Divination, Necromancy, and Dowsing

Divination is a way of gathering information by paranormal means, using tools and symbols to acquire knowledge from the collective unconscious, superconscious, or beings on a different plane of existence. This knowledge can be about people, places, and things from the past, present, and future.

Necromancy is a term used for divination by means of communication with the dead. The tools of divination have their roots in antiquity. Since the dawn of time, humans have tried to contact and control the spirits of the dead. In this section, we'll discuss the types of divination used for that purpose, rather than those simply used to tell fortunes and predict future events, such as palmistry, card reading, or astrology. Dowsing, which straddles both necromancy and divination, will also be discussed.

Hello, Goodbye

The most famous tool of the necromancer is the Ouija board. The board as we know it dates back to the late nineteenth century. It was made popular during the spiritualist movement, when its widespread use was considered harmless.

Today it has come into disfavor, as it is said to open a door to poltergeists and other low-level psychic phenomena. This door, once opened, is not easily shut, so the use of the Ouija board is considered dangerous by most psychic investigators and its use seriously discouraged.

The board's surface has the letters of the alphabet, the numerals 0 through 9, and the words yes, no, hello, and goodbye. A triangular device called a planchette, usually made of plastic and about four inches long, has enough room for two people to lightly rest their fingers on. The planchette has three felt-tipped legs that glide over the board's surface to point at letters, spelling out answers to questions asked by participants.

In his article “Ouija, Not a Game,” writer Dale Kaczmarek of the Ghost Research Society warns that automatic writing and séances are all dangerous for novice users.

Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish scientist and theologian who believed he held conversations with angels, Jesus, and God in which he was shown the true nature of the universe. He alleged that he delivered messages from Aristotle, Napoleon, and other famous people who had passed.

Kaczmarek suggests that spirits from the lower astral plane are the entities most often attracted by these divination tools, and they introduce chaotic and sometimes even dangerous energy into the homes of the naive. If a psychic or medium is present, she can better control the situation, but extreme caution is still needed. Don't be tempted to use these devices without the proper safeguards and training. They have a long history of trouble.

Involuntary Movements?

In 1882, physiologist William Carpenter explained such diverse events as the movement of the Ouija board's planchette, the circular motion of the pendulum, and even the table tipping of the mediums of his day as the result of something he called ideomotor action. This term refers to involuntary and unconscious muscle movements on the part of people participating in these activities. Carpenter argued that these unconscious muscular movements could be involuntarily initiated by the mind and then interpreted by participants as paranormal.

As plausible as this explanation may sound, there have been many documented cases of table tipping so extreme that the idea that small muscle movements caused them is simply ludicrous. And if the Ouija board spells out answers to questions that none of the participants knew the answer to and are later verified as true, what are we to think of that?

What is a necromancer?

A necromancer is a person who uses divination to gain information from the world of spirits. He can use tarot cards, crystal balls, or séances and Ouija boards. Necromancers have been known to use the mummified hands of corpses or paws of animals. They open themselves up to paranormal influences and all the dangers inherent in that process.

I Scry Something Wicked

Scrying is another form of divination, often used to foretell the future and communicate with the spirit world. Scrying was used by ancient cultures from Persia to Greece to Egypt as a tool for prognostication, or predicting future events. Spirits were thought to have a hand in conveying the messages. Nostradamus, arguably the most famous psychic of all time, was said to have used a small bowl of water as his means of seeing into the future. From the Middle Ages to present times, scrying has been widely used by wizards, witches, clairvoyants, and psychics.

Scryers most often use crystal balls or black mirrors, although any reflective media, even ink, water, and crystals can be used. Most people are familiar with the image of the gypsy fortuneteller gazing raptly into a crystal ball to relate the fate of her gullible clientele.

The premise behind scrying is that when the person gazes into the reflective surface in the proper state of relaxation, she will see images that unfold either before her or in her mind's eye — glimpses of a future time, a far-off place, or a past event.

The cave at Tassili Najjer in the Sahara, where the earliest picture of dowsing was found.

Art copyright Melissa Martin Ellis, 2006.

Water Witching

Dowsing is another form of divination used since ancient times to seek answers to questions. The first recorded use of dowsing may be a cave painting at Tassili Najjer in the Sahara, dated to approximately 6000 b.c.e. It shows a crowd gathered to watch a dowser at work. Ancient people frequently used dowsing rods to locate water.

Probably used initially to determine the will of the gods or find answers to questions about the future, dowsing is used widely today to locate things. Whether they search for water, oil, or precious metals, dowsers use a forked L-shaped rod or a straight rod to find the material they are looking for.

It has long been debated whether dowsing is an electromagnetic phenomena or an actual paranormal ability. Regardless, the process has withstood the test of time, despite its many detractors.

Map Dowsing

Sometimes pendulums of metal or crystal are used to dowse, particularly when the dowser is hoping to locate something on a map. Controversial psychic Uri Geller has stated on many occasions that the bulk of his income comes from dowsing to locate oil fields for the petroleum industry.

In the 1970s, Geller underwent double-blind tests in which he was asked to locate either a ball bearing, water, or a magnet concealed within identical metal containers. A third party placed the items in the containers, and scientists filmed Geller as tests were run repeatedly. Geller used a form of dowsing and correctly located the items in almost all of the tests. The scientists determined that the odds were a trillion to one that he had obtained his results by chance.

No one really knows how the dowsing process works. Is the subconscious moving the pendulum, or is a spirit or higher force doing it? Is it biofeedback and bioenergy? Theories and speculation continue.

Perhaps the simplest way for beginners to learn to dowse is with a pendulum. You need a pendulum, metal bobber, or crystal and a chain or string to suspend it from. Make sure you're comfortable with the dowsing tool and are away from any noise, distractions, or electronic equipment.

  1. Determine a system for yourself — for instance, clockwise may mean “yes,” counterclockwise “no.”

  2. Relax by taking three or four long, deep breaths.

  3. Begin the experiment by holding the chain or string of the pendulum in your dominant hand about two inches away from the dangling object or bobber.

  4. Break the east-west motion by making a deliberate movement either clockwise or counterclockwise. Hold the pendulum over your other hand.

  5. Ask yourself how the movement feels; does it feel natural? If not, hold the string or chain a bit higher and keep on going until you find the position that feels right to you and allows the weight on the chain to rotate freely.

  6. Mark that place with permanent marker or a straight pin.

  7. Ask simple “yes” or “no” questions and start your dowsing session.

  8. Be sure to make note of the answers and the day's date on the paper.

What sort of questions should you ask? Don't get into dark areas, and try to keep the questions simple. If you're looking for employment, you can start by asking, “Will I find work in the next three months?” If the answer is “yes,” then narrow it down even further. “Will I get work in the next month?” Don't ask complex questions with an open-ended response that can't be answered properly with a simple yes or no, such as “How much money will the job pay?”

Predicting Events

In dowsing, as in so many things in life, practice makes perfect. Inevitably, people who have some luck at dowsing begin to ask for information about the future. Be aware and guard yourself against the influence of negative responses. There is a real danger to those who are sensitive to negative news. Remember that the answers that you get about future events are only possibilities of what is to come and are not written in stone. Remember that free will and corrective actions in the present can change what is still to come. In other words, if you don't like the answers you get, use your free will to make choices that will change the outcome.

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