“To divine is to imagine the world rightly, to see past the illusion that we are separate from the entire fabric of reality.”
– Gwendolyn Womack
The word scry means “to discover.” Specifically, scrying is a divinatory art in which a person thinks of a question while observing the surface of a mirror, crystal, lake, candle flame or something similar. She then watches for images to develop on that surface “to discover” the answer to her question.
Spirit Communications with Fire Scrying
In earlier times people believed the images within a crystal, magic mirror, or another properly prepared surface, were caused by an indwelling spirit. To contact this spirit some rather elaborate rituals developed, some of which detailed things like what type of stand and cloth to use for successful results. This concept came from an even earlier tradition called animism in which people felt all of nature housed spirits that could be called upon for aid.
Modern Wiccans are not as superstitious as our ancestors. We believe that the process of careful scrutiny helps encourage a trancelike state. From this state, a person may receive symbolic or literal pictures from the collective unconscious or the Source, depending on personal beliefs. Either way, scrying is respected as a spiritual aid for gaining insight or foresight, and it is a technique that you can learn fairly easily.
As you practice scrying over time the images, you receive become more detailed. In effect, you are re-training your mind to accept the information received in symbolic form and translate that information into images. In this case, you’ll be trying surface scrying and/or fire scrying as divination methods.
Magickal Surface Scrying
For this effort you will need a shiny, dark or mirrored surface such as:
- A polished or tumbled stone.
- The bedroom or bathroom mirror.
- A frosted light bulb (turned off).
- Gold or silver-toned round holiday ornament.
- A blank TV or computer screen.
- The side of a silver-toned toaster.
- The back of a spoon or flat of a knife.
- A dark-bottomed bowl of water.
You might want to try all of these at least once−or try all those to which you have regular access−to find which one works be for you.
Many people find the blank TV or computer screen particularly useful. While you might scoff at the idea of hovering over these like a gypsy, your mind already expects images to appear on those two surfaces. This expectation improves the probability of experiencing successful scrying sooner than you might with other media (like a spoon) where your mind does not anticipate seeing a picture.
The Basic Scrying Process
In any case, pick out one medium and set it in front of you. If using a polished stone, put it against a dark surface. Concentrate on your question. Don’t look directly at the object or surface. Instead try to look slightly beyond it, allowing your vision to blur a little. Continue breathing evenly, and watch.
What to Expect When Scrying
Most people find it takes some time and practice before they receive clear images. Instead, at first, it’s common to see wisps of colored smoke or clouds.
When pictures do appear, they can be in literal or symbolic form. Literal responses are less frequent, as these have to be nearly three-dimensional and detailed, whereas symbolic images act like the mind’s shorthand. Write down whatever you see, including the shape, color, and motion of images. Decide what each vision shape is−just as you might designate the appearance of an ink blot.
Surface Scrying Symbol and Color Interpretations
Following will be a brief list of some of the images that commonly appear and their interpretive value or meaning. Note that when a color or shape combines with movement it can change the value of that image. For example, a green cloud moving to the left could portend a financial decrease or time of scarcity. A red heart moving down could indicate decreasing passion in a relationship or lessened self-love.
- Black Images: A period of rest or possible negativity.
- Blue Images: Peace, tranquility, and reason for hope.
- Brown Images: Put down foundations before proceeding.
- Circle: The cycles in your life, either those starting or ending−alternatively, the circle of family or friends in which you travel.
- Clouds Moving Down: A decrease of some kind or “no.”
- Clouds Moving Left: A negative omen.
- Clouds Moving Right: A positive omen or “yes.”
- Clouds Moving Up: An increase or improvement, or “go ahead.”
- Cup: A lunar symbol that speaks of personal instincts and intuitive senses.
- Flame Shape: Anger or other heated emotions.
- Green Images: A bright green portends prosperity or growth; yellowish-green predicts problems caused by jealousy or an overactive ego.
- Heart: Matters of love or intense emotions.
- Knife or Scissor Shape: Something or someone being cut off from you; separation.
- Light-bulb Shaped: An idea; secrets revealed; an awakening.
- Orange Images: A positive sign; the harvest of your labors.
- Pentagram: A focus on the mystical or the need for protection.
- Purple Images: A focus on spirituality is needed or increased awareness of your leadership abilities.
- Question Mark: Uncertainty.
- Red Images: Intense feelings like anger or passion that affect the outcome of your situation.
- Rings: A forthcoming engagement or marriage announcement.
- Square: The need for stability or an improved awareness of earth.
- Star: Wishes fulfilled; an elevated status.
- Sun: A positive omen of blessing and improvements.
- Triangle: Three-way situations, for boon or bane.
- Yellow Images: Bright yellow indicates renewed creativity that brings success; mustard yellow is indicative of illness (mental or physical) that hinders progress.
If you see images or shapes during scrying other than those given here, consult a tea-leaf reading book, dream symbol key, or other similar source for ideas on interpretive values.
For this form of divination you need a fire source such as:
- A candle.
- Outdoor Fire Pit.
For safety reasons, you will also need a fireproof surface on which to put the candle or brazier. If using a candle, consider dabbing thyme oil on it to encourage psychism. If using a brazier, fireplace or grill, add a little lemongrass for a similar effect.
The Fire Scrying Process & Expectations
Once the fire is burning, use the process that you applied for surface scrying. You may see colors, shapes, and images form within the coals or flames. The fire’s tongues and the smoke generated provide additional symbols for consideration. In esoteric traditions, these responses are thought to be generated by an elemental creature called a Salamander, who lives passionately and joyfully long as the fire does.
Fire Scrying Observations & Symbolic Values
Following is a brief list of potential fire signs. For alternative values look for a good book on pyromancy.
- Blazing Suddenly: Problems on the horizon, often caused by a person unknown to you.
- Bluish Flames Throughout: The presence of spirits or a forthcoming storm (figurative or literal).
- Bright Flames that Slowly Increase: A positive omen−move forward confidently.
- Circular Sparks: Financial improvements or unexpected surprises.
- Dying Suddenly: A negative omen of something that ends before completion.
- Fire Won’t Catch: A very negative omen−do not proceed.
- Long Flame: A long period of time (weeks, months).
- Short Flame: A short period of time (hours, days).
- Singular Flame Peak: Single-mindedness aids your goal.
- Smoke, Dark and Dense: A negative omen, especially if it hovers over the fire.
- Smoke Dividing: Feeling torn between two equally appealing options or a separation of some kind.
- Smoke Moving Due East: The ability to overcome forthcoming trouble; the harvest that comes from diligent work.
- Smoke Moving Due North: Don’t continue until you’ve put foundations under your dreams or goals.
- Smoke Moving Due South: Don’t let your emotions, especially anger, rule your actions.
- Smoke Moving Due West: The ability to overcome a problem if you let your heart guide you.
- Smoke Moving Left or Down: A negative omen-proceed with caution.
- Smoke Moving Right or Up: A positive omen-move ahead with hope in your heart.
- Smoldering: Hostility and resentment cause problems.
- Split Flames: A division; a lack of unity.
- Three Flame Peaks: The need for help from friends, or to focus more on your triune being (body-mind-spirit).
- Tiny Sparks: Personal loss, often money-related.
If you have the opportunity to try fire scrying outdoors at a bonfire, all the better. The backdrop of flame becomes like a big screen TV to watch for images. As you observe, let the motion and warmth of the fire wrap you in energy, deepening your level of sensitivity to its messages.
Adapted from “Wicca 2000,” by Patricia Telesco. All Rights Reserved.