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Teach yourself how to use a pendulum

To jump straight to the Step-by-Step How To Use a Pendulum Guide below, click here.

Important NOTICE: The following information is copyrighted by Eva Browning, 2009-2015. Feel free to print them out for personal use or to share with a small study group. If you want to reprint (for anything other than personal or study group use) or republish these instructions - in whole or in part - you must first obtain my written consent. If you would like to link this page no permission needed.

First of all, what exactly is a pendulum?


A pendulum is a weight that can freely swing from a pivot point. The one shown directly above is an example of a pendulum in its most basic form - a simple rock tied to a piece of string.

Whether it's a rock on a string or a handcrafted work of art, a pendulum is a versatile, typically portable device that utilizes gravity and momentum to respond to energy in a way that is meaningful to the pendulum user.

Pendulum Anatomy

A basic pendulum is made up of two essential parts - a weight-stone and a chain - or in the example above, a weight-stone and a string. There is an optional third part as well, a fob, also known as the "holding piece". The fob is not essential to the operation of the pendulum, but having one improves the pendulum's handling a great deal. Below is a tiger's eye pendulum with a decorative chain and a fob in the shape of a lion's head.

Bridge of Light - Clear Quartz, Blue Kyanite and sterling silver handmade pendulum by AYP

A very brief history of pendulums

Pendulums have an amazing range of uses and have been employed by many different cultures for thousands of years. The oldest known recorded pendulum use is eight thousand years old, recorded in ancient cave drawings in Algeria. Chinese emperors used pendulums to predict the future. Moses used one to discover water hidden in a rock. Pendulums have fallen in and out of favor over the years, and at times were outlawed and feared. There are a lot of misconceptions about pendulums even today – fears that make some people leery of their strange “power”, and others entranced by it. There is nothing to fear here. It is human energy, working in concert with the natural world around you that makes the pendulum swing in a meaningful way.
Point of Connection, Gemstone and Sterling Silver Pendulum

Where does a pendulum get its answers and how does it work?

Ideally, you want your pendulum to get it's answers from your "higher self" - aka your intuition. Each time you use your pendulum you need to cite the source of the pendulum's answers to ensure that you're getting info that comes from your intuition. (This is covered in the How-to guide below.)

To explain how it works, let's use an old fashioned radio as an analogy: Your body is the radio antenna, your intuition is the radio receiver - and signal descrambler. The pendulum is the radio speaker. Your body, the antenna, with its many senses, is constantly picking up data (seen and unseen) from the world around you. This information is unconsciously conveyed to, stored in, and processed by your intuition. When you "ask your pendulum" a question, your intuition looks at the vast array of data it has at its disposal and transmits the answer to the question by way of a signal, using your body’s nervous system. The signal runs down your arm, through your wrist and out through the pendulum. The pendulum, your radio’s "speaker", announces the answer to your question using a signal which you "listen to" with your eyes - observing the direction and intensity of the pendulum's swing. Continuing with the analogy, we consider a weak pendulum swing to be a "quiet" response and a big swing, a "loud" one. In fact, when you're using your pendulum, you can tell it to "Answer louder" if it's not swinging big enough to discern the signal.

How to use a Pendulum: a step-by-step guide

Learning to use your pendulum is easy and it won’t take long before you master the skill. Practice does help though, so in the beginning, start with easy questions to get the hang of it.

1. Make your mind ready – Free yourself of internal and external noise. Relax and focus. Clear your mind of worries. Quiet, non-lyrical music (music without words) can help, along with other meditational aids like candles, incense, and crystals - but these things are not required and you can, in fact, use your pendulum anywhere at any time.

