When I was a little girl, my favorite toy was a ‘Magic 8 ball.’ I’d ask it a yes or no question, shake it, and then wait for the blue triangle with the answer to appear.
Sometimes it would say, “It is certain.” Other times “Don’t count on it.” But most of the time, it offered something more mystical answer like “Better not tell you now.” Tired of getting the runaround, I moved on to a pendulum.
Pendulum Meaning: What is a Pendulum and How Does it Work?
Like tarot cards, crystals, and the like, a pendulum is a tool that can be used as a part of spiritual practice and for inner growth. Most people think of a pendulum being used for divination purposes.
This is for sure one of its better-known uses, but answering questions about the future isn’t the only thing it’s good for. In fact, pendulums really work best when consulted for truth and understanding related to the present, not to predict the future.
Fun fact: long ago, pendulums were used to prove that the world is round and not flat!
From healing to setting an intention, connecting with your higher self to spirit guides, pendulum dowsing is a metaphysical exercise that requires little expense or study.
In fact, just the few minutes it takes to read this article and order your own pendulum is all the time you’ll need to prepare: Ready, set, swing.
The scientific definition of a pendulum is an object suspended from a fixed point that is able to swing back and forth because of gravitational pull. But truthfully, that explains very little about what a pendulum is or how it works.
If you’ve ever watched someone be hypnotized on television, then you may have some idea. Swinging a pendulum back and forth in front of his (or her) client’s face, the hypnotist uses the crystal, ball, or watch on a chain to bring subconscious energy forward.
Usually, he does so while also planting ideas in the person’s innermost mind. This is why a pendulum is such a powerful tool. Not only can it be used to bring forth answers, but also to implant them.
Still confused? Think of it this way. Our entire bodies are made of energy. A great deal of this energy is stored in our subconscious mind or the higher part of us that knows and remembers all.
Unfortunately, this part of us is not permanently connected to our thinking or rational mind. It’s like a filing cabinet locked away in a warehouse, not in the central office.
So, a lot of the time, it’s hard to receive the information that lay hidden just below the surface. A pendulum works as a shovel of sorts, digging up the info and then presenting it.
Your higher self already knows the answer. The pendulum helps move the knowledge to your conscious mind.
What is a Pendulum used for?
I once read a book that listed over 50 ways to use a pendulum. Most of them I tried, many of them I liked, and today I want to share with you my favorites based on research plus tried and true experience working with pendulums over the years.
- As a way to transition into meditation
- For balancing of energy in your chakras
- To cleanse your aura
- During grounding exercises
- While looking for lost or misplaced things
- To guide your decision making
Each one of these practices comes with emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits. For example, setting an intention can help you manifest your greatest desires while balancing your chakras can help you seize control of your thoughts and your emotions as well as heal physical ailments.
Here are some other gains of pendulum use: mental clarity, easing of anxiety, and increased focus.
How to Choose your Pendulum?
Explain what to keep in mind when choosing a pendulum.
It’s all about the energy, baby. What a pendulum looks like is of little importance compared to how it feels. When I bought my first pendulum, my eye was instantly drawn to a black onyx one that looked like many of the other pendulums I’ve seen used. But when I held it, it just didn’t feel quite right.
I looked around the shop for a while, almost giving up, until I finally found a crystal one that really called out to me. Like Goldilocks and her porridge, it felt ‘just right.’
Here are a few other things to consider:
Which do you prefer? Basic teardrop? One with a triangular shape? There are rectangular and square-shaped ones as well. Shape (like weight) is important because it affects the pendulum’s movement.
Some pendulums are much heavier than others. If you plan to wear your pendulum, you’ll need to consider how heavy it is. The same is true for those who will be doing lots of pendulum readings back to back. One of the main things that determine weight is material, so you’ll want to give some thought to that as well.
Most pendulums are made of one of three materials: brass, crystal, or wood. I mentioned earlier that I chose a crystal one because it felt right for me. But again, that’s just personal preference.
There isn’t a wrong or right answer when it comes to material, but I’ll list some pros and cons below.
- Brass: A mixture of zinc and copper, brass pendulums are both popular and practical. Spiritually known for its protective properties, brass has a high vibration and can even help heal wounds.
Because they are conductors, these pendulums are more energetically sensitive than wooden ones. This can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.
Still, they won’t be influenced by magnetic fields, which is a plus. Warm and yellow in tone, the look of the pendulums makes them a great choice for those into aesthetic appeal.
- Crystal: Lightweight and full of healing energy, crystal pendulums double as protective pieces and divination tools.
I wear my pendulum almost daily, and to those who don’t know its true purpose and power, it just looks like a piece of pretty jewelry. The only real downside I see to crystal or gemstone pendulums is that there are so many kinds to choose from!
If you go this route, you’ll need to make sure to select a gemstone that has properties suitable for what you want to accomplish.
For example, if you’re trying to communicate directly with spirit guides, you might choose Rose Quartz, Amethyst, or Tiger’s Eye. Do you want to connect with your higher self? Chrysocolla, Lapis Lazuli, or Celestine are good choices.
- Wood: Top pros of wooden pendulums: they are neutral and natural. Less likely to be influenced by radiation and other unwanted energy, wood-based dowsing tools work really well for one-on-one readings conducted on oneself or others.
So, if you’re channeling energy and attempting to help someone else make a decision, woodworks wonders.
