The use of crystal balls, mirrors, quicksilver, polished steel or water surface as a means of divination, divination mirrors in literature, Roman, Hebrew, and Arabic divination, and the beliefs of Western Europe on crystal-gazing

We have evidence of the use of crystal balls as means of divination in medieval times, and "scrying" in some of its many forms was by no means rare in the Greek and Roman periods. The essential requisite for the exercise of this species of divination is a polished surface of some sort upon which the scryer shall gaze intently; for this purpose mirrors, globules of lead or quicksilver, polished steel, the surface of water, and even pools of ink, have been employed and have been found to insure quite as satisfactory results as the crystal ball. The points of light reflected from the polished surface (points de repere) serve to attract the attention of the gazer and to fix the eye until, gradually, the optic nerve becomes so fatigued that it finally ceases to transmit to the sensorium the impression made from without and begins to respond to the reflex action proceeding from the brain of the gazer. In this way the impression received from within is apparently projected and seems to come from without. It is easy to understand that the results must vary according to the idiosyncrasy of the various scryers; for everything depends upon the sensitiveness of the optic nerve. In many cases the effect of prolonged gazing upon the brilliant surface will simply produce a loss of sight, the optic nerve will be temporarily paralyzed and will as little respond to stimulation from within as from without; in other cases, however, the nerve will be only deadened as regards external impressions, while retaining sufficient activity to react against a stimulus from the brain centres. It is almost invariably stated that, prior to the appearance of the desired visions, the crystal seems to disappear and a mist rises before the gazer's eye.

The Achaians, as Pausanius relates, frequently used a mirror to divine diseases or to learn whether there was danger of sudden death. Of the Temple of Demeter, or Ceres, at Patras, he writes: (Pausaniae, "Descriptio Graeciae," ed. Schubart, vol. ii, Lipsiae, 1883.)

In front of the temple of Demeter there is a well. A stone wall separates this well from the temple, but steps lead down to it from the outside. Here there is an infallible oracle, although it does not answer all questions, but only those touching diseases. They attach a slender cord to a mirror and let it down into the well, balancing it carefully so that the water does not cover the face, but only touches the rim. Then, after making a prayer to the goddess and burning incense to her, they look into the mirror, and it shows whether the sick person will die or recover. Such is the power of truth in this water.

This sacred well with its oracle of the magic mirror must have been in Lucian's mind when, in his description of the palace of the Moon King, he says (Luciani, "Vera Historia," lib. i, 26.):

"Another wonderful thing I saw in the palace. Suspended over a rather shallow well there is a large mirror, and anyone who goes down into this well will hear every word that is spoken on earth, while, if he gazes on the mirror, he will see there every city and every nation just as clearly as though he were looking down upon them from a slight elevation. At the time I was there, I saw my native country and its inhabitants. Whether I myself was seen by them in turn, I am not sure."

Lucian adds, with a fine touch of irony, "Anyone who doubts this assertion needs only to go there himself and he will find out that I speak the truth." As no one has yet made a trip to the moon, the assertion is still uncontradicted.

In their religious legends the ancient Mexicans taught that their god Tezcatlipuco had a magic mirror in which he saw everything that happened in the world. (Balz, "Die sogenannte magische Spiegel und ihr Gebrauch"; Archiv fur Anthrop. N.S. 1904.) He was sometimes named Necocyautl, "sower of discord," because he often stirred up war and strife among men, but he was also lord of riches and prosperity, which he bestowed and took away again at his will. To the influence of this divinity were attributed many omens and certain strange visions, announced by repeated knockings. (Sahagun, "Historia general de las cosas de Nueva Espana," Mexico, 1829.)

In the Orphic poem "Lithica," a magic sphere of stone is described. The substance is called "sideritis" or "ophitis," and is said to be black, round, and heavy; possibly some metal, rather than a stone, is designated by these names. Helenus, the Trojan soothsayer, is said to have used this sphere to foretell the downfall of his native city. He fasted for twenty-one days and then wrapped the sphere in soft garments, like an infant, and offered sacrifices to it until, by the magic of his prayers, "a living soul warmed the precious substance."

A strange variety of divination by means of mirrors placed on the heads of boys, who, with eyes blindfolded, were supposed to perceive forms or signs of some description in the mirrors, is noted by Spartianus in his life of the Emperor Didius Julianus (ca. 133-193). This ruler is said to have resorted to this form of divination, and the boy entrusted with the task is asserted to have announced the approaching accession of Septimius Severus (146-211) and the dethronement of Didius Julianus. (Spartiani, "Vita Didii Juliani," cap 7.)

An indication that the usage of divination by means of a silver cup existed among the primitive Hebrews has been found in the story of Joseph and his brethren. In Genesis xliv, 1-5, we read that Joseph concealed a silver cup in the sack of grain borne away by Benjamin, making of this a pretext for requiring the return of his brethren. He sent messengers to overtake them and directed them to demand the return of the cup, using these words: "Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth?"

