Crystal ball gazing has been used by spiritual leaders throughout the centuries as a means to enter a meditative state.  From this trance, one can channel visions and messages from the higher spirit.  The act of gazing into a translucent or reflective surface is called Scrying, and it can in fact be done with many different types of stones and surfaces.  

Nostradamus used a large and ornate obsidian mirror for his predictive works. We recommend that beginners start with clear stones like Quartz or Smoky Quartz.   A quartz ball makes a great tool because it allows you to peer within and it dazzles you with natural inclusions. You can then experiment with different stones to find what works best for you.

Here are the basic steps for Crystal Ball Gazing:

1.  Make sure that your crystal ball has been cleaned and charged before beginning, so that it does not still contain the visions and memories of those who have handled it before.  This should be done 24 hour before proceeding.
2.  Although it can be done anywhere, find a clear and positive quiet space if possible.  Cleanse the space with sage or incense.  Form a protective grid of crystals around the room, and send out the intention that you are only inviting positive energies to participate in your activity.
3.   Hold the ball in the center of both palms, as your hand cradles the stone.  If you are using a large sphere, you can place it on a stand on the table in front of you.  Making contact with the sphere allows you to connect with its energies, so it is still recommended that you place both hands on the sphere.
4.  Breath deeply in and out 3 times , and say the word "Relax"to yourself with each breath out.  
5.  Continue breathing intentionally with your awareness on your breath, and allow thoughts to subside into the background of your mind.
6.  Make and hold a gaze with your crystal ball.  Keep the gaze for several minutes.
7.  Allow visions and messages to enter your head.  Do not force thoughts onto the ball, rather be the receiver.  You may see actual shapes and forms within the quartz inclusions, or images may pop up in your mind.  Some people hear or even read messages from the Higher Spirit.  This can be done for several minutes or even hours depending on your state and level.
8.  Once your scrying is complete, thank the higher energies for their wisdom and communication.  
9.  Take three deep breaths and say the word "awake" to yourself with each exhale
10.  Emerge from the trance.  Allow a few minutes to realign your energies back to this reality with quiet reflection of your experiences and by drinking water.
Smoky Quartz balls make great gazers, as they contain the energy and clarity of quartz with the additional attribute of protectiveness.