At first glance, pendulums might not seem like magical objects. In fact, they're commonly found in the world of science - used in clocks, metronomes and even earthquake prevention devices for measurement and balance.
But for the more spiritually inclined, pendulums are ancient instruments of divination. In their most basic form, pendulums are weights suspected from a pivot that swing freely to and fro. The movement of a pendulum can be used to divine and scry, heal and balance, and much more.
Here, we take a closer look at how pendulums can be used in your magical or spiritual practice.
Choosing Your Pendulum
The material: Pendulums are commonly made of wood, metal, glass or gemstone. The majority of the pendulums we have at Dragonspace are made of gemstone, as we believe each unique gemstone imbues its own special energy into the pendulum. However, some people prefer wood or glass pendulums for the opposite reason - they don't transfer any kind of external energy into the pendulum practice, which means you can start with a clean slate. There's no right or wrong material; it will depend what speaks to you.
The shape: Pendulums can come in various shapes, from diamonds to arrows to teardrops, but they will almost always end in a clear point. This pointed shape is vital to the motion of the pendulum, and also acts as a director for the pendulum's energy.
As is the case with choosing most divinatory tools, it’s up to the user to determine which pendulum they're connecting with. Many people believe the pendulum chooses the user - when you touch the pendulum, you might find that it feels particularly warm or cool, or gives off a physical vibration. You might get an internal feeling rather than an external one - a sense of calm or clarity. You might have a pre-existing connection with a type of gemstone or a particular colour, which will influence your choice. Whatever way you choose, remember your pendulum will become a very personal tool, so it needs to feel right.
Programming Your Pendulum
Due to their physical design, pendulums will naturally swing in a certain direction when they're held upright: vertical, horizontal, circular, and sometimes even a zig-zag. Each different direction your pendulum swings in will come to signify a different 'response' or meaning. However, these meanings aren't pre-determined. You actually need to programme these meanings into your pendulum, based on your own internal energy.
Once you’ve chosen the right pendulum for you, sit with it in a calm, quiet space where you can focus your energy. This might be somewhere out in nature, or by your altar if you have one. Hold one of your hands out flat with palm facing upwards, and hold the top of the pendulum’s chain in the opposite hand, so that the pendulum’s point swings over the centre of your upturned palm.
Now it’s time to assign responses to the pendulum’s movements. Close your eyes and ask the pendulum to show you what an ‘affirmative’ or ‘yes’ meaning is. The pendulum should swing in a clear direction (e.g. vertically up and down, or in a clockwise circle), which means that direction now indicates an affirmative answer. Next, ask the pendulum to show you what a ‘negative’ or ‘no’ meaning is, and record that direction (e.g. horizontally back and forth, or in an anti-clockwise circle). It also helps to ask the pendulum what a ‘neutral’ or ‘mixed’ response might be, and record those directions too.
Using Pendulums for Divination
Once your pendulum has been programmed, you’re ready to use it for divination. As pendulums are designed to give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to questions, it’s best to use your pendulum when you have a straightforward question or decision you’re looking to work through. For example, you might be wondering whether to pursue a relationship, a job offer, or a travel opportunity. These are all situations in which you’ll be looking for a clear affirmative or negative answer.
As pendulums work with your own internal spiritual energy, the answer your pendulum gives you will reflect your unconscious fears, hopes and desires. Like with most divinatory tools, pendulums don’t necessarily magically tell the future. Instead, they help us to identify what we truly want deep inside or the direction we’re subconsciously heading in.
To use your pendulum:
1. Find a place where you can be focused, calm and undisturbed
2. Hold your pendulum in the same manner as you did when you programmed it - with the top of the chain in one hand, and the point of the pendulum above the other open hand
3. Touch or cup the pendulum with your open hand while you ask the question
4. Slowly unfurl your hand that's holding the pendulum and steadily rise the pendulum up until it's hovering about 5-10 inches above the centre of the palm
5. The pendulum should start to swing in a specific direction, which will give you your answer
The motion of the pendulum might be subtle, or it might be strong. This will be an indicator of how clear your answer is.
Using Pendulums for Healing
Pendulums can also be utilised in healing practices. They can be used to dowse the body and identify areas of energy blockage or spiritual pain. They can also be help to balance chakras and cleanse auras. There is a great post about the multiple ways you can use pendulums for healing and cleansing on the Journey to Ascension website here.
Other Tips for Your Pendulum Practice
- Make sure you cleanse your pendulum regularly as you would with other crystals. You can do this by soaking it in cold water or saltwater, energising it in sunlight, or leaving it out under a full moon.
- You might want to use a notebook or your Grimoire/Book of Shadows to record your pendulum readings
- Most people believe it’s difficult to use your pendulum to read for other people, as your pendulum is attuned to your own internal energy
- You could also try using a pendulum chart or map if you’d like to explore more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. These are charts where you map out any multitude of answers or outcomes. We've got a beginner's map kit available here, or you can create your own.
And if you'd like to learn more about pendulum magic and divination, we've got a number of books on the subject below.
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