Seeing the Signs


Divining by Pendulum

Recently, I received a beautiful pendulum from our generous editor, Jenn. I have used pendulums in the past but they were homemade ones of braided embroidery floss & crystal buttons. This is a really nice one!


It felt really good in my hand and it was weighted perfectly. And I loved the pentacle etched into it!

Although I have used pendulums in spell work in the past, I naturally had to pull out my books and do some research on using one. I was rather dismayed at what I found, or what I didn’t find. But perhaps that’s because of my own preconceived notions and I admit that right now.

First I consulted The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook by Sasha Fenton. She only has two pages on the subject and personally I think what she presents is pretty useless – more dedicated to dowsing than to using a pendulum. She writes that both methods “are normally used to locate things”. Also: a pendulum can be used “predictively” for giving a “straightforward yes or no answer to a question.” (Fenton, 198)

I have only heard of dowsing for water. And where I’m from, you use a dowsing rod, one of those sticks that have one prong at one end and two at the other end, to search for water. Although she mentions dowsing for a “long-lost gold ring” (Fenton, 199) nowadays I suppose you might have better luck dowsing with a metal detector. But I suppose you could dowse for anything if you wanted to.

The only other book that mentioned using a pendulum for divining purposes was Raymond Buckland’s The Fortune-Telling Book. I thought that one of my other occult books might mention using a pendulum but none did. (It was fun and informative looking through all of them). Buckland also connects Dowsing and the use of Pendulums but he has a separate chapter for Dowsing. When I looked up Pendulums in the Index, I was redirected to “Radiesthesia”, which he describes as a “refinement” of the “art of dowsing, rhabdomancy or water witching” (Buckland, 397) He goes on to say that although its history “can be traced” over thousands of years to its origins in the Orient, it became quite popular in the Middle Ages and remained popular into the Nineteenth Century. He writes that in the Middle Ages a key on the end of a chain was popular; but any kind of small weight will do – a ring, a pendant, a special locket. (Buckland, 397) I imagine that this kind of divination was easy to carry around with you and easy to disguise when any kind of soothsaying or witchery may have been punishable by torture and death.

The use of this kind of divination is deceitfully simple. The pendulum swings one way for “yes” and the other way for “no.” What could be simpler? However, it often gives no answer at all. “If the pendulums swings in a circle or doesn’t swing at all, it may be because the question asked is ambiguous and needs rephrasing, or is one that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.” (Buckland, 398)

He talks of using a pendulum to find lost objects. For this, you use a map, and the pendulum swings when you move it over the area where the object you wish to find was lost. Out in the field, you need to mark the area in a grid and move accordingly, using your pendulum as a guide. It should swing in the same place where it did when it was being held over the map and you will find your object. (Buckland, 399) I personally have never used a pendulum in this way.

Growing up, I always heard of using a pendulum over a pregnant woman’s belly to determine the sex of her unborn child. If the pendulum swung straight back and forth, the child was a boy. If the pendulum circled, the child was a girl. This was often done at baby showers by one of the older women. With the advent of sonograms, this is a lost art.

So, how do I use my pendulum? I use it for “Yes/No” questions. “Should I stay or should I go” comes up a lot! I also have been using it in conjunction with Tarot readings. With a daily 3-Card Spread, I will hold the pendulum over each card and note the way the pendulum swings – which direction, how strong, if it’s in a circle, etc. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing with this yet! But it’s an interesting experiment. I write down my findings and hopefully, a pattern will emerge.

And isn’t that what divination is about? Looking for patterns and seeing the signs? 

Until next month, blessings from pollyapplequeen…