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Scrying: Its History, Traditional Tools, and How to Do It

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An example of a modern-day scrying sphere—a.k.a crystal ball. This one is made from plain glass.

An example of a modern-day scrying sphere—a.k.a crystal ball. This one is made from plain glass.

You'll be glad to know that anyone can divine by scrying. All it takes is the right tools, effort, dedication, and some time. Some mistakenly believe that a person needs to be psychic in order to scry. In reality, everyone has a necessary degree of awareness for it. That said, this awareness needs to be worked with to be heightened.

Why scry? A better question would be, why not? People are naturally curious. They also lean towards helping others. Everyone wants to know, at some point, what they can do to help someone without interfering. Scrying helps by supplying insight into problem-solving of any kind.

We each want to grow and expand as spiritual beings. Through knowledge gained from our respective spiritual journeys, we become wiser. Wisdom allows us to improve our life experiences and world. Furthermore, most occultists and witches perform at least one divinatory art. It's a tradition of sorts; maybe it explains why you're here.

It is important within any divinatory art to recognize that nothing is written in stone. Virtually anything can be changed. Hence, to recognize impending hardship before it manifests is of great value.

The intent of this article is to share information to get you started. Within it, you'll find an overview of how scrying works and some of its history. Also presented are "how-to" instructions, including basic protection and energy clearing methods.

Virtually all occult arts can and typically do open the way for spirits to commune with us, including deities, demons, and angels. Though a positive thing, it may seem scary to those unfamiliar with these entities. This article explains how there's nothing to fear.

A Brief History of Scrying


The earliest historical reference to scrying came from ancient Babylonia, which existed from 1895-539 BCE. The people of that region scryed by reading water held in a bowl, a practice now known as lecanomancy. Oil was placed in the water, and movements and shapes were read. There were other regions of Mesopotamia where flour was used in place of oil. In later times the practice evolved, and plain water was used (ref. Fortune-Telling in Mesopotamia, by E. Reiner).

Lecanomancy is a form of hydromancy, which is reading water. However, in early forms, it was the oil and flour being read, not the water (ref. Babylonian Oil Magic in the Talmud, by Samuel Daishes, PhD).


Another ancient reference to scrying came from a Persian text from the tenth century, titled Shahnameh. It referenced a divination object that was used in even more ancient Persia, "the Cup of Jamshid" (ref. Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, translated by A. G. Warner and E. Warner). The cup is said to have first been used in Persepolis, which existed from 518-330 BCE. In some Shahnameh translations, the "cup" is a globe.

The aforementioned story is cited from Persian mythology. Though mythological, the point is that there is a reference to early scrying in Persia. Not surprisingly, history suggests it's factual that the art was practiced there long ago. How is it suggested? The Persian Empire included Mesopotamia. The previous section discusses when divination was being practiced there.

John Dee and Edward Kelley

John Dee's name is often associated with scrying, which is peculiar as he himself did not practice the art. It was his associate Edward Kelley who was the seer. In the sixteenth century, John Dee served as an advisor to the queen of that time, Elizabeth I. His advice was based upon mathematical calculations, but from the perspective of an astrologer. Perhaps it doesn't sound like an important job, but it was, as political advice was offered within his repertoire (ref. John Dee's Life; by Kat Eschner, Smithsonian Magazine).

Dee became increasingly immersed in his occult, alchemical, and hermetic studies. After a time, it was only appropriate that those works led him elsewhere. His career allowed him the freedom to travel and to engage in the field of study he loved. From his works with Kelley, which involved channeling angels, emerged the occult arte (correct spelling of the word within occultism) of Enochian Skrying. Kelley's medium of choice, by the way, was a crystal globe (ref. John Dee, by J. J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson, University of St Andrews, Scotland).


Undoubtedly, Nostradamus is the most recognizable of scryers. In the sixteenth century in ancient France, he was an astrologer and physician. He wrote in poetic quatrains, within which were cryptic references to future events. In his days it was contrary to the law to work as a magician. His predictions were veiled to allow him to fly under the radar in that sense.

