By scrying, or gazing into a crystal ball (crystallomancy), a scryer sees visions, images, colors or symbols, which illuminate the past, present or future. The crystal ball amplifies the information and energy that is transmitted to the scryer. A crystal ball is the most common tool used by a scryer, although other shiny objects can be used. It is an ancient form of divination, and for example, magicians from ancient Egypt used bowls of water (hydromancy), blood or ink as their scrying tools. One of the most famous 16th-century scryers was Nostradamus, who used a bowl of water to see into the future. Another form of this divination is pyromancy, which is gazing into a fire.
Learn more about other forms of reading in the Reading Room.