Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.
Pendulums have been used in magic and divination practically forever. They’re a very simple method for helping a person to try to gain information.
Have you ever been to a baby shower where someone put the mother’s wedding ring on a string and suspended it over her belly? It is said that you can tell if it’s going to be a girl or boy based on the way the ring swings. This common baby shower ‘game’ is actually pendulum divination.
That’s all a pendulum is—a small weight, suspended by some kind of string-like item. You concentrate on questions and read the direction the pendulum swings to gain answers.
Pendulums are one of the easier divination tools for a new Witch to learn how to use, and they can be very handy in a number of ways.
How Does a Pendulum Work?
Some people are afraid of magical tools. They fear the tool has powers, or that it’s possessed by some entity. If these are your concerns, you can rest easy—this is not the case.
The pendulum doesn’t know things that you don’t know. It doesn’t have a brain or a spirit inside of it. The information is actually coming from you. That’s right—you are the receiver, so to speak. The information you gain from the pendulum is information that you’re picking up psychically on a subconscious level.
The unconscious mind is much more receptive to receiving psychic messages and tapping into universal knowledge (sometimes called the collective unconscious or Akashic records). But usually, those messages get jumbled up as they come through all the filters of the conscious mind. These ‘filters’ cause us to ignore details, to doubt, to have prejudices and wishful thinking, so the messages can have a hard time coming through clearly. By using a divination tool like a pendulum, you’re bypassing that conscious mind and filtering the information through the subconscious mind. The subconscious is much less discriminating than the conscious mind. It doesn’t try to analyze the information coming through or fit it into any pre-conceived notions—it just lets the impressions come through as they come to you.
Like most tools, a pendulum only has the power that the user gives it. By pouring your own energy into the pendulum, you create a psychic connection with the tool, so it becomes like a means for your subconscious to deliver the messages your unconscious picks up.
Think of it like a radio. Radio waves are always in the air, your conscious mind simply can’t perceive them. The knowledge of everything in the universe is broadcast, transmitted in the form of energy. Your unconscious mind is the receiver, it picks up the energy signals. Your subconscious mind is the transducer, it converts the signals into messages. The pendulum is just an extension of your subconscious, part of the ‘speaker’ through which the message comes to you.
How to Basically Use a Pendulum
The basic way to make a pendulum work is to pinch the top of the string between your thumb and forefinger. Use your dominant (projective) hand— basically, the hand you write with. Allow the weight to hang freely. Sometimes if you're trying to 'read' something, such as energy, you may have more success if you switch the pendulum to your 'receptive' hand (non-dominant hand).
Stabilize your elbow by resting it on a table. Give the pendulum a little tap to set it in motion. Make sure when it’s swinging there is nothing in its way and no friction from the pivot point (the point just beyond your fingers, where the movement begins).
At that point, you would focus on your questions, and the direction the pendulum swings would give you answers. Usually, the answers would be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You could also put a map or a chart on the table beneath the pentacle to get more specific answers.
It's also a good idea for an extended reading to use a recorder so you will remember all the information that was given. Just describe what the pendulum is doing or the answers you are getting from it.
Making a Pendulum
You can purchase a pendulum if you like, or you can simply make one yourself. To make one, find a sturdy string, cord, or chain that is at least 8 inches in length. You’ll need room for it to swing freely.
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To one end of the string, attach a small weight. This ‘weight’ needs to be well-balanced, which is why it’s important that it be symmetrical. Something with a pointed end is preferable. A lot of people like using terminated crystal pendants as a pendulum.
What About You?
Programming Your Pendulum
So which way means ‘yes’, and which way means ‘no’, when a pendulum is swinging? That entirely depends upon the user. This is why you need to program your pendulum before you begin using it.
- Before you program it, it’s a good idea to cleanse and consecrate it first. This will rid it of past associations.
- Hold the pendulum and set it in motion. Relax and bring your mind into the present moment.
- Tell your pendulum (or, actually, you’re telling your subconscious mind) to show you ‘yes’.
- Give the pendulum a minute or so. Pay close attention to the direction it swings. Is it going side to side (horizontal swinging)? Toward you and away from you (vertical swinging)? Is it going in circles (circular swinging) and, if so, is it going clockwise or counter-clockwise? Whatever the movement, this should be the movement your pendulum performs for you whenever the answer is in the affirmative.
