The history of oil scrying can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians. Some of their magic books have survived down through the centuries with details of the methods they used.
One of their techniques was called the “Princess of the Thumb”. A scryer annointed the forehead and thumbnail of a subject. The shiny nail acted as a magic mirror in which the scryer saw spirits. Another version was called the “Princess of the Hand”. Oil was mixed with black soot to make a black paste that was then smeared upon the hand. The scryer then used the hand as a mirror to scry future events.
A third type of oil scrying was called the “Princess of the Cup”. Sesame seed oil was used to coate the inside of a cup that was rested on its side.
The cup was used as a concave magic mirror to capture and magnify the light of a candle that was fixed on its inner rim.
From the Babylonians oil scrying found its way to the Egyptians and Hebrews. The most detailed examples of oil scrying are written in the Greek Magical Papyri written in Egypt between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500.
Four kinds of water which is to be mixed with the oil is used for four types of divination.
If you call upon the services of the heavenly Gods then use rainwater. If you invoke the terrestrial Gods then use sea water. If you invoke the Gods Osiris or Serapis use riverwater. And if you call upon the souls of the dead then use spring water.