The Arabic author, Haly Abou Gefar, tells of a golden ball used by "the Magi, followers of Zoroaster," in their incantations. It was incrusted with celestial symbols and set with a sapphire, and one of these magicians, after attaching it to a strip of bullhide, swung it around, reciting at the same time various spells and incantations. (Reichelti, "De amuletis," Argentorati, 1676.) Probably the magician, by fixing his gaze upon the brilliant revolving sphere, gradually fell into a hypnotic trance, during which visions appeared to him. These he could afterward interpret to those who had sought his aid to read the future, or obtain information regarding things that were happening for away.

An important side-light on the beliefs of Western Europe, in the fifth century, regarding crystal-gazing, is afforded by one of the canons of the synod held about 450 A.D. by St. Patrick and the bishops Auxilius and Issernanus. Here it is decreed that my Christian who believes there is a Lamia (or witch) in the mirror is to be anathematized, and is not to be again received into the Church unless he shall have renounced this belief and shall have diligently performed the penance imposed upon him. ("Synodum episcorporum Patricii" Auxilii et Issernani," in Migne, Patr. Lat., vol. liii, Parisiis, 1865, col. 825.) In this case, as in many others, the vision in the crystal or mirror did not represent some former or contemporaneous happening, but the figure of an evil spirit, who, either by signs or words, imparted to the scryer the information he was seeking.
The power to see images of evil spirits on the surface of water was claimed by those called hydromantii in the ninth century. This is attested in a work composed about 860 A.D. by Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, who characterizes the supposed appearances as "images or deceptions of the demons." These diviners asserted that they received audible communications from the spirits, and they therefore evidently believed that the appearances were realities. (Hincmari, "Opera Omnia," in Migne, Patr. Lat., vol. cxxv, col. 7; De devortio Lotharii et Tetbergae.)

Copyright 2004 by JJKent, Inc

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Bre Geier 11:27in the evenin' Jan 24
Crystalomancy or crystal gazing

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. 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.

The crystal most favored by crystal gazers is a spherical or oval globe,
about four inches in diameter, and preferably a genuine rock-crystal. It
may be white, blue, violet, yellow,
green, opalescent, or transparent. Blue and amethyst colors are less
tiring on the eyes. Such a rock-crystal is very
expensive and is many times substituted by a sphere of glass
which renders good results.

The crystal itself must be a perfect sphere without a speck or flaw, and
traditionally based in a stand of highly polished ebony, ivory, or

In the practice, Hindus use cups of treacle or ink. Stones of pale sea
green or reddish tints have been used. Ancient crystallomancers had
precise invocations of the spirits to aid
them in elaborate rituals. The man was pure in life and religious
dispositions. In preparation for the ritual, a few days before he made
frequent ablutions, subjecting himself to
prayer and fasts.

The crystal and stand are inscribed with sacred characters as the floor
in the room where the invocation is performed be inscribed with such
characters. The room must be of
thorough cleanliness and solemn atmosphere. But, the mental attitude is
of the utmost importance in the divination,
because true faith in it is essential for success.

If the magician is assisted by one or two friends who must observe the
same rules and be guided by the same principles. The time of the
invocation is set in accordance with the positions of the heavenly
planets, and all preparations are made during the increasing of the
moon. All instruments and
accessories to be used in the ceremony--the sword, rod, and
compasses, the fire and perfume to be burned, as well as the
crystal--are consecrated or "charged" prior to the ritual.

During the procedure the magician faces the east and summons from the
crystal the spirit he desires. Magic circles which were previously
inscribed on the floor are those which the magician stands in, and it is
best for him to remain within the circles for sometime after the spirit
has been
released. No part of the ceremony must be omitted or the invocation
might incur failure.

Paracelsus and others declared the elaborate ceremonies were
unnecessary, since the magnes microscomi (the
magnetic principle in man) was clearly sufficient to achieve the desired
object. In a later period elaborate ceremonies were not completely
eliminated, but were made less imposing.

If the person for whom the ceremony is intended, is performing the
ceremony himself, has no clairvoyant faculty,
then the best choice for a substitute is a young boy or girl born out of
wedlock who is still perfectly pure and innocent. Prayers and magical
words are said prior to the ceremony along with the burning of incense
and perfume. The child's forehead may be anointed and he may wear
befitting the impressive nature of the ritual.

Some early writers describe formula prayers, known as the "Call" given
prior to the inspection of the crystal. Finally after the crystal was
"charged" it was given to the medium or clairvoyant person, The first
indication of the clairvoyant vision was a mist or cloud over the
crystal which gradually
dissipated and then the appearance came into view.

Modern crystalomancy continues using a similar procedure but the
preparations are simpler. The crystal is spherical and about the size of
an orange. It may by held with the finger and thumb of the magician, or,
if one end is flattened it may be placed on a table, or alternatively
held in the palm of the hand against the background of a black cloth.

