Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them

What is a pendulum?

In popular use, a pendulum usually refers to any weighted object that can swing back and forth.

You’ve probably seen pendulums (or pendula) on old clocks.  The pendulum is the round thing below the face of the clock, and the pendulum swings back and forth, rhythmically, keeping time.

If you pause the pendulum, the clock stops working.

In ghost hunting, a pendulum is usually a small, heavy object — like a stone, a crystal, or even a piece of metal — suspended from a cord, ribbon, or chain.  A necklace can be ideal for this.

Some pendulums are highly decorative.  Some of them have been blessed.  Each one is unique and will respond differently.

A person — usually a psychic or a medium — holds the cord, ribbon, or chain so the heavy object can swing freely.  Then, that person asks a question.  The movement of the pendulum determines the answer.

Most of my pendulums come from Sean Paradis‘ company, Sleeping Meadows.  (I think he’s closed his shop, but check with him, just in case.)

In my tests, the ones he makes have been the most responsive, and I own a variety of stones and colors. I use each for a different purpose, usually working with my “gut feeling” about which pendulum the spirit will respond to.

How to use a pendulum

The end of the string is held between the forefinger and thumb so that the object can swing freely.  You can pinch the cord or chain at the very top, with your hand at an angle so your fingers are out of the way.

Or, you can drape the cord or chain over the middle of your index finger, and keep it from slipping by applying gentle pressure from your thumb onto the cord or chain, against your finger.

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Fiona Broome's adviceIf you’d just like to experiment with this, you can make your own pendulum by tying any heavy bead or small pendant to a string or cord.  The string should be about ten inches long.

You should be able to decide if pendulums work for you (they won’t work well for everyone) and if you like them.

Some people are naturally gifted at pendulum use.  This seems to have no connection with whether they’re believers or skeptics.

Some people can use pendulums, but they internalize the energy.  That’s not a good idea.  If you can’t remain completely separate from the pendulum you’re using, stop immediately.  Do not allow outside energy to be channeled through your body to the pendulum.   (And, if you can’t tell the difference, don’t use a pendulum.  The risks are too great.)

If you decide that a pendulum is right for you, I recommend professionally crafted pendulums.  You’re likely to get better results.  However, try a homemade pendulum or two, before investing in a professional-grade pendulum.

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Next, you should try some baseline readings.  It’s important to verify these every time you use the pendulum.

Start with the pendulum entirely still.  Ask it a question with a yes or no answer that you already know.

Note the way that the pendulum swings in response.  It may swing from side to side or from front to back.  Or, it may swing in a clockwise or counter-clockwise manner.

Now, ask another question with a different yes or no answer.  Compare the results.

Repeat this several times until a clear pattern is established.  (If no pattern emerges, you may need to use other divinatory tools.  Pendulums don’t work for everyone, and it has no bearing on the person’s psychic abilities.)

In haunted sites, you can ask, “Is this room haunted?” or a similar question.  The more active the pendulum movement, the stronger the spiritual energy is at that site.

Even in the hands of a skeptic, we’ve seen a pendulum swing so wildly, the weight snapped off a new chain and flew across the room.

I’ve created two different charts for use with your pendulum.  To use either of them, hold the string so that the tip of the pendulum is about two inches above the center “dot” at the bottom of the half-circle.  Then, ask your question.

One chart is designed for simple, yes/no questions.  You can draw this on a sheet of paper, and use it yourself.  The pendulum should favor one direction/answer more than any other.  If it doesn’t rephrase your question, or take a break and return to this later. (Click on the image to download a printable JPG of this chart for your own use.)

Pendulum chart - yes or no

The next kind of chart can be used to ask anything with numbers, such as the ghosts age when he or she left physical form. (Or, if the ghost believes that he or she is still alive, ask what year it is now.)

Pendulum Chart 2 - numbers - illustrationClick here to print the numbers chart — it’s a JPG you can print.

You can create your own charts on paper, providing many other kinds of answers, too.  They could include letters of the alphabet, people’s names, places, or things specific to the life of the ghost you’re contacting.

