I have a vague memory: my mom and I, sitting on the brown, worn-down old carpet in the living room, facing each other. Sometimes this was to practice my psychic powers – of which she thought I had many, and that they were strong. Other times we practiced harnessing the healing energies of crystals, understanding that each variety held different worth and benefits, depending on what was ailing you at any given time – heart, head, other. On this day we were seasoning my new pendulum.
“Show me yes,” I said quietly, breathing calmly, keeping my thoughts clear. Soon, the pendulum started to slowly swing.
“Show me no.”
My pendulum was a galvanized steel plumb bob made by my step-dad, who was a tool and die maker. I wore it around my neck on a long silver chain, which was easy to pull off when I needed help answering a yes or no question. I wore two more necklaces as well, an oval Fire Opal pendant – my Power Element – and a thick Indonesian chain I’d bought at a Grateful Dead concert. They all held significance and, I believed, important powers; I wore them every day.
When I was 21 I moved to Australia to work on organic farms for free room and board through the WWOOF program. It was there I lost my pendulum, while clearing a steep hill of trees for the hunched and energetic owner of the farm. With me were three others: Kristian from England, Choy from Korea and Resnke from Denmark. The trees were cut one by one and we would then lift them until they stood on one end, then send them crashing down the hill. There was a thrill to the work and we each developed our own rhythm; soon I was seeking out logs that I could lift and push down alone, so I could keep that small jolt of powerful destruction to myself. As happens, I became too ambitious and on one strong heave I felt a quick pull and then saw a glimpse of silver arcing through the air. I gasped, my hand immediately reaching to my chest for the pendulum which I knew was no longer there.
There was no time to stop, the daylight was waning and we had to finish the work and still allow ourselves time for the ride back to the barn where we would put up the horses, then eat dinner. I was devastated at the loss of my pendulum – how would I know where to go next? How would I know whether to stay in Australia or go back home when my visa expired? How would I know in which direction to take the rest of my life?
The next day I stole away during lunch, borrowing a small motorcycle and making my way back to the hill. The owner’s son had been sympathetic and loaned me a metal detector, which I slung across my lap as I bounced over rutted trails. I never found the pendulum, and felt a bit lost and panicked for quite some time afterward until, without noticing I was doing so, I tucked the feelings of uncertainty and the lack of focus and presence into an unmarked box inside my head where the things I don’t know how to deal with go, and I slowly forgot to believe in the power of the mind, and healing energy, and psychic abilities.
But the deep-rooted beliefs that buoyed us along so much of our young, impressionable lives never really go away, do they? Even when we age, and mature, learn more about life and reality and we look back at those intensely certain beliefs as being a bit silly, after all. Silly, perhaps…but maybe there was something there? Just maybe? No, never mind. Probably not.
Last winter I was at a local art sale, where I stopped by a jeweler’s booth which I’d admired before. I always stop and look for a few minutes, but I never buy because I’ve never worn anything but silver. On this day, I saw that she’d added a new line – pendulums. I smiled and told a quick version of the above story to her, then moved along because these, like the others, weren’t silver.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the pendulum – remembering the feeling of security I had when I wore one all those years ago. The weight of it; the comfort and confidence of knowing I had all the answers I needed, right there with me. I decided that I could perhaps rock a darker shade of metal. I tracked down the jeweler after six months of indecision and found that she had one pendulum left, which was clearly meant for me. As soon as I had it in my possession, I felt better, calmer. I found a place where I could be alone. I sat quietly, breathing evenly, holding the pendulum over my hand. “Show me yes,” I said.
And my pendulum slowly started to sway.
(pendulum by Melissa Saluzzo Jewelry)