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"Crystal-gazing is a particularly refined art. I do not expect any of you to See when first you peer into the Orb's infinite depths."
Sybill Trelawney[src]

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley unenthusiastically gaze into a crystal ball in Divination class

Crystal-gazing was the art of looking into a crystal ball in order to try to gain insight into the future events.[1][2]


According to Sybill Trelawney, crystal-gazing was a difficult and subtle practise, and thus most people were unable to see anything the first time they tried it.[1] Success apparently hinged on one's ability to "[relax] the conscious mind and external eyes" so as to perceive clearly with "the Inner Eye and superconscious".[1] If a person was unable to do so, they would see nothing but swirling white fog in the crystal ball.[1][3]


1989–1990 school year

During this school year, Professor Sybill Trelawney taught her sixth-year Divination class the refined art of crysal-gazing.[2]

1991-1992 school year

Trelawney with a crystal ball

"Do not disturb, crystal gazing"
— Trelawney's notice.[src]

At some point in the 1991–1992 school year, Sybill Trelawney, the Divination professor, locked her classroom door, with a notice saying "Do not disturb, crystal gazing". Harry Potter, who had just joined the school, attempted to open it without realising that it was locked.

1993-1994 school year

A Crystal Ball used for crystal-gazing

On Christmas Day in 1993, Sybill Trelawney arrived late for lunch in the Great Hall, informing everyone gathered she had been busy crystal-gazing, but had decided to come join them when she saw a vision of herself doing so.[4] Later in the meal, when it was noted Remus Lupin could not be present due to an an unspecified illness, Trelawney remarked that he had "positively fled" when she had offered to crystal-gaze for him.[4]

Trelawney introduced her third-year Divination students to using the crystal ball around Easter in 1994.[1] During this first lesson, no one seems to have seen anything except Trelawney herself, who claimed to see the Grim in the ball being shared by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger.[1] This upset Hermione, as Trelawney had claimed to see the Grim in Harry's teacup when they were studying tessomancy earlier in the term, so she walked out of the class, never to return.[1]

The final exam that term involved a one-on-one crystal-gazing session with Trelawney.[3] After her turn, Parvati Patil told the queue of students that she had seen "loads of stuff."[3] Ron, who went after Parvati, did not share her claimed success and had to make things up, which he was certain hadn't fooled Trelawney.[3] Harry went after Ron. He told Trelawney he saw a Hippogriff, which seems to be the answer she was looking for, as she immediately brought up Buckbeak's impending execution and asked Harry whether the Hippogriff looked headless. Harry, however, stated that Buckbeak looked to be fine and was in fact flying away, which disappointed Trelawney, though the prediction turned out to be accurate and Harry passed the exam.[3]

1994-1995 school year

During a fourth-year Divination lesson on 7 December, 1994, Professor Trelawney informed the class that the previous night, she had been doing needlework when the urge to crystal-gaze struck her.[5] Looking into her ball, she had seen death, "[circling] overhead like a vulture, ever lower... ever lower over the castle."[5]

1995-1996 school year

Crystal gazing was part of the Ordinary Wizarding Level examination in this year. Harry Potter was unable to see anything in the crystal ball and Ronald Weasley embarrassed himself by describing at length the ugly man with a wart on his nose that he saw in his crystal ball, before realising that he was describing his examiner's reflection.[6]


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 15 (The Quidditch Final)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 11 (Love in a Bottle) - Divination Lesson "Crystal-gazing"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16 (Professor Trelawney's Prediction)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 11 (The Firebolt)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 21 (The House-Elf Liberation Front)
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
B3C6M2 Trelawney's first Divination lesson in the trio's third year.jpg
Professors: Sybill Trelawney · Firenze
Known Seers: Calchas · Cassandra Vablatsky · Cassandra Trelawney · Gellert Grindelwald · Inigo Imago · Johan Hoffman · Liz Tuttle's mother · Mopsus · Professor Mopsus · Susie Sooth · Tycho Dodonus · Unidentified Canadian Seer · Unidentified female Seer · Unidentified male Seer
Textbooks: The Dream Oracle · Unfogging the Future
Methods: Astrology · Bibliomancy · Cartomancy · Catoptromancy · Crystal-gazing · Crystal ball · Dream interpretation · Fire-omens · Heptomology · Ichthyomancy · Myomancy · Ornithomancy · Ovomancy · Palmistry · Scrying mirror · Tarot cards · Tessomancy · Xylomancy
Divination at Hogwarts: Divination (class) · Divination Classroom · Divination staircase · Sybill Trelawney's office · Classroom 11 · Xylomancy (class)