THE ART OF SCRYING
Some people have a natural aptitude for scrying. They only have to walk past a shallow puddle in the road, glance at a piece of black glass, admire the glossy fur of a black cat or look at a wet patch on a black rubbish sack and numerous images flood into their minds. Others have to spend days, weeks, months, even years, mastering this apparently simple technique, staring into elaborate black mirrors and seeing nothing but their own dark reflection – frustrating indeed – and of course, that very frustration makes things more difficult. As with all magic, it needs to be taken seriously, but with a playful and curious state of mind. Trying too hard is counterproductive.
One of the things which makes scrying so hard for some people to do is that, like meditation, it requires an altered state of consciousness to be achieved, but with the eyes open. In meditation, pathworking, and in parts of a ritual, most people prefer to work with their eyes closed because this makes an altered state so much easier to reach and to maintain.
Those who can scry in anything are fortunate to have this magical skill so long as they are able to switch it off at will and do not become completely distracted every time they see a shiny black surface. For the rest of us there are many things we can experiment with to make scrying easier – and different things will work for different people.
Dark water is a good way to start, not least because it is easily available and costs nothing. A pool can be lovely to scry in, though I would recommend sitting or kneeling down to do so, since it is very easy to forget what your body is doing once your mind becomes absorbed, and it is somewhat undignified to fall into the (possibly stagnant) water at a moment of great revelation. A black bowl filled with water is another method and has the advantage of being safe and suitable for indoor use. Tap water is fine, but spring water will probably work better. Perhaps the best kind of water to use is Moon water: spring, rain or sea water which has been placed in the Moonlight every night for a whole lunar cycle. The water can be blessed in whatever way you feel is appropriate, possibly dedicated to one of the Moon goddesses who rule such activities as these.
An alternative to using a black bowl is simply to use any dish but to darken the water with black ink. The old witch in her cottage would doubtless have done her scrying in a bubbling cauldron of stew or in the water boiling in an iron pot ready to make up some herbal brews. Red wine (especially elderberry) or dark beer both make good scrying material, though definitely not after drinking any of it! Coca Cola would probably be effective too, though I have never tried it. The possibilities are endless…
Personally I find black mirrors easiest to use because they don’t slop about like water (at least not under normal circumstances!). They are expensive to buy but very easy to make. Spray the back of the glass from a cheap clip frame with a couple of coats of black enamel paint. Make sure the glass is spotlessly clean before you do so as any little marks may spoil your concentration when you come to use it. Once the paint is completely dry, return the glass to the frame. Bless the mirror if you wish to and treat it with the respect due to any magical object. It can be kept hanging on the wall or put away after use, wrapped in a natural material like silk or cotton. If you prefer something a little more fancy, charity shops are excellent hunting grounds for interesting frames. Even better, you could make your own out of wood (carved, if you are skilled in that craft), papier mâché, textiles, or anything else that appeals to you. Indeed the more effort you put into making it, the more personal it will become – imbued with your own energy, in tune with you, and therefore easier for you to use. The size of the mirror is not important, although if you are just learning the technique, a larger surface area will probably prove easier to use. I would also avoid too elaborate a frame on a small mirror as it may prove unhelpful.
Once you have mastered this art, you can do it anywhere and in any light, but at first it is best to be in a dimly lit area, possibly using candles. The bowl or mirror needs to be placed at a height and angle which are comfortable, so that you can sit relaxed and breathe calmly and easily. Candles or other lighting will need to be in a position where their reflection will not bother you. Do not be disheartened if nothing happens for a while. It is a knack and perseverance pays off in the end.
A further use of this art is to communicate with another person, such as a magical partner, especially if they live a long way away and you cannot meet very often. Each person should have their own mirror, dedicated solely to this purpose. Ideally the mirrors should be identical and made by the people involved on an occasion when they are together, to ensure the closeness of the link. When separated both people look into the mirror at an agreed time and a good psychic channel of communication can be set up. With practice, it becomes possible to call the other person to the mirror if you really need to talk to them at a time when you have not agreed to “meet”.
Scrying is a magical art with many possibilities. Exactly what it is and how it works is for each individual practitioner to decide for themselves, but it will certainly enhance and focus both the psychic and creative abilities of the magician who is drawn into dark pools to find the bright treasure of secret knowledge.
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