The Oracle’s Toolkit: Pendulums

Recently a good question crossed my path. I didn’t ask for permission to use it in the blog, so I won’t go into details.

Long story short, the essence was “My intuition is A, should I do A or not?” They wanted validation of their own intuition from some outside source.

That’s fine. Tarot is at it’s best when a reading is basically telling you what you already deep-down know.

BUT this time “A” was a little more complicated than your usual advice and ideas Tarot reading. “A” involved something that needed concrete logic (not intuition) and it involved a subject non-expert should not comment about. That being said, internal validation is needed. The validation needed to come from a better connection with their own internal intuition, not from them getting an easy answer from a stranger in the outside world.

So as much as I would love the business and income, in this case, I recommended a DIY pendulum session.

One of the arguments against pendulums is that it is really controlled by your subconscious and isn’t any sort of outside guidance at all.

EXACTLY! That’s the POINT!

Pendulums are, I think, very much guided by YOUR subconscious controlling YOUR hand when YOU are talking to YOU about YOU. For that kind of internal validation, pendulums connecting to your own subconscious is a feature…not a bug.

Any divination tool that you use for yourself has that effect. Tarot, runes, palm lines, cold readings….any of it…has that connect you to you effect. But it takes a little time to get to know most oracles and use them well, even for yourself. Pendulums are almost autopilot and it seems like anyone can use them quickly. They are physical, nonverbal, and get the logical mind out of the way quickly and easily.  Sometimes I think that no-mind (like the Zen Enso circle) and anyone-can-do-it quality is precisely why there is so much skepticism about pendulums.

I don’t use pendulums reading for other people…Tarot is a zillion times better for that kind of conversation. But to have a chat with my own intuition, they come in handy.

I have a metal one, because metal is my lucky feng shui element, but you can choose any weight  on the end of a string or chain. Some people even use a favorite necklace, by clipping the pendant onto the end with the clasp. Doesn’t matter…the important part is inside you.

There are lots of books and resources around about pendulums if you want to study them in more detail. This is just what I do based on ideas I’ve come across over the years. I hadn’t planned or doing a post about using pendulums so I didn’t keep track of the sources. What follows works for me, so as always take it whatever grain of salt necessary and feel free to adapt to your own needs liberally.

You will need: a pendulum (any weight on the end of a string or chain) paper, pen or pencil, incense or smudge stick, match or candle to light incense or smudge, anything else you like to set the mood.

First get mind and language out of the way ahead of time. If you are deciding between “A” and “not-A” like this person was, write the options down on two pieces of paper and have them in front of you on your work space. If you want a more general conversation, write a list of questions you have for your pendulum, but keep them yes or no only. Pendulums aren’t chatty…they only have two directions to swing. Physics are still physics, after all. If you are “dowsing” … looking for an item, sketch a picture of your home or the area you think your lost item might be in. Whatever you need, write it first, and have it in front of you before you pick up the pendulum and program it.

This is one of those rare times where I like to create some atmosphere, indulge in a little ritual. I like to light a candle, some incense, sprinkle a few grains of salt or sand, and have a small cup of water on the table where I’m working to represent the four classic alchemical elements. Why? I just like it. BUT I do recommend the incense at a minimum or a smudge stick for the next step. Have the incense or smudge safely lit before picking up your pendulum.

Holding the pendulum in the smoke, I sent the intention that 1. all negative energy be removed from the object and 2. that the conversation with the be of the loving highest and best in every way. This loving highest and best intent is important, whether you view this as communication with your own subconscious or “higher self”… or with “spirit” as is traditionally the case.

After clearing and setting the basic intention, I’ll “program” the pendulum, which simply means establishing in your mind what movements have which meanings. Set whatever feels right to you. Go with however is seems it should be.

I use toward and away from me for “yes”….the line your nose would follow if you were nodding your head “yes”. I use left – right to mean “no”, like the line your nose would draw if you shook your head “no”. Circles can mean “maybe” or “unclear” although I have heard of using circles with more detail, specifically that clockwise circles lean more toward yes while counterclockwise circles lean more toward no. It is up to you if you want to get that detailed about it. I like to leave it in the smoke for the programming step. To do the programming MAKE the pendulum swing the direction you decided and say loudly and clearly (out loud or in your mind) “This means YES”. Swing it in the other direction saying “This means NO.” Then circle it and state what you want circles to mean.

Some people say you only have to go through this programming process once for a pendulum when you first get it. Other say just do it periodically. I do it each time because it puts ME in the right frame of mind, no matter what it does or doesn’t do for the pendulum itself.

After writing your options (or questions,) cleansing the pendulum, setting your general intention, programming the pendulum, then start the conversation.

Clarity is key. As a clear YES OR NO question, expect the answers to be in the format you just programmed.

Hold the pendulum over the paper with option A and ask “Should I do this?” (if you have a list of yes/no questions, hold it over the first question and restate it in your mind)

Then sit quietly and still, and see what happens. any movement is your answer. The stronger the movement, the stronger the answer.

No movement?  No problem. Relax. Take a deep breath. Disconnect from what you WANT the answer to be. This is a time for just waiting, watching – no pressure. Then ask again, making sure the whole yes/no thing is clear and there is no potential confusion.

Still no movement? Try again another time. This might just not be the right time to ask, or something might still need to happen out there in the world for you to be able to connect with the inner knowing you need. You can’t force these things. There is no right or wrong. No matter what the pendulum does….you get an answer.

If you agree with what the pendulum says and you feel validated and comforted…right or wrong the pendulum session did it’s job.

If your gut reflex is NO! THAT’S NOT RIGHT….then your original intuition is reinforced,  strengthened and highlighted. The pendulum session did its job by prompting that reaction.

If you are trying to find something…and to be honest, this particular dowsing thing has never worked for me, although I’ve read it works a treat for other people….hold the pendulum over an area of your sketch and ask “is _____ here?”. Keep checking and eliminating “no” areas to narrow your search.

Pendulums may or may not work for you. No one oracle assist, no one tool is a perfect gateway to help everyone connect with their own natural, innate, good intuition. Pendulums are a easy place to start if you keep in mind the limitations (yes, no questions only) and keep them in the same context as any intuitive work (doesn’t predict the future, but gives ideas and guides choices). Pendulums definitely have a place in my Oracle’s Toolkit.


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