Obsidian Glass Scrying Mirror. Circa 2016 AD
Divination device
Scrying is a form of divination, an ancient discipline that attempts to predict the future by interpreting signs and symbols seen reflected in objects such as this black mirror. The mirror is made of obsidian glass, a hard, dark, volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallisation. Mirrors such as these would have been used by ancient alchemists, most famously Dr John Dee (1527-1609) a British polymath, scientist and mathematician to the court of Elizabeth I.

Dr Dee and his contemporaries would have looked into these black mirrors for signals and insights from the ethereal realms in a similar way to how we now gaze into the black mirrors of our smartphone screens for signals from the ether. What is reflected to both the ancient alchemists and ourselves is more often than not the product of our collective subconscious. We see what we imagine, or that which others have collectively imagined on our behalf.

The fact that it is not the first time in history that we have been entranced by hand-held black screens should give us reason for solace rather than concerns about the modern wide-scale practice of occult-like rituals (although such similarities cannot be ignored). Scrying through divination devices simply reminds us that our minds are continuously hungry for meaning and insight, and are continually ready to assign meaning and meta meaning to what we see and experience.