Witchy Wednesday - A Quick Guide to Using a Pendulum

Using a pendulum is a form of dowsing. One of the first forms of dowsing was using a stick, or wand, to find water. There are pictographs on the walls of Tassili Caves in Algeria that depict human figures holding forked sticks, which could have been dowsing rods.

A pendulum is a balanced weighted object, most commonly symmetrical with a point, which hangs from a string, chain, or cord of some kind. Pendulums can be made of anything- wood, metal, stone, or crystal. Some people simply use a key or ring hanging on a string.

Ancient Chinese records indicate a ring suspended on silk thread was used to predict the future and avert danger. There are also accounts from ancient Rome of rings suspended on string being used to divine information.

In 1326 C.E. Pope John XXII issued a bull that directly attacked the use of pendulums and any other dowsing tool claiming the answers came straight from the devil. Users were persecuted and often executed for witchcraft.

Dowsing tools were then disguised as tradesman tools. For instance, the plumb bob still used today by carpenters.

Records of scientific experiments involving pendulums date back to the 1700s. Johann Wilhelm Ritter, known as the father of electro-chemistry, concluded that the pendulum could provide answers to anything by connecting with the universal mind or what Carl Jung later coined the “collective unconscious”.  This influenced many other studies throughout the centuries.

Today a pendulum is the most popular form of dowsing used.

Interested in trying it yourself? 

Here are the basics:

Choose Your Pendulum

You’ll want to choose a pendulum that speaks to you, one that you really connect with.

I prefer using crystal pendulums. I currently have 3 different ones. One is a Bloodstone gifted to me by my bestie, another is a Sunstone that I purchased with a group of stones to sell but when I took it out of the package it started shaking and moving around like it had something to say so that one became mine, and then my final one is a Hematite pendulum that really spoke to me as I was perusing the wares at a small crystal shop owned by a friend. Whenever I seek guidance I pull out all three and “feel” them to see which one feels right at that time.


Before using your pendulum be sure to cleanse it, there are many ways to cleanse magickal items. Here are just a few- you can put them in sunlight, in moonlight, in a bowl of rice overnight, run it through cleansing smoke, or place it in a singing bowl and cleanse it with sound.


Many people believe they are consulting their own subconscious when using a pendulum. They are tapping in to their higher self to seek answers.

Other people think they are talking to the universe, angels, guides or spirits. Some actively seek out spirits to talk to using a pendulum. I recommend casting a protective circle around yourself if you are consulting anything or anyone other than your higher self. You can also set Reiki wards; have a bowl of salt next to you, or use any other personal protections that you prefer.

Get in the Right Frame of Mind

Get comfortable and do a quick meditation or breathing exercise to clear your mind before beginning. I find this helps me focus on my questions and get a better response. I also like to light incense and candles.

How to Hold It

One common way to hold the pendulum is draped over your dominant hand’s index finger. The pendulum should hang well enough below your hand so it has room to swing freely.

Another common way to hold it is between the thumb and forefinger and let it dangle.

Work with it and find what is most comfortable for you.

Connect with Your Pendulum

Before you’re ready to start asking questions you’ll want to establish a connection with the pendulum.

Some people touch it to their third eye and heart chakras- to connect it to the head and the heart.

Next you’ll want to establish how it answers questions.

Ask it to show you “yes”. Then ask it to show you “no”. You can also ask it to show you “maybe” or “I don’t know”. This establishes which way the pendulum swings when it answers your questions.

Test it by asking questions with definitive answers- “Is my name…?”, “Do I live at …”. Be sure to ask both definitive yes and no questions. This will confirm the yes and no swings.

The next question you should ask is “Do you want to work with me today?” or “Will you work with me today?”

Honor its answer.If it says yes you are ready to continue.

Ask Your Questions

Ask simple yes or no questions, but be specific.  Wording is very important.

In between questions I like to “ground” the pendulum by gripping the crystal with my left hand to stop it from swinging. This brings it back to zero before asking another question.

Some people use pendulum charts or boards to get more than just yes or no answers. Some pendulum spirit boards have letters like an Ouija board. Others have a variety of answers beyond yes or no.

Maps can also be used if you are trying to locate something.

When you are done with your session thank the pendulum for its guidance and put it away until next time.


For further reading:

A Little Book of Pendulum Magic by D.J. Conway

The Practical Pendulum Book by D Jurriaanse 

Pendulum Magic for Beginners: Tap Into Your Inner Wisdom by Richard Webster

How to use a pendulum : 50 practical rituals and spiritual activities for clarity and guidance by Richard Webster.



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