Scrying: Crystal Ball Gazing and More
Most people are very familiar with the concept of scrying, but not the term. Picture a wizard gazing into a crystal ball and you have the classic image of someone practicing this ancient metaphysical art. Historically and culturally, crystal balls are not the only things used as speculums to receive psychic visions. Other objects or surfaces include: clear crystals, still water, polished mirrors, black ink, oiled surfaces, hematite and polished steel.
The word scry comes from the verb “to descry” and was adopted from Old French into the English language sometime around the 13th century. The Middle English word descrien means to describe, notice or perceive “something which is hidden.” This is not to be confused with skrying (spelled with a k) which is a form of out of body projection or astral travel.
A number of more specific terms can be found that help to understand the whole idea of scrying.
Speculum is whatever surface you choose as your scrying tool.
Catoptromancy uses mirrors, both regular and dark or blackened as the scrying tool. The Oracle of Tibet used a polished steel mirror to predict the future for governing ministers. Walt Disney implanted the idea of catoptromancy into the common culture with the famous question from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
Crystalomancy utilizes crystals or crystal balls. Aztec priests used obsidian mirrors for gazing to ascertain what was happening in remote outposts of the Aztec empire.
Hydromancy involves spying into the still reflective surface of water. Nostradamus used bowls of water in this manner. The Roman leader Andronicus Comnenus hired a hydromantic divisor to determine who his successor would be in order to do away with him. Instead of water, ancient Greeks and the Oracle of Delphi gazed into vats of olive oil stored within cool caverns. Traditionally, bowls of liquid have been midnight blue or black in color.
Lecanomancy is a division of hydromancy and uses precious stones dropped into a bowl or liquid and interpreting the patterns, ripples or even sounds created.
Macharomancy is defined as gazing into a polished knife, dagger or sword blade.
A fascinating description of Egyptian scrying was recorded on a magical papyri written sometime between 200 BC and 500 ACE. It explains that the god Thoth was often called upon for assistance and goes on to describe that water or oil was placed in a darkened vessel. Other writings indicate that the scryers prepared to do their work by abstaining from alcohol and/or sex the day of the gazing, and avoiding all food at least four hours before the working. The evening he or she planned to seek a vision, silence was maintained beginning at sunset. After a warm bath or ritual cleansing, the temples and forehead of the scryer were anointed with olive oil or balsam. The room’s light source could not be colored red or bear any inscription.
The famous prognosticator, Michael de Nostradamus or Michael of Notre Dame (1503-1566) did not begin to make predictions until he was in his early forties. In order to scry, Nostradamus followed a magical ritual attributed to the ancient Oracles of Branchus, which were second only to the famed Oracles of Delphi. He would place a bowl of water on a brass tripod, dip his wand into the bowl and then touch it to his robe. Immediately afterwards, he gazed into the water to receive his visions.
A very fascinating, detailed description of using three different vessels for calling up visions of past, present and future is found in Emile Grillot de De Grivny’s, Illustrated Anthology of Sorcery, Magic and Alchemy. The text describes a woodcut illustration of a classic scrying session. A table, set on a high hill, is enclosed in some sort of structure which is “pierced all about with holes to receive the rays of the moon and stars.” On the trestle are three vases: the first earthenware is filled with oil of myrrh; the second green earthenware contains wine and; the third white earthenware, water. A note maintains these last two may be replaced by vases of copper and glass respectively. A cloth is placed on the vase of water, and has a lit candle beside it. Two or more candles stand between the three vases. It seems three other instruments are necessary; a wand of poplar wood “half about with bark,” a bright knife and a pumpkin root. These are also shown in the drawing but the author has neglected to tell their use.
He does however say that “Artephius” used the first earthenware vase for divining the past, the copper for the present and the glass vessel supplied information about the future. Alternately, the first vessel can be made of silver and filled with wine, the copper with oil and the glass with water, interchanging the liquids. All of these must be shielded from the sun and the weather must be very calm and have been so for at least three days. He goes on to say that it’s important to work by day in sunny weather and by night in moonlight and by the light of the stars. A place of deep silence is necessary and the practitioner traditionally wore all white but his head and face were covered by a piece of red silken cloth or fine linen “save for the eyes.” In the water, “the shadow of the thing is seen, in the oil the appearance of the person and in the wine, the very thing itself.”
Preparing to do Your Own Scrying:
When you prepare for scrying yourself, it’s best to do it an hour or two after a meal, not when you’re hungry. At least fifteen minutes before a scrying session and longer if you prefer, quiet yourself by meditating, taking a peaceful walk in the woods, or listening to soothing music. At the end of this period, and before you actually set to work, I recommend internally posing the question, “Can I, may I, should I seek information through my scrying about ______,” and state the subject. Quietly open up to the Universe and listen for a positive or negative response. If you get any indication of a “no” answer, put away your scrying things and wait for another time. If you honestly feel you have received a positive response, feel free to proceed.
When you use a speculum of any kind, see it as a surface that you can enter into. Dim the lights and be sure that no light source is directly reflected from the speculum’s surface to you. For this reason, I highly recommend that the light source be placed below and behind you.
Also, it’s important to position your scrying tool so that your own image is NOT reflected in the surface. For this purpose, place mirrors slightly above you, or a bowls on a table a slight distance away so that your own image or another things in the room are not being reflected directly back to you.
Traditionally, the speculum is set on a midnight blue or black velvet cloth. While velvet has it’s own lovely magical allure, it’s really the darkness of the cloth that serves to provide a neutral backdrop. I honestly find doing this particularly helpful.
To begin, relax and take several deep cleansing breaths; ground and center yourself. Remember, you are opening up to visions, but will also tend to experience other psychic sensations. Do not be alarmed if sounds, smells, words, phrases, tastes, or unusual body reactions also occur during your session.
While staring into the reflective surface, avoid using a hard stare. Stay focused on your question, gently repeating it in your mind. Keep your eyes relaxed, don’t strain and gaze beyond the surface into the center depths inside your speculum. With practice, a deep darkness may appear within the tool. At first diviners often describe cloud forms, which may be accompanied by colors and lights. As you become more adept, specific images both still and moving can be seen.
Traditionally, images moving to the right are considered symbolic while those moving to the left are interpreted as actual occurrences. Another theory suggests that images appearing in the distance indicate they are farther away in time, while those closer to you correspond with being closer to the present. Remember, these are not hard and fast rules. Let your own inner guidance help you interpret what you see.
As with all metaphysical skills, regular practice (twenty minutes per day) is recommended to improve your scrying techniques. As with any new skill, the more you practice, the better you get.
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Copyright 2017 by Medical Intuitive and Psychic Su Walker
Disclaimer: Su Walker is not a medical doctor or licensed health care practitioner, and does not claim to be one. Su does NOT diagnose, treat, prescribe, mitigate, alleviate or care for any disease of any kind. Her medical intuitive readings are not a replacement or substitute for appropriate medical care. A medical intuitive reading is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services provided by medical professionals. Always consult a physician or trained health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of any medical problem, issue, disease, or condition.