The cunning man was consulted in order to find lost objects, and often used dowsing to achieve this. Dowsing is the intuitive use of pendulums or rods to locate things and energies or answer questions. It is an art almost anyone can master. Cunning men often used pendulums, either directly dowsing over a specified location for a dropped ring for example, or over a map. Dowsing may also be used to identify power spots, earth energies and ley lines, either in situ or on a map. It may be used to pick out a useful crystal or other object from a collection and so on and so on.
Dowsing is usually done with a pendulum, a forked stick or L rods. The forked hazel stick is most often used to locate water, the forks held in the hands. The tip of the stick will go down when the dowser locates his objective.L rods consist of two bent pieces of metal held in the hands which swing together when the objective is encountered. They are used to locate water, minerals, ley lines, earth energies and illness in the body. They can easily be made by cutting a section from a metal coat hanger about 9 inches long, plus one of the bends and four or five inches after the bend. You will need two of these. Hold the shorter pieces loosely in the hands pointing in front of you, parallel. Try walking over a spot where you have placed a bowl of water. The two rods should cross over each other of their own accord, then move back out as you clear it.
Pendulums are valuable divinatory tools and a pendulum is nothing more than a balanced weight on the end of a thread or fine chain. It does not need to be crystal, gold plated or expensive. One of the most successful dowsers I know uses a button. A wedding ring or sewing needle attached to a length of sewing thread has been used for centuries to try to determine the sex of a newborn baby – rotating for a girl and swinging to and fro for a boy. The method was used commercially in the nineteenth century, with a small device containing a miniature pendulum, for sexing chickens whilst still in the egg.
To use a pendulum you must determine your own responses. For some a ‘yes’ response will be a clockwise swing, for others the pendulum will go back and forth. Ask it some questions you know the answers to and determine the result.
Pendulums are extremely easy to make. Take a length of wire. Starting at the top and leaving an inch spare, wrap the wire around your chosen weight lengthways and bring it back up to the top. Twist the two ends and bring the longer end down around the weight again at 90 degrees from the first. Bring it to the top once more, twist again with the other end and fashion the remaining wire into a ring by wrapping it twice around a small knitting needle and cut of any excess. Thread the cord or chain through this ring and you have a pendulum.
Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)