If you’ve ever encountered anyone dabbling in mysticism, you may have witnessed meditation aided by a crystal pendulum. In rare instances, you may have even seen a pendulum used in a church or at a church function.
So what are these crystals about? Are these magic pendulums, or are they simply physical objects that help people maintain focus? And should Christians use them in our own prayers and meditation?
Christians should not use pendulums. They are divination tools that engage with the spiritual world in risky ways that are not pleasing to God.
What are Pendulums?
Before you hastily dismantle your antique grandfather clock or your children’s swing set, let’s take a moment to understand pendulums a little better. The clock and the swing set are merely physical objects that rely on the physical properties of the laws of motion. Physics and motion are not the concern of this article.
The pendulums that bring us into conflict with scripture and God’s desire for our lives are those that are used not as physical tools, but in the practice of divination and other Spiritism practices. Such pendulums are typically fashioned from crystals suspended on chains or strings. But their use is far removed from the mundane utility of a plumb bob.
How are Pendulums Used?
Evidence of the use of pendulums in divination practices is found in ancient Egypt and ancient China. However, the modern use of pendulums is most closely associated with the New Age movement. Drawing on concepts derived from eastern mysticism, practitioners use crystal pendulums similarly to how one would use an ouija board.
The concept is simple. The user seeks guidance via the pendulum, usually in the form of yes/no questions, and the swing of the pendulum reveals the answer. In such divination rites, the composition of the pendulum (type of crystal, length of chain, etc.) matters, for reasons that we will address later. And some users may pair a pendulum with spices, herbs, essential oils, or other accessories in hopes of achieving the desired outcome.
In addition to guidance on specific questions, practitioners may also turn to pendulums in an effort to achieve healing, or in conjunction with meditation and other mystical practices.
So What is the Problem?
The problem that the pendulum presents for Christians is twofold. First, pendulum use is a form of divination, which God prohibits throughout scripture. Second, pendulum use invites the practitioner to believe falsehoods about the physical and spiritual world, which inhibit how we perceive and understand God, His creation, and His continued activity in the world.
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. – Deuteronomy 18:10-11
Between their exodus from Egypt and their arrival in the Promised Land, the people of Israel spent 40 years living in the wilderness and growing as a community of God’s people, set apart for Him. During this time, God first proclaimed a command to refrain from divination of any kind, despite its common practice throughout the surrounding nations.
Prior to this, the practices of sorcery would have been a familiar matter to the people of Israel, as Pharaoh had employed magicians in his royal palace in Egypt (Exodus 7:11). And later, God condemned King Manasseh of Judah for engaging in myriad evil practices, including fortune-telling and sorcery (2 Chronicles 33:6).
In the New Testament, Paul includes sorcery among the acts of our sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21). And when Paul brought the gospel to Ephesus, many repentant converts burned their sorcery scrolls and divination materials (Acts 19:18-19).
Why Divination is an Affront to God
There is no room for divination and sorcery in the life of a Christian because such actions directly contradict how we relate to God. As Christians, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, through whom we are made alive in the spiritual realm. And this is because of the work of Jesus, God in the flesh, who is the way to the Father, and stands as our sole mediator to the Father.
We connect with the Father primarily through prayer, our direct communion with Him. And God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, by which He reveals His character and gives us wisdom and instruction for all aspects of life.
We reinforce our connection to God through the gathered church, the Body of Christ. The church is our primary venue for exercising our faith, including our spiritual gifts and growing into spiritual maturity through sound teaching, discipleship, and accountability.
When we stray from the fundamentals of Christian discipleship and venture into mystical spiritual practices, we invite evil spirits to exert their influence in our lives and thinking. Jesus describes Satan as a thief who seeks to destroy (John 10:10), and the father of lies (John 8:44). Paul, James, and Peter all echo Jesus’ teachings about Satan in their own writings.
As deceivers, evil spirits entice us with temptations that seem harmless, or even beneficial. Paul warns that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) in order to deceive us. And this leads us to the second problem that Christians encounter with pendulum use.
The Lies of the Pendulum
Practitioners who use pendulums (and crystals in general) have a great deal to say about energy. Each type of crystal is purported to contain a different type of energy. The same is said of the spices, oils, and accessories that sometimes accompany pendulum use.
One benefit of regular pendulum use, they suggest, is that it cleanses the user of ‘negative energy.’ It is this exchange of energy, they suggest, that brings the user peace, wisdom, or even healing.
The pendulum user is taught to rely on accessing and manipulating this ‘energy’ through divination rather than relying on the Holy Spirit through coming to Christ. And it would be a mistake to conflate this ‘energy’ with the Holy Spirit, as they are fundamentally different.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with God the Father and Jesus, fully divine, and a unique being. The ‘energy’ of mysticism, however, is said to exist and be affected by all things (inorganic and living). The Bible does not describe any such thing existing in either the spiritual or the natural world.
Also, the mystic seeks to manipulate energy for personal gain, but there is no manipulation in prayer. As Christians, we come into the presence of God because of His grace. He knows our hearts and minds, and He knows our needs before we even ask.
And we bring our prayers to His all-knowing ears not because He only knows what we tell Him, but because He delights our dependence on Him requires us to approach Him with a posture of reverence and submission.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Everything that we hope to gain from using a crystal pendulum is already freely given to us by Jesus. If we lack wisdom, we can ask God for it (James 1:5), and He will generously provide it. Jesus promises to fill us with peace through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26-27). And God is ready to provide healing, strength, patience, and more. All we need to do is come to Him according to His grace.