Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Divination: Pendulums

A pendulum is one of the simplest divination tools. With nothing more than a weight on a string, it is possible to answer most any questions with some patience. Pendulums have been in use since antiquity. There has been a range of explanations given for their movement. Ninety percent of those explanations involve some form of magical action. The scientific explanation is that our hands make tiny movements, even when we think we are holding them still. These movements are magnified by the pendulum, which then swings according to the movements of our hands.

Some would say that this means that all of the answers from the pendulum come from ourselves, be it from our unconscious mind or some form of wish fulfillment. I would contend that it is the smallest and least invasive from of mediumship. The deity or entity you wish to contact influences the motions of your hand which, in turn, influences the motion of the pendulum. I also believe that there are instances where they will move the pendulum directly. The frequency of those instances, honestly, are pretty much impossible to determine. Given the near infinite possibilities for how things in the universe work, we must, however, keep this potential in mind when we approach any form of divination with even a modicum of scientific thought behind our work.

There are a few different ways to use a pendulum. One is to hold it and begin asking questions. As you do so, observe how the pendulum swings. Starting with an obvious yes-no question that has a decisive answer is a good beginning. The pattern that I use to establish the results the pendulum presents for answers to my questions is the following:

  • Yes-no question with an obvious 'yes' result
  • Yes-no question with an obvious 'no' result
  • Yes-no question with a 'maybe' result
  • Yes-no question with an uncertain answer (I like to use a variant of Schrodinger's paradox.)
  • Yes-no question that can not be answered
Another option is to use a map similar to the one printed below. The box in the diagram is supposed to represent circular motion of the pendulum. It is possible, however, for the pendulum to go stationary after a question is asked, so that can be another manifestation of that result. The use of a charted diagram for answers allows you to get to the business of answering questions faster, sometimes. There are times, however, where the pendulum doesn't swing according to what the map presented projects. Then you have to go through the process of establishing how it swings to answer questions.

The type of questions best suited to use with a pendulum tend to have binary answers. This is because the pendulum is a more limited tool in how it can present information. As such, unpacking the result of a question that has multiple elements to the answer gets very difficult and you wind up asking that series of yes-no questions in the end anyways. Reducing your query to a series of yes-no questions can result in some creative phrasing of questions. It can also make the divination session take much longer than it would with other tools. For example, learning a name of a person involved in a situation would need to be spelled out by repeating the alphabet multiple times for each letter in a position after inquiring how many letters in the name.

I find the pendulum is best suited to answering simple questions quickly. When you just need a direct yes or no, pulling out the tarot deck may not be the best technique to use. It takes more effort and the answer can become unnecessarily complicated. (There is a trick to answering yes-no questions with a tarot deck, I'll share it as a footnote below.[1]) They are, however, an extremely portable tool. It is also a technique that can be used in public as a 'stealth' divination practice. The questions asked need not be externally verbalized.

Purchasing a pendulum versus making your own truly is a matter of preference. In the years that I have used pendulums, I have had equal success rates with pendulums that have been purchased, given to me as gifts, and I have fashioned on my own. The use of special stones or items as the weight for the pendulum is limited only by your desire. If you are one to practice magic involving stones, you may find that something using rose quartz is best suited for answering questions surrounding a love interest and one using clear quartz is good for general purpose questions. Making you own pendulum is incredibly easy. A traditional method that has been used in the United States since at least the 19th century is to suspend a wedding ring on a hair. This is used, according to the folklore, to determine the sex of a baby while it is in utero.[2]

Regardless of the style of pendulum used or how you derive your answer set, the pendulum use is essentially the same for all questions. Thus, it is possible to use different pendulums for your questioning, for the same questions even, and still get the same results. It is equally possible to get different results because the pendulums are weighted differently and will swing in a slightly different fashion. And with a pendulum, a small difference in how they swing manifests with larger implications because, as with the pendulum's motion magnifying small movements of the hand, it will magnify the difference in movements. They are, however, exceptionally simple tools that are well suited to the beginner or the experienced diviner.
1. To get a yes-no answer from a tarot deck, shuffle the cards. Ask your question. If the card is direct, the answer is yes. If the card is reversed, the answer is no. An uncertain result, however, will not be presented so the possibility of false yes or no answers comes up with this method.

2. Folklore states that if the ring swings in a linear fashion the child born will be a boy. If the ring swings in a circular fashion, the child born will be a girl. There are some regions of the United States where the results are switched. I honestly have found that if you set one motion to correlate with a given answer and another to correlate with the second answer, it is effective regardless of which motion is defined as which answer.

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