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A Course in Scrying
Several folks have sent messages asking me to post some instructions on learning to
skry. Since doing the job right will take a while, I'm going to do it in sections, as I
have the time. Here's a rough outline of what needs to be covered, IMO:
2. Creating a "Refuge" or "Sacred Space"
- General considerations
- Establishing the space
- Establishing your "astral" body in the space
- The "surprise me" technique
- The "magick mirror"
3. Testing your visions
4. Applying these skills to Enochian magick.
For some parts of this I can adapt things I've already written for other contexts; for
other parts, I'll be starting from scratch, and may need a few iterations before I have
something I feel comfortable posting. So the posts in the series are likely to be erratic.
No one should hesitate to ask questions if anything isn't clear; I know my prose gets
cumbersome at times.
Credit Where Credit Is Due department: Following a programmer's maxim
-- "Steal only from the best." -- much of what I'll say in this and following
parts is shamelessly stolen from my memories of a course taught by the Fellowship of the
Inner Light, a group based in Virginia Beach, VA in the mid-to-late 70's. The founder of
the group has since died, and I haven't the faintest idea if they are still in business.
But if you find the opportunity to take their "Inner Light Consciousness"
course, or even to acquire the manuals for the course, it is well worth the trouble. While
not labeled as such, it is an introduction to all the things a beginning magician needs to
know but which nobody ever tells them.
1. Preliminary Considerations
To start with, the reader should understand that scrying is as much a learned skill as
is reading or ice skating. Persistent practice is necessary to teach the nervous system
how to do it, even where the person has some innate talent. And as with other learned
skills, there is a "learning curve". At first there will be a long period when
you don't seem to be making any significant progress. Then things will suddenly fall
together and your practice will improve markedly in a short period before leveling off
again at something close to your highest level of skill.
It is best to expect a learning period of at least several months; don't expect quick
results. It is likely that you will have occasional sessions where things work much better
than usual. Don't be too encouraged by these, as it is likely you will fall back to a
lower level in the next session. When an improvement lasts for a week or more, you are
justified in judging it a genuine advance.
Before getting to skrying techniques as such, I want to discuss the various kinds of
distractions that can cause trouble for beginners, and suggest some solutions.
Distractions can be generally classified in three types:
- Physical distractions. E.g., itches, muscle aches and twitches, etc.
- External distractions. House and street noises, other residents of your home, etc.
- Mental distractions. The internal "chatter" that we are all prone to.
Four of the traditional practices of yoga are intended to reduce and eliminate such
distractions. Asana and (to a small extent) pranayama deal with physical distractions;
pratyahara with external distractions, and dharana with mental distractions. These
high-discipline practices are more than most people will need for our current purposes;
perfection isn't necessary, just something "good enough". But those who find
they do need more than the simple techniques described here may wish to look into them.
Traditional asana practice seeks to eliminate physical distractions by training the
body to remain in a single posture for long periods of time. The muscles are trained to
maintain a state of tension such that the body remains locked into the chosen posture. The
lack of movement reduces the intensity of the body's sensory signals to the brain. That is
to say, repetitive, unchanging signals are completely processed at the pre-conscious level
and are never brought to the attention of the conscious mind. Unfortunately, the
traditional practice usually produces extreme pain for a long period before the muscles
are trained to a given posture.
The same effect can be produced without the painful intermediate stage by achieving a
state of profound physical relaxation. The nervous system doesn't care why it is getting
repetitive signals from the body, but only that it is so. Lack of movement engendered by
relaxation is just as good at producing such signals as is lack of movement produced by
The practitioner should begin by choosing a comfortable posture that can be maintained
without muscular tension. A sitting posture is recommended over a supine position, since
relaxing while lying down easily leads to sleep. I preferred to sit cross-legged on a bed,
with my back supported by a pillow against the wall. A high-backed easy-chair is as good.
All that matters is that you can be perfectly relaxed in the position without falling
A certain type of breathing can help promote relaxation. Take a deep gulp of air
through your mouth, breathing from the belly; don't strain to take in the maximum. Hold it
as long as comfortable, and then release it, allowing the weight of your ribs and the
natural tension of your diaphragm to push the air out of your lungs without forcing it.
Relax for a moment at the end of the breath. Repeat for one minute, or until you start to
feel dizzy. You will find that as you release the breath, all your muscles have a tendency
to loosen. (This type of breathing is, perhaps not coincidentally, identical to the way
one tokes a joint of marijuana.)
Once you are comfortable and have done the breathing, begin to work at relaxing each
muscle in your body individually. Start with the scalp and face, and work your way down
the body, working outwards from the spine at each level. Complete relaxation of any muscle
will be accompanied by a pleasant "melting" sensation; try to make your whole
body feel as if it has melted into a puddle of warm pudding.
By the time you have reached your feet, you will probably find that your face and scalp
muscles have tensed up again, just from your concentration on the task. Start again at the
top and work your way down, repeating as often as needed to get to a state of complete
relaxation. When the physical relaxation is complete, try to extend it to the inside of
your head as well, letting your awareness float in a warm internal glow.
While this exercise is simple and easily mastered, it is very important. Most of the
other forms of distraction practitioners encounter are accompanied by tension reactions in
some part of the body. An extreme example is the "startle" reaction, in which
some small noise triggers a state of high alert in your body; your heart suddenly jumps
and increases its rate of beating, and every muscle in the body suddenly tenses. The parts
of the mind responsible for these reactions and distractions are often not directly
accessible to consciousness; but since body and mind influence each other, you can begin
to subvert and eliminate the reactions by eliminating their physical manifestations.
The other aspect of controlling distractions is to understand the nature of the human
mind. Each of us is not a single being, but a multitude. Our minds are composed of many
"sub-minds", each with its own special functions. Some of these (the visual
sub-minds, for instance) are so intimately connected with our consciousness that we never
notice their functioning unless something goes seriously wrong. Others act with greater
But while they are not accessible in the same way that, e.g., the language forming
parts of the mind are, there is communication back and forth between them, and between
them and the conscious mind. The conscious self, the part of the mind which calls itself
"I", is supposed to function as a mediator, arbiter, synthesizer and director
between these other aspects of our being. Its function is to take the results of their
work, compare and evaluate them, make use of them to act in the world, and direct their
future work on the basis of the results obtained. When there are conflicts between
different sub-minds, the conscious self is supposed to "keep the peace" by
balancing their respective needs and viewpoints.
Unfortunately, human evolution is not yet at the point where the consciousness
automatically functions in the best way possible. The capability for it to do so is there,
but it requires training and experience to develop its proper relationship to the other
sub-minds. Lacking that training, we too often end up acting as censors and tyrants rather
than mediators, suppressing troublesome messages from these parts rather than dealing with
them. And as often as they are suppressed, they leak up through some other channel,
producing distractions and what Crowley called "breaks" in one's practice.
The key to permanently relieving both physical and mental distractions is to deal with
them in the right way, _immediately_ as you become aware that they are occurring. You have
to re-condition yourself into the desired response while the distracting sensations or
thoughts are still present in your mind, and the physical tensions are still in your body.
The sub-minds aren't particularly time-conscious; they understand what is happening
"now" much better than events in the past or future.
Once you have achieved a state of physical relaxation, try just sitting in the relaxed
state, with your mind not focused on any particular thing and with no intention of doing
anything else for a while. It is a sure bet that after a few minutes, some part of your
mind will take the opportunity to bring its own concerns to the surface, and you will
start talking to yourself mentally about whatever it is concerned with.
As soon as you realize you are following some line of thought, stop and assess your
body's state. Do the relaxation exercises until you are back in a completely relaxed
condition. Then imagine that you are extending that relaxation to the part of your mind
that brought up the thoughts you were thinking; imagine that part enveloped and permeated
by a warm, melting glow, while simultaneously you talk to it, telling it: "Relax, be
still, there is nothing you need to do right now." Successful relaxation of a
sub-mind through this procedure will produce a sensation of a sudden, mildly pleasurable
energy-release in some part of your brain, sometimes accompanied by a sensation of
It is likely that by the time you get one sub-mind quieted -- or even while you are
still working on it -- another part will pop up with a different thought-train. Keep
working on the first instance and ignore the new one. Don't be concerned if you don't get
to everything that comes along during this practice; the things you miss are certain to
show up again at a later time. Do one thing at a time and don't jump around. If you forget
what you are doing somewhere in the middle of things, just start over with the relaxation
exercises, and unfocusing your attention.
This same technique can be applied to external disturbances. The only difference is
that when telling the disturbed sub-mind to relax, you tell it that the noise or other
distraction is unimportant and not worth attention.
