(Investigator 20, 1991 September)

Divination is the act of trying to determine the future, or other hidden information, through methods believed to be magical.

One sort of Divination is "Scrying". A Scryer reads the future in a reflective surface such as a crystal ball, mirror, liquid, oil on water, etc.

One sort of Scrying is Crystal Gazing or Crystalomancy. The basic tool for this is often a Crystal Ball.

A crystal is a solid in which the atoms are arranged in an orderly and repeated pattern. This orderly atomic arrangement gives the crystal its flat faces and regular shapes.

A ball-shaped crystal of ten or more centimeters diameter would be quite expensive. Most crystal ball gazers therefore use a glass ball and falsely call it "crystal". In ancient times precious stones such as beryl were used. The stone or "crystal" and the stand on which it rested were often inscribed with supposedly sacred symbols.

The phrase "crystal ball gazer" is sometimes applied to any sort of prophet/prognosticator whether he uses a ball or not. In that sense the phrase is applied to "psychics", astrologers, etc. It's in this broader sense that a report in The Advertiser reported on "A bad year for crystal-ball gazers". (1986 January 1)

The Advertiser article listed numerous predictions for 1985 by a number of psychics nearly all of which failed. The disconfirmed "crystal ball gazers" included Sylvia Brown (TV "psychic"), Barbara Mousalam (San Francisco), Jeane Dixon (Washington), Lou Wright (prognosticator for the National Inquirer), Micki Dahen ("psychic" in Miami), Barbara Donchess, and Ruth Rogers (Florida).

Actually every year is a bad year for such people as far as their accuracy is concerned!

The Scryer's routine includes staring into his reflective surface for some minutes. He then announces that it's becoming milky and that within the milkiness he sees images that apply to the client or the client's future.

Quite possibly the Scryer is lying. Alternatively he may actively be imagining and hallucinating. You would too if you stared long enough at nothing.

Scrying can easily seem genuine to a client if the Scryer is adept at assessing the client's reactions, speech cues, mood changes and body language.

A Scryer may also use standard character sketches that every client would be happy to apply to himself. For example: "You're a cheerful and well balanced person. Your intelligence leads some people to misunderstand you. You've been adventurous all your life and will go on a major journey in the near future." A modern Scryer could even obtain ready-made character sketches, plus experimental data on how closely different social groups see themselves in such sketches, from psychology journals.

Scrying using a cup and liquid is mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 44:5, 15. The practise therefore probably began over 4000 years ago. Jeremiah, speaking of sundry prophets wrote: "They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds." (14:14) The Law of Moses condemned all sorts of divination. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

Generally speaking, Scrying is about as useless Haruspicy – divination from the intestines of dead animals.

That's why Scrying isn't so popular any more when compared to astrology and clairvoyance. I'm not implying that these other two are any good either. But that's another story.


On this website we don't gaze into a crystal ball but at the facts: