Water-Witchin’ was at one time a part of regular country life when other means of finding water underground in order to dig a well wasn’t available.
Many of us may remember a time when we were young of either watching someone perform this noble and “respectable” and useful form of divination or at least heard older relatives tell the tale. Many times, it was a man who seemed to have been taught by a male relative who did this in my own memory. (Though, I am sure some women performed this too – as I remember seeing photographs of the “World’s Most Famous Witch,” Sybil Leek, performing this in competition with modern equipment, and Sybil finding the water faster than the equipment could! Sybil was one of the few witches of her day that would actually prove her abilities in front of the camera in front of folks – as she had actual, demonstrable powers of many kinds.)
Typically, oral traditions of water-witchin’ states that you must either have passed down to you a “Divining Rod” or you must go out and cut a fresh one from preferably a fruit-producing tree. (The most common one to be told in my neck of the woods the old timers would say was from a Peach tree) Sometimes lore would say the branch must be from a virgin limb of the tree that has never produced fruit, and some do not specify.
The particular design and shape of it was told to be one that is shaped like a “Y” so that you can hold the “V” part of the stick in each hand.
You would proceed to walk with the divining rod holding it parallel until either you felt the rod vibrate, or that it would point up or point down. (The “I” part of it may go down or up – or just vibrate….. It depends on how you were taught to do this or how your own special talents developd.)
Diving Rods such as this have been used throughout history and in our modern times to find more than just an underground spring or water; they have been used to find things such as “ley lines” (that run North to South – lines of power and power flow), buried treasure or anything at all. I have even heard of a few folks use them to find graves of people long deceased!
The interesting thing is, cutting rods from various types of trees for a variety of purposes; whether for divinatory purposes or for commanding, seems to be a common theme throughout our known history and practice of magic.
A number of our old-time grimoires (grammars, or manuals of old magic) discuss cutting various types of trees to use even in things such as commanding spirits. One particular item known as the “blasting rod” was cut from the Blackthorn tree was used in ritual magic and summoning of base spiritual-intelligences in order for them to obey the instructions of the exorcist, sorcerer or witch that have summoned them to the edge of their protective magical circle in order to do their bidding. The blasting rod in this particular instance being used is used as a sort of “magical threat” to the spirit.
Another type of rod that a few grimoires, such as the famed book: “The Red Dragon” require that the magician cut a virgin hazel wand on a particular day of the week for the purposes of chastising a thief that has stolen your property or an enemy so that they will feel the blows of the rod when you strike the altar.
In various forms of Necromancy, various wands of these sorts are used when summoning the spirits of the departed in order for their attention to be attracted. These rites typically seem to call for wood made of willow or any other wood that is of a more watery nature.
Wands of various types of wood have been used throughout history to make all sorts of magical wands.
A handmade wand can take a bit of work and elbow grease, but I must say that one that has been handmade is better than any pre-manufactured any day.
I personally own a small assortment of wands and rods: some were gifts and some that have been handmade by me for various purposes and magical reasons. They all have their own purpose to them.
For those that wish to cut their own wands and make one, I will give you a couple simple instructions on cutting one… In regards to what you put on the wand or how you must prepare it, I can’t go into those details here. You should follow your own particular magical tradition’s directions for what to do after you find one and drying it out.
Most Wiccan or magical traditions either ascribe wands to either being aligned with the element of fire or the element of air. If your tradition ascribes it to the element of fire, go out and search for a suitable tree branch on a Monday. If your tradition or teachings ascribe the wand to air, go out and search for the branch on a Tuesday.
After you have located the branch, remember where it is at, as you will not be cutting it that day. The following day, you will cut the branch on Tuesday (if your tradition ascribes it to fire, in a Mars hour) or on Wednesday. (if your tradition ascribes it to air, in a Mercury hour)
Why go to all that trouble to figure out the right time to cut it? Well, how important is your magic or witchcraft to you? As I have told my students of the Wicca throughout the years, it is not always “what” you do, but “how” you do it that makes all the difference. If you are too lazy or too impatient to plan things out properly, you should re-assess your reasons for getting into magic in the first place. (There is a time for everything – sometimes that time is now, even if it is not convenient, and sometimes it is a “just wait” even when you feel impatient. It is a wise-witch who can tell the difference!)
The last thing I will say in regards to cutting the wand it is that you should lay it flat to dry for a while before you do any work on it… If you don’t lay it flat, as it dries it will begin to bow. If you work on it too soon and peel the bark off before it is dry, the wood will crack as it begins drying.
So at this point, follow your own traditions instructions for what to do in regards to working on, preparing and sanctifying the wand.
Let’s now think about divining rods of today………
Many folks that have come into the “New Age” consumerism of the day have many options of shiny, fancy-pants tools and gadgets they can buy. This isn’t a bad thing at all – and is a good thing that items are available for folks that do not have access to make their own tools or cut them. I have known witches that live in the dessert; such as Las Vegas, where they don’t have trees to cut a wand. They also can’t grow their own herbs or plants, so they must make do. Everyone has their own skills and we can always either trade, or buy from folks that have skills that we don’t have.
