how to work with a pendulum

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.

symbolism of the goat

There are few other creatures of the natural world that have been maligned in spiritual and religious symbolism as much as the goat. Poor goats, right?

Apart from spending way more time than I’d like to admit watching screaming goats videos on Youtube (you’re welcome), goats are quite awesome. They are nature’s tenacious, intelligent, and industrious little cloven-footed buddies.

They keep plant life controlled, they produce an alternative to cow milk (goat milk is delicious, if you haven’t tried it), and they’re super playful and friendly. They also provide meat, fleece, and skin to cultures who raise them and care for them.

Wild mountain goats are able to clamber up nearly sheer rock faces, thousands of feet above the ground, almost effortlessly and without fear. Goats in pastures use creative escape plans to free themselves. Goats seize opportunities.

But let’s walk it back a bit to what the goat symbolizes from a magickal or spiritual perspective.

History of Goat Symbolism

Goat legends abound in Pagan religions, which is likely part of the reason why they were later to be associated with ‘the devil’ in Judeo-Christian symbology.

Zeus was suckled by the goat Amalthea. Thor’s chariot is drawn by two goats (who can be cooked and eaten, and then rise again the next morning anew).

Goats were traditionally associated with fertility and virility, thanks to the impassioned and persistent nature of a rutting billy goat. This might also be why their image was darkened by the church, because sexy sexy goats might spread the wrong message?

Anyway, the Greek god Pan was a well-known goat-god, half man/half goat and connected to fertility, sensuality, sexual pleasure, and lust. At some point after the establishment of the Catholic church, the image of Pan was given red skin, menacing black horns, and glowing red eyes and became the symbol of evil.

Aphrodite was also shown riding a goat as her favorite mount.

Satyrs were half man/half goat figures who played music and enjoyed revelry and pleasure. Goats were associated with Dionysus, to whom they were traditionally sacrificed.

The practice of ‘scapegoating’ in Judaic lore (and this appears to perhaps also have been practiced in some other early Middle Eastern sects that were not specifically Jewish, but I can’t find good sources to confirm) involved a village or family group designating one goat each year to bear the sins, shame, negative thoughts, and so forth of each individual.

The people of the village or group would each walk up and touch the goat, symbolically transferring their sins and bad deeds/thoughts to the goat. Once the goat was full of their negativity and sins, it would be set free to wander off into the desert, carrying their sins and misdeeds away with it. In other words, being their scapegoat, and accepting whatever punishment or judgment would be issued for those sins.

And then we get to the point in which the goat literally became associated with the biblical Satan.

The goat head is now used to symbolize the reversed pentagram, such as on the seal of The Satanic Temple (they’re a rad group, I highly recommend you read their tenets), and is also part of the symbolism of Baphomet, who the Templars were accused of praying to or worshipping after they confessed during torture, and who was then subsequently established as a heathen or pagan idol.

However, scholars now largely agree that the name Baphomet was an Old French bastardization of the name Muhammad (Mahomet) and that there was not a separate entity named Baphomet associated with the Christian devil.

Otherwise, prior to those recorded confessions in the early 1300s, the name did not appear in any records, and was certainly not associated with goats.

Duality of Goats vs Sheep

From an organized Judeo-Christian religion perspective, sheep were the good followers, who stayed in the pasture and didn’t stray. They didn’t attempt to escape or find excitement. They did as they were told and just ate their pasture grass and were happy being told by the shepherd and sheepdog that this was their life and it would always be this way.

How many religious passages, songs, and hymns refer to ‘the flock,’ ‘pastures/pastoral,’ ‘fleece,’ and so forth? Sheep were divine, or associated with following the divine and being ‘good.’

The goat on the other hand, questioned. The goat knew that just outside that fence there was excitement, adventure, and juicy she-goats to get feisty with. The world is the goat’s oyster. The goat is down for a challenge and whatever pleasures it can find.

The goat pursued its urges, never regretted, and achieved heightened experiences.

And this, my friends, is where a large amount of the ruining of the goat’s reputation and image came from by the church as it systematically wiped out or suppressed Pagan traditions and belief systems.

