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With thanks to Walt Wood for the ground-breaking work he did, as President of the American Society of Dowsers, to codify this ancient information. Much of this material is drawn from his classic book, Letter to Robin. This information is a brief summation of the dowsing process. For a more thorough discussion, download Walt Wood’s free on-line book, available on our website. Visit our website Dowsing area for other books on dowsing, and to purchase pendulums and rods.

Shown above is the classic American dowsing chart, designed by Walt Wood. This chart permits you to ask specific questions of the universe, and to receive precise answers. Dowsing legend tells us that the answer is only as good as the question. Dowsing requires you to be detached from the situation, so that you do not affect the answer. If you are not detached, ask a friend to dowse for you.

To start, you may wish to use the simpler directional chart shown second here. Start by swinging the pendulum from the center of the chart in a straight line to the “Ready for Question” position (#1 on a clock. If you are left-handed, swing to #11 on the clock). All work with the pendulum, in this method, works by rotating from the center of the circle (the core of the universe) to a position on the outside rim of the circle that you and the pendulum have agreed means a specific thing.

On this chart, you work in general with the upper part of the chart. From the center up to the 12 clock position is a simple yes, to the 9 position is a definite no and to the 3 position is a definite yes. Positions in between are gradations of these answers (Ex: a swing to the 4 clock position is a lukewarm yes, a swing to the 10 clock position is a lukewarm no.)

If this makes sense to you, please continue on. If you feel you need help, please contact the American Society of Dowsers – dowsers.org – to find a dowsing group near you.

Using a Dowsing Program

Dowsing works via programs that specify the information you want to acquire.  You can buy books of standard programs or write your own.

Writing your own program

1. You need to be very specific about what you want to know. This includes what, where, when and sometimes instructional information relating to the question.

2. Use only words, phrases and conditions that you and the dowsing system both agree upon as to their meaning, and for which there is an agreed-on method of dowsing response.

3. Make the question a definite request for information that exists somewhere. Normally, don’t ask for an opinion.

General Protocol

It is wise to start by requesting the presence (“invoking”) of your own guides, the energetic world of dowsing and the beneficent guarding energies of whatever field you are dowsing.

It is wise to be humble and polite. This is a big universe you are approaching and you are asking for cooperative assistance. An attitude of commanding obedience or “power over” is ineffective.

Using your own program works in several stages. First you do a one-time general installation, programming your interaction with the world of dowsing. You work with a specific type of dowsing instrument such as a pendulum. When you pick up a different type of dowsing tool such as rods, you would be wise to review the dowsing program with it, confirming that you and the tool are in agreement.

Every program installation/change/deletion has three steps to it:

1. Receiving permission to proceed. Center yourself. As best you can right now, connect with your own inner self, your own guides and guardians, and the general field of dowsing. This is an evolving situation and the universe recognizes this so just do the best you can right now. Swing your pendulum over the chart, at the “Ready for question” point.

Ask the following question, out loud:

“MAY I, CAN I, SHOULD I, establish, change or add dowsing conditions and agreements or programs which will be continually in effect until changed by me, speaking the changes out loud?”

– Pendulum swings to “yes”: go to step 2

– Pendulum swings to “no”: DO NOT PROCEED. Try again later. If it still says “no”, introspectively search for why. There may be some energetic interference. Ask the world of energy with which you have identified yourself to assist you, explaining you are seeking the highest good of all, and feeling that attitude inside yourself. If it still says no, do not proceed but try again later.

2. Installing the program

A dowsing program has specific parts to it, to cover the function you wish to explore. Be sure you have covered all known possible options when you install a program, for you are asking the pendulum to perform a fact-finding mission.

With the pendulum now swinging to the “yes” position, read out loud the instructions you are installing. This would be either a new program, a change to an old program, or an addition to an existing program.

Indicate when you have completed this by stating out loud “End of program, thank you.”

3. Confirming program installation has been accepted.

Check with the dowsing world:

“Are the conditions or changes acceptable as presented, being clear and non-contradictory, and open to change by my spoken request?”

