The Associated Press is a U. S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a unincorporated association, its members are U. S. newspapers and broadcasters. Its Statement of News Values and Principles spells out its practices; the AP has earned 52 Pulitzer Prizes, including 31 for photography, since the award was established in 1917. The AP has counted the vote in U. S. elections since 1848, including national and local races down to the legislative level in all 50 states, along with key ballot measures. AP collects and verifies returns in every county, parish and town across the U. S. and declares winners in over 5,000 contests. The AP news report, distributed to its members and customers, is produced in English and Arabic. AP content is available on the agency's app, AP News. A 2017 study by NewsWhip revealed that AP content was more engaged with on Facebook than content from any individual English-language publisher; as of 2016, news collected by the AP was published and republished by more than 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters.
The AP operates 263 news bureaus in 106 countries. It operates the AP Radio Network, which provides newscasts twice hourly for broadcast and satellite radio and television stations. Many newspapers and broadcasters outside the United States are AP subscribers, paying a fee to use AP material without being contributing members of the cooperative; as part of their cooperative agreement with the AP, most member news organizations grant automatic permission for the AP to distribute their local news reports. The AP employs the "inverted pyramid" formula for writing which enables the news outlets to edit a story to fit its available publication area without losing the story's essentials. Cutbacks at rival United Press International in 1993 left the AP as the United States' primary news service, although UPI still produces and distributes stories and photos daily. Other English-language news services, such as the BBC, Reuters and the English-language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.
The Associated Press was formed in May 1846 by five daily newspapers in New York City to share the cost of transmitting news of the Mexican–American War. The venture was organized by Moses Yale Beach, second publisher of The Sun, joined by the New York Herald, the New York Courier and Enquirer, The Journal of Commerce, the New York Evening Express; some historians believe. The New York Times became a member shortly after its founding in September 1851. Known as the New York Associated Press, the organization faced competition from the Western Associated Press, which criticized its monopolistic news gathering and price setting practices. An investigation completed in 1892 by Victor Lawson and publisher of the Chicago Daily News, revealed that several principals of the NYAP had entered into a secret agreement with United Press, a rival organization, to share NYAP news and the profits of reselling it; the revelations led to the demise of the NYAP and in December 1892, the Western Associated Press was incorporated in Illinois as The Associated Press.
A 1900 Illinois Supreme Court decision —that the AP was a public utility and operating in restraint of trade—resulted in AP's move from Chicago to New York City, where corporation laws were more favorable to cooperatives. When the AP was founded, news became a salable commodity; the invention of the rotary press allowed the New York Tribune in the 1870s to print 18,000 papers per hour. During the Civil War and Spanish–American War, there was a new incentive to print vivid, on-the-spot reporting. Melville Stone, who had founded the Chicago Daily News in 1875, served as AP General Manager from 1893 to 1921, he embraced the standards of accuracy and integrity. The cooperative grew under the leadership of Kent Cooper, who built up bureau staff in South America, Europe and, the Middle East, he introduced the "telegraph typewriter" or teletypewriter into newsrooms in 1914. In 1935, AP launched the Wirephoto network, which allowed transmission of news photographs over leased private telephone lines on the day they were taken.
This gave AP a major advantage over other news media outlets. While the first network was only between New York and San Francisco AP had its network across the whole United States. In 1945, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Associated Press v. United States that the AP had been violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by prohibiting member newspapers from selling or providing news to nonmember organizations as well as making it difficult for nonmember newspapers to join the AP; the decision facilitated the growth of its main rival United Press International, headed by Hugh Baillie from 1935 to 1955. AP entered the broadcast field in 1941. In 1994, it established a global video newsgathering agency. APTV merged with WorldWide Television News in 1998 to form APTN, which provides video to international broadcasters and websites. In 2004, AP moved its world headquarters from its longtime home at 50 Rockefeller Plaza to a huge building at 450 West 33rd Street in Manhattan—which houses the New York Daily News and the studios of New York's public television station, WNET.
In 2009, AP had more than 240 bureaus globally. Its mission—"to gather with economy and efficiency an accurate and impartial report of the news"—has not changed since its founding, but digital technology has made the distribution of the AP news report an interact
Saint Peter known as Simon Peter, Simon, or Cephas, according to the New Testament, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, leaders of the early Christian Great Church. Pope Gregory I called him the "Prince of the Apostles". According to Catholic teaching, Jesus promised Peter in the "Rock of My Church" dialogue in Matthew 16:18 a special position in the Church, he is traditionally counted as the first Bishop of Rome—or pope—and by Eastern Christian tradition as the first Patriarch of Antioch. The ancient Christian churches all venerate Peter as a major saint and as the founder of the Church of Antioch and the Roman Church, but differ in their attitudes regarding the authority of his present-day successors; the New Testament indicates that Peter's father's name was John and was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis. His brother Andrew was an apostle. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of twelve apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples.
