Pendulum: divination and dowsing


Dowsing is a phenomenon that has spread since ancient times and is still used today, in many rural areas, where other means for locating groundwater are lacking, and in alternative medicine. This pseudo-science seeks to identify natural electromagnetic fields and stimuli. It has often been put into practice, as has been said, to search for water currents and hidden wells, a task frequently carried out (and still today) by dowsers, also called zahorí or rabdomantics (Gr. rhabdo-, rod). These dowsers used a wooden stick or a metal fork to detect the aforementioned radiation, and thus help in locating water, although it was later extended to minerals and metals.

Although multiple scientific studies have focused on this practice, none is conclusive in its effectiveness, since the dowser may have auxiliary knowledge, such as geographical terrain. However, dowsing has spread to many other fields, considering that it is the person themselves who has a special/paranormal ability to detect what is requested, and that there are specific objects that can help in this task. In the past, however, the use of these systems was considered an act of witchcraft, especially in sectors where religion had great weight, without going any further, Luther himself condemned it. But finally, dowsing did find a place in the world of alternative medicine and esotericism, converting these magnetic currents into strange energies, instincts, movements or activities, and where the most popular object of use is the pendulum.

Movements and divination.

The pendulum has certain characteristics that make it unique and sought after for this type of work, especially in divination. To begin with, its aesthetics and ease of use. The pendulum only needs a figure or object, preferably geometric, tied to one end of a rope or chain. This versatility has given rise to countless beautiful models that adapt to each wearer, also transforming it into a common piece in esoteric jewelry. As for its use, there are various ways to interpret it, but its basic operation is to drop it, without touching the surface, and observe its movement.

Here the disparities begin: there are, so to speak, five possible movements, which are considered influenced by magnetic or spiritual issues and forces: The pendulum movement parallel to the consultant (that is, from left to right and vice versa), the perpendicular to the consultant ( forwards and backwards), the circular in the clockwise direction and the circular in the opposite direction to the clockwise, and the figure-of-eight or infinity movement.

There would be a sixth movement, which would be the one that takes place when something specific is consulted about a location, such as a name on a list, or a location on a map, where the pendulum repeatedly and insistently points to a point, or when falling or stop on one in particular. although there are those who consider that this type of movement would be "diagonal". For this type of issues there are so-called maps or pendulum plates, each with different designs and objectives, however, practitioners can design their own. They have become very popular because of the specificity of the answers.

To do this, the pendulum would be dropped on drawings of the different movements, waiting for the pendulum to synchronize and imitate them, and specifying out loud what type of response that would be: this is a yes, this is a no..., or saying, for example, in the event that we want said movement to be a yes, something that is true. Likewise, other responses can be taught such as: poorly formulated question, repeating the question, interference... Each movement can, therefore, have a totally different meaning depending on the dowser; However, there are many schools of dowsing where attempts are being made to establish a series of parameters so that the pendulum is valued at a mantic and esoteric level at the same level as the tarot or runes, for example, which have well-defined basic meanings for the interpretations. Conversely, other dowsers consider that the main characteristic of the pendulum is the possibility of personalizing its movements and thus creating a link with the object, which is why they encourage people to learn how to use the pendulum individually and let themselves be carried away by instincts and instincts. impressions of each one.

But before the appearance of the planks, and in situations where the use of them is not possible, the practice focuses above all on the questions of yes and no. When there is no plate on which to point, or the pendulum has not learned previous movements for the answers (either due to lack of time or difficulties), for some practitioners, the perpendicular movement, that is, the one that points to the consultant, is the positive answer, yes, and the pendulum movement from right to left or vice versa would be no, in a clear allusion to the movement of the head in both cases.

However, although they are a minority, there are those who interpret it the other way around, and this is mainly due to two issues: the first is cultural, since in some countries, such as Greece or Hungary, the affirmation and the denial are done in reverse. usual. The second is purely interpretive, since it is considered that when the pendulum goes back and forth towards the person, it "attacks" him in some way, and therefore, the answer to the question is negative, and that when it moves parallel to the shoulders of the person consultant, what he does is "mirror reality", that is, indicate that it is correct. But as has been said, the plates have gained popularity, and the second interpretative version is very reduced, except for the uses of the Hebrew pendulum, which has a second use, apart from divination, of a medical nature, as will be seen later.

Anyway, there is one more aspect to take into account, and that is the speed or way of falling of the pendulum. Speed is often understood as the intensity of the response, the faster the response, the more insistent the response, or the closer/distant the event being asked about. When it comes to the way it falls, we are referring, so to speak, to the "elegance" with which the pendulum falls. If the pendulum falls suddenly, with force, with the chain poorly distended, it can be considered that the response will not be very accurate, given that it would be influenced by this previous movement; For others, a bad fall implies that the question has been poorly formulated, that the pendulum is being affected by very powerful emotions and influences, or that it is not the ideal time for the consultation. On the contrary, if it falls fluidly and delicately, the pendulum is considered to be synchronized with the moment and with whoever uses it.

Sheets for pendulum and dowsing in general

Possibly the origin of these sheets is found in two places: the first, in the armadels and astrological plans, and later in the very famous Ouija board, with its letters and its yes and no answers; the second, the geobiological plates, later called biometric, which analyzed the telluric radiation of the land, and which quickly extended to considerations about the vitality of certain places and objects, and therefore, to that of people.

These sheets have become very popular in recent years, although anyone can prepare their own sheet, sheet or map to work with the pendulum. Depending on the purpose, the drawings, lists and diagrams may vary. The most popular figures to work with are circles or semicircles with the letters of the alphabet, the months of the year, or with a series of emotions or responses inscribed in the radii of a circle. You can find plates or sheets with Feng Shui issues, the hexagrams of the I-Ching, with runes, minerals, or Tarot illustrations. In traditional medicine uses, human figures are more common, indicating the chakras, the internal organs, the lymphatic or circulatory system, the so-called subtle bodies, and in some alternative therapies, the astrological or elemental correspondences. Colors are also used in psychological issues, chromotherapy, and there are even some prepared with different foods for diets or a selection of teas for meditation.

As already indicated, a map of a house or a province would have the same value, for example, as long as it had been made on a clean "purified" document, so that the impressions or intentions of the draftsman were not impregnated. If you ask about specific individuals, it is considered valid to make the query on a plate or mat on which the photos of the people about whom you are consulting are arranged.

Example for pendular sheet with many areas
Example for pendular sheet with many areas
Pendular sheet with yes/no/maybe answers
Pendular sheet with yes/no/maybe answers
Example for pendular sheet to locate something
Example for pendular sheet to locate something

Therapeutic use of the pendulum

The pendulum is also used in the environment of alternative and therapeutic medicine. This use is based on the fact that the radiation and magnetisms perceived by the pendulum are, after all, energies and vibrations released by everything that exists, both living and inert beings, which retain those around them - the same theory by which the pendulum In divination you can identify where something lost is found, for example. For this reason, the pendulum is also used as a receiver of energies, and is walked around houses or bodies to absorb and cancel negative energies. As said at the beginning of the article, the pendulum as a protective and purifying pendant or amulet has become notably popular due to its aesthetics, especially with quartz.

It is also used by therapists to detect the areas of the body where the focus of the disease is located: this is not as "obvious" an act as it may seem, and it is not simply a matter of the pendulum pointing out the affected area, whether in a list, drawing or in the patient's own body, but it shares the interrelationships of traditional Asian medicine (meridians, elements, etc.), Ayurveda and Hindu philosophies (chakras or correspondences). Pendulum medicine in these cases gives greater importance to the material with which the pendulum is made (wood, mining, metal, glass), since it considers that the different elemental relationships can interfere in certain cases, as well as it will also fulfill, apart from a function signaling, a purifying function, if the material that forms it is the correct one to balance or cancel the disease, if it is a material that absorbs or one that repels... In this regard, the pendulum also makes use of biomagnetism, the use of magnets (or a magnet pendulum) for the treatment of certain diseases of the endocrine system or skin.

A special case of therapeutic pendulum is the Hebrew pendulum, and other derivatives of this model, which take different names and focus on spiritual healing and purification. The Hebrew pendulum, which is also used in divination, especially for yes and no answers, has the main characteristic that a piece of paper with different words in Hebrew is attached to the block of wood with a rubber band depending on what it is intended to achieve or scare away. For this reason, in alternative medicine we can find Hebrew pendulums to chase away negative energies or evil spirits that are considered to torment the patient, as well as curses, evil eyes... Or on the contrary, they have texts that can enhance positive energies. and good thoughts.

In this type of therapy, the pendulum is sometimes used together with rods and forks, as occurs in cases of geographic dowsing in search of water, and although the medicinal efficacy has not been proven either, also in this field the simplicity of use of the pendulum is making it a commonly used tool.

Pietro Viktor Carracedo Ahumada -


-De la Rosa, Raúl. La historia de la radiestesia. Ediciones i. Valencia, 2013.

- Ellis, A. J. The divining rod. A history of water witching. Washington 1938.

- Flaccovio, D. (ed.) Religiosità e medicina alternativa: L'illusione delle terapie alternative. Palermo, 2014.

- Tondriau, J. Diccionario de las ciencias ocultas. Edaf, Madrid, 1985.

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