Traditionally, the most common dowsing rod is a forked (Y-shaped) branch from a tree or bush.

Shape: Traditionally the Y-rod is a forked stick looking like the letter Y They can be any size, usually around 12 to 24 inches in length.

Material: Can be wood, metal or plastic. Plastic being very common for many dowsers, probably because of its ease of storage. The forked dowsing rod was traditionally made of a hazel branch because the wood is known for its long reputed magical properties. Other woods which are reputed to have magical properties include ash, rowan, willow and peach tree. Also these are considered excellent for wands. Other dowsers preferred rods of whalebone but the supply was extinguished with the whalebone agreement, then many turned to plastic indicators.

How to Use: The two ends on the forked side are held one in each hand with the third (the stem of the “Y”) pointing straight ahead. Hold with pointed end down. Thumbs will be up and palms towards center. Hold tight and spread Y Rod outward while rotating your wrist outward. Your thumbs will now be pointed outward and your palms up. The Y Rod will flip up into a delicate balance.

Pointing upward at an angle of around 45 degrees is usually used for the ready position.
Swinging down from the ready position to point at a water vein or target. This may also be used for the “yes” response.
Swinging up from the ready position is usually used for the no” response.

The dowser usually walks slowly over the places where he suspects the target (for example, minerals or water) may be, and the dowsing rod supposedly dips, inclines or twitches when a discovery is made.

Advantages: Acts quickly, can point directly towards a water vein or target. Works well while walking over rough ground. Reliable in fairly strong winds.

Disadvantage: Not as versatile as other dowsing tools. It only has an up and down motion. You will need to turn your body to find direction.