It is fairly commonly believed that Nostradamus predicted the Twin Towers bombings, the French Revolution, the Great Fire of London, and the Death of Henry II, to name but a few things (refs. Nostradamus, by editors; and Nostradamus, by New World Encyclopedia editors).

A scrying mirror. This one is made of obsidian.

A scrying mirror. This one is made of obsidian.

About Scrying Mediums

A scrying medium would typically be a crystal ball, an obsidian mirror, a black mirror, a scrying bowl filled with water, or a shiny, mirrored surface. They are most commonly used due to them being the best materials for the process. However, if there is one material that is ideal above all others, it is genuine black obsidian. The term "genuine" is used because it's not uncommon for cheap, so-called obsidian scrying mirrors and spheres to turn out to be, in fact, black glass.

Obsidian is highly suited to divination, in part because it is black. Properties of the color black symbolically hold the potentiality for everything within them. Naturally, a scryer wants to see everything. As well, obsidian has protective qualities, and to be able to program them according to your requisites is ideal. Instructions on how to program an obsidian object will be provided further in.

Why do the properties of black symbolize the potential for everything? It is because black resonates with the Negative Veil and the Abyss.

A Crystal Ball

In previous decades, crystal balls were typically crafted from leaded glass. Today, ordinary glass is far more commonly used. Leaded glass wasn't a fleeting fancy⁠—it has better optical qualities and produces a sphere with fewer flaws. These days, however, purchasing a leaded glass orb would have a cost outweighing the benefits. For this, they are getting hard to find. Materials (other than clear glass) commonly used to craft crystal balls nowadays include obsidian, black glass, amethyst, and clear quartz.

A Scrying Mirror

Mirrors used for this purpose are primarily made of obsidian or black glass; they look like round, flat plates. Another type of scrying object is referred to as a black mirror. This is typically a picture frame with the inside of the glass painted black. The glass of the frame is often antique-style domed glass. Some use an ordinary household mirror for scrying⁠—a choice far more popular in days of yore than it is today.

A Phone

Less common scrying objects include one or more tumbled crystals and the screen of a (turned off) electronic device, such as a TV, computer, or cell phone. Other mediums that can be used include the flame of a candle, flames from anything burning, melted candle wax (the way it falls as it melts down the side of a candle), oil, smoke, sand, and snow. Many items and substances can be used, but this handful provides a sampling from amongst them.

Matte Surfaces

Polished surfaces are most popularly employed by seers. Matte surfaces also work but don't suit everyone. You may, at some point, consider purchasing a matte object to divine with. If you do, test one or more similarly surfaced objects around you first. You don't want to buy something you can't use. It shouldn't be hard to find a test object. A computer monitor would be ideal, for example.

Patterned Objects

While some prefer patterned objects for gazing, such as quartz with natural markings, others prefer plain surfaces. Those who prefer patterning may interpret shapes that jump out at them. There are others, though, who interpret shapes without requiring surface-included patterns.

Various Ways to Scry

There are many methods by which occultists and seers scry. Many known approaches to the art are described within the next few paragraphs.

Some seers read objects reflected or may read them as they appear when their image passes through another object. In either case, the images viewed may be actual or distorted. As an example, say someone asks where they could go for an enjoyable vacation. The seer views a reflection of their cat, which at that moment looks avocado-like. The imagery provokes them to say that Mexico seems like a wise choice (as many avocados grow there).

Entering Other Dimensions and Meeting Entities

It's possible as well, to be pulled into another dimension through a scrying medium. Once there, a diviner will pick up messages to convey or may alternatively experience lessons they are to learn. Such lessons may be of any nature, from personal, to occult, to ones concerning their spiritual growth and evolution.

When entering another dimension in an aforementioned way, it is not physical transportation. It feels, rather, as if one is spiritually and or mentally elsewhere. Additionally, some scryers speak to entities that supply them with divinatory or otherwise helpful messages.

It should be known that an entity can fully manifest outside of an object. While it happens relatively commonly apart from divination, it is an experience that can be initiated through scrying. Furthermore, some seers channel the deceased, both animal and human.

There are those who don't read for others. Instead, they use their mirrors to further their magickal and occult workings or exclusively use them to speak to entities. There are practitioners as well with crystal balls, who use them to amplify the energies of sigils during rites. The sphere is sat on one or more sigils to magnify them and for them to appear as if on a TV screen.

