Muscles don’t lie…

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ve started watching the old American TV show, Twin Peaks, after never having seen it in its entirety.  In the episode that I watched last night, the character of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper performs an odd-seeming operation designed to shed light on the investigation that Cooper and the local Sheriff’s Office personnel are trying to conduct into the death of a girl there named Laura Palmer.

Cooper’s odd procedure involves him having one of the Sheriff’s deputies stand near him with a bucket of rocks, while another stands a good distance away and sets up a glass bottle on a tree stump.  Cooper then asks Sheriff Harry S. Truman to read aloud the names of various Twin Peaks residents involved somehow with the murder investigation, along with stating the relationship that each one had to Laura Palmer.  Each time Truman reads a name and defines the relationship, Cooper repeats the person’s name to the rock he’s holding in his hand, then throws the rock at the distant glass bottle.  He also requests that Sheriff’s Office aide Lucy Moran mark on a chalkboard any noteworthy results of his throws (such as any of them striking or breaking the bottle) before he draws a fresh rock from the bucket and repeats the operation.  The idea seems to be that the Universe will step in and offer guidance to Cooper regarding which people on the list are especially worthy of further investigation, and possibly in what ways they might be involved.

The entire procedure reminded me of a couple of different methodologies that people employ in energy healing and Divination.  The first of these, which I’ve encountered first-hand, is called “muscle testing,” and I encountered it primarily in the context of energy healing, although people use it for predictive and analytical purposes as well…

Muscle testing: the idea is that our physical selves will be less likely to cloud truth and color outcomes with desire than will our mental/emotional "ego-selves."
Muscle testing: the idea is that our physical selves will be less likely to cloud truth and color outcomes with desire than will our mental/emotional “ego-selves.”

Muscle testing can be performed upon others, or it can also be self-applied.  When one person performs it upon another, as I experienced it, the testing party (the “tester”) will have the test-receiving party (the “tested”) stand with feet parallel and at shoulder width, and then raise one arm straight out.  The tester will then first ask the tested to display a “weak response” — meaning, the tester will press down on the out-raised arm, and the tested party is to let the arm be guided down to her/his side without resistance.  The tester then raises the arm to the outright position again, and asks for a “strong response” — this time, the tested person is to resist, and not let their arm be forced down at all.

Once the two responses have been experienced by both parties, the tester will then get into a series of questions, and after each one, will again press down on the tested’s out-raised arm to see which response occurs.  The concept is that if the question involves something strong/beneficial/positive for the tested, then the response will be strong, and the arm won’t budge downward…but if the question is probing into something that’s weak/detrimental/negative for the tested, then the arm will collapse without much resistance.  The tester will sometimes adopt the technique of asking the questions in a bit of a rapid-fire manner or will phrase the questions in a slightly tricky way, and then press down on the arm immediately — the theory here is that the tested party’s ego-self then won’t have time to sort out the question, arrive at an answer pleasing to itself, and offer the response that it most would like to put forth, thus clouding the results…rather, the idea is that the ego-self will still be busy deciphering the question, but the arm is already answering without interference by ego-needs and ego-demands.  In other words, our minds and our egos have conscious agendas; our muscles don’t.

Our ego-selves plot and plan and scheme...our muscles just do stuff, without agenda...
Our ego-selves plot and plan and scheme…our muscles just do stuff, without agenda…

Sometimes the process draws forth very surprising answers, too.  A tester might ask something like, “Do you love your spouse?”…only to be met with a collapsing arm crashing into the side of a stunned, open-mouthed, goggle-eyed tested party, whose ego-self would have said something like, “Of course, I love my spouse!”, but whose arm is testifying to a drastically different state of internal emotional affairs.  So that’s the idea: that self-delusion and self-interest will be screened out, and only honest truth will shine forth, as painful as that may be at times for the tested party.