No matter which chart you use, if the pendulum swings towards you, off the chart, try rephrasing your question.  Or, the ghost may want you to answer the question for yourself, first, and then have spirit confirm it with a yes or a no.

If you are adept with a pendulum, I recommend professional pendulums designed for ghost hunters and psychic mediums, such as those from Sleeping Meadows.

Try one at first, to see how it works for you.  If you did just as well (or better) with your homemade pendulums, keep using your homemade tools.

Some people achieve remarkable results with pendulums.  Others don’t.  It’s not a measure of how good you are at ghost hunting or communicating with spirits.  It’s more like singing or running… different people have different talents.  Someone who can play the violin may be perfectly awful at the piano.

However, one of the great things about pendulums, besides their simplicity, is that you can try this on your own without spending a cent.

23 thoughts on “Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them”

  1. Great article. 🙂 I’ve been using a pendulum (amethyst) for about 4 months and it worked for me the very first time I tried it. I really love using it as well as dowsing rods as sometimes the answers I receive from them are verified with a captured EVP. Have a great day!

  2. i am having trouble using my pendulum. some days seems to give accurate information, other days seem to joke and everything is dead wrong. don’t know if some spirit is messing around or not

    1. Joao,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having difficulty. You are right, of course: Something may be interfering. It’s difficult to know what, and I’m not sure it’s really important to identify it, at this point.

      I always recommend running several baseline checks using “yes” and “no” questions you know the answer to. Repeat the questions a few times, to be sure you’re getting consistent answers. (To be extra sure, you can run a few predictive checks. Before rolling dice, ask if the resulting number will be odd or even. Try that a few times.)

      If your answers aren’t reliable, put the pendulum aside. It’s not a good day to use it.

      If the answers are correct but you’re receiving weird answers after that, something may be playing a prank. If that’s the case, put the pendulum aside. Do so immediately. Treat the intrusive spirit like a badly behaved toddler or an obnoxious forum troll, and give it no more attention after that.

      Generally, prankster spirits and entities will get bored and leave you alone, if they can’t get a significant reaction from you.

      You may need to put the pendulum aside for a considerable amount of time — weeks or more than a month — but there’s no point in trying to use a research tool that isn’t working reliably.

      Sincerely,
      Fiona

    1. Hi Rob,

      This is a difficult topic. If you have any doubts about using a pendulum (or any ghost hunting tool or divinatory device), don’t use it.

      It’s vital to separate yourself from the action of the pendulum — mentally or with any of the pendulum stands, etc. that some people use.

      If, in your mind, you’re letting Spirit communicate through you (or through your hand), that can be risky. Once you open yourself to an external force accessing even your hand, you’ve opened a door you may not be able to close.

      When learning to distance yourself from the divinatory tool, a pendulum is one of the safest choices. As long you don’t think of it as an extension of yourself, you should be okay.

      By contrast, automatic writing, Ouija boards, etc., are far more risky.

      I hope that helps.

      Sincerely,
      Fiona

        1. Hi, Jen, and thanks for the question.

          The word “Ouija” is currently a trademark, so many boards – that we categorize as Ouija boards – have other names printed on them. Some are labeled “spirit boards,” “angel boards,” “talking boards,” and so on.

          For some reason, Ouija boards attract the most negative energy & entities. My best guess is: the participants have a direct, physical connection – through the platen to the board – and that makes the participants more vulnerable to negative spirits. But, that’s just a guess. I could be very wrong.

          Pendulum boards can work with no physical contact between the person and the pendulum or the board. The spiritual risk is far less… and you’re less likely to be the victim of a hoax, as well. (It’s rare, but a few people like to be part of Ouija board-type sessions, just to deliberately move the platen while protesting that they’re not doing anything. You can usually spot the person who’s causing the mischief, by videoing the session.)

          My attitude is this: the less opportunity something ghostly (or – worse – a malicious entity) has to enter your personal space, the safer you are.

          Pendulums can work if you hold them as still as possible, and mentally/spiritually shield yourself from the entities. Sometimes – less often – they can work with no on touching them… just suspended from a hanger of some kind. (You can make one with wire.)

