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Scrying Using the Hands or a Vase

I've been experimenting with scrying for the past few years, and I've found a method that works for me that I haven't seen anywhere else on the Internet.

"Scrying" is the word used for gazing into a crystal ball, mirror, body of water, etc. to "see" visions. The oject used is called a "speculum". A few people actually see things the way we would in a dream, as though they were seeing with their eyes. Such images are called "hypnogogic images". I have seen them when I'm in the twilight state between waking and sleeping, with my eyes closed, but still aware of where I am. I'll get a bright flash of a detailed scene, like a dream but lasting less than a second. I'm always amazed at the vivid colors and details. And on two occasions I've seen hypnogogic images with my eyes open, once when I was hiking. But I've never seen them when I was scrying.

For most people, myself included, the "visions" are in the imagination, the way you might visualize a scene if you were engrossed in a well-written novel. They don't come by any conscious effort to imagine a particular scene, though, the way they might if you were writing a story, for example. They seem to be spontaneous and unexpected, like a dream. But for me, at least, they are mostly unconnected images, more like a slide show than a movie.

Do the images foretell the future, or see things far away? My own take is that they don't; but I don't know for sure. They are like the images in a dream. I don't know if they have any external meaning; I kind of doubt it. But they do offer a fascinating and possibly useful glimpse into the subconscious mind.

When I was a child, I was fascinated by the crystal balls in the movie The Wizard of Oz. I filled a glass flower globe with water, but I never saw any visions in it. But maybe that's because at the time I didn't expect to. And I didn't know yet that the visions wouldn't be like pictures on a TV screen.

A few years ago I began reading about scrying, and experimenting with it. I bought a ball made of leaded glass crystal (there's a very nice inexpensive one listed on amazon that's 4" in diameter.) I also bought smaller quartz crystal spheres at rock shops. If you're interested, I highly recommend going to a rock shop or gem-and-mineral show rather than a new-age shop. For $5 you can often get a quartz crystal ball that is about an inch in diameter.

At the same rock shop, I found a 4" slab of polished obsidian for under $5, much less expensive than the obsidian scrying mirrors offered for sale online. I also made myself a scrying mirror, after reading about them on the Internet. It's easy to make one. You buy an ordinary picture frame, take the glass out, and spray paint the glass flat black on one side. After it dries, put it back in the frame, with the painted side toward the back.

I had fun experimenting with other specula as well. I tried bowls filled with water, especially a dark blue glass bowl. I tried large faceted glass "gems", and even the small diamond in my engagement ring. I tried other stone spheres, made of obsidian or selenite. I even tried looking into my own thumbnail made shiny with oil, as recommended in some of the books I looked at. That was the least successful of all, though it appealed to me since it would always be at hand, so to speak.

I had some limited success with these, but a found that even in a candle-lit room, the reflections in the polished surfaces would be distracting. Every source I found recommended using shiny, reflective surfaces, but they seemed to be getting in the way rather than helping.

After going to some pains to adjust my black scrying mirror so that I wouldn't see any reflections, it occurred to me that a shadowed hole would be much blacker than the black mirror, and wouldn't have any distracting reflections.

When this first occurred to me, I made a makeshift shadowed hole by using my own hands, cupping them together as in the photo below. At first, even though I turned my hands so that the inside was in shadow, I would still see the lines in my palm. But some experimentation showed me that focusing my eyes on the surface of the hole, as though it were a screen, instead of the back where my palm was, blurred the lines and they soon disappeared from my consciousness.

When I relaxed my mind and gazed at that "screen", the images popped into my mind much more readily than they had with any other speculum. So I decided to try using a vase as a speculum. I wanted a classic rounded pot shape, with a black interior. I looked at some in the stores, but they cost much more than I was willing to pay.

Then my husband surprised me with a vase he found at the local thrift shop for less than a dollar. It was an ugly pale blue with tacky daisies clumsily painted on it, with a white interior. But he painted the outside with a stone-texture spray paint, and the inside with flat black. It worked beautifully. That black interior was rich and velvety, and had no reflections to distract my mind.

Since then I've found a couple of other vases at thrift stores and flea markets. The white one actually works pretty well; the inside isn't black, but when it's shadowed it's dark enough.

I still like playing with different specula, but the vases seem to work the best. When I use my hands, holding them in position is a little distracting in itself. But they are always with me, which is nice. If I'm stuck waiting somewhere, I can fold my hands in my lap and let the visions flow, without it being obvious what I'm doing. And now that I know what it feels like, I can sometimes do the same thing by just closing my eyes and looking on the "screen" of my eyelids. But it seems easier to concentrate when I'm looking at the shadowed "screen" of my scrying vase.

How to scry

Here's what works for me:

  • Sit quietly. Candlelight works best, but is not necessary.
  • Gaze at the surface of the shadowed hole. Try to empty your mind and wait for images to form.
  • When something pops into your mind, make note of it, and then let it go. I like to write what I see in a notebook, but that does break your concentration momentarily. You can also just say it out loud, or silently. Verbalizing seems to help the process.
  • You may find odd words or phrases popping into your mind as well as images. I often write those in the notebook as well, though paying too much attention to them seems to get in the way of the images. Again, it's important to let them go once you've acknowledged them. This clears the way for new images or words.

I find that when I've done this for half an hour or so, I get very sleepy. I think that's because I'm clearing out some of the chatter, what meditators call "monkey mind". Whether that chatter has meaning or not, I'm not sure, but it is entertaining. Here's an example of what I wrote during one session. I quickly got annoyed with the words, which I recorded in quotes, and stopped recording them, after which the images started to flow more readily. Most of the images were just flashes, but one was almost like a bit of a dream.

  • "possum"
  • swimmers in the ocean
  • "read mail"
  • "baker"
  • "the kind that you pull on"
  • "courage"
  • a rose in a glass vase
  • hiking to Delicate Arch
  • a cabin in a steamship
  • a burning tree falling onto a shed
  • dancers in leotards on a stage
  • the haunted hotel in Chama
  • a man walking down a cobblestone street, looking in shop windows. He's wearing a top hat, greatcoat, and gloves. He goes into a townhouse, and takes off his hat and gloves. A white cat comes to greet him. There's water running in a rusty bathroom.
  • a forest in Julian, near San Diego
  • tanks in Iraq
  • cows grazing on a green hillside
  • a ballroom with people dancing by candlelight

By the time I finished, I could hardly keep my eyes open, and it definitely felt a lot like dreaming.

Whether there's any meaning to any of this, I don't know. But it does seem to help me relax and sleep, something I have trouble doing sometimes. If nothing else, it's a form of meditation that works for me. Sometimes I like to imagine I'm catching glimpses of a past life, but I have no belief about this.

To summarize, I've found that using a speculum that does not have any reflections is much better for me than looking into water, crystal, a mirror, or any of the other traditional media. Since I didn't see this suggested anywhere else on the Internet, I wanted to share it here.

After writing the above, I did another scrying session using the black vase, and the images were more copious than ever. They included some scents, which was a first for me. Here are the notes from September 26, 2009.

  • The solar system, focusing on Pluto
  • Borobudur temple in Java
  • A helicopter
  • An Apollo splashdown
  • A football game
  • A rubber life raft on the ocean
  • A steam train running beside telegraph lines
  • Nymph Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Foster Hotel in Chama, New Mexico
  • "5000 refugees"
  • A jungle canopy with sunlight filtering through leaves
  • Timber Creek Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • A bear
  • A little grocery store in the desert
  • The Iditerod race
  • Striped awnings
  • An Italian town with white buildings on a steep, cobbled street
  • Hanksville, Utah
  • Factory chimneys
  • A Teutonic knight wearing a helmet
  • The smell of eucalyptus
  • A medieval woman reading a book at a desk
  • A wolf's face
  • The smell of cedar
  • The train depot in Elsie, Nebraska
  • A moose in Kawaneechee Valley
  • Laundry on a clothesline
  • The solar system with a focus on Mars
  • The smell of sausage
  • The carport of the house I lived in as a small child
  • The Red Square in Moscow
  • Feeding ducks at City Park Lake

    UpdateToday (November 15, 2009) I poured water into a plain white plate, so that the water was about half an inch deep. When lit by candlelight, it worked beautifully. I also tried tinting the water with blue-green food coloring, which also worked, and even gave me a few visual images, mostly shooting stars and an intricate snowflake pattern. With the clear water I got the following, which weren't quite visual but were bordering on it. The water seemed to darken, and then the dreamlike images came into my mind.

    • Giraffes on a plain
    • A toad under a daisy
    • An old Chevy pickup truck in front of a red barn and a silo
    • Pennants waving over a castle
    • A winding trail through a forest. It goes up a hill. A bird like a peacock is sitting on a branch over the trail looking down.
    • A shooting star
    • A deer in the forest looks up, startled
    • A boy runs up a grassy hill outside the castle
    • A tiger hidden in leaves watches a girl on the riverbank washing clothes, which she has in a wicker basket.
    • I look into a stained-glass castle window from outside
    • On the lawn is a goose-girl with a white apron

    copyright 2009 by Karen Deal Robinson

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    Continental Divide, Colorado

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