August 24, 2009

Divination: Scrying/Crystalomancy


intr.v. scried, scry-ing, scries.
To see or predict the future by means of a crystal ball.

We're all familiar with the image of a fortune-teller gazing into their crystal ball, but scrying goes further back than sideshow acts and shady back rooms.

Staring into any clear or reflective surface (including water) in the hopes of inspiring a vision goes back to ancient Egypt, Persia, and Greece. Celtic Druids used crystals, and may have been the first to use them exclusively.

In all these cultures, the seers were not watching for visions to occur in the surface--everyone knew and acknowledged that any prophecies originated in the mind of the seer. The object of their gaze was merely helpful in producing a meditative or trance-like state that encouraged the prophetic visions to form in the gazer's mind.

The Romans were among the first known to prefer gazing upon polished quartz crystals, and the ubiquitous "crystal ball" made its first appearance in Medieval Europe.

Today, the High Lamas of Tibet spend time gazing at their holy lake of Lhamo Latso in order to divine the location of the current incarnation of the Dalai Lama. And of course, less spiritually-minded "seers" can be hired in major western cities for a fee.

Posted by Jennifer at August 24, 2009 08:28 AM | TrackBack


Hmm. Sounds suspiciously like one of your old History and Stuff posts. Cool.

Posted by: physics geek at August 24, 2009 03:07 PM