by James A. Sullivan


While I realize that most people who find their way to this publication must be quite open-minded souls in the first place, I'd still like to throw in a few words about what must appear to be extremely odd phenomena to the uninitiated, as I was before any of these things happened. I have often asked myself why these things happened to me, while few other people I know have reported similar events. After much reflection, I can only guess that an open mind and a willingness to follow life where it leads me has had a major influence. The pursuit of knowledge requires not only an intent to learn, but also that you act upon that intent and put your personal energy into the pursuit. Reading and discussion are fine for getting your bearings and setting your course, but you've got to get out there and DO things to get anywhere. I guess the active principle here has been aptly summed up as follows: Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, KNOCK and the door shall be opened unto ye. You must assume an active role to do the "knocking."

In the Beginning

It was at this time of year about fifteen years ago that I had my first exposure to dowsing. The local power utility sent their people to replace an aging utility pole on my property. I spied one of the workers walking back and forth across my yard holding what I later learned were L-rods. He was trying to locate my buried water pipes in order to assure he didn't drill through them with the huge power auger they had brought for installing the new pole. I was fascinated and questioned him at length about what he was doing. After some explanation he had me try my hand at it. I had a hard time getting the rods to stay level and didn't get much out of the experiment beyond an intense desire to know how it worked. A need for dowsing didn't present itself for years, but that initial lesson laid like a dormant seed in my memory, waiting for the right conditions to bring that "seed" out of dormancy.

Dormancy was broken for me one day when I was working on something out in the yard and I dropped some critical parts into the grass, or so I thought. After much unsuccessful thrashing about looking for the part where I was sure it must have landed, it occurred to try the dowsing technique. I needed the parts desperately and time was running out. It has occurred to me since then that need plays a crucial role in dowsing, perhaps by merely focusing our intent more acutely than in instances where we do not have such a pressing need to know. I made a crude pendulum with some thread and a hex nut. The pendulum repeatedly indicated a location of the missing part several feet from where I had been working and where I considered it at all possible the part could have landed. For this reason, I refused to even look in the indicated place. Instead, I repeated the search from different directions, but always got the same indication. After ten minutes or so of this I became disgusted and began walking away in resignation. As I passed the indicated spot I decide to have a look just for the heck of it and was flabbergasted to find the part, right where the dowsing said it was!

When I saw the part I felt an immediate "shock", not unlike receiving a small electrical shock, hence the origin of the word, I suspect. The shock was caused by the severe blow my belief system took that day. It was the beginning of many wonderful such blows my belief system would take in the ensuing years. One such blow came about when I used dowsing to correctly dowse the sex, birthdate and birth weight of our first son, Ian. I began dowsing several months before his birth and learned that the baby was going to be a boy. This was confirmed via ultrasound a month or so later. Further dowsing revealed his birthdate to be December 3rd, and his birth weight to be 7 pounds, 6 ounces. I also learned a time of birth, but for some odd reason this changed every time I redowsed it, while the other information stayed the same. Ian was indeed born on December 3rd and dropped a few jaws in the delivery room (including mine!) when he tipped the scales at 7 pounds 6 ounces. The nurses came over to me and started rubbing me all over, like I had some magical properties they could rub off for themselves.

That success was a blow to my ideas about time. Can we predict the future, or do we actually make it conform to our desires? I often wondered if Jules Verne predicted the Moon landing, or caused it by writing his story for would-be engineers to read in their childhood. The odd part about Ian's birth was that unbeknownst to anyone ex-utero, he had the unbilical wrapped tightly around his ankles. As he moved his legs he would pinch off the circulation, kind of like stepping on his own airhose, causing his heart rate to plummet. The nurses picked this up on their fetal monitor after my wife's water broke and they rushed her in to the hospital and induced the delivery. I think this is why I was unable to nail down an exact time of birth. While some things are obviously predictable, the actions of people are not. Having free will, the doctors and nurses and my wife and I had considerable influence on the outcome of the birth. It required a certain exact set of steps to occur before any one outcome became realized, and the steps we took immediately before Ian's birth caused the hospital staff to become aware of his predicament and take steps to assure his safety. Therefore, while things seem predictable, there is always an unpredictable aspect, especially when people are involved.

