Divination with the Crystal Ball


Without a doubt one of the most recognized objects in the world of divination, magic, and even the realm of fantasy, are crystal balls. Crystals and minerals, in and of themselves, have always had a strong esoteric relationship. Crystallomancy is the art of divination through crystals, which can be a ball, a mirror, a precious gem, or any mineral, as long as it is faceted or polished, that is, it can reflect. That is why some methods in which you divine through a piece of jewelry, such as a pendant or a ring, are also valid. However, over time it was distinguished from catoptromancy, divination by means of mirrors.

In the crystal ball, not only the properties attributed to each mineral are united, but also the spherical, symbolic shape, which also allows the play of lights and shapes to make recognizable different figures on which this type of divination is based. Its use comes from ancient times, although there is dispute about whether it is a European, African or Asian practice, since there are testimonies of the use of transparent or semi-transparent minerals and figures for divination purposes on practically all continents. What we can say is that it has become the quintessential symbol of the medieval magician, and it is not surprising, given precisely the cultural fusion of that time.

Origins and legends of crystal balls

One of the most widespread legends, although not the oldest, says that a German priest from the 16th century discovered a mirror where the devil showed him treasures that were only reachable on the other side, and it is said that he disappeared through of him, deceived by the devil. We have, however, previous testimonies, such as those from some Greek temples where incubatio (sleeping in the temple to have revelations in dreams) took place along with other oracular rites, such as the observation of one's own reflection in water or in mirrors in poorly illuminated areas, allowing the divinities to manifest themselves through that other world. In Rome there was the orbuculum, a small crystal ball used by fortune tellers, but also as entertainment among the upper classes.

However, the idea of demons enclosed in objects is much more popular in the Arab world, with the djinn, the geniuses, so it is suspected that the side that considers that inside polished crystals there are spirits that reveal the future has its origins. origin in Asia and Africa. However, some studies suggest that European crystal balls come from the Celtic world, where certain stones had special energy, value and symbolism in themselves, as living entities of nature.

John Dee, the British astrologer, curiously used mirrors and obsidian spheres to contact angelic spirits, so it can be confirmed that the general idea of being the habitat of spiritual entities was still present. However, previously in Asia and Europe in the Modern Age, it was considered that the "presence" of the ball was not a spirit or demon, but an energy typical of the corresponding mineral, which did not eliminate the formulas of addressing to it, that is, to ask the questions out loud, so that whatever is considered to be attached to the power of the crystal ball, is manifested and answered clearly.

Materials and use of the crystal ball.

Glass balls can be made of various materials, and are not necessarily transparent. Really, the importance of the ball is that it is clean and polished, just as occurs with the use of mantic mirrors. For this reason, although the preference is the transparent ball, quartz, jade or obsidian spheres can be found, used not only for divination, but also enhancing the magical qualities attributed to them in specific contexts, such as consultations (to the ball or with another method, but with the presence of the same) on money with a jade or citrine ball, or on love with a quartz or red agate ball.

In ancient times, especially in Europe, beryl was highly valued for making crystal balls, since it not only served this purpose, but also had many other esoteric values. The most well-known and common crystal ball today is made of crystal, rock crystal or glass. Its main characteristic is its transparency, which allows you to play with lights and shadows. There are fortune tellers who use the ball as a simple starting point or refuge for their abilities, that is, the ball is a tool of concentration or trance, but they consider that their psychic ability is independent, and they obtain the visions naturally.

The rest, or at least the majority of psychics who use crystal balls, use a method that combines observation with setting. The objective is to create an environment in which the glass, due to refraction and reflection, shows optical effects, commonly known as clouds.

A common action before beginning the divination ritual, and one that we have seen represented a thousand times in literature, painting or cinema, is the act of placing one's hands on the ball, or performing a series of gestures surrounding it. This, on the one hand, is a consecration, a "salute" to the ball, by the person who is going to use it. On the other hand, these gestures are said to "warm up" the ball, and they also serve to see, as a result of the movements, the shapes that are shown through the glass.

The interpretation of the images shown by the ball differs depending on the fortune teller, since we have those who consider the clear identification of an image (either in the crystal or through clairvoyance) and those who interpret the movements that can be seen. To this we would have to add the setting: a mat, candles, some other esoteric or decorative object, and even take into account the support of the ball (wood, metal, glass...)

Yes or no messages in the crystal ball:

When looking at the ball, as a general rule, four rotating movements of clouds can be identified: up to the left, down to the left, up to the right and down to the right. The absence of any of these would indicate the need for greater precision in the question asked.

