The Everyday Lore Project

24 October 2020 – Crystal Ball

24 October 2020 – Crystal Ball

It was supposed to be an easy win today. Pour a load of black ink into a Christmas tree decoration and call it a crystal ball. Seal it with wax if needs be, but otherwise a five minute done and done. But no. 

First, I lost the bung. Second, when I did find it, it leaked. Third, the first match I struck to melt the wax, broke on lighting and burned my carpet. And fourth, the ink got everywhere. Everywhere. But luckily I’d had the foresight to do all the inkwork over a bowl. Foresight and remembering The Great Cochineal Spill of 1993. 

Now, you may be questioning the appropriateness of using a Christmas tree decoration for my crystal ball. But according to Fortune Telling, Divining The Future From The Study Of The Hand And Other Methods, all you need is a reflective surface to do your scrying in. In fact, it says ‘the substance of the sphere or mirror, or whatever medium is used, is of no consequence,’ (p56) as it is purely there to focus the scryer. 

Nevertheless, the instructions they give on how to make your own crystal ball are a little more fancy. They suggest using a spherical glass flask, sawing off the neck, filling it with black permanent ink, bunging it with cork and sealing it with wax. But when there’s an empty glass globe complete with a bung swinging in front of you in the Christmas aisle of a crafting superstore, what’s a girl to do? 

Anyhow, I already had a crystal ball. I’m pretty sure it is actually a paperweight, but my mum and I used to pretend it was magical when I was little. So now I have two super shiny scrying glasses. Or at least I will do when I finally manage to clean all the wax smears from the surface of my inky one. And unlike my original ball, as I have no faith in the inky one’s waxy seal, it’s going to live in a bowl. At least until I put up my Christmas tree that is.


Barrett, D.V. (1992) Fortune Telling, Divining The Future From The Study Of The Hand And Other Methods, London, Charles Letts & Co Ltd

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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