Predicting Ian's birth set me on a much more active exploration of the dowsing phenomena. I tried various experiments, mostly akin to predicting which playing card would next be dealt from a deck, or which paper cup had the penny under it. These kinds of experiments turned out rather inconclusive and proved to be rather boring after but a few attempts. I had some remarkable success finding lost objects and even directed my parents to a lost pair of glasses while talking to them over the phone. They were twenty miles away and I drew a crude map of their location on a piece of paper and the pendulum indicated exactly where the missing glasses were. Another remarkable find was the camera we found in a place where neither of us would ever have expected. Dowsing indicated that the missing camera was in my wife's car. She went out and looked but said she couldn't find it anywhere. I checked again and the pendulum again insisted that the car was where the camera was. I asked my wife again, and she stated that she looked everywhere except in her hairdressing bag, because it just couldn't be in there. It was. The only thing we can think of is that the baby must have dropped it in the bag and my wife zipped it up without looking in. This instance was interesting because it confirmed to me that someone with no prior knowledge of the event could determine the events, even if the person who lost the item was unaware of its location. I had no opportunity to put things in my wife's hairdressing bag, nor was it my habit to ever look in her car for anything, much less inside the bag. Things were getting "curiouser and curiouser" with dowsing, and things got ever more so when I took my dowsing...


I had been trying unsuccessfully to grow a row of evergreen tree seedlings in my lawn. Every Autumn I would plant a 100 foot long row of seedlings spaced about five feet apart. Every Spring I would mow the dead seedlings down. It always made me wonder why almost all of the trees were either completely dried up, or nearly so, while one or two remained in robust health. I could find no common factor that would explain this until I read an article in the American Society of Dowsers' Quarterly Digest. The article explained that trees had what was called an "energy doorway" on them. This doorway formed when the tree sprouted and served as an opening through which "cosmic energy" entered the tree and fostered its growth. This doorway naturally aligned itself Eastward, since this cosmic energy came from the East. When transplanting trees, it is important to align the seedling's energy doorway to the East to promote healthy growth of the tree. Misalignments caused interruption of this energy until such time as the tree could reorient its doorway Eastward, should it survive that long. I decided to check my row of seedlings and was amazed at what I found. Before I got very far down the row, some things became apparent. First of all, the energy doorways of the few healthy trees were aligned almost perfectly to the East. The doorways of the much more numerous dead and dying trees were not. Further, there was a direct correlation between the state of health of the seedling and the proximity of its alignment to magnetic East. The farther out of alignment the doorway was, the poorer the state of the seedling's health. I was further surprised that I could still dowse the alignment of trees that I considered to be completely dead.

I decided to try an experiment to determine if I could bring the trees back to full health by realigning them. I dug up the ailing trees, and using a compass as a guide, replanted them in exactly the same location, but with their energy doorways aligned to magnetic East. My family and I went on vacation a couple weeks later, and when I returned, I was distressed to see that the entire row of trees was gone! I had paid my nephew in advance to keep the lawn mowed and suspected what had happened. I called him at home and thanked him for doing such a good job with the lawn, and before sayiing "Goodbye", I asked him what happened to the row of little trees. He said "What row of little trees?" Case closed. So much for my experiment!

I was, however, determined to get to the bottom of the energy doorway enigma one way or the other, so that Autumn I ordered another bundle of trees, and this time I took the time to plant each seedling with its doorway aligned to the East. That was quite a few years ago, and I haven't lost a single tree in the row save one that was physically broken, I believe, by something stepping on it. I managed to confirm the rejeuvenating effect of moving a tree the following Spring. I have gotten into the habit of buying live, potted evergreen trees instead of cut trees for use as a Christmas tree. As I got older it seemed a shame to me to celebrate Christmas by killing a tree. I usually pick up a four to five foot evergreen at the local nursery after Halloween, before the nurseries around here close for the Winter. The prices are low and you can get a nice spruce or pine for about the same price or cheaper than a tree. The tree is left outdoors in its pot away from direct Sunlight until a week or two before Christmas. We then bring it in and trim it as usual. Although the trees are a bit smaller than you'd normally buy in a cut tree, they smell just as good, don't drop needles all over the house, and when the holiday is past, you still have a healthy tree to either plant in your own yard or give away as a gift. Further, you aren't contributing to the pitiful sight of dead trees lying along the roadside and eventually clogging up the landfills.

