Water: Divine Inspiration

By Martin Murphy
Martin Murphy
Martin Murphy
November 12, 2014 Updated: November 12, 2014
Joe Mullally (Courtsey of Joe Mullally)
Joe Mullally (Courtsey of Joe Mullally)

In a country that can boast more rainwater than most, you may wonder why we have developed a tradition of seeking water with diviners?

Water diviner and former chairman of the Society of Irish Diviners, Joe Mullally, gave The Epoch Times an insight into this somewhat mystical world… 

“When I was about 18 years old, I lived on a farm and my Dad got in a water diviner to divine water for a well. I picked up the rods after he left, and discovered that I could get a reaction,” said Mullally. 

“When I started divining originally, I thought it was a gift that only a few people had, but then I realised that it was a skill you could learn. When you think about it every animal can find water naturally, so it’s a natural instinct that everybody has. Some have it to a greater or lesser extent, but I guess it’s something that we just don’t use anymore.”

Learning the Trade

The great thing about finding out that it was a skill that could be learned was that he could find teachers and learn how to develop that skill. In Ireland in the days gone by, a lot of the difficulties in passing on skills like this, according to Mullally, related to the lack of knowledge of the person with the skill. 

“The usual method for teaching is ‘Come here, Joe, and I will show you what I do… But don’t ask me how it works, I have no idea!’ The great thing about learning that it was a skill was that there were people out there who knew how it worked, and they were able to explain it,” he said.


Over the years there has been a demand for water divining, but that would have mainly come from people in rural communities, like farmers—people who would have been looking to have a strong water supply. Or maybe people who had their own houses but didn’t have access to water schemes, resulting in them having to drill their own wells. 

“As water diviners, we would be asked to go around and divine. In the last couple of years we have seen a dramatic upsurge in enquires from people in suburban areas. Even people with access to local water supplies,” said Mullally. The main reason for this, he believes, is the upcoming water charge. 

“In times when house prices and demand for houses was low, the idea of having your own water supply was considered to add value to a property. So some people were getting the divining done and explored the idea of having wells bored,” he said.

Mullally added that another reason may be that many are worried about the quality of the mains water, or about possible fluoride poisoning, and so they seek out their own water supply. 

The Costs

Mullally says that when people look for a diviner to source a well, they don’t realise the cost involved in the drilling. That whole exercise can cost between 2,500 and 4,500 euro, he claims. “If you are not willing to put in that investment, then getting your own water supply isn’t really feasible.”

Mullally also notes that quite a substantial area is needed to manoeuvre the boring equipment, and you probably wouldn’t be able to get this type of equipment into your back garden if you live in a suburban area. 

“As water diviners, if we are divining water we usually recommend that you look for a water source that’s at least 100 feet below ground level. In former times people were very interested in shallow water wells, so they didn’t have to go as deep—partly because of the cost. Also, historically, these wells were dug by hand. In recent years the problem with this type of shallow well is that yes, it is cheaper, but the wells wind up being polluted,” he says.

The Process 

“The situation with water is that despite what some TD’s think, it does actually fall from the sky!” says Mullally with a chuckle. He explained how rainwater filters through the ground until it reaches the water table, where it builds up and, over time, turns into an underground stream.

“What diviners find is those water streams under the ground. The reason they can find them is that for some reason, perhaps due to the geology, these streams create intense magnetic fields in the earth. For some reason, the earth’s geomagnetic field is much more intense over the water. It’s not quite known why this happens: some speculate that it’s because of the friction of the water against the surface it’s flowing through,” says Mullally. 

This field, he says, also has a marked effect on things like vegetation. He explained that if a stream is flowing under land that is left to its natural state, you will see the signs of the magnetic field, such as tree branches that are twisted, and you will see growth deformities in plants and grass over the underground stream.

Divining is more than Finding water 

Some people will use the skill for detecting metals, or even oil. Another area that is possible—though Mullally says that this depends on the individual person’s aptitude—is to use divining to determine the medical conditions of others. “I know diviners who use their skills to work with animals, both in terms of helping to diagnose what is wrong with them and also in helping to select animals like race horses at a market.”

“I have heard of two diviners in Australia who, up to relatively recently, were used for detecting forged paintings. So if someone had a masterpiece which they felt was by a particular artist or they were interested in buying it, they would use these diviners to determine whether the painting was authentic or not,” he said. 

“In terms of the emotional energy that’s on a painting, if you look at an original compared to a print in a book, there is a huge difference: you can almost feel the artist who painted it…whereas with a forgery, there won’t be anything like the energy associated with the original. Once a diviner who is skilled in that area has a work by the particular painter to compare the painting that’s being scrutinised, then he can verify its authenticity,” said Mullally.