The procedure is done in subdued light. If the divination is performed
for someone else it is recommended that the person holds the crystal in
his hands a few minute before it is
passed to the medium.

The aim of crystal gazing, as previously said, is to induce a
hypnotic state producing visionary hallucinations, the reflection of
light in the crystal forming points de repere for such hallucinations.
Thus, the value of elaborate ceremonials and impressive rituals lies in
their potential to affect the mind and imagination of the seer.

It is suggested that if telepathy operates with a greater force in a
hypnotic state then it may also function in a similar fashion with the
self-imposed hypnosis of crystal gazing.

With the help of visionary powers many incidents of crime, such as
finding missing persons and discovering missing and stolen property,
have been solved. The telepathic theory does
not seem to answer the operation of this process when the appearance of
the incident appears prior to its actual occurrence. The answer to this
mystery must be left to future
psychic research.

Though, there seems to be general agreement that the appearance is
preceded by a milky clouding of the crystal.
This clouding seems to be a picture itself. It is dependent on the
operational conditions, and not a result of strain on the scryer's eyes,
for the individual glances away for awhile the
clouding still exits when his gaze returns to the crystal.

The first pictures act as a drop-scene, the nearest allegory is
the cloud and of which, in materialization seances, phantasmal figures
emerge. The pictures to which the could gives way to may be small or
expand to the entire extent of the sphere in amazing size.

Sometimes the sphere completely disappears from the scryer's sight. The
figures and/or scene assumes life-size proportions rendering the scryer
a sense of bilocation as if he is part of the group or scene. This sense
differs from clairvoyance.

It has been discovered that the images produced by scrying are often
symbolic and the elements of choice are discernible which indicates the
presentation is provided by an exterior intelligence. Usually, however,
the pictures are either disconnected, vague images, or they are very
clear. Also, in the visionary images have been detected thought pictures
forms, dreamlike visions, forgotten, reflected memories which may give
way to representation of past, present or
future events.

From the above is should be apparent the interpretation of images
produced in scrying should be critically analyzed to determine whether
they give valid information upon which to act, or contain some figments
of the scryer's personal mental process which render the interpretation
This is why it is recommended the scryer be in good physical and mental
health in order to maintain objectivity in his interpretations. Caution
should be the keyword when acting
upon the interpretations. Even the inquirer should question his own
intentions, how eager is he to believe the

Donna Hoyt-Campbell 5:13in the evenin' Jan 24
Crystal Ball Gazing

This technique is best if done with a Crystal Ball 2-5 inches in diameter and works best on nights of the full moon.
** If the purchase a Crystal Ball is not within your budget, a bowl of water with a Quartz Crystal Cluster at the bottom will suffice. True Quartz Crystal Balls can be quite expensive. Also, never substitute a resin or glass ball since they are ineffective for anything other than children's games.
Try to Snipe one off of E-bay, I do know some readers who use the different colored crystal balls, just make sure they are Stones of the Earth.

Light one or two candles in a darkened, quiet room. You can hold the crystal or place it on a stand, but it should have a blue or black velvet cloth underneath it. Make sure that there are no reflections from anything showing in the ball. You can also burn incense if you wish. Nag Champa works great for me.

Before beginning, center yourself. Gaze into the ball, but do not stare. Try not to blink that much. While you are gazing, breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Just relax and gaze. You will feel a sense of limitless time. Enjoy the peacefulness and simply gaze. Do this for at least 15 minutes, and increase your time by 5 minutes with each succeeding session.

Usually around the second or third session, you will notice a small cloudy glow in the center of the crystal. This is your focusing area where your visions will appear. You may get a vision on your first try, while others have to attempt it several times before seeing something. Go at your own pace.

Just a small warning: Always remember the saying "Be Careful What You Wish For" while gazing. Think about what you wish to see before gazing.

On my fourth session ( when I got my first vision ) I asked to see a vision of my previous life. I saw myself in the 1920s as a ganster chick being shot, I wasn't a nice person....Now I find that it is best to just gaze and receive whatever comes to me. Perhaps you can have more peaceful visions by doing that too.

There are also different forms that visions come in. You can get actual visions of places and people, or you can get symbolic pictures. Another form that visions come in are color clouds. Although no one has been successful in identifying what each color cloud means, the following has been pretty accurate for a lot of seers.
*Blue clouds symbolize success of career or business

*Gold clouds symbolize prosperity, steady cash flow, and renewed romance to come

*Gray/Dark gray symbolize ill fortune

*Black clouds symbolize some seriously bad stuff coming one's way

*Green clouds symbolize health, happiness of the heart

*Orange clouds symbolize hidden aggression and anger, troubled emotions

*Red clouds symbolize danger to come. This person must watch themselves

*Silver clouds symbolize troublesome times ahead followed by goodness

*White clouds symbolize very good fortune to come

*Yellow clouds symbolize upcoming obstacles


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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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