Using a Crystal Ball
Care and Dedication / Sizes, Shapes, Prices / Types of Balls / Crystal Meanings

When the word crystal ball is mentioned, many of us conjure visions of a gypsy woman with dangling earrings and bracelets, her dark curls wrapped in a bright scarf, staring intently into a clear crystal sphere. Did I mention it's dark and foggy? And a wolf is howling in the distance?

The modern seer is much different. She might be a confident, kind woman who works to put her querent at ease. She takes her art seriously. She studies. She explains her method of divination and makes sure the querent is comfortable every step of the way. And her ball is not perfectly clear. In fact, it looks a little cracked, but that's OK, she says. She includes the querent by having him infuse the ball with his energies, and she starts the reading.

In Crystal Balls, Crystal Bowls, Ted Andrews defines divination using the Random House Dictionary as:

(1) the practice of attempting to foretell events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or

(2) augury; prophecy, and

(3) perception by intuition; instinctive foresight.

He tweaks that first definition just a little -- through the use of crystal balls and bowls, he wants to take divination out of the realm of the occult and supernatural and place it in the realm of natural knowledge, which is inherent in all of us. This is an important point. We make a big deal about the powers of certain kinds of crystals, and make our magick mirrors under a waning moon using specific herbs and formulas...and all that is useful and good, but the seership resides in you, not in a thing. The things help, of course, but the knowledge is available to all.

Crystal Ball Care and Dedication

When we talk about divination tools, the age-old question always arises. Should other people touch our crystal balls, tarot cards, and the like? This is another purely personal decision. Andrews says no one should touch your crystal ball under any circumstances unless you're giving them a reading. His reasoning: allowing curious people to handle the balls disrespects the ball and its spirit, as well as your sensitivity to the visions of the ball. Handlers leave their imprints on the balls.

Anything that has atomic structure, including the human body, has an electromagnetic quality to it. The electrons and protons of atoms have electrical and energy vibrations. These vibrations interact with everything they come in contact with. Crystal balls have a crystalline structure similar to the human body, Andrews says. People who handle them magnetize them with their own energies.

Because of this, it's important to thoroughly clean your ball of all previous imprints or influences. Allowing the ball to soak in sea salt for 24-48 hours should be the first priority, he says. Sea salt draws negative energies from the ball and erases previous imprints. For softer crystals like malachite, you may want to use a sea salt and water solution. Add some pennyroyal flower elixir or oil (the oil is toxic, be careful) to the salt water. Pennyroyal cleanses negative vibrations from crystals.

At the end of the 24-48 hour period, remove the ball and give the salt or saltwater and herbs back to the earth. Then place the crystal outside for 24-48 hours -- during both the day and night. This will recharge the crystal. This charging will be enhanced if you set the ball out through the time of the waxing to the full moon (IOW, 1-2 days prior to the full moon). The best time to do this is while the sun is in the astrological signs of water -- Cancer, Scorpio, and/or Pisces. Since you can't always wait for the sun signs, moon signs will work well too. If you can't wait for a full moon in a water sign, go with what you have.

After purifying and cleansing the ball, bring it inside and cleanse it in warm water with a gentle soap. Adding pennyroyal to this mild solution is good. Rinse it. Dry it, and polish it.

OK -- cleanse it between uses. Keep it covered with a dark cloth (Andrews likes silk. It's more insulating and protective.) when not in use in a quiet place. Remember -- it's a super soaker upper. You are well on the way to attunement with your ball. Remember to take it out and commune with it often. The more time you spend with it, the more effective it will be for you.

Sizes, shapes, and prices of crystal balls

Andrews gives us a pretty good overview about the more common kinds of balls. We'll discuss those and get into a few others. Andrews recommends balls with a minimum of one-and-one half inches in diameter for beginners. Anything smaller can make it more difficult to discern shapes or images within it.

Prices for balls vary wildly. Definitely do some comparison shopping before purchasing. I bought a small clear quartz ball with plenty of occlusions for $90 at a new age shop. I bought a beautiful obsidian is about 3 inches. Pretty pricey, even on sale. I imagine balls could be found for less at rock and crystal conventions or at regular old rock shops. By all means, shop around. And as Andrews says, if you find a ball that fits, don't dicker with the price. Take it home. Although we're sometimes talking about a sizeable monetary investment, bear in mind you're investing in a sacred object you'll probably use for the rest of your life.

Types of Balls

Three types of balls are available -- natural quartz crystal, laboratory-grown crystal, and glass. Most experienced scryers recommend the natural quartz or lab-grown crystals, but use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Natural quartz crystal balls are cut from naturally occurring veins of crystals. These usually have inclusions or veils. Inclusions are cracks inside the crystal. Veils are like wispy clouds inside the ball. The scryer can use these to his or her advantage. For instance, when entering the crystal ball, these natural fissures can become a landscape through which the scryer may journey, or they may assist him or her in achieving a trance state (as candle light reflects from them). The veils and inclusions also can resemble doorways or windows into psychic realms.

Lab-grown crystals are the same as those used by the electronics industry. They are grown for superconductivity, so they can be very effective scrying tools. They have the amplifying properties of natural quartz and are considerably cheaper. These are usually without veils and inclusions (unless they've been dropped, that is). Austrian crystals are lab-grown.

Natural quartz crystals are not necessarily stronger than lab-grown. Although natural ones tend to be stronger, it varies, depending on the quality of both. Ultimately, you have to check each crystal ball and see for yourself.