– “Yes” response: you have completed the process

      – “No” response: try to determine why, through a combination of introspection, inner communication with your guides, and/or use of the pendulum.


Your first program installation of the basic program

Following is the basic program you need to install to begin your work. It has been separated into the necessary component parts. (from “Letter to Robin” by Walt Woods)

This PRIMARY PROGRAM is to be continually in effect until I choose to make changes

It COVERS the overall primary controls, limits, agreements and dowsing responses.

Its PURPOSE is to determine amounts, effects, conditions, circumstances, influences, times, measurements, distances, numbers, percentages and other requested measurement information.

DOWSING COMMUNICATIONS are to be inter-cooperative with all levels of my higher selves and my soul family, and our collectively approved spiritual guides and guardians, and others of our jointly approved choice. This is to cause me and my higher selves and soul family no harm, discomfort or loss of energy, either physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

INFLUENCES such as misleading thoughts, emotions, imaging, wishes, or any other conditions from any source, physical or non-physical, inside and outside this time/space continuum, including my own or other persons’, entities’ or mind systems of any kind, are not to affect me adversely or cause incorrect dowsing answers.

TIME as related to dowsing is to be in my earth time unless otherwise requested.

ANSWERS are to be selected from all available knowledge and information sources.

THE METHOD OF ANSWERING by the pendulum or any dowsing system is to be:

1. Swinging to (?) or other agreed-on methods or systems, indicates ready for question

2. Swinging or moving to “yes”, “no” or other information, indicating the most appropriate answer for the question asked, or other agreed-on methods or systems.

3. Clockwise spin is for “hold”, indicating waiting, searching or other agreed-on systems.

TEMPORARY CHANGES may be made by me while dowsing, reverting back after use.

PROGRAM CHANGES such as adding, deleting or changing may be made by me, but only by using a three-step system of my choice, spoken out loud.

End of program. Thank you.

NEXT: Now that you have installed the basic program, go back to the three-step installation program, for you need to do a one-time installation of the following program.

1. Receive permission to proceed

2. Install the following program:

THE MAY I, CAN I, SHOULD I PROGRAM is to become a working part of all my dowsing programs, and be continually in effect until I choose to make changes. When used in reference to dowsing questions, “May I, Can I, Should I” is to have the following meaning:

MAY I is to mean: “Do I have appropriate permission?”

CAN I is to mean: “Do I have the ability to successfully dowse in this area and am I ready?”

SHOULD I is to mean: “Considering all aspects related to this situation, would it be appropriate, proper and suitable to dowse in this area?” End of program. Thank you.

3. Confirm program installation has been accepted. If answer is yes, the programs have been properly installed. If answer is no, ask questions to try and find out why.

Learning to work with the pendulum

Testing your communication skills. Ask questions you know the answer to: “Is my name….”, “Is the sun shining outside my home right now” (be careful with your wording: saying just “Is the sun shining” is not enough – it could be, in Paris!)

Detachment. At end of your private sessions, ask the pendulum to show you if you have influenced the answers, and how much.

Be specific about what you are asking. Ask it in several different ways, to allow for subtle linguistic differences.

Ask for information existing somewhere, and not for an opinion. (Is this vitamin C, in 500mg dosage, good for me right now)

Practice on a regular basis. Allow for those days when you are having energetic interference of some sort and answers not coming

If it is a very important question, invite a friend to also dowse for the answer. If they get a different answer, this indicates you must check out the situation more carefully.

Do not diagnose or give medical advice. It is against the laws of the USA.

Do not dowse for someone without their permission (except under unusual circumstances).

Do not dowse to get secret information that would hurt someone else: it creates a negative energy signature or form that will eventually affect you, too.

If someone asks you to dowse for them, always ask the May I, Can I, Should I questions and DO NOT proceed if it says no: there may be hidden reasons you do not know about.

Here is a large size image of the dowsing map by Walt Woods, for you to use


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