As part of my April A-Z blog series on all things mystical, here's the letter P...
During this series I've discussed divination and the use of crystals. Today I'll combine the two and talk about pendulums. Though most commonly used in timekeeping devices, pendulums dating back as far as 2,000 BC have been used as a way to divine the answers to questions.
A pendulum consists of a length of chain or cord with a weighted bob on the end. For divination purposes, this weight is often fashioned from an elongated crystal. Though any crystal can be used, some common ones thought to aid the divination process are amethyst and clear quartz. Any item can be used as a weight, however, including rings (a wedding ring dangled by a string over the belly of a pregnant woman is an old way of predicting the infant's sex), washers, keys, or paper clips. A smaller item is generally attached to the opposite end to serve as a handle, which helps reduce inadvertent directing of movement.
It is recommended that pendulums be spiritually cleansed and charged to the purpose before use first. For quick and simple purposes, start by clearing your mind and taking a couple of calming breaths to relax yourself and focus on your goal. Next, determine how the pendulum will give you answers. Several methods for this exist, but one way is to let the pendulum inform you how it will move for a yes and a no answer. Hold the pendulum as still as possible, then ask simple yes or no questions to which you already know the answer. A pattern should emerge: a certain motion--back and forth, perhaps--for yes, a different motion for no. Sometimes a circular motion will be observed, which can mean either depending on the pendulum OR that the question is something it does not choose to tell you the answer to at this time.
Your questions should not only be simple yes or no types, but they should also be clear and concise. It's not enough to ask whether you'll have a good day at work; ask whether you will accomplish a certain task (specify) on a certain day.
To determine the sex of a baby: Have the pregnant woman lie down. Suspend her wedding ring or another item--preferably but not necessarily one belonging to her--over her abdomen. Get the pendulum to hang still, then watch it begin to move. A circular motion means the child is a girl; back and forth indicates a boy. Though technology has unlocked more direct means of determining sex, this is still a fun and easy exercise to try.
Another way to test a pendulum is to shuffle a deck of cards, set the deck in front of you face down, and hang the pendulum above it. Ask whether the next card is black or red (determine which motion it will use for each by testing several times first) and place each correct answer into a separate pile. You may be surprised at how often a good pendulum will get it right.
How (and whether) this works is a matter of much debate, of course, and some fear that evil spirits actually direct the swing of the pendulum. I tend to believe a more practical explanation exists--perhaps this tool uses energies from our own subconscious to bring information across the gap between our intuitive right brain and logical left.
Whatever the explanation, pendulums have proven successful enough to have outlived many other tools developed thousands of years ago.