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What is scrying? Meaning, methods, and helpful tips

Modern Witch Guide to Scrying: meaning and methods

What is scrying? Scrying is one of the oldest divination methods. It is a skill that takes some practice and learning to complete but, once mastered, is invaluable for prediction practice. Scrying is the act of seeing images within a mirror, crystal bowl, reflection, or in anything that can reflect an image. If you’ve seen a picture of fortune-tellers looking into their crystal ball, you’ve witnessed scrying. In reality, very few fortune tellers use scrying, and there is much to learn in most of the witchcraft written world on how to do it properly. If you want to know more about scrying: meaning, methodology, and how to get started, you’ve come to the right place. 

Divination tools like tarot or oracle cards, palmistry, or even pendulums are more popular than scrying. But just because they’re more popular doesn’t necessarily make them better. what is scrying?

What is scrying?

A witch must be in a meditative state of channeling and casting to complete the scrying ritual correctly. Sometimes, it takes hours to get a clear message. Many fortune-tellers do not use scrying anymore because it is an intricate method to tell fortunes and can be very daunting to learn. Scrying can be exciting and fun to perform if you take the time to learn. Will you take the time to discover which visuals the universe wants to convey?

Scrying practiced as hydromancy, second sight, vision gazing, or oculomancy has its roots in the most ancient magickal practices. Humans have been performing some forms of scrying since the beginning of civilization and are the core of magickal practice. It is an essential tool if you want to see into the future and speculate about the current path’s momentum. 

Where does the word “scrying” meaning come from?

The term scrying comes from the Middle English “descrien,” which means to announce or reveal. Scrying can reveal much about what the witch or the client is trying to get out of their lives. It usually involves having second sight and perceiving things we cannot perceive through our ordinary senses.

Which scrying method is right for you?

Scrying methods are as varied as the people groups that use them. The Native Americans used smoke signals and the wind leaving symbols. The ancient Egyptians used oil gazing to gain wisdom about the future. And numerous cultures have used fire gazing to relax and meditate. Neo-pagan cultures mainly use scrying in modern times, but it helps all beings get in touch with the realm of our soul and unconscious minds.

We’ve compiled many scrying methods, as you might find you enjoy one more than the other. Remember, scrying is based on your own experience. Therefore, if you interpret something differently than another person, understand each person is on their path, and each person will have a method of scrying and interpretation that works best for them. Scrying is fun for many purposes, but seeing into the future has always been the most popular motivation.

When starting your scrying journey, you may not want to invest in lots of equipment. That’s ok. You can use a bowl of water or a mirror in the beginning. Many witches never invest in a crystal ball because a bowl of water can scry for long periods with little investment. Only those who wish to practice scrying on a larger scale or with varied methods invest in crystal balls or scrying mirrors. 

There are many different scrying methods, and it is beneficial to try many to get the entire message you seek. Be open to many additional messages as fine-tuning exact messages will happen over time to reach a specific goal. At first, witches often have a hard time channeling select messages as the issue with the mind and spirit tending to wander with new experiences. Stay patient, and the second sight will come with time and the use of the scrying methods below.

Use a Scrying Mirror 

When scrying with a mirror, the reflecting object can be made up of different reflective materials, like glass, crystal-like clear quartz, or obsidian. The reflective surface can be used in a dark room with candlelight or in the light outside to see nature’s reflections. The images will be more shadow work and ritualistic in a dark room. Scrying outdoors will reflect clouds or animal familiars trying to convey a message.

No matter which method you use in your scrying ritual, be sure to sit with the mirror for an extended period in one space and see what messages arise. A significant benefit to a mirror in scrying is it is so portable and makes it easy to scry on the go and in emergencies.

Crystal Gazing

The crystal ball is one of the most recognized symbols in all divination practice, and for a good reason. It is the most common form of scrying. Many witches love using obsidian spheres, which offer a clear reflection and the protection of obsidian. 

Scrying with a crystal ball is similar to using a scrying mirror. Make a note of the images and messages after the ritual to analyze the entire message and decipher the full picture it forms in your witchy mind.

Dripping Wax in Hydromancy

For centuries, witches have used wax drippings to see messages or writing from beyond. When performing the hydromancy ritual, pour hot candle wax into a water-filled bowl to see if images form. Alternatively, you can drip wax onto a scrying mirror. Note: dripping wax onto a mirror will eventually dull the reflective surface if it’s not thoroughly cleaned off after the scrying ritual.

Fire Gazing

Anyone who has ever sat at a fire can attest to the trance-like state that staring at a fire can cause— even the most minor magickal beings. Our natural connection to fire can put all humans in this state, and it is the most natural form of scrying.

Sit distraction-free in front of a fire, and stare into the fire as you meditate on the flames. Ensure you are not too close to burn your eyes or breathe in smoke, but sit and see what messages come into your head while staring at the fire. Write these messages down after sitting for an extended period.

