Have you ever gazed into campfire or fireplace? You may have found your eyes “softening,” and started to notice patterns of sparks and smoke that seemed to turn into pictures. After a while, maybe your subconscious and/or imagination took over, allowing you to detect images of faces, animals, places you’ve never been — whatever visions your subconscious decided to send.
You may not have known it, but you were scrying. (Or skrying–both spellings are okay.) Sometimes these seemingly random visions may even organize themselves into messages, messages which may answer questions we don’t even realize we were asking. Experienced practitioners claim they can even use scrying to guess the identity of a face-down card or foresee future events. The funny thing is, all this happens without conscious effort; in fact, any “work” intended to further the process will almost certainly end it.
Scrying is a practice of seeing things outside of the physical world, often using either a reflective medium or some embodiment of the four traditional elements — earth, air, fire, and water. For example, one might let one’s mind wander while fixing the eyes on a crystal ball, clouds passing over the moon, a log in the fireplace, or a still bowl of water. Any of these things could be classified as scrying, and all of them have been practiced for so many centuries that it would be hard to place any sort of date on the origin of the practice.
On occasion, all of us “see” things that are not there. How does that work, anyway? Sensory deprivation plays a part. When we focus on something as simple as a bowl of water or crystal ball, we move towards a meditative state which allows us to put aside everyday thoughts. Then, with the eyes having no immediate tasks work on, the visual parts of the mind start to harness things coming from… somewhere else. The location of that “somewhere” is, of course, open to interpretation. The subconscious mind plays a big part, but the techniques of scrying are designed to turn the subconscious into a springboard.
Scrying doesn’t require any special skills, or any particular belief system. Like meditation, the ability improves with practice, but that doesn’t mean it’s some supernatural “gift” that only a few people possess.
Here’s a time-tested method you can use to try it out. All you need is a quiet room, half an hour, and a scrying medium of some sort. Crystal balls, scrying stones or black mirrors work well, but even simple bowl of water will do.
- Start with a few minutes of grounding. One simple grounding exercise is to sit with your eyes closed and imagine yourself as a tree, visualizing your backbone as the trunk, and roots extending from your tailbone down into the earth. In this way, the Earth literally “has your back,” keeping you connected to the everyday world while your mind floats free.
- Fix your eyes on a bowl of water (or other scrying medium). Don’t try to see anything at first, just look at the water. Focus your awareness on what each of your five senses registers, and say out loud what that is. (For example, “I hear traffic sounds and a siren. I feel air coming from the heat vent.”) Do this for a minute or two.
- Now shift all of your attention to the visual. Focus especially on any incontinuities in your scrying surface — ripples, reflected light, floating dust. Either out loud or in your mind, say what these things remind you of, whether through shape, color, movement, etc. Just free-associate. Maybe a spot of light reminds you of an owl’s eye, or a little ripple reminds you of a lake you sailed toy boats on when you were a kid. These images may in turn call up others, often things you will see at the edges of your vision. For example, while that ripple that reminds you of your childhood lake sits in the center of your visual field, that image may extend itself, allowing you to sense the presence of trees or other people via peripheral vision.
- Keep going with this as long as you like; a few minutes of this should be plenty to start out, but you should quit sooner if you start to feel overloaded. It may help to move in closer to the scrying medium as you go, and/or to hover your hands over it. The “visions” will likely get more complex as you go along, and may involve other senses. They may even evolve into little stories. The main thing is just to keep the impressions moving along, saying whatever comes into your head.
- To come out of the session, go backwards through the steps: take note of what you are literally seeing, notice what’s really coming to you from all five senses, and finally take a moment to ground yourself. Then have a cookie (or your snack food of choice) while you write down or record what you saw and experienced.
Individuals may be very sensitive to visions or not so sensitive; wherever you fall on the spectrum has its own advantages and challenges. People who have a real sensitivity for scrying and pick up messages easily will need to be extra careful about grounding, and to know when it’s time to quit. Less sensitive people won’t be so prone to wandering off into la-la land, but may need to remind themselves that it’s okay to let their imagination run free, and that there are no “right” or “wrong” results to this exercise.
Scrying is one of those things where you really don’t know what’s going to happen until you try it! Have fun, and don’t take it too literally; just because you “see” something in a scrying mirror doesn’t mean it’s written in stone. If something you experience helps you make sense of past, present or future, so much the better. The purpose of knowledge is to use it.
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