It was one such tree, a Colorado Blue Spruce, that I planted outdoors in what must have been an awful spot. By late Spring, it was turning yellow and brown and the needles were dropping off from the top down. By the time I decided to act, the top 1/3 of the tree was completely dead and dried up without so much as one needle remaining. The rest of the tree was turning yellow and only the bottom 1/3 of the tree was still green. I quickly dowsed the tree and found out that not only was it badly misaligned, having its doorway aimed almost due North, but that there was considerable interference at that site with roots from nearby locust trees.

I immediately dowsed a new site for the tree and replanted it, realigning the doorway in the process. The tree stabilized immediately, and due to its poor health I added a French Coil to help it try and survive the Winter. I was totally floored in the Spring when I decided to check on my little friend and found the most incredible new growth I've ever seen on a tree that size... It was almost grotesque! I'm not sure how much influence the French coil had on the results, but was pleased to see that the tree was definitely benefitting from something I did for it. These tree experiments naturally led to similar ones out in…

The Garden

Being an avid gardener since I was a little tyke, it didn't take long before the dowsing rod was searching out energies in the garden. I read the Perelandra gardening books by Machaelle Wright and decide to build a garden according to her guidelines. I dowsed everything: the size and shape of the garden, which was to be circular to "keep the energy from running out the ends of the rows", row spacing, soil amendments, and the exact varieties of plants as well as exactly which quadrant of which row they were to be planted in. This took quite a while, but resulted in one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever had. Flowers, herbs and vegetables were intergrown. The garden was aligned to the cardinal points, and the rows were divided into quarters at North, East, South and West.

Once everything was up, there was an orderliness and symmetry that was very pleasing to the eye. I was also told by my dowsing to add specific amounts of greensand and other soil amendments which were foreign to me. I had above average crops and below average damage due to insects and critters. Along with these "normal" garden ingredients, I planted crystals in the center of the garden and was directed to invite the local nature spirits to join into a co-creative effort with me and, subsequently, I had an extremely unusual thing happen to me in relation to these spirits. I had become used to thanking the spirits for the bounty of the garden, and even set aside a section of my headgerow for their use, vowing to never enter the area without first asking their permission. At the end of the season I cleaned out the old growth, turned the soil and prepared it for the coming year and performed a closing ceremony as outlined in Wright's book. I then retired to the house for Winter and forgot about gardening. Spring was very hectic. We were new parents and the garden laid neglected as March turned into April which turned into May. I was sitting at the kitchen table, talking to my wife when I looked up and saw what I can only discribe as a sparkler, suspended in the air about arms-length in front of me and slowly drifting in a perfectly straight line away from me at a slight angle. It so startled me that I just sat there and watched it for a few moments before I thought to ask my wife, "What the heck is THAT!" She looked where she thought I was looking and said she didn't see anything. I kept my eyes on it and described to her where it was, and again she said she couldn't see anything there. She got up and stood behind me to look where I was looking, but still she couldn't see it. It was floating very slowly, about an inch a second, but not like it was floating on air. There was no bobbing or lateral movement. It was stone solid and just seemed to be drawing away from me. It appeared like the sparkles from a 4th of July sparkler, but smaller and pure white in color. It traveled about 2 or 3 feet before it faded from sight.

