Learn With Sedona: Pendulums & Dowsing

Updated: Feb 27

An Ancient Divining Tool To Help You Access Your Own Inner Wisdom


How do Pendulums work?

The pendulum is not a new invention. It has been used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years. Author Richard Webster says that “the pendulum will start moving more quickly in the hands of someone who is open, imaginative, and receptive to new ideas, than it will when held by someone who is logical, methodical and precise.” Pendulums work by tapping into your subconscious mind for answers and then brings them back to your conscious mind. The subconscious mind of the person holding the pendulum causes the muscle to react unconsciously. This is known as an ideomotor response (ideo meaning idea and motor meaning movement). The swing of the pendulum amplifies responses that would otherwise be too small to be noticed. It works like muscle-testing or kinesiology; your subconscious mind knows what you need to know. You need to trust yourself and trust that your subconscious mind will guide you in the right direction. If you do not trust yourself then you will doubt your answers. This defeats the purpose of using a pendulum. Your pendulum may respond more vigorously to some questions more than others according to the clarity and importance of the matter. Treat your pendulum with respect and sincerity and it will help you choose the positive path.


Choosing your pendulum:

A pendulum is a small weight suspended on a chain or cord. Pendulums can range from a ring, plumb bob, a key or paper clip on a thread to more ornamental pendulums with metal, wood or crystal points hanging from chains. The right pendulum for you is one that looks and feels comfortable for you. Ideally pendulums should weigh a few ounces and have a point on the bottom. At Sedona we carry a variety of metal, wood, crystal and natural stone pendulums as well as some pendulums with compartments inside them called “sample” pendulums. You can use most any type of pendulum but we do suggest bonding with a special one that is your “go to” pendulum rather than having too many different ones unless you like collecting them. You may want to try several different styles before you find the pendulum you connect best with.


When deciding whether to purchase a particular pendulum, Richard Webster, author of “Pendulum Magic for Beginners” recommends asking the pendulum “Is this pendulum in harmony with me”. If he receives a positive response he will often buy it. If you are buying a pendulum made with natural stone it is best to cleanse it with Hawaiian Salt, seawater, sage mist, smudge or early morning sunlight or moonlight when you get it home, this will help remove other people’s energies from your pendulum.


How to use your pendulum:

With practice anyone can become proficient at using the pendulum.

First RELAX, take a few deep breathes and have an open mind. To access your subconscious mind, clear your “thinking” mind of doubts and preconceptions about the outcome of your questions.

It is important to allow the natural vibrations and energy of your body move through your hand to the pendulum. LIGHTLY, hold the pendulum with the bob pointing down and the chain between your thumb and your index finger and rest the chain over your index finger. While standing, your forearm should be relaxed in parallel position to the floor and bent at your elbow at about a 90 degree angle. Some people hold the pendulum about 1 inch above the palm of their opposite hand. Karen Ryan, a Crystal Energy Therapist says that this “opens” your energy circuits and creates a bio-feedback loop with your hand’s energy centers. If your pendulum doesn’t swing very well, put the pendulum down and open and close your hand a few times to activate the energy centers and then start again. It may take a few tries before you are fully acquainted with its subtle movements.

Another method you can use: rest your elbow on a table with the pendulum about a foot in front of you. Do not touch the table with your other hand or lean your stomach against the table. Most people hold their pendulum using their dominant hand. Practice with both hands then use the one that is most comfortable for you. The weight of the bob needs to swing freely; the length of the chain is a personal choice. Try holding it at different lengths to see which length responds best for you. Make sure that your legs are not crossed when you are using your pendulum as that will disrupt the flow of energy. The pendulum will show you your answers by picking up and amplifying the subtle vibrations from your sub-conscious causing the pendulum to swing. When you are finished with answering a question lower your arm or stop the movement of the pendulum with your other hand. This will signal that your question has been answered and you are ready for the next question.


Obtaining your Directions:

There are only a few ways your pendulum can move, forward and back (vertically) and left and right (horizontally), diagonally and in a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise). Some teachers and writers have predetermined directions (for example horizontal always means yes, vertical means no) – but there is no agreement there. We feel that the best way to obtain your directions is to ask your pendulum to reveal them to you. Not all of your pendulums will have the same yes/no direction, test each of your pendulums to determine its own yes/no direction. You can test it in 2 steps:

  1. First, you say (aloud or to yourself) – “Show me Yes”. Observe its motion, is it moving clockwise or counterclockwise, or moving north/south or east/west. Whatever the motion this will be your “yes” direction for this particular pendulum. Stop your pendulum’s motion with your other hand, now test your pendulum’s “no” direction by saying (aloud or to yourself) – “Show me No”. Again observe its motion, this motion will be your “no” answer.

  2. Now that you have your yes/no directions you can try out your pendulum. Begin by asking it a question with an obvious yes answer for example: Is my name “fill in your own name?” In a few moments it should swing in your yes direction. Now stop your pendulum’s motion with your other hand, now test your pendulum’s “no” direction by asking it a question with an obvious no answer. Now your pendulum should swing in your “no” direction.

How to ask questions:

You can consult your pendulum on any matter that can be addressed in a yes or no manner. Do not ask a questions like “should I vacation in sunny Hawaii or snowy Colorado”. Your pendulum cannot answer that question unless you ask it differently. You need to reformulate your question into 2 questions. For example question 1, “would I have a great beach vacation in Hawaii this winter”, and question 2, “would I have a great ski vacation in Colorado this winter”. If you get positive responses for both then proceed to the next question, “ would I have a better winter vacation in Hawaii than in Colorado?” and then ask it in reverse for your confirmation.


It is better to ask a series of simple questions than to ask one complicated question. If you don’t get much movement from your pendulum on a particular question, try again by turning your original question into 2 -3 simpler questions. Do not ask the same question twice as this implies doubt. You must trust the answers your pendulum gives or don’t use it at all.


Other uses for your pendulum:

You can use your pendulum to help you choose different objects and determine which one is best for you. Hold your pendulum over the object and ask “is this item good for me now.” Use this method to help you choose vitamins, homeopathy, oils, crystals - pretty much anything.


If you feel that you are too emotionally involved in the outcome, you can hold your pendulum over folded pieces of paper with different options written on them such as names, dates, places, numbers etc. Then you can see which papers give you a positive response.


You can also use your pendulum to find items you have misplaced by going into different rooms and asking if the item is in that room now, then keep asking questions to narrow down your search.

Your pendulum can also help determine which chakras need balancing. Ask the person you are helping to lie down on their back, suspend the pendulum over each energy center and ask if the person’s chakra is in balance. The pendulum will give a positive or negative response. If the response is positive you can move onto the next chakra. Check all chakras and note which energy centers are not in balance. From there you can use different healing modalities to put them back into balance.

There are many more uses for pendulums consult your favorite pendulum book for additional uses for your pendulum.



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