- Ask your pendulum to show you ‘no’. Give it a minute. You’ll notice the direction it swings will change. This should be the ‘negative’ answer.
- Ask your pendulum a few yes/no questions to which you know the answer to test the programming. I might ask, “Is my name Basil?” and look for a ‘no’ answer. Then I’d ask “Is my name Sage?” and look for a ‘yes’ answer. Then ask, “Is my name Rosemary?” and wait for a ‘no’. Do this with a few different simple questions.
The preliminary test should work—but if it fails miserably, don’t despair. Cleanse your pendulum by running it through a cleansing incense smoke or by soaking it in saltwater (make sure it’s not made of materials that rust or disintegrate in water), and charge it by leaving it under the full moon for a night, then try again.
After you’ve sufficiently programmed your pendulum, keep it in a safe place, such as a bag or case, or on top of your altar when you’re not wearing or using it. Avoid letting others use or handle it, as their vibrations could disrupt your own connection to the tool. Also, you should start using it regularly—the more you use it, the more you will connect to it and the more your ability to read it will improve.
There are many different ways to use a pendulum, but really the only limit is your own imagination.
Ways You Can Use a Pendulum
Divination: To access basic information about the future, ask yes or no questions to your pendulum: ‘Will I be happier if I break up with John?’; ‘Will that job interviewer be impressed by my blue power suit if I wear it?’; ‘Will my career take off better if I move to New York?’; ‘Is this pasta dish really vegan?’
Dream Interpretation: If you’re trying to figure out the meaning of a dream, use your pendulum. Ask your pendulum things like, “does the person chasing me in the dream represent my spouse? A stranger? Myself?” or “Is this dream trying to tell me I’m insecure? That I’m in danger? That I’m worried over nothing?” Wait for an answers, of course, and keep going until you get a yes.
Healing: You can use a live person, or a piece of paper with a human body printed on it. Hold the pendulum over the body or chart and search for illnesses or problem spots so you know which areas need healing.
Chakra Work: Hold the pendulum over a chakra, or over a chart of a body, to ask it if chakras are open or closed, clear or blocked, strong or weak, etc.
Sensing Energy: Hold your pendulum over your tools and spell components to see if they are sufficiently cleansed or properly charged for magical workings. Use the pendulum to determine if the circle is properly cast or check your home for pockets of negativity.
Channeling: Use a pendulum to get messages from your spirit guide, guardian angel, deceased loved one or any other non-human beings. If you want more than simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, you can construct a Ouija board-like chart (see below).
Pendulum Charts and Diagrams
Pendulum charts and diagrams are designed to give you more specific information. You can actually invent your own charts, just remember to program it. When you program it for a chart, instead of asking it to show you which way it swings, you should show it which way to swing to get the desired answer.
Again, the only limit is your own imagination. Included below are some samples.
Keep using your pendulum in good health, though—as you continue your practice of the Craft, you’ll be surprised at all the different ways you can come up with to use it.
Pendulum Chart 1: Basic
Pendulum Chart: Body/Chakra Chart
Pendulum Chart: Spirit Communication
Pendulum Chakra Check
Want to Learn More About Magic?
The pendulum is great for a lot of things, but another form of basic magic that is most useful is candle magic. Learn how to do it here:
It's always a good idea to start your practice in the Craft with one divination system and one method of spell casting—pendulum Witchcraft and candle magic go hand in hand and compliment each other. They're also both some of the easier forms of Witchcraft to master quickly.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 24, 2020:
That's a beautiful story, thanks for sharing, it's always inspirational to hear how our loved ones still make themselves part of our lives.
Ricki on May 23, 2020:
Hello Mackenzie, I am a solitary Pagan witch. my husband and I were at a small family get together when my brother-in-law started singing "Michael row the boat ashore". when we got home I said to hubby, you know that was Dad' favourite song, I got out the pendulum and asked Dad if he was with us , the pendulum said yes, I then asked is Mum with you , the pendulum swung so hard for yes I thought it would fly of my fingers. it is comforting to know they are still together in Summerland and are here watching over us. they both passed on 39 and 40 years ago. I can sometimes smell Mums perfume or Dads tobacco. so nice to know I can keep in touch through the pendulum. Love, light and blessings to you and yours.
Karely Menjivar on October 20, 2019:
Could you use a pendulum and ask questions about someone else? Or is it just questions in regards to you?