A fisherman, he played a leadership role and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration. According to the gospels, Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, was part of Jesus's inner circle, thrice denied Jesus and wept bitterly once he realised his deed, preached on the day of Pentecost. According to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero, it is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus. Tradition holds, his remains are said to be those contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope Paul VI announced in 1968 the excavated discovery of a first-century Roman cemetery; every 29 June since 1736, a statue of Saint Peter in St. Peter's Basilica is adorned with papal tiara, ring of the fisherman, papal vestments, as part of the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. According to Catholic doctrine, the direct papal successor to Saint Peter is the incumbent pope Pope Francis.
Two general epistles in the New Testament are ascribed to Peter, but modern scholars reject the Petrine authorship of both. The Gospel of Mark was traditionally thought to show the influence of Peter's preaching and eyewitness memories. Several other books bearing his name—the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, Judgment of Peter—are considered by Christian denominations as apocryphal, are thus not included in their Bible canons. Peter's original name, as indicated in the New Testament, was "Simon" or "Simeon"; the Simon/Simeon variation has been explained as reflecting "the well-known custom among Jews at the time of giving the name of a famous patriarch or personage of the Old Testament to a male child along with a similar sounding Greek/Roman name". He was given the name כֵּיפָא in Aramaic, rendered in Greek as Κηφᾶς, whence Latin and English Cephas; the precise meaning of the Aramaic word is disputed, some saying that its usual meaning is "rock" or "crag", others saying that it means rather "stone" and in its application by Jesus to Simon, "precious stone" or "jewel", but most scholars agree that as a proper name it denotes a rough or tough character.
Both meanings, "stone" and "rock", are indicated in dictionaries of Syriac. Catholic theologian Rudolf Pesch argues that the Aramaic cepha means "stone, clump, clew" and that "rock" is only a connotation; the combined name Σίμων Πέτρος appears 19 times in the New Testament. In some Syriac documents he is called, in Simon Cephas. Peter's life story is told in the four canonical gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, New Testament letters, the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews and other Early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus' ministry. Peter became the first listed apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church. Peter was a fisherman in Bethsaida, he was named son of Jonah or John. The three Synoptic Gospels recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum. 1 Cor. 9:5 has been taken to imply that he was married. In the Synoptic Gospels, Peter was a fisherman along with his brother and the sons of Zebedee and John.
The Gospel of John depicts Peter fishing after the resurrection of Jesus, in the story of the Catch of 153 fish. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus called Simon and his brother Andrew to be "fishers of men". A Franciscan church is built upon the traditional site of Apostle Peter's house. In Luke, Simon Peter owns the boat that Jesus uses to preach to the multitudes who were pressing on him at the shore of Lake Gennesaret. Jesu
The Kongo people are a Bantu ethnic group defined as the speakers of Kikongo. They have lived along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, in a region that by the 15th century was a centralized and well-organized Kingdom of Kongo, but is now a part of three countries, their highest concentrations are found south of Pointe-Noire in the Republic of the Congo, southwest of Pool Malebo and west of the Kwango River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Luanda, Angola. They are the largest ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the major ethnic groups in the other two countries they are found in. In 1975, the Kongo population was reported as 4,040,000; the Kongo people were among the earliest sub-Saharan Africans to welcome Portuguese traders in 1483 CE, began converting to Catholicism in the late 15th century. They were among the first to protest slavery in letters to the King of Portugal in the 1510s and 1520s succumbed to the demands for slaves from the Portuguese through the 16th century.
The Kongo people were a part of the major slave raiding and export trade of African slaves to the European colonial interests in 17th and 18th century. The slave raids, colonial wars and the 19th-century Scramble for Africa split the Kongo people into Portuguese and French parts. In the early 20th century, they became one of the most active ethnic groups in the efforts to decolonize Africa, helping liberate the three nations to self governance, they now occupy influential positions in the politics and business operations in the three countries they are most found in. The origin of the name Kongo is unclear, several theories have been proposed. According to the colonial era scholar Samuel Nelson, the term Kongo is derived from a local verb for gathering or assembly. According to Alisa LaGamma, the root may be from the regional word N'kongo which means "hunter" in the context of someone adventurous and heroic. Douglas Harper states that the term means "mountains" in the Bantu language, the root of the name of the countries and river that flows through the mountains of Congo region.
