Appendix G. Dowsing as an Object of Orgonomic Research by Wilhelm Reich
© Wilhelm Reich 1951 
The discovery of water veins or concealed springs in the earth occupied a peculiar position in natural research for a long time. On the one hand, the use of the dowsing rod was laughed at; ‘divining’, as it is called, was discarded as mystical or charlatanry by ‘rigorous, objective, physical scientific research’.
No serious scientific researcher, so it was said, believed in the fairy tale of the dowsing rod. On the other hand, as is widely known, farmers and mountaineers used the ‘mysterious’ dowsing rod to uncover springs. The dowsing rod furnishes in practice what ‘exact physics’ so far had not succeeded in accomplishing: It discovers water in the ground.
In World War I the dowsing rod was highly esteemed in the dry Alpine areas (‘Korst’). In World War II the English Royal Air Force is said to have used the dowsing rod with great success. But the nature and mechanism of the discovery of water springs by means of the dowsing rod remained a mystery, exposed to the suspicion of charlatanry and mysticism.
In 1949, S.W. Tromp, Professor of Geology in Cairo University, had devoted some effort to the elucidation of the finding of water by way of dowsing.  Orgone Physics came to contribute to the understanding of dowsing in 1946 when I had a man who was supposed to practice dowsing come to Orgonon. The man displayed no special traits of character which would have marked him as a mystic. He explained to me that he had for many years - without asking money for it - been occupied with the discovery of water springs. He had learned the art long ago from a farmer’s wife. He could, so he claimed, find any water vein which was not more than fifteen feet under the surface of the earth.
I had him introduce me to his art while I led him into the neighbourhood of an old, concealed well. He cut a V-shaped branch from a young apple tree and held firmly with both hands so that the point of the V was directed upward and slightly forward; it was about the height of the pit of his stomach.
When he approached the region of the concealed well, the freely-moving end of the branch turned with great force towards his body. One could see that the man had to exert himself strenuously to hold the branch firm. I confess that I had the impression of a mystical process; I did not understand what was happening.
How was it possible that the branch turned at all? The man explained that one must cut the branch fresh from the tree if one wanted to obtain good results. Old, dead branches do not function. I had at first believed that the branch was drawn to the earth in the neighbourhood of the water. This later proved to be erroneous. In dowsing as we saw it, to be sure, it appeared as if the discovery of the water were an accomplishment of the branch. This erroneous conception is at the basis of the mystical interpretation of the process.
The farmers in this neighbourhood call the process of discovering water by means of the dowsing rod ‘divining’, which reveals the religious-mystical explanation clearly enough.
I had the man, with his dowsing branch, walk over a location where a water pipe, which supplied the laboratory with water, was buried five feet under the surface. Exactly at the spot where the pipe was buried, the branch turned downward, even though not as strongly as at the well. The man showed no sign of trance or any similar condition. He only appeared to be very attentively concentrating on the branch.
He walked now, with the branch in his hands, over a part of the terrain around the laboratory. At a certain place the branch began to turn downward. The man followed the direction. The movement of the branch became increasingly strong until finally the man could hardly hold it. “Here, at this spot,” he said confidently, “lies a water source not deeper than fifteen feet. You can depend on that.”
Since the dowsing rod had already twice designated the presence of water unknown to the dowser, I had no reason to doubt that the man was also right this time. Two years later, it turned out that water was accumulating on this spot deep in the ground, due to a special hollow formation of the terrain which permitted water coming down to remain there.
I now took up the rod myself and held it in my hands exactly as he had shown me. I walked across the same terrain, and quickly my doubting academism vanished. There was no doubt about it: The branch moved downward, slowly at first and then more strongly. The same thing happened when I walked over the water pipe in the ground, and when I approached the old well; more weakly at the pipe than at the well. Still I did not understand how this attraction was possible. A half-hour later the riddle was less obscure.
I repeated the procedure several times while I changed the position of the branch. Held laterally to the body, the branch gave no reaction in the same place where it had reacted strongly in the original position in front of the upper abdomen. The movement of the branch thus had something to do with its position relative to the body of the water finder.
The branch reacted weakly or not at all if one held it far away from one’s own body, just as it had little effect when one held it laterally to the body. Now it struck me that the freely moving point of the branch moved most strongly at the height of the pit of the stomach. That could be explained only if the middle of the body moved the branch toward itself.
The finding of the water is thus not at all an accomplishment of the branch or rod. The branch only plays the role of an indicator. It is the organism of the dowser which reacts to the water in the ground. This reaction is expressed in the form of an attraction of the freely moving end of the branch to the body and not to the spring. Thus it became understandable why the branch always turned toward the body and never away from the body to the earth, at least according to this single observation.
