Recently, we came across this image and were completely stumped. What in the world could it be? The image circulated around the All Cute offices while we considered all of the different uses for what seemed like a very regular tree branch.
After a day of wondering what in the world it could be used for, we were finally given the answer! This branch was used for a practice stemming back all the way to the 1500s. The practice was called “Water Dowsing.”
If you aren’t familiar with the term Water Dowsing or the dowsing tool itself, perhaps you know it by one of its other names: a diviner, doodlebug, well witch, or water-finder. This tool, if you haven’t guessed by now, is used to find water. Of course, this is more of an old wives’ tale but, nevertheless, it was a common practice years ago.
The Y-shaped branch was used by an individual who would hold one branch of the stick in each hand with their palms facing upward. The stem of the “Y” (aka the bottom of the branch), then is tilted toward the Earth at a 45-degree angle. Once the tool is in position, the individual walks back and forth.
While the individual is walking back and forth, they are looking for the bottom of the Y to rotate toward the ground. The old wives’ tale states that the vibrations indicated at the bottom of the Y promise signs of water underneath the ground.
So you might be asking yourself, “How did this get started?” Well, years ago, in the 1500s, dowsing with metal rods was used to find metals in the ground. As time went on, the practice was used for finding water for new homeowners in rural areas.
The thought was that drilling for water in the wrong spot could get very expensive very quickly. By implementing the water dowser technique, the location for water could be found much more easily and with little money and time spent in the search.
The somewhat-myth was busted when more advanced technology revealed that water is underneath most of the Earth’s surface. Nevertheless, the tool itself was pretty ingenious in its day. In fact, sometimes water drilling companies will still use the water-dowsing technique before they drill just to ensure that they’re getting any water at all!