The Power of the Pendulum

You have a conscious mind and an unconscious mind. The latter is far more powerful; it’s a storehouse of memories, learnings, skills and wisdom. Here’s a very brief introduction to a way in which you can get it to communicate with you.

The title of this piece, by the way, is borrowed in tribute from one of the several books by T C Lethbridge – of whom more later.

The “Short” Pendulum

This is the basic, standard, all-purpose pendulum, consisting of a small weight (the “bob”) on the end of about 15 cm of thread. Although new-age writers will tell you that bobs need to be made of crystal and “charged” before use, this is totally unnecessary; any small weight, even a finger ring or key, will do. There’s nothing magical about the pendulum; it’s just an amplifier. It works by the “ideomotor response” – tiny involuntary movements of the arm controlled by the unconscious mind. My personal view, however, is that this leaves completely open the question of how any information revealed gets into the unconscious mind…

There are several approaches to pendulum work; because of my training in Ericksonian hypnotherapy, mine is based “permissively”, allowing the unconscious mind to choose its own responses.

Hold the thread of the pendulum between finger and thumb tips of the dominant hand; the arm may be supported at the elbow if it’s more comfortable. I suggest that the length of thread between the fingers and the bob should be around 10 cm, but this can be adjusted if the response seems sluggish. Ask your unconscious mind to give you a YES response; think “yes” repeatedly until the pendulum clearly moves in a definite pattern – back and forth, side to side or in a circle (clockwise or anticlockwise). This pattern is noted and then the unconscious mind is asked for a NO response, which is also noted. If you have difficulty in getting a response, you could try a suggestion from Tom Graves: begin with a conscious back and forth “neutral” swing. Test it by thinking of your own name and getting a YES, followed by “my name is Ethel”, resulting in a NO. You can then go on to use the pendulum to answer questions or make decisions.

The Long Pendulum

T C Lethbridge, whom I mentioned earlier, wrote extensively on his dowsing work with a long pendulum. This has a heavier bob and a metre or more of thread, wrapped around a small spindle, so that the length can be varied. Lethbridge found that different thread lengths reacted to different substances, indicated by gyration of the pendulum; here are some of the “rates” that he discovered:

Substance Rate (inches)
Sulphur 7
Graphite 10
Carbon 12
Glass 14
Wood 20
Silver, lead, salt 22
Alcohol 25.5
Running water 26.5
Gold 29
Copper, brass 30.5
Iron 32

Lethbridge also discovered that the rate for “death” is 40 inches. His results for lengths above 40 inches are most interesting…

It has to be said that this system is controversial among dowsers. If it works at all, rates seem to be personal to the individual user.

Lethbridge’s work on pendulums is scattered throughout his books, all of which are out of print and expensive. I recommend the compilation by Graves and Hoult (see below) – also out of print but there are second-hand copies around.

The Human Pendulum

Stand with your feet a short way apart. Ask your body for a YES response – think YES over and over again. For most people the body will lean forward slightly – this almost always works. Then ask for a NO response; your body should lean backwards slightly.

Try it yourself now – it works!

Recommended Reading

Graves, Tom (1989) The Elements of Pendulum Dowsing. Longmead: Element
Graves, Tom & Hoult, Janet (1980) The Essential T C Lethbridge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul