The old witch added a whitish powder to the fire and waited as the
flames grew strangely green. "I see forms taking shape... visions... A
tree! No, it is a wheel! A wagon wheel, on a wagon with horses!" She
turned back to her guest and asked in a knowing voice: "Are ye
planning a journey, perhaps?"
For as long as there has been fire, people have seen visions in it.
Shamans would see visions of a good hunt in the campfire and then use
its ashes to paint the visions on the cave walls to bring them about.
Perhaps the oldest form of divination, fire scrying is one of the most
primal (and beautiful) methods a witch has for "seeing the unseen". It
is not an easy form, to be sure, but it can produce clearer results
than any other method if done well.
Basically you look into a fire and see the shapes there. Take the
seeds of images that the fire gives you and apply all the
visualization skills you ever learned to get a coherent vision out. If
you are not a good visualizer, this method is not for you. Then you
have to figure out what the vision means. Yes, you saw a wolf chasing
down a cloud and eating it, but you were wondering if you should take
that class at the community college. Finding an appropriate meaning is
often the really hard part.
Those searching for visions should find a dark, quiet, and open area.
Cast a circle to set up the ritual space. Then invoke the flames,
lighting the scrying bowl at the end of the invocation. Detailed
instructions on preparing and lighting the scrying bowl are in the
side article. How you invoke depends on your relations to fire. Keep
it simple if you are not a fire person, go all out if you are a closet
I like to take a long candle (or long lighter), light it, and draw
three invoking pentacles in the air with the flame. The chant of
"Fire, Fire, Flames Grow Higher!" punctuates each pentacle, one word
per point. Then I bring the fire to the center in front of me and say:
"From the fires of the stars, to the fires of our souls, Fire be with
us. As you burn in the sun, giving us all light and life, burn for us
here and now. Burn through the veil that separates the worlds and let
us see that which is unseen." Then I focus my mind on what I want to
know and light the bowl with the fire.
Use as little light as possible while casting and invoking. That will
help set the mood and will make it easier to see the flames. Any
colors you may see will be enhanced by the darkness. Fire is finicky.
If the invoking flame keeps going out or the bowl just will not light,
don't force it. Let it go and try again some other time. You don't
want to see the visions that come from unwilling flames coerced into
life with the repeated application of flammable liquids and mechanical
Sit comfortably and stare into the fire. Watch the flames and see what
shapes they make. Open and shut your eyes repeatedly. Try to make out
the pattern the fire leaves behind your eyes. At first your mind will
say it is just the shape of the fire, but put that aside. Picture the
shape that it is most like. See the form it takes. This is not easy.
It is the same process you use to see the shapes in the clouds
(something we, here in Seattle, have a lot of experience with). When
you get a vague image, go with it. Let the shapes change as your
vision focuses. Open your eyes again and get a new form to help the
vision continue to grow. Shapes can change and the vision can move.
Just let the flames shape the images they will. With practice, you
will move from an image to a movie in your mind.
For instance, I just did a bit of test scrying into the candles I've
lit to write this by. I saw the flame which made a circle in my mind.
Rays came out of the center of the circle and turned into clock hands.
The circle turned into a clock face. As I realized what it was, the
hands started turning backwards. It probably means I should have
started writing this article earlier or something....
After you have your visions, thank the now departed fire, open the
circle, and try to make sense of what you have seen. Think about what
you saw and ask what it means to you. In my sample, I had a clock
moving backwards. Clocks mean time to me. Backwards brings to mind the
past or a while ago. Since what I wanted was something for my article,
it probably meant I should have started writing this earlier. Or maybe
I should rewrite what I did a while ago. Another interpretation occurs
to me, the hands were going counterclockwise, or Widdershins. Anyway,
that was my vision. I could go for another one for clarification, but
that could also just confuse things more.
With practice, anyone can see the visions in the flames. It is
interpreting the visions that separates the oracles from the players -
with - entrails. Just as anyone with a book can do a tarot reading, it
takes skill and work to figure out what it means. I find most symbols
to be too personal to give a general meaning list. If you are doing a
reading for yourself, whatever you think the symbols mean is probably
what they mean. If you are reading for someone else talk to them and
ask lots of questions. If they don't know, suggest what you think, but
their meanings are probably the best. If you have trouble coming up
with meanings, a book on interpreting dreams will have most of the
common symbols and their meanings listed.
The final thing you need is honesty with your vision. Many "life is a
bowl of crystals" tarot readers often reinvert inverted tarot cards
because "there are no bad things, just challenges." This neuters the
readings. Life has bad things in it, to believe otherwise denies the
Dark Goddess. Sometimes you have to eat your own young, figuratively
speaking, and it is not pleasant. If you see your yourself being
burned at the stake, go with it. Mentally forcing it to be you, as May
Queen, being tied to a maypole will invalidate the vision. Not
everything you see will be happy. That is why Cassandra, the ancient
Greek prophet, considered her visions a curse.
Puzzled, for she wasn't planning a journey, the woman went home. The
next day, at the supermarket, she hit another car in the parking lot.
It was a Jeep Wagoneer. "Damned visions! Always right but never right
enough!", she muttered as looked about, hoping no one had seen her.