Some meet entities as magickal allies, who introduce themselves through their mirror. At times a seer has taken a photo near their mirror, only to see later on that one or more entities had visually manifested within it. It is possible to meet one's patron deity, angel, demon, or saint in a similar way. The ways scrying can be conducted are not limited to these.

A skull symbolizes communication. Within an occult rite of any kind, one amplifies communication energies.

A skull symbolizes communication. Within an occult rite of any kind, one amplifies communication energies.

Are Entities, Especially Demons, to Be Feared?

Our age of spirit has changed considerably. Now, we are more open-minded and accepting of spiritual events than in the past. For this reason, it's not uncommon for the aware to receive messages from those who have traditionally been referred to as demons. Do not let the thought of this bother you, as they are amazingly helpful and insightful beings.

The word "demon" is nothing more than a label. A demon, in fact, is the polar opposite energy of an angel; their opposing energies allow for balance. Though it may come as a surprise, angels are not warm and fuzzy beings, just as demons are not vicious, conniving, and mean. Both types of entities have light and dark sides, like most entities.

You have nothing to fear in meeting entities. That is unless your spiritual vibration is quite low or unless you have a strong fear arise. Either will cause your vibrational frequency to plummet. It is in a low-frequency state that you should be concerned about who or what might be drawn to you. For this reason, do not scry when depressed, afraid, or in a particularly negative frame of mind.


People who are dabbling in occult matters that they best should not, may meet Zozo. Zozo is typically known as "the Ouija Board Demon." He says though, that he is relative to all magickal tools and artifacts.

Zozo is a reality that you create. Fearing to meet Zozo is likely to draw him, as is being disrespectful to occult practices. Being disrespectful in which way? In not properly learning magick and advancing in an educated manner. Yours truly has channeled Zozo; he says that he is a protector of occultism.

If someone does not deserve access to a process or hidden knowledge, he will scare them off. If someone is scared, again, they have no right to engage, and he may scare them off. That Zozo has for a long time been scaring dabblers away is a clear example of his power. Zozo is another face of an old deity, Pazuzu.

Staring Into the Abyss: Void Work

Virtually everyone has heard of the term, "when you stare into the Abyss, the Abyss stares back." Well, in a real sense, that's true. When one stares into a mirror as a representation of the Void, it awakens a response from the Void. The response is virtually always spiritual but is certain to be wise.

For this, when one seeks to expand spiritually, a little Void work helps to satisfy. When one stares into a void with only the intent of being open to the lessons of the experience, the Void communicates accordingly. To be crystal clear⁠—when one scrys and experiences a vision that is a Void, sometimes vortex-like in appearance opening up, valuable lessons in growth emerge from it.

A Void can be read in various ways, but one can control their intent as described. Therein lies the key. No intent whatsoever works also.

There is an ideal time range within which to perform arts that require contact with spirits. It's called the witching hour. It spans from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The height moment is at 3 a.m.

There is an ideal time range within which to perform arts that require contact with spirits. It's called the witching hour. It spans from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The height moment is at 3 a.m.

How to Program an Obsidian Mirror

Hold the mirror. Place your feet flat against the floor in order to be fully plugged into the universe. Look into the mirror and say: "I am protected by this object." Be sure to feel it. Then state, "as by my intent, so it is done."

Did that seem too simple? Look at it this way, obsidian has protective qualities, and the programming is to attune you to them. One can be more specific about how to apply obsidian's properties. An example is: "I am protected against demons by this object." I don't recommend such programming, as people often don't know what's best for them. Infinite wisdom does, though.

How to Protect Oneself During Scrying

Protection is largely tied up in belief and spiritual frequency. However, some devices help secure you when those things are less than ideal. If you lean more towards dark entities, call on Sabnock, the Goetic spirit, to protect you. If you lean towards light beings, ask Michael Archangel to shine a protective tunnel of light down upon you. You can do this per session or can make an agreement with one of these entities for longer-term protection.

When asking Sabnock for protection on a per session basis, know that if you ask him respectfully and trust that it will happen, it will. The same applies to working with Michael Archangel.

