This series of instruction and guidance has kindly been written by RowanBerry in the Whitewiccca forums and is saved here for easy reference.
Now that you have a pendulum we will look at how it is used. Basically the line, thread, chain or cord is looped over the index or middle finger of your hand, which is held motionless, with the weighted piece hanging freely downward and allowed to oscillate of its own accord in response to questions you will ask. Some people prefer the dominant hand, as it’s doing the work; others prefer the receptive hand, as you’re taking in information.
The reason the pendulum oscillates in response to questions is unclear.
Three main theories exist as to how it works:
1) Radar – the pendulum either ‘senses’ the presence of water, minerals, etc., (as in dowsing) or it ‘bumps into’ the given energy and returns the signal to the sender (you). This theory is more popular regarding the divining rod than the pendulum, as the former is used more for natural resources buried underground; but it can apply to any use, as every object has its own energy composition, density, etc. Think of bats navigating, for example, or submarines with their radar pinging off other objects in the vicinity.
2) Hologram – this postulates that everything in the universe contains the whole within every tiniest part. If you’ve seen hologram pictures, then you know that even if you cut off a corner of the image, that tiny piece will contain the whole image, as will the remaining bigger piece. So according to hologram theory, within you there exists a portion of everything in creation, including all knowledge that ever was or ever will be, and the pendulum taps into that. This theory that we are all part of a greater whole, contain divinity within us and are all a part of each other including the plants, animals, and the earth itself, ties in quite neatly with pagan beliefs.
3) Electromagnetic (EM) fields – everything in existence has an EM field particular to itself – what we call the ‘aura’. Even things of the same energetic composition will have different auras, each uniquely its own. Studies have proven auras to exist in plants and animals as well, and it is the imputed auric (EM) nature of rocks and minerals that give them their various properties of healing or magick. According to this theory, the pendulum would be like a conductor conveying knowledge of the object’s or person’s aura into our own, literally bringing knowledge of the item/person to our fingertips.
In any case, the pendulum’s role seems to be that of augmenting our sensitivity to reception of information, be it energetic, electromagnetic (like a radio picking up on waves that we ourselves cannot), within our own subconscious, or from the ‘universal field’ or ‘collective unconscious’. It is an instrument to amplify something that exists around or within us, which we simply aren’t adequately capable of picking up on and recognising unaided. Some people who become very advanced in the use of the pendulum actually do become able to work without it, fine-tuning their intuition (or subconscious, or right brain) to tap that knowledge without the aid of the physical tool any longer. That, of course, would be the ultimate goal of pendulum use.
Now, assuming you’ve acquired a pendulum (whether provisional or permanent), you will need to attune with it. The pendulum is going to be working as an extension of yourself, and hence must be completely free of foreign or negative energies and well-attuned with your own.
Some of you may be wondering if you’re ‘psychic’ enough or in some other way capable enough to use a pendulum. The answer is ‘yes.’ Almost anyone can use the pendulum. Any person who is mentally healthy, attuned to the cosmos (as pagans invariably are), has or can achieve inner quiet, and is capable of clearing his/her thoughts (as in meditation), can use the pendulum with great success. Even physical illness doesn’t necessarily prevent it. One famous ‘dowser’, as pendulum operators are often called, had a perpetual tremor in his hand due to disease, yet obtained amazingly accurate answers. (The pendulum and dowsing work on the same principle and terminology and techniques are often interchanged).
Three things have to be prepared: your environment, yourself, and the pendulum. The first two will need to be done at every session you hold with your pendulum; the last is pretty much a one-time thing, when you’re ‘initiating’ a new pendulum or refreshing an over-used one.
To prepare the room (environment), you will want to eliminate interference, whether psychological or electro-magnetic. This means finding a place where you can have quiet and privacy. Turn off any electrical appliances like computers, television, etc. This also includes music players, as both the EM field and the music itself can distract from what you’re doing. Set up a table or surface you can sit at to work. Think about the questions you wish to ask and write them down. Leave plenty of space in between your questions to write a note of the answer and also to jot down any other questions that come to mind as a result of the answer you have been given.
To prepare yourself, sit quietly and comfortably in a chair at the table. Make sure you’re not crossing your legs or arms, as this can interfere with the reading by ‘tangling’ your own energetic flow. Your feet should be touching the earth even if there’s a floor or more between you and her. Once in a comfortable posture, invite your pets to leave the room as you do not want any distractions!
Do muscle relaxation exercises if you’re not experienced at immediate relaxation of the body (clench each muscle in turn, then release it). Balance your breathing, with slow, deep, regular breaths. Empty your mind of thoughts. Let anything that comes in just float on out the other side; don’t attach to any of your thoughts, even with the intent of quashing them. All this, you may have noticed, is the same preparation we make for meditation. Once you’re in a clear, relaxed, meditative state, you can grasp your pendulum and begin work.
To prepare your pendulum, first of all, your pendulum needs to be cleansed from other influences so it will carry no interference of other energies, or worse, negativity. Such things might result from previous users (of a ring or button or bead, say), other shoppers who examined your pendulum before you bought it, the people who crafted it, the sales person who handled the pendulum, etc. Everyone who touches an item or is even in the vicinity of one, is transmitting energies that can be (and are) picked up by the item. This is particularly true of stone pendulums, which tend to pick up on energies quite easily.
To cleanse your pendulum you have a number of options. Pendulums can be:
Any of these techniques helps clear the pendulum of energies it has accumulated, even your own after intensive use. Like you, your pendulum will need to rest and recharge if it’s been working hard! Listen to and trust your intuition here. Choose whichever method feels right and don’t hesitate to try another method as well if you still feel vibes from the pendulum which are not “right”.
Once other energies have been neutralised from your pendulum, you’ll want to imbue it with your own, make it yours, aligned with your own energies and auric field. You and it are to ultimately act as one intrinsic unit, energetically speaking, so this is all very important. You can carry the pendulum around in a pocket or on your person for a while, sleep with it under your pillow, or sit and hold it and ‘meditate’ on it. You can breathe positive affirmations into it, consecrate it to yourself and for use only for higher good. So take the time now readying your pendulum to work with you. Next lesson we’ll start to actually use it.