In this article, you will learn how to scry with any tool. This includes how to scry with a crystal ball, mirror, bowl of water, or a candle. If you’ve never attempted scrying before, or have failed in the past, read this article first. In that article, I describe the foundation exercise that will teach you how to scry. In this article, we will not be using the ganzfeld effect, but external tools.
Why you should learn to scry with tools.
The ganzfeld effect is perfect for teaching beginners how to scry. However, it’s still a beginner’s exercise. Furthermore, it takes time to set up and takes time to initiate a vision. The ganzfeld effect also isn’t suitable for most environments. It requires a bed, or reclining chair and you must place a light above your head. With a scrying tool, called a speculum, you have much greater flexibility.
For example, speculums are used in psychic readings, spirit contact, and magickal rituals. For magick, this is particularly important, because the magician may need to perform ritual movements. You can’t exactly do these while lying on a bed with a light above your head.
Speculums are also an extremely useful tool for learning magick and divination. The reason is that scrying opens the unconscious which allows for spiritual exploration. The scryer can ask questions and try to find an answer by interpreting visions. Also, during these explorations, the magician can learn a great deal about the metaphysical universe. Not only does a scryer learn how to access different spiritual worlds, but can contact their inhabitants.
This opens up a great deal of spiritual growth for anyone that can learn how to scry with a speculum. The possibilities are endless. You can explore symbols and try to contact mythological worlds, explore your inner self, and more.
Is scrying dangerous?
No, not for most people. People who suffer from delusional or psychotic disorders should never practice scrying. The reason for this is that it can enhance delusions and hallucinations in people who suffer from these disorders.
The second danger is the most common: self-deception. Self-deception is the biggest problem for any spiritual practitioner. Practitioners can take scrying too seriously and end up thinking they are talking to gods, angels, demons, etc. when in reality they aren’t.
The human mind is very adept at creating illusions that come from ignorance, vanity, and wishful thinking. I have seen it many times where people have spiritual experiences and it puffs up their ego. This can destroy friendships and families in extreme cases.
How to combat the dangers of scrying.
To combat this problem give you the following advice: scrying is not as literal in the way you think it is. Scrying images symbols that stem from your mind. They are ideas cloaked as scenes, people, and themes.
Never take a scrying vision literally. If you contact a spiritual being or find a metaphysical place, ask yourself what it represents. Another good question to ask is whether the vision is useful, meaningful, or simply wishful thinking. Use your common sense and be aware of the fact that you could be fooling yourself.
Scrying and the unconscious mind.
Of cardinal importance to every practitioner of scrying is understanding the role of the unconscious mind. The question is why? To illustrate the importance of this question is a quote from the Ancient Greek philosopher Xenophanes of Colophon who lived from the late 6th to the early 5th centuries B.C.E:
“Human beings think of the gods as having been born, wearing clothes, speaking, and having bodies like their own. Ethiopians say the gods are black with snub-noses. Thracians say they have blue eyes and red hair. If cows and horses had hands, they would draw pictures of the gods looking like cows and horses.”
With this remark, Xenophanes shows one of the most important features of scrying: the ability of the human mind to create spiritual experiences in its image. Of particular importance is how it views spiritual beings. The most common feature is to see them as having human-like traits. This can range from seeing spiritual beings as having human forms, to having human emotions, motivations, and character traits. As Xenophanes points out these almost always conform to the cultural ideas of their worshippers.
Every single culture sees gods and spirits differently depending on their cultural influences. The culture, training, and beliefs of the practitioner will shape the kind of experience they will have during scrying. Compare for example the experiences in the book of Revelation from Christianity with those of a shaman or dream yogi; they are radically different.
So, what does this mean? It means that a large part of scrying is created by the practitioner. The knowledge, memories, culture, and preconceived ideas of the practitioner act like a lens through which scrying is experienced. Your mind and what’s inside it control and shapes the experience both directly and indirectly.
Does this mean that scrying is entirely personal and subjective? No, there are similar themes that occur across cultures and are almost universal. For example, all spiritual traditions across cultures encounter gods, and many gods share similar traits.
Compare the following gods: Amun from Egypt, Zeus from Greece, and Indra from India. All three are described as kings and rulers of the heavens. The Greek mystery religions openly viewed Amun and Zeus as the same god; the Roman mystery religions worshipped the god Jupiter as Jupiter-Amun. Indra and Zeus are both gods of thunder, lightning, and rain. Both also get into trouble for their hedonistic ways!
There are also the types of entities that reach across all cultures. The Ancient Greeks believed in spirits that inhabited waterfalls, plants, rivers, lakes, mountains, and other natural formations. These were collectively referred to as daemones, gods, nymphs, satyrs, and other beings fall under this category. The theme of nature spirits is also found in Japan in the ancient Shinto religion and its various kami. These religions were not alone, virtually every form of shamanism affirms this belief.
Later mystical developments would also share similar themes. As a result, the Pythagoreans, Hermetics, and later Neoplatonists believed that all of reality exists within the mind of the divine. In Indian Shivaism, the god is Shiva, for the Graeco-Romans it was the One; in Taoism, it is Wu Chi, and in Buddhism, it is awareness itself.
So how is this possible? Why is it that different cultures see the spiritual world differently yet at the same time experience similar themes? The discoveries of the early psychoanalytical psychologists, Dr. Sigmund Freud and Dr. Carl Gustav Jung give us some very interesting answers.
The work of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung
In the early 20th Century, Dr. Sigmund Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) popularized the idea of the unconscious mind. This area of the mind operates below the level of our normal surface thoughts, yet has a profound influence upon them. All your knowledge, memories, ideas, beliefs, etc., that you’re not thinking about right now exist within this layer beneath your conscious mind. This part of the mind is interconnected with the conscious mind but can operate independently of it.
