A pendulum is a powerful and accessible way to gain clarity and insight into decisions and next steps as you move forward on your life’s journey. Discover the complete guide for how to use a pendulum, and check out the links below for beautiful pendulums and accessories to get started today.
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What Is a Pendulum?
A pendulum is a tool you can use to gain clarity and insight into a situation or problem you may be having. Specifically, it’s a string, cord, or chain with a small object at the end; most often, this object is a triangular shaped crystal, but you may also find pendulums that have objects made of wood, stone, metal, or glass on the end. (Just be sure not to use anything that could be magnetic, as this could affect the pendulum’s function.) There’s also typically another small, weighted object at the other end of the chain, though not always.
Here’s an example of what a pendulum can look like:
You may also hear the practice of using a pendulum referred to as crystal dowsing or pendulum dowsing. This is simply the act of using a pendulum to receive guidance, whether it be about making a decision in your life or even finding your lost car keys.
If you’re looking to strengthen your intuitive powers, using a pendulum is a powerful practice to help you get in touch with your inner knowing. It’s also a formidable tool if you have trouble deciding whether to follow your head or your heart when making decisions. Many people believe that a pendulum is uniquely powerful in its ability to help you to make decisions by bringing together both the left and right sides of your brain. So instead of just following your head or your heart, the pendulum assists you in using the best parts of both in order to help you make the best possible decision for your journey.
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When Do I Use a Pendulum?
A pendulum is most often used to gain insight and clarity when there are areas of uncertainty in your life. Anytime you have a question and are looking for help or advice, you can use a pendulum to receive guidance from a higher power.
Now, to be more specific, what kind of guidance can a pendulum offer? If you’re trying to choose between pizza or sushi, should you ask the pendulum to make the final call? Or should you reserve using your pendulum for only the really big life questions, like whether you should quit your job or start a new relationship?
Funny enough, I know people on both sides of the coin: some who only use their pendulum for the more lighthearted questions in life, and others who use it only for the deeper, more meaningful questions.
Those who use it to help them make daily decisions about what to have for dinner or what Netflix show to watch usually say that they use their pendulum for these types of questions because they like to save the deeper, more meaningful stuff for other spiritual practices, like tarot.
And those who use a pendulum for heavier questions often say that they don’t want to become dependent on the pendulum for daily decisions, and it’s a powerful source of guidance that shouldn’t be underestimated.
So who’s right?
Well, no one. And everyone.
Do you have another practice, like tarot, that you like to use for guidance in your life? Then maybe you’ll want to just use the pendulum on those more lighthearted questions. But if you don’t have another practice, or if you view a pendulum as a powerful way to connect with your highest self and/or your spirit guides, then you can absolutely use your pendulum for meaningful insight regarding your life’s path.
So again, there’s no right or wrong answer here. I do recommend, though, that when you’re first starting to use your pendulum, it doesn’t hurt to ask it some of those lighter questions like whether you should have cookies for dessert tonight. Not only will this help you to establish a connection with your pendulum, but it will help you develop trust in its guidance as well.
Who is Answering My Questions?
There are actually different schools of thought here, and none of them are necessarily right or wrong. Everything about this practice is extremely personal to you, so only you know deep inside who it is you’re speaking to.
Here are some common beliefs about who is on the “other side” of the pendulum:
- Your Higher Self: I deeply believe that your inner knowing always knows the way. Thus, it’s not a stretch to believe that your highest self – a self who is deeply connected to their intuition – can guide you to making the best decisions for you.
- Your Spirit Guides: Spirit guides can come in the form of animals, angels, ancestors, goddesses, elemental spirits (like trees or mountains), and other beings. Whether or not you’ve connected with your spirit guides in the past, a pendulum offers a way to connect with your guides moving forward as they help you along your path.
- The Universe: The Universe is the name I most often use to refer to a higher power in my life. You might also refer to this power as God, Source, Source Energy, Love, All That Is, or something else that feels right to you. When you receive guidance from a pendulum, you can view it as though you’re receiving guidance from the higher power in your life.
It’s also completely okay to believe that all of the entities above have a hand in making a decision. You’re also empowered to call upon a specific entity, such as a spirit guide or guardian angel, when you seek their guidance.
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What Kind of Pendulum Should I Use?
As mentioned above, most pendulums are made of some kind of cord or chain and have a small object at the end; this is most commonly seen as a triangular-shaped crystal, but other items such as gemstones and wood can be used as well.
So is there one type of pendulum that works “better” than others?
Truly, there’s not. In my experience, and in the experience of many others I’ve come across, the one that’s going to work best for you is the one that you get a good feeling about. If you’re in a crystal store looking at pendulums and one catches your eye, the decision can truly be as simple as picking it up and purchasing it on the spot.
