Scrying refers to the use of some sort of visual device to obtain divination; the device is referred to as a speculum. For example, the archetypical crystal ball is a scrying tool; black mirrors are also popular; bowls of water or ink, polished stones, and even candle-flames are all used as a visual focus in order to shift consciousness to receive impressions regarding a problem or situation. When we are in a relaxed, dreamy state, we perceive more than we do when we think we are alert and conscious of our environment. When we are “alert”, we are in fact focusing a little too hard on the world around us. When relaxed, we are more likely to trust our intuition, which is what divination is all about.
Many people associate scrying with the crystal ball, and there are several fallacies surrounding it. For example, some will tell you that only a ball of pure quartz crystal may be used. This is, of course, a ploy to encourage you to spend more! If ancient Druids could scry in the flash of their thumbnail in the sun, then you can scry with a glass ball, a ball of lead crystal, a paperweight, or an old fishing float.
Mirrors are another easy speculum. There is something uncanny about a mirror at the best of times. Try to walk past a mirror without looking at your reflection, and you’ll discover that it’s nigh impossible. A mirror shows us reality reversed, creates the illusion of depth in a flat piece of silver-backed glass, and draws our eyes and thoughts whenever present. Mirrors are mystical, and fascinate mankind. Any mirror, consecrated for this purpose, can be used as a divination device, or you can make your own black mirror by painting the back of a piece of glass with black enamel.
Water is Nature’s mirror. Many myths speak of women gazing into wells or bowls to see events past, present or future. By pouring water into a silver-toned bowl, or a stone with a natural hollow in it, you too can invoke the fluid nature of water to reveal mysteries. Some like to add a few drops of black ink to the water, echoing the black mirror concept.
Like meditation exercises which involve gazing at a candle-flame, all these speculi serve as a visual focus to occupy the conscious mind while the subconscious mind becomes active. Unlike the stereotypical “pictures form in the crystal ball” belief that a crystal ball acts as a movie projector, using a speculum for divination can provide information in a number of ways, depending on your personality, your mental and spiritual state: you may hear things, see shapes, receive emotional “hunches”, or strong impressions of people, smells, or places.
Learning how to scry is easy:
- Choose a quiet location with indirect lighting
- Allow your body to relax. Take a few deep, slow breaths.
- Gaze at the speculum and allow your vision to unfocus slightly
- Try to keep your mind clear, and trust your intuition.
Scrying isn’t instantaneous; often people will sit with a speculum for quite some time, and practice is essential. It is important to remember that with any divination tool, the answer comes from within, not from the device.
For more information about scrying, check out this spell to make a magic scrying mirror!