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Divination - Scrying

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Scrying is the practice of looking into a suitable medium in the hope of detecting significant messages or visions.nbsp: The objective might be personal guidance, prophecy, revelation, or inspiration, but down the ages, scrying in various forms has also been a prominent means of divination or fortune-telling.  It remains popular in occult circles, discussed in many media, both modern and centuries old.

Scrying is defined as 'to gaze at or into an object such as a quartz crystal sphere, a pool of water, reflections or a candle flame to still the Conscious Mind in order to contact the Psychic Mind’.  This process allows the scryer to become aware of possible events prior to their actual occurrence, as well as of previous or distant, simultaneous events through means of other than the normally accepted five senses.  Scrying is a form of divination which has suffered badly in recent times due mainly to the image of the fairground Gypsy fortune teller, crystal ball readings now being looked upon as a party trick used as something for light entertainment.

There is no definitive distinction between scrying and other aids to clairvoyance, augury, or divination, but roughly speaking, scrying depends on fancied impressions of visions in the medium of choice.  Ideally, in this respect, it differs from augury, which relies on interpretations of objectively observable objects or events (such as the flight of birds); from divination, which depends on standardised processes or rituals; from oneiromancy, which depends on the interpretation of dreams; from the physiological effects of psychoactive drugs; and from clairvoyance, which notionally does not depend on objective sensory stimuli.  In other words, clairvoyance is regarded as amounting in essence to extrasensory perception.

Scrying is neither a single, clearly defined, nor formal discipline and there is no uniformity in the procedures, which repeatedly and independently have been reinvented or elaborated upon in many ages and regions.  Furthermore, practitioners and authors coin terminology so arbitrarily, and often artificially, that no one system of nomenclature can be taken as authoritative and definitive.  Commonly used terms are Latinisations or Hellenisations of descriptions of the media or activities.  Examples of names coined for crystal gazing include 'crystallomancy', 'spheromancy', and 'catoptromancy'.  As an example of the looseness of such terms, catoptromancy should refer more specifically to scrying by use of mirrors or other reflective objects rather than by crystal gazing.  Other names that have been coined for the use of various scrying media include anthracomancy for glowing coals, turifumy for scrying into smoke, and hydromancy for scrying into water.  There is no clear limit to the coining and application of such terms and media.

Scrying has been practised in many cultures in the belief that it can reveal the past, present, or future.  Some practitioners assert that visions that which come when one stares into the media are from the subconscious or imagination, while others say that they come from gods, spirits, devils, or the psychic mind, depending on the culture and practice.  There is neither any systematic body of empirical support for any such views in general however, nor for their respective rival merits; individual preferences in such matters are arbitrary at best.

Methods used

One class of methods of scrying involves a self-induced trance, with or without the aid of a medium such as a crystal ball, or even via modern technology such as a smartphone among other things.  Some say that the sensation is drug-like, some that various drugs can potentiate the experience; others categorically exclude any connection with drug usage claiming that it invalidates any images observed.

Many practitioners say that the medium used for scrying initially serves to focus attention, removing unwanted thoughts from the mind much in the same way as repetition of a mantra, concentration on a mandala, inducing the relaxation response, or possibly by hypnosis.  Once this stage is achieved, the scryer may begin free association with the perceived images.  The technique of deliberately looking for and declaring these initial images aloud, however trivial or irrelevant they may seem to the conscious mind, attempts to deepen the trance state.  In this state, some scryers hear their own disassociated voices affirming what they see in a mental feedback loop.

Practitioners apply the process until they achieve a satisfactory state of perception in which rich visual images and dramatic stories seem to be projected within the medium itself, or in the mind's eye of the scryer.  They claim that the technique allows them to see relevant events or images within the chosen medium.

Aids to Scrying

Scrying can be performed utilising any number of different surfaces, from tea leaves to crystal balls, even to shag-pile carpets, the basic technique being similar in all cases.  By using or 'attuning to' an external source or object, you can enhance the peace and stillness required to start the visions.

The scryer gazes steadily into the scrying surface, eventually being able to pick out an odd shape or image in/on the surface.  Those surfaces which provide a random, high contrast visual texture, such as dark tea leaves in a white teacup are particularly good for the first stage of the scrying process.  However, it would seem that the vividness of the images formed in this way probably tend to divert the scryer's attention from the ‘purely mental images’ that should appear automatically, thus disrupting or preventing any 'natural flow of ideas'.

Smooth, neutral surfaces, such as those to be found in a bowl of still water, a crystal ball, or a blackened or silver mirror, although providing relatively few visual clues to get you started, will almost certainly help to make the transition to mental imagery much quicker if you persist.  The visual surface will obligingly fade into the background with some surprising and remarkable effects.

Traditional scrying is usually associated with such rituals as blessing the apparatus and asking for help in its use. p; These are considered to be aids to focusing and tuning yourself in.  This preparation is apparently just as important as the scrying process since it helps to make the act itself easier by preparing the mind and opening up channels which allow you to operate better.

Many people find candlelight very useful when learning the art of scrying as it creates great imagery and shadows upon the reflective surface, thus allowing you more opportunities to interpret the visions.

As with all forms of scrying, when viewing imagery in a crystal ball it is necessary to view them as symbols since not everything comes through in the form of a 'video image'.  There is usually a degree of interpretation required, which is where skill is required and where practice helps you to achieve better results.

