West Coast Dowsing Conference

WEST COAST DOWSING CONFERENCE

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF DOWSERS

Santa Cruz, California

The Keynote Speech July 3, 2010

Dowsing Conference

West Coast Conference

When  the WCC committee decided my being here tonight was a good idea, I was not the least bit concerned about coming up with a subject to create a talk about for there are so many things to say about the dowsers.

After I hung up the phone with Karen and was   still sitting at my desk,  considering the various possibilities, the phone rang again and it was Carl Bracy.   We talked for a long time  about the folks who are not with us anymore…  because they are unable to travel or … because they have transitioned to the big dowsing conference in the sky.

The last few times I have been here I have been saddened when I look around and realize who is not here.   And on the flight back to Dallas after the 2008 conference,  I began making a list of those who have  gone on.. and writing some of the interesting stories about them.  (but I can’t tell those stories!)

The more I wrote, the more I was reminded of how awesome.. as dowsers…   these men really were.  And I wonder…

Are there  no young dowsers who will carry the torch for our elders, our mentors, and our incredible  teachers.

In 1961 Galen Hutchinson ,  an attorney in Vermont,  drew up the first set of bi-laws for the formation of the American Society of Dowsers.  He said that the real purpose of dowsing … the inner purpose… is to provide a means for the raising of consciousness for all with whom it comes in contact.  The ASD code of ethics is made up of six simple, sensible rules that have to do with responsibility and reliability.  This organization has remained intact because of the integrity and wisdom of its founders.

I know a good speaker never spends more than five minutes talking about herself, so I won’t bore you with the story of Bette Epstein and her dowsing. …but..  My grandfather,  Sidney Lamb, was a very well-known dowser in south central Kentucky where I was born.   I lived the first 7 years of my life with him and then we moved to Indiana… but until I was twelve,  the summers always found me back at his house .  Mr. Sid, as he was called,  was of the old school that believed only certain people can dowse,  only males.. and that the secrets must be taught to an apprentice.   Grandpa had only one son and he was not interested,  so my mother decided she would hide and watch and she became a dowser, but he never knew.

Our lives in Indiana didn’t include dowsing, so it wasn’t until 1983, long after Sid’s death, that I picked up the coat hangers and started looking for sewer lines.

In October 1983, Mary Marie Satterlee came to Dallas and taught a class in  dowsing over a weekend.   In that class were 6 Phd.’s,  one M.D., a Veterinarian,  two business men, and my daughters, Lorre, Eliza, and Cassie,  who was 18 months old at the time.

There was also a man from Fayetteville, Arkansas who had spent 24 years in military intelligence, which included four stints in Viet Nam.

I mention the careers of these people because they were far removed from the stereotype of the diviner from film and anecdotal stories.  Three of the original students have transitioned,  many stayed in the Dallas group and became excellent information dowsers, but only Harold McCoy and I have evolved into what I call the “show me something”  dowser.

In our Dallas dowsing group, I am the only one in the field, finding water.  The others are actively dowsing on a daily basis for information that makes their lives and the lives of others a lot easier,  but I wonder  where did we lose track of the  men who kept the willow limb or peach tree or witch hazel stick hanging on the porch, ready to dowse at a moment’s notice?

Who have we mentored and inspired to carry on our work?    I have four adult children… each of them can dowse, but I don’t have one whom I feel will ever be a professional dowser.

The first part of my talk tonight is about the water dowsers and the men whom I was fortunate enough to meet and either have a personal  lesson  with  or  be mentored by or who gave lectures over the years at the conferences.  But, as most of you who have been going to conferences for years know, we learn half of everything we take with us over a meal, or in the vendor area, just chatting it up with someone willing to share.

All this talk about the men who dowse for water and minerals  is not in any way meant to take anything away from the information dowser.  That dowsing is extremely important in the world of therapy, of personal growth, of healing and finding lost objects, people and pets… and all the energy and spiritual work.

But who is dowsing for minerals,  for gas and oil and gold and buried treasure?  Who is dowsing for things that you can take out of the earth, hold up to a skeptic and say,   “See…I told you it works”.

