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The Basics of Scrying

Updated on December 30, 2016

The Crystal Ball

by John William Waterhouse
by John William Waterhouse

Scrying is a technique of divination and can come in many various forms. Those that use scrying believe that they can see things like spirits in the reflections of a translucent ball or other scrying object. The most commonly used scrying tools include mirrors, glass, crystals, stones, fire, smoke, and water. Data changes with the kind of scrying one is utilizing to get the particular answers that they might be searching for. It is also believed by some that scrying can be used to divine the future, present, and past. Data can be objective, meaning that the message given isn't affected by the scryer - or subjective, which means that the message is decided or affected by the scryer. Scrying can likewise be seen as a manifestation of mediumship, meaning messages that originate from a spiritual dimension. This all depends on the scrying instrument utilized and the translation of the image that is shown. A dream dictionary is more often than not useful. As consciousness advances, so do the meanings of these images, consequently.

Scrying originates from the Old English word 'descry' signifying "to make out faintly" or "to uncover." Adding the prefix/postfix "be" (frequently "gye" in Germanic dialects), provides for us the present day word 'describe'. It is also referred to as peeping or seeing. Nostradamus was one of the most famous scryers known in history. He lived in the 16th century and used a bowl filled with water as his scrying medium. He called it a “magic mirror” and used it to predict the future while in a trance.

The Art of Scrying

Scrying can be a deepening trance that advances in stages utilizing instruments as, for example, a crystal ball, or other medium. At first, the medium serves as a center for the consideration, expelling undesirable thoughts from the psyche in the same route as a mantra. When this is accomplished, the scryer starts a free relationship with the images that appear, for example, in a crystal ball, by the little considerations, web-like faults and/or the cloudy sparkle inside the ball under low light (such as but not limited to candlelight).

The system of deliberately searching for and pronouncing these introductory pictures resoundingly, however unimportant or unessential they may appear to the cognizant personality, is finished with the goal of deepening the trance, wherein the scryer hears their own disassociated voice insisting what is seen inside the gathered state in the received feedback from the source. This method builds up and finally finishes in the accomplishment of a last and desired end state in which images and stories appear inside the inner consciousness of the scryer, in the same way as an inward motion picture. This general process supposedly permits the scryer to see applicable occasions or pictures inside the medium of the scryer's choice. When you stare into whatever medium that you’ve decided to use for scrying, the visions that proceed are thought to come from your imagination and your subconscious. In the past, these images were attributed to spirits, gods, the psychic mind, and devils. Which one was to blame depended on the culture and the practice used.
Scrying has been utilized for a huge number of years by distinctive societies. Aged Egypt utilized scrying as a part of their Initiations. Water scrying, dream scrying, oil scrying, and mirror scrying were all common. One legend expresses that the goddess Hathor conveyed a shield that could reflect back all things in their actual light. From this shield she professedly formed the first enchantment mirror to see.

Persia - the Shahnama, a historical epic work composed in the latter half of the tenth century, gives a depiction of what was known as the Cup of Jamshid, utilized as a part of pre-Islamic Persia, which was utilized by wizards and experts of the obscure sciences for watching all the seven layers of the universe.

Greeks and Celts working on scrying utilizing beryl, crystal, dark glass, cleaned quartz, water, and other straightforward or light-reflecting bodies. Nostradamus is rumored to have utilized a little bowl of water as a scrying device into which he looked and got pictures of what was to come in the future. Chemists Edward Kelley and John Dee utilized a manifestation of scrying by making use of a a little crystal ball or shewstone - a bit of cleaned obsidian. The crystal ball and wax tablets utilized by Dee and Kelley are showcased at the British Museum in London.
Scrying is the mysterious practice of utilizing a medium, most ordinarily a surface that reflects or a semi-transparent body, as a means of aiding psychic abilities, for example, clairvoyance. The mediums regularly used to see are water, cleaned stones, crystal balls, or mirrors. Scrying, in this setting, uses a "visual” process. There are some who say that the craft of scrying is not restricted to the utilization of reflective or semi-transparent bodies just, however incorporates other media. Scrying has been utilized as a part of numerous societies as a method for seeing the past, present, or future; in this sense scrying constitutes a type of divination.