I was stunned. As my wife and I discussed it, I was looking towards where it disappeared when I refocused my eyes to what was outside the window in that exact direction, and there was the garden! It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps I was being summoned to get crackin' on the garden. I'd never before seen anything so strange. I didn't have any experience with nature spirits at the time, but I soon met someone who had, and he filled me in a bit on the nature of…


It never occurred to me until I began writing this stuff down how much "synchronicity" was involved, but now I can see that it was no accident that I met "Carl" at this time. He was a very unique person, into the Bible, martial arts, witchcraft and definitely into earth energies. He was extremely well read and especially versed in paganism. We were riding our bicycles one warm Summer day and after I confided in him what I'd been up to in the garden and what I'd thought I'd seen that day in the kitchen, I was rewarded for the effort by his telling me what he knew about power spots and vortexes.

He not only knew a lot about them, but visited them frequently and he invited me to go along with him to visit one. We went to a local park where he let me stand in a vortex. While I could see nothing unusual, the place had an extraordinary beauty and unearthly "feel" to it. The feeling I got while on the vortex was like an energy rushing through all my senses, making my ears ring at an extremely high pitch and my head feel light, almost to the point of giddiness. I also sensed a pressure-band around my head, which gave me the impression I was wearing a hat, though I wasn't. It was here that he told me of an even bigger vortex at a larger park South of town. He called the place…

The Devil's Bathtub

In a local park South of where I live is a place called The Devil's Bathtub. It is a pond in a very narrow steep-sided valley. I'm not sure of the geology of the site, but this area was once covered by glaciers and I'm sure they had something to do with the origin of the pond. Anyway, I managed to get a topographic map of the park and located the pond. I had a new hiking and biking friend and I decided to invite him along to check out the vortex. He wasn't "into" dowsing or earth energies or anything, so I have to give him excellent marks for listening so attentively to my spiel on what was at the park and what I planned to do there. He agreed to go along and we met the following weekend and drove to the site. We parked the car and hiked the 200 yards or so down the steep wooded sides of the valley.

It was wet and there was quite a bit of mud along the trail and even more at the bottom. The pond filled almost the entire bottom of the valley, leaving only a narrow strip five to ten yards wide to walk around the pond. The early Summer had been wet and the ground was saturated around the pond. I had to jump from one grassy clump to another to keep from getting my feet wet. I dowsed to locate the exact center of the vortex which turned out to be on the exact edge of the pond itself. I had to fight through bushes and ferns but finally got on top of the vortex.

I yelled back to my friend to give me a few minutes and I closed my eyes as I immediately felt the same buzzing and pressure I'd felt at the first vortex I'd been to. This time, however, the effect was much more pronounced. After about ten minutes the pressure in my head became so great that I began getting a headache. I decided I'd had enough and hopped my way back out to where my friend was patiently waiting. I didn't tell him what happened. Jokingly, I asked him if he wanted to try, and he surprised me by saying, "Sure!". Up until now he hadn't really shown much interest, but he took the chance of getting wet and hopped his way back in the same way I had come out. I yelled directions to him until he was on target, then just told him to close his eyes and see if he felt anything. I told him I was going to do some more dowsing nearby and that I'd be back in a few minutes. He said, "Ok.", and I left to dowse a location a couple of hundred feet away.

I'd decided to try and locate how many streams or leys were feeding The Devil's Bathtub and how deep they were. This took me about ten minutes, and I took several opportunities to glance back at my friend to see how he was doing. He never moved. By the time I was done and had made my way back to the vortex, I was beginning to wonder if my friend was OK. He was standing perfectly motionless. Almost too motionless. I waited another minute or two, but seeing no hint that he was aware I was back I decided to call to him. When I called his name, he threw his head back with a start and let out a yell. He quickly turned on his heel and made his way toward me, waving his arms and exclaiming "Geez! I gotta get the hell outta here!". He was smiling in a sort of embarrassed manner, so I knew he wasn't kidding me.

I asked him what was wrong and he said he was unable to move. He said he wanted to move for the longest time but that his feet were "frozen". It was only when I yelled to him that I broke whatever force was holding his attention. He didn't say much more about it, but I could tell he was thinking real hard about the experience. I'm planning another trip to The Devil's Bathtub to see if I can identify what kind of energy is coming from the vortex, compared to the energies we found the day we built…

The Labyrinth

My wife and I have a small group of like-minded friends who meet monthly to socialize and discuss things esoteric. Most of the group met at a hands-on-healing class, and more people joined in the fun as word got around. Since one common element almost all the members shared, aside from an open mind, was an ability to sense subtle energies coursing through the human body, I wanted to see if they could sense earth energies as well. So for one of our meetings I constructed a labyrinth after a design seen on Sig Lonegren's Mid-Atlantic Geomancy webpage How to make one .