I had several experimental workers at the laboratory repeat the procedure. One assistant failed to react at all. Another felt a weak pull in his hands, a resistance of the branch against movement away from the body. A third and a fourth each felt a similar peculiar sensation in the solar plexus , when the branch was attracted.
The next step was the following conclusion: The organism reacts (without any perception) to the spring in the ground with orgonotic excitation, since both the organism and the water are strongly orgonotic and represent two orgonotic systems. It seems as if it were the plexus solaris in particular which reacts with excitation and attraction to the water. And it has been known for a long time that orgone energy and water are mutually attractive. In this way the riddle of the attraction of the branch is solved.
The drawing at the start of the article is to illustrate that the attraction between moving palms,  the scenting of water by dogs and other animals, etc., are akin to these functions.
To summarize: the dowsing rod does not move to the water, but is attracted by the body of the dowser.
Not the dowsing rod, but the bio-energetic life apparatus of the dowser reacts to the water in the ground.
The attractive reaction of the dowser apparently depends upon excitation of the bio-energetic system, which is accompanied by increased attraction in the orgonotic field surrounding the body. The organism and the water react upon one another as any two orgonotic systems with excitation and attraction. The dowsing organism must apparently be orgonotically vigorous in order to react with excitation to water and to attract the dowsing rod. An orgonotic or armoured organisms will get little or no reaction since the attraction in the orgone energy field is too weak to attract the branch.
Thus, again, the bio-energetic structure and sensitivity of the observer enters into the observation and detection of natural functions as a decisive factor.  No mystical operation whatever is here involved.
In order to test the given interpretation of the function of dowsing, I had to be able to reproduce it also without the presence of water. If my explanation were correct. That the dowsing rod effect depends upon the excitation and attraction in the contact of two strong orgonotic systems, then the same effect must result if the organism approaches a strong orgone energy accumulator. This expectation was confirmed:
The branch was attracted to my body when I stepped into the metal-lined orgone energy room. The effect was strengthened, clearly and irrefutably, when I approached the 20-fold orgone energy accumulator from the outside or when I sat in it.
It was a further valid proof off the correctness of the explanation, that the attractive influence in the accumulator was especially strong when I subjectively felt the well-known lumination sensation of ‘prickling’ warmth in my body.
The orgonotic potency of an organism can be roughly measured by means of the lumination of the incandescent bulb at the orgone field meter.  The lumination of the incandescent filament stands in direct relationship to the orgonity of the organism. Our dowser showed the strongest lumination at the orgone energy field meter, fully corresponding to the strength of the attraction of the rod in his hand. My reaction was somewhat weaker, those persons who had not reacted with the dowsing branch showed the weakest lumination of the apparatus.
The heretofore so mysteriously conceived function of dowsing may fall into line with the many other bio-energetic observations already well known for a long time: (a) The clear-cut attraction felt between one’s palms during mutual approach alternating with removal; (b) The ability of certain individuals to attract growing, green branches of certain flowers by approach and removal of their palms; (c) The activation of a Geiger-Müller device with the orgone energy field of the palm in bio-energetically strong organisms; (d) The orgonotic sensation of the presence of unseen persons in the dark. 
I believe that these facts speak a clear enough language, but they should be carefully tested from the standpoint of orgone biophysics. Their function submits without contradiction to the theory of orgone biophysics. The discovery of water sources by means of the dowsing rod, and similar functions, demonstrate the organism and the orgonotic sensation as tools of natural research in the clearest light.
The scientific conception and understanding of the function follow from the knowledge of the specific laws which govern orgone energy, i.e., Life Energy. The orgonotic contact between the living organism and a part of nature gains great importance as a principle of exploration of nature.
 First published by the Orgone Institute Press in Orgone Energy Bulletin (Vol 3, No 3, July 1951, pps 139-143).
 Psychical Physics by S.W. Tromp (Elsevier Publishing Company, New York, 1949).
 The Solar Plexus chakra lies between the Sacral and Heart chakras and begins to open around the age of seven...suggesting an interesting set of dowsing experiments for infant schools. [Editor].
 See X-ray picture of orgonotic excitation in Orgone Energy Bulletin (Number 1/2 p50, 1949).
 Compare the section on Organ Sensation as a Tool of Natural Research in Ether, God and Devil, Chapter III.
 See The Discovery of the Orgone by Wilhelm Reich (Volume II, pps 124-127).
 See The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake...extract included as Appendix H.