You may already have a favorite crystal, or one that has always held special meaning to you. If so, it’s completely fine to start your pendulum search knowing you want to incorporate that crystal somehow. So if amethyst is a special crystal to you, search for ones with a beautiful triangular-shaped amethyst at the end.
Will it work better if you buy one with a crystal that has a meaning associated with the type of questions you’re going to ask? For instance, if you’re looking for love advice, should you purchase a pendulum that has a piece of rose quartz on the end? You can absolutely try this if this idea resonates with you, but don’t feel like you need to. I’ve had success using a single pendulum for all types of different questions.
The only “wrong” answer would be to choose a pendulum that you don’t really like, or that you don’t get good vibes from.
To get started, here are a few beautiful pendulums that can be purchased on Amazon:
- Jovivi Crystal Pendulum
- JUST IN STONES Crystal Point Pendulum
- Nupuyai Healing Crystal Point Pendulum
- PESOENTH Dowsing Pendulum Crystal
- Top Plaza Healing Crystal Dowsing Pendulum
Where Do I Purchase a Pendulum?
How Do I Use My Pendulum?
Before You Start
- Once you’ve chosen your pendulum, it’s important to cleanse and program your pendulum before using. I promise, this is easier than it sounds. You can cleanse your pendulum by setting it in nature for 24 hours (check online or in a crystal book to make sure the crystal is safe in the sun, and if there will be any rain or dew, make sure it’s safe to get wet); cleansing it with sage; placing it on top of or next to a piece of selenite or clear quartz (make sure they’re touching); or holding it under running water (again, making sure that your chosen crystal won’t be damaged by the water).
- Charging your pendulum is even easier, but this is a personal practice, so make sure you have some quiet time to connect with your pendulum. Sit quietly for 10 to 15 minutes, holding it in your hands. This can be done in meditation, if you’d like. During this time, focus on your connection between you and your pendulum. You may choose to set an intention for your pendulum, or ask for support from the Universe, your higher self, or your spirit guides.
- The first time you ever use your pendulum, you’ll want to set aside some extra time for understanding how your pendulum communicates with you. It’s best to do this when you’re in a calm, relaxed state and when you’re not feeling rushed.
- Sit in a comfortable position holding your pendulum between your thumb and forefinger. You’ll often hear people advise to hold it in your dominant hand, and that’s because it’s assumed you’ll be most comfortable holding it in your dominant hand. But if for some reason you’re more comfortable holding it in your non-dominant hand, that’s totally fine, too.
- Hold the pendulum out in front of you. It may move for a minute before becoming motionless. If you want, you can gently help it to still by touching it with your free hand and bringing it to a place of stillness.
Connecting With Your Pendulum
- Now that you’re in a place of stillness, it’s time to connect with your pendulum and understand how it communicates. First thing’s first: relax! If you need to take a minute to consciously relax each part of your body, definitely do so. The more relaxed and at ease you feel, the easier your energy will flow, and the stronger your connection to your pendulum will be.
- In order to start asking your pendulum questions, you need to know how it communicates. To do this, you can simply say, “Please show me a yes response.” Patiently watch and wait for the pendulum to start moving; it might move side-to-side, back-and-forth, clockwise, or counterclockwise. Make note of the direction it moves. This is your “yes” response. Do the same thing for a “no” response. If you’d like, you can also ask for a “maybe” or “neutral” response.
- Now, it’s time to cultivate your connection a little deeper. Now that you know what a yes and no response look like, take some time to ask questions in which you already know the answer. Here are some examples of some questions you can ask:
- “Is my name _____________ ?”
- “Do I live in ______________ ?”
- “Is my eye color ____________ ?”
- Note that this may not be super straightforward right away. The movements of your pendulum may be subtle, or the “yes” and “no” may not look super different. That’s completely okay. It takes time to understand how your individual pendulum speaks to you. The more time you devote to this practice, the better you’ll get!
Using Your Pendulum
Once you’re comfortable with your pendulum and understand how it communicates with you, you can start using your pendulum to ask for life guidance. Note that you’ll need to phrase your questions to have “yes/no” answers. The simpler and more specific, the better. This will help you to more likely get a clear answer. I’ve found that it helps me to write down my questions in advance so I know exactly what I’m going to ask.
A fun alternative way to use a pendulum is to hold it over a map and ask the pendulum to locate someone or something for you. If you’re looking for a person or a pet, you can hold the pendulum over a map of your town. If you’re looking for your lost car keys, you can hold the pendulum over blueprints of your house. And if the item or person could be anywhere in the world, you can even hold it over a map of the world and see where it leads you.
