The Novice’s Grimoire

The Novice’s Grimoire: Scrying

By Z. Smith

Today, Novices, we are exploring the art of divination, specifically the wonders of scrying. Divination, whether that be through use of the tarot, astrology, or other means, is a method for predicting the future, unveiling pertinent secrets, or clarifying the past, present, or future. Some would say that divination can only show what will or will not happen, or what could or could happen—this is a somewhat limiting view. Scrying, being a method of divination, can take many forms; three of the most well-known and well-used forms of scrying are through water, mirrors, and crystal balls.

The word “scrying” has English roots, more exactly in the word “descry,” which means “to reveal.” To scry, one simply gazes into an object, until revelations are revealed. Scrying, apart from other forms of divination, allows the scryer to truly see the events unfold before their eyes—like a series of stills or a movie. One of the most famous, or infamous, scryers was the French soothsayer Nostradamus. He would often, late at night and by the light of a single candle, sit poised in front of a mirror, seeking truth from beyond. He became most well known for his apocalyptic quatrains. The Roman Emperor, Julianus, who reigned from 355-363 A.D., employed young mirror scryers in his court to keep him informed at all times, of all potentialities. The use of water scrying is purported to have been used by ancient Roman military to predict the happenings in the Mithridatic Wars, which ran near continually from 88-63 B.C.. In the ancient epic, The Shahnameh, written somewhere in the 10th century, it mentions the Cup of Jamshid. This cup, filled with an immortality elixir, was used by wizards and esoteric practitioners to see the seven layers of the universe—arguably an exercise in scrying. Even the great Joseph Smith was a scryer. In The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith—History 1:34, it describes how Smith was able to translate, interpret, or otherwise divine meaning from the sacred Gold Plates. By using two scrying stones named Urim and Thummin, seemingly set into glasses frames, Smith was able to gaze upon the plates and receive information that would come to comprise, in part, the contents of The Book of Mormon. And let us not forget the Evil Queen from Snow White, and her famous dialogue with her enchanted mirror.

For our purposes here, we will be exploring the execution of crystal ball gazing and mirror gazing, and let us understand that these principles will apply to many, if not all, reflective surfaces used for scrying.

When selecting a crystal ball, make sure that there are no scratches, flaws, or bubbles in or on the ball. It must, like a television set, be clear, clean, and blemish free to ensure a crisp picture. Set the ball on a black stand, and set the black stand on a black velvet cloth; black helps to absorb any light that may alter the picture. When not handling the ball, keep it covered with a black velvet or black silk cloth, and never let it touch sunlight. You may set the ball out under the full moon to cleanse it and charge it with the moon’s purifying beams.

Once you have selected a ball and brought it back to your divination space, place a candle in the room—somewhere where the flame will illuminate the scene, but not directly show in the ball. And, much like when using an Ouija Board, create a consecrated circle around the working space, preferably with salt. Sit and gaze at the ball for two to 10 minutes, while blinking naturally. Keep your mind clear of all thoughts and distractions. Once the proper connection has been made with the ball, a thick and blossoming fog will fill it; the fog will fade to reveal a picture, moving or still, which will require an interpretation.

Using mirrors for scrying works much in the same way, but the creating/acquisition process is a bit different. Select a blemish-free piece of concave glass, and paint three layers of asphaltum onto one side of the glass with a camel hair brush. Then frame in the shape of your liking. Repeat the same process as you would for the crystal ball gazing—black cloth, consecrated circle, and all!

Most importantly, don’t let others handle your crystal ball or mirror, for this will change the energetic make-up of the item, and may drastically alter your ability to use that item for the above purposes, potentially even skewing visions for the worst. That said, scrying is considered one of the most accessible methods for divination, and can be easily used by many.

I’d love to hear about any scrying experiences you’ve had! Until next week, Novices, stay studious.


Smith is a cookie connoisseur, moonlight meanderer, and aesthete at large. His work has appeared in 13 Experiments, Folio, Stone Soup Review, SLUG Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly, and CATALYST Magazine. He earned his BA in English from The University of Utah and currently writes from a room with many plants.



Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland

The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic by Migene González-Wippler

A Treasury of Witchcraft: A Source Book of the Magical Arts by Harry E. Wedeck


This post made possible by a generous contribution from:


Crone’s Hollow | 3834 S. Main St. SLC, UT

This article was originally published on September 21, 2016.