The final thing to consider when picking your pendulum is purpose. I now own several because I realized that having only one didn’t allow me to do all of the things I desired to spiritually.
The original crystal pendulum I bought is now only used for personal practice and not helping others. I got tired of constantly having to cleanse it and bought a wooden one to help clients—the brass one I wear when ill or in need of energetic protection.
I also use it when seeking answers about my health. Just like with any collection, pendulum purchasing isn’t a race. You can start out with one or two pieces and work your way up over time.
How to Cleanse your Pendulum?
Pendulums absorb energy. This fact is what makes them ‘tick.’ You should cleanse a pendulum before you use it for the first time and after each use going forward.
There are tons of ways to do this. Some simple, some more ritualistic. I’ve used some of these cleansing practices in the past:
- Smudge with sage or incense Light a smudge stick or incense. Blow out any flame and then pass your pendulum through the smoke at least four times. As you do so, recite a cleansing affirmation. You can say something like, “I cleanse and release all energy from this pendulum.”
- Soak in sunlight or moonlight. Place your pendulum directly in the sunlight for at least four hours. Morning or evening works best to avoid overheating. Moonlight has cleansing properties as well. I prefer moonlight myself since it is safe for all stones and materials.
- Place it on the ground. Spiritual people talk a lot about grounding. One of the most natural ways to cleanse a pendulum is to lay it on the ground or sit it in dirt and let nature absorb the energy.
- Cover in rice. Place your pendulum in a bowl. Cover it fully in brown rice. Then, let it stay covered for a least a day. Pull it out and dispose of the rice.
- Cleanse it with crystals. Similar to the process above, you can cover your pendulum in crystals. This can be in a bowl or inside of a bag.
I will caution against using water, soap, or salt, even though this might seem practical. Doing so can damage a pendulum and isn’t necessary.
How to Use a Pendulum?
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty–how to actually use your pendulum. When people ask me this question, it sounds sort of like, “How do you cook spaghetti?” There are thousands of different recipes, and it would be impossible for me to cover each one.
I can, however, tell you how I do it and hope that it works just as well for you. With that being said, I’ll start with one of the most traditional uses: getting the answer to a yes or no question.
Asking a Yes or No Question
Start by taking three deep breaths in and out, clearing your mind as you do. This is a very important part of the process as you need to disconnect your conscious thoughts from the pendulum and its answers. Otherwise, you might influence the response.
Once you’ve done this, say to yourself (or out loud if you wish,) “I am now connecting with my Higher Self” or “I am now connecting with my spirit guides.”
You can replace this phrase with anyone that feels right to you. You should also repeat it a few times until you feel ‘settled.’ Then, blow some of your energy on to your pendulum.
Making sure that you’re sitting up straight in a place with few distractions is super important.
At this point, you’ll need to determine what a ‘no’ looks like as well as what a ‘yes’ looks like. To do this, you should:
- Hold your pendulum completely still with the heaviest point at the bottom. You may want to bend your wrist and even steady your arm with your hand.
- Say, “Show me my ‘yes.’ Eventually, your pendulum will start swinging in some type of pattern. This could be back and forth, sideways, or in a circular motion. When you ask a yes or no question, this is your YES answer. Once you have established the pattern, tell it to stop.
- Repeat the process for ‘no.’
- You can also try for a ‘maybe’ or an ‘I don’t want to say.”
If you prefer not to ask the pendulum to set its own signals, you can go through the process of programming it. Here’s how to do it:
Holding the pendulum in the ready position, say something like, “When I ask a question and the answer is no, move like this, in a counterclockwise circle.” You can replace “counterclockwise” with whatever signal you’ve chosen for “no.” As you say this, swing the pendulum in the no signal.
Once you’ve programmed your pendulum, you’re ready to ask a question. Be as specific as possible. Here are some personal favorites/sentences I’ve asked throughout the years.
- Is it in my best interest to…?
- Is XYZ a healthy choice?
- Will I enjoy doing/seeing/going to XYZ?
- All things considered, is it optimal that I…>?
Of course, there are things that you shouldn’t ask a pendulum. The big two are questions about death and questions about other people without their consent.
Do you want to expand your pendulum’s powers past the basic ‘yes/no’ ability? Consider using a pendulum chart. Doing so allows your guides the opportunity to provide you with info that you might not even know to ask for.
You can buy a chart, print a free one, or even create your own. There are so many options to choose from. Some have letters; others have words and phrases.
Many grids have numbers, and others even include percentages/temperature scales. Once you have a chart, simply ask your pendulum to point you in the right direction and spell out exactly what you need to know.
Pendulum Tarot Readings
One thing I’ve started doing recently is using my pendulum plus a chart during tarot readings. Pendulum charts with all of the Major Arcana cards can be used as a guide toward messages that need to be delivered.
For example, tonight, I was doing a reading for a client who wanted to know if she should start a new business. The pendulum pointed me toward the Fool, letting me know it is time for her to take a leap of faith.
Checking Chakra Energy
Another fave of mine is to use a pendulum to check for blocked energy of the chakra centers. By running it over the body and asking questions at each center, you’ll be able to determine where you have blockages
Of course, you’ll have work to do afterward. But that’s kind of the fun part. If you haven’t yet, check out our ultimate chakra guide.
If inner growth is on your values list, a pendulum should definitely be a tool on your belt. Connecting with your higher self, your guides, and even angels is much easier when dowsing. So, if you haven’t yet, get to picking. The perfect pendulum for you definitely exists.