Scrying is a form of divination, but is also much more than that. By gazing into a crystal, pool, mirror or other reflective medium, a Witch is able to enter altered mind states and gain access beyond the veil. Because every person you meet will have a different way of accessing their mind states, you will hear many different scrying techniques. Some of the techniques I've come across border on the realms of superstition (which I define as fear through lack of knowledge and/or acceptance).
You might read that unless a crystal sphere is true quartz crystal, it will not work. You might hear that a perfect sphere without any visible flaws is necessary. You may hear that your scrying mirror or crystal must never be touched by sunlight. These are simply not true. There are legitimate reasons for each of these 'rules' but it doesn't mean that you have to follow them in order to scry effectively. Let's break down scrying into the basics so you can understand why these rules exist. In this way, you can determine for yourself if you wish to adhere to them, or toss them aside as rubbish.
If you wish to begin scrying, you will need some sort of a reflective surface. More about this later, lets look at what you will actually be doing with this reflective surface first.
Scrying works on the principles of what is named by some as the Ganzfeld1 effect or state. If you have ever had to sit in the corner as a child, staring at a blank wall until you began to hallucinate and have stories, patterns, or images appear to you, you know what the Ganzfeld effect is. If you've ever stayed awake in bed staring at the ceiling until these same things happened, then you also know what a Ganzfeld state is.
Ok, so maybe I've spoiled the mystery of scrying by breaking it down into the basics and telling you what it really is. However, scrying has a very occult side. It isn't how you get to the mind state of scrying that's important, it's the mysteries that are unveiled to you once you are there that are important. Interpreting what you see when you scry is very much like dream interpretation. There are many books that will define each image you glimpse, but essentially it boils down to what those images mean to you.
A key element in quickly attaining the correct state for scrying is flashing light. (If you are epileptic, disregard this section, if you eliminate the flickering but keep the gaze similar, you should still be able to scry.) Place flickering candles around the room you are working in. Keep them out of your direct line of vision, but at the same time, be certain that the reflection of the flame can be seen in the scrying surface. To get these 'flickering' candles, you can open a window a crack to let a draft help you out. Or, there are some candles you'll find on the market, especially inexpensive ones, which have a flame that rises and falls rhythmically. These work quite well for scrying. (I got some from a botanica in New Orleans [ F&F Botanica ] that smell strongly of petroleum. Not very attractive sounding I know, but they flicker nicely. I've also gotten some good flickeries at drug stores when they are having their after holiday sales. They go are usually 5 for a $1....black and orange after Samhain and red, green and white after Yule. These cheapies flicker nicely sans drafts.)
Try this for example:
For Scrying You will need:
- A black mirror, a cauldron filled with water (or an herbal infusion such as mugwort), or a crystal, or a shallow dish of water (made black by the addition of ink), a ring with a nice stone (like moonstone) a black stone like obsidian, a black tile, or whatever reflective medium you wish to use.
- Five candles
To Begin Scrying:
Place the scrying medium on your altar so that you can look at it from approximately a 45 degree angle while in a very comfortable position. Arrange the candles throughout the room so that they are elevated above the scrying medium but remain outside of your direct line of sight. You may wish to cast a circle at this time or recite a blessing or charge over the medium and over the entire scrying session.
Breathe deeply and rhythmically while gazing at the medium. Imagine you are looking through a red lens so that everything you see is tinted with red. Move on through the chakra colors in a "2 fashion. The color sequence is as follows: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. (The rainbow, easily remembered with the initials as a name...ROY G. BIV)
When you feel that you are relaxed, keep looking at the medium. Your first sessions may last 10 to 30 minutes, but work up to hour long sessions. Do not be critical of yourself or your results. If you fall asleep that's ok, if you daydream that's ok too. Just let whatever happens, happen. In this way you will quickly refine your skills. Relax your gaze as if you were attempting a 3D magic eye hidden picture. If you have trouble with those darned 3D things, don't worry, scrying is similar only in that you relax your eyes and don't really look AT the surface.
Scrying Follow Up:
After you have completed your session, jot down a few rough notes. Do what you need to do to ground yourself or clean up the area. Sometime during your day, go back to your notes and fill in more details as you remember them. I use two columns, one for the description of images seen, and one for my translations.
Go over each image that you saw. You might consult a symbol interpretation list for dreams, you know, the kind that say a bird is an omen, a knife is a......well, you get it. You could also analyze each image by checking what it means to you. For example, a red rose may mean passion in the books, but if your best friend requested them in the hospital, your personal associations are going to be different. The conclusions you draw from your scrying sessions must eventually be your own and as you continue to practice, you will understand yourself and your visions more and more.
Insightful scrying to you!
Recent Addendum to this Scrying Article
I've found that with practice, the mind becomes more comfortable in this state and you can maintain it for greater lengths of time with practice.
There are also tools that can help you become more familiar and comfortable with the state. They can also speed the achievement of the state so that practice is more convenient and frequent.
These tools can range in price from free up to thousands of dollars. One of the lower priced tools we've used specifically for the Ganzfeld field effect is a set of 'glasses' or goggles.
These tools are non-invasive sensory depravation devices designed to create a smooth, monochromatic field of light. We have enjoyed comparing these modern tools to some of Gardner's Eight Paths or Ways to the Center or Eight Ways of Making Magic in our personal Book of Shadows. If you purchase these, they can cost around $60 U.S. but you can also make a similar tool for next to nothing!
The color chosen for the field of light can be selected according to color therapy, magical references, or whatever you are drawn to and what works best for you. After a few minutes using this type of tool, you won't 'see' anything as your optic nerve becomes paralyzed and you 'see' black. With your mind's eye however, you will see much more!
A simple Ganzfeld 'goggle' can be made by slicing a ping pong ball in half and smoothing the cut edges with sand paper. (You can also pad the edges with headphone cushions with the centers cut out.)
Paint both halves of the ping pong ball the color you have chosen. Place them over your eyes and lay down under a bright light (or the sun with sunscreen on :) ) Keep your eyes open and stare straight ahead. After a few minutes you should no longer be able to see the color. Don't be afraid, this is normal.
Avoid making imperfections in the paint, allowing any cushions to be visible (try without them at first) or any flecks of darkness on the halves. Experiment with different variations of light brightness. Your eyes shouldn't feel any pain or sensitivity to the brightness, but there should be even, bright light.
Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration;
the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present.
A Defence of Poetry -Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 1772-1834.
1. Wikipedia entry for Ganzfeld Effect
2. Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot, 1990 - ISBN-10: 0385301898, ISBN-13: 978-0385301893
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