Divination: Scrying

I’d like to try to start a series on divination, with installments coming at each new moon. Since I just made scrying mirrors available in my Etsy shop, I’ll start with an overview on how to scry.

Scrying can be a form of meditation, a form of divination, or a little bit of both. In scrying, you use a neutral surface to help your eyes and mind relax. It’s a bit like gazing into the middle distance, eyes only loosely focused, as you do when you daydream, except that there’s a stable background for you to look at that won’t disrupt your state of mind. The neutral surface can be the surface of a bowl of water, preferably in a black bowl or with ink mixed with the water, or a black mirror. The blackness of the scrying mirror provides a dimmer reflection that doesn’t fatigue your eyes and doesn’t draw attention to itself as much as a normal silvered mirror does. You may choose to look at the image of a candle reflected in the mirror, at your own face, or at a reflection of a relatively blank surface, such as a wall or ceiling. The point is to let yourself relax, physically and mentally, as you gaze.

Since I like to work with words, I use a scrying charm or chant that I repeat quietly while relaxing and focusing on the mirror. My scrying charm is:

Witch’s mirror, black as night,

grant to me the second sight.

Through the veils of what may be

let my inner wisdom see.

When you relax, you can go into a meditative state where you use the mirror as a focal point to keep drawing your awareness back to. This may be a meditation of emptiness, a meditation on the meaning of self if you are looking at your own face, or many other things. As you relax further, you may see a fog or cloud appear in your gaze on the mirror; this is normal, and is a sign that your mind is relaxing and is accepting the mirror as a “blank” on which it can project its own visualizations. As the fog clears, you may begin to see images, which may be dreamy and indistinct, or in vivid full-color. Either one is fine; different people’s minds use different visualization techniques, and one isn’t necessarily any better than another. What’s important is to stay relaxed, and in the moment, accepting the images as they come and noting details that are observable, especially how different images make you feel. To help this process, it can be beneficial to say aloud what you see, simply describing it literally. Having the reinforcement of hearing your own voice helps you stay in the moment and let the images flow.

When you are done, ground yourself gently and journal about what you saw. Reflect on the images the way you would images presented in a dream or in a trance journey.

I keep my scrying mirror wrapped in a cloth when I’m not using it. I dedicated it by leaving it out, exposed to the night sky, on the night of the new moon. A scrying mirror can be cleaned by gently wiping the surface of the glass with a paper towel dampened with water or just a bit of window cleaner or ammonia applied to the paper towel (not the glass!). If you feel your mirror needs to be cleansed or rededicated, try washing its surface with an infusion of mugwort, a herb that brings divinatory visions and messages.

Happy scrying, and blessed be!

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About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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