top of page

Guide to Scrying: How to Scry and Types of Scrying

Scrying is a form of divination and the art of seeing what is hidden. There are several types of scrying, each with its unique magic. This Guide to Scrying will explore these various forms and how to use them to discover the unknown.


Download PDF • 36.71MB

Overview of the History of Scrying

Scrying, the practice of looking into a suitable medium with the hope of detecting significant messages or visions, has a rich history spanning many cultures and centuries. The origins of scrying are difficult to pinpoint precisely, but it is known to have been practiced by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians are believed to have used scrying methods involving water and reflective surfaces as part of their spiritual and divinatory practices. The goddess Hathor, associated with mirrors and beauty, was often linked to this practice.

Ancient Greece

The Greeks practiced hydromancy, a form of water scrying. The Oracle of Delphi, a high priestess at the Temple of Apollo, was believed to have used scrying among other divinatory techniques to provide guidance and prophecies.

Medieval Europe

During the Middle Ages, scrying became associated with mysticism and alchemy. John Dee, a notable figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, famously used a black obsidian mirror for scrying, seeking guidance and knowledge from angelic beings.

Famous Examples of Scrying in History

John Dee

John Dee, an English mathematician, astronomer, and occultist, is perhaps one of the most famous historical figures associated with scrying. Dee, along with his assistant Edward Kelley, claimed to communicate with angels through a black mirror and a crystal ball, receiving instructions and knowledge.


The 16th-century French apothecary and seer Nostradamus is believed to have used a bowl of water and a brass tripod for scrying. He recorded his prophetic visions in his famous work, "Les Prophéties."

Folklore Associated with Scrying Across Various Cultures

Celtic Folklore

In Celtic traditions, scrying was often performed using water or mirrors. The Celts believed that bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers, were portals to the Otherworld, where they could communicate with spirits and deities.

Native American Traditions

Various Native American tribes practiced forms of scrying. For example, some tribes used crystal gazing, while others might observe smoke or water reflections to gain insights and guidance from the spirit world.

African Traditions

In African cultures, particularly among the Yoruba people, divination practices similar to scrying were common. Babalawos (priests) used methods such as looking into reflective surfaces or interpreting the patterns of thrown cowrie shells to divine messages from the gods.

Chinese Folklore

In ancient China, scrying was practiced using a method called "obsidian mirror gazing." It was believed that mirrors had the power to reveal hidden truths and communicate with the spiritual realm.

Fundamentals of Scrying

There are many types of scrying, but the steps are essentially the same:

Set up your space and any tools or meditative aids. Choose a space that is free from distraction.

Cleanse your space. You can do this in several ways

  • smudge the space with smoke

  • spray it with a cleansing ritual spray

  • sprinkle it with moon water

  • ring a witch's bell or use singing bowls

  • use focus intention setting

Optional: cast a circle. Learn how to cast a circle here.

Focus on a topic that needs clarification or an answer you seek

Allow your mind to enter a meditative state. Certain scents and sounds can help you enter a meditative scent. Click here to learn how to make a Soul Flight Scent Vial to help you.

Observe the thoughts, images, and visions that come to you either in the scrying surface or your mind's eye

Types of Scrying

The basis of scrying is to gaze upon something in a meditative state to seek answers. The types of scrying refer to different methods and tools used to enhance the abilitity to enter, observe, and interpret scrying.

Each type of scrying has an elemental association (fire, water, earth, or air) and a corresponding directional association. I include these, because both elements and directions have their own meanings that effect the magic and energy of a particular from of scrying.

Magical Tip: Face the direction that corresponds to a certain type of scrying to enhance your abilities.

Crystal Ball Scrying

Crystal ball scrying typically uses a clear quartz or clear glass ball, but other types of crystal balls can be used as well. Another popular choice is a black glass or obsidian. Fluorite and smoky quartz are other good options.

Tip: Different crystals can be used to amplify aspects of scrying. For instance, fluorite is useful when performing glamours and fairy magic, and when seeking insight on self-love and healing.

Elemental Association: Earth (grounding, wealth, career, physical needs, health)

Directional Association: North

Tip: Place the crystal ball in a dimly lit room and on a darkened cloth or surface to minimize reflections from the room itself.

Optional: Place something such as a candle in front of the ball and concentrate on its reflection.

Crystal Scrying

Crystal scrying uses a piece of crystal (typically obsidian) as the gazing surface. Unlike crystal ball scrying, the crystal used can be any shape. However, it is often easiest to choose a crystal that is large and relatively flat. Keep in mind that type of crystal chosen can enhance and amplify your scrying when the crystal's magical properties align with your intentions.

Elemental Association: Earth (grounding, wealth, career, physical needs, health)

Directional Association: North

Tip: Turn your chosen scrying crystal into a pendant so it is with you whenever you need answers

Mirror Scrying

Mirror scrying uses a black glass or black obsidian mirror as the scrying surface.

Elemental Association: Earth (grounding, wealth, career, physical needs, health)

Directional Association: North

Tip: Ensure the mirror is free of dust and fingerprints and practice under low lighting. Set the mirror at a slight angle so you are not focused on the exact image of your own reflection but on abstracted reflections.


Water Scrying

In water scrying, you can gaze onto a natural surface of water such as the moonlight reflected over the darkness of water at night. You can also use water that has collected in basin of a tree or other natural depression. The most common option is to place water in a vessel such as a bowl or shell. Bowl are typically brass, copper, or black.

Elemental Association: Water (emotions, self-love, mental health and healing)

Directional Association: West

Tip: Add a drop of ink or oil to create patterns.

Fire Scrying

In fire scrying, you gaze into the flames of a candle or fire to seek visions and answers.

Elemental Association: Fire (ambition, success, power, energy, motivation, passion, lust)

Directional Association: South

Tip: Burn different substances to enhance and slightly alter your scrying.

Smoke Scrying

In smoke scrying, you watch the patterns, movements, and shapes in rising smoke.

Elemental Association: Air (wisdom, insight, creativity, intelligence)

Directional Association: East

Tip: Use slow-burning incense, and ensure good ventilation to avoid overwhelming the space with smoke.

Cloud Scrying

In cloud scrying, you observe the movements of clouds and the shapes and forms that appear in the sky.

Elemental Association: Air (wisdom, insight, creativity, intelligence)

Directional Association: East

Tip:Find a comfortable outdoor spot on a partly cloudy day and let your imagination guide you.


bottom of page