The pendulum is perhaps the most versatile and convenient of all dowsing tools, and this leads to it's great popularity amongst dowsers of all ages and abilities. It is of great importance to understand that dowsing is an inner process, a conversation between the rational and intuitive self, the left and right sides of the brain working synergistically. Any dowsing tool is thus a passive witness to this process - something that our physical body can use to bring its deep, unspoken awareness of the All to the conscious awareness of the alert mind.
Terry Ross, author of "The Divining Mind" asserts that the ultimate goal of all dowsers is to "go deviceless" - to dowse without the aid of any tools at all.This is the equivalent of riding a horse bare-back, without harness or saddle, whip or spurs, and is indeed a desirable and graceful state - to have one's intuitive awareness developed and awake at all times - an integrated and completely natural part of who we are and how we relate to the world. However, the focus and discipline that comes from learning to use tools in a competent and reliable fashion helps to train the inner dowser and make familiar the doors and pathways between the worlds, offering also a degree of protection and orientation along the way - a touchstone when charting unfamiliar territory.
A pendulum is, quite simply, any weight or object that can be made to freely swing.
Whilst this can include key rings, necklaces and a host of domestic and office items, most pendulum users prefer a symmetrically weighted object, centrally suspended from a light chain or cord.
The nature of the dowsing tool itself is of no intrinsic consequence. Having said this, as with the tool of any craftsperson, dowsers develop very particular preferences of weight, cord length and material, many choosing pendulums of crystal, brass or copper, or items of personal significance with which they have a close bond such as a wedding ring or special talisman.
Choose a pendulum that is appealing to your sense of aesthetic, that feels comfortable to hold and that swings freely and symmetrically when held between forefinger and thumb.
There are various systems for using a pendulum. Be aware that there is no right or wrong way to use dowsing tools. When learning to dowse we are simply programming "software" into our dowsing computer and can choose any program that suits and pleases us. If you already have a system that works for you, use that. If not, try the following:
Preparing to dowse
Sit comfortably, back upright, feet on the ground shoulder width apart.
Hold the cord of your pendulum between thumb and forefinger, and have these fingers pointing downward (see photo above). The cord should be around two to three inches in length.
The Search Position
The neutral or search position is achieved by setting the pendulum into a "to & fro" swing or oscillation, towards and away from your body, in the midline over the space between your knees.
Yes and No
Next, maintaining the neutral swing, hold the pendulum over the knee on the dominant side of your body (generally the right side for those who are right handed, and the left side for those that are left handed).
As you do this, ask to be shown a clear signal to indicate "yes".
This may be any alteration in the swing, and typically is found to be a rotational swing in a clockwise direction.
Next, take the still-swinging pendulum back to the midline and allow it to return to the neutral or search "to & fro" swing.
Now move the pendulum over your non-dominant knee and ask to be shown a clear signal to indicate "no".
Again this may be any alteration in the swinging motion of your pendulum, and typically is found to be a rotational swing in the opposite direction from your "yes" signal.
If you find that you spontaneously get clear signals for "yes" and "no", go with those - congratulations !
If you found that no signals emerged on their own and that the pendulum remains in it's neutral to & fro swing when over one or both knees, simply choose your yes and no signals and "program them in" by making your pendulum swing in the way you choose whilst over the appropriate knee.
This is not cheating - you are merely establishing a symbolic language to use between mind and body, and once it is familiar it will become automatic and serve you long and well.
If you do have to choose and program your signals, I encourage you to use a full circular clockwise rotation for "yes" and a full circular anticlockwise rotation for "no".
"Yes but" and "No but"
It is helpful to have "half signals" - incompletely developed "yes" and "no" signals to indicate a weak response and suggest that more questions need to be asked to achieve clarity.
It is also helpful to have a "misleading question - stop and rethink" signal - this can help to let you know if you are on the wrong track and save you confusion and fruitless questioning.
Practice Makes Perfect…
If pendulum dowsing is new to you, you are likely to find that sustained and patient practice is required before your responses come swiftly, easily and reliably.
We are after all learning a new skill and a new language, and although it is not an apparently complicated one, it is a new sensory-motor skill and requires repetition to become an integrated part of who we are.
I suggest that for the next two weeks you find two or three minutes each day to sit quietly and practice getting your dowsing responses, moving from side to side from the neutral position through your "yes but" and "no but" signals to your fully developed "yes" and "no" signals over your knees, and also practicing your "wrong question" signal.