The Fellowship of the Inner Light teaches a slight variation on this method, which some
people may prefer. They use a particular biblical (?) phrase when speaking to the
sub-minds; it is almost a mantra in their version of this practice. The phrase is:
"Be still, and know that I Am god." The intent of this usage is to consciously
and deliberately assert the conscious self's rightful place as director and
decision-maker, while at the same time acknowledging the existence of the sub-minds as
And rather than just sitting with one's attention unfocused, they prefer that the
practitioner use a mantra: "Eheieh", meaning "I am", the highest name
of God in the Hebrew cabala. The mantra should be spoken internally, in a relaxed and
casual manner; i.e., whenever the practitioner happens to think of it, rather than in
steady repetition. I personally find that the use of a mantra tends to produce tensions
rather than alleviate them, but this may not be the case for others.
Continued use of this simple practice will, over time, result in a profound reduction
in the amount of verbal "noise" your mind produces, and make it substantially
easier to concentrate on the visual images of the "magickal space" techniques to
be described in the next section. You don't have to be proficient at this before going on
to create a magickal space; the two efforts can be done in parallel, with each reinforcing
2. Creating a magickal space
The foundation of all magickal work is the imagination. The part of the mind that
creates images serves as a meeting ground between the conscious mind, the unconscious
parts of our being, and the magickal universe at large. Visual symbols are the primary
means by which meaning is communicated in the magickal worlds. The more flexible you make
your imagination, the more effective your magickal work can be.
The best exercise I know of for developing the imagination is called "creating a
refuge" or "creating a magickal space". The Vietnam veteran from whom I
first learned it said that the U.S. Army Special Forces taught it to him as a means of
maintaining a sense of privacy, personal integrity, and personal space under conditions --
as in Viet Cong POW camps -- where these things would be deliberately denied to him by his
enemies. When I encountered the Fellowship of the Inner Light a few years later, I found
that they were teaching essentially the same technique for purposes of self-mastery and
Once you become practiced in the method it requires no special physical place; it is
completely "portable" and can be done anywhere you can sit and relax for a
moment. I have used it effectively in many "un-magickal" environments; e.g., a
crowded government office, a busy commercial hotel, and in the middle of the Las Vegas
The basic idea is very simple. You make up an imaginary world that you would enjoy
being in, and then you imagine yourself walking around in this world. Not much different,
in principle, than what people do in any ordinary daydream. But here the idea is to work
for consistency, so that it appears the same every time you enter it, and to continually
add details to it. With practice and familiarity, this imaginary world will begin to take
on a sense of being a "real" place; not real in the same way as the physical
world, but having a permanence about it nonetheless.
For purposes of illustration, I am going to describe one of my own magickal spaces, one
which I no longer use. It is important to understand that at every step, the images you
use should be those that feel right to _you_; this is to be your own private space and its
contents should always come out of yourself and be meaningful to you. Your space may
resemble mine in some aspects; if so, that is all right. More likely it will not, and that
too is perfectly appropriate.
The steps described here should be done sequentially, but you do not have to be perfect
at any step before going on to the next. Right from the beginning, you can work on several
steps in a single session. However, in any given session most of your attention should be
given to the earliest steps in whatever group you are working on. As each step becomes
more familiar it will take less practice to reach a satisfactory level and you can
naturally give more attention to the next.
A. Establish the boundaries
Until your magickal space is well-established, you should begin every session by
affirming its invulnerability. Imagine that your space is invisible to any being but
yourself, and is impenetrable by any force or person without your express, conscious
permission. Think up an image of your space's boundaries that reflects these ideas. I
imagine my magickal spaces as "pocket universes" that, seen from the outside,
are so tiny as to be lost in the immensity of our own universe; seen from inside, they are
as big as I want or need them to be. Other people I know of imagine theirs as surrounded
by an adamantine shell, or by a science-fiction force field that "bends" all
forces so that they bypass it.
Once you have the boundary of your space established, imagine yourself inside it. As
you enter into it, feel all the pressures and demands of your daily life being locked out
behind you, unable to follow you in. Imagine that they became completely disconnected from
you at the moment you entered your space. They are not trying to force their way in; they
can not even sense your space or yourself inside it and are drifting away without anything
to attach themselves to. Feel yourself to be totally safe, totally free of any connection
to the mundane world.
This matter of feeling safe is very important. As in the relaxation exercises, the
feelings you generate are the way you tell the unconscious parts of yourself, the
"sub-minds", what to believe and how to act. As far as they are concerned, what
you feel is what is real; tell them something often enough, and they will begin to
cooperate in making it so, to an extent you could not manage with your conscious
resources. If you feel safe and free from pressure in your magickal space, then in a short
time you will actually _be_ safe and free there.
B. Create the landscape.
Once you have established a secure space, take some time to think about the general
layout of your world. Decide on the major features of the landscape, what sorts of
buildings or other structures you want. Make a mental "map" of the areas in your
world that you will want to visit most often. Once you decide on these major features,
they should not change.
A few ground rules for inventing your world:
-- You should keep the contents of your world absolutely private. Do not speak of them
to anyone, and do not write them down anywhere. This first world is going to be your
secret refuge and workplace, and much of its protection comes from no one knowing what it
is like. Once you have the technique down, you can build other magickal spaces for public
-- Make your world much bigger than you could maintain by conscious use of your
imagination. Create as many detailed areas as you want, but surround these with regions
whose landscape is only known in a general way, and whose specific content is unknown.
These allow room for expansion, and for the "surprise me" exercises later on in
-- Make the world a place where you feel comfortable and safe, so that it reinforces
the impressions established in the previous step, and make it a place where you can have
-- You can populate your world if you wish, but DO NOT, under any circumstances, use
images of living people in your world. For some time, all of the contents of your world
will be a reflection of yourself in one way or another. There is a possibility that images
of people will be "taken over" by some unconscious part of your mind as a
vehicle of expression. If you use images of real people, the behavior of the image may
carry over into your relationships with the real person, with ill effect.
Begin to build your world by picking one location within your "map" of it,
and imagine yourself standing at that spot. Fix the relationships between various
landmarks in your mind, and see them surrounding you at the proper angles and distances.
Fill in the details to the degree that you would actually be able to see if you were
standing at a similar spot in the real world.
For example, one of my magickal spaces has a landscape of hills and ravines covered by
a thick forest like pre-colonial America. The central area contains a rather utilitarian
castle on a low bluff overlooking a large river meadow. A small tame river meanders along
one edge of the meadow. Various outbuildings and special-purpose areas are dispersed in
clearings in the nearby forest.
I began to build this world by imagining myself standing in the meadow, looking north.
I can see the green grasses, small colorful wildflowers, and an occasional cowpie nearby.
Animal paths wander about, and a more direct human-made path goes from the bluff to the
river. The bluff appears to be made of a flaky granite, and the castle is right on the
brink of it; a couple of winters' worth of erosion to the bluff might undermine the
nearest wall. I can only see all of one castle wall from this position, and part of
another; I can just barely see the top of a tower above the wall. All of the walls are
made of dressed gray stone without mortar. Below the castle a tunnel or gate is cut into
the bluff at the meadow level.
Turning to the east, I see that the bluff gradually reduces in height towards the
south, coming down to the meadow somewhat south of my current position. I can see the end
of a dirt road where it curves off the bluff and into the meadow. More forest rising
behind the road implies that the ground beyond is higher. I know from my "map"
that there is an area of grassland a mile or two in that direction.
Looking south I see that the river continues in that direction, and passes through a
cut in the hills several miles away. Sunlight glares off the entire length of the river in
that direction, and a haze prevents me from seeing anything beyond the gap.
Looking west, I see that the river is fairly shallow at this point; small ripples cover
its surface as if it were flowing over a gravel bar. The forest beyond it is edged with
undergrowth, mostly honeysuckle bushes, which has been tramped down in places as if by
animals coming for water. Paths leading into the forest quickly disappear into the shadows
of the trees.
You do not need to fill in all the details of the scene consciously; in fact, it is
better to encourage your imagination fill in many of the details by itself. Give it the
general outline and let it show you what you should see in such a location. E.g., instead
of trying to imagine each blade of grass and wildflower in the meadow, I would let my
unconscious do so. If I liked what it did, I would send it a feeling of approval; if I
didn't like it, I would tell it to try again, and turn away for a moment to let it change
Once you have the view from a particular location fixed fairly well, move to other
nearby locations -- twenty to thirty yards away, for outdoor locations -- and imagine what
things would look like from this new position. What does the changed perspective reveal
that was hidden before? What was unseen from the previous location that can be seen now?
(Note that perspective in magickal space is never quite the same as it is in the physical
world, though the difference is hard to quantify; you will not be able to make things
appear in precisely the way you see natural objects.)