One set of items in particular that have been such a marketable fad for the last 10 years or so has been “Dowsing Rods.”
They are typically thicker pieces of metal bent into the shape of an “L” and sold as a pair. They may have fancy wooden handles on the small part of the “L” that you hold as a handle, or some crystal-encrusted elaborate design. (I don’t understand why folks sometimes feel the need to put so many crystals on such simple objects…. My guess is so that you can charge more for it!)
One of these rods is held in each hand as you slowly walk with them; and as you walk, when it senses what you are looking for the rods will either open further or cross.
I’ve personally had the chance to experiment with homemade dowsing rods with another witch at one time and I will finish this blog post by telling you about it.
Late into the night, she had grabbed a pair of simple dowsing rods that she had made homemade from two old metal curtain hangers and bent them in the appropriate shape so they could work as well as the store bought fancy-pants versions.
The first experiment we did was that she went into the kitchen and she asked me to draw a small magical circle anywhere in the house and she will come find it with the rods.
So I picked out a particular spot, drew a magical circle with my hands and my iron-clad will, walked out of the circle and found a place to sit down. I did it in this manner so that in no way would there be a way to say that she played with the rods or moved them on purpose.
She came out of the kitchen and walked slowly through the entire space. Literally, at the exact spot I drew that magical circle with nothing but my hand and my mind, the rods opened up in order to avoid penetrating the circle as if someone pushed them wide open in order to stop them.
We repeated this exercise again with me drawing a circle at a different spot, with the exact same results being produced.
So we concluded, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with another witch present to observe as a witness, that this spontaneous activity is legit, providing two things are available:
1. That the person doing the divining is patient and psychic enough to possibly pick up on small impressions left in the astral, and/or…….
2. The person drawing the circle is able to physically manifest magical powers and impregnate an object or a defined space with it.
Now, the next experiment was one of telekinesis…..
One witch was to hold the rods while the other witch stood on the other side of the room and with nothing but the powers of your own mind’s will power, force the rods to move by will.
I was up first to do the moving….
She stood across the room and I stood on the opposite end.
This was the first time I had tried doing something like this, so I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect or how to proceed, but I didn’t need directions, just had to go with what I could figure out and see if it would work.
So I decided that I would start by concentrating on just one of the rods, because I didn’t know if I could focus on them both at the same time.
So I focused on the one that was on my right, but in her left hand and sure enough, after about 10 seconds of focus, the rod began to bounce and opened up completely back on her arm.
Next I focused on the one on my left that was in her right hand. The same thing occurred.
We tried this again, same thing happened.
Now on this third attempt, I decided I would try this with both at the same time.
It took me a little extra time to get both rods firm in my mind, and I projected power from my body to the tips of the rods pointing toward me in her hands. Sure enough, both rods began to bounce and they proceeded to bounce their way back toward her arms.
The experiments were a complete success.
A couple weeks later, it was a cold December night and I was sitting by candlelight at the table with various witches of mixed paths and focusing good intentions to other people in need of good thoughts, healing wishes and prayers.
The witch who owned the home had these small metal dowsing rods and gave them to another male witch who was also at the table to use in order to check the energy of the workings being done. I must admit that I found them a tempting distraction from what we were doing….. So I decided that I would “play around” with the rods and see if he could notice.
So I started moving the rods on purpose for him with my mind without anyone’s knowledge around the table. Soon I heard, “Wow, there must have been a lot of energy moving at those few requests.”
I chuckled and said, “Yes, indeed. I bet you on the next one they won’t move at all.”
“Why do you say that?” he said.
“I just have a feeling……”
So sure enough, didn’t move at all.
After a while he had said he wanted to know why they were so erratic. I said I knew why but would tell him later so that we could finish the working.
Well, that stopped it. Because now everyone wanted to know why and wouldn’t move on until I said so.
So I came clean and said I was moving them for fun. So we got a big chuckle, and then we decided we would put the dowsing rods down. Good thing indeed, because I was more interested in playing with them than the petitions I should have been focusing on. (Bad Witch! LOL!) So sometimes all those shiny new-age toys can distract many of us instead of being any help to what we are attempting to do.
That’s another reason why I think spending the time to collect a practical, working set of tools without all the other fancy-pants bobbles is much better than owning three of everything you have bought. I will tell you what – I have one wand in particular that if you run it across someone’s palm, you will feel it without it touching you. Could I do this with a mass manufactured wand? Maybe? But probably not. But by combing the correct combination of wood, metals and effort, it is possible to make one a good conductor of power.
Have any of you had any experience or stories about divining rods, magic wands or telekinesis? If so we would love to hear about it in the comments below!
(And even though my naughty distraction around a table on a cold December night got me pretty distracted – that was at least 4 years ago, so I promise I am more behaved now than I was then!)