Daily Dowsing by Charlie Rainbow Wolf - Air Magic

Llewellyn's 2018 Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living - Team of authors 2017

Daily Dowsing by Charlie Rainbow Wolf
Air Magic

Ihave to admit that this was one of the most challenging articles I’ve written in a long while, not because of the subject matter but because this is such second nature to me that I kept having to backtrack and go over things that may not be familiar to a newbie. Just what is dowsing, anyway, and why should you make it part of your daily magical practice? Let’s start with the basics.

Dowsing can either be a noun or a verb. As a noun, dowsing is a method for locating something—water, for example. The technique involves using some kind of a tool (sticks, rods, and pendulums are popular dowsing tools) and observing how that tool moves in response to different energies or influences that are not seen or understood. As a verb, dowsing means to use one of these tools to search for something.

For people who have heard of dowsing, the first thing that comes to mind is when country folk would “witch” for water using a forked stick or dowsing rods in order to locate where to dig a well. My own nephew found our septic tank by dowsing for it just last year using a forked willow stick. My father-in-law had two L-shaped metal rods that he used for dowsing in order to avoid plowing up a water pipe or digging into a sewer drain on the farm. He would loosely hold one in each hand, with the long part sticking straight out, perpendicular to him and parallel to the ground. The rods would cross in front of him when he located whatever he was seeking. I never knew the rods to fail him in all the years I spent on the farm.

Dowsing Pendulums

My preferred dowsing tool is a pendulum. It all started with Galileo, when he realized that pendulums swung independent of the width of their swing and therefore could be used as timekeepers and more. This is why they’re used in clocks—but care must be taken to compensate for changes in temperature, which also influences the swing of the pendulum. The Earth’s gravity affects a pendulum’s movement, too, and if you really want to get into the physics of things, read up on the Foucault pendulum, which works with the oscillation of the Earth’s orbit as well as with gravity. In the meantime, I’m going to continue with something less mathematically complicated!

Pendulum dowsing for personal use takes more than just gravity and the Earth’s rotation, though. It also takes the power of thought. You have to use your intention to determine what information you want your pendulum to find—as in the earlier dowsing rods example. There are some who say that just thinking something doesn’t make it happen—and to some extent I agree with them. However, as science continues to catch up with established spiritual beliefs and practices, who’s to say that the link between what we think and what happens won’t one day be understood? Psychologists have long understood the power of the mind. It’s no longer pseudoscience.

So let’s look at the different kinds of dowsing pendulums. They seem to be available in all shapes and sizes and materials, and it’s confusing for the beginner who doesn’t know where to start. I have two hints to offer to you here. The first is to choose something uncomplicated. Yes, the “chakra wands” that are long sticks with the different colors on them are very pretty, but I wouldn’t recommend them for the beginner. Choose one color. It can be something that you like, or if you are experienced in working with color magic or gemstones, choose something that resonates with what you’re doing. The second tip I’d offer is to go for something natural. Some pendulums are made of gemstone dust that has been artificially reconstituted. Some of the composite pendulums may have plastic or resin decoration on them or other items glued onto them. There are those folks who don’t find this a problem, and that’s great, but for me it seems to get in the way of the natural energies into which you’re tapping when you’re dowsing.


My own personal favorite is a copper dowsing pendulum on a copper chain. The copper resonates with the element of earth—and it’s the energies of the earth that you’re tapping into when you’re dowsing. My dowsing pendulum has the copper rising up it in a spiral—again, mimicking the spiral helix of DNA and giving the energy a natural path up which to travel.

Dowsing pendulums also come in polished gemstones, too. These are better than the composite types, where the gemstone dust has been molded into a pendulum shape. (A merkaba seems to be popular at the moment—like everything else, the popularity of different designs comes and goes in cycles.) It’s possible to get spheres that have a point on one end and a hook and chain on the other, and some of these are absolutely beautiful. I’ve heard people say that the crystal has been traumatized by being polished into a pendant shape. Others believe that polishing births the crystal forward into its true purpose. That all gets a bit New-Agey for me! If you like it and if it feels right, use it. If not, then don’t. (The older I get, the simpler my magic becomes!)

