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For the purposes of this writing it will not be necessary to explain the niceties of dowsing terminology, but for the uninitiated, time will be saved and frustration avoided if, at least, the synonyms and a few other items are listed. The reason for this is that although dowsing writers do not contradict each other on terminology, no concerted effort seems to have been made to arrive at a universal agreement as to the terms. Thus Soviet, French, and British writers, for instance, seem to have concocted their own words which even when translated have different shades of meaning.
So, although we omit the fine distinction of just how the dowsing act may be performed, or the description of the what and how of the device, the following are general terms.
Other Important Words
Contactee: A person in contact with a power source, or a manifestation of the power source.
Magic: There are two dictionary definitions. Here it has no connotation of 'sleight of hand', but rather of the supernatural.
Occult: We do not ordinarily care for a third or fourth dictionary definition, but this word by general usage is a collective noun embracing almost everything of a supernatural nature. The exceptions seem to be God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Holy Angels. So, for our reference to the occult we will include everything from sorcery to spiritism and mediumistic activities.
PSI ( Ψ ): The twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet used to indicate paranormal events, abilities and survival phenomena.
Research: Although the dictionary definition of this word, "careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge undertaken to establish facts or principles" may be applied to the investigation of dowsing, present day scientific research has added a new, general usage implication of 'a field of knowledge in which the subject matter is consistent in action and reaction.' This is the basis of the 'repeatable experiment.' Since this is not true of dowsing except occasionally, the word 'research' as we use it will have to mean observe and record.
Shielding: In physics the word is taken to mean "electrostatic shielding" or a shielding against or from any electrical force. Yet, in dowsing this is not consistently trueif at all. One physics researcher stated that in the field of ESP (in which he included dowsing), this shielding has no effect. However the present day I scientific dowser' has found that shielding is a significant factor. Since there is no scientific evidence that any of the different dowsing force fields are truly electrostatic, we feel free to use the word as meaning anything that shields out the dowsing power source.
Spirits: To many persons this has but one meaning; spirits of the dead or 'discarnate spirits'. We will use it in its broader dictionary definition including angels, demons, etc.
UFO: Literally Unidentified Flying Object. Originally, the term was Flying Saucers.
A Further Word of Warning
Intensive reading of dowsing material will reveal restrictive meaning of some of what we classed as general meaning words. This will vary in different texts for the same word. "Dowsing" is one such word. It depends on the author's point of view.
There are words some authors refuse to use or recognize. "Divining" is one of them. It has an occult connotation that some modern writers wish to avoid at all costs, so they do not use it.
It must be recognized that the dowsing world has developed its own vocabulary. It changes from generation to generation, and from country to country. This has been a necessity because the words applying to what we know as the world of reality may have no application in what used to be recognized as the occult world. Practical use of dowsing has made modern man desperate to haul it up out of the occult to our scientific way of thinking and speaking, but it is not yet there, and the nondictionary words of that para-world are still with us and must be used.