Focus may be defined as an event, object, or person that occupies the center of one's attention. It is a primary concept and an essential skill in both divination and magick. It is also needed to effectively perform scrying and dowsing. The ability to focus is a requirement for any basic individual scrying session, but it is also a tool that must be mastered for long-term scrying accuracy and personal improvement in the divinatory arts.
Over the course of developing the original techniques of scrying and dowsing presented in my latest book, The Art of Scrying and Dowsing, I was able to greatly improve my ability to focus. In this short article, I would like to introduce some ideas that you can use to enhance your ability to focus, and to give you information that will enable you to understand its role in all forms of divination, particularly in scrying and dowsing, as well as in the general practice of magick.
First, I will give a more specific definition of focus that pertains to the practice of scrying and dowsing: Focus is the unwavering attention and persistent contact with the incoming intuitive information obtained during scrying and dowsing sessions. Distraction is the opposite of focus. Distraction is when you lose contact with the incoming intuitive information. The result of distraction is a decrease in accuracy of your perceptions.
One of the best ways to help you see how well you are focusing is to scry physical targets related to known locations, activities, and living beings. Physical targets can be researched, and information discovered about them compared with scryed information for the purpose of discerning which perceptions were accurate and which were not. This examination takes place after the scrying session and is called feedback, or the feedback session. It is best done intentionally and with nonjudgmental honesty. The feedback session will help you determine the quality of your focus.
So what are the characteristics of focus? How do you make the changes needed to improve your scrying ability and accuracy? The characteristics of focus are trust, persistent contact, and steadiness. Each of these characteristics plays an important role in learning to scry accurately, as well as in other types of divination. Let's look at each characteristic in turn.
The first characteristic of focus is trust. Scrying and dowsing require that you trust that the goals of the session are doable. You need to trust in the process of scrying and dowsing strongly enough to be motivated to put effort and attention into the work.
I want to distinguish the difference between trust and belief. Belief is where a concept or idea is determined to be a rule by which the universe operates. For example, if you believe there is an angel of love, a belief in the angel of love would entail a series of ideas about the characteristics and role of the angel. Belief persists through time and changes slowly.
Trust can be temporary. You may temporarily trust that there is an angel of love, and complete a scrying session involving the idea. This can be done without having to buy into concepts regarding the angel of love as part of a set of ideas as to how the universe operates. This trust allows you to have the motivation to complete the scrying session concerning the angel of love. After you complete the session, you can examine the information you obtained and the experiences you had, and then decide if you want to change your beliefs.
Scrying and dowsing can successfully be done based in either trust or belief. All you have to trust is that the scrying and dowsing techniques will work and provide you with information. This trust allows you to complete the scrying session. Once the operation is complete, you may or may not wish to add concepts to your belief system.
So how do you improve trust, especially if you have doubts about the effectiveness of scrying and dowsing as means of obtaining information? The easiest way to do this is to set a time limit on the period during which you will deliberately place your trust in the concepts related to scrying that you need to utilize in order to perform the scrying and dowsing session. This means that for the duration of the session, you will trust that the scrying and dowsing will provide the information that you are looking for.
The time period will vary according to what is being done. Trust in the process you are working with needs to be for the duration of the session. The scrying session may be as short as 15 minutes, or you may do multiple sessions on a single target for a period of several months. Trust is a sort of pact that you make with yourself that you will set aside doubt for the duration of the scrying session.
The time limit can be determined before you start and reassessed as you work. It is not necessary to have long-term belief in scrying and dowsing for it to work, you only need to adopt temporary trust in the process for the duration of the session.
Once you reach the end of the operation, you make an intelligent and deliberate decision on which concepts you want to add to your beliefs and what ideas you want to discard. This way, you do not feel bound to adopt a belief that you may not feel completely comfortable with, but you still have the freedom to perform a scrying or dowsing session. This practice of distinguishing trust from belief allows for healthy skepticism and internal honesty.
