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Pendulum Dowsing: the Basics

"I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as a type of 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

"Dowsing is the exercise of a human faculty, which allows one to obtain information in a manner beyond the scope and power of the standard human physical senses of sight, sound, touch, etc."
- Raymond C. Willey, Engineer
and a founder of the American Society of Dowsers

What is "Dowsing"?

At its most basic, dowsing is a way to receive a Yes or No response to a question. In addition to a pendulum, other dowsing tools include l-rods, the y-rod, and the bobber. Muscle testing is another form of dowsing, and there are other "deviceless" dowsing methods using hands and fingers, and your whole body. Here we'll be focusing on the Pendulum.

Dowsing enables you to get precise answers to questions of a tangible or intangible nature. It's a useful skill anyone can learn. Once you become proficient, you'll find many ways to use it in your daily life.

What is a Pendulum?

A pendulum is a length of chain or string with a weight on one end and just about any weight on a string or chain will work: a pendant, a wet teabag, a bead on a thread... you get the idea!. If you prefer, you can buy one online or in shops in your community.

How does it work?

When you ask a question, universal intelligence answers. Your body receives the answer energetically as intuitive guidance, often experienced directly as a thought or idea, a feeling, or a sense of knowing.

When you're using a pendulum, the energy of the answer creates an unconscious response in your muscles, causing the pendulum to move in your 'Yes' or 'No' swing pattern. This provides an outer demonstration of your inner knowing, making it easier to recognize. Always remember that your arm and hand are being moved by the energy of the answer coming through you causing the pendulum to swing ­ it isn't being moved by any supernatural force, and the pendulum itself is not giving you the answer.

With dowsing you can:

  • Select the most appropriate food, beverage, supplement, remedy, drug, or treatment
  • Choose the healthiest products in the supermarket
  • Find your missing keys (or anything else you've lost)
  • Check your car over for problems
  • Locate a missing pet
  • Get in the quickest line at a checkout
  • Improve your garden
  • Locate plumbing and wiring in your home
  • Find the best parking space
  • and so much more!

It can also be used to answer any question asked in a Yes/No format, to rate anything on a scale of your choosing (1 to 5, 1 to 100, etc.), to measure the energy of any organ in the body, the boundary of your energy field, your percentage of physical health, whether or not you should join with your buddy and open a new business, what color to paint your living room, what movie to attend --- there is no limit to what you can ask about!

A pendulum can also be used to direct energy to another person or location. For example, you can shift or send an essence or other healing energy to a friend or client across town or across the world. This is beyond the 'basics', and it gives you an example of the many possible uses of dowsing.

Pitfalls to Look Out For

While a pendulum or other dowsing tool is a great way to get answers, you want to be aware of a few pitfalls.

1.  If the answer is personally important to you (your child's illness, the next step in your job search, should you buy the house you just fell in love with), stress or desire can influence your ability to receive a clear answer. You also want to be sure your ego is out of the way and you have prepared yourself to be a 'hollow bone', open to receiving answers without attachment to the outcome. You can also ask another dowser to help you.

2.  If you have already decided what you want to do and you're asking the pendulum to confirm it for you, you'll get the answer you want. In this case, just do what you want and take responsibility for the results ­ don't pretend to "ask" your pendulum then blame it for an unwanted outcome.

3.  Your dowsing can be compromised if your energy is out of balance due to stress, fatigue, lack of food or water, or many other reasons. Remedy the problem (relax, rest, eat, drink), or do your dowsing at another time. Check out Simple Fixes for a few things to try if you're feeling out of balance.

Selecting Your Pendulum

A pendulum is a very personal tool. As you learned earlier, it can be as simple as a weight on a string, or as beautiful and expensive as you are willing to purchase. Whatever you choose, treat it with respect and honor. Carry it with you and keep it in a safe place if you leave it at home.