The message was pretty clear: don’t think for yourself, don’t question, and don’t even think about kinky mating!

What Messages Does the Goat Bring Us?

If you feel particularly connected to the imagery, character, or spirit of the goat, or are seeing a lot of goat imagery popping up lately, here are some things to consider:

  • What barriers hold you in? Are they really there, or are they self-created? Is it time to leap the fence and explore?
  • You may need to explore sexuality and pleasure, but conversely, just like a reversed tarot card, if you’re already doing a lot of sexual exploration, this symbol might signal unconsciously compelled sexual compulsions or an unhealthy lust for power
  • Are you following blindly without questioning? Perhaps its time to re-assess something in your life and take ownership of your trajectory
  • Goats can also symbolize energetic pursuit of a want or need. Is there something lacking that you can apply more energy to in order to manifest it?

invocation vs evocation vs summoning

I know this will be controversial to many, but I think this subject deserves some attention. And I expect everyone to like or agree with these definitions, but I do think everyone can agree these words do not mean the same thing.

These words get used interchangeably by many, but, depending on who you ask, have vastly different meanings, and, therefore, potentially very different results when working with spirits, deities, or entities.

Aleister Crowley has differentiated the two terms by saying that invocation is calling on a spirit to manifest inwardly vs evocation is calling forth a spirit to manifest outwardly. He gives no distinction of implied control or supplication on either part of the evoker/invoker and evokee/invokee in this definition.

In Crowley’s version, which has widely become parroted throughout most of the magickal world, invoking is a way of aspecting, or allowing an aspect of a deity to manifest within themselves or even take temporary possession in order to communicate.

I don’t think this is inherently wrong, but its also clear that both words still mean very different things, and come with different implications.

As an alternative to that definition, I really like the way that Connolly breaks down this topic easily and succinctly in several of her books (The Complete Book to Demonolatry, The Demonolater’s Guide to Demonic Magick are two I recommend if you’re into a more ceremonial approach to demonic magick).

It is her definition that I think delineates the nuances of these terms.

Invocation

Think of invocation as a request. It is asking respectfully and reverently. ‘[insert name], I invoke thee to attend my workings tonight.’

Invocations to deities go back as far as human history and spirituality. You can find written invocations in religious texts thousands of years old, giving direction to petitioners on how to respectfully ask a deity for assistance.

And, at least historically speaking, there is not really any basis for the claim that invocations were requests for the deity to possess the person invoking. That definition appears to be a modern interpretation.

Invoking simply involves asking nicely for whatever spirit or being you are seeking to be present, lend assistance, or communicate with you. It’s my opinion that most of the time, people using the terms invoke, evoke, or summon actually mean invoke.

Invoking is akin to praying in a way. It can also just mean leaving an offering without any manifestation. It is welcoming.

Most of us aren’t running around demanding anyone make themselves known or show up for our rituals or spells. The demand comes with an air of mistrust or even superiority.

If you want to work respectfully with a spirit or being, regardless of who/what it is, invoking is the way to go. You would not want your autonomy taken from you, so why treat another being that way? How readily would you want to help someone that demanded you help them?

Evocation

Evocation means more of a demand that a being or spirit show up. It usually involves protective circles, maybe even binding the spirit, and almost always because there is an element of fear of them, or at least some mistrust or discomfort.

Evocation, going with Connolly’s definition, is a method of conjuring an entity to appear or manifest physically in some way, usually within that protective circle and usually also involves no implied supplication from the conjurer.

I will never understand why someone would evoke a spirit or being of any kind they are afraid of or are uncomfortable in the presence of. You get out of magick what you send into it, and entities are no different. If you approach them with fear and ego, you put yourself in danger.

Its incredibly arrogant of us humans to think that we can keep an incredibly powerful other dimensional being from harming us just by erecting special shapes for our working space and binding them with phrases. I’ll leave it at that.

Making demands and starting off in a confrontational manner are not respectful ways to work with entities you want help from, so consider your use of terminology if you’ve been using these interchangeably.

