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Author Topic: Dowsing and divning rods, what does the Church say?  (Read 5043 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 18, 2013, 11:12:42 AM »

Hey everyone:

So I am wondering what the Church teaches about the use of divining rods and dowsing not for monetary gain but for finding water.   Any thoughts  or real church teaching on this would be appreciated.   My immediate thoughts about this is that it is a big NO NO.

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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 11:59:45 AM »

They are.  The old English term for a dowser was a 'Water Witch.'  It's origins are in the occult: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing

Hey everyone:

So I am wondering what the Church teaches about the use of divining rods and dowsing not for monetary gain but for finding water.   Any thoughts  or real church teaching on this would be appreciated.   My immediate thoughts about this is that it is a big NO NO.

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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 12:25:52 PM »

Hey everyone:

So I am wondering what the Church teaches about the use of divining rods and dowsing not for monetary gain but for finding water.   Any thoughts  or real church teaching on this would be appreciated.   My immediate thoughts about this is that it is a big NO NO.

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Does the Church have a specific teaching on every specific practice man has ever thought of or will think of? Or does the Church give us general doctrinal principles that we have to interpret so we can understand how they apply to a specific scenario?
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 03:05:02 PM »

I remember trying to use a dowsing rod when I was 11.

In the end, I found some water. Problem was, I already knew it was there.
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 03:29:41 PM »

The canons specifically condemn witchcraft, of which water witching is a natural part of.

Here is another resource: http://www.notofthisworldicons.com/ProductDetail.jsp?LISTID=80001061-1272665140, the writings of St. John Chrysostom.


Hey everyone:

So I am wondering what the Church teaches about the use of divining rods and dowsing not for monetary gain but for finding water.   Any thoughts  or real church teaching on this would be appreciated.   My immediate thoughts about this is that it is a big NO NO.

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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 03:55:21 PM »

I think its something associated with Pagan wicca or Witchcraft.
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2013, 03:59:43 PM »

I think its something associated with Pagan wicca or Witchcraft.

lol
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 04:15:32 PM »

This sort of thing was popular among older generations of hill people.  Rather than praying to find water, they would often say some type of incantation that would sometimes mention God or Jesus.  And although it's called 'water witching', I'm positive it's got nothing to do with Wicca.

 Here's an article I found online from my part of the world:
http://www.tuppenceworth.ie/biglife/dowsing.html
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 04:26:17 PM »

It used to be popular here.

The canons specifically condemn witchcraft, of which water witching is a natural part of.

You sure about the 2nd part?
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 04:29:55 PM »

It used to be popular here.

In Greece, as well. People who could do it were considered gifted and (I think) received a blessing before an attempt. In my neck of the woods, the last such were in the time of my grandfather, so I don't know details, but it was not particularly frowned upon (if it was, I'd probably have heard).
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 05:16:22 PM »

I recommend turning on the faucet to find water.  It is much more reliable than divining rods.  Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2013, 05:20:59 PM »

It should be ok imo. It seems like a harmless folk thing/superstition. I always smile when i think how a priest I know and am distantly related to, after seeing his unction and prayers didn't work, took my dad's cousin and her daughter put them in his car and drove them to see an old "wise" woman some 20 km away.
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2013, 08:30:40 PM »

 The church has always taught that superstitions and astrology or similar things are not compatible with Faith in God, and Jesus said you could move a mountain with a mustard seed portion of Faith.

So if you do those other things that are not derived from God, you are saying he is less powerful than those things, thus insulting to God.
I have looked at horoscopes , but I give credit to God if it helps me, which they never do really. I find myself reading them even though I do not believe them,

So it stands to reason that people were willing to try anything when they needed water.

Nowadays there is ground penetrating radar and other scientific ways of finding water which should negate the need for such silliness.
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2013, 11:29:24 AM »

But why are you stating that is has to be associated with magic? Maybe it was traditionally believed to be some kind of natural phenomena? Or a gift from God?

