The Pendulum and Other Pits

High Priest of The Goddesses
Update: December 2014
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The pendulum is a simple trick that amazes many people and is all to often perceived as mystical. It is a game I began playing as a teenager and found the trick to be so subtly deceptive that it often draws its users into a pit of absurdity. I came across the "trick" when I was twelve years old. No one taught it to me. I simply reinvented the wheel, so to speak, as pendulum scrying had been used from ancient times, but I didn't know it at the time.

Belief in scrying, the use of polished gem stones and metals, and descrying, the "seeing" of the supernatural in the reflective objects has remained virtually unchanged from ancient days. Today, of course we have all heard of crystal balls. But crystal balls are a modern invention which were never used by the ancients. The ancients used polished gems, and glass, including crystal. But the most sought after was carnellium. When glass mirrors were invented, women took to them like ducks to water. They not only allowed the woman to see herself, but to see what was not there. To descry the mist of the mirror.

Pendulum scrying, on the other hand, has no image, but rather a motion to deceptively descry. And while other methods of descrying seem to be passed on from one generation to the next, the pendulum reappears time and again, sometimes after centuries of disuse, to be received as some magical power for telling the future, finding the truth or even finding buried treasure. There are a variety of objects now used for pendulum scrying, from nuts and bolts to expensive crystal pendants, but anciently the pendant was made of lead, the metal of the God Saturn to whom the magick powers of pendulum divination were attributed.

I discovered the pendulum quite by accident, while practicing fly casting, and I soon discovered the pit of gullibility and absurdity which attend it.

Fly fishing is a sport which takes a great deal of skill and patience. My family had moved to a lake-front house in my 12th year, and it was there that I tried to learn the "art" of fly casting. I had a great teacher, a Catholic priest who lived next door. He was no ordinary priest, but one of the ecclesiastic authorities of that church. He had his own home, and high ranking Catholic priests and bishops called on him regularly. He was not only a personal friend of the Pope, but Bing Crosby came to visit him at least once a year. In exchange for indoctrinating me into Catholic thinking, he offered to teach me fly fishing.

I had been on our dock casting the line for some time, but with absolutely no success. I gave up for a while and following the instructions of the "father" I sat down to "think" about what I was doing wrong. Today that would be called "visualization" or "imaging." Back then it was just plain old fashioned concentration.

I had my eyes closed as I held a fishing line with a lead weight on the end. I kept my hands motionless as I "saw in my mind's eye" the circular motion I needed to cast the line onto the water. When I opened my eyes I was surprised to see the lead weight circling in the direction I had imagined. I quickly found that I could make the "pendulum" swing back and forth, right and left, clockwise or contra-clockwise simply by thinking about the way I wanted the weight to move. At first I thought it was my psychic powers, but gave that up with I found I could not make the pendulum move when it was hanging from a nail. It only moved when I was holding it.

Reasoning that this pendulum movement was not "supernatural" power, I eventually figured out how it worked. The motion of the pendulum was a simple but subtle response to the mental directions I was sending to the nerves in my finger, what I had learned while even younger was Intention. Using Intention, I was able to demonstrate this to my satisfaction by touching a glass filled with water and making the water ripple without moving my hand. My theory was confirmed eleven years later by an industrial psychologist who used the same pendulum technique to teach executives how to use their minds to control their physical actions, even to the extent of alleviating ulcers. Today the industrial psychologist is called a motivational psychologist. But the movement of the pendulum can be more than a simple mind-nerve-muscle response.

