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Crystal ball reading: Where is it now?
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garrick92Online
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PostPosted: 01-03-2013 21:27    Post subject: Crystal ball reading: Where is it now? Reply with quote

Once upon a time, no seaside resort or funfair was complete without a middle-aged or elderly woman (purportedly of Romani origin) who would beguile punters with readings from a crystal ball.

Anyone ever used one, or visited a fortune-teller who owned one?

Or have crystal balls gone the way of tea-leaf reading, i.e., to fortean oblivion?
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2013 22:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are they supposed to be seeing in crystal balls, anyway? There's the old cliché about it going all misty and future events which will affect you in the future appearing, but how come nobody else can spot this (unless they're making it up)?

And why a crystal ball anyway? Were they mysterious objects for some time before hijacked by the mediums or did they arise part and parcel of the whole package?

Sorry, I'm answering your question with more questions...
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garrick92Online
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PostPosted: 02-03-2013 22:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

gncxx wrote:
Sorry, I'm answering your question with more questions...


I think most forteans are used to that happening -- it's almost a given!

gncxx wrote:
What are they supposed to be seeing in crystal balls, anyway? There's the old cliché about it going all misty and future events which will affect you in the future appearing, but how come nobody else can spot this (unless they're making it up)?


I dunno. I read in some how-to guide on the net that the forms within the ball (cloudy, rather than clear, crystal is apparently preferable) will suggest images to the mind of the reader, but that seems deeply unsatisfactory as a mechanism.

gncxx wrote:
And why a crystal ball anyway? Were they mysterious objects for some time before hijacked by the mediums or did they arise part and parcel of the whole package?


And who first manufactured one? And why? And how?
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2013 23:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could be connected to scrying over a bowl of water, which I believe was a popular form of prediction in ye olden days.
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JamesWhiteheadOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2013 23:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all about seeing faces in the fire, this finding meanings in the tea-leaves and things . . .

Not sure why I hear an Irish lilt in that.

I think we have endless threads on the tendency we all have to attribute meaning to things, where none was surely meant.

Scrying used to require an Innocent - IIRC - whose readings of a cloudy oracle could foretell fortunes.

Even Catholic garden-parties used to tolerate fake fortune-telling booths, though I tried - unsuccessfully - to get the supposed mediums hanged as witches*.

*I could not (or should not) testify against my own grandmother, they said. Spoilsports! Sad
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PostPosted: 03-03-2013 08:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

garrick92 wrote:
gncxx wrote:
And why a crystal ball anyway? Were they mysterious objects for some time before hijacked by the mediums or did they arise part and parcel of the whole package?


And who first manufactured one? And why? And how?

Crystal caves were traditionally associated with shamans, elementals and prophesy: Merlin, for example, got his powers imbued in one. Seers would find them, perform rituals, and be rewarded with visions - easy to see why, firelight in an ordinary cave throws shapes and shadows on the wall, whereas in a crystal-lined one the rocks glow back, throwing back iridescent reflections. Many of these caves have quartz geodes within the walls, which are naturally, approximately spheroid. So, my theory is that mystics believed elements from the cave would keep the properties they'd had in situ, like holy relics, so would chisel out the geodes, polish them, and carry them as portable prophesy aids. From there, the crystal ball became as much a symbol of scrying as an actual intrument of prophesy in its own right.

I'm not saying that's what happened, just makes sense to me.
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garrick92Online
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PostPosted: 04-03-2013 11:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't been able to find any references to naturally-occurring crystal balls, but I did find this short piece about manufacturing them, which makes it sound like an incredibly arduous process.
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stunevilleOffline
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PostPosted: 04-03-2013 12:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naturally occurring and fully formed I doubt - maybe the odd quartz node - but certainly geodes are naturally globular. As I said, only thinking aloud Smile.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 04-03-2013 15:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never been able to confirm how far back in history the use of a manufactured crystal orb or ball extends. If one reviews the histories given in (e.g.):

_CRYSTAL GAZING: Its History and Practice, with a Discussion of the Evidence for Telepathic Scrying_, Northcote W. Thomas, 1905.

_Crystal Gazing: A Study in the History, Distribution, Theory and Practice of Scrying_, Theodore Besterman, 1924(?)

... One finds the claim that crystal gazing dates back to the ancients, but no specific examples or citations of orbs / balls prior to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. Even though both books purport to focus on crystal gazing, the examples mentioned farther back in time all seem to involve scrying with water (bowls; basins; pools) or mirrors.

The earliest documentation I've found for an orb or ball all concerns John Dee and his 'shew stone' (which accounts variously claim Dee obtained from an angel, personally introduced but eventually turned over to another scryer, or perhaps knew from his primary scryer Kelley).

Does anyone know of specific references to a crystal orb / ball artifact prior to Dee's time?
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eminaOffline
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PostPosted: 04-03-2013 18:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnolaGaia wrote:
I've never been able to confirm how far back in history the use of a manufactured crystal orb or ball extends. If one reviews the histories given in (e.g.):

_CRYSTAL GAZING: Its History and Practice, with a Discussion of the Evidence for Telepathic Scrying_, Northcote W. Thomas, 1905.

_Crystal Gazing: A Study in the History, Distribution, Theory and Practice of Scrying_, Theodore Besterman, 1924(?)

... One finds the claim that crystal gazing dates back to the ancients, but no specific examples or citations of orbs / balls prior to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. Even though both books purport to focus on crystal gazing, the examples mentioned farther back in time all seem to involve scrying with water (bowls; basins; pools) or mirrors.

The earliest documentation I've found for an orb or ball all concerns John Dee and his 'shew stone' (which accounts variously claim Dee obtained from an angel, personally introduced but eventually turned over to another scryer, or perhaps knew from his primary scryer Kelley).

Does anyone know of specific references to a crystal orb / ball artifact prior to Dee's time?


There's a very prominent and famous rock crystal ball in Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci. It's thought to date from as early as the 1490s.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 04-03-2013 20:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be consistent with the fact that I can't seem to find any specific references to crystal balls / orbs prior to the 1400's.
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 00:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelley is said to have used a piece of polished coal, while less well-connected scryers often had to make do with a pool of ink*. The substances are not credited with any special powers in any case, they merely enabled the scryer to envisage the fortune.

*Francis X. King: Encyclopedia of Mind, Magic & Mysteries, 1991

OK, it's a Dorling Kinder Buch but King was pretty well-read in the occult. Smile
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SHAYBARSABEOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 01:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

gncxx wrote:
What are they supposed to be seeing in crystal balls, anyway?


You don't look into the ball: you look at the surface of the ball--that is, at the reflections.

That's why having imperfections inside the ball (like misting or bubbling) isn't a problem.
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garrick92Online
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 09:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

SHAYBARSABE wrote:
You don't look into the ball: you look at the surface of the ball--that is, at the reflections..


"I'm seeing a fortune teller in your life ... looks quite a lot like me ... except his nose is massively magnified and so are his hands ... he seems to be saying something but I can't hear any words..."

But seriously, looking at the reflections sounds even dafter than having the ball's internal forms 'suggest' ideas to you. Or is there some esoteric subtlety that I'm missing? (Probably. I'm not very esoteric).
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 18:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

SHAYBARSABE wrote:
gncxx wrote:
What are they supposed to be seeing in crystal balls, anyway?


You don't look into the ball: you look at the surface of the ball--that is, at the reflections.

That's why having imperfections inside the ball (like misting or bubbling) isn't a problem.


I've obviously been watching too much TV! Thanks for the explanation.
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