Like with the practice I discussed above, I’d recommend honing your relationship and understanding of how the pendulum works before diving right in. A fun practice is to ask about people or items that you already know the location for and see where the pendulum takes you. You can also ask where a specific place on the map is, like a city or a state.
Again, the key here is to relax and allow the flow of energy to move through you. While I believe that using a pendulum is a sacred practice, you certainly don’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) tense or uptight about it. Let it be fun!
So you’ve followed the steps above, and for some reason, this practice still doesn’t seem to be working for you. Maybe you’re not getting clear guidance, or the answers you receive seem to be inconsistent.
First thing’s first: it’s okay.
The worst thing you can do right now is internally beat yourself up or speak negatively to yourself. I know how easy it is to compare yourself to other people and even allow yourself to believe that you’re “not meant” to do this practice.
This isn’t true.
As in most situations, just because you don’t see another’s struggles doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And when it comes to this journey of spirituality, surrender, and trust, I think most of us have struggled (multiple times) throughout the process. And you know what? That’s a good thing. I’m all about experiencing contrast because I believe that struggle not only leads to growth, but it allows us to appreciate our wins even more.
So if you’re in a spot where you’re experiencing difficulty with this practice, have compassion for yourself. Choose to love yourself through every step of your journey. And let’s figure this out together.
Here are some of the reasons why you may be experiencing difficulty with your pendulum:
- You’re putting too much pressure on yourself. I’m putting this first because personally, this is what often leads me to feeling blocked, frustrated, and “not enough.” As a recovering perfectionist, I know what it’s like to want to be perfect in absolutely everything I do, and it’s all too easy to fall back in this trap. The best thing you can do for yourself is release the need to be perfect. Embrace your own messy imperfections. Next time you approach your pendulum practice, do so only when you’re in a state of calm, peace, and serenity.
- And to go with that last statement, another major reason why the pendulum may not work is because you’re in a negative emotional state. I wouldn’t recommend ever doing this practice when you feel distracted, stressed, anxious, agitated, or any other state that may block the flow of energy through you. If you’ve set aside time for your practice and are feeling off, I would instead recommend doing a self-care activity that serves your wellbeing, like meditation or journaling.
- You’re impatient. I know. This one’s a little frustrating, especially at the beginning, because you may not know yet how long it takes to receive guidance. But if you only waited a minute before giving up, I’d recommend waiting a little longer next time. I’ve found that I don’t always receive answers on my schedule or timeline, and ironically, the more I release the need to be in a hurry, the quicker they usually come anyway.
- You’re distracted. Were you in the middle of your practice when your text message notifications started going off? Is a child yelling at you from outside the door? Did the neighbor’s car alarm just start going off? (I know, not your fault.) Try to minimize distractions as much as possible. I usually keep my phone in a different room when I’m working with my pendulum.
- Your questions aren’t specific enough. If you’re not getting an answer, try rephrasing the question. Is it a two-part question? Break it down so you’re only asking one part at a time. Simplify as much as possible.
- You and your pendulum aren’t compatible. For me, this is a last resort, especially if you felt a connection with this pendulum when you chose it. Before tossing it to the side for a new one, I’d recommend cleansing it again and charging it once more. Take some time to sit with the pendulum, holding it close to your heart. Relax. Let go of any doubts, and trust its guidance.
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- You may have seen pendulum boards and cloths that you can use to direct the pendulum where to go for a yes, no, or maybe answer. These boards aren’t necessary, but if they help you, definitely feel free to go ahead and try one! I’ve linked to a few below.
- You don’t have to limit yourself to using just one pendulum. You might have a collection of beautiful pendulums, and each time you sit down to practice, you can choose the one that speaks to you in the moment.
- Finally, I’m not really sure I’ve emphasized this enough, because I believe that if you’re here reading this, you have an open mind and an open heart. But the key to making this practice work for you is truly believing that it will. And I promise, if you keep your mind open and relax, it will. You have the power within you. The key to accomplishing anything in life is believing that you can.
Pendulums and Accessories
Finally, here are some beautiful pendulums as you either get started or add to your collection, as well as some handy accessories like pendulum stands, pendulum boards, and pendulum books.
Pendulum Magic for Beginners by Richard Webster
How to Use a Pendulum by Richard Webster
A Little Bit of Pendulums by Dani Bryant
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Have you ever used a pendulum for guidance? What tips do you have for others who are just starting their journey? Leave your comments and questions in the comment box below!
Zanna Keithley is an author, poet, and social media content creator who writes short prose dedicated to inspiring readers to follow their dreams, trust their intuition, and create beautiful and fulfilling lives. You can find her original writing on Instagram @zannakeithley.