This independence was a problem for Freud as it robs the individual of their autonomy and can create a lot of harm. Freud’s form of psychoanalysis was an early attempt to try and bring the contents of the unconscious into the conscious mind. By doing so under proper supervision the patient can be freed from the uncontrolled influence of their unconscious and be treated for their psychological problems.
His student. Dr. Carl Gustaf Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) viewed the unconscious in less negative terms and saw it as the seat of our imagination, creativity, and spirituality. Jung divided the unconscious mind into two categories: the personal unconscious of the individual and an even deeper layer of the unconscious. This layer of the unconscious mind has structures shared by all humans; he called this layer the collective unconscious.
In Jungian psychoanalysis, the collective unconscious has structures that are laced with deeper meaning and are shared across cultures. These structures he called ‘archetypes’ and the conscious mind is largely controlled by them. During dreams, visions, and spiritual experiences the conscious mind can penetrate the collective unconscious and experience these archetypes more directly. The human mind cloaks these archetypes in symbols and attributes that come from the practitioner’s culture, beliefs, and preconceptions so that the individual can interact with them.
This is the reason why we find gods and spirits that appear differently to different cultures but are nonetheless very similar. Spiritual systems described people as being influenced by gods and spirits outside of themselves. Jung argued that they are inside us. By understanding who we are and how the forces inside influence us, we can change the way our lives play out. He stated, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
The Troxler effect
In my previous article on scrying for beginners, I gave a list of brainwave states. The scrying technique in that article causes your brain to produce a massive number of alpha brainwaves that result in a dreamlike trance. That technique rested on the ganzfeld effect to produce the trance. Speculums do it differently.
In 1804 physician Ignaz Troxler discovered an optical illusion. By gazing at a point in a relaxed fashion in dim light, the surrounding objects disappear. For an example of this effect look at the picture below. Keep your eyes fixed on the red dot. After a minute or so, the blue ring disappears.
Another very startling example is gazing into a mirror with only a candle for light.
Go to a dark room at night and place a candle behind you and look into a mirror.
Keep your attention on your eyes, while looking at your face with your peripheral vision. Just keep eye contact with your reflection in a relaxed fashion.
After a few minutes, you will notice your face begins to change. You might look old, or grow a beard. Your face could morph and change constantly. Even monstrous faces might appear in the mirror.
These are all the result of the Troxler effect. Your brain can’t keep track of the shifting shadows over your face. It then tries to compensate by filling in the missing information with faces from your subconscious.
This is what forms the basis for Halloween party games like “Bloody Mary”. Children would enter a bathroom, with a candle and say “Bloody Mary” repeatedly to their reflection. At that point, because of the the Troxler effect, their mind creates the face of Bloody Mary!
Scrying with crystal balls, mirrors, water, or a candle uses the same procedure because of the Troxler effect. Make sure you have learned how to scry with the ganzfeld effect before you attempt to scry with the speculum of your choice.
How to scry with a black mirror and crystal/obsidian ball.
Choose your speculum. You can make a simple scrying mirror by spraying a round piece of cut glass with black spray-paint on one of the surfaces. Spray several layers and let it dry completely. You will be scrying into the unpainted surface. Place it on a plate stand, and it’s ready.
Crystal balls can be purchased relatively cheaply online. I recommend using a clear reconstituted crystal ball that is free from any flaws. Alternatively, you can use a ball made from Mexican obsidian as a scrying tool.
Place a black cloth on a table and place the crystal or black mirror on the cloth. Sit in a chair and place the speculum far enough from you. If you gaze gently downwards at a 45-degree angle, you must be looking straight at the surface of the speculum.
Place a single candle behind you and sit down in your chair, facing the speculum. Play a recording of pink or brown noise, available online. Headphones are preferred. These sounds will mask any background noise and allow you to relax more easily.
Allow your eyes to gently fall onto your speculum. Don’t try to keep it in focus if it begins to blur after a minute or two. Just let your eyes gently rest on your speculum. Begin to gently observe your breath while you just let your mind relax. Have a similar attitude as someone trying to fall asleep, but keep your eyes open.
After a couple of minutes, the speculum will begin to blur and even disappear, together with the environment around it. Blurry clouds will begin to fill your vision. This is the Troxler effect coming into play. Allow yourself to relax more and allow images to appear in your mind. These can be memories, fantasies, or anything else, no matter how strange.
The more you relax, and less your try to control the images, the clearer they will become. If you try to control or influence them, they will break apart immediately. This is how you will know you’re scrying and not daydreaming. Trying to control a scrying vision causes it to break apart and very difficult to see. Spontaneous visions are much brighter and clearer.
How to scry with water or a candle
To make a scrying bowl, take a simple, undecorated clear glass bowl and fill it with water. Experiment with adding ink or dark food coloring to the water.
A scrying candle can be any color but must be as simple and unadorned as possible. The focus is on the candle flame, and pictures on the side of the candle will be a distraction.
Place the scrying bowl on a dark cloth on a table, same as with a black mirror or crystal ball. Place a single candle behind you and scry into the surface of the water. To scry with a candle, place a candle on the table, but with no candle behind you.
Follow the same procedure as steps 3 and 4. Let your eyes rest on your speculum at a 45-degree angle while listening to pink or brown noise. Let your mind spontaneously create images while you gaze at your speculum.
Start by practicing for 10 minutes at a time, and increase your scrying session gradually. How long you scry is completely up to you, as long as you don’t strain your eyes.