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Pendulum Basics

Pendulum Basics

How to Choose and Use a New Pendulum

One of the most simple yet effective tools for divination and tapping into one’s intuition is the pendulum. It is so simple that at times we overlook its effectiveness.

If you are thinking about getting your first pendulum or if you are wanting to learn how to use your brand new one, this guide can help you get started.

What is a Pendulum?

A pendulum is any weighted object at the end of a chain or string. It can be a ring on a necklace chain or tied to a string. It can be a crystal specifically cut and shaped to hand from a chain. Or it can be made from tying a small metal nut to the end of a string.

Ideally, it should be heavy enough to allow the string or chain to move freely when held. It should also be evenly made and fairly symmetrical. Most will come to some sort of point, but I haven not found broken or nubby tips to affect the overall performance of a pendulum.

Some people will only ever own and use one pendulum in their lifetime. Others, like myself, will own and use several. As a crystal collector, I usually only get crystal pendulums and have a fair number of them in my collection. Others, though, may find that they prefer wood or metal pendulums over crystal.

Choosing and Selecting

Picking out a pendulum may be intimidating for some and easy for others. It could be a matter of going with what you are aesthetically drawn to. Or it may take more of a process of selecting one that actually responds to you.

Anyone can use a pendulum. It may take time to get proficient at using it, but anyone can pick one out and use it in their practice.

If choosing one in person, you can take the time to try out the pendulums you are using.

  1. Select one that appeals to you aesthetically. If you are drawn to a specific crystal, try that one. If you are drawn to metal or wood, pick up that one instead.
  2. Hold it comfortably by the end of the strand or chain in one hand above your other hand. Make sure it feels comfortable to hold and can swing freely.
  3. Test it by asking it to show you yes and no. Take note of the direction it swings for each.
  4. Continue to test by asking a yes/no question you already know the answer to and see if it answers correctly.
  5. Finally, you should ask the pendulum if it wants to work with you or will it work in harmony with you. If you get a yes, then it's time to buy it. If you get a no, you can try another one and go through the same steps above.

If you cannot choose and select a pendulum in person, you can pick based solely on aesthetics and what appeals to you or select by listening to your general intuition.

Once in your possession, cleanse your pendulum and spend some time practicing with it. You may find it takes some time to get the hang of using a pendulum or you figure it out quickly and can use it on a regular basis with accuracy.

You can pick out a pendulum in our online shop HERE


Check us out in person at our next MARKET EVENT


Once you have selected a pendulum to work with, you will want to do a thing that I refer to as "calibrating." This is the process of establishing what the directional swings of your pendulum means.

As mentioned above, you can do this while selecting a pendulum from the start. I also like to calibrate each time I pick up my pendulum as a way of getting in tune with it at the start of a pendulum session.

Simply start by:

  1. Resting your elbow on a table with no other part of your body leaning on it. Sit with your feet flat on the ground. You can use your pendulum while standing as well, just be sure to stand in a comfortable position. In either position, if not using a pendulum mat, I will hold my opposite hand beneath the pendulum.
  2. Hold the pendulum by the end of the string or chain - many will have a small bead at the end to hold onto. Or you can “choke up” on the chain so that it isn’t hanging as low.
  3. With gentle force, have the pendulum swing clockwise in a circle. Then, change direction counterclockwise. Change to straight swing back and forth and then left to right. This is to get the feel for the movements. It helps you see how it feels to move the pendulum consciously.
  4. When done, stop its movement so that it is in a neutral, still position. You can let it stop on its own or stop it with your other hand.
  5. Now, ask the pendulum to show you “Yes.” You can do this out loud or silently. It should begin to move in the direction that will indicate “Yes.”
  6. Once it has moved, you can then ask it to show you “No.”
  7. Then, ask it to show you two more alternative responses. I usually like to have a response for “Ask Again Later” and “Rephrase” but you could have your alternative answers be “Maybe” (though I find “maybe” to be too ambiguous for the pendulum), “I Don’t Know” or “I Don’t Want to Answer.” 

Once you get a different swing response for your “Yes,” “No,” and two additional responses, you have successfully calibrated your pendulum and can begin using it to ask questions.

