What is Scrying and How Does It Work?

You may know the practice of scrying as hydromancy, oculomancy, or crystal gazing. Whatever name you prefer, scrying refers to the ancient art of revelation.

Contrary to belief, this practice is not about predicting the future or looking into a crystal ball and seeing the future. This is the concept scrying has been given traditionally, and it’s often misrepresented by individuals. We don’t blame these individuals because we see this sort of thing in movies, shows, and TV all the time!

We want to begin our introduction to scrying by explaining what it is. It’s only then that you’ll be able to reap its benefits and become a scryer yourself. This word “scry” derives from the Old English term “descry” and means “to reveal”. So, if you want to be a scryer, you need to learn all about revealing the unknown and unseen.

What Exactly Is Scrying?

crystal ball

Scrying isn’t a tool used to predict the future. Instead, it lets you tap into your unconscious and the unconscious of the cosmos. It might seem future-oriented because it can help you re-center your direction in life. However, the future can’t be seen, so if this is your end goal, hydromancy isn’t for you. This technique has been used in almost any culture at some point or another and continues to be used today by pagans. This doesn’t mean that you must be a pagan to try it and experiment with it.

Gaining this ability isn’t easy. However, with commitment and practice, it can be obtained. It goes way beyond our five senses allowing us to perceive things by using our inborn second sight – everyone has it. However, not everyone knows how to access it.

Forms of Scrying

It’s often that scrying is performed using a reflective surface like a mirror, crystal globe, or water. You may not know this, but there are other forms of performing this act. These include some of the following:

  • Wax – Heat up wax and drop it little by little onto a water surface of your choice. Once the wax dries, use the images, words, or designs formed to interpret the message offered to you.
  • Cloud Gazing – You may be surprised to find that this is a form of scrying. Many of us may already look up and observe the clouds and figures they form. Scryers use this information to gather special knowledge in their quest to getting in touch with their unconscious mind.
  • Mirrors – Perhaps the most popular form of scrying, gazing into a mirror is extremely common. Scryers will relax their vision and stare into a mirror until images begin to form. They then use these scenes to interpret the message given to them.
  • Water – Just like staring into mirrors, as a scryer you can look into the water and after a few minutes, you’ll begin to notice objects form. If you wish, you can drop pebbles to create ripples and receive further messages.
  • Oil – If you decide to use oil for your scrying ritual, there are a few ways you can incorporate it. Consider pouring oil into a dish and interpreting the meaning or rubbing it on your body. The light that reflects off the oil is what you need to take in and interpret.
  • Fire – This brings us to the oldest form of scrying: fire! This is a fiery way to understand yourself and seek answers to your questions. How it works is very simple. Gaze into the flames for visions – it works best if it’s a bonfire!
  • Crystal – While this form is stereotypical, it does work. Grab a crystal ball, gaze into it, and develop the message it’s offering (a crystal ball works best).
  • Someone’s Eye – This form is a bit unusual but it’s effective! Soul-gazing is one of the most interesting ways to practice scrying. It involves you looking into someone else’s eyes and observing their reflections. It is more intricate, and the messages revealed can be surprising.

You may find that you’ve already practiced a form of scrying sometime in your lifetime. Perhaps it was as a kid when you looked at your reflection within a puddle of water or every day as an adult when you look at yourself in a mirror. Recognizing these events will make it easier to develop your skills as a scryer.

How to Practice Scrying

Fortune Teller Looking in a Magic Crystal Ball. Future Prediction. Beautiful Copy Space for your Logotype or Concept in the White Glowing Ball.Now, if you’re truly serious about scrying, there are some steps you need to consider. Here is a quick demonstration that we want to share with you. We will use water scrying as our example since it’s an easy option for all our readers.

Remember that as a scryer you can adjust this method and create your own. If using water doesn’t appeal to you, then use another form such as fire, mirrors, or clouds! Experiment with several techniques until you find one that feels right for you.

Let’s begin with this quick demonstration. You’ll need the following materials:

  • A black bowl
  • Natural water
  • 1-2 candles
  • Lighter or matches
  • Small crystal object
  • Flat surface
  • Darkroom

Optional: Some scryers also like to use a smudge stick to cleanse the aura around them.

1. Prepare Your Bowl

Start by filling up your black bowl with water. Some individuals prefer to use a wooden bowl as opposed to black. This is completely fine! We like dark bowls because they make it easier to concentrate in our opinion. Natural rainwater is best, then mineral water, and if all else fails, go with tap.

2. Add the Crystal

Next, you want to place the crystal inside the bowl. You can do this indoors or outdoors as long as it’s dark. What type of crystal should you use? We like using quartz because of it’s balancing properties. We’ve also found it makes it easier to focus.

3. Smudge Your Area

This step is completely optional, and it requires smudging the area to cleanse the space you’re in. You can easily make your own smudge sticks or purchase one at almost any New Age shop or crystal store. Some scryers consider this to be necessary before beginning any ritual.

We even suggest smudging your office or home every once in a while, to clear and purify your aura. It will be good for you and those around you!

4. Light the Candles

Now it’s time to light your candles and place then next to your bowl. The light needs to reflect off the surface of the water for the most effective outcome. You’ll then use these reflections to interpret the messages offered to you.

5. Enter a Trance-Like State

The last step is probably the most important one. After preparing yourself, you need to enter a trance-like state. You can do this by gazing into the water, taking deep breaths, and even listening to tribal music to tune into yourself. Some scryers like to chant, sing, or meditate before beginning.

After achieving this altered level of consciousness, look into the bowl filled with water until you reach a state of focus, alertness, and peace. Focus on the crystal and the light reflecting off it. It’s then you’ll feel connected with your unconscious and begin to receive, reveal, and interpret messages.

As your mind begins to wander and you focus on the images in front of you, you’ll be able to answer these questions. Sometimes the visions presented will not be crystal clear. Take notes after a session about what you witnessed. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for you to interpret the message.

Note: Keep in mind that all this needs to be done in a clutter-free, dark room (preferably at night). If you prefer and are comfortable with the idea, scrying outside can be to your favor, giving you a more effective session.


Becoming an experienced scryer can take some time. Remember to be patient and practice. It’s only then that you’ll become a master at scrying. You should always have an intention prior to scrying. For instance, you may be wanting to discover what’s holding you back from being successful or where your anxiousness is coming from.

We hope this guide has helped you not only obtain a better understanding of scrying but learn about different forms you can use to develop your skills and ability as a scryer. Remember that what works for one person, may not work for you. You need to go with the forms of scrying that appeal to you and feel right.

Related Content:

alissa monroe

Alissa Monroe is a self-proclaimed “psychic junkie” with over 10 years of experience in the world of psychics, tarot, and spirituality. Her goal is to help people find happiness through spiritual enlightenment and self-discovery.