The Kongo people have been referred to by various names in the colonial French and Portuguese literature, names such as Esikongo, Mesikongo and Moxicongo. Christian missionaries in the Caribbean applied the term Bafiote to the slaves from the Vili or Fiote coastal Kongo people, but this term was used to refer to any "black man" in Cuba, St Lucia and other colonial era Islands ruled by one of the European colonial interests; the group is identified by speaking a cluster of mutually intelligible dialects rather than by large continuities in their history or in culture. The term “Congo” was more deployed to identify Kikongo-speaking people enslaved in the Americas. Since the early twentieth century, Bakongo has been used in areas north of the Congo river, to refer to the Kikongo-speaking community, or more broadly to speakers of the related Kongo languages; this convention is based on the Bantu languages. The prefix "mu -" and "ba -" refer to "people", plural respectively; the ancient history of the Kongo people has been difficult to ascertain.
The region is close to East Africa, considered to be a key to the prehistoric human migrations. This geographical proximity, states Jan Vansina, suggests that the Congo river region, home of the Kongo people, was populated thousands of years ago. Ancient archeological evidence linked to Kongo people has not been found, glottochronology – or the estimation of ethnic group chronologies based on language evolution – has been applied to the Kongo. Based on this, it is the Kongo language and Gabon-Congo language split about 950 BCE; the earliest archeological evidence related to this region, where the Kongo people are concentrated, is from Tchissanga, a site dated to about 600 BCE. However, the site does not prove; the Kongo people had settled into the area well before the fifth century CE, begun a society that utilized the diverse and rich resources of region and developed farming methods. According to James Denbow, social complexity had been achieved by the second century CE. Small kingdoms and Kongo principalities appeared in the current region by the 1200 CE, but documented history of this period of Kongo people if it existed has not survived into the modern era.
Detailed and copious description about the Kongo people who lived next to the Atlantic ports of the region, as a sophisticated culture and infrastructure, appear in the 15th century, written by the Portuguese explorers. Anthropological work on the Kongo of the region come from the colonial era writers the French and Belgians, but this too is limited and does not exhaustively cover all of the Kongo people; the evidence suggests, states Vansina, that the Kongo people were advanced in their culture and socio-political systems with multiple kingdoms well before the arrival of first Portuguese ships in the late 15th century. Archaeological evidence, Portuguese documents and Kongo oral tradition suggest that the Kingdom of Kongo was founded in the 14th century; the kingdom was modeled not on hereditary succession as was common in Europe, but based on an election by the court nobles from the Kongo people. This required the king to win his legitimacy by a process of recognizing his peers, consensus building as well as regalia and religious ritualism.
The kingdom had many trading centers both
Cuba the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet, it is east of the Yucatán Peninsula, south of both the U. S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is capital; the area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres. The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres, the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants; the territory, now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonisation in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba; the country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of few Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary imprisonment. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America, it is a multiethnic country whose people and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Cuba is a sovereign state and a founding member of the United Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African and Pacific Group of States, ALBA and Organization of American States. The country is a middle power in world affairs, it has one of the world's only planned economies, its economy is dominated by the exports of sugar, tobacco and skilled labor. According to the Human Development Index, Cuba has high human development and is ranked the eighth highest in North America, though 67th in the world, it ranks in some metrics of national performance, including health care and education. It is the only country in the world to meet the conditions of sustainable development put forth by the WWF. Historians believe the name Cuba comes from the Taíno language, however "its exact derivation unknown"; the exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as'where fertile land is abundant', or'great place'. Fringe theory writers who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, Cuba was inhabited by three distinct tribes of indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Taíno, the Guanahatabey and the Ciboney people; the ancestors of the Ciboney migrated from the mainland of South America, with the earliest sites dated to 5,000 BP. The Taíno arrived from Hispanola sometime in the 3rd century A. D; when Columbus arrived they were the dominant culture in Cuba, having an estimated population of 150,000. The Taíno were farmers, while the Ciboney were farmers as well as hunter-gatherers. After first landing on an island called Guanahani, Bahamas, on 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba's northeastern coast on 28 October 1492. Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa. Other towns soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which became the capital.