Gina from Pennsylvania on October 01, 2019:
I am just beginning with all of this type of thing and I've never given my pendulum a "head start" by tapping it like you say in the article. I just ask it questions from a stopped position, then just continue with whatever movement it already had going.
Fayleen on May 16, 2019:
The channeling spirit guides / ancestors is very nice. And amazing. I think they sleep alot but they communicate to help and protect. When they awaken the way they do it is so nice and peaceful and reasurring but i am happy with the living.
Patricia on January 03, 2019:
What does it mean when you find the knot in the chain. This happens after I put away and return to use it
Sarah. on November 13, 2018:
Question, what does it mean when your pendulum flies out of your hand & half way accross the room?
This has occured more then once & I usually get a sensation after this occures
Sharon Varagnolo on September 18, 2018:
My crystal pendulum just came out of its bag with the point cracked off. What does this mean. It is still answering correctly on test questions
Sharon Varagnolo on September 18, 2018:
What does it mean if your crystal pendulum breaks at the point. Still is answering questions. Is it safe to kerp using
cris on September 11, 2018:
the pendulum can be used for many things .or how
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on July 02, 2015:
Hi Lizzy, I totally would encourage you respecting your soul mate's feelings on such things. That is very admirable of you.
As for the subconscious, I am all for messages coming from my own subconscious! It often absorbs and understands things deeper and more thoroughly than the conscious mind. If a pendulum or any other item helps me bring those subconscious thoughts forth so I can resolve a problem, then I actively welcome it, lol.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 02, 2015:
Interesting, but I would not be able to use anything remotely resembling a ouija board. My husband claims to have had some really bad experience with one in his past, way before we met, and he believes they open doorways to things that should be left alone. If I were to bring such a thing into the house, it would be the end of our marriage! Since he is my soulmate, I would never disrespect his wishes.
But the rest--I'm not sure that the 'subconscious flow' isn't my own wishful thinking, and subconsciously influencing the swing to answers I would want...
Voted up, interesting and useful, though... very informative.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 03, 2014:
Hi CMHypno; I find I get better results if you get kinetic energy behind the item . The whole ''things in motion want to stay in motion, things at rest want to stay at rest" law. It's a lot harder to get it to start on its own, if you give it a nudge, once in motion, it starts taking direction more easily.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 03, 2014:
Hi Catgypsy; I do that all the time, I'm forever misplacing my glasses, my keys, my wallet-- the pendulum is great for that. Thanks!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 03, 2014:
Hi MizB; Thanks for that caution! It's true with any divination system, I've found... I learned the hard way with the Tarot many years ago. Thanks for stopping by!
CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on August 27, 2014:
Thanks for the great hub. Just realised where I have been going wrong with my pendulum, as I never set it swinging. I was just expecting the poor thing to get into motion on its own. So I will now go off and give it another go!
catgypsy from the South on August 24, 2014:
Great hub! I have always found pendulums to be very accurate. I have even used them to find lost objects (well, no lost, just something I've put away in the house and can't remember where).
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 24, 2014:
How interesting to see this hub. I made my own pendulum out of an earring that I loved. I had lost the mate, so it was only natural that I chose this one to add to a chain. I was taught to use a pendulum in metaphysical school in the 1970s. my pendulum moves in four directions for yes, no, I don’t know, and I know but I’m not going to tell you. The instructor told us that our subconscious might believe that our conscious mind did not need the information, so it would withhold it.
The teacher cautioned us to use it only when seeking useful information and not to play with it. One evening I sat down and asked it a bunch of frivolous questions, and she was right, it stopped working. For years I tried to work it again, but it wouldn’t work. When that happened, my divining rods stopped giving me information, too. Last year after the events of 12-21-2012, I tried it again, and it worked. So I would like to add that one caution. Up++
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on August 24, 2014:
Hi Prosperity; I don't follow rules, lol. I use it for a lot of purposes, myself included, though I do agree that sometimes when it comes to divination (be it pendulums or tarot or whatever) it's better to get someone else to do it because another person can be more objective. I love crystal pendulums, sounds beautiful. Thanks for your comments.
Prosperity66 on August 24, 2014:
I have a crystal pendulum and love it. It works pretty well and is also a nice piece of art to display. Though I often keep it in its safety bag as I don't want to risk to break it. However it it not recommended to use pendulum for yourself - but I sometimes break the rule and use for self purpose :)