Visualizing upward movement is always considered a yes, or at least positive. Now, it is considered better or more powerful if it occurs on the right side, and less powerful if it is seen on the left side.

The visualization of a downward movement of any of these clouds would have a negative meaning, and therefore would be a no. Likewise, if it occurred on the left side it would be a resounding no, while if it occurred on the right side, it would be a no with certain nuances that would soften it.

Crystal Ball Picture Messages

The figures or clouds can be divided into different groups, almost infinite if we take into account that each fortune teller has their own divination systems. But even so, we can find some keys and similarities that serve to explain in this article how common patterns continue to be found with other mancies.

The images that can be identified are infinite, suggested by both similarity and possible pareidolia. Therefore, the symbolism that emerges from them has an interpretation similar to that found in tea or coffee grounds (see Taseomancy) or even the interpretation of dreams. There will be symbols with clearer meanings than others (skulls and bad black birds, good flowers and stars, etc.) and that are linked by pure tradition to the work, the emotional, the economic...

Within these clouds or spots we also find chromatic symbolism, which it shares with chromotherapy or with the messages of candle rituals. To what extent the displayable colors depend on the colors chosen for the environment (the mat, the objects surrounding the ball, or even the clothing of a person on the other side of the sphere), is an aspect that It must be taken into account, both for the study and for those who dedicate themselves to this field without manipulative pretensions. Thus, red is love and passion, but also blood. Black is bad, white is good. Green is positive for health and money, and yellow can have economic meaning or illness. Orange is joy, violet spirituality...

Finally, and also in relation to other areas of divination, especially with tasseomancy, the area anterior or posterior, left or right where the message appears will indicate the time in which what the message indicates occurs.

If the figures or messages appear in the anterior part, the event will take place soon, or its effects will be noticed soon, while if they appear in the posterior part, the phenomenon will take some time to occur. Likewise, the left will be a more negative side and the right, with more positive connotations.

Mentalism and other uses:

Claude Conlin (1880-1954) was a mentalist who repopularized the image of the crystal ball as an esoteric element. Dressed in oriental clothing that evoked that Hindu and Persian mysticism that so attracted the Western world at that time, he used the ball as a means of divination, achieving, despite the business, that the spiritualist facets of magic also included religion and psychology. At that time, it is known that astrology and divination accompanied many important figures of the early 20th century, such as Nixon or the Nazi occultists. It should be said that the crystal ball of fortune teller Jeane Dixon, who is supposed to have predicted the murder of J.F. Kennedy, was auctioned as his main tool.

Despite its popularity both in fiction and in real life, it is incredible to see how the crystal ball is currently not statistically the most used element in divination, but is far behind the tarot, runes, the pendulum or oneiromancy, tools that, on the other hand, may seem simpler, although they also contain enormous symbolism.

In fact, in this disconnection from the practice, another use for the crystal ball has even emerged, that of a meditation and healing tool. Focusing on energetic, healing properties, etc. As especially Eastern culture indicates about crystals, the user of the ball concentrates his gaze and his thoughts on the sphere or the reflection, concentrating on his objective or leaving his mind blank, considering that the energies flow between the two. Touch, temperature and breathing also influence here. There are those who exhale their breath on the ball, creating a mist (which is also sometimes interpreted) that interrelates the user with the ball. Likewise, the ball is used to visualize objectives and projects.

And finally, mention a small group of practitioners who use the crystal ball through a method of self-hypnosis, as a mixture of traditional observation mixed with meditation. Its function can be divinatory or simply a tool to achieve some type of trance with various purposes (regression to a past life, blank mind, astral travel, change of plane...). In any case, on this occasion the glass must be transparent or polished enough to be reflected in it, since the images and their rhythm of movement or appearance will promote hypnosis. Curiously, this is also the only form of consultation that preferably requires the presence of an assistant or assistant, both to induce and remove the consultant and the diviner from their experience.

Pietro V. Carracedo Ahumada - pietrocarracedo@gmail.com


-Andrews, T. Crystal Balls & Crystal Bowls: Tools for Ancient Scrying & Modern Seership.

Llewellyn Worldwide, 1994

-Flores Arroyuelo, F.J., Diccionario de supersticiones y creencias populares. Alianza editorial, Madrid, 2005.

-Tondriau, J. Diccionario de las ciencas ocultas. Edaf: la Tabla Esmeralda, Madrid, 1985

Related Posts:

>John Dee (1527 – ca 1609)

>The Wicca Altar and ritual tools

>Walpurgis Night and Beltane Rituals

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional.