If you’re stopping by my blog for the first time, I’m running a symbols series. I started a few weeks ago after reading a Huffington Post article on popular names in 2013. Roughly that same week I had an interview on my Romance Books ’4′ Us group blog. Both got me thinking about symbols and I ran with it. Previous posts are filled with all manner of symbolism. Do scroll back and enjoy.
Yesterday’s post featured the divination practice of augury. Augury is prophetic divination through observation of natural phenomena. Most often this was done by studying the behavior of birds and animals or examining their scat, entrails, blood spatters etc. It’s also done by scrutinizing man-made objects and situations. In my symbol series I’ve mentioned a few of the latter — the divinationsymbols shown through tarot, runes and I Ching. Next week I’ll offer up a few more. Today I’ll share a personal bit of augury. I’m a dowser.
“I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time.”
Wait, let me back up a bit…
Augury enters our lives frequently and we’re barely aware of it. It doesn’t always concern entrails and behaviors of birds. Who doesn’t read signs? We do a bit of it every time we see a flock of geese in the autumn sky and say to ourselves winter is coming. We do it on the highway when we see vehicles with lights and wipers on headed in the opposite direction and know there’s rain where we’re headed. We read the high school year book and see someone pegged as “The most likely to succeed”. We witness our best friend in a heated argument with his/her love interest and predict that’s not gonna last. People in the medical field perform augury all the time — Mr. Jones looks jaundiced. He has a liver issue. Ms. Reynold’s eyes are bulging. Run a thyroid test. Every time a sailor said that ditty about red sky in the morning…he was doing augury.
Many years ago my husband discovered a pioneer cemetery where we live. He put a call in to our local historical society and was given the contact info for a grave witcher — a person who dowses for unmarked graves. She came here with a set of thin metal L-shaped rods to dowse the small burial ground and determine how many graves there were. She found five small graves that exactly fit the story we’d come to learn about the family that once lived there more than 100 years ago.
So… when he came home from work later that day, he conveyed his amazement to me. We both knew what dowsing was. That’s how the old-timers found wells. Back then, if you wanted me to believe it, you’d need to show me. I was a far more skeptical person then than now, but age tends to slap you out of your absolutes. And, some slaps are harder than others. lol Life is extraordinary and there’s always room to be amazed. Phenomena doesn’t often come into my life, but when it does…
Anyway…He cut up a few old wire coat hangers and fashioned a pair of L-shaped rods. Then, as a test, he walked me around the yard with me holding the rods out before me. We were looking for water, he said. He knew where the septic field was. I didn’t. He knew where the old well was. I didn’t know that either. Yet when I walked over those two things the rods crossed in my hands. When I stepped out of those areas, they uncrossed. Needless to say I was hooked. I located a chapter of the American Society of Dowsers not too far from home and met some extraordinary dowsers. Some were very old and came from long lines of dowsers going back several generations. Through them I gleaned a feast of information — an info hound’s hog heaven.
What is dowsing exactly? That’s the strange thing, no one really knows. Not even the old-timers who were raised with dowsing can tell you. And curiously, not everyone can do it. Some say it has to do with the electromagnetic pull between what’s in the ground and the wire (or forked tree branch). Ok. But that doesn’t explain those dowsers who can tell you were your well should be dug just by holding their hands out to the ground.
At one of the ASD chapter meetings I met an elderly man who was tired of trying to convince skeptics that dowsing works. I’ve found this skill rather hard to explain myself. How do you convince if you can’t explain? The man created a stand (a simple block of wood) and to it affixed a tightly coiled copper spring (picture a Slinky thick enough to stand upright, but flexible enough to bend like an upside-down letter J). To the very end of this spring he had a chunk of quartz crystal wound in. I suppose he was going for electricity by adding the crystal. Anyone who’s ever owned a wrist watch that says quartz on the font knows that quartz gives off enough piezoelectricity to run it.
So he had a wooden base that wouldn’t interfere, a copper coil, and a piece of quartz. He had people stand so there was no way for anyone to touch the table this contraption sat on. He didn’t touch either. You held your open palm three inches below the quartz and focused your thought to make it bounce. As dowsing doesn’t come to everyone, not everyone will get a result. I watched a few of the older dowsers do it. One elderly woman had the thing bouncing fast as if she’d smacked it with her hand. And because seeing is believing, I tried it too. It bounced without my physical influence. I couldn’t explain how were I asked.
There are all manner of dowsing tools out there from futuristic sci-fi-esque gadgets to pendulums and forked tree branches. I’ve also seen people dowse wedding rings over pregnant bellies to determine the sex of the baby. The only tools that consistently work for me are copper rods. As shown in that picture above, I have the short ends (the ends I hold) set into sections of copper tubing so as not to unconsciously interfere with the movement of the copper rods. This way they swing free or spin independent of my influence. I’ve used dowsing to find friends’ misplaced glasses and keys, and over graves, water, and even determined where to put our labyrinth. And I still don’t know why this type of auguring works.
This man does a very good how-to if you’d like to give it a try.
Tomorrow ~ Funday Sunday!
Here’s one for today:
Scathefire (noun common in 1632 -1796)
great destructive fire; conflagration
Seductive Studs & Sirens & Weekend Writing Warriors http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/
Sneak Peek Sunday
My Sexy Saturday & Sexy Snippets
Set the Scene in Six http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/
Today we have guest author Vijaya Schartz.
The February contest is on Romance Books ’4′ Us and it’s all about Cupid. Find the little cherub hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests. http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/
Free to join in each week
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Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
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Author Interviews ~ We’re booking late spring now.
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