Crystal Gazing, also known as Crystallomamancy, is a method of scrying into a transpaarent, translucent, or opaque crystal ball or natural rock crystal.
Because of the inherent beauty of crystals balls, the craftsmanship that goes into making them, and the difficulty of depicting their lucent qualities in art, they have become a popular subject in art. They are seen both as still-life subjects and, when a person is shown using them for scrying, as props in genre art that depicts fortune tellers. The high price of good crystal balls means that they are not the tools of folkloric or domestic divination systems such as Palmistry, Dice Reading, Domino Reading, or Cartomancy, and their traditional point of origin -- India -- leads to artists often choosing to supply "exotic" sets and "romantic" costumes, both when the image is documentary and when it is a fantasy.
The relatively small size and heavy weight of a genuine quartz crystal ball leads artists in two directions:, they either go in for close-up portraiture featuring a person holding a finger-ball or palm-ball, or they enlarge the sphere to gargantuan size, which creates a large circular void in the image that they then fill in with visualizations of what the scryer actually sees. The latter approach is particularly common in the representations of crystal balls in film, which can attain enormous proportions.
Several methods of crystal gazing -- and dozens of early 20th century pen-and-ink drawings of crystal gazers with their spheres -- are revealed in "Secrets of the Crystal Silence League: Crystal Ball Gazing, the Master Key to Silent Influence" by Claude Alexander Conlin.
To study more deeply the history of Crystal Gazing, see this page at the Yronwode Institution:
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Pages in category "Crystal Gazing"
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