I have been reading about scrying, something which I have been aware of I think since a child, and I realized this is what I am doing when I am photographing, or at least trying to do. When I feel I am unable to "scry" as it were (when photographing) I realize that I am stressed, off or have let something really affect me.
Scrying, or "seeing", is one of the most-used forms of divination; a centuries old practice of looking into a medium of choice, with the hopes of finding significant messages or visions, or revealing the future or other unknowns.
Many practitioners, or scryers, say the scrying medium serves to focus attention, and calms the mind much in the same way as meditation, repetition of an affirmation or mantra, and chanting. It can induce the "relaxation response", or even possibly hypnosis. The scryer searches for patterns in the medium, which allows 1) the conscious mind to relax its hold, 2) the scryer to begin free association, which is said to deepen this almost trance-like state, and 3) the subconscious mind to see symbols (the language of the subconscious) within the perceived patterns, and ultimately gain knowledge. For our subconscious minds are the source of our creativity, intuition, inspiration, inner knowing, interconnectedness, and spiritual enlightenment.
My camera is my medium of choice, and whether I am photographing nature, or people, I am always searching for patterns: the patterns of a forest floor, or of the wind on water, or of a dancer as she dances. I am always trying to see their patterns, not necessarily, them as a subject, but their patterns, which we all make and create. There is a simplicity, yet sophistication, in seeing patterns, and I have felt, that when I truly do "see" this pattern, I feel differently, I feel more relaxed. I learned the beauty of patterns, working as Dr. John Diamond's photography and art assistant, something to which I will be ever-grateful for.
I feel most at home when photographing in nature, perhaps because I have the most experience, and perhaps because I feel that nature is the most forgiving audience. Also, I think because I feel that I have developed more of a philosophy when photographing nature: it is not about the taking of the photographing, but the giving back to nature through the photograph, as an act of gratitude. When I am photographing people, I am asking what do I want my relationship to the person to be? And what do they want my relationship to me to be? I think that is why, so often, I donate my photographs to the people I photograph, to strongly convey, a sense of giving through the artistic medium. I'm not sure if I am successful in this, but hopefully it serves a higher purpose in some way, that it is potentially more beneficial than a snap shot, or a visual document, that there is a relationship in front of the lens and behind the camera that is forming.
So scrying for the random, not so obvious, and most often ephemeral, patterns seems to have more therapeutic potential. For we see the tree, we know it already to be a tree, and we label it a tree, thus denying "communication" with our subconscious, and subsequently our source, our inner nature, our wellspring and our inherent creativity.