I used dowsing to locate and lay out the labyrinth. Once it was constructed, I used Joey Korn's methods to call the Powers Of Nature to converge upon the labyrinth and balance and enhance the energies for the purposes of our group. Lastly, I followed the advice of Irish dowser Billy Gawn and located other energy spots in my 2-acre yard. I located some ley upshoots and downshoots as well as the ley that ran between them. I also located a powerspot that had formed in the labyrinth's goal. I could easily feel the different energies of the various spots and was excited to see what others in the group would feel.

On the day of the meeting, I gave the group a brief explanation of what a labyrinth was and what ley lines and power spots were, but avoided suggesting what they might experience at those places. I directed them to take turns on the spots and to walk the labyrinth. In the debriefing afterward I was pleased that so many of them had no trouble at all feeling the energies. It was interesting too that people seem to have a polarity. Of all the people who sensed the different energies at upshoots and downshoots, some people felt better on the upshoot, others felt better on the downshoot. In healing circles, it is known that some people are yang types and others are yins. Raising yang energy will make one type feel better, the other type will feel worse. It seems that these earth energies have this yin/yang property to them. When I stepped on a downshoot I feel a calming feeling, while stepping on an upshoot is unpleasantly energizing for me. It seems I am more of a yin type person who cannot tolerate the excessive yang energy at upshoots.

The group members also had a wide range of experiences walking the labyrinth. Some had flashbacks to pivotal events in their lives. Some smelled smells or heard voices. Many reported feeling very strong energies inside the labyrinth. Everyone enjoyed the energies and some have begun new explorations with the energies on their own. I personally had a very odd experience that I believe was caused by my prolonged exposure to all the earth energies over the course of setting up the labyrinth and energy spots for the meeting, as well as while walking the others through the course. As we were about to finish, I heard our children yelling loudly on the other side of our house where their swingset was located. Not wanting to disturb the people walking the labyrinth, I ran to tell the kids to quiet down.

As I ran towards the house, craning my neck to see around the corner, I suddenly jumped aside as I became aware of something in my path. I was aWestruck to see the energy field of our house projected a foot or two out from the physical corner of the house into my path. Since learning how to see auras, I have been able to do so before, but only while deliberately looking for them. This instance was one of spontaneously being able to see the energies and I was very excited by it. It's just one more piece of the puzzle. A puzzle that is starting to "gel" for me…

As Above, So Below

What is starting to "gel" for me is the interconnectedness of everything. There are correspondences everywhere, from the vortexes of great galaxies to the rotations of atmospheric pressure systems to the uncurling of a newly sprouted seed. Billy Gawn's investigations into the structure of ley lines revealed paired arrangements of tiny counter-rotating vortices. In my Qi Gong Healing class, we learn to sense and manipulate the subtle energies that flow through the meridians in the human body. According to Eastern metaphysics, these subtle energies enter the body through spinning vortexes called chakras.

In researching these energies I came across an article that detailed current medical research that won UCLA researcher Paul Boyer the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His work concerned investigating how ATP (adenosine triphosphate) -- the cellular energy that drives all biological reactions -- is formed. "An interesting speculation is that catalysis is accompanied by a rotational movement of catalytic subunits relative to a noncatalytic core." This remark suggests to me that the vortex is not only the driving force behind the galaxies but is also the spark of life in our bodies.

Working with earth energies has shown me that we have at our core the same energy source that nourishes the Earth. This energy cannot only be dowsed, but can be seen as well, and it appears the same whether you're looking at a living person or an inanimate object. While there are obviously an infinite number of variations of these energies, it's reassuring to know that the same source that provides for the motions of the planets also provides for me.

Next >>