Nowadays there is ground penetrating radar and other scientific ways of finding water which should negate the need for such silliness.

It worked.
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 11:48:50 AM »



Nowadays there is ground penetrating radar and other scientific ways of finding water which should negate the need for such silliness.

Well what if one is out in the sticks without access to the above technology or poor in a third world country?

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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2013, 02:24:39 PM »

One little episode in Fr. Seraphim's biography contains such a person locating a spot for them (St. Hermans) to drill their well . . . when the drilling team shows up they had to drill a lot farther than expected.

"Walking unannounced through the monastery gate with two long metal "antennae" sticking out of him, the dowser presented quite a strange spectacle."

"The dowser, Fr. Seraphim recorded, "turned out to be a religious man, who regards his work not as 'witching', but simply as a natural talent given by God, and he said a prayer before beginning work."

p. 766
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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2013, 03:06:47 PM »

There is opinion and there is there mind of the Church, as St John of Shanghai reminded us, the two should not be confused.
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2013, 12:02:59 AM »



Nowadays there is ground penetrating radar and other scientific ways of finding water which should negate the need for such silliness.

Well what if one is out in the sticks without access to the above technology or poor in a third world country?

Viking
To Michael Kalina , The issue is that you can pray to God and have faith that you have received it without a divining. When you start having faith in other sources of power is the issue. The church warns against these things.

I am poor in the richest country  Grin

The point is that there are options that were not there back when divining sticks were popular. There are people who will help us get water usually. Also the fact that we can communicate our troubles such as drought , means we we can help others at long distances now.

Also I remember seeing an old western show where the man who was able to divine for water wanted the town to pay him a large sum of money for his service . So the poor pioneers also had the same problems of no water , however they had little possibility for outside help that exists today.
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2013, 12:33:37 AM »

To Michael Kalina , The issue is that you can pray to God and have faith that you have received it without a divining. When you start having faith in other sources of power is the issue. The church warns against these things.

On what basis do you think people back then believed finding water came from "other sources of power" and not from God?

BTW my euchologion has a prayer before digging a well.

edit:

In a discussion on the very same issue someone wrote Fr. Rose once hired such a man to find water for him.

And what about Ex. 17, 1-6?
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2013, 12:50:57 AM »

Yes, read the wiki article about water witching.

It used to be popular here.

The canons specifically condemn witchcraft, of which water witching is a natural part of.

You sure about the 2nd part?
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« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2013, 12:58:54 AM »

When Fr. Ephrem acquired the property for St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona, there was some question as to where to drill for a water source.  Someone brought in an engineering team, which recommended a spot, but Fr. Ephrem said, "No, dig here," and indicated another place.  The place the engineers tried was a dry hole; Fr. Ephrem's spot struck a very productive source, which has supplied the monastery ever since.
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« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2013, 01:01:01 AM »

Yes, read the wiki article about water witching.

It used to be popular here.

The canons specifically condemn witchcraft, of which water witching is a natural part of.

You sure about the 2nd part?

I'm interested in Orthodox sources, not in the wiki.
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« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2013, 09:15:56 AM »

To Michael Kalina , The issue is that you can pray to God and have faith that you have received it without a divining. When you start having faith in other sources of power is the issue. The church warns against these things.

On what basis do you think people back then believed finding water came from "other sources of power" and not from God?

BTW my euchologion has a prayer before digging a well.

edit:

In a discussion on the very same issue someone wrote Fr. Rose once hired such a man to find water for him.

And what about Ex. 17, 1-6?

Well they would ask a priest to help instead of a person with a stick who traditionally was not professing any help from prayer . 

There was no scientific basis for this practice, so it was considered a black art,if not specifically sanctioned or overseen by the church.
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« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2013, 09:17:34 AM »

Well they would ask a priest to help instead of a person with a stick who traditionally was not professing any help from prayer .  

