Crystal Balls - Tools of Witchcraft

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Crystal Balls
Tools of Witchcraft

Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century images of witches and fortune-tellers often portrayed them gazing into a crystal ball. The image has somewhat fallen out of fashion but crystal balls remain potent magical tools.

They are used for divination (scrying), for spirit-summoning and for shamanic communication with other realms. A crystal ball is exactly what it sounds like: a round globe formed from crystal. The crystal ball of the stereotype is a clear ball; however crystal balls also come in colors. The crucial element is that it is a smooth surface into which the user may scry: i.e., one gazes into the crystal ball until one sees images, whether in the ball itself or one’s mind’s eye.

Crystal balls derive from the ancient tradition of lunar gazing, either gazing directly at the moon or into a basin of water into which the moon reflects. Thus they are associated with the feminine, lunar element of water.

Crystal balls are less popular than tarot cards or runes for two reasons: a fine crystal ball is an investment. They are not cheap and so inaccessible to many. Crystal balls can also be more difficult to master than cards or runes and hence more frustrating: scrying is an entirely intuitive, shamanic process. A beginner can read tarot cards, instructional guidebook in hand. This is not the case with a crystal ball. One may gaze into a crystal ball for weeks, months or even years before images dependably appear.

Traditionally, crystal balls are kept covered when not in use. They are cleansed using incense smoke or by careful cleansing with magical washes, usually herb-infused spring water or spring water to which flower essences have been added.