There are a wide variety of tools you see in “occult” rituals. These rituals are both spiritual and historical in nature. You often see tools such as a chalice, a candle holder, an athame (two-bladed dagger), but the most prominent may be the pendulum.
The Pendulum In Spiritual Rituals
The pendulum has found a number of uses in spiritual practices over the centuries. Perhaps the most prominent uses of a pendulum in the western world are found in the devices known as censers and thuribles. These are essentially incense burners in the form of a pendulum, consisting of a set of chains that are gently rocked from one side to the other during rituals.
Many of the oldest denominations of Christian practices utilize these devices to spread the smoke and scent of traditional incense throughout their houses of worship. This practice is known to clear the mind and give the capacity to focus on the spiritual matters at hand rather than the material world.
Other Western Spiritual Rituals With Pendulums
Elsewhere among Western mystical traditions is the usage of a pendulum made of wood, crystal, metal or other more specific materials. These pendulums find a great deal of use in the spiritual practice of dowsing. The ritual involves putting the pendulum on a chain and then asking the unseen forces of the universe, whatever they may be, certain questions the diviner finds important. Then the user holds the pendulum as still as possible and letting unseen forces move the pendulum.
Discerning how the unseen will answer the question will vary from tradition to tradition. Some practitioners prefer yes or no questions and determine ahead of time what the direction the pendulum could swing in to be either a yes or a no response from the unseen world. Other methodologies include writing words on a pad or cloth, are also quite common.
However, there are a few words of warning before engaging in this practice. First and foremost is that asking the same question repeatedly, even if it’s in a different phrasing, tends to wreak havoc with the divination process. Additionally, ask questions about the future via pendulums is seen as a flawed practice that rarely works out well for the user.
Other parts of the world have also found spiritual uses for the pendulum. In the eastern portions of Mexico, it is common for local people to gather together by the shores and swing a pendulum to mark the day at which the tides are at their highest point. Using ancient formulas tracking the moon and sun for determining when the tide will be at its highest, the use of pendulums at these gatherings dates back to well before the Spanish conquest of Central America, possibly even to the eras before the rise of the Aztec Empire.
As you can see, the pendulum has been part of spiritual practices for centuries. No doubt it will continue to be prominent in human spiritual practices for centuries to come. As long as there’s a need for the symbol of balance, there’s a need for a pendulum!