If you’re a tree-talker and resonate with the spirits of the forests, look into the wooden dowsing pendulums. Many of them aren’t as heavy as metal or stone, but they’re still wonderful companions. I know people who have dowsing pendulums made from their tree totem, and this works very well for them. If you’re passionate about a particular wood or you want to incorporate it into your daily practice, then using a natural timber that has been carved into a pendulum is a good way for you to go. I’ve seen the most beautiful shapes—but remember not to get too complicated or ornate. It’s also possible to carve or burn runes or other insignia into a wooden pendulum, but this is probably for more advanced work.

Starting to Use Your Pendulum

Now that you’ve chosen your pendulum, what do you actually do with it? Well, like any companion, before you launch into a really deep conversation, you need to get to know each other first. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to attune my new magical tools to me first, to get rid of the energies from all the people who handled them and get it used to me. (And if you think this is rather New-Agey, then ask yourself, do you have a favorite pen when writing or a favorite spoon when cooking? Same principle.) You can go online and find all different ways of cleansing and programming your pendulum, but I think some people want to make it complicated in order to make themselves appear wise and magically enlightened. All I do is throw my pendulum under my pillow for a month. It works for me, but your mileage may vary.

Once the pendulum knows that it’s yours, the next thing to do is to strike up a conversation with it. In my work as an astrologer I abhor it when people try to play “test the psychic” and ask me things to which they already know the answer, but this is exactly what you need to do when attuning your pendulum. Some sources will tell you that back and forth is yes and side to side is no, but the truth is that this is a subtle language between you and your pendulum, and there is no one meaning that applies to all people and all pendulums. You need to find what your pendulum does when it says yes, what it does when it says no, what it does when it says maybe, or what it does when the answer is not to be determined.

There isn’t one right way to hold your pendulum, but you do need to follow a few loose guidelines. Make sure it’s free enough to swing; you don’t want to hold it too close to your hand. The chain or cord needs to be straight, so it’s not influenced by your hand movements, but it also needs to be secure, so you don’t keep dropping your pendulum. My favorite way is to pinch the chain between the ball of my thumb and the outside of my index finger and let the pendulum drape over the back of my hand. If the chain or cord has a bead or knot at the end, it’s possible to pinch this between your fingers where they join onto your palm, and let the pendulum dangle freely underneath your hand. Find what works for you and do it.


You always need to ask your pendulum questions that can be answered either yes or no, so start by asking it silly questions to which you know the answer: “Am I wearing shoes at the moment?” or “Is it raining in my living room?” See which way the pendulum swings. Be consistent! Ask it a string of questions to which the answer is yes, so there’s no doubt in your mind that this is what the pendulum is answering.

Repeat this exercise with questions that should be answered no. Ask several questions and get a real feel for the negative response. Don’t be surprised if your pendulum starts to get very animated, either. The more outrageous the question, the more vehement the answer is likely to be! Make this fun, but take it seriously, too. You’re bonding with a new tool, and while this doesn’t have to be dour, it’s not a game.

Once you’ve got your definitive yes and your definitive no, ask the pendulum questions that may be subjective. “Is it raining?” It’s not raining outside your house, but is it raining nearby? Is it a bit drizzly where you are but not flat-out raining? Confuse the pendulum, and see how it responds. (Just as an FYI, my pendulum goes back and forth—in any direction but always in a straight line—for yes, and around in a circle for no. For maybe, it just kind of judders and does nothing. I have a friend who gets up and down for yes, side to side for no, and around in a circle for maybe. Pay close attention!)

What Will Your Pendulum Tell You?

Now that you know how to converse with your pendulum, you’re ready to start to use it as a tool. The only limitation here is the number of ideas you come up with! Your pendulum is portable, discreet, and useable nearly anywhere apart from in gale-force winds. For example, take your pendulum grocery shopping with you. Want to see how fresh that cauliflower is? Dowse over it. If the pendulum says yes, get it; if you get no or maybe as your answer, consider rethinking your purchase. Non—genetically modifed foods, non-irradiated foods, foods with pesticides, sugar-free foods, fat-free foods, additive-free foods—these are all things you can ask your pendulum to help you choose in the grocery store.

Are you looking for new romance? I’ve known people to dowse over photographs to tell them if that person would make a suitable partner or not. I’ve known people to dangle their pendulum when perusing online dating sites, asking it to indicate to whom they should send a profile and friend request. You might think it’s crazy, but this particular person has now been happily married for six years!

Do you like to garden? Use your pendulum to help you plan what goes where. I’ve found it amusing how my pendulum chose plants that naturally make good garden companions when I used it to show me the season’s layout. I’ll also—rather sheepishly—admit that the one year I was in too much of a hurry to plan the garden using my spiral copper pendulum was the year that we were infested with cabbage moths and couch grass!

Not sure what cleaning products to purchase? Use your pendulum. Simply dangle it over your selections and let it tell you what’s a good value for money, what’s most appropriate for your use, what’s going to do the best job, what’s going to cause the least allergies, and more. Your pendulum will tell you whatever you want to know, as long as you ask a clear yes-or-no question when you start.

Needless to say, my pendulum goes everywhere with me. I’ve even dowsed over menus in cafés before to see what was best for me to eat at that particular establishment at that particular time. Oh, sure, I got some raised eyebrows and some odd looks. The point is that once you’re comfortable enough to use your pendulum in public, you’re not going to care. I’m fairly certain that I’ve avoided many an upset stomach by listening to what my pendulum told me to get and not being driven entirely by my taste buds!

Dowsing Charts

Charts are a great way to use your dowsing pendulum, and there are many available for free download online or for purchase online and in alternative shops. They’re as simple or as fancy as you wish to go. Dowsing charts are very simple to make yet also very efficient to use. Simply let the pendulum swing over the chart, and it will tell you what you need to know.

To make your own dowsing chart, you’ll need paper, something with which to write, a compass with which to draw a circle (or just draw around a pie plate or something similar), and a ruler or some other kind of straight edge for making a straight line. I actually make pottery dowsing plates, with the lines marked off in equal parts using a cake marker!

When you’ve got your chart drawn, it should look a bit like a pie chart, with all the segments of equal proportion. Assign a meaning for each of the lines. A simple chart is a very practical way of getting to know your pendulum. Mark it off into six areas and assign each line that bisects the circle either yes, no, or maybe. Then start asking it questions and see which way it swings. It’s even possible to use this to double check previous queries; if the pendulum didn’t give you a definite answer before, whip out the chart and ask it again.


Remember that your pendulum speaks to you by swinging back and forth. It’s absolutely fine to put something different in each portion of the chart, but if you’re new to using your pendulum, you might want to think about placing your chosen answer along the entire length of the dividing line, so you’re not trying to determine which half of the chart the pendulum is swinging in. Once you’re more adept and understand your pendulum better, then you can start to use more complex charts.

Square charts and spreadsheets work just as well as pie charts when you’re dowsing. This is particularly useful if you’re seeking to use your dowsing pendulum to help you figure out analytics and percentages. Simply make a chart of ten lines and ten rows and put a number in each of them. The pendulum will help you to determine what your chances are.

Use square charts for making selections, too. For example, if you are unsure what crystals to purchase and want to have some insight before you get to the rock shop, put the names of the stones in the columns and rows of the grid, and then slowly dowse over them until you get a definite reaction from your pendulum. I find square charts more complicated to use than pie charts, but there’s no hard and fast rule. Do what’s right for you; this is an intimate journey between you and your pendulum. You’ll work it out between you.

It’s easy to use a pendulum with a reflexology or iridology chart to see where physical ailments or weaknesses are likely. Reflexology works with specific points on the hands and feet that are linked to every part of the body, while iridology is a study of the iris of the eye for different shapes and patterns that reveal information about your health and vitality. A reflexology foot chart is a map of the corresponding points; an iridology chart divides the iris into segments, each one pertaining to a different organ, body part, or potential ailment. Iridology and reflexology charts are available to download or purchase online or from health food stores and New Age retailers. Using the pendulum in conjunction with charts such as these can really open doors for you when it comes to getting to know your body better—I speak from experience on this one!

Of course, a pendulum should never take the place of medical advice, but it may help you follow your doctor’s orders. Use your pendulum in conjunction with doctor-approved herbal supplements to choose which ones have the capability to do you the most good. Take your pendulum to your herbalist or apothecary and dowse over the items on the shelves. It could be that one brand will suit you more than another or that one dose is more appropriate for your particular needs than something else is. It’s okay not to tell your doctor that you’re going to go dowse for your herbs, but do seek your physician’s advice before starting to take any supplements.


Hopefully by now you’re starting to see just how useful a pendulum really is. Whether it’s for pleasure, health, or profit, there’s a lot of good advice available from your dangly companion. When you start regularly using your pendulum, you may just start collecting them. After all, there are so many designs, so many shapes and sizes, so many different materials and manufacturers. Like anything else, once you immerse yourself into this world, it might get enjoyably addictive!

to Desdemona—“There’s magic in the web of it.”