Keep moving to new locations and build up an image of the scene as it would be seen at
each one, until you have a good sense of the place as an actual "space". In the
example space, I spent some time going to various positions in the meadow, noting that
less of the castle was visible close to the bluff, more of it from farther away; noting
the colored gravel in the riverbed, and how it made a ford across the river, etc. Then I
went up to the castle and looked outward from positions on every side of it, seeing the
wider landscape, filling in the positions of various known places in the forest, deciding
how far the grasslands extended behind the castle, and so on. Do this for your own space.
When you have established the perspective from several locations, try moving smoothly
between them, with the parallax of the surroundings changing continuously, as it does when
you move about in the physical world.
At first you will find that your vision of your world has a tendency to
"withdraw" from the scene; your imagination will try to view it as if seen
through a window, or on a movie screen, or like a tableau in a museum. Whenever you notice
this has happened, firmly place your viewpoint back inside the scene, and fix it there by
turning and looking at what is in every direction around you.
Also at first, your world will tend to be still and tableau-like, a frozen image. Once
you have the appearance of things fairly well established, try bringing some action into
the scenes. Let grass and tree limbs be blown by breezes, and hear the sounds the wind
makes. Watch water move and hear the sounds it makes. Add some living creatures to the
landscape and let them move around in ways appropriate to their natures.
It is also important that you stay relaxed throughout the exercise; doing this work
should be like a relaxing daydream, not requiring fixed concentration and alertness. Do
the relaxation exercise before starting each session, and do it again if you find yourself
getting tense at any time during the session. Let your mind do as much of the work as it
can without conscious decisions on your part, and encourage it to do more.
You should spend at least several weeks on this exercise, and as much more as you want.
Take your time, relax, and give as much work as you need to filling in the details in all
the important locations in your world. Indoor locations should be given as much time as
the general landscape. The more thoroughly you do the work in these early stages, the more
effective your scrying will be later.
C. Establish a body in the magickal space
The final step in the basic process of creating a magickal space is to create a body
for yourself within that space. Up to this point in the exercises, you have been pretty
much a naked viewpoint, seeing the world but not interacting with it to any great extent.
Now you need to build up an image of your body within the space, and learn to use it. To
do this, you need to develop a conscious awareness of the sensory surface of your body and
of its kinesthetics, and duplicate these in an "astral" body. Judging from
accounts by students at the Fellowship of the Inner Light, this part of the work gives
people the most difficulty, and people will have widely varying degrees of success in it.
Before entering your magickal space, stand up and relax, preferably without any clothes
or jewelry. Close your eyes and put your attention onto your skin. Even without anything
touching you, you should be able to feel a sense of activity or sensitivity in your skin,
a "readiness to feel". Note the way your body's shape is outlined by the skin
Next, plan out some series of movements that will move every part of your body in turn,
through most of its range of movement. Tai Chi or Yoga exercises are good for this if you
know them. Still keeping your eyes closed, go through the movements and note how each part
of your body feels in different positions, and note what your kinesthetic sense tells you
about the positioning of your limbs as you move.
Finally, do the same sequence again with your eyes open. This time pay attention to the
way what you see of your body changes as you go through the movements. Pay particular
attention to your hands and arms. Try to consciously associate the image of your body with
the sensations you get as you move.
Each of these three steps focuses on one of the major aspects of your body image: your
sense of the body's boundaries, its internal sensations, and its appearance to your eyes
as you interact with your surroundings. Under normal conditions, these sensations are
half-unconscious, and are always secondary to whatever activity you are engaged in. You
need to be aware of them consciously in order to build yourself a second body inside your
magickal space. If you wish, you can do these exercises separately from your practice in
your space, until you are ready to make your magickal body.
Once you are ready, sit down and go through the relaxation exercises, and enter your
magickal space. Once there try to feel as if you have a body in the magickal space that
feels exactly like your physical body, but is completely separate from the physical. Go
through the three steps in your imagination, and try to duplicate all the sensations you
had while doing them physically. By doing this you will, over time, gradually build up a
perception of your "astral body" as a distinct entity, within and a part of your
After finishing this exercise in each session in your magickal space, spend some time
just moving around your world, touching and manipulating things as if they were physical
objects. Things you touch should give sensations appropriate to their nature; bricks and
stone should feel hard and rough; metals should feel cool, with textures appropriate to
their shape; wood should feel warm and grainy, etc.
If you have rituals that you do on a daily basis (and haven't already started doing
them in your magickal space) create a dedicated place in your magickal space for ritual
work and begin doing them there as part of this practice. The regular, repetitive
movements of ritual work will serve to reinforce your body image, and doing the rituals
will begin to turn your space from a mere refuge into something useful for your magickal
work. In particular, I would recommend practicing the Golden Dawn's pentagram and hexagram
rituals; these will be important later, as a means of testing the visions you obtain when
you start scrying.
The most common problem people encounter in this part of the work is maintaining a
consistent shape for their body. They find that even after long practice their head and
arms will remain reasonably well-defined, but the rest of their imaginary body has a
tendency to blur into amorphousness. This is a reflection of the relative density of
nerves in the physical body. Eighty percent of our sensory and kinesthetic nerves are in
the head and hands; half of the remainder are in the upper chest, shoulders and arms. Our
perception of the rest of the body is substantially more vague, and depends as much on
sight as on direct sensory connections. When one tries to build an astral body, the mind
tends give each part of it a size proportional to the relative nerve densities.
This is really not so bad. You don't need legs in the magickal space, since you are
moving yourself around by your volition rather than by pushing yourself with muscles. You
_do_ need arms and hands to do the gestures of magickal rituals, and lips and jaws to
speak the words. If you find that after some practice you can't maintain a full body
image, don't worry about it; just get by with what you do have, and imagine the rest of
your body concealed by a robe or other loose garment.
The second problem people have is that their physical body twitches or moves when they
try to move their magickal body. They unconsciously tense up the physical body, trying to
"lock" it so that it won't follow along with the magickal body. This is a matter
of lifelong habit, of associating the sensations of movement with the volitional act of
moving your muscles. One has to disassociate the sensations from the volition, and another
simple exercise will help.
In your magickal space, imagine you are standing with your arms held out in front of
you, palms facing downwards. Now imagine that you are turning them so that the palms face
upwards, but that you are turning them _entirely with your eyes_. That is, you see them
turning over, and feel the sensations of the changed position, but you don't involve the
part of your mind that moves the muscles. You should _see_ your arms move without willing
them to move. (In fact, you are directing your will through your visual centers instead of
your muscles, but it should not seem like you are willing it, at first.)
The first few times you do this, your physical arms are almost certain to tense up into
rigidity. When you notice this happening, stop and do the relaxation exercises until your
body is loose again, and then go back to trying to move your magickal hands again.
Once you succeed in turning your astral hands over without tensing your physical hands,
you should try moving the fingers individually. Curl each one over onto the palm, and
straighten it out again. Again, do the relaxation exercise whenever your physical body
tenses up. When you succeed in moving the individual fingers without tensing up, try
various coordinated movements: clenching your fists, grasping objects, karate chops,
Vulcan greeting-gestures, and so on.
The hands are the hardest part of the magickal body to separate from the physical,
because a major portion of our nervous systems go into controlling their movement. Once
you have managed to dissociate movement of your magickal and physical hands, the rest of
your body will be very easy, and can be done with similar exercises, if necessary.
3. Putting your magickal space to work
By the time you have worked the exercises in the previous sections for a few months,
you will have established a solid foundation for all your future magickal work.
Practically every magickal and meditation technique you will ever encounter is a variation
or extension of the skills you have learned in building your magickal space.
Every person will have a different level of "peak performance" with these
techniques. Only a rare few are able to enter wholly into the magickal space, and become
entirely unconscious of their physical body; for these people, the end result of this work
is indistinguishable from the classical descriptions of astral projection. Most people
will find that a certain portion of their awareness remains "outside", and that
the intensity of the sensations they have never attains the brightness and clarity of
normal perception. I fall at the low end of this latter category myself; in my visions,
colors are more implied than they are perceived directly, and most of the time I need to
focus intently to perceive fine details.
Being able to put all of your awareness into the magickal space is not necessarily an
advantage. What matters more is that you make the best use of the level of skill you do
have. It is the meaning you can extract from your experiences, the insights you gain into
yourself and the world, and the uses to which you can put them, that count the most.
Bright and glorious visions are nothing, if they have no useful content or if your
awareness and understanding are not (gradually but permanently) expanded thereby.
Having established the basics, in the following sections we are going to look at
various exercises, all of which are forms of "scrying". Before going into the
details, we need to consider -- in a general way -- the nature of the things a person
experiences while scrying.