To make a longer agreement with either entity, write down your terms. Then meditate to receive their response as to whether they agree to said terms or not. Terms may be simple, such as: "I ask your protection for an indefinite time, and in return, I will journey with you. It will be with no specific intent, but rather, for the journey itself and the experience it brings."

Whenever making requests of deities, angels, or demons, it's recommended to leave an offering. Offerings are not necessary, but fuel events to happen. Typical offerings for Michael include things gold in color, to align with the sun. They include a tiger's eye or citrine crystal, dandelions, buttercups, or any yellow or gold herb or spice. For Sabnock, the best offerings are things that resonate with the Qliphothic sphere of Gamaliel, which include lavender buds, lavender oil, purple grapes, or amethyst crystal. For any entity, it's fine to burn incense or a candle as an offering, or leave a few bites of a favorite snack.

The aforementioned is not to minimize the importance of offerings. It would be remiss not to mention that some rites require substantial oblations or libations.

What You'll Need to Get Started

  • Time set aside where you will remain uninterrupted
  • A dimly lit room
  • Smudge, or knowledge of how to perform the LBRP
  • Incense
  • One or more white candles
  • Your chosen scrying medium
  • A journal and pen
  • Optional: A bowl or a glass of water, a skull, one or more keys, and one or more amethyst crystals

Readying to Begin

Preparing the Room

Smudge your room, but you can perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram if you prefer. Both of the aforementioned are space clearing, aka energy clearing methods. The intent behind each is the same⁠—to remove all energies that will not serve your purpose. To smudge, simply take your lighted smudge bundle and walk counterclockwise (widdershins) around your room. Hold the right intent in mind, which is to clear non-serving energies. Allow the smoke to linger, including along the walls and in corners.

Your Divining Area

As you prepare your table, keep a notebook handy. If you like, place a glass or bowl of water near your scrying object⁠—preferably behind it and not too close so as not to distract. Use an attractive container, if you can, to flow with the ambiance. A pleasant environment makes it easier to reach a relaxed state.

The water will filter energies according to your intent. Water is relative to the Qabalistic world of Briah. Briah is where things begin to manifest. Hence in placing water, you are filtering energies by a spiritual resonance of you relative to Briah, which diminishes that which does not serve you.

A Skull, Keys, and Amethyst

It is optional to keep a skull and keys handy. In any occult practice, the more effort you put into achieving the desired result, the more effective the outcome will be. This means that anything more you can do to potentially add to the success of your work will do just that.

A skull represents communication. For this, your skull ornament needs a jaw⁠—do not use one that, like some, has no lower jaw. Keys are representative of accessing secret knowledge and gaining access to other dimensions. The energies of these items draw what they represent into your space.

For the skull, you can use a simple drawing if you do not have a statue. For keys, use real keys or charms, or again, a drawing. Use as many keys as you like. I have a bowl of small key-shaped charms, which are used for this and conjuration.

It is also optional to keep amethyst nearby. Amethyst is a crystal ideal for divination; place one now if you so choose.

Shown is a person preparing to burn herbs. In all occult arts, any valid process that you can add to a rite will pay off by augmenting positive results.

Shown is a person preparing to burn herbs. In all occult arts, any valid process that you can add to a rite will pay off by augmenting positive results.

Lighting and Mirror Placement

You have one or more white candles; place at least one on one side of your mirror or crystal ball. White candles serve not only as ambient lighting but also as low-level protection. In some spots they feed more light, and some less. See what works best by moving them around. Some prefer that a candle be placed behind their scrying object. My own opinion is that it's distracting. Use actual candle holders to avoid mishaps.

It is not necessarily easy to find the right placement and angle for your mirror. For example, you will potentially be staring into a reflection of something⁠—even yourself. Though it is annoying, you will in fact stare whatever it is away. However, whether or not you leave it in your line of view as you begin, is your choice.


Burn white sage, sandalwood, cinnamon, or dragon's blood incense for divination. When spirits are present, you will find that the smoke from your incense dances wildly. When you take pictures of the smoke's movement, you will often see the shapes of recognizable deities or other entities within it.