When I demonstrated the "pendulum" to the "father" he at first insisted that I was moving my hand. Even when I placed my hand on a table so it could not move, he insisted that my fingers were moving. I had him hold onto my fingers. Still the pendulum swung whichever way I willed it. Now he was impressed, and I was soon to be also because he could not duplicate the trick. As hard as he tried, he could not get the pendulum to move, until I held his fingers between my fingers. The pendulum moved whichever way I willed it. I told him to move it clockwise, but while I held his fingers I thought of it moving contra-clockwise. It moved as I willed it, against his will. When I took my hand away, he could move the pendulum on his own. He told me not to show anyone else the pendulum and grew cool towards me after that. He no longer had time to talk with me. He lent me the works of Augustine and Aquinas and was curt in the answers to my questions about them. He was distant and uninterested in what I learned and eventually, I stopped trying to learn anything from him. I remember distinctly that he had told me that he would introduce me to Bing Crosby, but when Crosby arrived, I was not invited over. I didn't realize it at the time, but he was either disturbed by my ability with the pendulum, or upset that I had taught him how to move it. He may have even believed it to be some demonic power. Catholics, even the very intelligent, are like that. After all, they believe things they know are not true.

We moved away later that year, and I continued to practice the pendulum in secret for some time. I could never understand why the "father" had wanted me keep the pendulum a secret and one day I showed the "trick" to a new friend I had made at school. Like the Catholic father, he was skeptical, but when the pendulum moved whichever way I willed it with him holding my fingers tightly to keep them from moving, he was impressed. When he tried to move the pendulum on his own it didn't work. Nothing would work for him until I held his hand and concentrated on the direction he wanted to move it. Then I dug the pit. I told him I had bestowed my magic powers on him.

What crap. But he believed me. I knew that all I had done was teach his nerves and muscles how to react to his thoughts, but he didn't know that. He was willing to believe anything. He wanted to believe and he did. With other people I could teach them the process by touching their shoulder or by holding their other hand. It worked because the subtle nerve and motor response of muscles is detected by our subconscious, through Intention. Thus, by holding someone's hand, I can transmit impulses which are not discerned by the person's hand or mind, but which are nevertheless sent to her brain and retransmitted to the nerves which in turn move the pendulum.

Thirty years later, a woman was telling me about a magical crystal she wanted to buy for several hundred dollars. It was magical because it was attached to a gold chain and the New Age Channeler, who was selling the crystals, could have the spirits answer questions by seining (casting out like one throwing a net) the crystal to the right for "yes," to the left for "no," and "back and forth" for undecided. When I told her that it was a trick and demonstrated the same thing with a dime stuck to a string by a piece of gum, she got upset, angry and then violent. The crystal was magical, and possessing it would give her magic. She wanted it. She needed it, and she bought it and never spoke to me again. When you consider that pendulum scrying was known as early as 5000 years ago, it makes you wonder how many gullible people over the millennia have bought the magic beans to make it work.

The pendulum works by the most basic elements of the human body, the nervous system. For the most part it is a parlor trick, but it can be more, as I discovered in 1971.

Christine was 9 months old when I met her parents in Southern France, and I had seen the family three other times until 1961. So I was surprised when she came to Los Angeles to attend college in 1971. She was only 17, and I was the only person her parents trusted to watch over her.

I helped her get settled and introduced her to some of the people I knew in Hollywood. About a week later, an actor friend needed someone to work a scene for an upcoming audition, and I asked Christine to rehearse with him. While they were doing their scene on one side of the room, I was at the table in the kitchen talking to another actor friend who was having trouble getting "focused," and I was helping him to concentrate on moving the pendulum.

When Christine finished the scene, she came over, took the pendulum, walked to the other side of the room and told me to think about how I wanted the pendulum to move. Whatever direction I thought about, the pendulum move in that direction. It worked with my back to her and from another room. In the other room, I would draw an arrow for the direction I wanted the pendulum to move, my friend would then go into the next room and see which way it was moving. It took between ten and thirty seconds before she could respond precisely as I had thought, but she moved the pendulum in the correct direction every time. This was not the nerve-muscle response I was used to.

Then she really amazed us. From the other room she would move the pendulum and have me guess which direction I thought the pendulum was already moving. I was right every time, but neither of my friends could work the pendulum with her.

Despite this ability, which I experienced myself, I attribute none of it to magic or mysticism. It is the most rudimentary form of psychic power. But one thing I would like to make clear, even though I have experience even more profound psychic powers, I have no scientific proof, or explanation for what occurs. But that is getting beyond of the point.

