Monday, March 5, 2012

Tangible Witchcraft: Pendulum Use

Me, holding one of my pendulums.
Recently, I posted a link on my Witchcraft DIY Pinterest board that was 75% good and 25% New Age twaddle about using a pendulum. I remarked as such in the comments, but fretted that there was no real Witchcraft resources for using a pendulum free of bad (purchased) theology and bad advice. I'll be replacing that link with this one.

Well, at the risk of repeating much of what that link said, I felt compelled to create a post about this technique of divination that I felt was theologically sound. I quote the article linked above several times in this post to show what I disagree with, just FYI. So here we go!

What is a pendulum?
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. Pendulums created for divination are suspended on short cords or chains and usually have an "anchor" that acts as a charm, but not always. Many people make their own and wear them as necklaces if they use them often.

How it works.
The article I linked to above had it right on this count: "The pendulum is basically an amplifier." They said, "It is a tool that helps you to access the collective unconscious and your Higher Self. ... You can get answers to anything you can come up with. The results you get will reflect your stage of spiritual/mental development."

I would also say that the pendulum is indeed an amplifier; and I would use less New Age-y language. Theologically and scientifically speaking, we (living beings) are all connected and not separate as the of this life illusion appears. Additionally, there is no linear time. Therefore, we should be able to tap into a larger collective unconscious that supercedes (for lack of a better word) our narrow view of events and time. Pendulums do that. It's pretty interesting to use, and I never fail to be amused when I use one, because once you master achieving the state required for using a pendulum, all of them should work the same for you.

How do you use it?

The article referenced above said, "You should not use the pendulum for egoistic reasons. Use it only for the well being of others or yourself." Bah humbug. I hear that "white lighter" crap all the time from people who read a few books on what they deem Wicca (but does not closely resemble the Brit Trads that it came from) or New Age, self-help-y books. Those resources also encourages people to make everyday decisions that they should be able to male themselves. I have watched people use pendulums to pick which dog food to buy, I kid you not. They are not meant to be a New Age crutch, saving people from making mundane decisions like that.

A pendulum gives an individual who knows how to use it access to yes, no, or "I don't know/Can't answer now" answers and not a lot else. (I think those pendulum "answer cards" are a load of crap. Ive never seen anyone, whose talents I know, use them. They are just a waste of money. 

Of course you would use it for personal benefit (for yourself or others). What is the point of Witchcraft if you are not going to access answers beyond a muggle's reach or manipulate the worlds to make change through spellcraft? That is what a Witch does.

The article also said, "Remember: Swinging the pendulum requires that you be undivided and totally present in the moment." Yes, this is absolutely true. This is also the hardest part and something the article does not talk about. Most people cannot clear their minds and achieve a state like this easily. That is why effective Witches have a mindfulness practice. When I started my training in the tradition that I am initiated into, I was required to have a sitting practice of a minimum of 20 minutes a day for 2.5 years. I will tell you, in the beginning it was agonizing to sit still and "do nothing" for that long. These days, I know when I fall off the wagon and need to start sitting again. It affects the state I seek to permanently cultivate in myself and makes me less discerning and mindful when I do not take part in my practice.

True story: I worked at a holistic pet store once, selling herbs, supplements, homeopathy, and raw diets to dog and cat owners. Once of my co-workers was a Richard Dawkins-style (read: evangelical) atheist (this man also didn't believe in homeopathy, but that is another story!) and he knew that I was a Witch and in seminary. He thought of me as foolish and naive, I am sure. He always smirked when I talked about spiritual matters with my co-workers or offered Reiki to a dog dying of cancer.

One day, I pulled my pendulum out of my purse. I tried to explain how it worked to him in terms he would appreciate (read: quantum physics), but he still smirked. I showed him what it looked like to use it. "Show me "yes" I asked. Dutifully, my pendulum swing in a counter-clockwise circle, as it always does for yes for me. "Show me 'no'", I asked. As usual, the pendulum swung back and forth from my fingertips to my wrist. This is MY yes and no, regardless of what pendulum I use. 

I asked him to watch carefully and take note if I was swinging it subtly in any way or moving it, like a Ouija Board slumber party game. He admitted that he could see no influence. I asked him to try it. IT DID NOT BUDGE. While a pendulum swings dramatically after a few seconds for me, in his hands it remained limp, flaccid and unmoving. I believe this is because: A. He has not ade the connections in his brain, body and soul that I have- that allows me to connect to the all-there-is. B. He is so skeptical of anything he cannot see (he doesn't like physics for this reason, either and prefers "hard sciences" like chemistry because it can be measured "objectively"**) that these things literally CANNOT exist for him. 

