Pendulums are perhaps one of the easiest divination methods you can start with, as they require no memorization complex imagery or symbolism, and they can be effectively employed for a variety of uses, not just ‘yes/no’ questions, either.
What You Can Use as a Pendulum
You do not need to spend a lot of money to buy a special pendulum, although you certainly can.
If you are short on funds, you can simply use anything that you can attach and suspend on the end of a string, chain, yarn, or other length of something from which it can freely dangle.
Here are some things I have used, or know people who have used, and they’ve all worked well:
- a pendant necklace, especially if it has a stone or crystal that comes to a point, or has a narrower end pointing down
- a key tied to a piece of string
- a small rock that you can tie onto a string or yarn
- a cross hanging from something
- an earring with a metal or stone/crystal hanging from it
- you probably get the idea now
Essentially, as long as whatever you suspend from the end of the string, cord, or chain can freely move and is not impeded or otherwise affected by its shape, the chain/string/yarn, then you can likely use it as a pendulum.
Consecrating Your Pendulum
I prefer to designate my pendulum for this specific purpose, once I finally purchased one that was an actual pendulum. Before, that, however, I used a carnelian stone pendant necklace, and would usually cleanse it prior to and after use, so that I could also still wear it when I wanted without the sticky energies that you may or may not pick up with a pendulum from time to time.
I wrote this post on consecrating magickal tools, so I won’t recap that here, but will just say its generally good practice to consecrate something that you will be dedicating to this purpose.
Do You Need to Cleanse Your Pendulum?
Believe it or not, there is some controversy here. I know psychic mediums that say no, if you’re using a crystal/mineral-based pendulum dedicated to that purpose, pendulums are self-cleaning, similar to selenite crystals.
Others I know state that you should cleanse it before and after use, using salt water.
I would say that I can feel when there is energy sticking to my pendulum that I do not want, and I will cleanse it then. You can physically cleanse it, or psychically cleanse it, whichever you prefer.
If you prefer to psychically cleanse it, my method that I find works especially well is to center and ground myself well, first. Once I feel a nice strong connection of roots to the earth, I grasp the pendulum in my dominant hand, then visualize drawing up rushing underground water energy, let it flow up my roots, into my base chakra, up through the rest of my chakras, and visualize it circulating up and down my chakras for about 30 seconds, to clean them.
Then I push the swirling water out toward my exterior, letting it flow around me in a whirling manner. I am cleansing my aura here. Once I feel as if I have effectively done both of those things, I send the water down my arm into my hand where the pendulum is, and swirl it around that, washing, cleansing, and purifying it. I direct that water, and all the rest, back down my chakras, through my root, then down through the roots I am connecting to the earth.
Once all the water has ‘flushed’ and drained, I fill the pendulum back up with my energy, any specific instructions I have for it, and thank it for helping me. Fairly simple. I would like to note that I have a LOT of water in my chart, so water is one of the elements I most comfortably visualize. Feel free to substitute one you feel more comfortable with if you use this method.
Back to the question of cleansing, though. Depending on what you are doing with your pendulum and whether you are performing a banishing beforehand, or using in a space that is well warded vs not warded, and who/what you are contacting or attempting to contact to communicate through your pendulum, you may want to cleanse it afterward.
A friend of mine does not cleanse her pendulums that are crystal/minerals, but does cleanse other items such as keys, jewelry, etc.
The bottom line is, you’ll feel it if it needs to be cleansed and if your intuition tells you to cleanse it, then do.
How to Use Your Pendulum
Now that we got the formalities out of the way, here’s what you probably came for. Whether or not you cast a circle is entirely up to you, but I would at least recommend doing a basic banishing if you are seeking contact with spirits for communication, as well as setting some ground rules for your session.
Ground rules are where you specify who can and cannot be present to communicate with you in your space. I use a statement such as “Only those spirits or beings with my highest good in mind or who seek only to help me may enter my space today. Those who wish me harm or have ill intent may not enter.”