Dreams, it is often said, are the realm of symbols; the same is true of scrying. But
while the symbols of dreams are usually expressions of processes happening below the
conscious level of awareness, the symbols seen in scrying are often (in an ideal world,
always) the expression of processes and events occurring _above_ the level at which
consciousness resides. They are the lowest and most readily apprehended aspect of
processes that the consciousness can not yet completely encompass. In a sense, the symbols
you see are no more than anchor points; a convenient means by which your awareness is
given a connection to something coming from outside its current scope.
The form of the symbol does not necessarily bear any direct relation to the nature of
that to which you are being connected. Some symbols -- such as the Greek gods or the
cabalist's Tree of Life -- have forms that directly reflect some aspect of the inner
reality. Others have connections that are largely a matter of convention; they relate to
particular aspects of the inner reality only because we habitually use them in such a way.
The cabalistic color attributes are in this category. And others yet are seized upon to
serve the needs of the moment, and have no particular meaning outside the context of the
vision in which they occur.
But in all these cases, when a symbol is seen in a vision it has a direct connection to
some magickal power, archetype, thought-form or entity. In order to get the greatest
benefit out of your scrying, you must continually attempt to sense _beyond_ the symbol, to
extend your awareness along the path it provides and apprehend that which it embodies.
Accomplishing this is a delicate task. The relaxation exercises described previously
again become important, this time the portion of them dealing with quieting the mind. This
is important in two ways: first, because the mind's internal chatter will tend to
overshadow and conceal that which is being communicated through the symbol, and second,
because active parts of the mind will attempt to twist the meaning of the symbol to fit
with their own preconceptions.
This is especially the case where the practitioner has personal desires that relate to
the information being conveyed, or where the person's self-image feels threatened. If your
conception of yourself is dependent on a particular world-view and the information does
not accord with that view, it will be almost impossible for you to see it clearly.
To reduce the possibility of this happening, you should also work consciously to
develop a mental state of unattachment towards the content of your visions, a deliberate
disregard for any personal significance they contain, and a deliberate refusal to evaluate
the contents for truth or falsity. Critical evaluation of the results of a scrying session
is definitely necessary, but the time for that evaluation is _after_ the session is
completed. While the work is proceeding, you should seek to be in a perfect state of
suspended judgment; neither believing nor disbelieving anything that you see or sense,
simply seeking to receive the symbols and their attached meanings precisely as they
When using scrying techniques in magickal work, you are always trying to penetrate
unknown "territory". Any work that can result in a spiritual advance will be, by
definition, at least partly outside the scope of your current perspective and
understanding. Like anything truly new, it takes the mind a while to adjust and be able to
see it clearly. Further, the meanings behind any symbol can have many different levels; it
may take a long time for these to "soak in" to your awareness, and the final
significance may be very different from the first, superficial appearances. In my own
work, it has sometimes taken up to a year and a half, with repeated exposures, before I
fully comprehended what I was being shown. Thus, no evaluation you make should ever be so
definite that you cannot change it; all meanings should be tentative until they have been
repeatedly reinforced by additional experiences.
I cannot give any assurance as to the manner in which the meanings attached to a symbol
will appear to a particular person. I do not have enough information from other people to
characterize any particular way as "typical". In my own case, they come in two
or three ways, depending on the amount of power I have managed to invoke and how high
above my normal level of consciousness I have managed to raise my awareness.
Usually, they appear as groups of thoughts or associations that appear simultaneously
in my mind with the words spoken by some entity, providing a detailed context for the
words; it is as if the thoughts out of which the entity produced the words were being
transmitted along with the words. If I am looking at a visual symbol rather than hearing
words, then they appear as sudden detailed "realizations" of what the symbol is
intended to represent, which appear instantly in my awareness.
Less frequently, the hidden meaning of symbols appears as an entire storyline, a long
series of events that appear in the mind as if some part of myself had been taken away,
taken on a long tour through magickal spaces, and was then returned to the exact moment in
time from which it had left. The complete tour is instantly "remembered" as it
happened, even though for my conscious awareness, no time at all has passed.
In the rarest case, the meaning appears to my awareness as a tightly-bound packet of
mystical energy, which sits in my mind and gradually "unravels" itself into
words, images, and meanings over a period ranging from minutes to weeks. These
"packets" seem to be some magickal equivalent of books. Their content usually
does not seem to be directed at the particular person receiving them, but rather at some
general audience; and the content is often radically different from the perspectives and
ideas the seer would normally be interested in.
You should not take these as being the only ways in which the meanings behind symbols
can present themselves to you; you may find that some other means is more typical for you.
But if you do happen to receive information in any of these ways, you can feel confident
that you have had some success in this matter.
The Magickal Mystery Tour
The first scrying technique is very simple, and can be very entertaining. The results
you get with this method can range from silly to sublime, from inconsequential to
important, depending on the conditions of the moment. This method lets you acquire a feel
for the ways in which your unconscious mind symbolizes things, and gives it some practice
in doing so in a non-critical situation.
Enter your magickal space and re-affirm your safety there, using the method previously
described. Then go to some familiar outdoor location in your space, and look around to
establish your bearings and the relative positions of the other familiar regions.
Having done this, imagine that these familiar territories are surrounded by vast areas
about which you know nothing as yet, in which anything at all might be happening at any
given moment. Decide that you are going to take a walk and look around some part of those
areas. Then look around you again, pick a direction, and start walking. As you move out of
your familiar areas, don't try to imagine that you will find any particular features in
the landscape, and don't try to look for any particular thing. Let the your imagination
fill in the features of the areas you pass through without interference.
Move around in the wilderness until you find some interesting item. It might be an
interesting natural feature, an object, a building, a person or animal. Examine the object
or explore the building, remembering that everything unusual has some sort of meaning in a
magickal space. If nothing clear comes to you, move along in the direction you were going.
Sometimes it happens that several locations in sequence tell a story that isn't clear
until you have been to all of them; other times, the first locations you come to simply
aren't very important.
Talk to a person or animal as if they existed independently of yourself; treat them
with the respect and politeness you would give to any stranger you encounter in an
isolated place; try to maintain a friendly and unthreatening attitude no matter what the
being does, and remember that since all this is taking place in your private world, you
are perfectly safe. Don't try to script their actions, just let them speak and act
spontaneously. Asking a person you meet to tell you about himself and what he is doing
will nearly always get a positive response.
If the person does not acknowledge your presence, or does not respond to your queries,
then watch what they are doing for a time, until you don't see any point in continuing to
do so. Then move on to another location. If they do respond, when you have run out of
questions then ask them if there is anything else interesting to see in the neighborhood,
and follow any directions they might give you.
Usually such explorations will tell you something about yourself, your life-situation,
or your current magickal environment. It will all be in symbolic form, of course; the
obvious meaning of the events won't always be their deepest significance. But once you
understand the symbolism, the results usually turn out to be something useful or
interesting, though not always important.
This method is particularly good for those times when you know something important is
going on in the magickal side of your life, but you can't tell what it is. It is also very
good for any situation where you aren't certain what questions you should be asking. To
use the method in such a way, hold the idea that you need information or answers in your
mind while you are picking the direction for your tour, and try to sense the direction in
which the answers lie; there will always be such a direction. Then go in that direction
and continue finding interesting things until you feel like you have received all of the
answer; this will usually manifest as a sense of relief or a reduction in some
vaguely-sensed pressure. Then consider the things you have seen in relation to your
current situation; the meanings they contain will usually provide essential clues you
The Magick Mirror
The next method is very close to a "classical" scrying method, save that the
appurtenances are astral rather than physical. The method is capable of endless
variations, of which only a few will be described.
Pick a convenient location within your magickal space. If you intend to scry in
conjunction with invocations of magickal forces, a temple or magickal workroom would be
the best place; otherwise, any place where you feel most comfortable and secure.
In that place, imagine a frame, as for a large mirror. This should be at least your own
height, and of a width such that all of it can be in your field of vision at the same
time. Now imagine that this frame contains a sheet of glass. But rather than being a
silvered mirror the glass appears to contain a deep, transparent blackness; as if behind
the glass were a void of indefinite extent.
You can get an idea of the correct appearance -- and construct a physical magick mirror
at the same time -- by taking a piece of half-silvered or quarter-silvered glass (from a
scientific supply house) and laying it on a piece of good-quality black velvet. Look into
this under very low illumination and it will seem to have an indefinite depth; that is, it
will seem to have depth, but you will be unable to tell exactly how deep it is.
You should at the same time imagine, and _feel_ a total confidence, that the answer to
anything you look for will appear to you in this mirror. Don't get bogged down in _how_
the mirror does this, simply generate an emotional confidence that it works.
The basic use of this mirror is fairly simple. You hold the thought of what you want to
know about in your mind, and then you imagine that the mirror is "tuning in" to
that thought, using the thought to make a connection to some place where the answer can be
found. Once you feel that the mirror is tuned, release the thought and wait in mental
silence for images to arise out of the darkness of the mirror. And as with the
"mystery tour" technique, the images will be accompanied by meanings that you
will be able to "hear" or sense in your mind.
There are several variations on the basic method for different purposes. Once you get
accustomed to the basic method, you can make use of those described or invent your own. As
you come to be familiar with the method, your own intuition will become a better guide to
its use than any "official" technique; do not be afraid to experiment.
For psychometry, hold an object in your (physical) hand, and imagine that there is a
link between it and the mirror. Then look to the mirror to reflect the
"impressions" contained in the object. If it is an object that is connected by
use to some person, you must specify that it is impressions of the person that you want,
not impressions of the object itself; otherwise you may get some odd results. For example,
I once tried to psychometrize a flint knife-blade, and got a geological history of the
stratum from which the flint had come. It's connections to its rocky origins were stronger
than its connections to the persons who had made and used it, and these came across most
You can also "psychometrize" a person -- give them a "life reading"
or answer specific questions -- by holding their hands and looking to your magickal mirror
to reflect impressions you get from their spirit. This is more difficult, takes more
practice, and works best when you have no personal relationship with the person in
question. It should _never_ be done with people with whom you have an emotional
entanglement of any sort.
To get basic ideas and meanings related to visual symbols, imagine the symbol drawn on
the face of the mirror in glowing lines. Then imagine that you are pushing the symbol into
the mirror, so that it recedes in the distance and eventually vanishes from sight. Sending
the symbol into the mirror "tunes it in"; wait in mental silence for images to
arise, and these will bear in some way on the symbol.
Magickal invocations can be used to enhance the power of the mirror. As an example, you
might want to explore the nature of the element of Fire. You could begin by performing the
Lesser Pentagram ritual to banish extraneous influences, directing that the banishing
include the mirror. Then you could use the Greater Pentagram ritual to invoke the element
of Fire. When you have a strong sense of the element's force being present, direct that
force into the mirror, simultaneously imagining that the force is not only tuning the
mirror to the element, but is also charging it up and clearing the channels so that the
mirror works with its best effect. Or alternately, you could request that the archangel or
angel of the element appear to you in the mirror and answer your questions.
With any of these methods, the images you get will at first be vague and static. But
with practice the images will sharpen, expand and become active, presenting whole
landscapes and long storylines that dramatically present the answers you are seeking. The
mirror will seem to become a window opening on the part of the astral plane that relates
to your search.
Once you achieve this, the mirror can be used as a "gate", an opening through
which you can travel directly to the plane being viewed, to experience events there
first-hand. From the standpoint of initiatory magick, this is the preferred mode of
operation, since it immerses your consciousness in the power you are exploring. Immersion
increases the potential for real and lasting changes in awareness and enhances your power
to achieve insights and realizations from the power.
To convert the mirror to a gate, imagine that the image in the mirror becomes
three-dimensional, as if you were actually looking through a window at a real place
instead of just seeing a picture of it. Then imagine that the glass of the mirror
dissolves and vanishes while the image in the mirror remains in place. Or if it is easier
for your mind, imagine that the glass is in fact a hinged window in a frame, and open the
You will usually find that unless your being is totally in tune with the force you have
invoked, you will have some difficulty passing through the frame and into the world on the
other side. The Golden Dawn's "Sign of the Enterer" will help to overcome the
resistance. Stand just short of arm's length from the gate; raise your arms directly above
your head, and then bring them down and forward with the fingers straight, while at the
same time taking a step forward. Alternately, pull your hands back so that they are close
to your body at shoulder level, and then extend your arms sharply forward while taking the
step. Imagine that these gestures are punching a hole in whatever is resisting your entry,
and that the momentum of your forward movement is carrying you through the gate and into
the world beyond. If you still feel resistance once you are through the gate, repeat the
Once you are though the gate, look around and make note of everything you see. Start
with the major features of the landscape, then focus in on the details. If you have
invoked the power correctly, you should see objects and events that reflect parts of the
It is good practice to test the world you enter, and any beings you encounter, to
ensure that they are in fact related to the power you invoked, and are of a good nature.
The means of testing will be discussed in detail in the next installment of this series.
If you find that you have difficulty turning the mirror into a gate, or that the mirror
won't give you images of complete landscapes and storylines, a variation on the magickal
practice of "pathworking" will help. The practice as described below is halfway
between scrying a simple symbol and doing a freeform exploration of an invoked force, and
will thus assist in the transition between them.
The term "pathworking" is used for several different practices, ranging from
simple meditations through programmed visualizations to visions and astral travel. What
they all have in common is the use of symbols traditionally associated with the
"paths" of the Tree of Life, e.g., the Tarot trumps. These symbols have been in
use for long enough that stable regions reflecting their power have been established in
the inner planes. By using the symbols in these practices the person connects to those
regions and can learn something of the realities behind the symbols.
1. Pick a visual symbol for the path you want to explore. Tarot cards are good starting
points. The cartoon-like images of the Rider or Wang decks are preferable to detailed
images like Crowley's deck; the bright, flat colors of these cards encourage your
imagination to fill in the blanks. We'll use the Rider deck's "Fool" card as an
2. Review what you know about the correspondences of the card. Read what your available
sources have to say about the card. Then go on to some unconnected activity for a while
and let your unconscious absorb the information; let it make its own connections and
conclusions without any effort by your conscious self.
Using the example card, what comes immediately to my mind: The Fool is generally
attributed to the element of Air and the path of Aleph. In the Golden Dawn version of the
Tree, the path of Aleph connects Kether with Chokmah. In Achad's version of the Tree, it
connects Malkuth with Yesod. The Fool is a primal form of Air, more cosmic and less
"earthy" than the Tarot suit of Swords. In the cabala, it represents both the
"mind" or "intellect" aspect of being, and the Yetziratic,
"formative", or "Son" aspect of the IHVH sequence. In the Enochian
elemental sequence it represents the creative Ideal manifested by the divine, which is the
basis for further development and full manifestation through the other elements. In the
structure of the planet Earth, it is the atmosphere which lies between the spirit-aspect
of the planet's magnetosphere and the water-aspect of the oceans. And so on.
3. Study the card and note the details, and also note any connections that come to
mind. Consider the figure in the card; what does his/her posture, gestures, expression,
etc. say about his attitude and emotional state? Where does his attention seem focused?
Try to get some idea of the type of personality being expressed.
Ex: The cliff on which the Fools stands seems to be colored using three of the Malkuth
colors: black, olive, and russet. The Fool's boots are citrine, completing the foursome.
The mountains in the background are in a Yesodic violet, with snowy tops reflecting the
light of the Sun, which is colored in Kether's white. The sky, dominant in the picture, is
an Airy yellow, slightly darker than the citrine of his boots.
The Fool's outer garment is green with ivy patterns, reminding me of the Green Man of
Celtic mythology and Malkuth again. The lining is red, reminiscent of both Fire and the
sexual energy of Mars. There are wheels embroidered on the garment, which brings to mind
another card, The Wheel of Fortune, attributed to Jupiter, who is Lord of the Air. There
are also Fleur-de-Lys on the garment, which are either Lilies (Malkuth, according to
Crowley) or Irises (Yesodic by color and shape).
His inner garment is white, again suggesting Kether. A feather is mounted at the front
of his hat, and its shape suggests the Uraeus serpent of Egyptian costume, or the feather
of Maat. He carries a rose in his left hand and a staff with a bag at the end (rather
phallic) in his right.
The Fool's head is bent back, his eyes focused on something in the distance that only
he can see. His posture is somewhat pretentiously "sensitive", the sort that you
would see the French Sun-King use in one of his dances. Overall he reminds me of a
Galliard poet of the 13th century, a noble's over-educated younger son, wandering and
pretending to be a minstrel while eschewing mundane tasks. He is about to walk over a
cliff. The dog at his heels seems either playful or trying to call his attention to his
You don't have to go into such detail as in the example; if you are just starting out
in magick, you probably won't have the resources to do it. The important thing is to note
the details, and try and interpret the figure's expression and posture, and the acts in
which he seems to be engaged.
These first three steps are preparatory, and should be done before beginning the main
part of the practices. Once you have done them, let the information float in your
unconscious for a few hours or a day while you do other things. The idea is to gently
focus the unconscious on the subject matter, and to let it absorb the information and
ideas without your conscious interference. This makes it more willing to participate in
the practices, and enhances its ability to make connections with the magickal region
behind the card.
4. Sit down and do the relaxation exercises, as described in the earlier section.
5. Place the card in front of you so that you can look at it without straining your
eyes or changing your relaxed position. Look at the card without deliberately focusing on
any one point; let your eyes move from point to point within the picture in their normal
6. Now enter your magickal space and get your awareness firmly established there. Go to
the place where your magick mirror is located and stand where you can view it head-on.
Imagine the image from the Tarot card in the mirror, so that it completely fills the
frame. Then look at the landscape in the picture; think of what it would look like if it
were real and not just a cartoon image. Try to see the image as a three-dimensional world
behind the glass of the mirror. Think about the parts of the landscape that are hidden
beyond the window frame and fill them in. Keep the colors more or less the same, but fill
in the details; build up a picture as if that world were a real place that you can see.
Feel free to incorporate details of real places you have seen in your life. (But DON'T use
real people as models for the figures.)
Ex: The mountains in the Fool card remind me of the Swiss Alps, violet-tinted rock with
permanent snow-cover at their summits. I fill in the picture with the appropriate details
of ravines, rockslides, etc. The cliff on which the fool stands looks to me as if it is
some sort of moss-covered granite, and the sharpness of the drop suggests that it was
carved out by a glacier. The same glacier would have carved a deep, rounded valley below,
and I imagine it being there, with fields of grass and copses of pine and fir trees,
perhaps with the rooftops of a village small in the distance.
The Fool is walking towards the window, so there must be a trail down into the valley
hidden behind the outcrop. I imagine a trail following a curve upwards around the end of
the valley to end at the outcrop. I imagine this outcrop is on the side of a mountain the
summit of which is somewhere to the right of the visible area.
7. Next, imagine that you have jumped through the window frame and are standing in the
world you have been looking at, but at some moment in time just before the living figures
of the card appeared on the scene. Don't try to move through the mirror, just make an
instant transition to the place you just imagined. If you have to, build the landscape up
again from scratch, but with you inside it.
Turn around and look at the surroundings from your new viewpoint; get a 360-degree
view, and fill in the parts of the landscape that were behind your original view through
the window. (The window, incidentally, should not be visible.) Imagine what your other
senses would tell you if you were in a similar physical location, and add those in to your
impressions of this place.
Ex: Looking back towards the window's position I note that the mountains get lower in
that direction, and gradually fall off into rolling farmlands in the far distance. A large
lake (like Lake Lucern or Geneva) can be seen just at the edge of visibility. I can see
the mountain on whose side I stand, and can see directly the path I had previously
imagined behind the outcrop. This path comes up to my current position, then curves around
the mountain and up to a pass in the middle distance. Looking down into the valley below,
I see that there are light clouds between me and the village, giving the impression that I
am in a world above the normal world. I can feel and hear the wind blowing around me, and
there are faint scents of pine, grass, and flinty rock in the air, as well as an ozone
freshness. Faint sounds of human activity come from the village.
8. Spend some time getting the scene and your viewpoint firmly in your imagination.
Don't worry if details change or shift, and don't expend any effort trying to change them
back. Just get the major outlines and positions firm and let the small detail change as it
will. Think of how places look in your regular daydreams; often there is very little
detail, and what detail there is is more often understood to be there rather than actually
seen. As you continue the practice over weeks or months, your unconscious will gradually
learn to fill them in and keep them steady without conscious effort.
9. The next step is in some ways the most difficult, and in some ways the easiest. We
have all had daydreams in which we invented face-saving dialogs for some embarrassing past
occurrence in our life, and others in which we imagined the events and interactions we
would like to see happen in some future meeting, or in some situation we would like to be
in but cannot attain in the mundane world. What you do in this step is basically the same.
The only difference is that you shouldn't have any particular desire to control what the
other characters say, but instead want to see what they say of themselves.
What you want to do is imagine a scenario by which the Tarot card's person arrives at
the location where you are standing, and begins to converse with you. Using our example,
you could think that you hear someone singing in the distance behind you. You turn and
look down the trail, and see the fool climbing it, followed by his dog. He sings a cheery
tune as he walks. As he comes close enough to hear you, you call out and wave to him; he
looks up and waves back. He comes closer and steps onto the escarpment where you stand. He
smiles and walks to the edge of the cliff, looking outwards. He stretches his arms and
takes a deep breath of the fresh mountain air, and for a moment he is posed in exactly the
way he is shown on the Tarot card. Then he turns to you and asks, "Where away,
The idea behind this is to give your unconscious mind a credible reason for believing
you to be in a situation where you can talk to the card's character. The part of your
unconscious that touches the imagination doesn't believe in hypothetical situations; to
it, things are either real or they aren't, but anything that is reasonably consistent will
be accepted as real. This part of your unconscious mind plays the character's part while
your conscious mind plays yourself. This same part reaches out into other parts of your
minds and into the magickal realms and pulls in information to use in building it's
9. Now that the character is present, you can ask him questions about himself, the
various symbols of his clothing and appurtenances, and about the environment in which you
find yourselves. Always act as if the character were a real person, independent of
yourself. Treat him with the respect of equals; never act superior to him, and never, ever
threaten. If he doesn't want to answer a particular question, don't press. Answer any
questions he poses honestly, to the best of your ability. But at the same time don't allow
yourself to be threatened or cowed; demand that your interactions be on a basis of
equality and nothing else.
Another thing to remember is that in this phase of the exercise there are no wrong
results, only results you don't understand. If something seems out of place with the
nature of the card, don't reject it. Simply admit that you don't understand and file it
away for later consideration. Generally you should follow along with whatever happens;
there is no way you can be hurt, so there is no reason not to do so.
10. When you start to tire, or the character indicates he has had enough, it is time to
end the exercise. Say goodbye to the character, turn and walk away until he is out of
sight. Then "jump" back through your magick mirror and turn around; see the
point you just jumped from through the mirror, even if this is not the same point that was
there at the start. Then imagine closing the mirror so that it only shows its usual deep
After leaving your magickal space again, spend a few moments focusing your attention on
various objects in your physical environment. Get up and walk around, stretch yourself,
get a drink or go to the bathroom, or some other mundane task. Then sit down again and
write down what happened during the exercise, in as much detail as you can. Note what was
said, any ideas that happened to pop into your mind, any changes in the scenery or
movements into other scenes.
It sometimes happens that unexpected things occur during this exercise. For instance,
the character might come up behind you and say hello while you are still working on the
landscape. Usually it's best to go along with these happenings rather than insist on
following the various stages in order.
Once the character appears, then the rule is to allow whatever wants to happen, as in
the "mystery tour" exercise. You should not worry much about keeping the
environs steady. The character might change the landscape to make a point, or introduce
creatures or objects. Other things might appear and disappear spontaneously. You sometimes
find yourself and the character transported to an entirely different scene. All these
things are acceptable, and should be taken in a spirit of non-judgmental interest.
Remember that the logic of visions is the logic of dreams, where such events are not at
After you have worked with this method for a week or two using various Tarot images,
try again to invoke a force using a ceremony and getting a response through your mirror.
The practice of creating landscapes in the mirror should have overcome any difficulty in
that regard. If you still have trouble, try combining the invocation with an appropriate
4. Testing your visions
It is usually a good idea to apply tests to the images you get in scrying, and to the
various beings you might encounter. The ultimate test is, of course, a critical appraisal
of the quality, consistency, and value of the results you get from your work; but that
test can only be applied after the work is done. Other methods allow you to get some sense
of whether there is something wrong at an early point in the session. You can then take
appropriate efforts to correct the problem, or if necessary end the session and save your
energy for another time.
The most reliable testing method makes use of the symbols in the Golden Dawn's Greater
Pentagram and Greater Hexagram rituals. But the effectiveness of the method requires that
you have some experience in performing those rituals, and in getting a good response from
them. If you are not already experienced in their use, you should practice using them in
your magickal space for a while before implementing this testing procedure.
A limitation of this method is that it only works where the powers being scryed are
among the traditional, conventional powers used in magick. That is, the powers are
elemental, planetary, or zodiacal in nature. Where the nature of a power is unknown, or it
is of an inherently mixed nature, other methods must be applied.
After attaining a steady image of some magickal region in your mirror, you draw the
invoking pentagram or hexagram appropriate to the power you invoked, using white lines in
the air in front of you. Vibrate the god-names of the power a couple of times, then cast
the symbol into the mirror. If the mirror is correctly "tuned" to the power, the
pentagram or hexagram will be absorbed and will either have no effect, or will cause the
image to become sharper and brighter. If the image becomes darker, becomes distorted, or
breaks up entirely, then you know that something is wrong; you should banish and start
Similarly, if you have used the mirror as a gate and entered into some region, you
should cast the appropriate symbol against any object that appears prominent in the area,
and always against any being who appears to serve as your guide. In either of these cases,
the being or object should show no effect, or should grow brighter, larger, or more solid
as a result of the contact. A false or deceptive being will shrink, or its appearance will
become distorted, or it will disappear.