Aztec scrying mirror
Aztec scrying mirror

Scrying Visions Explained

Because there are so many different mediums that you can use for scrying, there are many different ways that the visions that come from it are seen. For instance, in the case of using water as a medium (otherwise known as hydromancy), the color may be where the visions come from, and they will ebb, flow, or ripple like the effect caused when you drop a pebble into a pool. When you’re looking into a crystal ball, the cloudy glow and the tiny little web-like faults in the crystal might be where the visions are hiding.

One of the most common forms of scrying involves a self-induced trance state. This can be used for any scrying medium that you would like to use. Basically, the medium allows the scryer to be centered on a focal point for attention, which removes any and all unwanted thoughts by using the same thought process as a mantra. It’s at this stage that the person scrying will begin to feel as though they have achieved a free association. The fact that the medium that is scrying will speak out every single thing that they see while in their trance is a technique that is meant to deepen the trance. So anything that you see, no matter how trivial, should be described as you see it. Just because it seems irrelevant to the conscious mind, does not mean that it lacks in significance. Even if it has little significance, it will still help you get to the things have more of an impact on the message that’s being conveyed. Speaking out loud will allow the medium to hear themselves speak in a sort of disassociated way, which will positively reinforce the fact that they are seeing these things and make them come out clearer by strengthening their resolve. This process will lead you to a point where you can weave richly dramatic imagery together to complete the story that the message is intending to convey. These images may feel as though they are being projected onto the object being used as a scrying medium or they may feel as though they are being viewed directly within the person’s mind’s eye like a mental movie. That is what it is to “see” these images inside of your chosen medium.

Scrying in Folklore

There are many different instances of scrying that can be seen in the folklore of many different cultures. Some of them are old legends that were tradition at some point, and others are stories of superstitions.

One of the more widespread and well-known traditions that involved scrying was for young women. They’d go into a dark room, most commonly done on Halloween, and they believed that if they looked into a mirror that they’d be able to see what the face of their future husband looked like. In the case of women who were going to die before they got the chance to get married, they’d see a skull that was meant to personify death.

One of the most well-known superstitious uses of scrying in history is the tale of Bloody Mary. This superstition was so strong that it’s still around today, to some extent. It’s become a dare of sorts, mostly passed down through time by adolescents that wish to either prove their bravery or test the bravery of their friends. Just like the previous example of scrying in folklore, the process for this involves looking into a mirror while in a dark room. The fear comes from the notion that by summoning Bloody Mary, you’re pitting your mettle against the strength of the witch (or ghost, depending on the variation of the tale that you’re hearing). Fortunately, the ritual for this is easy to back out of if the scryer becomes too frightened. Because this tale is so old, it’s gone through a few different versions through time. Even now, you can find different versions of the tale in different places of the world. One of the more historically popular recounting of the ritual for summoning Bloody Mary involves walking backwards in a dark house up a flight of stairs while holding both a hand mirror and a candle. While looking into the mirror, it is said that you can see the face of your future husband—or like in the previous scrying folklore tale, you’ll see a skull faced Grim Reaper instead if you’re going to die before you get married. Another popular version of the Bloody Mary ritual is that you’re supposed to look into a mirror in a dark room and repeat her name three times. The visage of a Bloody Mary apparition is supposed to appear. Some tales claim that Bloody Mary is a malevolent spirit, and others claim her to be benign. Whichever version of the Bloody Mary ritual that is used, the majority of these experiences are witnessed in groups.

There are more popular culture references to scrying as well. In the story of Snow White, it is said that the evil queen uses a magic mirror. She consults it for a variety of reasons, the most notorious being her attempt to ask it who the fairest one of all is, in hopes that it will give her own name.

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