There was no scientific basis for this practice, so it was considered a black art,if not specifically sanctioned or overseen by the church.

Can you prove the bolded parts somehow?

Prayer for finding water in euchologion hints it wasn't like that.
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« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2013, 10:04:45 AM »

I've known a couple dowsers in my short time on earth and both emphatically stated that they viewed their ability to find water as a gift from God and that they were merely "sensitive" to its existence.  Both prayed to God "through Jesus,mind you" (both were hardcore Baptists) to "guide their hands, hearts, and minds" in their search.

I have no doubt in my mind that they were not "witches" engaged in "black arts." 

They were also more closely following the Way than the vast majority of supposed Orthodox Christians I've ever met.
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« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2013, 10:34:22 AM »

I think there is a very modern assumption running under here that there are only two ways of understanding or harnessing the natural world- through the modern natural sciences or through divine gifts, and anything falling outside these two must be witchcraft. Setting aside whether dowsing actually works, it is one of countless traditional "sciences" of the world which wouldn't stand up to modern scientific rigor but which are not necessarily sorcerous or demonic.
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« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2013, 06:58:31 PM »

Lots of interesting replies here. Actually the reason I bought this up is that I have used them in the past to find buried sewer lines out to the septic system. The house was built back in the 50s and I had no idea where they might be.  All I know is that it worked and I found the line.  The whole thing was kind of creepy and gave me the willies.

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« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2013, 03:07:01 AM »

i think you have your own answer.
when God gives you divine knowledge (through the church), it is not 'creepy'.
when in doubt, don't do it!
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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2013, 06:58:18 PM »

I said in my original post that If they are derived from other sources, I did not say they were.

But would you go to a church which was run by these guys who claim to be able to do all sorts of things such as find water with a forked stick, even if they claim to be using the power of God?

What does the church really say, anyone ask a priest for the official Church policy.

Again I admit I am prone to read my horoscope, so I admit being a hypocrite, although I keep in mind it is just for fun and try not to put any real faith in it.

But if you need water and it works I would do it too.
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« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2013, 05:56:05 AM »

I said in my original post that If they are derived from other sources, I did not say they were.

But would you go to a church which was run by these guys who claim to be able to do all sorts of things such as find water with a forked stick, even if they claim to be using the power of God?

The Church was OK with that and used such people.

I go to a Church run by people who claim they can magically change bread into God's Flesh.
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« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2013, 06:50:09 AM »

Yes, read the wiki article about water witching.

It used to be popular here.

The canons specifically condemn witchcraft, of which water witching is a natural part of.

You sure about the 2nd part?

I'm interested in Orthodox sources, not in the wiki.
Please remember this the next time you reference a source which is not Orthodox.
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« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2013, 06:52:16 AM »

I said in my original post that If they are derived from other sources, I did not say they were.

But would you go to a church which was run by these guys who claim to be able to do all sorts of things such as find water with a forked stick, even if they claim to be using the power of God?

The Church was OK with that and used such people.

I go to a Church run by people who claim they can magically change bread into God's Flesh.
They are wrong.
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« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2013, 08:33:13 AM »

I said in my original post that If they are derived from other sources, I did not say they were.

But would you go to a church which was run by these guys who claim to be able to do all sorts of things such as find water with a forked stick, even if they claim to be using the power of God?

The Church was OK with that and used such people.

I go to a Church run by people who claim they can magically change bread into God's Flesh.

If the people at your church are telling you that magic is changing the bread into God's Flesh, you should probably start looking for a new church.  Wink
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« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2013, 12:37:43 PM »

I said in my original post that If they are derived from other sources, I did not say they were.

But would you go to a church which was run by these guys who claim to be able to do all sorts of things such as find water with a forked stick, even if they claim to be using the power of God?

The Church was OK with that and used such people.

I go to a Church run by people who claim they can magically change bread into God's Flesh.

Really?