No magickal being worth speaking to will ever object to being tested in this way. There
is no reason that it should, since by doing the test you are, effectively, blessing and
feeding it; few beings will pass up a free lunch. If a being attempts to convince you to
not do the tests, that in itself is a sign that something is wrong.
Note that you should always use the _invoking_ pentagram or hexagram for tests, never
the banishing versions. Using a banishing figure is the same as commanding the forces you
invoked to disperse again, nullifying your efforts.
Two secondary types of testing seem to depend in some way on the magician having an
_intent_ that they will work correctly; there is no obvious reason why they should work,
but they usually do, just the same. The first of these is the use of the G.D. grade signs;
the second is the use of the Hebrew letters of the planets.
The idea behind the use of the Grade Signs in scrying is the same as their use in
Masonic rituals and greetings. By displaying a sign to a spirit you encounter, you claim a
right to the "secrets" of that grade and its corresponding element. The spirit
should answer back by repeating the sign, thus showing that it is also qualified to deal
with the secrets of that grade. (Illustrations of the Grade Signs can be found in most
published versions of Crowley's Liber O, and in Regardie's The Golden Dawn.)
If a spirit can perform the appropriate sign for the invoked element, this indicates
that your vision is on-track. If the spirit cannot perform it, performs it improperly, or
its form becomes distorted, this is an indication that something is wrong. However, it is
not necessarily proof that you are dealing with a deceiving spirit, particularly if the
same spirit has already passed the pentagram/hexagram test. Rather, it is more likely that
there is insufficient magickal power present for your communication to be clear. The best
course is to vibrate the divine names for the power you are invoking several times, and
then repeat the signs again. Only if the spirit is still unable to perform the signs
correctly should you end the session.
The exchanging of signs also contains an implicit agreement between you and the spirit
being tested. That is, by doing this you are agreeing to deal with the spirit on a basis
of equality and brotherhood, neither dominating that spirit nor being subject to it. You
are also acknowledging that both of you are "members of the same fraternity",
operating within the general community of workers seeking to align themselves with
"god" (or with divinity in whatever form you conceive of it). You should never
try to exchange signs with a being you know is not within that community, or with which
you must maintain a position of dominance -- e.g., a demon or a true
"elemental". Conversely, you should never try to dominate a spirit with whom you
have exchanged signs; assume instead that it will assist you willingly and without
coercion, and treat it with the same respect that you would wish it to give you.
It sometimes happens that in answering your sign, the spirit will add other signs after
repeating the one you used. This is an indication that the spirit is of a mixed elemental
nature, or is intrinsically of a higher "grade" than that at which you are
working. As an example of the first case, if you were invoking an angel from one of the
Lesser Angles of the Enochian Tablet of Earth, you would perform the sign of Set. The
angel would be expected to respond with the same sign, but if it were an angel of the
Lesser Angle of Fire, it might add the sign of Fire (the goddess Thoum-aesch-Neith) as
well. As an example of the latter case, a Senior from the Earth Tablet might add the LVX
signs after the sign of Set.
The LVX signs are a special case. Their use indicates that the spirit is aligned with
the divinity, is of a "good" character; but does not test for any particular
elemental or planetary nature. They should be used in conjunction with the appropriate
hexagrams for testing spirits related to the planets or zodiac, or in any case where the
benevolence of the spirit is in doubt. All of the Enochian angels will be able to perform
these signs, as will any Hebrew-system archangel.
There are no Grade Signs specifically associated with the planets in the Golden Dawn
system; one must make do with the LVX signs, and these are usually sufficient. However,
those who wish to assemble a set of elegant and effective planetary gestures for testing
spirits should consult Planetary Magick by Melitta Denning and Osborn Phillips.
The final form of testing is, in my opinion, the least reliable. I do not use it
myself, preferring to trust my own judgment. But I note it for those who might wish to
experiment with it.
The Golden Dawn adepts acknowledged that in this sort of work there is always a danger
that the visions one sees will not be a true reflection of the forces invoked, but may
rather be constructions or projections of the seer's own mind and emotions. They
classified these projections according to an association with the planets:
||Saturn (as Time)
||Wheel of Fortune
|Vanity or ego
The theory is that if you suspect that one of these factors may be influencing your
vision, you can project an image of the corresponding Hebrew letter or Tarot Trump into
the scene. It will cause the scene to darken, diminish, or disappear if the scene is in
fact the sort of projection you suspect it to be.
My personal feeling is that introducing extraneous powers into a vision in this way
will cause more problems than they will solve. As well, it seems to me that invocation of
a force related to a type of projection would tend to enhance the projection rather than
eliminating it. However, this may not be the case for you; try it if you wish and see if
5. Scrying with the Enochian Magick
There are several considerations for Enochian magick work that do not apply to scrying
using other systems.
The first of these is the unquestionable power of the Calls and the divine and angelic
names. As Crowley once said, other systems require effort; Enochian magick requires
caution. While the power built up in any one session is almost never of an unmanageable
level, some effects of the magick tend to accumulate across sessions; it is easy for an
overeager beginner to get in deeper than he expects. Added to this, the powers invoked
through the Calls seem to enter into the magician's field of awareness along some
spiritual dimension that is outside those we consider "normal"; it seems to
operate through some sort of meta-space with qualities different from those that compose
the magickal worlds to which we are accustomed.
The consequence of these factors is that any work with the magick places a certain
amount of stress on the magician's mind and body, and over-use can lead to various
stress-related forms of illness. Anyone working regularly with the magick should keep an
eye out for signs of this stress in himself. The typical symptoms are similar to those
that come from abusing methedrine or "speed": nervous exhaustion, severely
lowered immune response, inability to concentrate, hypersensitivity, hyper-reactivity,
reduced judgment, flights of ideas, and paranoia.
One time in my own career, the stress of overusing this magick combined with an equally
stressful mundane occupation to give me the worst of both the physical and mental
consequences. On the physical side, I contracted mononucleosis, effectively stopping all
my magickal work for six months or so. On the mental side, the changed viewpoint and loss
of judgment caused me to make seditious remarks to a class of Federal employees I was
training, resulting in the loss of my livelihood.
So caution is well-justified. But with a few easy, obvious precautions, these problems
can be avoided.
- Avoid using the magick at times when other parts of your life are unusually stressful.
Try to arrange your affairs so as to reduce the social and economic pressures to the
minimum level compatible with your needs.
- Get regular exercise; a healthy body handles stress better.
- Don't use recreational drugs while working with the magick. Aside from being illegal
(jail is a poor place for magickal work), all of them add to the stress on your body. Most
stimulants and sedatives also reduce your magickal sensitivity and ability to focus in
your magickal space. Hallucinogens make you _too_ sensitive, and reduce your level of
- Learn to pace yourself. When first starting out, allow a day or two between Enochian
invocations to absorb the results and "cool off". Later, when you get to the
point where you need to accumulate power over several day's worth of invocations, allow at
least as many days off after the series as you spent in doing the work. Take longer
vacations from the work every few months to keep yourself grounded.
The importance of pacing yourself cannot be overemphasized. When you begin getting
significant results from your Enochian work, it is very tempting to keep going; the
anticipation of even more amazing results drives you on. But the extra-dimensional or
meta-dimensional character of these forces allows them to influence all levels of your
being simultaneously, including many levels of which you are not consciously aware. The
cumulative effects of this influence can cascade into a dangerous level of stress before
you become aware of it. Regular intervals of rest and relaxation, and of immersion in the
everyday world, are the only sure way to avoid the problems.
Another difficulty, which bears more directly on scrying, is that the Calls allow you
to invoke a force without having any knowledge of its nature. In normal methods of
invocation, one begins with a symbol or set of symbols, and seeks by their use to bring
about the manifestation of the corresponding powers. The symbols you use define the power
to be invoked. In contrast, the Calls produce a manifestation of power regardless of
whether you comprehend their symbolic content.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that, from a perspective accustomed to the
traditional magickal powers (i.e., the elements, planets, and zodiac) the nature of the
invoked powers seems to change depending on the depth of one's penetration into their
realms. Or from another angle, the Calls and Names open up different realms, depending on
the level of existence at which you are operating. On the most superficial level, they
appear to be more or less "elemental" in nature, with an overlay related to the
functions of the angels' specific offices; but at "deeper" or "higher"
levels, this elemental aspect fades, to be replaced by a succession of increasingly
complex and inclusive expressions that may bear little or no relation to the most
Unless the magician supplies an explicit set of symbols to which the invoked powers can
be anchored, the powers will tend to remain in an indeterminate state; a sort of
"fuzzy cloud" of energy which contains all the power's potential expressions,
but which manifests none of them explicitly. A visual symbol used as an anchor causes this
indeterminacy to "collapse" into that aspect of the power which is most nearly
similar to the symbol's innate associations. The congruency between the symbol and the
invoked power does not have to be very great. It is sufficient that some small aspect of
the symbol's associations be similar to the power's; the major associations of the symbol
can be entirely inappropriate, and this collapse will still occur.