On my first visit to this magical kingdom we call the West Coast Dowsing conference,  I had met Harold McCoy at the San Francisco airport and we drove down together.   We were both very excited to be here and just be among the giants in this world.

As we were entering the cafeteria at Porter College,  Jack Livingston and his beautiful  protégée,  Joan McFarlane, were sitting right in the middle of the steps, making it so that everyone  had to go around them to one side or the other.  As I got to the step he was sitting on, he said to me “hey you, come on over here… shake hands with this old man… come closer and let me look at you”.

Jack was a crusty old  guy to say the least.  Always had a cigar hanging from his lips,  and a voice that would scare children.   I wanted to be Joan McFarlane… wanted to  travel with this scary man and learn everything he had to teach me.   Jack Livingston was the king and everyone knew it.   It is said that he dowsed over five thousand wells in his career.

There were so many who were gifted and who were willing to share these ancient skills.   And none of them were farmers as I had expected them to be.  They were doctors, lawyers, engineers, military men, schoolteachers, physicists and scientists.

I had never heard of dowsing for anything except water and practical needs until I met Mary Marie and the lineup of speakers that night in Porter College was like Candyland for  me.

I never imagined I could ask the l-rods if I should buy that expensive pair of shoes, or adopt the fifth dog,  or take a trip I can’t afford.  I was blissing out and holding on to Harold’s hand real tight so I didn’t just fly away.

Then there was Dov Nadel dowsing with his arms… Mary Marie with her eyelids,   I stood in awe as I watched Feather Anderson and Nicolas lay out the labyrinths…and the labyrinths… Oh.. wow… I’d never heard of such a thing as walking a labyrinth to change your dynamic or to heal.

Did I mention friendly.   Nicolas was the most charming host and no one was a stranger.  And I was right at home with Pearl’s Fun Night Follies.

(On my third visit to the WCC I met Alex and Joan Champion and I loved her immediately.  I still can’t mention her name without weeping,  so the stories of the transforming labyrinths they dug for me in Texas and Kentucky will have to wait.)

West Coast Conference

West Coast conference

During the next few years  at the Danville conference I got to meet and study with such greats as Ted Kaufman,  (who found, among other things, dead  bodies at the bottom of a lake),   Paul Sevigny,  who was a glider pilot during the Second WW and flew soldiers  into areas behind enemy lines. I was introduced to sacred geometry by Wayne London,  a psychotherapist from Dartmouth University.  And I met Leah Kachadorian , a dowser who will go down in the history books.  And a woman who was to become one of my greatest teachers,  Enid Hoffman.

There was Terry Ross, who was a genius at clearing a space and identifying adverse energies in addition to being a great water dowser.  I met Tom Graves and Greg Neilson, Gordon McLean,  Raymon Grace, John Shisler,  Christoper Bird,  Lloyd Youngblood.  And I have to include  Neal Anderson,  because he did an incredible healing on my voice . .but  that’s another story.

Who could forget Gene Maury,  John Van Drie,  Tom Millerin.  And I can still hear Sig Lonegrin’s  voice  filling the Methodist Church with the strains of  Amazing Grace,  dedicating  the buiding back to it’s people after we had used it to teach things.. “alternative’.

And back here… over the next two years, I got to know Oscar Branson, a physicist who spoke 7 languages, including Navaho and who is reputed to have worked with Einstein at Los Almos.   Dwin Gorden, who was the first to teach many of us how to divert streams.  Jim Perkins who introduced me to the magic of the blue line.   Wayne Thompson, Ed Bush,  Gene Healey (who taught me to use dowsing in my hypnotherapy work),   John Wayne Blassinggame,  Tony Gheringher,  Max Oppenheimer,  Greg Storozuk, Walt Woods,  Homer Hefty,  Al Bashline, Robert Wade Mehaney,  Barry Smith,  David Howie ,   Louis Matecia, who published the instruction manuel  on dowsing that was used by the Marines to find caves in Viet Nam,   Slim Spurling,   and  our own Carl Bracy who was in the Marines for seven and a half years during the Korean war and who homesteaded  land in Alaska during that time.  Carl  takes a backseat to no one in locating water, diverting, finding lost objects, clearing, and can do all of this from a map… and he  still mentors me  through telephone conversations.