Smoke Sigils 

Smoke is a potent messenger. The beauty of smoke dancing has enamored cultures for as long as fire has burned. It can be dark and heavy or light and wispy. No matter its form, all types have messages to send and stories to tell. The different consistency levels in smoke can inform the message’s importance. Light smoke indicates gentle guidance, whereas thick, dark smoke may indicate a transformative and life-changing message.

Eye Contact Gazing

Eye Contact Gazing is the most intimate form of scrying. It is often referred to as soul gazing. This level of intimacy sounds intrusive but can be beautiful to experience with a trusted magickal partner. This act is done by sitting across from someone and keeping intense eye contact. Let the energy flow from their soul and power center to see what messages and feelings arise.

use a mirror outside to scry

Witches can do fortune-telling readings with many different scrying methods. Focus on the specific images that come up in your mind’s eye rather than what the eyes see. Clear the mind of any chatter and focus on the message you hope to achieve. This may take a half-hour or multiple hours. Be patient. It could also take numerous scrying forms as you try to get the clearest message.

After each scrying session, try to understand what the messages mean by writing them in a book of shadows or journal. Then, analyze any correlations. Journaling the results also helps you compare messages received through different scrying methods to discover similarities. Scrying has been used for centuries but is still a mysterious part of magick— even for seasoned witches. Remember that the interpretations that arise from the scrying ritual are all the seers’ accounts. Trust your intuition on the messages’ meanings, and never be swayed by any other accounts.

How do I perform a scrying ritual?

As you prepare to perform a scrying ritual, you must first choose a method. Many witches prefer hydromancy and scry with a bowl of water. I have not developed the connection to water as I have to other methods, so I love my obsidian mirror. I love the protection it offers, and it brings me great peace to stare into the mirror or my sphere and meditate on the imagery. 

If you’re a beginner, try using a bowl of water first. Since everyone has a bowl lying around the house, it is easy to dip your toe into scrying with this method. I enjoy using my scrying mirror in tandem with my bowl, so feel free to grab a mirror and set it next to your bowl to get possible peripheral images. The more visuals you can see, the more messages you can receive. A black bowl of water works best, but any other dark color or wood will help you get the best reflection in the water

Cleanse your Space and Cast the Circle

Before beginning the act of scrying, make sure to cleanse the space with sage or another sacred herb. Also, make sure to open and close the circle before scrying. The screen can channel energies and open portals to the other side like many divination tools, so always remember to close and open the circle when dealing with spirits and casting. Light candles with intention and invoke any deities or ancestors you would like to include in the ritual to assist or provide protection.

Create the Vessel

The first step in the ritual is to fill the bowl with water. Leave it out to collect rainwater if blessed with rainstorms to add storm magick. No clouds in sight? Simply use tap water. Dark bowls will contrast the images better, but dark colors may also bounce off energy. Perform the ritual in the darkness, lit by candles. The flickering light creates shadows, which produce more images. 

Add flower petals or other delicate items that float to help shape and create unique images in the water. It is all about experimentation and seeing what ideas come out and what they trigger for the witch.Scrying meaning and methods

You can also add items that do not float in the water, like crystals or trinkets, to channel energy through the crystals or ancestor energy to help with spirits and channeling. Place the item in the center of the bowl to draw the eyes’ focus. As you scry, look at the object and focus the mind partially on it while scrying.

The Meditative State

The meditative state is an essential part of the vision process, which involves going into a meditative state or a trance. Achieve a trance state through active meditation, dancing, singing, or anything that helps you clear your mind before the ritual. Some brave souls even use psychoactive plants to see more visuals. For the record, this witch does not recommend this method. However, if desired and prepared, only use microdoses, or the visual message will not be pure to the ritual. In this case, psychoactive methods create the visuals by manipulating the mind under the influence— not magickal means. I recommend meditating for five minutes before beginning the scrying ritual to go into a trance.


The Magick of Looking

The last act of the scrying ritual is the looking part. I find that part fascinating. The preparation takes work, but it is a full-scale ritual. The ritual’s visual aspect should be done by looking into the water and staring at the object at the bottom of the bowl. Let your face and eyes relax, and let the space around you go a bit fuzzy. 

how to scry with a crystal ballFree yourself from any threat of distraction and focus on what you see. It is ok to look away every once in a
while and write down items that may come up as you want to reflect on them later. Acknowledge anything that comes into your head from the ritual and the spirits surrounding the magic. Nothing is trivial when scrying, meaning every small image and trigger in the head could be the exact message you need to hear.

Journal in the Grimoire

We are visual creatures, so it is essential to write what you saw and felt while scrying. Journaling helps you take all the ideas and translate them into meaning. Many talented beings can do this all in their heads, but most need to see it on paper to create visual interpretations. Journaling is also helpful if you would like to reflect on your magickal journey and track messages that may have a more significant meaning to your life down the line.

When you stare into the abyss, it will stare back. As you sit in silence and scry, allow the subtle messages to seep into your subconscious. There is a light in all beings that gives us the ability to gain and nurture second sight. With practice channeling the energy, anyone can uncover scrying meaning and methodologies that will boost their divination skills.