Many of you may have heard the word "scrying" before, especially if you were big fans of the CW show Charmed. Like most entertainment, it didn't show an accurate view of what it really is.
Scrying is a magic practice that involves seeing things supernaturally through a medium, usually for purposes of divination and fortune-telling. Scrying has been used in many cultures as a means of divining the past, present, or future. Depending on the culture and practice, the visions that come when one stares into the media are thought to come from God, spirits, the psychic mind, the devil, or the subconscious.
The most common media used were crystal balls also called shew stones (or stones/crystals called seerstones or peepstones), water or any liquid, and mirrors. Some specific objects used were a glass of sherry, liver of an animal, pool of ink in the hand, swordblade, fingernail and the burning of a poppy flowerbud on hot coals.
How does it work? If you're using water, the visions are suppose to come from the color, ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool. If the medium is a crystal ball, the visions may come from the tiny inclusions, web-like faults, or the cloudy glow within the ball under low light (e.g. candlelight) while in a self-induced trance. Smoke scrying is best done while relaxing in front of a fire. Do not follow the smoke up but rather allow the smoke to form patterns within your gaze. You will see visions of future events.
Most seers prefer using a black mirror. Simply take out the glass and paint it black. When you put it back in the frame make sure the glass part is to the front. When using the black mirror for scrying you do not want to see your reflection. Thus you should leave the mirror on a table and look at it from an angle. Look into the depths of the mirror as though you were looking into a bowl of water. At first it may appear grey than colors will come and go. With time and practice you will be able to see images. The visions may even exist outside the mirror, either surrounding it or surrounding the scryer.
Around 2,000 BC, Greece, as well as "early" Britain and its subsequent Celtic population, practised many forms of scrying using beryl, crystal, black glass, polished quartz, water, and other transparent or light catching bodies. Druids are one of the earliest known peoples to have used crystals in divination.
During central Europe's Medieval Period, diviners used crystals to see into the past, present, and future. Early crystal balls were made from beryl. However, later, they were replaced with rock crystal.
In 16th century Central Europe, Nostradamus was said to have used a bowl of water as a scrying aid. Dr. John Dee, a noted British mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, and his assistant Edward Kelley employed a crystal ball which, including the wax tablets are displayed at the British Museum in London. John Dee also used a black mirror of obsidian.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Urim and Thummim (Hebrew for "revelation and truth") were used as a divination process. Many scholars believe they were two or twelve crystals used for scrying, but there are also other interpretations. The earliest reference is in Exodus 28:30, when Aaron carried them with him as High Priest.
Scrying is actively used by many cultures and belief systems. However, like other aspects of divination and parapsychology, it is not supported by mainstream science as a method of predicting the future or otherwise seeing events that are not physically observable.
Sources: Wikipedia (information and photo) and Spiritual.com.au