The Subtle Art of Divination – Crystal Scrying 101

Ankhie owns a lot of crystal balls. It’s a bit of a problem really. I collect them. Parts of  Chez Ankhie look like a metaphysical bowling alley.  But honestly, who here can resist the lure of  crystal balls? Aside from their divinatory uses, they are lovely objects  – smooth, cool, round – like huge, absolutely awesome marbles.  Ankhie, by the way, was that kid on the playground who would aim for your best, most beloved shooter, crack it out of the circle and pocket it home – merciless… but I digress.  So yes, crystal balls… their purpose is, of course, mystic – yet scrying is a practice that confounds many otherwise capable diviners.

Fear not! Magician-of-highest-repute, Raymond Buckland, has advice!

Most people have the ability to see into a crystal ball. As with so many things, it’s simply a question of practice. To start, you should work in a room where you will be undisturbed and that is perfectly quiet. You do not want to be distracted in any way, so make sure you are alone and that no one is going to come into the room unexpectedly. Sit in a good, straight-backed chair that is comfortable. Have the crystal ball on a table at a comfortable height in front of you.

Any good reflective surface will do for your gazing: a crystal, a magnifying lens, a highly polished dark-colored surface, a glass of water – yes, just a regular tumbler (clear glass, not decorated) filed almost to the brim with water. Whatever you use, stand it on a black background like a piece of black velvet so that, as you gaze at the object, you will not be distracted by anything around it.

Initially, you should have very little light in the room. later, you will be able to do this anywhere, but to start, try to have everything in your favor. I suggest just a single candle, which should be placed behind you so that you do not see it directly reflected in the crystal. I also suggest that you burn some incense. I find that this helps to induce the right feelings, the right atmosphere. It affects the vibrations of the area. Any good, pleasant-smelling incense will do (e.g. frankincense or sandalwood). Gypsies burn a lot of incense, because it seems to give a very special “atmosphere” to the room where the reading is taking place.

The only secret – if there is a secret – to crystal gazing is to learn to “gaze.” Don’t stare! Don’t try to look into the crystal without blinking your eyes. All you’ll get is eye strain! No – just relax. Look into the crystal. When you need to blink, just blink. Try not to think about whether or not you are blinking or you’ll end up concentrating more on blinking than anything else.

Breathe deeply; inhale fully and then exhale fully. Don’t try to picture/imagine anything in the crystal. Just look into it. For the first several times you do this, you will probably experience disappointment. You may try for a week or two, or three, with no results. But don’t give up. Suddenly, it will happen. Don’t keep up the gazing for too long ar any one session. I recommend you not try for longer than ten – absolute maximum, fifteen – minutes at any one time. If nothing has happened, just put away your crystal and try again the next night. Incidentally, some people do get results right away, their first time out.

Ultimately, you will see a picture in the crystal. You may even have a preliminary “display” just before this. Most people do. You may get the feeling that the crystal is somehow slowly filling with smoke or clouds (usually white in color). As you gaze into it, you will see the whole ball (or water-glass, or whatever) fill with swirling white clouds. Then, almost immediately, the clouds will start to fade away. As they disperse, you will be left with a picture that may be either in black-and-white or in full color. It may be a moving picture or it may be a still image, like a regular photograph. Again, most people see moving images.

What you actually see is frequently symbolic…


Meditate on what you want to see – the question you want answered or the information you need to obtain. This meditation need only take a moment or two, just enough time to deliver the message to your unconscious mind. Then clear your conscious mind of all thoughts, breathe deeply, and gaze into the crystal, keeping your mind blank. Shortly the crystal will cloud (though not always), then clear and present the things you want to see. It’s as simple as that.


If you opt to use an actual crystal, use one whose size is most comfortable for you. Over-large balls invariable have imperfections in them that tend to distract beginners. My favorite size is about three to four inches in diameter. I prefer to have the ball on a stand, but you may prefer to hold it in the palm of your hand; many people do.

A crystal ball does not have to be of pure lead crystal (as should be obvious from the fact that you can actually gaze into virtually any reflective surface). An amethyst ball can be wonderful, as can rose quartz, obsidian, glass,or even a plastic ball. When using a glass ball, avoid using one with bubbles in it, at least to start. Try to get a ball with as few imperfections as possible – it is best to have one with no imperfections whatsoever. Acrylic plastic balls may be best initially. The only real problem with these is that they scratch very easily, so take great care when handling them.


…the tools of any craft should be treated with respect. So keep your crystal ball wrapped in a piece of black silk when not in use. When you first get it, and then again at every Full Moon, wash it carefully in clear water, dry it, and expose it to the direct light of the Moon for a half-hour or more. By direct light I mean actual rays of the Moon – not moonlight coming through a window pane. Open the window and let the actual rays fall on the crystal. Never expose the crystal to direct sunlight.

from Buckland’s Book of Gypsy Magic; Travelers’ Stories, Spells and Healing, by Raymond Buckland

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