Working with Crystals, Pendulums, and Oracle Decks

Working with Crystals, Pendulums, and Oracle Decks
An Excerpt from Medium Mentor by MaryAnn DiMarco

There are many types of tools that people use to develop intuition.

Crystals are quite high on this list. Many of my students have a strong affinity for crystals — sometimes even specific types of crystals — long before they come to work with me. Personally, I often find myself reaching for a crystal when I’m feeling out of sorts or I need some grounding. I rarely hang on to crystals for long, because I’m so often prompted to give them away; this makes it hard to really build a collection! But they can be very useful, especially in the short term.

Different types of crystals do different things. There’s a whole area of study around what this or that crystal does — selenite cleans, for instance, while obsidian absorbs. If you’re interested in that, or if you feel called to deepen your knowledge and add crystal work to your offerings for others, you will find a range of resources — such as books, workshops, and online and in-person classes — available to you.

There’s a common saying about crystals: we don’t choose the crystal; the crystal chooses us. For our purposes, whether you end up diving into the expansive world of crystals or not, this saying has a lot to offer. It can be very useful to experiment with feeling that pull toward a specific crystal and intuiting how the energy it holds might help. I’m not saying you’ll be objectively right — perhaps you’ll intuit something that is exactly the opposite of what someone else might say, which is precisely why you’re only working on yourself at this stage. This exploration helps psychic development because the process of checking in with your intuitive knowing and divining what is best in each individual moment is instructive.

While I respect those who are well studied in crystals, I am not one of them myself. There’s little rhyme or reason to the way I use crystals. I generally gravitate toward smaller crystals that I can hold. I sometimes put one on the table when I feel some negative energy around, with the intention that the negative energy be absorbed there instead of in my body. I’ll put one in my pocket or my purse before going out, pulling it out casually in a public space and holding it in my hand. When I’m feeling particularly stimulated or like I’ve done too many readings, I’ll keep a crystal in my pocket even when I’m at home. It doesn’t happen frequently, but when I’m a little off or need extra energy, I always know I can grab a crystal to help me feel better.

Crystals can be very grounding, especially when there’s a lot of psychic energy around or the vibration just feels busy. Many of my students have this experience, too; the right crystal at the right moment can stabilize our frequency, despite the other vibrations present, helping us to stay in our center as conduits of light.

Some crystals have been cut into a symmetrical shape and hung on a chain. This is called a pendulum. Pendulums are for divination. They’re tools that help us answer questions. This tradition dates way back and is not limited to the crystal pendulums that are popular today. In my childhood, I witnessed older generations dangling a needle from thread in front of a pregnant belly to divine the sex of the baby within.

With a pendulum, different patterns of movement — such as swinging front to back or side to side, or circling in one direction or another — are associated with different meanings. Many of my students have gained a lot from the process of sitting with the pendulum, because it gives them a clear experience of what their intuition feels like. For instance, we can ask the pendulum factual questions — usually, ones with a verifiable yes-or-no answer — to see how it swings. That way, we’ll have a better sense of how it feels to land on a right answer, which will come in handy when we need to ask questions whose answers cannot be confirmed.

Oracle cards are also great for yes-or-no questions, though they work for open-ended questions as well. I love working with these decks! Sometimes, on those rare occasions I bring them into a reading, I don’t even ask a question; I just pick a card for someone (or have them pick a card, if it’s an in-person reading) and use it as a springboard for the rest of the reading. It provides a central theme, a way to organize the input coming my way. Near the end of this chapter, I have exact, step-by-step instructions for how to do this on your own.

My dear friend Gabrielle Bernstein’s Super Attractor deck is one of my favorites — I just love the fresh, bright energy Gabby brings — and I also love the whimsical, multilayered artwork on Kyle Gray’s cards. There are many great decks out there, so I encourage you to shop around. I highly recommend that if you’re buying a deck, and especially if it’s your first, you don’t necessarily go for the most famous, the “best” according to someone else, or the one someone else once used on you. Instead, focus on the way the deck makes you feel. Which deck pulls you? Which catches your eye, your attention, your energy? Follow that pull. Consider the possibility that, like crystals, the decks are choosing you. As you work with identifying and responding to this intuitive pull, flexing it like a muscle, you’ll get better at using it to pick an individual card from your deck, too.

Working with cards is a major avenue of study, and most decks come with a book or other material to help you sort through their meanings. Your intuition plays a large role as well. I’ve been told (though I never saw her do it) that my grandmother used to read playing cards like Tarot — she was operating on intuition alone. In fact, playing cards and Tarot come from the same cultural roots. It’s absolutely fine if you don’t know what you’re doing and are relying entirely on intuitive hits, but be humble, and don’t get overly serious about it — remember, this is exploratory, and the main goal is to figure out how your intuition signals you and how to respond.

Finally, we come back to the actual Tarot. I never did learn to use the Tarot properly. But if this is your calling, please go study it! My student Madeline has been working with Tarot for years, and she probably has loads to teach me at this point about the ins and outs of what each card means and how the different positions in a spread work together. At this point, Madeline is incredibly proficient at Tarot. In terms of accumulating knowledge, she’s done her work. Yet I continue to instruct her about how to translate that through her own intuitive knowing, because that’s well within my sphere of knowledge. She knows the literal interpretation of each card, as well as its placement, and I help her understand the message in between — the reason she’s drawing the card, specifically, right now. This is purely psychic work, and it piggybacks on the more intellectual study Madeline does with her Tarot teacher. The Tarot signals something, and Madeline fleshes it out with her imagination, bringing herself into the work and expanding upon the Tarot as she provides readings for others as a psychic medium. If you’re like Madeline, your guides will tell you, and if so, I highly encourage you to bolster your intuitive work with this tool by seeking out the more practical knowledge of qualified Tarot teachers.

MaryAnn DiMarco is the author of Medium Mentor: 10 Powerful Techniques to Awaken Divine Guidance for Yourself and Others.  An internationally recognized psychic medium, healer, and spiritual teacher, her work has been featured in media outlets like The New York Times, The Dr. Oz Show, Women’s Health, Elle, and Redbook. Visit her online at

Excerpted from the book from Medium Mentor: 10 Powerful Techniques to Awaken Divine Guidance for Yourself and Others. Copyright ©2022 by MaryAnn DiMarco. Printed with permission from New World Library.