Some things to consider:

  • Length of the string or chain. Some people prefer a long string, some prefer short. For me, it seems to take longer for the answer to make its way to the end of the pendulum when I use a long string, so mine is short and compact. Try different lengths to see what works for you.
  • Crystal or Stone Pendulum. A crystal or stone pendulum may take on more of the energies around you, so be sure to clear it often by holding it up to your heart and asking any unwelcome energies to leave now. You can also blow on it lightly three times, run it under cold water, bless it, or bury it in the Earth or a good quality natural salt overnight. I recommend you keep it to yourself, as well, so it is always connected to your energy alone.
  • Metal Pendulum. Metal pendulums are much easier to keep clear as they don't take on outside energies as easily. Stainless steel stays clear better than some of the other metals, in my opinion. While I don't recommend passing your pendulum to everyone around the room, a metal pendulum will resist taking on other energies better than stone or crystal. Use the same methods above to clear it as needed.

Get Grounded and Centered

To be grounded and centered is to be connected to the Earth and your Whole (Higher) Self, open and ready to receive input from universal consciousness.

Use any technique that works for you, or try out the suggestions below.

  • Visualize a red ball of energy in your root chakra (at the base of your spine). After a moment, imagine a red cord dropping down and traveling through all the layers of the Earth right to the core. When you reach the core (and it may take a moment or two), say your whole name down the cord, anchoring yourself to the center of the Earth. You can also make a simple request such as, "Open the Earth connection now."
  • Connect with your Whole (Higher) Self. Focus on your crown chakra (at the top of your head) and consciously open to receive answers from Universal Consciousness. Again, a simple statement like, "Open the God connection now," or "Open the Universe connection now" will establish the connection.
    You can also use a visualization like the grounding exercise, imagining a golden or white ball of light at your crown chakra, then seeing a thread of light traveling out to the cosmos, connecting you to All That Is.
  • Bring your attention to your heart center. Accurate dowsing happens when your heart is open and you're actively listening to your intuition. Set your thinking brain aside while in dowsing mode! State, "I am ready to dowse now."
  • Notice that getting grounded brings you into the present moment. Ask in the NOW and apply the answers you receive to NOW. And remember, the answers you receive are like a photograph in time, reflecting the situation as it is in the moment. If circumstances change, ask again.

In addition to grounding and centering yourself, when you begin to dowse it can be helpful to say a prayer or ask for assistance from God, your guides, the angels, the unseen healers and teachers whomever or whatever feels right to you.

Researchers at the University of Vermont studied the frequencies of human brain waves during sleep, different meditation techniques, and dowsing. It proved that during most types of activity the brain functions on just one level (alpha, beta, theta or delta). During dowsing, however, the brain uses all four levels at the same time. So, when we dowse we are searching for the answer on all levels of our being ­ from the conscious mind to deeply subconscious levels.

Determine Your "YES" and "NO"

  • Hold your pendulum between your thumb and first two fingers of your dominant hand. Let the weight hang straight down from the chain or string.
  • Keep your hand and arm relaxed ­ tension in your arm, hand or fingers can prevent the energy from moving freely.
  • Gently start your pendulum swinging, then ask, "Show me my 'Yes'." Notice how the pendulum responds.
  • After a moment ask, "Show me my 'No'." Notice how the pendulum responds.

Make note of the swing of the pendulum for Yes and No. It's movement may be the same as another persons, or it may be different. You are looking for YOUR swing patterns, so trust what you get.

If you don't notice a difference or if it isn't clear, here are a couple of other ways to help you determine your swing.

  • Hold the pendulum over the middle finger of your opposite hand or over your right knee and ask to see your Yes swing.
  • Hold the pendulum over the first (pointing) finger of your opposite hand or over your left knee and ask to see your No swing.

Keep in mind there are many ways to dowse. These suggestions are a good place to begin, and there are lots of other options. There's probably more than you ever wanted to know about dowsing on the internet and I encourage you to do your own research and find the method that works best for you. And, of course, if you already use a pendulum (or another tool or technique), use the approach that works best for you.

When You Begin Dowsing

Ask this simple question: "Is now a good time to dowse about _____________?" This establishes your readiness to do the work. If the answer is "No", do some clearing (see Simple Fixes for some ideas) or wait for another time. Ask if there is a good time to reschedule, then ask about the date and time. Be sure to follow up!

Next ask: "Can I? May I? Should I?" This is a one-time-per-session question, asked when you want to begin working, and this is the only time asking "SHOULD" is appropriate when dowsing.*

Here's what the questions mean:

  • CAN I? (Am I ready? Do I have the appropriate level of skill to ask these questions?)
  • MAY I? (Do I have permission? If you want to work with another person, ask their permission directly. With a child or animal, ask the parent or guardian. If you are dowsing for your own family members, you have karmic permission, and it's still a good idea to let them know what you are doing and ask if it's OK with them. It's possible to have the person's permission and still get a No to this question. That's the Universe stepping in to let you know it's not the right moment to do the work.)
  • SHOULD I? (Is it appropriate? Is it any of my business?)

*As a general rule, with the exception of "Can I, May I, Should I?", you want to avoid questions starting with "Should." "Should" is a judgment call, not a question that can be answered Yes or No.

You and your pendulum are quite capable of exploring the subtleties of any subject as you become better acquainted with the tool and more comfortable developing questions. In the meantime, you want to be as clear as possible when forming a question and "Should" tends to muddy the waters. Strive for questions that can be answered "Yes" or "No".

You can ask the questions quickly, all in a row and get one answer. Or you can ask the questions one at a time. If you get a "No", STOP. If you get a "Yes" (to all three questions together or separately), you are ready to begin.

P.A.T. (Priority, Appropriate, Tolerate)

There's another trio of questions you can ask to help you reach more clarity in your dowsing, or to narrow down a number of answers you've received, and it's called P.A.T., which stands for P(riority), A(ppropriate), T(olerate). (This concept was developed by Bobbi Brooks and is used by permission.)

For example, you have a health issue and you've been dowsing remedies to help yourself, but you end up with over a dozen and you feel that's way too many. If you want to find out which one or ones would be best for you right now, hold or touch one item at a time. Your physical contact with the item helps focus your mind. Ask these three questions:

  • Is it a Priority?
  • Is it Appropriate?
  • Can my Body Tolerate it

(You can replace "Body" with Mind, Emotions, Soul, Spirit or another word or description that might be more suitable to your situation.)

If you get No to any of the questions, set that item in a No pile and go on to the next one. If you get a Yes to all three questions, set the item in a Yes pile.

If you still feel you have too many in your Yes pile, go through them again, explaining to your guidance that you would like the list reduced further. Ask for the item(s) that's the highest priority for you NOW. Whether you are concerned about cost or simply don't want to take so many remedies at one time, use your dowsing to help you narrow it down.

Keep checking until you're satisfied that you have just what you need.

Phrasing Questions

The basics:

  • Keep your questions as clear and simple as possible.
  • Be willing to hear the answer even if you don't like it.
  • Ask your questions in NOW and be aware you are taking a snapshot in time. The answer might be different in an hour, a week, or a year. Pay attention to shifts and changes in yourself, your surroundings, and your circumstances and be prepared to ask the same questions again, if appropriate.

Always remember this: your question will be taken literally. For example, "Can I eat this?" You may mean to ask if it's good for you, but taken literally, if you have a mouth and are able to chew and swallow, you can eat it, so the answer is Yes. If you want to know if it's good for you, ask if it's good for you!

Keep your questions as simple as possible and ask about one thing at a time. If you ask, "Does _____(a)_____ or ____(b)_____ support me?" there is no definitive answer. Instead ask, "Does _____(a)_____ support me?" Then ask, "Does _____(b)_____ support me?"

Here are some good general questions: Will ________ support me? Is ________ for my highest and best good? Is ________ a priority? First priority? Second priority? Third priority?

It can be helpful to write down your question(s). This allows you to tweak it for greater clarity. It will also help you stay on track and remember what you're asking about. If you have a series of questions, write them all down. If you're asking a lot of questions or digging through a lot of layers, jot down the answers, too, so you remember the details.

If you have trouble developing a clear question, ask if the question you're asking is phrased correctly. If you get a "No", rewrite the question until you get a "Yes," then ask it exactly as it is written. Remember, you are tapping into Universal Consciousness and it is always willing to help you.

When you're first learning to dowse, avoid heavy-weight questions. Dowsing is not infallible, though in skilled hands it can be remarkably accurate. Even so, you don't want to make any really big decisions based only on dowsing when you're just beginning. Check in with your intuition and other guidance to corroborate the results, or ask an experienced friend, intuitive or dowser to help you.

Now comes the hardest part: TRUST THE ANSWER YOU GET! If you ask the same question over and over, you will get contradictory answers. This leads to frustration and anger, and can cause you to think dowsing doesn't work. Ask the question, receive the answer, and act on it. As results confirm your answers, you'll become more confident.

I'm getting wonky answers

Many factors can influence your dowsing and cause unclear or 'wonky' answers. Sometimes a pendulum swing that's different from your Yes and No means something, so explore that. Is the question unclear? Is there an option I haven't considered yet and I need to continue with more questions? Does this mean it doesn't matter what I choose?

You can also ask "Am I clear to ask?" (If Yes, carry on, if No, try one of the simple fixes below.) Then ask "Am I being fooled?" (If Yes, try one of the fixes, if No, carry on.) It may seem silly to ask if you're clear or are being fooled when you don't trust your answers right then, and I can only tell you it works. In my experience, even if you are not clear or you're being fooled, the Universe will give you an accurate answer to these two questions.

Simple Fixes

Here are some simple fixes to use when you are feeling unclear about your dowsing:

1.  Drink a glass of water. You are using your body's electrical system to transmit answers and if you are dehydrated, your body doesn't conduct the electrical frequency well. Just like the battery in your car ­ if the water is low, the battery doesn't work properly.

2.  Clear and align your energy field. If you don't know how to do this, try the exercise below:

Brush down your body. If someone can do this for you, that would be great, and it works well when you do it for yourself, too. You want to brush through the energy field just outside the physical body, barely touching the body itself.

  • Starting on one side of your head, brush your hand quickly and forcefully from the top of your head to your shoulder five times. You can use the hand on the same side you are brushing down or reach across to the other side of your head.
  • Now do the same thing from shoulder to hip, five times.
  • And finally, from hip to the floor, five times.
  • Repeat on your other side.

If someone is doing this for you, they can hold both hands side by side and use the tips of the fingers of both hands to brush through the energy field.

3.  Step away from the work and go for a walk, take a short nap or do something else to clear your mind. Dowsing can be intense and tiring, so give yourself a break. Sometimes it's best to wait until the next day, though you can also return when you are feeling refreshed.

4.  Eat protein. The body uses protein when doing energy work, so keep some nuts or other protein source available, or eat some before you begin and, perhaps, as soon as you finish your work.

Practice, Practice, Practice, and then Practice more

Practice will train your mind and improve your accuracy. Developing dowsing questions at work, at home or at play will gradually build your confidence and ability to use more of your brain while awake.

In conclusion

These guidelines cover the basics of dowsing. There is much more to learn, and this will give you a good foundation. If you follow the guidelines and practice, you'll develop good habits and eliminate many false responses (and much potential frustration!) while dowsing.

Dowsing requires TRUST, setting aside the ego and allowing the answer or response to be received. When you are in a state of open receptivity, free of preconceived answers, and when you have permission to do the work, dowsing is one of the best ways I know to delve into issues, problems, challenges, and even simple curiosity. Enjoy!


Stainless Steel pendulums made by Kroeger Herb Company are available here:

Free Pendulum Dowsing Charts: mirrorwaters.com/node/35

"A LETTER TO ROBIN: A Mini-Course In Pendulum Dowsing", by Walt Woods of the American Society Of Dowsers, available in several languages online at: www.lettertorobin.org/

American Society Of Dowsers, 802.684.3417, P.O. Box 24, Danville, VT 05828, e-mail: ASD@dowsers.org or visit their website: www.dowsers.org

©2014 All rights reserved. Contact Nanci for permission to reprodoce any or all of this document in any media.






The information in this publication is for educational purpose only. It has not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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