Time to Scry

Have a Question Ready

Lighting should be low as you begin your session. Have a specific question in mind, and hold it as you gaze into your object. It is not necessary to hold the question in mind throughout the session, but it must be imprinted as you begin. Now just be patient. You can't hurry this process; it takes time. As an example, the first time yours truly tried it, it took 20 minutes to see a void opening up. You've become familiar with the various ways that people receive the messages they see; be prepared for whatever you see. Just allow it to happen for you.

Managing the Mind

A person gazes successfully when they are in an altered state of awareness. The more they practice scrying, the easier it will become to enter that state. What a person needs to do above all is relax, and close all else out of their mind.

When their mind is busy, some will meditate beforehand. Though it's a thing that's done, scrying is a form of meditation so it's somewhat redundant. If that works best for you though, by all means, do it.

The Bornless Ritual

Speaking of an altered state of consciousness, Aleister Crowley used the Bornless Ritual to achieve one. It is believed by some occultists to be the most effective way to enter such a state. This rite is ideal to execute prior to scrying, especially as one begins their practice. Crowley used it to work with Goetic spirits due to its built-in protection.

Breathing as Yoga

One of the most effective ways to clear the mind, is to focus on rhythmic breathing. In, out, in, out, over and over, allowing thoughts to float away into nothingness. No specific breath count is needed, but focus upon a comfortable rhythm of breathing, for you. Why does rhythmic breathing help? It is a form of yoga. Yoga is a tool to align mind, body, and spirit.

After a while you may see things happening, such as the mirror's shape distorting, reflections disappearing and returning, and light and color impressions affecting what you see. This is simply part of the process, and means that your state of awareness is adjusting.

Reaching a State of Awareness

You will reach a state where you'll be fully integrated with the universe's mechanisms. You will be as aware as you need to be, and you will know it. You may get emotional impressions; you may see visions, hear sounds, or feel sensations. You may taste or smell things, or responses may jump out at you for your question. Part of what's going on is that you are uniting with the intelligent forces of the universe. This is what allows your clair senses (aka super-senses) to convey messages through your medium. Clair senses are the spiritual extension of your five physical senses.

Write Down What You Don't Understand

No matter what you see, it is yours to interpret. In that state of consciousness, you are at your height of awareness. You'll understand much of what you are shown, but at times you will need to further contemplate or meditate on parts of it.

This is where the notebook comes in. As soon as you are done, jot down any questions that arose in your mind, and draw any images or symbols that you didn't completely understand.

All that you see will have a message for you or someone around you. You may not be able to say that a vision told you one specific thing, but necessary wisdom will have been delivered. It may come through in sleep or through sageness that rolls off of your tongue during a reading. Alternatively, one day you may read something that you are sure is the actual meaning behind what you saw.

Upon Concluding: Re-Center and Ground

Once done, allow your mind to clear and visualize your energies coming into you. This doesn't mean that they left but is a way to consolidate energies as you re-center and ground. Next ground. One of the simplest ways is to imagine roots coming out of your feet, traveling into the ground and deep into the earth. Feel the grounding. Stay seated until you feel calm and centered. If the state is slow to come, allow it time.

That's all there is to it—mastery simply takes practice.


Void: When capitalized, it refers to "the Void," which is another way to refer to "the Abyss." The word is generally used in contexts where the word Abyss is not appropriate. When not capitalized, it refers to an empty space or hole.

Divining, divination: Terms referring to fortune-telling and prognostication.

Scry: Its meaning has been provided within the article. The word is not prominent in modern language; hence its spelling is still being defined. Currently, acceptable forms in various contexts include scry, skry, scries, scrys, skries, skrys, and so on.

Sigil: A term referring to a drawn, painted, or printed symbol. Most often, a sigil represents an entity but otherwise may represent a magickal force or the desired outcome of a spell.

A Working: In other practices, each of a practitioner's projects is generally called a "work." In occultism and magick a project is a "working," especially when conducted as a rite.

Magick: This spelling specifically refers to the occult art rather than sleight of hand magic tricks.

Gazing: Another word for scrying.

Oblation: A term meaning "offering," as when one gives an offering to a deity.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 GwennyOh