And we can’t forget Harold McCoy who went from my living room to create  the Arkansas chapter of ASD and on to be a Trustee and then President… and not many years later,  with his wife, Gladys,  to form the  Ozark Research Institute.

These are just the dowsers I had the privilege of learning from ,  the men who will be written about in the history books along with other greats whose names I never knew.

Becoming a member of ASD enriched every aspect of my life.  I use dowsing every day in my client work, in teaching and in working with those whom I mentor.  I use it to guide me as I create characters for my books,  when I need help from a higher part of me for a spiritual question .. and ….

Growing up from the age of two  with “200 grandparents”, as Cassie always talked about her dowser family,  gave  my youngest child a sense of self that she could not have gotten in any other way.

Ten years or so ago I was the keynote speaker at the conference here and by then,  Cassie, at 17, had already been the keynote speaker at the Fayetteville, Arkansas conference.

Since the age of six,  Cassie had always been one of maybe  two and sometimes three children attending these conferences.

My plea that night was that the directors, teachers, and conference leaders would do more to bring in the children so we would have someone to be the torch bearers for the future.

My pleading was heard and Karen Ashley has since created an amazing school here for the kids.   Seeing what she has done brings me great joy and a hope for the future.   If you do not have a child or grandchild, beg, borrow or rent one for the next conference.  You won’t be sorry.

So  why have I spoken  only of the men.

Because  history … without our help… will remember only the men.

I’ve been reading a lot of old books about dowsing this past week and there are many ancient  references to dowsers from the beginning of recorded time. But…   only two are referenced in scripture.   The Witch of Endor,  who was a counselor called upon by many of the prophets.  And…

Miriam, the sister of Moses & Aaron, was the diviner who, with her magic stick, found potable water throughout the years my people  wandered around  in circles in the desert.

I have had only a few female teachers in the areas of water and minerals,   probably because for most of the early years, water was the primary focus of my education. But there were four women who set a standard in dowsing in general, learning to use this marvelous gift ,  whose teachings  I am still striving to live up to.

Mary Marie Satterlee, of course.  She is not just my teacher and girlfriend, but my “other Mother”.   She has always been quick to come to my defense when those who know only one aspect of my  personality  have  questioned my behavior.   It took me years to master the art of asking the right question.  I adore her.

My second great teacher was Enid Hoffman,  who transitioned in 2000.  Enid was an ASD trustee,  a writer, a genius in so many areas that my description of her will not do her justice.  She changed my life before I ever met her by a quote from her in one of her books.  She said, “I finally realized I didn’t have the right to “fix” anyone, for in doing so, I could be cheating him out of a valuable lesson and cause him to have to return to this world and do it all over again”.   Shortly after reading that I started a twelve-step program for recovering rescuers.

Joan McFarlane was the third.  I went to each of her talks and hung to her every word, even took notes, which I never do.  In addition to being a remarkable water dowser,   Joan was the most gifted dowser for clearing negative energy that I have ever learned from.

And Pat Delafield.  I really miss her for she has not been to the WCC  for many years.   Pat is a gold dowser.   She says she “smells” gold.  And she finds it too.   She lived with my family for three months some years ago while she was going to school in Dallas and I can tell you I was never bored with her.  If you are ever in Seattle,  find her and be delighted.

So… I’ve learned from all of those men and only four women.  What’s that all about, you are probably wondering.  Well, it’s not that I didn’t learn from others,  so many…  but my belief was that these  were  the  masters  who  brought me to a place where I felt confident to dowse for anything, anywhere.

Or so I thought.