Asking questions through dowsing - The Eight Step Method
When you first open an inquiry with your dowsing, or when you change dowsing topics, it is important to first check that it is timely and appropriate to be using your dowsing for this particular purpose.
Sometimes we may be asking questions which cannot yet be answered, or that may not be for us to know the answers to - issues of psychic intrusion and trespass can occur if we are asking questions outside of our legitimate concern for example, and under these circumstances our dowsing may be inaccurate or misleading.
Not all dowsers use this opening sequence when starting a fresh dowse, but I have found this process very helpful in helping me tune in to what I am about to dowse and to focus my intent.
Begin by setting your pendulum in motion in the search position
1. State clearly the topic of inquiry you wish to pursue - This is what I want to do. This is like turning on the radio. It is letting you unconscious know what you are about to do. You should get a "Yes" response.
2. "Can I ask about this ?" (meaning, "do I have sufficient skill & competence ?")
3. "May I ask about this ?" ("meaning, do I have permission ?") * please note - if you are dowsing in relation to another person or their affairs, the verbal request or permission of that individual should first be sought. Dowsing works best in response to genuine need and less well in response to idle curiosity or unwelcome intrusion. Be responsible and respectful and your dowsing will work better for you.
4. "Am I ready ?" (meaning "is this a timely moment to make this inquiry ?" - energy moves and unfolds in cycles, and sometimes our own energy is not ready to be dowsing a certain topic, or the topic may not be ready to be revealed - waiting a while and then trying again may sometimes be necessary)
If you receive a "yes" to all the above questions, you can then go freely ahead with your inquiry.
5. Ask the Question
Phrase each of your questions such that a "yes" or "no" response is a full and complete answer. This requires a little practice, and typically when one is mislead through dowsing, one sees retrospectively that the question asked was ambiguous or that more than one meaning could be inferred from the answer received.
Recently, Tony Kenninsh, a fellow dowser here in Glastonbury, gave me a tip on how to miminize the possibility of you influencing your answer. He suggests that the first thing you say when asking the question is:
"Excluding my own conscious and unconscious thoughts, beliefs and needs for a specific answer ..." Then state your dowsing question. This reinforces step # 6.
6. "I wonder what the answer will be?"
Once the question has been asked, there is typically a short pause before the pendulum swing indicates the answer. During this time it is important to hold an open mind, unattached to the answer that we are about to receive.
One can hold this open mind either by continuing to ask the question until the response is fully established, or by entering a state of childlike innocence and excitement, as though wondering what is beneath the wrapping of ones' Christmas present "I wonder what the present will be ?!" - "I wonder what the answer will be ?!"
7. The Answer - "Yes" or "No"
8. "Is this the truth?" You genuinely want to know this, so it serves as a final check.
If you plan to ask more than one question about any given subject, at this point, you don't have to go back to the beginning again, but rather go back to step number 5, and ask the next question.
This unattached and open minded state can be hard to achieve if the question is highly emotionally charged or bears great consequence, particularly for oneself or a loved one.
In these circumstances, one can get a little more distance by writing the question(s) down on a piece of paper, and several other questions to which the answers are already known (is today Saturday ? - does the Thames run through London ?) on similar pieces of paper.
Turn all the pieces face down and shuffle them around until you can no longer tell which is which, and then dowse each piece one by one - "what is the answer to the question on this piece of paper?"
Not only does this allow you to dowse with less investment in the outcome, but it also allows you to check your accuracy and can help you to assess how much weight to place on the information your dowsing reveals.
Checking and building confidence
Getting another dowser to check your answers can be tremendously valuable, and if you find that your friend gets a different answer to yours, look carefully to see whether the difference is truly in the dowsing response or if it is actually related to a difference in the questions asked or the way that you are each interpreting the words and meaning of the question.
You can check your accuracy by dowsing questions that you will shortly know the answer to - when making a phone call for example you can first dowse to see if the person that you are calling is at home / in their office - and if they are whether their answer machine is switched on... you'll get instant feedback but again look to see if inaccuracies are due to an ambiguous question...
If you find that your dowsing is misleading you, stop and try again later when you are again feeling alert and clear.
Remember that genuine need is the best key to unlock your dowsing faculties, and this in itself will help to direct your dowsing and indeed the alignment of your energy generally in relation to the world. I like to say "thank you" to the All Source when I'm finished a dowsing inquiry - it helps to keep ones' energy aligned with Grace and also fosters a sense of reverence and respect for this innate and wonderful gift that we all share. Good Luck and Good Dowsing!