You can come up with your own variation that, depending on your situation. If you’re trying to contact Grandma Sue and in life she hated you and you hated her, then she’s not gonna be much different in death and that statement would effectively bar her from communicating, so just keep that in mind.
You could decide whether you want to cleanse yourself and your space, and to what degree. I will usually have some incense going in my space for a good 10-15 min prior to a session, to get it nice and comfortable, as well as create a welcoming environment for spirit guides and ancestors.
If you are new to using a pendulum, you’ve probably purchased, printed, or drawn a pendulum answer board. I would recommend avoiding this at first until you know how your pendulum will work with you.
Figure out your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses
To figure out your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers, get something flat and circular, or draw a circle on a piece of paper. Hold the pendulum up over the circle, keep your elbow free from being pinned to any surfaces or your side (these can actually impede your energy flow through your arm) and out loud or in your head state “show me ‘yes’ in a circle.’
Whichever way the pendulum spins for you is your ‘yes’ response. Regardless of whether it is clockwise or counterclockwise. And, whichever way it spins for you will be the way that all pendulums will spin for you for that response.
At this point, I like to just check that answer with another statement “show me ‘no’ in a circle.” It should be the opposite direction of how your ‘yes’ response moved, but every once in a while someone gets either no response or the same.
Go back and double check your ‘yes’ a couple times to be sure, then make sure you are loose, not tense, take a few deep breaths, and stop trying to overthink it. These are usually the reason behind getting no response or unclear movement from a pendulum.
At this point, you can begin asking questions, or welcome any spirits you have asked to be present to communicate with, etc.
Using a Pendulum for Questions with Answers Other Than Yes and No
You can get other answers from a pendulum, and you don’t even need to have a fancy pendulum board, however, you can use one if you’d like.
Here are some alternatives to just yes and no questions:
- use a pendulum with a Ouija board, moving the pendulum across the letters and making note of the ones where it begins to spin in the direction of your ‘yes’ response
- make a chart with numbers in intervals of 10, as percentages and ask what is the likelihood some particular event will take place
- write on a piece of paper a number of options among which you are trying to decide which is the best and ask which to choose, the pendulum will spin in your ‘yes’ direction on the best option
- use it to locate a lost item; walk through your space and ask where your lost item is, watch for the pendulum to spin in the location it was last in
- use it to clear energy in a space; I have not personally use it for this, but do know of people who use it to remove negative or stagnant energy in a location; it will begin to spin rapidly when it encounters energy that needs to be removed, cleansing the space for you
How to Close a Pendulum Session
Everyone seems to have their own preferred method for this and I think there will be variables you should consider when deciding how to close your session.
If you are not contacting anyone in particular, but merely asking questions about a decision or event, simply thank the pendulum and mentally close down or end the session and ground yourself.
If you are working with spirit guides or ancestors, its good practice to thank them and say something along the lines of ‘go if you must, stay if you will.’
If you are working with a deity as part of a larger ritual, spell, or offering/dedication, its always good practice to thank them and leave an offering they like. Deities will generally communicate how they prefer to be thanked and what offerings they like, but you can find a lot of information online about this.
Also, generally its not good etiquette to dismiss a deity, rather you will want to thank them and say that you are done asking questions and that they are free to go. Banishing them is considered rude, unless for some reason you feel uncomfortable or threatened, and then, perhaps, this may not be for you.
If you question whether the spirit you are communicating with is truly who they say they are, or whether their intentions are benevolent toward you, its probably best to ask them to leave, cleanse your space, and make sure you’ve appropriately warded your space (if you are using your pendulum somewhere that can be warded), or perhaps create stronger ground rules next time.
There are so many different types of pendulums and what they can be made of, so I won’t go into that in this post, but perhaps in a future post I will discuss the strengths if using a particular type of pendulum vs others.