As with all psychic matters do not allow any conscious logic to interrupt the thought or visual processes, something much easier said than done!

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Scrying Procedures

The first step is to decide on the medium with which you wish to scry.  There are many choices ranging from the simplest (a clear glass filled with water) to the very expensive (a large, clear crystal sphere) with many variations in between, or a blackened mirror.

You may have read other articles on scrying either on the internet or in a book -- the majority of these articles are incorrect in that they all state the author's preferences, i.e. they champion what worked for the author.  It cannot be over-emphasised that you as an individual should do what feels right for you.  We are all individuals who have a different psychological makeup.

The following is a short list of contradictions:

The following is a short list of contradictions:

You must use an absolutely clear crystal You should use a crystal with defects
Lead crystal will not work Lead crystal is the only reliable medium
The crystal sphere should be 2" in diameter The crystal sphere should be at least 3" to 4" in diameter
Stare at the crystal without blinking Do not focus on the crystal, but look past the crystal.  Blinking is all right

This list of contradictions could go on ad infinitum, but you should get the idea.  You need to use what feels right to you.  The following is a list of mediums that have been used, although it is not a definitive list:

  • Crystal sphere
  • Crystal skull (carved)
  • Mirror (could be a black mirror or a silver mirror)
  • Glass of water
  • Bowl of water coloured with ink
  • Candle flame
  • Coals of a fire
  • Fire smoke
  • Pool of water
  • Fog or mist over water
Various disciplines decree that you perform a consecration ritual before using any scrying medium, which, on a purely psychological standpoint, makes sense.  The subconscious mind must be convinced what you want it to accomplish through ritual or meditation.  Polishing the crystal or mirror while thinking about what you want to achieve will be enough.

You are trying to induce a state of altered awareness.  For beginners, dim lighting is essential.  Incense may be burned -- in past centuries incense played a more important role in inducing altered states than it does nowadays.  The reason for this is that the incense was inhaled, thus decreasing the amount of oxygen in the blood stream.  The brain will enter an altered state during periods of oxygen deprivation, so on health grounds it is not recommended.  Meditation music may be played in the background.  Just do what feels right for you!

The actual procedure for scrying is simple and straightforward:

  • Prepare the room - dim the lighting, play music etc.
  • Place the scrying medium on a table at a convenient height.
  • A dim light (e.g. candle) should be behind the viewer.  To begin with this should be the only light in the room.
  • Perform progressive muscle relaxation exercises.
  • Look at the scrying medium) in a relaxed manner, focusing about 5" past the surface (this may or may not work for you so be ready to try other methods).
  • You will blink but do not be too concerned.
  • Keep your mind blank except if you have a specific question to ask.
  • Do not scry for more than 20 minutes when you first start.
Images may appear in different ways.  They may just appear or may be preceded by a ‘cloud of mist’.  The mist may dissipate or morph into the images.  The images could be symbols of the subconscious or may be actual pictures of events, past, present or future.  Remember, each person is different and will experience different results.

These are simply the basics.  Your success at scrying may take days, weeks or months to accomplish, or you may be successful on your first attempt.  Practice will make perfect, so keep on trying -- if you feel that you are at a dead end, try a different scrying medium.  It may help.  Keep practicing -- don’t give up!

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Michel de Notredame (Nostradamus)

People have been scrying for centuries, from ancient times through to the modern day.  One of the most famous during the 16th century CE, and even more renowned nowadays, is Michel de Notredame (Nostradamus (1503 - 1566)), who used a scrying bowl as his medium.

Michel de Nostredame (depending on the source, 14 or 21 December 1503 - 1 or 2 July 1566), usually Latinised as Nostradamus, was a French astrologer, physician and reputed seer, who is best known for his book Les Prophéties, (it is known as Centuries in the English version) a collection of 942 poetic quatrains allegedly predicting future events.

Nostradamus's family was originally Jewish, but had converted to Catholic Christianity before he was born.  He studied at the University of Avignon, but was forced to leave after just over a year when the university closed due to an outbreak of the plague.  He worked as an apothecary for several years before entering the University of Montpellier, hoping to earn a doctorate, but was almost immediately expelled after his work as an apothecary (a manual trade forbidden by university statutes) was discovered.

He first married in 1531, but his wife and two children died in 1534 during another plague outbreak.  He fought alongside doctors against the plague before remarrying to Anne Ponsarde, with whom he had six children.  He wrote an almanac for 1550 and, as a result of its success, continued writing them for future years as he began working as an astrologer for various wealthy patrons, Catherine de' Medici being one of his foremost supporters.

His Les Prophéties, (100 quatrains - 4-line verses), published in Lyon in 1555, relied heavily upon historical and literary precedent, and initially received mixed reception.  This was to be the first volume of ten, although the tenth contains only 42 quatrains.  His prophecies still fascinate those people today who study them intensely, trying to assign new interpretations to them.

He suffered from severe gout toward the end of his life, which eventually developed into oedema; he died on 2 July 1566.

One point of interest is that many scholars suggest this French seer's name was actually Michel de Nostredame or Nostradame, hence the name by which he is known much better, although most writers tend to prefer the name Notredame.

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