This is why the pendulum, while it seems like the easiest of the obviously Witchy divination tools, is actually not that easy. It requires a lot of "prerequisite work" before you can work a pendulum. It is not like the tarot or runes, where you can memorize symbols and correspondences or use a book to translate to give rudimentary readings at first.*

So, what are the mechanics of use?
1. Ready yourself for divination. I always make sure that I align the three parts of my soul, so that I can connect my Godsoul to the All-There-Is as easily as possible. Then I "ground" myself (I say ground as a more accessible term to most pagans, but I actually mean "grow", as I usually do something most others do not, which is rooting myself into the earth yes- but also I branch up into the cosmos so that I am the world tree- rooted into the earth and connected to the stars.) If you do not do this as part of your practice, no worries- do what you need to do to stabilize yourself and tap into the divine.

2. Hold the pendulum in the hand you use the most. I am right handed, and I hold it in that hand. Grasp the cord or chain between the forefinger and thumb gently and let the ,rest of the cord/chain dangle over the remaining fingers of your hand (like the first picture indicates). The cord/chain should hang down at least three inches away from where your unused fingers are. This gives the pendulum a range of chain to work and move.

3. Use the other hand as a "platform" under the pendulum. Not touching it, but flat underneath it. I believe this creates a circuit for the energy that is moving your pendulum to complete and work. Many people will have their pendulums suspended above a cloth or a card, but honestly- I find this to be the most consistent, efficient, and expedient way to get the pendulum to work.

4. Ask to see what a yes, a no, and a "cannot answer" looks like. Whom are you asking, you ask? You are asking All-There-Is, which is You. As above, so below. Wait for a clearly articulated answer and maybe ask each one a couple times to be sure you know what these answers look like.

Two of my pendulums.
My pendulums and how I use them.
I have three pendulums. I keep one in my purse, one in my bedroom, and one as a backup. What can I say, I like pendulums! While pendulums can be made of anything- stones, glass, metal, wood, even plastic- I am drawn to hematite and jet for some reason. The hematite is heavier than the jet- so the jet one whips around super fast once it gets going! The hematite also is quite dramatic, but takes a bit longer to get going. The anchor on mine reflect who I am as a Witch. One is a moon with a black bit, which I interpret as the black moon, or Lilith, my patron. The other is a crow, an animal that I am very attached to spiritually. These are nice additions but unnecessary. 

I tend to use my pendulums in two related ways. When I feel fuzzy and unclear on something and I need clarification, I will pull it out. I get an answer from a force bigger than my own ego, which is always helpful- as the ego can cloud human judgment and impair a Witch. In a related way, I use it as a tangible reminder to foster and draw upon the practices that I outlined above that get you ready to divine. A Witch should have a regular mindfulness practice and "ground" and align themselves to the Divine regularly.

*Just to be clear, I am not slamming people who divine using tarot, runes or ogham. I also use these tools. I am making a point that tarot, ogham, and runes have books published about them and the symbolism is mostly agreed upon- so it can be referenced by a novice and a rudimentary reading can be done using a book as an aid. This is not true of pendulum work. Good readers of tarot, ogham and runes also access their Contacts (that give them all kinds of proprietary information to a situation that their divination tools indicates) during a reading. This is the difference between a dabbler and a Witch- a Witch uses the tool as a conduit to access Contacts (gods, the dead, spirits) who help clarify what the cards indicate and give personal counsel and advice. 

After all, that is what "divination" means- accessing the divine- either the divine self (which is connected to All-There-Is) or other divine beings who have access to information we do not have because of where/when they live/exist. That is hard work and requires talent and skill.

**I guess my ex-co-worker also rejects the physics notion of wave-particle duality, which states that elementary physical entities, such as electrons, protons, neutrons, atoms, and molecules, which exist on the one hand in states which evolve like waves when they are not observed, and evolve like particles when observed.  The key is the observation.

1 comment:

  1. Re: your "growth" practice..

    Interesting!! I'm a basically self-taught Pagan (lots of books about Wicca, the least fluffy I could find, but still only books, and very little practical experience), and this is how I ground, too. Down into roots, up into a tree with branches reaching to the sky, connecting the energy flow. I can't remember where or when I learned it or started practicing it, but it's what makes most sense for me, and is most balanced to me.


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