Body of Light - Clear Quartz, Gemstone and Sterling Silver Pendulum

2. Position yourself and your pendulum - Ideally, you should sit up straight and if possible, put both feet flat on the floor. Grasp the top bead or fob between your thumb and forefinger - or if you prefer, you can grasp anywhere along the chain, as long as you leave at least 2 to 3 inches between your fingers and the pendulum’s weight stone. Arch your wrist slightly, steady your forearm (but not your hand) on something solid, like the edge of a table or arm of a chair. Let the pendulum just dangle. Try to hold very still, but don’t worry if your hand shakes a little, it won’t affect the outcome.
In Dolphin Dreams

3. Program your pendulum’s signals. You only need to do this step once, unless you decide to make changes afterward. Before asking any questions, you must establish signals for each of these answers:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Maybe (which can also be interpreted as "I don't know" or "I don't want to say")

Here are some common, easy-to-read signals that you may choose to use:
- front to back (like a head nod - common for “yes”)
- side to side (like a head shake - common for “no”)
- clockwise circle
- counterclockwise circle
The Dream
Some people like to ask the pendulum to choose the signals. I believe you'll be more successful if you specify those signals yourself. And if you use more than one pendulum you'll want to use the same signal set for each pendulum.

To begin, first decide what your three signals are and then demonstrate them one by one. Tell your pendulum what you want it to use for “yes” - as you demonstrate what the signal looks like (and feels like). Then do this for "no", again while demonstrating it. And finally for "maybe". Here’s an example of how to program the "yes" signal: Holding the pendulum in position, say “When I ask a question and the answer is “yes”, move like this, in a clockwise circle.” (if that's the signal that you chose for yes). Say this as you swing the pendulum in a clockwise circle.

Point of Connection, Gemstone and Sterling Silver Pendulum

4. Verify the signals. To test out the trustworthiness of your programmed signals, ask a couple of test questions, such as “Is my name Billy?” Or, "Is today Tuesday?" (or Friday, etc.) Basically, you want to verify that yes is yes and no is no. If the signals are not coming out right, go back to step 3 and reprogram the pendulum.
The Seer - Clear Quartz, Moldavite and Sterling Silver Pendulum

5. Program your pendulum’s source: Include this step every time you use your pendulum. Establish where the answers will come from. If you skip this step, your pendulum will only access your subconscious mind. You really want it to tap into your intuitive, or higher self. At the beginning of each session, say “I call upon the higher self to answer these questions. I seek only absolutely truthful answers, which are aligned with the highest and greatest good for all concerned.” Whether you say this out loud or inside your head is up to you. Do what you are comfortable with, and of course, feel free to tailor this language as you see fit.
Red Lotus - Red Tiger's Eye, Hematite, Marcasite and Sterling silver

6. Ask your question. Ask questions that can be answered by YES or NO. Be as specific as you can in your phrasing. Avoid asking for opinions or using the words “should” or “supposed to” in your questions.

7. Wait for the answer. Be patient. Concentrate on your question (closing your eyes may help), but do not concentrate on what you think the answer should or will be. Remain detached about the answer and focus only on receiving a correct, unbiased answer. When the pendulum swings, look at it - observe its direction. This is your answer. If it doesn’t move right away, give it time, or if it’s unclear what the signal is, try rephrasing the question and do it again. When the pendulum swings with great force, it’s answering loudly. If it swings with only light force, you can interpret this as a quiet, perhaps less committed response.
Vision of Love

8. Clear the pendulum at the end of each question by touching its weight on to the palm of your free hand or on another surface. This signals that your question has been answered and you are ready to move on to the next question.

Protect your pendulum when not in use. A great way to do this is to wear it on a neck chain. That way it will receive your energy all day long, and will be readily attuned to your body's energy and vibrational level. Or you can keep it in a pouch, safely protected.

Helpful Tips
1. Relax, enjoy the connection.
2. Be open, neutral and definitely do not try to predict answers.
3. Be clear in the way you phrase your questions.
4. Be patient, be present.
5. To get a stronger response, say “respond louder please”or "be more clear".
6. Cup your other hand underneath the point or weight stone to help focus energy.

Body of Light - Clear Quartz, Gemstone and Sterling Silver Pendulum
Here are some sample questions you can ask:

Intuitive Heart - Kyanite and Sterling Silver

Want to start out slow and easy? Get to know your pendulum by asking light, easy questions that you may not necessarily know the answers to. Here are some ideas:
(You may be surprised by the answers.)

Pendulums come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here's a sampling of some AYP designs. To browse all AYP pendulums, click here.

For tips and pendulum troubleshooting advice, click here.