What Faith is this church?
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« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2013, 01:13:10 PM »

I've got to say that this topic isn't exactly on a list of important stuff to ponder. It the kind of topic that I remember one usually frenzied parishioner would call my dad (a priest) about on a Saturday night just like clockwork or during Holy Week or Christmas Eve and insist that he needed THE answer right away. Caller ID came too late for my dad....  Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2013, 02:09:57 PM »

I said in my original post that If they are derived from other sources, I did not say they were.

But would you go to a church which was run by these guys who claim to be able to do all sorts of things such as find water with a forked stick, even if they claim to be using the power of God?

The Church was OK with that and used such people.

I go to a Church run by people who claim they can magically change bread into God's Flesh.

Really?

What Faith is this church?

Just for the record, I believe that Michal was simply trying to make a point, and certainly not actually inferring that the Eucharist is "magic".  

He is, without a doubt, an Orthodox Christian and was simply trying to make a point using sarcasm.

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« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2013, 02:32:12 PM »

Accordding to some posters here, there are only two methods of understanding world: the one of modern science, and the one of dubious magic. During Liturgy bread changes into the Body of Christ, doesn't it? On the other hand there are no scientific proofs for that. It means it must magic.

Or am I wrong in understanding that way of reasoning?
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« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2013, 02:56:47 PM »

I think that is a false dilemma.  Perhaps some people would argue that, but that sounds more of an atheistic position to me than anything else.

Regardless of whether it actually works or it is just bogus, I think whether it is wrong or not depends on what you believe is happening when you do it.  If you are using an object (particularly an un-consecrated one) to supernaturally obtain information that only God presumably knows without His direction to do so, I think that is wrong.  If you think it is helping you identify low points in the ground that water might run to, that would not be bad (it might not be efficient or correct, but it isn't evil)
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« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2013, 03:35:35 PM »


I know next to nothing about diving rods....but, the person who is doing the divining....are they saying prayers...asking for divine intersession....?

How do THEY think they are finding the water?

Certainly it's not the tree branch that is finding it alone...
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« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2013, 03:47:07 PM »

Accordding to some posters here, there are only two methods of understanding world: the one of modern science, and the one of dubious magic. During Liturgy bread changes into the Body of Christ, doesn't it? On the other hand there are no scientific proofs for that. It means it must magic.

Or am I wrong in understanding that way of reasoning?

I think that you are correct.  That is how the "world" sees it.
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« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2013, 03:50:22 PM »

If anyone in the Church is stupid enough to use a stick to find water, then they probably deserve whatever happens to them.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2013, 03:58:00 PM »

If anyone in the Church is stupid enough to use a stick to find water, then they probably deserve whatever happens to them.

 Grin

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« Reply #42 on: May 22, 2013, 04:01:25 PM »


I know next to nothing about diving rods....but, the person who is doing the divining....are they saying prayers...asking for divine intersession....?

How do THEY think they are finding the water?

Certainly it's not the tree branch that is finding it alone...

Dowsing is a craft spread across various cultures (and religions), so the particulars vary. What remains constant, at least as far as I've been able to find, is the dowsers' belief that their gift comes from Deity (whatever their understanding of it is) and is meant to be put to the service of their community. It is considered particularly bad form to charge for their efforts.
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« Reply #43 on: May 22, 2013, 04:03:56 PM »


I know next to nothing about diving rods....but, the person who is doing the divining....are they saying prayers...asking for divine intersession....?

How do THEY think they are finding the water?

I'll ask some friends that are into folklore and ethnography. That's the most interesting thing here.
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« Reply #44 on: May 22, 2013, 05:09:27 PM »

Accordding to some posters here, there are only two methods of understanding world: the one of modern science, and the one of dubious magic. During Liturgy bread changes into the Body of Christ, doesn't it? On the other hand there are no scientific proofs for that. It means it must magic.

Or am I wrong in understanding that way of reasoning?
Yes, you are wrong in your understanding.
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