of Bermuda, which had no fresh water before then. Then I told how I learned to dowse 30 years ago from Ed Jastram, retired bridge engineer for the Massachusetts Highway Dept. and education director for the American Society of Dowsers, founded in 1967 by a Supreme Court Justice in the State of Vermont.
I described recent discoveries that humans (and animals, even insects) possess a magnetic sense. Physiological equipment for this is embedded deep in the brain:
First, behind the ethmoid sinus, tiny micro-crystals of magnetite (magnetic iron) are enclosed by a cluster of nerves;
Second, the pineal gland (master endocrine gland at the tip of the spine) has double-PHI spiral geometry, making it a magnetic sensor. The pineal has our highest concentration of vitamin B12—only use of trace element cobalt, one of three natural magnetic elements. Biology knows the pineal reads Earth’s magnetic pulses, and uses external ecocycles to set our internal biorhythms. Pineal secretes serotonin and melatonin—that govern our 24-hour sleep/awake cycle—and hormones to trigger puberty and menopause—our 14-year sex cycle.
These discoveries suggest our body has unknown, untapped magnetic sensing ability—a sixth sense. Dowsing may tap this magnetic sense to extract information about the world around us. Water is a magnetic dipole, and in motion, generates a magnetic field that interacts with the geomagnetic field. Perhaps dowsers access this magnetic perception to identify magnetic disturbances from water underground. One German scientist measured dips in terrestrial magnetism where dowsers detect water veins.
This magnetic sense has other uses. I told about one dowser I met in 1988 who was the retired superintendent of street repair for the City of Syracuse. As a 25-year-old newcomer to the Public Works Dept., an oldtimer taught him to bend welding rod at right angles to locate obstacles to street excavations. In all his professional career, he used this to reliably identify objects in the path of diggings, but that was all he ever learned. He couldn’t tell how deep an object was, or how to dowse for water.
Great Britain 2005
an outburst of Vesica
Dowsers have learned the Earth has two water cycles. Hydrology and geology study the external water cycle—how water ascends as vapor to become clouds and fog, then descends as rain and snow to run-off in streams and rivers, some to percolate into soil and bedrock to become groundwater. But dowsers detect an internal water cycle, in which water rises from deep in the Earth, and circulates under the surface in veins, streams and rivers, with some leaking to the surface in springs. Dowsers call this deep water “living water," because it’s in constant motion, like blood and lymph fluids in our body. This living water is what dowsers prefer as a water source, since it rises from deep crystal bedrock, and is usually charged with an extra energy that structures water into liquid crystal states.
I explained that my observations in India suggest the links between internal and external water cycles is weak or broken. Living water rising from deep isn’t reaching the surface sufficiently to irrigate soil. I suggested the major reason for this is the lack of vegetation covering the land, especially trees with deep roots. These plants are absent, not because there’s no water, but because soil severely lacks mineral nutrients required for plant growth. To restart internal-external water cycle links, the first step is to restore the minerals and trace elements to their sandy soils so plants can flourish again.
I took them in the hall and demonstrated how I use my metal rod to signal the presence of an underground water stream, and how I then use it to determine direction of flow, width and depth. I gave them my dowsing rods, and was amused how they quickly began to experiment and play with them without waiting for my instructions. One soon found he could make it spin in his hand like a helicopter, and then observed it spun faster when held over the hair spiral at the back of someone’s head. Clearly, with a bit of guidance, many of them would quickly take to this ancient art and become competent dowsers.
The Indian hydrologists were remarkably open-minded about this ancient method, and intrigued by a spiritual tradition to find water. My explanation of dowsing as a more subtle sensory perception hardwired into our physiology resonated with their own ancient Indian culture’s emphasis of the spiritual nature of reality and human destiny. In the West, scientific materialism reflexively rejects
metaphysical ideas, so geology and hydrology routinely disdain dowsing as antiquated superstition. American hydrogeologists won’t even touch a dowsing rod, much less play with one or listen respectfully to explanations and theories.
When it was time to depart, I told the hydrology staff I had located three wells during the week. If those wells come in with water, they will know dowsing works. I promised to return to India to teach intuitive water finding to as many people as possible. I promised to tell the American Society of Dowsers (www.dowsers.org) about my experiences in India, and ask their help to locate and develop India’s underground water resources. I said some American dowsers are professional well drillers and water engineers who consult on specific development projects.
Then I went back to the conference for dinner, after which I was rushed to Jaipur’s train station for a 12-hour trip to Surat. I had no notion that in two days, hundreds of miles away at the annual gathering of India’s forest tribes in the mountains of The Bhangs, I would fall off a stage in front of thousands of Hindus, breaking both bones above my right wrist, and begin a long, painful and perilous journey back home to the United States.