For those new to divination practices, pendulums consist of a crystal, stone, or metal pendant on a long chain. With the right frame of mind and plenty of practice, they can be used to intuit the future, in a process known as "dowsing."
The term "dowsing" has long been used in spiritual circles to refer to the practice of seeking something (physical or otherwise) with the help of an object. Dowsing can be traced back to ancient China, Egypt, and Rome, where it's believed people used pendulums to ask divine entities questions like where they should plant crops or where spirits come from. And, in the Middle Ages, dowsing (or divining) rods were used to find water and metals in the ground.
Today, sometimes a rod is used and sometimes a pendulum is used, but the core belief remains the same: By responding to spiritual energies and vibrations in the air and ground, these objects can point us in the right direction. All you need to do is hold the objects steadily and observe their movements.
By responding to spiritual energies and vibrations in the air and ground, these objects can point us in the right direction.
Depending on your familiarity with the practice of dowsing, you can perform a reading using nothing but a pendulum and your own intuition. You just need to hold the pendulum so that it hangs straight down, pose a query (one that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" works best), and then pay attention to how the pendulum swings. In Llewellyn's Complete Book of Divination, Richard Webster writes that the first question you should ask is which direction means "yes" and which direction means "no." Either say out loud or in your head, "What movement will mean 'yes?'" and wait to see how your pendulum swings. (And then do the same for "no.") That way, if the pendulum swings horizontally to the left when you ask it an in-depth question, you'll have already defined what that movement is meant to indicate.
Or, if you're newer to divination (or just want a key for interpreting answers), you can use what's known as a pendulum mat. There are all sorts of mats you can purchase, but they usually have several possible answers placed in different areas around the mat, so all you need to do is hold your pendulum over the center and see which answer it swings toward. Done this way, dowsing is very similar to playing with an Ouija board — although, within spiritual circles, dowsing is considered to be much more reliable.
Whether you use a mat or not, it's important to dowse with the right mindset: Ideally, you're receptive to any response, you've posed your question in a positive way, and you don't plan to use the response you receive for anything nefarious or mean. Pendulum dowsing can be as informative and spiritually fulfilling as a daily tarot practice if you go into it with an open mind. If you'd prefer to put your future in the hands of a professional, you can seek out a reading at your local magick or occult shop, or even online (quite a few readers offer their services through Etsy).
As is often the case with divinatory and intuitive practices, there isn't really science behind dowsing. But, if you give it a try and find comfort in the responses you receive, there's no reason it shouldn't be part of your personal spiritual routine — maybe just don't delete your Maps app in exchange for a divining rod.