Images in the Fire
The seer’s mind turns away from its close surroundings and puts the seer in a state where he or she first experiences interesting, strange daydreams. If there is no connection whatsoever with the outside world, it’s claimed that you, in addition, can enter a strange state of mind that is ‘not of this world’.
Most who have stared into glowing embers have experienced the simplest form of scrying. We’ve stared at the hot coals, felt relaxd and sleepy and started to see ‘images in the fire’. A red and black piece of coal surrounded by a veil of gray ash may seem to look like a human face. Other pieces of coal start to take the shape of a boat or a deformed teapot.
This is the beginning of a process that some claim makes us able to get glimpses of past and future. It’s said that these glimpses are indistinct at first as if they were seen ‘through a dark glass’, but after a while, they can get almost frighteningly real. Then you don’t just ‘see’ images, but you feel that you’re a part of them. Such an experience is something completely outside the ordinary, something the American journalist W. B. Seabrook revels in his story about a woman called Nastatia Filipovna, a Russian emigrant from New York.
Nastatia – who was seemingly convinced that she was psychic, and who either had a well-developed imagination or a consciousness that let itself be separated exceptionally easy – had experimented with scrying in objects for some time and had used the classic crystal ball as her focus. She stared into the crystal ball until she entered what was probably a self-hypnotic state, there she had some, to say the least, very lifelike dreams. These dreams were very unpleasant. He experienced that she almost all the time was dressed in leather and that she was in some kind of primitive nomad camp, where she was busy skinning and cutting newly killed animals.
Seabrook suggested that she might experience something more interesting if she used one of the hexagrams of I Ching instead of a crystal ball to achieve the mental ‘state of boredom’ that can get the brain to look inside itself.
Nastatia thought it was a good suggestion and decided to try it. She selected a random hexagram by using ‘sticks’ made from turtle shell. Next, she did the experiment in the presence of Seabrook and two other onlookers in a semi-dark room in an apartment in Greenwich Village. An interesting point was that the hexagram is connected to ideas that deal with ‘transformation’.
For almost three hours she concentrated exclusively on the hexagram by visualizing it on a door, but without anything happening. Then the door finally opened, and Nastatia felt that she moved through it. All the time she spoke out loud and announces her feelings to the audience. She was wearing a thick fur coat that concealed the body completely. First, she was standing, then she was running on all fours in deep snow … it was so marvelous. To Seabrook’s’ and the other’s great astonishment the beautiful Nastatia then suddenly started to ‘slobber and bark like a wolf’.
One of the men in the room tried to get her out of the trance by hitting her in the face. She responded with a furious growl and tried to bite the man…
Nastatia was finally brought back to reality by means of smelling salt. She remembered nothing besides the beginning. She had in a psychological sense transformed into a wolf
Or had she? Maybe, but Seabrook was known to lay it on thick when it came to such experiments. They suspiciously often had an amazing result. I, therefore, have a strong suspicion that the story of Nastatia belongs in this category of amazing exaggerations of the truth. Nastatia’s existence and her interest for crystal gazing is well documented, but I’m still not in doubt that she just ‘saw’ a wolf. And if she really felt that she was a wolf, there’s a lot that points to her being aware of her actions the whole time.
This is because all reliable reports from people who have experienced similar states of mind after experimenting with crystal gazing claim that a part of them is consciously there all the time as if they see themselves from the outside. They say that it feels like being an actor in a play, and that spectator – or the consciousness – sits on the other side of the footlights.
If you wish to experiment with scrying, whether it’s by means of crystal balls, In Ching-hexagrams or something else, you don’t have to be afraid of being transformed into a wild animal, which attacks everyone in sight. All who genuinely believe – like Nastatia maybe did – that they’ve experienced being transformed into an animal because of crystal gazing have a bigger reason to seek psychiatric help than to see themselves as a psychic genius.