So the symbol the scryer uses will determine, in part, the initial manifestation of an
invoked Enochian power; the scryer's expectations or preconceptions of the power's nature
will also be partially determining. This accounts for the documented fact that different
magicians have produced widely varying -- sometimes even contradictory -- results using
the system. However, it is my observation that with repeated invocations and scryings, the
true nature of the invoked power will break through these initial, superficial
expressions. The longer you work with a particular Enochian power, the more closely your
results will accord with that nature, and the deeper you will penetrate into the realms to
which the power connects.
Since penetration past the sometimes-deceiving surface manifestations takes time,
orderly, methodical work habits are necessary to get the most value of your Enochian work.
The fact that invocations have a cumulative effect can be used to advantage if you plan
out your course ahead of time, and stick to it. The following suggestions will all enhance
the effectiveness of your Enochian scryings:
- For every angel or other power that you invoke, do several scrying sessions. Allow time
for a connection to be built up between you and the angel, and for your mind to become
accustomed to its power.
- Work for an extended period solely with powers from a single Tablet. Or if you are
working with the Aethyrs or the 91 Parts of the Earth, pick a set of contiguous Aethyrs or
Parts and do them sequentially.
- If you are invoking single squares of some angelic or divine name, plan to do all the
squares of that name in sequence.
- Plan out a series of invocations to investigate all the angels of a given rank within
one of the Tablets, in some logical sequence. Complete the series before working with any
other rank or Tablet. Alternately, plan out a series to investigate all the powers within
a given Lesser Angle, in order of rank.
A Magickal Space for Enochian Scrying
Since the Enochian powers are so sensitive to the visual symbols in a magickal space,
the general-purpose magickal space developed in the preceding sections of this paper is
likely to be inappropriate for Enochian work. The profusion of objects with which you have
populated the landscape would all tend to anchor the forces in unexpected or undesired
forms. A space with a more neutral visual appearance needs to be used.
A woman I once met made a habit of surveying people about the appearance of their
magickal spaces. Amusingly, nearly all the Enochian magicians she knew (most of whom did
not know the others) had chosen to build essentially identical spaces for their work. This
space might thus be considered an archetypal Enochian workplace. It consists of a broad,
gray plain, surrounded at the horizon by low hills; both plain and hills are illuminated
in a flat, sourceless light of relatively low intensity. Overhead, there is a night-sky
filled with stars. The plain is large enough that the magician always has a
previously-unused area available in which to perform a new series of invocations.
The remaining few magicians in her survey had chosen to go even further in the
direction of minimalism than this Michael Moorcock landscape. Their workspaces consisted
solely of a clear space within a gray mist, with a featureless gray floor underneath,
created ab initio for every invocation.
My feeling is that the plain has a slight advantage as a workspace. It allows for the
establishment of long-term or permanent structures, useful for advanced works in which the
invocations must be done in section, or for building a temple appropriate to a range of
Scrying Techniques for Enochian Magick
Both the "magick mirror" technique and its extension as a "gate"
work as well with Enochian powers as they will with other, more conventional magickal
powers. I would recommend that you create a new mirror in your Enochian workplace for
every series of invocations that you do, and destroy it after completing the series. Since
the Enochian powers tend to accumulate over time, this prevents residual forces from
previous works from interfering with a new work.
However, as mentioned above, it is often necessary to provide a firm visual anchor for
Enochian powers; you may find that the mirror technique is insufficiently exact, and only
gives you confused or contradictory results. If that is the case, one of the following
methods will be more effective.
The Golden Dawn devised a technique for using visualizations of truncated pyramids as
the starting point for visions of individual squares from the Tablets. This practical
method has been proven by use to be very effective, precisely because it provides a
well-defined symbolic "anchor" for the Enochian powers. I recommend this
technique for beginners, both for this reason and because it tends to focus the powers
into their most "earthly", most readily-comprehensible form.
The basic technique is to build a truncated pyramid in your magickal space. The flat
top has an area one-ninth the area of its base. The relative sizes of the top and bottom
means the sides are tilted inwards at an angle of forty-five degrees. The letter of the
square is visualized on the flat top. The sides of the pyramid are colored and labeled
with symbols and images according to a complex system of attributes.
(The G.D. system of attributes is described in detail in book 4 of Regardie's The
Golden Dawn; my own alternate system (which I believe to be a substantial
improvement over the G.D. system) is described in the papers titled "Godzilla Meets
E.T.", which can be found at: http://www.hermetic.com/browe/index.html.
The pyramid method works very well with either system.)
The pyramid is visualized as being large enough to stand on the top. Having vibrated
the appropriate Calls for the name in which the square lies, the magician then stands on
top of the pyramid in his astral body, and vibrates the hierarchy of names. As he vibrates
each name, the magician imagines the power of that name gathering around the pyramid.
When the last name is vibrated, the magician imagines that each side of the pyramid is
gathering in the attracted energy, each taking the type appropriate to its attributes and
symbols. This energy is seen moving upwards, being focused as it goes by the narrowing of
the sides. The flows of energy from the sides reach the top simultaneously, run into each
other, and form a beam of light shining up and outwards into the astral worlds, forming a
path to a region of magickal space governed by the square. The magician then follows this
beam in his astral body until a landscape or other scene forms around him. This scene
should symbolize various aspects of the square invoked. From that point, the techniques
describe earlier can be used to explore the region.
I prefer a variation of this method, in which the magician stands inside the pyramid.
When the energies traveling up the sides reach the top, they come together on the letter
and then shine downwards into the pyramid, illuminating the interior. The angel
governing the square is invoked to visible appearance within the pyramid and is tested
there. After testing, the angel conducts the magician to various scenes that illustrate
the square's nature.
Since a session using this technique only explores the power of one letter of an
angel's name, you only get a partial view of the angel's nature. To fully understand an
angel, all the letters of its name should be explored in sequence.
When you wish to invoke all of an angel's powers at once rather than a single letter,
it is more convenient to make your anchoring image something like a magickal circle, or a
talisman sufficiently large that you can stand on it. A example design for such a circle
would have the divine names superior to the given angel written around the rim of the
circle. The name of the angel being invoked would be written within the circle, oriented
so that it appears upright when you are facing in the direction in which you want the
angel to appear. If the angel is associated with a particular magickal formula (e.g.,
Kerubic angels and the INRI formula) symbols appropriate to that formula might also be
drawn within the circle.
Note that the intent of this figure is much closer in function to a talisman than to
the traditional idea of a magickal circle. It is not intended to block off its interior
from the exterior areas; you should feel free to move in and out of it at will. Nor is it
intended to "contain" the invoked force. Rather, the idea is that the charged
figure will serve to attract the attention of the appropriate being -- like putting a big
illuminated sign saying "Land Here!" next to a runway -- and will also serve to
condition the surrounding magickal space so that it reflects the nature of the invoked
Vibrate the appropriate Calls several times; then enter the magickal space and create
the circle. Vibrate the divine and angelic names, and as you feel the invoked power
arrive, direct it into the lines and letters in the circle so that they glow and
re-radiate the power to the surrounding environment. Keep vibrating the names until the
intensity of invoked power seems to level off, then vibrate only the name of the being you
wish to contact, asking it to appear before you. Vibrate the angel's name until it does
appear; then apply the tests, and ask the angel what you will.
Calling the angel to the circle is my personal preference; I would rather have the
guide take me to the place I want to go than go there first and find a guide afterwards.
The reverse may be more comfortable for you. If that is the case, you can vary the above
method by concentrating the invoked force in the circle instead of allowing it to radiate.
Then imagine that the force is creating a "gate" to the power's magickal space;
imagine the center of the circle opening up as the magick mirror did in the earlier
exercises, so that you can step directly through it into that space. Or you can imagine
that the powers form a beam of light shooting up from the circle, which you can ride to
the powers' space.
by Benjamin Rowe copyright 1997
This document was originally presented as a series of posts on the
"enochian-l" and "Praxis" lists. The contents are substantially
unchanged from those posts.