Using a Pendulum

In this lesson we’re going to use a pendulum to aid in decision making, which if you’ve never used one before they’re so fun. Bring on the witchy vibes!

I have two pendulums I use, based on my mood. One is a crinoid fossil I found in a dry creek bed, strung on a cheap necklace chain. The other is a clear quartz point that I found at ​this wicked-cool shop​ in Bangor, Maine.

Pendulums are great when you don’t have time to interpret a tarot card and/or when your questions can be answered with a simple yes/no.

This is how I incorporate pendulums into my divination approach:

I use tarot for more comprehensive, getting-the-lay-of-the-land readings, and then as I’m moving through my week, if I feel stuck I pull out my pendulum for a quick realignment.

For instance, when I was working on disconnecting from a specific family member, a goal that became clear through tarot readings, dreamwork, and journaling, one day I got a text from them, and I was having a really, really hard time deciding whether or not to respond.

I pulled out my pendulum and asked, “Would it be smart to hold off on replying, at least until tomorrow?” I got a clear yes. The next day my headspace was less chaotic, such that it was super obvious to me that I didn’t want to engage at all.

The way I see it, this isn’t a matter of a rock telling you what to do. My working theory of pendulums is that they’re partly a form of muscle testing, or a way for the body-soul to communicate via the nervous system’s effect on the muscles.

If you’ve never been muscle tested, it’s wild. I once saw a chiropractor who needed to assess which herbal formula to prescribe. They had me hold a bottle of Formula A close to my chest with my other arm held out at shoulder height. When they pushed down on my arm, it was stiff as a board.

Contrast with Formula B: my arm flopped down like a wet noodle under gentle pressure, even though I was consciously trying very hard to hold it up. Formula B was a no-go.

Pendulums might also provide a conduit for spirit guides to alter physical reality using your body and energy field, resulting in the movement of the pendulum. Those are my current theories anyways. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To begin, cleanse your pendulum.

You could hold it in your hand while envisioning the pendulum filling with brilliant light.

You could pass it through incense smoke.

You could ring a bell next to it (three times for good measure!).

You could bury it in salt overnight (throw the salt away when you’re done).

If it’s not a sun-sensitive crystal, set it in sunlight for a day.

Or moonlight on the full moon.

[insert witchy ideas of choice]

For your first pendulum session, find a place where you won’t be disturbed.

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, letting distractions drop away.

Drape the string or chain loosely in your hand (no death grip needed).

Mentally or out loud, say, “Please show me a yes.”

Give the pendulum time to do its thing. For me, it begins swinging back and forth, picking up speed. You might get a clockwise circle or a particular diagonal swing. Don’t worry if the movement isn’t pronounced, but with practice it should be clear to you when you’re getting a yes.

Then say, “Please show me a no.”

For me, the pendulum comes to a halt, and it’s interesting because far from just hanging limply, I can see it vibrating ever so slightly, as if it’s being held to one spot. If I try to move it, there’s a taffy-like resistance in the air. Like I said, bring on the witchy vibes!

You might get a counterclockwise circle, a different directional swing, or a lack of movement with the sensation of the energy being “cut off,” like someone’s hung up the phone.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can ask your questions, phrasing them as yes/no queries.

Optionally (but usefully), you can ask your pendulum what “I don’t know” looks like, because there isn’t always an answer! Sometimes this is because the spirit(s) you’re communicating with don’t know, your body-soul doesn’t know, or there simply isn’t a clear answer at this time.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can ask your questions, phrasing them as yes/no queries.

If you’re having trouble getting a clear response, here’s a simple way to “calibrate” your pendulum.

After you’ve done the above yes/no check, ask some questions you absolutely know the answer to. For instance, stand in your kitchen and ask, “Am I standing in the kitchen?” This will allow you to practice experiencing a yes.

Repeat with an obvious no, like, “Is my name Attila the Hun?” 😉

I sometimes use a pendulum to double check an especially tricky tarot interpretation, and by tricky this usually means I’m in a headspace where I’m super attached to the outcome, and I can’t tell if I’m just seeing what I want to see.

I’ll use something like, “Is it accurate that [fill in the blank]?” inserting my tarot interpretation.

As I mentioned earlier, I also use the pendulum for more in-the-moment stuff, for instance, when I’m making smaller decisions related to an overarching goal identified through tarot readings or dreamwork.

As we wrap up this month, start to think about how divination fits into your personal method for figuring out next steps. You might want to journal on this as you refine what works and what doesn’t for you.

To recap, here’s my general approach:

I do a tarot reading every New and Full Moon (​more details here​). Having these days locked in ensures I don’t go too long without a tarot check-in, and some months I might read more often.

I capture these readings in my journal so I can reference them throughout the month. Was my interpretation useful? What actions have I taken, and how did that go? What did I learn by taking those actions? How do the readings relate to my dreams? (I consider all of this to be part of an “extended reading,” if you will.)

Pretty much every day I do morning pages in my journal, à la The Artist’s Way. I use this time to jot down whatever snippets of dreams I can remember, and this material is invaluable when it comes to augmenting the game plan I’ve developed based on my tarot readings.

You might say that dreams are a way of “fact checking” your readings, because your waking ego isn’t creating the narrative, so you get a less biased view. (More on dreams next month.)

Then throughout the week, I use my pendulum here and there if I’m having trouble connecting to my inner wisdom. For me, it provides a useful touchstone when my mind’s fluttering too much to get clear on what I’m feeling, thinking, and needing in the moment.

Next month:

Get ready for the fabulous world of dreams! If you’ve tried interpreting your dreams in the past and found them to be some mixture of impenetrable or not at all useful, I’m so freakin’ excited to share these techniques with you.

I have found that regular dreamwork increases my psychic senses in a major way–turning my tarot readings up to 11, spotlighting important cues from other people and the environment, and initiating more synchronicities with a deeper understanding of their messages.

This is true even when I’m only able to remember snippets of my dreams, sometimes for weeks on end. You don’t have to do dreamwork perfectly (or every day) for it to yield big dividends.

See you next month! 🙂