While some essence practitioners, makers and consumers might use only either the intellect or intuition, I find that to be one-sided -- quite literally. After all, we have been endowed with both left (logical/intellectual) and right (intuitive/creative) brain hemispheres; using both is only employing the tools nature gave us!
Of course, the information gathered from these methods -- singly or in combination -- is best used in the context of understanding derived through empathetic listening. Whether you are picking remedies for yourself or others, a real understanding of both the essence and the presenting situation yields far better choices with more vibrant results.
Choose and Hone Your Tools
Regardless of which method(s) you select, practice, clarity and good judgement are essential to developing channels to accurate and helpful information. More on that as we go along.
I will not devote space here to teach the basics of any intuitive method when there are already sources on the Internet which do so (see links at the bottom of this page). For the purposes of this article, I assume you have either already developed these skills, or are working on developing them until you are comfortable with one or more. Instead, I will discuss what I think are important considerations for using these tools wisely and some basics of how I use intuition to select essences.
Practice Good Judgement
Told that you are not ready or that the subject is not something you should ask about? Ask a couple of new questions to see if you need to rephrase your original question more clearly. If it becomes apparent it's either not the right time or subject, accept this and hold off negotiating further. It's disrespectful to keep asking when you've already been told "no".
There are subjects which are very near and dear to our hearts which we all want to know more about. The fact is that whatever is most important to us is the most difficult to ask about when using intuitive methods of gathering information. Neutrality when asking questions is vital. Staying in neutral on the subjects that get us the most stirred up is difficult. When in doubt, ask if you should ask...and accept the answer if it is "no".
Be Clear Who You are Asking. Intuitive testing or information gathering is often performed in the form of questions. Who or what are you asking? This is important, as the answers you get may vary depending on where they are directed. The focal point you use depends upon your own way of seeing the Universe. Are you asking the Creator? The person's physical body? Their Higher Self? Their Soul? Their guides? Your guides? The Angels? The bird outside your window? The plant which went into the essence you are thinking of using? The guy who sells newspapers around the corner? Be specific, or you will not know the source of your information. Varying who or what you are asking can be employed strategically and to the benefit of the overall clarity of the outcome.
Maybe Answers. "Yes" and "No" are fine answers, but what about "Maybe?" Or, "yes, but...". Or, "NO, don't even think about it!" Or, "You're getting close, but you're not there yet".
Many people who use such methods as pendulum and muscle testing develop the sensitivity to be able to discern shades of yes and no. Try it out -- ask to see a range of positive and negative answers. With practice, you'll be able to pick up on these nuances.
Check, Check, and Recheck. It can be a good idea to ask confirming questions, particularly if you are going for a complex set of answers. Getting an answer and then asking "is (answer) correct?" is a good practice to develop. Reviewing all the final answers together in the same sentence once you have them is also important ("Was it Col. Mustard in the Library with the lead pipe?").
Phrasing Essence Selection Questions. Here are some convenient questions I like to ask when it comes to essence selection. Try them out if you like, but do find the ways that work best for you.
Remember, like all sources of information (including whatever you read on the Internet), answers received through intuitive methods should always be approached with a critical mind and a read on your own "gut" feelings. They need to be compared with one another, filtered through your own understanding, logic, intuition and good judgement. It is the conscious you that has the final say about the information and how best to respond to it.
(muscle testing links)
(a simple form of self-testing)