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.