Glossary of Dowsing Terms S-Z

Secondary Water

This is water that forms the normal water table of the Earth. It is derived from rain water and other aspects of the hydrological cycle at the surface of the Earth.

See also: Primary Water.

Schumann Resonance

Schumann resonances are extremely low-frequency (ELF) global electromagnetic resonances, excited by lightning discharges in the cavity formed between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere. The base frequency is around 7.83 Hz but there are several higher harmonics. As the range of frequencies is largely congruent with human brain waves, it is thought that disturbances of the Schumann Resonances may be a component in Geopathic Stress. Several commercial GS-reducing devices are based upon Schumann wave generation.

Serpent Line

Lines of energy found on the surface of the earth by dowsers, and are unlike energy leys in that they do not run straight. They can be of any length from a few feet to many miles. The term was coined by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst. The Michael and Mary lines, which cross England from Cornwall to the East coast of Norfolk, are described in their book ‘The Sun and the Serpent’, and the Apollo and Athena lines that cross Europe are described in their book ‘The Dance of The Dragon’. Other pairs of lines have been found, such as Bel and Elen associated with the Belinus Line, documented by Gary Biltcliffe and Caroline Hoare in ‘The Spine of Albion‘. There is a tendency nowadays to refer to these long-distance polarised pairs as Dragon Lines.

Short Pendulum

The pendulum used by most dowsers. It usually has a cord of about 15-20cm long. It is used to reply to specific questions posed by the dowser, either by oscillating or gyrating clockwise or anticlockwise. The interpretation of the response varies with individual dowsers. The form of the question asked has to be chosen with great care, or an ambiguous reply may be received.


Dowsable lines that are found parallel to and some distance away from a main energy line or underground stream of water. This term is interchangeable with parallels (Underwood).

Siphon, Siphonic System

Interaction between a rising water source (Blind Spring) and a Downshaft can create a circulating water flow or siphon. More complex interactions are also possible. Sinking a borehole into a siphonic system runs the risk of breaking the siphonic effect and losing the water.

Site Dowsing

Dowsing on the expected or desired site for the object or information sought: also called survey dowsing or on-site dowsing.


These may be clockwise or anticlockwise in direction of flow. They are formed by a line spiralling either in towards or out from a point. There can be differing numbers of coils but they are generally of uneven number, the most common being seven.

Close examination may show that a spiral is the plan view of an energy cone or vortex. Spirals are often connected to each other by other gently curving energy lines.

Spirit Line

a) A term sometimes applied to straight alignments whose chief purpose is thought to be for shamanic journeying. (P Devereux)

b) Serpentine energy currents starting and terminating in a tight spiral form, connecting graves with the place of residence of the deceased. (D Cowan)

Spirit of Place

See: Earth Spirit


Springs are the point where water, primary or secondary, naturally wells out of the ground. The water from some springs is considered to be of benefit and assist in healing. Others due to their location and quality of water are called holy wells.

Standing Wave

Sometimes called stationary wave. Produced by the combination of two other waves moving in opposite directions, each having the same amplitude and frequency.


Energy strength can be determined by using a graduated scale or any other form of measurement when dowsing.

Survey Dowsing

Where dowsing is carried out on site and the position of the responses recorded on a drawing or map. Not to be confused with map dowsing, when the dowsing is done away from the site.

Telluric Energy

Another name for Earth Energy.

Toroid, Toroidal Energy

Energy that moves in the form of a toroid. This can often be found at the commencement and termination points of a vertical pillar or spiral of energy. Often found at ancient sites, particularly henges.

Colloquially known as a ‘donut’ in the USA.

Track Line

A term used by Guy Underwood and described as a geodetic line positive in polarity which subdivides into two parallel triads. The usual width varies between twelve and twenty-four inches. He claimed that they marked the position of old roads and that animals make use of them.


A term introduced by Guy Underwood to denote the form of geodetic lines. Thus, each main line is made up of three minor lines, which together form a triad. The lines forming the triad are only a few inches apart. Triads then combine in certain groups to become Aquastats, Water Lines or Track Lines.

Virgin Water

See: Primary Water.


a) The form that energy can take when either ascending or descending vertically. Usually found in groups of up to seven terminating in a toroid, joined either point to point or base to base. In some cases, at these junctions the flow of the energy can change from clockwise to anticlockwise or vice-versa. Change in polarity from negative to positive can also occur. Vortices are a common feature where energy lines intersect. Rising vortices are commonly found over blind springs, descending vortices are found where two water veins cross.

b) Also used (mainly in North America) to refer to areas where various magnetic and gravitational anomalies may be detected, often accompanied by time and space distortions. The area of influence of such vortices is said to be 54 miles in diameter and connects into larger earth grid patterns.

Water Dome

Analagous to a Dome or Blind Spring, a term used mainly in North America.

Water Line

A particular type of geodetic line described by Guy Underwood and thought by him to indicate a flow of underground water. Except that water lines do not run in straight lines, or above ground, they have similar dowsing characteristics to energy leys, i.e. a central triad with parallel triads at some distance on either side.
It is not necessary to dowse the outer triads to identify a water line. Typically, a water vein will dowse as a set of three lines spanning a width of around 1m.


The characteristics of an energy, indicating its rate of vibration. The wavelength is measured as one complete oscillation of the wave.


A sample or other representation of the subject being dowsed, such as a phial of water, piece of gold, plan or photograph. Used as an aid to focus the mind of the dowser. Can also simply be a written label. The Mager and Gardner Rosettes are other examples of witnesses.


A term used by practitioners of feng-shui and although not exactly similar is used by many western dowsers as an alternative term for positive energy. Yang energy is considered to be masculine and active.


A term used by practitioners of feng-shui and although not exactly similar is used by many western dowsers as an alternative term for negative energy. Yin energy is considered to be feminine and receptive.