The second characteristic of focus is persistent contact. Persistent contact means that you must pay attention to the incoming data of the scrying and dowsing session to the exclusion of all else in your mind and in the immediate environment. During the time of the session, you disregard everything else. One of the mistakes I see quite often is the tendency of beginners to focus on how their bodies feel, or on what is happening around them.
Once you focus on anything other than your scrying and dowsing perceptions, you have lost contact with the target. Preparation for scrying and dowsing involves changing your attention to focus on the session and nothing else. Distractions can include electronics, music, random thoughts, body sensations, environmental issues such as odors, sounds, lights, and other people. External distractions are problematic if they draw your attention away from the incoming perceptions you are scrying. You can learn to maintain focus while in a distracting environment. Learning to ignore environmental distractions is called resilience. Building resilience is a useful skill in any esoteric practice, whether it involves divination or magick.
Internal distractions are things such as distracting thoughts, fatigue, or nervousness. Training to disregard internal distractions is often accomplished by seated meditation. When you practice seated meditation, you are learning to handle internal distractions and focus on the objective of the meditation technique—a spoken mantra or your breathing, for example. Scrying itself can be used to help you learn to disregard internal distractions.
If you wish to do ritual work for the scrying session, that is perfectly fine. You need to completely finish the ritual before you start scrying, and close the ritual after you finish scrying. Once you start to scry and dowse, you must completely focus on those perceptions, documenting what is coming to you and nothing else. You cannot focus on ritual and scry at the same time. Scrying should be carried out with an all-consuming attention and interest.
Setting is how you arrange your external environment for the scrying session. An example of a setting is a ritual circle, robes, sword or staff, lighting, and ritual timing. The setting is done according to the individual and the type of scrying being done. Scrying does not require special setting or rituals to work. It is a matter of personal preference.
I do not personally find that scrying accuracy improves with elaborate ritual settings. However, I think this is a matter of individual liking and comfort, and I do not discourage using elements of special settings or ritual. I simply allow it to be done according to the individual's preference. The elements of ritual and setting need to be in place when you start to scry. During the scrying session you do not get up or attend to any setting element. Doing that will cause the contact to break. It has to be re-established again before accurate scrying data will be perceived. Frequent breaks will cause accuracy problems.
As with trust, the best way to improve persistent attention is to have an arbitrary time limit to the scrying session. I generally recommend the session be under 20 minutes for a beginner, and never to exceed and hour regardless of experience. After an hour, persistent contact is going to be difficult to maintain. It is better to do multiple sessions on a single target and maintain strong steady focus in each of them, than to do a single long session where focus is wavering.
Steadiness is the last characteristic of good focus. Steadiness is being in the moment both mentally and physically while you are scrying. It is a state that is not tense, but one of sitting still while you are scrying the target. The state of relaxation does not have to be intentionally induced. If you have persistent contact, you will not be paying attention to your body. Your body will find its natural state of relaxation without you doing a thing to induce it. In fact, the more you pay attention to your physical state, the less persistent contact you have with the scrying target coming in. Loss of attention causes a decrease in your scrying and dowsing accuracy. So, how do you achieve steadiness without focusing on your body?
This is done through preparation prior to the session. You need to be seated in a place where you feel comfortable and safe. Scrying is best conducted in a chair that is reasonably padded. Your lower back should be supported and there should not be any areas of uncomfortable pressure or pain. Your feet need to be in contact with the floor. This will prevent muscle tension and leg cramps. When you are sketching your perceptions, the paper, your hand, and your forearm need to be supported by a firm surface. This is best achieved by sitting at a desk or table.
If you are working outdoors when recording your scrying perceptions, you should use a clipboard. However, you need to ensure that you do not become tense or feel the need to shift around. While outside, you must keep warm, and be protected from biting insects. During summer when working in the daytime, avoid the hot sun. These preparations are done before the scrying session begins. Once you start the session, your attention will be entirely on the scrying process.