Besides pure chance, there are recognized (though unproven) psychic methods which could account for having the pendulum in the hands of one person controlled by the will of another. Ita could be telepathy or psychokinesis (PK), and the fact that I cannot not move a pendulum suspended from an inanimate object does not rule out PK.

As I stated, the movement of the pendulum works at the most primitive physical level of human cognition, that of nerve transmission. It is theoretically possible that there was a mind-to-matter (PK) transmission. That is, my mind was affecting her nervous system, which in turn directed the movement of the pendulum. But this worked in both direction, where I knew which way the pendulum moved without seeing or touching it.

This makes it equally possible that there was a thought transfer, telepathy, in which my mind was projecting its thoughts to hers which in turn moved the pendulum. Even guessing which direction the pendulum was already moving could have been a result of my previous PK transmission. Whatever the method employed, it was impressive.

There was only one other person in this country with whom Christine and I could work the pendulum, so whatever it was telepathy or psychokinesis, it exists with very few people that I know of.

I have seen the pendulum being sold in magic and New Age stores, and in psychic game kits, but I have never read any report of psychic researchers using it to test for psychic abilities. It would seem that because this form of psychic energy can work on the mind in its most primitive instance, it would be a more accurate indicator of "psychic" ability than the cards and symbols presently in use.

None of this, of course, has anything to do with the spiritual. But people believe it does, and there is little doubt that many of the so-called mystics of the past employed psychic techniques and claimed them to be divine.

Apuleius (c. 150 CE) in his Tale of the Fuller's Wife informs us that in his times, "God bless you" was already an ancient exclamation when one sneezes. But the portion of the tale which deals with the Baker's Wife is worth retelling here:

"...The Baker then sent word to his wife that she was divorced and given instant notice to quit. Her naturally malicious temper was vehemently exasperated by this insult (merited as it was); and she turned for help to the trumperis and familiar tricks of incensed women.

"She expended much time and care in ferreting out a certain aged slyboots of a woman who was believed to be able to work anything whatsoever with here sorceries and drugs. She loaded this wretch with presents and deafened her with prayers. 'I want one of two thing,' she said, 'reconciliation with a forgiving husband, or (if that can't be worked) some ghost or demoniacal visitation to scare him out of his life.'

"The wise-woman, who was capable of tapping the springs of divine power, at first use only the lighter forces of her black are. She endeavored telepathically to influence the husband to mitigate his feeling of injury, and to draw him back to his former affection. When, however, her results did not come to expectations, irritated against her controls and goaded by a sense of their mockery (as well as resentful at losing the reward promised for success) she began to make attempts upon the life of the unfortunate man. She obtained contact with the ghost of a woman who had died a violent death; and she set about using this ghost to murder the baker."

Apuleius goes on to tell how the Baker was hanged by a ghostly woman in a locked room, but there was not trace of her. It is not important that ghosts cannot hang people, or that the story is true or not. It was written over 1,900 years ago, when people believed that such thing happened. The reader will also note that the "wise-woman" tried to change the Baker's mind "telepathically" in very much the same way those who practice what is commonly called "mind control" and New Age practitioners attempt today. However, we can't completely discount what I call "mind games," as they have some validity.

Several years ago while I was teaching Sabrina "mind games" we came across in interesting phenomenon. Every time she thought of one particular person, he always called the next day. Over a six months period she would think about him randomly, maybe once a week, two times a week, or not at all for a month. There was no pattern, yet every time she thought about him in the mind games, he called the next day. Then one day he didn't call. She figured the game was over, but he called two days later. He had been out of of the country. Sabrina grew bored with the game and stopped thinking of him. She never heard from him again.

This is not mystical, or religious, as a religionist might pray about a person and when that would get the call the next day, it would be an answer from his god. It is this kind of natural-psychic phenomenon that is the "spiritual" foundation of modern religions.

Copyright 1986, 1990, 1997, 2012, 2015 by Sabrina Aset. All rights reserved.