This letter is in reference to the Missourian's article "Talking to the water" in Thursday's newspaper. Dowsing or "water witching" is effective because what moves the sticks or pendulum is not some mysterious energy, but the response is due to very fine muscle movements within our bodies. Our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual natures speak to anyone who pays attention. Ask any yoga master.
Another way of dowsing is called "muscle testing" where you might place a sugar cube in one hand and test the muscle response. Nearly 100 percent of the time the person will "dowse" as weak.
When a water dowser uses the sticks, he is, in effect, asking the muscles to reveal a large body of water beneath his feet. His muscle response will weaken slightly above a large body of water and the sticks (which magnify the response) drop down. "Yes and no" questions are answered in the same way because the muscles will become weakened in the presence of a lie.
Christianity has in the past been in error about the "evil" of dowsing because the Bible has many, many instances of using dowsing techniques.Two of the best examples are when Moses and Aaron dowse in the desert and when the disciples (after the death of Christ) dowse who would be the disciple to replace Judas. The warnings in the Bible refer to a type of communication with Earth spirits as opposed to the Holy Spirit. The Bible warns us to "test the spirits," but enjoins us that the Holy Spirit would always be our guide.
For people interested in dowsing, I would suggest contacting The American Society of Dowsers in Danville, Vt. Here in Columbia, we have a nonprofit library that loans dowsing books and offers classes: Sophia Johanson Library and Press, 875-8024.
Julia Williams is a Columbia resident.