Using a Pendulum for Divination: Get Accurate Answers

Using a Pendulum for Divination: Get Accurate Answers

This moonth in The Circle of Kindreds we are working with The Pendulum WomanRune.

womanrunes and goddess statue the pendulum

When I think of a pendulum my mind immediately jumps to an image of a crystal on a chain, but in its basic form a pendulum is a simple mechanical device consisting of a weight, often called a "bob" (which for some reason makes me chuckle), attached to the end of a string, wire, or rod. The weight is typically a dense object like a metal sphere or a mass of some kind - or, yes, a crystal. The other end of the string or rod is fixed to a pivot point, or held in your hand, allowing the pendulum to swing back and forth in a regular and repetitive manner.

Ancient civilisations, including the Chinese and Egyptians, used pendulums for various purposes, such as determining time intervals, as plumb bobs (ha) to aid in construction of buildings, and for divination. In more recent centuries pendulum technology has been used to develop increasingly accurate time keeping devices. In recent times, pendulum clocks have been mostly superseded by digital clocks, however, the pendulum continues to be used for divination and spirit work in a number of ways.

For example:

  • Dowsing: Pendulums are often used in dowsing, which is the practice of locating underground water sources, minerals, or other hidden objects. You can do this in person or using a map or plan of the area you want to search. 
  • Energy Field Reading/ Chakra Balancing: Pendulums can be used to assess and balance the body's energy centres, or chakras. Practitioners hold a pendulum over each chakra to detect imbalances and then attempt to realign or balance the energy. Specifically chosen crystal pendulums, which have a crystal or gemstone as the pendulum's weight, can be used to bring healing and clear blockages.
  • Decision-Making: You can use a pendulum as a decision-making tool. Either by asking yes/ no questions or by holding the pendulum over written options and let the pendulum's motion indicate the preferred choice. This is an efficient form of intuitive decision-making.
  • Spiritual Guidance: As an extended form of the decision making use case, pendulums can also be used as a tool for seeking guidance from your higher self/ spirit guides/ source/ universe (insert your preferred term here). Seekers hold the pendulum and ask yes-or-no questions to receive intuitive or spiritual insights. You can use pendulum prompts and questions to explore subconscious beliefs, emotions, desires, and blocks and then work with what you uncover for personal and spiritual growth. 
  • Spirit Communication: Pendulums can also be used to explicitly communicate with spirits. You can do this using yes/ no questions but it is most often used in conjunction with a spirit board. Spirit boards are charts or diagrams with various letter and number options, symbols, or words. Practitioners hold the pendulum over the chart, and its movements are interpreted to provide answers or insights related to the options presented on the board. (If this is calling to mind oouija boards then that's because they are very similar in design and use, just with a placket instead of a pendulum). 

pictures of a spirit board and placket

The effectiveness of pendulum use in these practices is typically attributed to personal belief and intuition, and is seen as unscientific and subjective. Personally I have had very good results using a pendulum and I feel there is very little harm in experimenting with these methods (though perhaps leave the spirit communication until you have the basics down). As with all things, you do you. 

So how do you actually use a pendulum for divination?

Materials Needed

A Pendulum: You can purchase a pendulum specifically designed for divination, or you can make one using a small weight (e.g., crystal, metal, wood) attached to a string, chain, or cord.

I have two favourite pendulums, one is a crystal pendulum like this one, and the other is a heavily weighted metal one like this

You may also want to keep a notebook handy to record the answers you find and/ or to use to draw out a spirit board which allows for other options outside of just yes/ no answers. 

woman using a pendulum for divination


  1. Find a quiet and calm space where you can focus your attention and minimise distractions.
  2. Cleanse your Pendulum (optional): Some practitioners believe it's essential to cleanse and perhaps charge a pendulum before each use. I personally don't do this, but test it and see if you want or need to. If you want to cleanse your pendulum you can do this by holding the pendulum under running water (if it's a crystal pendulum check first that it is water safe), passing it through the smoke of sage or other cleansing herbs, like mugwort, or visualising it being surrounded by positive energy.
  3. Hold the Pendulum: Sit comfortably and hold the pendulum by its string or chain between your thumb and forefinger. Allow it to hang freely. I find it easier when I have my elbow resting on a surface when I do this, but it doesn't have to be. Wait for the pendulum to be still. 
  4. Connect with the Pendulum: To start, you'll need to establish what a "yes" and a "no" response look like with your pendulum. I like to do this by saying, "Show me 'yes'" and observing how the pendulum moves. It might move in a clockwise or counterclockwise circle, swing back and forth, or move diagonally. I then say, "Show me no" and observe again. If it's unclear I take a few breaths and get centred and grounded and try again. Usually you will observe a clear difference between the moments for yes and no. This establishes a clear baseline.
  5. Test the Pendulum: I like to go further than just establishing the baseline by asking a couple of questions to which I already know the answers (make sure you really do, and ask in a very clear way). The pendulum should confirm what you already know. If it doesn't repeat the last step. 
  6. Test the Pendulum: I like to go further than just establishing the baseline by asking a couple of questions to which I already know the answers (make sure you really do, and ask in a very clear way). The pendulum should confirm what you already know. If it doesn't repeat the last step. 
  7. You're now ready to use the pendulum for divination, begin by asking clear and specific yes-or-no questions. It's essential to frame your questions in a way that can be answered with "yes" or "no." Avoid vague or open-ended questions, or questions with multiple parts. If you have more complicated questions you could use a spirit board, but I think it's really helpful to get good at asking questions and getting what you need from the yes and no answers initially. 
  8. Wait for the Pendulum's Response. After asking a question, wait for the pendulum to start moving. It may take a moment to respond, but eventually, it will swing, rotate, or exhibit some other movement pattern, hopefully one which you've already established. If it is unclear this could be a "don't know" response (similar to, if you remember the magic 8 ball, "ask again later"). It's frustrating but sometimes there isn't a yes or no answer to that particular question. 
  9. If you are getting clear responses you can continue asking questions, one at a time, and interpreting the pendulum's movements. Some people like to keep a record of the answers to review later, which I think is a good idea. 
  10. When you're done with your divination session, you can thank the pendulum for its guidance and disconnect from the energy. You can do this by simply holding the pendulum still for a moment and then storing it in a safe and clean place. I tend to hold it in my hand for a moment and feel gratitude rather than saying "thank you" out loud, which always feels a bit strange in this context. But, again, you do you. 

woman holding pendulum for divination

Extra Tips

*Some people find that a pendulum works better for them when they use their non-dominant hand

*Do the connection step every time you come to use your pendulum. It doesn't always have the same way of showing yes and no. Establish the connection first before asking anything important. 

I made a video sharing more tips and my experiences using a pendulum here


Do you use a pendulum? Would you like to? Do you have tips to share? If so please leave them in the comments. 

Warmest Blessings and thanks for stopping by



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