Summoning

Summoning is essentially the same in terms of implied demand as evoking. Summoning is a demand to a spirit or being to appear, usually against their will.

Again, usually this involves protective circles, banishing, and signals that the summoner fears and lacks trust in or comfort with the entity being summoned. If you’re using this method, you’re implying you seek to control that spirit or being and impair its free will.

Do Evoking and Summoning Have a Place?

I won’t be naive enough to say that you should never need these methods. I can’t speak to every possible situation or reason why someone would consider these options.

Only you can make that decision based on what your goals are and who/what you’re working with. And if it sounds like there’s judgment here, there’s not. Magick is a highly personal journey we must all walk in our own way.

Personally, I approach this from the perspective that there are literally thousands of potential spirits or beings whom you could ask for assistance with a request or need.

Why summon one and engender potentially negative will toward yourself when you can simply invoke another that will be equally effective, and who will more than likely be willing to help you out in exchange for your respect, reverence, and offerings.

The approach taken by demonolatry practitioners is, when working with entities of that type of power, respect for them is appreciated and yields much better results and working relationships than ego, control, and force.

However, again, your path is your own and you may find your results using evocation and summoning are equally fruitful.

magickal uses of iron

Pretty much everything in the natural or mundane world has a real or symbolic use or meaning in the magickal world as well. Metals are no exception.

Magickal History of Iron

First, know that to our ancestors and the ancients, iron was often considered a gift from the gods, as the first iron used by humans to make items was actually taken from meteorites that landed on Earth. The ancients did not know that the Earth actually contains a LOT of iron.

Because of that, iron was, at one time, actually more valuable than other metals we consider precious, such as gold or silver.

Iron was used fairly regularly in craftmanship, but it is difficult to know exactly when it came into regular use in human civilization, as it rusts and corrodes much more easily than other metals we typically find in archeological sites, and is, therefore, often hard to find in ancient artifacts.

The earliest records of the use of iron by humans date to about 5000 B.C., but it wasn’t until the beginning of the aptly named ‘Iron Age’ that iron deposits were discovered and humans learned how to smelt it, and it became far more cost-effective to use in weaponry and other goods, around 1300 B.C.

Magickal or Spiritual Associations of Iron

Now that you know that little bit of history, especially pertaining to iron’s supposed divine origins, it may make more sense why you see or read about tools or items made of iron used in rituals, given its precious meaning and limited availability in antiquity.

  • considered to be of divine origin by the Egyptians
  • Lodestone, a naturally occurring oxide of iron, is magnetic, aiding sailors as a compass before compasses were invented
  • its magnetic properties can be used in magick to ‘attract’ what you want
  • because iron is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood (as part of the ‘heme’ molecule), it is critical for human life, and an integral symbol of our life force, blood
  • iron is also considered to be the ‘life force’ of the Earth, due to how much iron is buried in our planet, and its magnetic effects on all life on the planet
  • iron is said to be magickal in part because it can withstand both an extremely hot fire and freezing cold
  • horseshoes made of iron were used by hanging on one’s door to repel unwanted ghosts and evil spirits (but also thought to repel witches; its more likely that the iron was used to repel curses or the evil eye)
  • iron was (and still is sometimes) used in iron bars around cemeteries and prisons to ‘contain’ the ghosts and spirits of the inhabitants (or in the case of prisons, previous living inhabitants)
  • It is also thought that iron bars and gates keep ‘negative’ or ‘bad’ energy contained within a space
  • because of its aforementioned protective properties, iron boxes, or even cauldrons, have been used in magickal practices to contain dark, negative, or malevolent energies
  • its commonly said that fairies do not like iron, or are repelled by it, but because of the large amount of naturally occurring iron found in the earth, its more likely that fairies are actually repelled by iron that has been corrupted by man (steel, or any of the other amalgams or composites we typically use)

So, while iron certainly has some magickal symbolism, it is also considered a desirable material from which to make magickal tools, such as blades/athames, dishes, implements, cauldrons, and other containers.

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