The native Taíno were forced to work under the encomienda system, which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe. Within a century the indigenous people were wiped out due to multiple factors Eurasian infectious diseases, to which they had no natural resistance, aggravated by harsh conditions of the repressive colonial subjugation. In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had survived smallpox. On 18 May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto departed from Havana at the head of some 600 followers into a vast expedition through the Southeastern United States, starting at La Florida, in search of gold, treasure and power. On 1 September 1548, Dr. Gonzalo Perez de Angulo was appointed governor of Cuba, he arrived in Santiago, Cuba on 4 November 1549 and declared the liberty of all natives. He became Cuba's first permanent governor to reside in Havana instead of Santiago, he built Havana's first church made of maso
Nzambi a Mpungu
Nzambi a Mpungu is the Kongolese name for a high creator god. The idea of such a god spread from Central Africa into other Kongo related religions, he is mentioned as the name for God as early as the early sixteenth century by Portuguese visitors to the Kingdom of Kongo. This deity has been known as the high and creator god from before this time until today. European missionaries along with Kongo intellectuals set out to render European Christian religious concepts into Kikongo and they chose this name to represent God. Jesuit missionaries in the 1540s noted the acceptance of this relationship as well, it was included in the now lost catechism produced by Carmelites in Kikongo in 1557, it was used for God in the catechism of 1624, a translation by the "best masters of the church" in Kongo under the supervision of the Jesuit priest Mateus Cardoso. It is not clear if the elevation of Nzambi a Mpungu to the status of creator god and equivalent to the Christian God by priests and missionaries was the reason that he is regarded as such by modern Kongo cosmology, or whether he was always considered the creator.
However, in the Kingdom of Loango, a Kikongo-speaking area that never accepted Christianity as its national religion, reports by Dutch visitors gave this as the name for God. Nzambi a Mpungu is the creator of the universe. After creation he became bored with the world and withdrew from it. However, Nzambi Mpungu still animates the natural occurances of the world. Another related deity is Nzambi the god of Earth's mystery, she was sent to Earth by Nzambi Mpungu, married to him making him the father of all creation. Nzambi gave the humanity its laws and games, as well as settled quarrels between animals, she would steal some of Nzambi Mpungu's fire. In the religion of Kumina there is a high creator god is known as "King Zombi", a derivative of Nzambi Mpungu. In the religion of Palo, "Nzambi" is the god who animates it. Nzambi resides in all natural things, the spirits of the dead. Long deceased ancestors who have become spirits will over a long period of time become enveloped in the natural elements and thus Nzambi himself.
The natural powers of Nzambi can be harnessed in common ceremonies. Thornton, John K. "The Development of an African Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1491–1750," Journal of African History 25
Connecticut is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index, median household income in the United States, it is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital is Hartford and its most populous city is Bridgeport, it is part of New England, although portions of it are grouped with New York and New Jersey as the Tri-state area. The state is named for the Connecticut River which bisects the state; the word "Connecticut" is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for "long tidal river". Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutchmen who established a small, short-lived settlement called Fort Hoop in Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut Rivers. Half of Connecticut was part of the Dutch colony New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers, although the first major settlements were established in the 1630s by the English.
Thomas Hooker led a band of followers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded the Connecticut Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in America. In 1662, the three colonies were merged under a royal charter; this was one of the Thirteen Colonies. Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous, the fourth most densely populated of the 50 states, it is known as the "Constitution State", the "Nutmeg State", the "Provisions State", the "Land of Steady Habits". It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States; the Connecticut River, Thames River, ports along Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition which continues today. The state has a long history of hosting the financial services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County. Landmarks and cities of Connecticut Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York, on the north by Massachusetts, on the east by Rhode Island.
The state capital and fourth largest city is Hartford, other major cities and towns include Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, Danbury, New Britain and Bristol. Connecticut is larger than the country of Montenegro. There are 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut; the highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut and New York meet, on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts. At the opposite extreme, many of the coastal towns have areas that are less than 20 feet above sea level. Connecticut has a long maritime history and a reputation based on that history—yet the state has no direct oceanfront; the coast of Connecticut sits on Long Island Sound, an estuary. The state's access to the open Atlantic Ocean is both to the east; this situation provides many safe harbors from ocean storms, many transatlantic ships seek anchor inside Long Island Sound when tropical cyclones pass off the upper East Coast.
The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state. The most populous metropolitan region centered within the state lies in the Connecticut River Valley. Despite Connecticut's small size, it features wide regional variations in its landscape. Connecticut's rural areas and small towns in the northeast and northwest corners of the state contrast with its industrial cities such as Stamford and New Haven, located along the coastal highways from the New York border to New London northward up the Connecticut River to Hartford. Many towns in northeastern and northwestern Connecticut center around a green, such as the Litchfield Green, Lebanon Green, Wethersfield Green. Near the green stand historical visual symbols of New England towns, such as a white church, a colonial meeting house, a colonial tavern or inn, several colonial houses, so on, establishing a scenic historical appearance maintained for both historic preservation and tourism. Many of the areas in southern and coastal Connecticut have been built up and rebuilt over the years, look less visually like traditional New England.
