Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Scrying with the Brain Machine

I know a lot of ritual magicians who claim to be really bad scryers. This is not a new problem; John Dee worked with Edward Kelly in the sixteenth century because Kelly was a good scryer and Dee was not. It is however something of an annoying problem - many sources contend that scrying is a natural psychic ability and has little to do with magical skill and training. Indeed, over the years I have had no problem evoking spirits and sending them out to accomplish various tasks, and my track record of ritual successes is pretty good. Still, I've never really been able to see the spirits with which I am working.

That is, until a little over a week ago.

My magical working group is in the process of doing a series of Enochian rituals summoning the planetary Kings and Princes from John Dee's Heptarchia Mystica. One of our members is a pretty good scryer, but she was unable to make it that week and we decided to go ahead with the ritual anyway. I volunteered to scry, since everyone attending claimed to be equally bad at it and I figured the worst that could happen is that I wouldn't see anything and the ritual would be a failure. One of the other members of our group has a brain machine, a Nova Pro 100, and suggested that I try running one of the programs to see if it might help.

Basically, a brain machine is a device that sends flashes of light into your eyes at specific frequecies along with corresponding sounds played through headphones. Researchers have found that the brain will tend to synchronize with the information it is receiving in such a way that the right frequencies of light and sound will produce certain brainwave patterns. In accordance with the small amount of research that I've seen, it appears that receptive meditation correlates with heightened theta wave activity, whereas passive observation without heightened concentration tends to produce waves that fall into the alpha wave range. We therefore selected program R13 on the machine, which alternates between alpha and theta rhythms. We sped up the program so that it would run in half the usual time so that it would run during the opening rituals and finish up around the time I was supposed to begin scrying for the presence of the spirit, in this case Bralges, who is the Heptarchial Prince corresponding to Monday.

I didn't feel anything all that out of the ordinary as the ritual opened - when using the brain machine you really do kind of "trance out" pretty quickly, and even though I had the sound turned down low enough that I could hear everything that was going on it seemed distant and far-off after a minute or two. The room did feel a little cooler following the opening procedure, but that is a common effect with Enochian rituals and I can't really say whether it is subjective or objective since I've never kept a thermometer in the temple with me during one of these rituals. All in all, I felt pretty much the same as always except a little spacier, and I expected my results as a scryer would be the same as always... and then we got to the conjuration and I took off the glasses to scry.

The scrying mirror that we use in our rituals is a 12-inch diameter clock glass, which is normally used to cover the face of a clock. The glass is not flat, but curved with one side concave and the other convex. The convex surface is painted with black spray paint and the concave surface faces the scryer, which gives a nice shiny black surface. What I saw when I took off the glasses, however, was what looked like a black cloud across the surface of the scrying mirror. It was probably at least in part an optical effect related to the light produced by the machine, but it was also a promising sign. According to the books I've read on scrying, the "black cloud" effect is what you are supposed to see when scrying with a stone or mirror. Images then are supposed to appear out of the "cloud" once the spirit is summoned.

Unlike an optical effect, the "cloud" persisted throughout the conjuration. Then, as the members of the group began vibrating the name of the spirit something started to slowly form in the blackness that covered the mirror. I waited, letting the image solidify, and when it no longer seemed to be forming I range the bell chime to stop the chant. What I saw was not particularly dramatic, but it was a definite form resembling a set of two eyes looking at me out of the blackness. I tried moving my head from side to side and found that the "eyes" seemed to stay in the same place on the mirror, unlike visual afterimages. I also found that I was able to sense the spirit's responses to questions and report them back to the group. Essentially, I was able to scry effectively for the first time in my life, and I plan on trying it again soon.

From this experience I now think that scrying ability might simply be relatd to the ability to relax and easily go into trance rather than some kind of unteachable psychic aptitude. There is of course some aptitude involved as in any human ability, and I probably will never be able to scry at the same level as people I have heard of who claim that scrying is just like watching television. However, with the brain machine it seems that I can do it well enough to get decent results at spirit communication. If you find yourself having trouble scrying a brain machine might be worth trying - the Nova Pro is kind of expensive, but there are cheaper models and most of them have alpha/theta programs similar to the one I used. If you do try it, let me know how it goes - it would be nice to have finally found a method by which most people can be taught to scry, since I have heard from a number of magicians that good scryers seem to be in short supply.

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