          The board below the pendulum just makes it easier to figure out what the pendulum is communicating. It could be words, numbers, or letters, or a map or… well, lots of things.

          So, the difference between a pendulum board and a Ouija board is: (1) Pendulums tend to be safer than platens on Ouija boards, and (2) You don’t need to touch the pendulum at all, whereas a Ouija board needs some kind of platen or upside-down glass or something, with people touching it.

          I hope that helps!

          Cheerfully, Fiona

  3. It is now a few months, I bought a pendulum and started using it with banal questions and getting answers to Yes / No. As the answers, I got were not enough for many of the questions that I formulated, as I needed more ample answers. I began asking and surfing a bit on the Internet and found information from a book called Goetic Divination by Jake Stratton-Kent that It contained a divination ritual with the pendulum and a chart with letters of the alphabet ordered so that the author of the book used them in his cabalistic work. Jake used the previous ritual to invocation of Scirlin (Scirlin is one of the messengers of hell and can be useful to summon other demons). Similar casting is written in el Grimorium Verum but without pendulum or graphic.
    Immediately interested me the theme and print the chart that comes on page 26 of Jake’s book and wrote invoking the words on paper and immediately proceeded to perform the ritual as Jake describes in the book.
    I must say that in my first contact with Scirlin all went well, with nothing to comment on the matter. In later contacts, the situation began to change course. Without further began talking about certain dreams I have, saying said dreams would be realized in a short time and that the one who had to do was to follow Lucifer. I might add that I have not talk or ask anything about my dreams, the one I was looking for ways to learn a little about the spirit world if that were possible. Because I wanted to accomplish said dreams started asking questions and getting answers through the pendulum and graphic. It is because that when the time came that said dreams were realized as Scirlin told me, nothing happened and sincerely lost a little faith that initially had put the pendulum and graphic.
    After that, I started looking for more information about the pendulum and the chart with letters; I saw some videos, etc.
    From there, I drew some graphics with the letters of the alphabet and prepared a more or less effective method. Said that method was based on a prayer and a protective circle described by Jason Miller in The Sorcerer’s Secrets he uses to conjure Bune the 26th spirit in that most famous grimoire: the Goetia.
    My intention with the previous method was none other than bringing connect me with spiritual guides, light spirits, etc.
    In my first contact, everything went fairly well. I did different questions related to the spiritual world, and the answers, I believe, were appropriate.
    After a few sessions with the previous method, some spirits began talking of my dreams as had done Scirlin, including my spirit guides. I must say here also that at no time made any comment to the respect of so-called dreams, nor made any remarks about my future, nothing at all. But I must also say that again interested me the information and I started doing different questions to respect and always getting the same answers. Constantly spirits in the answers I was given, or any review ever done speaking the name of God, it was God who gave the answers for me, that God wanted me to have what I wanted, etc. etc. etc.
    I do not know exactly when I started with this last method, but I think it’s been more than two months, and basically from the second or third session, it was when the spirits began talking of my dreams, and again I say, without my having spoken of anything asked for anything, or nothing at all on my part.
    A part of my dreams was / is to spend this Christmas / 2015 with the woman I love most in this world, my wife. We are separated by my work because I am emigrant and she for reasons of family problems. I in the end of each session always wondered if it really would be next to my wife this Christmas, the response was always positive, not to worry about that since God wanted the best for me, that God wanted my happiness, etc. The target date for that trip said to be a reality this week as the spirits told me.
    Well then, the week nearly ends and I do not see that trip is possible. Besides that either I see the others, let us call them promises are carried out as they told me the spirits.
    Because of all these lies, they really have no other name; I have been doing several sessions off these last days. I have asked among other things “why they lied to me”, “what kind of spirits they really are”, “what I learned was that God is love, life, peace and rest”, “what kind of spirits were they used God’s name in vain, “and a long list of questions that would be very wide comment here. The answers I got were of the rarest such as, “I have to be careful because God kills me”, “God lied to me because he hate’s me,” “God lied to me because he wanted to help me make what I wanted” and equally the list is immense.
    Well now, I ask, what kind of “spiritual” entities are these?
    Can do spirits judging human?
    Can do the spirits of light lying?
    Can do spirits interfere in our dreams to the point of deciding what is or is not the best?
    Can do spirits threaten with death, disease, pain, and suffering?

    Now I learned that it should have acted with reason and never with the heart or emotion. Someone please can tell me what is wrong in all this.

    Thanks and forgive the text extension.

    1. This is exactly what I’ve warned about when relying on entities we can’t see: They could be tricksters. They could be lying.

      Yes, they could be sincere and helpful. Like people, I believe that most spirits have good intentions.

      However, anyone who relies on the Internet for angel names, sigils, rituals, or invocations — without thoroughly researching them to be sure they’re valid and safe — is playing with fire.

      Entities can lie. They can threaten you with anything at all; whether they can actually do what they say… that’s another matter. It’s best discussed locally with a spiritual advisor you trust.

  4. I did this a couple of times before I became a Christian.
    I will never play with this pendulum stuff again.
    It has taken me years to get rid of those dark, evil ‘things’ in my bedroom. It never happened until I was trying to summon a ‘ghost’ that used to live where I do now. I’ve been attacked while I was awake, then asleep.
    I’ve seen them. They are dark and burned looking. They smell like sulfur and rotted meat.
    I won’t even allow any type of ‘summoning boards’ in my home.
    I can’t go through that horror any more.

  5. Hi there, I use my pendulum all the time. One day I was asking the same questions as I have before and they all came out to be yes, but that one day, same ? And they all came out no. What was up with that.
    Thank you. Lisa

    1. Lisa, I haven’t a clue. There are far too many explanations, varying with where you were, the kinds of questions you asked on those two days, and your past accuracy levels. Maybe it was just a fluke. Maybe something spiritual was playing a prank.

      In my opinion, you may have to do some trial-and-error testing to narrow the possible reasons you had this experience.

      Or, you could just keep using the pendulum and figure that was something odd that is unlikely to happen again.

    1. Then make your own chart, based on images that DO make sense to you. (Something that indicates a boy, something for a girl. Something for yes, something for no, and so on.) Be creative!

  6. I have two pendulum. They both work beautifully for me. Actually this is the only equipment you need to contact and speak to spirits. But do be careful. Demons will come through also. Donna Armstrong.

  7. I use my necklace pendant. It’s round and heavy. I had a medium answer my questions first then i asked the same ones that same week and got same answers. It’s helped me so far. I love it.

    1. That’s a brilliant question, ZARC. I should write an article about it. Short answer, for now: Remotely affecting the pendulum is a possibility. That’s not just about you, but anyone near you when you’re using the pendulum.

      To avoid interference from others: When you’re asking early questions (to establish accuracy), try to ask questions that only you know the answers to. Then, once the pendulum movement shows a clear yes/no pattern, shift to your actual ghost-related questions. Be on the alert if the pendulum motion changes significantly.

      In terms of you influencing it, that may be how your pendulum works. Maybe it’s your way of directing your psychic energy into something external. So, I’d worry less about that than about corruption of the answers due to external influences.

      I hope that’s helpful!

  8. So, today me and a couple friends played with a pendulum in one of my friends bathroom. we had the lights off and a candle under the pendulum. we specified how to move with yes and no questions, back and forth for yes, side to side for no. all was well at first, the questions were simple yes or no, it was a girl who lived in the house, she told us she meant no harm. or so she said. we asked to to move something else in the room. the pendulum stopped swinging and we waited. nothing moved. then the chain in my hand jerked. i dropped it, screaming, we all ran out. then we went in to say goodbye. it told us we could say goodbye and we blew out the candle and sat in the living room. THEN me and one other person went in to try to contact the same spirit again, the movement was far weaker as my friend was holding it. we then hung the pendulum on a little rack and it continued to swing in circles. we asked to say goodbye and it stopped going in circles then went side to side…. no. we said goodbye and blew out the candle. and left. we thought everything was fixed. i am now at home and feel surrounded by very negative energy. my cat feels it too. he keeps meowing as he never does this much. i saw a dark figure in my room and i am on the verge of panic. please help us what do we do..

    1. Eve, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I’m sure it’s terrifying.

      There are a few things I can say about it, and I hope they’re helpful.

      First, if you feel truly at risk, go immediately to the nearest mainstream church. It’s best if it’s one you go to, or have gone to, but if you’ve never been someone who goes to church, I recommend the nearest mainstream Christian church. Find a minister who’s friendly and sympathetic, and talk to her or him about what happened. (This is not something to do, online. Predators lurk, looking for vulnerable people. I don’t care how trustworthy they sound, or who’s recommended them.)

      But, I can also assure you of this: If you didn’t open yourself, mentally/spiritually, to allow the spirit to speak “through” you, you probably don’t have much to worry about.

      A lot of ghosts are harmless but annoying, and they just want attention.

      Think of a two-year-old having a temper tantrum because you’re not paying full attention to him/her. A lot of ghosts are like that. Ignore them for long enough – no matter how they try to impress/scare you – and they’ll go away.

      Generally, they’re gone in three days – or less – if you deliberately block them out of your thoughts for that much time. (Sing along with your favorite happy songs. Turn the music up, loud. Binge-watch fun TV shows, or cute animal videos on YouTube… or anything happy. Even Ryan’s toy reviews can be enough of a distraction. Anything Disney can be good, too.)

      Dark figures usually disappear with one of two tactics.

      (1) Pour a bunch of salt into a bowl. I use kosher salt that I buy in boxes as the grocery store. Then, I use a cup or a cereal bowl and fill it about an inch deep with salt. And I put it in the room/s where the problem is. (I always have a bowl underneath my bed, since that’s when – after a particularly harrowing investigation – entities can try to frighten me. <-- As if that's going to work. Not with my level of experience! But I resent being woken by a spirit trying to scare me, anyway.) In a few hours - sometimes much less - the entity is gone. If it comes back in a few weeks, dump out the salt and make a fresh bowl. I routinely do this every six months or so, as a precaution. So far, it's worked well. (2) Or, vacuum every room where the negative energy is. Get the vacuum into the corners of the room - including around the ceiling (but be careful if you need to stand on a step-stool or something). The leading theories are: the noise scares off the negative entities, and moving the air around disrupts them so much, they go away in a hurry. I have no idea why they should be affected by air currents, but the most annoying (and possible malicious) entities seem to hate strong air currents. I hope that helps! Sincerely, Fiona

  9. Hi, I am an empath and am extremely interested in the pendulum readings, what type of questions do you ask? future predictions or just about the spirit who came through? I printed your pendulum chart with the yes and no, is there anything i need to do before i start and when i am done to close the “chapter”? My grandmother used to read tea leaves so i am pretty interested in my abilities

    1. Corrie, thanks for those questions.

      When I start, I’m interested in the spirit that’s come through. I want to know if it’s someone from my family, or another acquaintance, and whether they’re around most of the time, or just dropped in for this particular conversation. Then, I want to know if they have a message for me, or anyone else with me… or even someone I’m supposed to contact for them. (That happens now & then, and sometimes it’s awkward to convey the message. The good news is, you’ll get used to it, more or less. It helps when the person knows exactly why you were asked to deliver that message.)

      After that, I may just chat with the spirit to establish rapport. Then, I might ask questions of my own, related to the location where we are, or something in my own life, or whatever seems right for that moment.

      To close, I usually suggest a verbal version of concluding an online chat or a phone call. Something like, “This has been a wonderful and helpful conversation. Thank you for visiting with me/us. I’m going to close this connection now, but hope you’ll feel comfortable visiting in a future pendulum session, if you like. For now, the connection is closed, with thanks… ” (Follow this with whatever your spirituality/religion might suggest, including an acknowledgement of the power of Deity, if that fits your belief system). And then, put your pendulum into whatever case or container where you store it.

      I hope that’s helpful. Also, if you have any witch or New Age stores near you, ask the staff for their insights. I think every person who uses a pendulum has her or his own views on best practices. It’s good to get many opinions, and then select the elements that resonate the most with you.

      Cheerfully,
      Fiona

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