Divination is one of the most important skills that a witch can cultivate. Far beyond simply “seeing the future,” divination also allows the diviner to gain more information about the present and past. They can find lost objects, uncover secrets, and see the invisible energies impacting people or situations.
How a diviner chooses to go about this is entirely up to them — some prefer runes, some cast bones, some read tarot cards, and some enjoy scrying.
With time and concentration, the scryer will begin to see images in the surface. These can be a simple as moving smoke, or as complex as entire scenes played out as clearly as if they were on TV.
What is Water Scrying?
Water scrying is a specific method of scrying. To scry successfully, all one really requires is a flat, smooth surface. In water scrying, this surface is a pool of still water.
Most people who practice water divination use bowls, cups, and even herbal tinctures expressly dedicated to this purpose, but these aren’t a requirement. With the right conditions, it’s possible to scry in any sufficiently still, smooth pool of water — even a puddle.
How Does Water Scrying Work?
All types of scrying rely on a neurological phenomenon called the Gantzfeld effect. Gantzfeld is German for “entire field,” and refers to one’s field of vision. When the eyes are deprived of stimuli for long enough, the brain looks for some kind of visual input. When there isn’t any, it will begin to amplify neural noise to try to pick up on something.
Outside of scrying, this produces hallucinations. During a scrying session, when the scryer is attuned to seeking specific symbols or information, it produces visual effects which are interpreted in a divinatory context.
All of this is a very long way to say that scrying works by providing an empty visual field for the diviner to focus on. Since the still, unmoving scrying object doesn’t provide visual input, the diviner’s mind reaches out to look for other stimuli. This produces the images seen in the scrying object. In the case of water scrying, these images show up in the water.
This is not to say that scrying is simply hallucinating. When the brain reaches out for some kind of stimuli in the absence of visual input, it can produce an altered state of consciousness. This state is receptive to divination.
It’s also possible to use a preparation called “scrying milk.” In this case, divining with scrying milk is a bit like reading tea leaves, candle wax, or melted lead. The diviner fills a black scrying bowl with fresh water, then adds a few drops of scrying milk to it. As the drops enter the water, they produce distinct clouds. These clouds form shapes, which the diviner interprets.
Despite the name, scrying milk isn’t actually milk — it’s an alcohol-based tincture of herbs that contain compounds which aren’t soluble in water. The alcohol base dissolves these compounds into the tincture, but, as soon as the tincture touches the water, these compounds form opaque clouds. The “milk” part of the name comes from their milky appearance.
Scrying milk produces some unique shapes that tend to stay where they’re put. Since the compounds they’re made of aren’t water soluble, they don’t move much unless they’re stirred. So, a diviner might be able to observe these clouds and see a heart for love, a horseshoe for luck, or any number of other symbols.
This type of divination is fairly straightforward — while it won’t produce the same movie-like visual effects as other ways of water scrying, the shapes are hard to mistake.
Water Scrying With Harmonics
Not all methods for water scrying are visual. Since water transmits vibrations, some diviners use scrying bowls to divine with sound. Picture someone playing a tune on wine glasses — they use their fingertips and the rims of the glasses to produce a note.
In this method, the diviner adds water (usually water gathered on a full moon) to a bowl. They then moisten either their fingertips or a wand with the water, use that to stroke the rim of the bowl, and interpret the resulting hum.
Best Times for Water Scrying
Water scrying can be performed at any time, but people who have trouble connecting to the element of water may have an easier time attempting it on a full moon. According to some scryers, timing is more important when it comes to gathering the water, not the scrying itself.
Natural water taken during a full moon is best. Otherwise, you can make full moon water by allowing a jar or bowl of fresh, clean water (not tap) to sit under the light of a full moon from moonrise to just before sunrise. Keep this in a jar until it’s needed, but dispose of it before it can become stagnant or begin growing algae.
What You’ll Need for Water Scrying
To scry visually, all you need is a still water surface and enough time to enter the right state of consciousness. That said, most water scryers do prefer to have dedicated tools for this purpose. These can include:
- A bowl. Most bowls for water scrying are opaque black.
- Fresh water. Water from a natural source is best.
- A candle. Placing a candle slightly outside of the visual field helps facilitate the Ganzfeld effect.
When water scrying with harmonics, some diviners use a wand made of laurel or hazel.
See also: Check out Scrying bowls here.
Getting Started With Water Scrying
To start out with water scrying, all you really need are a still source of water and some time. Your first scrying session is almost guaranteed to be disappointing — don’t worry! The purpose of your first scrying session isn’t to watch the future play out for you, it’s just to get comfortable.
Start by formulating some goal for your scrying session. Do you have a specific question you want an answer to? When you have a goal in mind, find somewhere where you can sit comfortably with your water source about a foot in front of you.
If you can, avoid having any sources of glare or reflections strike the surface. Dim the lighting and, if you choose to use a candle, light it. (Ideally, your candle should be in a safe place where you can’t see the flame directly. The goal here is to produce a flickering source of dim lighting.)
Relax your body by lowering your shoulders and unclenching your jaw. Let your eyes fall half-lidded, and your gaze rest on the surface of the water. Don’t stare intently — just let your gaze rest naturally.
When the Ganzfeld effect starts, you may notice your vision blacking out from the edges toward the center. This is normal, as your brain diverts its attention from your eyes to other senses.
After this point, you may begin to see shapes or colors on the surface of your water. For many people, this starts out as a speck that gradually expands into a cloud of smoke.
If you have to blink, blink. You might find that blinking interrupts the Ganzfeld effect, but that’s okay. Don’t get frustrated, just relax and begin again. The more you do this, the easier it will come.
If all you see is smoke or colors, try interpreting them. What does the color mean to you, and how does it relate to your question? Some people interpret the movement of the smoke. Moving to the right is considered a “yes,” and to the left is a “no.” Write down what you saw, and your interpretation of it. Do this every time you try to scry.
Your divinatory senses are like a muscle, they get stronger with use. The more you try water scrying, and keep track of what you see and how you progress, the easier it will be and the more vivid your images will become.
There are almost as many ways to water scry as there are diviners. Some use special bowls, and some use natural bodies of water. Some see things in the water itself, and some divine with sound or scrying milk.
However you choose to try it, allow yourself to relax and take things as they come. Even if you don’t get movie-like images right away, scrying is a relaxing, rewarding experience all its own.
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