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When you want an answer to a yes or no question, sometimes the nuanced readings of both Tarot and astrology can cause more confusion than clarity. For those times when consulting the Tarot cards or an astrological chart aren’t appropriate for your situation, you might want to consider using a pendulum. This simple tool, usually made of a crystal or another energy-giving material, can give great advice when used properly.

How Does a Pendulum Work?

Pendulums have been used for centuries to channel the energy of the divine or your higher self into an object that can give clear answers to yes/no questions. They are made of a wide array of materials and can be used yourself or by another to give guidance of all kind — they’ve even been used to dowse for water or precious metals.

The simplest pendulums are a crystal or other object at the end of a thread or metal chain. Do you remember dangling a threaded needle above your friend’s palm in grade school to determine how many and what kind of children she would have? A pendulum needs only to be a suspended object that can swing and move with some ease.

Skeptics say that a pendulum works to give you the answers you want (rather than the true answer) through the movement of the tiny muscles in your fingers. While it may be that the pendulum responds to unconscious movements of the fingers, I can attest that I do not always get my desired answer to a question! I believe the pendulum accesses our subconscious mind, or higher self. If you have a spirit guide you work with, you can ask that guide to give answers through the pendulum.

The quality with which we use the pendulum, the way we take care of it, and the materials it is made of all contribute to its usefulness and the quality of answers it provides.

How to Choose a Pendulum

When I was attending school to become a healer, we were advised to get birch bark pendulums, as this was the best material for conducting neutral or clear energy. Mine is a piece of finely turned wood about two inches long, very light and suspended from a thread. Others like to use pendulums made with crystals, such as amethyst or lapis, that are useful for divinatory or spiritual work. Ultimately use what speaks to you — you may even want to create your own.

Caring for your pendulum is much like caring for your crystals or Tarot cards. Keep it in a sacred space, like your altar or a special box. I keep mine in a fabric bag on my altar. I like to hold it and surround it with rose and white light every time I use it, before asking questions. 

You may need to purify your pendulum from time to time, especially once you first get it.  Meditate or pray with your pendulum and cleanse it by placing it under a full moon, bathing it in saltwater (the actual sea is best, if you live near the coast!) or by anointing it with essential oils. As always, the most powerful rituals are the ones you devise yourself.

How to Use Your Pendulum

Working with the pendulum is simple, but it’s helpful to set up your own system of answers. I do this every session actually, by holding my pendulum in a still position, and then asking it to show me “yes,” “no,” and “unclear at this time.” You will see that the pendulum will clearly swing in different directions to denote the different answers.

Some people like to use a board with answers written on it: yes, no, maybe, answer not available. They decorate the board with images that speak to them and let the pendulum swing to the response. 

I advise clients to not use the pendulum when they are emotionally upset, using alcohol/drugs, or to repeatedly ask the same question until they get the answer they want. These are the same guidelines I use for reading Tarot cards. You will not get accurate assistance if you are not energetically clear.

Beginning users shouldn’t use the pendulum for questions like, “Should I divorce my husband?” As you grow into your relationship with your pendulum and understand how it works, you can ask increasingly important questions. I never advise using a pendulum for health-related concerns beyond consulting about foods or vitamin supplements. 

Begin a session with grounding, prayer, or meditation. Reflect on your question and ask for the answers to be for the highest good of all. You can ask any kind of yes/no question, or you can have your pendulum guide you toward a correct choice out of a selection of objects.

For example, if I am trying to decide on a vacation choice out of three or four ideas, I will write each on a piece of paper, and then ask my pendulum to indicate which would be the best for me at this time. The answer will be a clear swing to a specific choice.

Some people use pendulums to ask more pressing questions. The most common one is to inquire about relationships. I advise my clients to wait until they are in a very neutral space before they do this. Often this is when they will book a session for me to use the pendulum for them. The client gives me permission for their higher self or guide to speak through me. Working with a practitioner can supply more objectivity. 

Sometimes the answers our pendulum give are not clear to us. I may then look at astrological transits or work with Tarot to dig deeper. Very infrequently my pendulum will refuse to move at all, and then I know that the question is too complex, not clearly phrased, or that there is just no information for me at this time. 

Using a pendulum is an art, like any other divinatory method. The more you work on your intuition generally, the greater your skills will be with your pendulum. Don’t be afraid to use it for small things like finding lost objects or choosing the best color for the bedroom paint. But obviously, we needn’t become dependent on it for every decision. Use your common sense! 

If you have questions where you need more objectivity, or keep getting answers you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to call a Keen advisor for assistance.