West Coast Dowsers

West Coast Conference

But  it is not true.   Yes, I am a very accurate water dowser  and maybe one day I will be  remembered among the men… but this dowsing is not what brought me to the place I am on my life’s path.    My knowledge and ability to dowse for anything, anywhere, anytime… is what makes me strong.     I  learned these skills from very few men.   And, sad to say, except to the four I write about,  I can’t list the other women  I have learned from .. because there were so many.  They were everywhere.   In Vermont,  North Carolina,  Arkansas,  Houston, Dallas and especially here.   They taught things about dowsing that will not be written in books,  unless these same teachers write about them.   The men will not write about us…  we must write about ourselves.  We must document the healings, the clearings, the life-changes that occur because we were able to access a higher consciousness and be guided and guide others.  We must write about technique,  tools or no tool, all of it. Sue Trumpfheller  has written a wonderful book on dowsing among other things,  Carol Assa is writing,  Virginia Essene has written  many books.  It’s not even about being a good writer… it’s about telling the story.  I write fiction, I write about grief and hypnosis,  but I’ve never written a how-to on dowsing.  Nor about my own experiences.

So… if we are forgotten,  we have only ourselves to blame.

When I first began to think about this talk, I was going to focus on the need to bring more women into the ranks of water and mineral dowsers… those of us who pull on our mud boots, tie up our hair and button our sleeves to keep the critters out and go out into the brush looking for water.  But that is not at all what I feel.

I think the women are the glue that holds  ASD together.   They are the keepers of the flame.  There cannot be the next generation of strong young men who run with the torch without someone to keep the flame alive.

The Danville conference has always been brought to fruition by women;   the Houston conference  is supported and kept alive by women,   the Dallas conference  certainly has never had the guidance of a man.

The Fayetteville , Arkansas chapter had the charisma of Harold to make it grow, but it was the hard work and determination of the women there, especially Gladys McCoy, to make it a force for good.

And … now… look at the incredible  work that has been done here at WCC .. mostly women,  and a few good men.   And yes, we have a female president,  Sandee Mac,  who has been a loyal support and teacher at all of the conferences for many years.

So as I gathered my thoughts about those who have gone on, or cannot be present because of illness or distance,  I considered the footprints they will leave and was saddened that there were not more women who will be revered in the history books.

I believe  the  legacy of the women is to teach,  to guide, to do, and to keep ASD  alive for more generations.

And that is a lot more important than the ego of leaving footprints in the muddy field.

We must all  continue  to teach the aspects of dowsing that we  do so well;  the healing,  the intuitive readings,( which include all of the esoteric sciences),  the ways in which we can gather information which will empower ourselves and others to live life more gently.

Tomorrow I will be giving a presentation on dowsing anywhere, anytime, for anything.   I didn’t learn this by osmosis…. I learned from many of the women who are here tonight.

You can be assured that many of those men whose names I called, the famous ones, the  elders in our society.. were taught by their mothers and grandmothers or the little  old lady who lived down  the lane.

So I want to honor those women who are here to teach at this conference,  the women who volunteer to make this a reality,  and, especially Karen Ashley and Irene Healey  and their hard-working  committee..who do the work all year round so that we can be here learning from each other and having this marvelous experience.

If I were asked who do I think will inherit

the earth,  my money would go on the dowsers, the curious, the seekers… those who know there is more to life than what we see.  And they are of every gender.

Would every woman in the room please stand… for each of you is contributing in some way to our future… just by your presence.

Now would everyone please stand with them as I close this with a special prayer.

Father/Mother Creator,

May we see the day when war and bloodshed will cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world.

Then nation shall not threaten nation and humankind will not again know war.

For all who live on earth shall realize we have come  into being to praise, to labour and to love.

Compassionate Creator, bless all the leaders of all nations with the power of compassion

 Scripture:  “I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.  I will rid the land of vicious beasts and it shall not be ravaged by war”.

Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream.  Let peace fill the earth as the mighty stream.  Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.

And let us all say…… Amen

 (attributed to Rabbi Nachman ben Feiga of Braslov, 1773-1810

 

Bette Epstein 214-358-3633

bette@heartsong.com