Signs on a wall that say Yes and No

Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

What To Do If It Isn't Responding

However, you may find the first time that your pendulum isn’t responding very quickly or at all. If this happens give it some time and try some of the following tricks.

  1. Try cleansing it if you haven’t recently. I prefer smoke cleansing for pendulums to prevent the metal chains from getting damaged from water.
  2. Keep repeating your request for a response. Sometimes it will take a few minutes, but after about five minutes, if it still hasn’t responded, set it aside to try later.
  3. Sometimes asking for a stronger “yes” or a stronger “no” can help improve the swing responses.
  4. Drink some water or herbal tea before working with your pendulum.
  5. Meditate to clear your mind before trying to calibrate.
  6. Most importantly, stay patient. It can take time to get used to working with a pendulum. Just let it happen rather than forcing it. Practice for a few minutes each day until it starts responding.

Once you do get a response and have calibrated your pendulum, it should always respond to you. The answer directions will also usually remain the same over time, but periodically calibration may be a good thing to check in on, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.

Then you can start by asking questions you know the answer to. This adds just an extra level of calibration and trust with your pendulum as it will ensure that the directions are corresponding to correct answers.

From there, you can start asking your pendulum many other questions you don’t know the answer to.


You can ask your pendulum almost any question. Yes/No questions are the best and easiest to get responses, however, if you use a pendulum mat or chart, you can ask other types of questions to see where the pendulum swings for an answer.

There are many ways to use a pendulum as well. Some people like to use charts and mats. You can make your own or purchase one that is already made. Some of these pre-made ones will give you sample questions to ask to get different sorts of answers from your pendulum that aren’t just yes/no.

Buy a Pendulum Mat HERE.

There are books out there that can give you experiments and techniques to try with your pendulum to make it easier to get the best responses and accuracy with your pendulum. For example, How to Use the Pendulum by Richard Webster can be found in our shop and he provides 50 different ways to use the pendulum in your life. Even after using the pendulum for a number of years, having his book handy has helped me increase my accuracy and find new ways of using it in my life.

Buy the Book HERE.

Keep track of your sessions in a notebook dedicated to pendulum work or your grimoire/book of shadows. This allows you to go back and see how accurate your pendulum is and to see your progress with it.

Whenever you feel inclined to use the pendulum, pick it up and ask your questions. Use it to determine when to perform your next spell or ritual. Use it to pick your daily carry crystals. Use it to balance your energy centers or cleanse your aura. The uses are limited only by your imagination.


There are a few things that using a pendulum may not be the best, most accurate means of divination. I usually warn against asking questions that you are emotionally involved in what the outcome would be. This is because if you are unconsciously hoping for a certain answer, your personal will and desire may override the true response.

You can avoid this by either asking a clarifying question like, “Is that the true answer” or by having a friend ask the pendulum for you. In the latter instance be sure your friend has no emotional involvement in the outcome or else ask the question to them silently to avoid any of their will/ego from stepping in.

Another thing to think about when using a pendulum or any divination tool, is to protect yourself. In most cases it serves as just a precaution and is simply a good habit to get into. You can do this in a few ways:

  1. Cast a circle of protection.
  2. Visualize bright white light encasing you.
  3. Call upon your higher guides and guardians. This can be angels, spirit guides, deities, spirit familiars, etc.
  4. Say a simple protection prayer or spell.

Try to avoid asking the same question over and over again. It is okay to ask clarifying questions, or to rephrase once or twice to confirm that the answer is not just your ego affecting the pendulum’s response, but you don’t want to ask the same question multiple times in a row. It shows an inability to trust the pendulum’s response and accuracy.

You want to be able to trust your pendulum because, in effect, it is about trusting your own intuition. Our pendulums essentially amplify our intuition for us by showing a visual response. Trusting your pendulum means you trust your own intuition.

Final Thoughts

Anyone can use a pendulum. It can take some time and practice to become proficient in it, but it is so easy to use that all you really need to do is to buy your first pendulum and get started asking questions.

Keep an eye on our shop for new pendulums or visit us at our next market to see our pendulums in person!

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