Scrying comes from the English word "descry" which means "to make out dimly" or "to reveal." It is a mode of divination practiced since ancient times with the help of a crystal lobe, a pool of water, or any transparent object. Also, it can be accomplished with water, ink, and other like substances in the divination called hydromancy.
The divinatory practitioner is known as the scryer while the practice is known as scrying. It is usually achieved by concentrating on or staring at an object having a shiny surface until a vision appears. Although the object used for scrying usually has a shiny surface, innumerable objects have been used for the practice over the centuries. The Egyptians used ink, blood and other dark liquids. The Romans used shiny objects and stones. Water has been used for gazing into. Mirrors are often used. Depending on the era the practice ranges from a simple to an elaborate form. However, the main purpose of the objects is always to induce in the clairvoyant a state of hypnosis so the seer can see visions in the crystal. There have been and are many purposes for the activity; to see into the future, to find lost objects or persons, and track criminals, among others.
Scrying is often considered the most difficult method of divination for several reasons. Unlike the Ruins or the Tarot, scrying demands that you have a working knowledge of your subconscious's symbolism and the ability to interpret those symbols reliably. Though most methods of divination lead you to look outside of yourself, scrying requires that you look within yourself to find the answers you are seeking.
There are almost as many methods of scrying as there are scryers. Some of the most famous scryers throughout history (Nostradomus, Levi) used complex methods to awaken their psychic abilities. However, anyone can learn to scry. It is all a matter of practice. If you meditate it will be much easier. If you ask a question - and place lots of energy in the answer - it will manifest one way or the other.
METHODS OF SCRYING
Here is a short summary of some of the most common techniques that can be used for scrying.
Crystal gazing -- This is the method that first come to mind when the word "scrying" is mentioned. The crystal does not have to be large. The only requirement is that the stone that is being used must be very clear and as flawless as possible. It helps if you use a crystal associated with the Moon.
Water gazing -- This method requires a large black or silver bowl. The bowl is filled with pure water (rain water or water from a natural source if at all possible). The bowl is then used in the same way as a crystal. If you are lucky enough to live near a pond, lake or ocean, you can dispense with the bowl and just use the whole body of water as a huge scrying tool.
Fire gazing -- This method often provides startling results. The energy of the fire really lends something to the visions it produces. Anything from a candle flame to a bonfire can be used. All the usual precautions should be taken, of course.
Mirror gazing -- A regular hand or wall mirror can be used. It helps if the mirror is round or oval in keeping with the lunar motif.
It is always best to scry at night, because this method of divination is closely related to the Moon and all other Lunar correspondences. If you are indoors, you should extinguish all of the lights except for one candle. The candle should be out of your line of sight when you are looking at your scrying tool. Above and behind you is a good placement. Some people prefer that the candle flame flickers, others like the flame to remain still. Experiment and see what you like.
The room should be as quiet as you can make it. If you live in an apartment or with someone else, some quiet instrumental music can be used to drown out any unwanted sounds. Don't use music with lyrics, because at the least, the lyrics might influence your visions. At the most, they might prevent you from concentrating enough to see anything.
Make sure that you will not be disturbed, and figure out a comfortable way to sit either holding your scrying tool or with it resting before you on the floor or a table.
If you are scrying on a particular subject, you might get better results if you schedule your scrying time for when the Moon is aspected favorably to the corresponding planet. Visions are always stronger around the time of the full Moon.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
A short meditation session before you begin to scry often helps to get you into the mood and release some of your tension. You must be feeling as relaxed and receptive as possible. Make sure that you are sitting as comfortably as possible. It is quite frustrating to be on the verge of perceiving something when a leg or arm falling asleep breaks your concentration.
When you look into your scrying tool, try to look past the surface and into the center of it.Try to keep your eyes fixed on one spot, but don't prevent yourself from blinking. Since you are in a dark room, the need to blink might lessen as your body relaxed, but don't try to force yourself not to. That will only cause discomfort and distraction.
Limit your sessions to a set period of time. Don't be discouraged if you can not remain focused during the entire session or if you feel the need to stop before the session is over. If you are not used to meditating, try to start out with a 15 minute session. You will be surprised to experience how long 15 minutes will see as you try to keep your mind from wandering. Ultimately, scrying sessions should last up to an hour in length. Don't set a timer or try to keep track of time. This will create a distraction and you don't want to be in the middle of a particularly vivid image when the timer goes off!
Keep in mind that though the words "vision" and "scry" almost always call to mind information that is perceived with the eyes, that this is not necessarily the case. While scrying, information can come to you via all five of the senses and also as intuitive flashes. When reviewing the information that you have perceived, take all you senses into account.
Start a scrying journal if you intend to scry on a regular basis. Date each entry, and make sure that it is close by during each scrying session. Note down all your perceptions after your session, sleep on them, and then work on interpreting them the next day. Though it is true that some visions come through so clearly that they need little interpretation, most of the time you need to meditate on your visions for a while to absorb their true meanings.
If you are familiar with another method of divination (Ruins, Tarot, Pendulum, etc.) you can use their help with interpreting the information you get from scrying. Simple one card/one ruin spreads are the best to give you an overview of your vision's meaning. Or if you are familiar with a dream interpretation spread, you can use that to help you figure it out.
Often at the beginning of a scrying session, you will start to see clouds of colors in your scrying tool. Some scryers never get past this stage. If you find this to be the case, you can interpret the colors using traditional color symbolism.