A glass sphere is much harder to read because it has none of the vibrational qualities of natural or lab-grown quartz. It doesn't store information or amplify like quartz, so it has no history, and other than its shape, offers no help for your reading.

Generally speaking, the brighter the ball is, the more powerful it is. That doesn't mean it will sparkle. To see what I mean, hold up two balls at your local new age or rock shop. One will be recognizably brigher than the other. It will be kind of like the difference between a new white shirt and a dull, old one.

The sphere need not be entirely circular to be a good gazing tool. You'll notice there are egg-shaped balls on the cover of our book. Andrews says the draw to a circular ball is more a psychological crutch than anything else! He says use what is most comfortable for you. (Good advice.)

Types of stones

If you're like me, you can't afford one of each type of crystal ball. Here's a tip: gaze into a clear quartz while charging it with another crystal. Hold this charging crystal in your left hand as you gaze. You will experience the qualities of these hand-held crystals while gazing into your clear sphere.

Here's a rundown on the various types of crystal balls:

CLEAR QUARTZ -- These are the most common and can be used for any type of scrying or gazing. Their electrical properties awaken spiritual insight and vision. A good general purpose ball.

AMETHYST -- the spiritual and healing stone. Amethyst is from the quartz family and is known for both its healing properties (mental, emotional, spiritual, psychic, and physical) and its ability to channel in the violet ray of highest spirituality. It's associated with the moon, feminine energy, creativity and intuition. It's very calming -- also very expensive and harder to gaze into than clear quartz, but one of the best spheres for communication with spirit guides. They can give important information into dream activity.

ROSE QUARTZ -- the love stone. These are very loving and gentle stones to work with, good for any issue of the heart. Rose quartz will help energize and open you to the wisdom, ecstacy, and equanamity of your open heart. It's used to help you be vulnerable, to let your distance down between people, and to feel safe. Whenever you feel the need for forgiveness in your readings, use rose quartz. One drawback in gazing with rose quartz is that it can make you feel so emotional that you can't see past your emotions, especially if you are tired.

SMOKY QUARTZ -- the grounding and calming stone. The darker the smoky quartz, the deeper the grounding. It's a good sphere to use with people who are overemotional or negative, or who have a tendancy to throw up blocks consciously or unconsciously to psychic activity. It's a good ball to use for clariy of dreams and for revealing an individual's spiritual path and the best way to follow it in the physical. It's very expensive, though.

OBSIDIAN -- Obsidian is a powerful mirror of the soul, one of the most effective for revealing what is truly reflected in the souls of others or yourself. Its blackness helps us go into the hidden places of our own minds and bring out hidden light. The stones often have concentric circles that, when focused upon, can reveal the pattern of our spiritual path and the patterns we much overcome to attain mastery. The images and visions awakened with these spheres are often blunt and always intense. They can be used for great penetration. Use an obsidian ball at Samhain for contact with your ancestors. Not considered a gazing tool for beginners.

MALACHITE -- useful in revealing past-life connections and where present activities and patterns of behavior are leading to the future. Also for healing issues and relationships. Good for those wishing to establish a strong connection with the earth. It can reveal the best ways of attuning to the beings and creatures of the natural world. (This includes totems, nature spirits, and devas). It can also provide insight into creativity and artistic expression. It's a very soft stone and can be quite expensive.

LAPIS, SODALITE, AND DUMOTIERITE -- the psychic stones. These stones energize the third eye, the center of intuition and psychic attunement. Used for astral journeys. Lapis was so prized for these abilities that the ancient Egyptians considered it sacred. Sodalite and dumortierite have much the same feeling as lapis, but are a touch more grounding.

YELLOW TIGER-EYE, YELLOW CITRINE, TOPAZ, AMETRINE, AND AMBER -- the sunshine stones. The power of the sun is represented by all yellow stones. They can be used to reveal the brighter side of an issue, charge the reading with energy, or warm your heart.

Yellow tiger-eye -- charges with sun qualities and grounds

Yellow citrine -- strengthens and disperses clouds in readings

Yellow topaz -- charges and lightens things up

Ametrine -- mixture of amethyst and citrine, acts as a bridge to join spiritual realities with earth realities

Amber -- energizes and helps in birthings, stimulates transformations, warms the heart and draws away from colder mental energies

GREEN AVENTURINE, GREEN CALCITE, EMERALD, PERIDOT, AND GREEN TOURMALINE -- nurturing, prosperity, and abundance. Green is traditionally associated with your heart center. Rather than deal with the emotional part of the heart, green stones are used for the nurturing part of our heart, the part that relates to mother earth and all creation. Whenever you have issues in your readings having to do with money matters, or whether something will thrive, use a green sphere. Green tourmaline is useful in transforming energy states or one emotion into another. Light green spheres are useful for cooling off heated situations.

AQUA AURA, BLUE TOPAZ, TURQUOISE, BLUE CALCITE, AND LIGHT BLUE FLOURITE -- the sky stones. Because of their lightness and heavenly colors, the sky stones are good for lightening up anything. Use sky-stone spheres to help you uncoil tight knots of anger, lift the heavy feeling of depression, and release you from unhappiness. Unsticks readings, gives balance. Helps in communicating higher truths and visions that come from higher spirit.

Turquoise -- absorbs negativity stirred up during a reading

Aqua aura -- angel stone, a clear quartz crystal that has been electronically bonded with gold. Helps connects us with angels.