Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Magic, Witchcraft, And The Nature Of The Rod

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces the dowsing rod and begins charting its unique historical path. Early opponents wished to identify the practice with witchcraft. Theologians and philosophers intent on ridding the mines of diabolical influence said that practitioners made an 'implicit' pact with the Devil. The dowsing rod has ancient origins, although whether ancient miners wielded the rod remains an open question. The widespread practice of dowsing in mining was also apparent to the Catholic witchcraft scholar, Jean Bodin. Mineral vapors had a long history in natural philosophy before explaining dowsing. Avicenna, among other late medieval Arabic philosophers, commonly identified the two underground vapors that Aristotle had spoken of in his Meteorology with sulfur and quicksilver. Dowsing with a forked stick was an ancient practice that blurred the divide between legitimate and prohibited magic.

Keywords: dowsing rod; mining culture; witchcraft



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Divining Science — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation