A swing of the pendulum

My Dad left town today to return home to Switzerland. But before he left, he gave me a crash course this morning on how to use my new toy.

See, on Saturday, I bought my first pendulum.

My Dad has had one for many years, and has always found it useful to better understand himself. I've never been especially interested in it myself before, but what with all this yoga and meditation and self-exploration I've been doing recently, I think I've just become a more curious and open-minded person.

Case in point: Saturday afternoon, we were walking around Covent Garden and wandered into The Astrology Shop, which I've walked by many times, but never been inside of. 

They happened to have a pendulum display, with various stones and metals of different shapes, sizes, and colors. "What do you look for in a pendulum?" I asked my Dad casually. "It's got to have the right weight," he answered, "and it has to feel right in your hand."

He picked one up, a pretty lapis lazuli pyramid shape. "This is a good one," he said, holding it up for me as an example. I held it for a moment, nodded, and made to hang it back up. But something weird happened. I tried three times to hang it back on the display, but for some reason it just wouldn't stay. Naturally, this could have been due to poor hand-eye coordination on my part, but where in the past I might have rolled my eyes exasperatedly and hung it up more forcefully, on this occasion, I decided to listen to this as a freaking, in-big-bold-letters sign: "I'll take it," I told the shop keeper impulsively.

So now I have a pendulum. I'll try to explain how it works: the idea is that the pendulum amplifies responses from the subconscious, represented by tiny, involuntary motions in the hand. In other words, your subconscious may often know better than the conscious what is best for you, or what it is you actually want, and this leads to reflexive, very small muscular reactions, which we can better observe with the help of a pendulum. (These muscular reactions are also known as the ideomotor phenomenon.)

So you can hold the pendulum lightly, and ask it 'yes' or 'no' questions, and it is likely to swing in either a clockwise ('yes' for most people) or counterclockwise ('no' for most people) direction. You could start with obvious questions to get a feel for it (e.g., 'Am I a woman?' 'Am I hungry?'), and eventually move into more depth ('Am I content with where I am in my life at the moment?') If you get a 'no' answer to a question like that last one, you can take it deeper: 'Why am I not content--is it because of fear?' 'Is it because of sadness?' 'Is it because of anger?' And keep drilling down until you reach what you feel is a root cause for your current discontent. Then it may be enough to simply notice that sadness, or anger, or whatever the case may be. Or it may be something you need to work on further.

Obviously, this isn't infallible, and it isn't for everyone. Heck, it wasn't for me until Saturday. And I don't know how much I'll use it.

I like it, though. Anything that makes you feel better, or that can serve as a tool to know yourself better, it seems to me, should be considered. I'm looking forward to experimenting, and perhaps using it to deepen my meditation practice.

Also, I just asked the pendulum, 'Is this blog making me happier?'

I'm happy to say it said yes.