People familiar with the concept and the practice can also self-apply muscle testing.  A very common method here is to make a circle of the thumb and either the index or middle finger of one hand, and then to do the same with the other hand, such that the two circles are intertwined…and then after asking a question, making a statement, or invoking some concept to herself/himself, the tester then pulls the two hands apart.  The “strong response” here occurs when the two circles hold, and pulling at them doesn’t end with one or both loops breaking open and the hands coming apart, while the “weak response” does result in such a disruption and breakage of the interlocking circles set-up.  Usually, someone versed in this kind of self-testing will begin the whole enterprise early on by devoting a few sessions to simply “programming” their hands so that the body accepts the above strong and weak result definitions.  That is, the person will sit quietly, they’ll make the interlocking loops of thumbs and fingers, and they’ll then essentially say to themselves, “This is a strong response,” while pulling their hands in opposite directions but refusing to let their fingers come apart…and they’ll then do the similar exercise of defining the weak response, and allowing the circles to break, and their hands to separate.  After a few sessions of simply doing this, and conditioning their selves with these definitions, they can then move on to self-testing whenever they feel like doing so…

This person is ready to self-administer some muscle testing...
This person is ready to self-administer some muscle testing…

A similar practice in the Occult world involves using a pendulum.  This is the deceptively simple device comprised of some manner of weighted object suspended from some manner of string, thread, or cable.  You can easily find objects manufactured specifically for use as pendulums, but it’s also totally possible to work with a makeshift version, whether that be drafting a simple necklace or pendant into the role of pendulum, or just hanging a common object from a piece of string or a stringlike object (like, say, a shoelace, or even a length of dental floss if you’re in dire need of prognostication, and floss is all that’s available).

And anyone can learn to use a pendulum.  If you decide to buy one for yourself, it’s not a bad idea to engage in some of the same kind of introductory acquaintanceship exercises as mentioned above with self-administered muscle testing.  You can do this by taking hold of your pendulum in standard fashion (i.e., just grasp the very top of the string piece between your thumb and one finger…and I personally advise using your “weak” hand for all pendulum-ing, as you’ll be less able to influence outcomes), and then you have two options: either 1) ask the pendulum to show you what it wants to use as its “yes/strong/positive” and its “no/weak/negative” responses to questions, and then take note of the two replies you get from it; or 2) “program” the pendulum by telling it what you want the two kinds of responses to be, and sort of forcing it to move as you desire for each outcome (“This will be our ‘yes” answer…and this will be our ‘no’ answer…”).  Common possible movements by a pendulum include clockwise circles, counterclockwise circles, and back-and-forth straight line segments (these can sometimes be subdivided into vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines).

This animation does not correspond to a pendulum's movements in reality...but it sure looks cool, and you get the basic idea...
This animation does not correspond to a pendulum’s movements in reality…but it sure looks cool, and you get the basic idea…

The pendulum is a terrific device for getting simple yes/no answers to questions, or gathering impressions about which courses of possible action may be beneficial for you versus harmful…and a great bonus here is that you’re not required to learn tons of symbols and meanings, as you would be with many divinatory systems, such as Tarot or Runes or I Ching or Astrology.  Here, you just bust out your pendulum, ask a simple question (or multiple simple questions), and take note of the equally simple response(s).  Again, you can fashion a pendulum out of household items, you can use a pendant you already own as a pendulum, or almost any Occult-type shop will sell pendulums — you can find examples made from wood, metal, bone, horn, shell, or from a myriad of different crystals.  I have one that’s carved from Tiger’s Eye, myself, but you should basically just use any pendulum that appeals to you or seems to speak to you.  Take some time to hold one, and let it hang suspended from your grasp, and then just experience the weight of it, and the way it will settle into motion without your seeming to direct it.  After familiarizing yourself with it even slightly, try asking it a question or two — see how it responds, and see if you feel anything special while using it.

All of these are valid methods for getting the physical self involved in processes often viewed as more spiritual.  I’ve had great results using them, both with receiving muscle-testing, and with using pendulums.  I can’t say how Agent Cooper’s test with the rocks turns out yet, as I haven’t gotten far enough along in watching the series, but I’ll report back here on anything momentous.  In the meantime, I’ll also be contemplating doing a post based solely on using my own pendulum — questions and suggestions are most welcome!

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