What is a Pendulum?

Short answer: A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot that allows it to swing freely. The example shown directly below is a pendulum in its most basic form - a rock tied to a string.

Rock on a string

Practically speaking, a pendulum is a typically portable device that utilizes gravity and momentum to respond to energy in a way that is meaningful to the pendulum user. In essence, it's a tool that helps your intuition or "higher self" communicate with your conscious self. (The higher self is defined as the soul or the part of one's being that connects with the divine or the universe. It is the non-physical, spiritual self, also called the "true self", "soul self", or "intuitive self".)

A pendulum is made up of two essential parts: 1. weight-stone (sometimes called a "bob") and 2. chain (or in the example above, string). There is also an third optional component called a "fob" (some call the fob a "holding piece"). While it isn't absolutely necessary to the operation of the pendulum, having a fob improves its handling. In the example below, the weight-stone (a red jasper tapered point) is on the left. The fob, shaped like a leaf, is on the right. The chain, of course, is in the middle and connects the weight-stone to the fob.

"Bliss" - Red Japser and Sterling Silver Pendulum

The term for using a pendulum is "dowsing" or "divining". A person who uses a pendulum is called a "dowser". Dowsing is also the word for using a dowsing rod or divining stick (an object used to locate water and minerals underground).

To learn how to use a pendulum, click here.

A very brief history of dowsing

Dowsing devices have been used by people from different cultures for over thousands of years. The oldest known recorded use is eight thousand years old, found in cave drawings in Algeria. Chinese emperors used pendulums to predict the future. Moses used a dowsing rod to find water hidden in a rock. Dowsing and its devices have fallen in and out of favor over the years and there have been many periods in history when the practice was outlawed. People have been imprisoned, tortured, and burned at the stake just for using a pendulum or other dowsing tools.

In the early twentieth century, the practice of dowsing found favorable light when new uses, diagnostic and healing methods called medical "radiesthesia" were discovered. Though scientists still could not explain how dowsing worked, complicated mechanical devices were invented in the hopes of harnessing the mysterious power behind it all.

Albert EinsteinPhysicist Albert Einstein embraced the concept and was a dowser himself.

"I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as they do astrology, as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction, this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time."

~ Albert Einstein

The theory of how a pendulum gets its information

As there is no scientific evidence to explain how a pendulum works, the following is one theory.

Your pendulum gets its information from your "higher self" and the vast energetic network that connects to your higher self. The conscious mind has only a limited role in this process and the higher self does the rest. When using a pendulum there's a complex system at work that employs the cooperation of:

  • Your higher self
  • Your conscious mind
  • Your body's nervous system

To explain how this theoretical system works, we'll use the analogy of an old fashioned two-way radio. The radio consists of a receiver/transmitter, an antenna, a speaker, and wires that connect it all together. In our analogy:

  • Your higher self is the radio's receiver/transmitter
  • Your body is the radio's antenna and its wiring system
  • Your pendulum is the radio's speaker

Your body (the "antenna"), with its many senses, is constantly picking up data - seen and unseen - from a variety of sources. This information is unconsciously conveyed to, stored in, and processed by your higher self.

When you ask your pendulum a question, your higher self taps into the vast array of data it has at its disposal (including that which we call the universe), receives that data and transmits the answer - via your body’s nervous system - down the arm, through the wrist, and out your pendulum (the "speaker").

The role of your conscious mind is very limited. It participates only at the beginning and at the end, by asking the question and than reading the answer. Everything in between is up to your higher self, your body's nervous system, and your pendulum.

The pendulum, your radio’s "speaker", announces the answer to your question (provided by the higher self) using a signal which you "listen to" (or read) with your eyes, observing the direction and intensity of the pendulum's swing. 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 make out the answer.

To learn how to use a pendulum, click here.

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