If You’re Indecisive, You Need a Pendulum in Your Mystical Tool Kit

Remember Magic 8-Balls? If you ever had one, you probably asked it fun questions, like if your latest crush was into you or which Backstreet Boy you were going to marry (just me?). And then you’d gleefully shake the ball to reveal the answer. Good times.

If you're anything like me, although you may have outgrown Magic 8-Balls, your indecisiveness and a need to know everything hasn’t gone anywhere. Hence, why our esoteric tool kits are stacked (natal charts! tarot cards! dream journals!). Another trusty divination tool that can help us access some answers: Pendulums. These mystical objects help us bypass our chatty conscious minds and go straight to the source (aka your intuition) for answers.

The best part? Pendulums are affordable (you can even DIY one!) and easy to use once you get the swing of them—literally.

Wait, what is a pendulum?

A pendulum is a tool typically made of a small, weighted object such as a crystal, stone, or piece of glass or metal tied to a string, chain, or cord. You can buy a pendulum from a spiritual shop or DIY one. You simply hold the pendulum in one hand, ask simple yes or no questions, and the way the pendulum swings will provide an answer.

According to Aycee Brown, a psychic specializing in human design, astrology, and numerology, using a pendulum is a newer version of dowsing, which has been around for, like, forever. Historically, dowsing entailed using two metal rods to help find lost items or natural resources such as water and minerals.

How does a pendulum work?

So, what actually causes the pendulum to move, really? It depends on who you ask. Some believe our subconscious mind kicks in and subtly moves the pendulum a particular way. Others, such as Brown, believe our higher self or spirit guides make the pendulum swing back and forth. Of course, a more technical answer would be gravity. Whatever force causes the movement, Brown says a pendulum’s purpose is to cut through our ego’s BS in order to gain clarity around a situation.

How to use a pendulum

So you’ve got yourself a pendulum and at least one burning question. Here’s what to do now:

Cleanse your pendulum

You can cleanse your pendulum similar to the way you cleanse a crystal (especially if your pendulum includes a crystal!). There are quite a few ways to do this: You can leave it out under sunlight or moonlight, hold it under running water, light incense or other smoke cleansing materials around it, ring a gong or other sound, or meditate with it and picture light running through it.

Connect with your pendulum

Before you ask your questions, take a moment to connect intuitively with your pendulum, the way you might before working with crystals. You might hold onto your pendulum while meditating, hold it to your chest while breathing in deeply for a few breaths, or close your eyes and picture your energy flowing through it.

Calibrate your pendulum

Before you start playing with your pendulum, you must calibrate it to your energy so you can see which way your pendulum will swing to indicate yes, no, and maybe. To do this, Brown advises holding the pendulum in one hand, with the weighted object dangling. To get specific, some experts recommend using the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand (though this might come naturally to you anyway). Then, instruct the pendulum to move by saying, “Please show me a yes,” and pay attention to which way it swings: vertically, horizontally, or in a circular manner. Then repeat the process with no and maybe.

Test the pendulum

Now that you know what your yes, no, and maybe answers look like, Brown suggests testing out the pendulum with simple questions you already know the answer to, such as your name, age, or the city you grew up in. Here’s how to phrase the question: “Am I correct to believe my name is [insert your name here]?”

Ask your juicy questions

Next, it’s time to ask all your pressing questions. Brown emphasizes that it’s important to phrase your question so you can get a clear yes, no, or maybe answer. She also recommends starting the question with the phrases “Is it in my best interest if…” or “Am I correct to believe….” For instance, instead of asking, “Where should I go on vacation?” ask, “Is it in my best interest to take a trip to Maui?” You get the gist.

You can ask questions about anything and everything big and small, including career, relationships, money, or sex. Basically, anything you need some clarity around! Asking your pendulum lots of questions is encouraged (that’s what it’s for!), but if you ask the same question over and over again, the answer may start to get a little murky. If that happens, Brown suggests recalibrating the pendulum again by asking easy questions you already know the answer to.

Where to find a pendulum

Spiritual and crystal shops are go-tos for snagging the pendulum of your dreams, as is le internet. To buy one of your own, Brown suggests checking out Etsy and going for the one that catches your eye. If you’re DIY savvy, you can also try making your own. The most important thing is to be sure that the pendulum feels good in your hands.

Here are a few of our picks:

Another way to use a pendulum: A pendulum board

If you want to add another accessory to your pendulum practice, you can use a pendulum board, also called a dowsing board. This is a small, flat board with different answers written around the border, like "yes," "no," and "maybe." Like a pendulum, you can buy one, or you can DIY one by placing different note cards on a flat surface, or writing your answers around the perimeter of a piece of paper.

Here are a few of our picks:

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