Archive for the ‘Scrying and Divination’ Category

I’m presently reading a book called Dreaming the Future by one of my most favorite writers, Clifford Pickover. In this book he drums up some ancient symbol codes, one of runes and another of Enochian characters, which he invites the reader to crack. He casually quips that no one has yet been able to break the secret Enochian code.

Interestingly enough, somebody who checked the book out of the library before me was able to crack it. Scratched in pencil above the odd feathery language (which was used in the 17th century by John Dee, a famous scientist, mathematician,  astrologer, and divination extraordinaire, to commune with the angels) was the decoded message:

This is a secret code in the Enochian language. I hope you like it and enjoy reading these words. My name is Cliff Pickover. I wish you a productive and pleasant day.

I don’t know exactly why, but this is very exciting, and perhaps a touch foreboding, to me. Who had this book? Who deciphered the code? Is Pickover joking and it’s really not that hard to decipher? Was it a fluke?  Or is it possible that some spiritual being checked this book out before me and filled in the informative and encouraging message from the author? I’ll never know.

I’ve always been drawn to the occult. As a youngster I loved nothing better than a sleepover and a midnight round of “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” during which someone would hypnotize a volunteer by rubbing her temples (don’t ask me, we just made it up) and invite the ghasts from the cemetery to come round and help us lift her spirit stiffened and lightened body into the air with just two fingers. Shivers run down my spine now, just as invigoratingly as they did twenty years ago, upon remembering our successes.

Then there was the Ouija board. Oh come on, you know you had you some serious Ouija experience. Admit it. My BFFs and I called forth the spirit of a little boy with the initials of something or other (can’t remember) who was killed in a car crash with his parents…(shudder). And there was the great phone-ringing-with-nobody-on-the-line experience of 92′ to think about.

All this is a long segue into divination thinkings. Up next: John Dee (briefly mentioned above), necromancer. (It’s not as bad as it sounds. It just means communing with dead people.)


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(painting by John William Waterhouse)

Scrying, according to Wikipedia:

(also called crystal gazing, crystal seeing, seeing, or peeping) is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and more rarely for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. The media used are most commonly reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals, stones, glass, mirrors, water, fire, or smoke.

I was into scrying for a little bit, several months ago. First I read a book from the library, then I went online, then I considered buying a $60 scrying mirror. (After all, how can one properly read the omens if one hasn’t the proper materials? Oh, it was lovely…mahogany wood with a very dramatic black lens…) After a few days of obsessive compulsive ebay checking, I did a little wallet scrying and decided to buy my divination tool from Goodwill. It was a brown bowl, which drew a heckle or two from my loving partner. (“It’s a bowl for doing what?” [bemused face] “Seriously?”).

I had read that different tools work better for different mediums, so there was also a wooden pictureless picture frame, into which I placed a carefully measured piece of black felt.

For several weeks I went upstairs after supper and took deep breaths, burned incense, and stared meaningfully into my bowl, which was half filled with water, and looked for images. Naked ladies, faces, caravans, I had the book at my side and was ready to translate the images into helpful interventions. Nothing appeared.

So then I bought some different incense (the special kind that you put on the special burning charcoal thingie) and got out the picture frame to see if maybe it was that the bowl was just not my kind of speculum. I stared intently into the felt blackness, night after night. Nothing appeared there either.

I gave up after a while and now we use the “scrying bowl” as the “special cereal bowl.” It’s just the perfect size and color for cereal. But worry not, all was not lost. I took away a few important and extra dramatic ideas.

1. I still believe in scrying, even if I didn’t have the patience to see anything.

2. People have been divining things for thousands of years, across thousands of continents. Why would they do that, if nobody was ever successful at it?

3. You can scry with eggs and fingernails. That’s just neat.

I’m planning to do a little series on divination over the next week or so. You know what they say…those who can’t do, inspire others. Or something anyway.

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