The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the Southwick Jog or Granby Notch, an 2.5 miles square detour into Connecticut. The origin of this anomaly is established in a long line of disputes and temporary agreements which were concluded in 1804, when southern Southwick's residents sought to leave Massachusetts, the town was split in half; the southwestern border of Connecticut where it abuts New York State is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, containing the towns of Greenwich, New Canaan and parts of Norwalk and Wilton. This irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 17th century, culminating
Scrying known by various names such as "seeing" or "peeping", is the practice of looking into a suitable medium in the hope of detecting significant messages or visions. The objective might be personal guidance, revelation, or inspiration, but down the ages, scrying in various forms has been a prominent means of divination or fortune-telling, it remains popular in occult circles, discussed in many media, both modern and centuries old. There is no definitive distinction between scrying and other aids to clairvoyance, augury, or divination, but speaking, scrying depends on fancied impressions of visions in the medium of choice. Ideally in this respect it differs from augury, which relies on interpretations of objectively observable objects or events. Clairvoyance in other words, is regarded as amounting in essence to extrasensory perception. Scrying is neither a single, clearly-defined, nor formal discipline and there is no uniformity in the procedures and independently have been reinvented or elaborated in many ages and regions.
Furthermore and authors coin terminology so arbitrarily, artificially, that no one system of nomenclature can be taken as authoritative and definitive. Terms in use are Latinisations or Hellenisations of descriptions of the media or activities. Examples of names coined for crystal gazing include'crystallomancy','spheromancy', and'catoptromancy'; as an example of the looseness of such terms, catoptromancy should refer more to scrying by use of mirrors or other reflective objects rather than by crystal gazing. Other names that have been coined for the use of various scrying media include anthracomancy for glowing coals, turifumy for scrying into smoke, hydromancy for scrying into water. There is no clear limit to the application of such terms and media. Scrying has been practised in many cultures in the belief that it can reveal the past, present, or future; some practitioners assert that visions that come when one stares into the media are from the subconscious or imagination, while others say that they come from gods, devils, or the psychic mind, depending on the culture and practice.
There is neither any systematic body of empirical support for any such views in general however, nor for their respective rival merits. The media most used in scrying are reflective, translucent, or luminescent surfaces or objects such as crystals, stones, or glass in various shapes such as crystal balls, reflective black surfaces such as obsidian, water surfaces, fire, or smoke, but there is no special limitation on the preferences or prejudices of the scryer; some prefer shimmering mirages. Some close their eyes, notionally staring at the insides of their own eyelids, speak of "eyelid scrying". Scrying media either suggest images directly, or else they distort or reflect the observers' vision confusingly, in the manner to be seen in crystals or transparent balls; such fancies have long been satirised by sceptics, for example in Hamlet III.ii: Alternatively the medium might reduce visual stimuli to thresholds below which any clear impressions could interfere with fancied visions or free association.
Examples include plain shadow or darkness. One class of methods of scrying involves a self-induced trance, with or without the aid of a medium such as a crystal ball or via modern technology such as a smartphone among other things; some say. Many practitioners say that the scrying medium serves to focus attention, removing unwanted thoughts from the mind in much the same way as repetition of a mantra, concentration on a mandala, inducing the relaxation response, or by hypnosis. Once this stage is achieved, the scryer may begin free association with the perceived images; the technique of deliberately looking for and declaring these initial images aloud, however trivial or irrelevant they may seem to the conscious mind, attempts to deepen the trance state. In this state some scryers hear their own disassociated voices affirming what they see, in a mental feedback loop. Practitioners apply the process until they achieve a satisfactory state of perception in which rich visual images and dramatic stories seem to be projected within the medium itself, or in the mind's eye of the scryer.
They claim that the technique allows them to see relevant images within the chosen medium. Nostradamus practised scrying. Divination is mentioned in chapter 44 of the Book of Genesis. A silver chalice or cup is deliberately planted in Benjamin's sack when he leaves Egypt to be used as evidence of theft, it is revealed the cup belongs to Joseph, the vizier of Egypt, whose steward claimed was used for drinking and divination during the course of his accusation. This is mentioned to reinforce his disguise as an Egyptian nobleman. Though divination is forbidden according to the Torah, the time of Joseph preceded the Hebrew nation an