Just before Yule, I was looking for a book to get more information on pendulum dowsing and the possibilities and avenues of enquiry open to dowsers (as opposed to a more introductory text). Confronted by dozens to books on the subject on Amazon (Cambridge is becoming increasingly bereft of bookshops in general, never mind Pagan bookshops), and with no way to decide which one would be best, based on my requirements, I opted to consult Quartz on the topic. She directed me straight to D. J. Conway’s Little Book of Pendulum Magic. I had Conway’s Celtic Shamanism book for a while and, although I liked it at first, it began to grate after a while and my opinion of Conway as an author decreased. I wouldn’t have purchased her pendulum book, but for Quartz’s insistence that this is the book I want over of all the others.
I reasoned that there’s no point asking for answers you’re not going to act on, hit ‘buy’ and waited. When the book turned up, it was exactly what I wanted. Score plus-one for dowsing!
There are a number of considerations to be made when divining, the most important of which seems to be formulating the question.
I’ve amassed a number of guidelines to help formulate questions; most of them have been culled from Jessica Mac Beth’s book, which accompanies Brian Froud’s Faerie Oracle cards, but I’ve also been looking at a number of other online sources which corroborate MacBeth’s suggestions. I’ve reworded the guidelines to be applicable to pendulum dowsing, but they seem a fairly sensible ground to start from in any dowsing or divination practice (I’ll probably end up eating those words when I get around to Ogham or runic divination…).
Start with binary answers:
Bad: “Which job should I apply for?”
Good: “Should I apply for [job]?”
Unless used with a talking board or a chart, a pendulum can only really give two answers, so it can only answer questions with two possible outcomes. Anything else will give a confusing reading, if it gives one at all.
Don’t combine questions:
Bad: “Does [person] like me; and can I make him/her think better of me?”
Good: “Does [person] like me?” – “Can I make him/her think better of me?”
Any time a question has a conjunction in it (‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘nor, ‘yet’ or ‘so’) in it, check it to see if you can refine it into to two or more separate questions.
Specific questions are specific:
Bad: “Is it going to rain?”
Good: “Is it going to rain in [place] today?”
Use places, times, dates and names to make the questions as focused as possible. Get specific – vague answers result in vague questions.
Bad: “Will [issue] be resolved in my favour?”
Good: “Is there anything can I do to increase the chances of [issue] being resolved in my favour?”
Active questions allow room for change and assume responsibility for the outcome. Nothing is set in stone except the past.
Act with integrity:
Bad: “Is [personA] cheating on [personB]?”
Asking questions about a third-party is gross breach of trust; if a question would be inappropriate to answer by non-mystical means, don’t ask it.
Manners never go amiss:
Bad: “Tell me: should I take the job and move to [country]; clockwise for yes, anti-clockwise for no.”
Good: “Please tell me: should I take the job and move to [county]?”
I don’t know what causes the pendulum to move, but I believe that minding your Ps and Qs are the best course of action, especially when dealing with the unknown. Even if it turns out I’m talking to my self and my subconscious, a little self-respect goes a long way ^_~
Although a degree of fluidity is necessary during penduluming sessions, I think that a brief list of topics I intend to cover would be best , in the beginning at least. I can use that to get an idea of how many questions I can ask before I start getting nonsense answers, prevent myself from getting sidetracked and check my questions before I pose them. Creating a whole conversation tree seems like overkill but, if the list of question is fixed, it presupposes the answers – in which case there’s probably no point in asking the questions.