Learning to Scan

by ShadowRain

How To Use This Guide: Don’t expect to master this entire guide in one sitting. The best way to approach it is to read it all the way through once, but don’t expect to understand everything–just get a feel for where you’re headed. Make sure you understand the introduction and “What is Scanning?” sections, then start working through the exercises in the “How to Scan” section. The exercises start from square one and build on each other, so they are meant to be done in order. Many of the things that don’t make sense on the first read-through will become clear as you practice and gain skill and experience.


Scanning is one of the most important skills to learn in psionics and energy work. Period. Think about it: how comfortable would you be with a neurosurgeon who couldn’t see? How about a military general who was blind and deaf? So where did the idea in the OEC (Online Energy Communities) come from that it’s okay to “be a healer” or “specialize in combat” without knowing how to perceive subtle energy**?

In fact, this is one of the main reasons that energy manipulation has become less popular in the OEC: there are so few people who can scan accurately that there’s no way to verify it when someone says they’ve made a great construct or stripped off someone’s shields. Those who are tired of the outrageous claims end up dismissing it all as fluff and the product of overactive imaginations. The problem is, this stance isn’t accurate either: energy manipulation is very real, and it’s entirely possible that something is being done. The key is being able to see what is happening accurately.

To give you an idea of what I mean by accurately, I do not mean being able to mentally imagine some fuzzy colors when you think of a person or get a general sense that a construct is meant to inflict damage. While being able to perceive that much is definitely better than about 75% of the OEC at the time I am writing this, it’s only the beginning in terms of accuracy. A truly skilled scanner can see an incredible amount of detail. Raven_of_chaos, one of my friends and an excellent scanner, described the difference this way:

A newbie scanner picks up a blue bubble shield with fuzzy lines on it.
A better scanner sees a blue shield with solid programing lines along the interiors of the shield.
An even better scanner sees a green fog around the shield where the practitioner’s will escaped focus, the blue shield that wavers slightly when you get close, the lines of programing that they can translate, as well as seeing various parts of the user’s ebody [energy body] where the shield is weak.

It comes down to this: the more you can see (and at least partially understand), the more accurate and efficient your work will be. Otherwise you’re just shooting in the dark.


What is Scanning?

The basic idea is that your mind perceives a lot more data than you’re normally aware of. You can demonstrate this easily on a physical level: you probably weren’t aware of how your clothes felt against your skin until just now. Your mind was receiving the data, but filtered it out as unnecessary and unimportant before it got to your conscious mind. Your mind is also aware of things like subtle energy, but it too gets filtered out before reaching your awareness. Thus, a big part of learning to scan is letting your mind know that you actually want to be consciously aware of all that stuff it’s been so helpfully filtering out for you.

The next part of learning to scan is learning to interpret the data that your mind starts sending you. In the beginning, the mind will often pick one of your senses (sight or touch, for example, though it may be any of them) and send you metaphors. For example, you might think of a person and get a mental flash of a color or smell home-baked cookies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is actually blue, smells like cookies, or that anyone else would perceive them in exactly that way. It just means that your mind is trying to communicate what it knows (perhaps that the person is calm or that their energy is related to feeling safe somehow) in a way that makes sense to you. Once you get to this point, it’s practice practice practice PRACTICE as much as you possibly can. The more experience and points of reference you have, the better you’ll be able to interpret the data, as well as giving your mind a chance to learn how to send the data to you in a way that makes more sense.

Now I’m going to go over some scanning-related terms that it is helpful to be familiar with. Outside of psionics circles, the blanket term for perceiving anything that most people can’t ordinarily see with their physical eyes is Clairvoyance. Occasionally if people want to get more particular about what sense they’re using to perceive things they’ll use terms like clairsentience, clairaudience, clairalience, clairgustance, and claircognizance (feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting, and knowing, respectively). But in general, clairvoyance is the term that is used. Most of the people who are clairvoyant are simply born with the ability or develop it after life changing events like Near Death Experiences. Less well known is the fact that it can be learned through practice.

Scanning is the term used within the OEC for practicing clairvoyance on purpose. As with the other psionic abilities, you don’t have to be born with it or wait for it to happen on its own. You can practice it and get better at it like any other skill.

There are many layers or Planes of reality besides the physical plane. I won’t explain my entire “theory of the universe” now, but here is a basic framework to get you started:

  • Physical Plane: this is the physical matter and physical energy (like electricity) that you interact with every day.
  • Ethereal Plane: this layer includes the subtle energy (aka psi, chi, prana, etc.) that is closely tied to locations and objects on the physical plane–for example, the subtle energy in a person’s body (their energy system and aura), and the ambient energies at various physical locations. When you make a psiball or a shield, this is where it shows up. (This plane is also called the energetic, etheric or lower astral plane.)
  • Astral Planes: these layers are also made of subtle energy, but they aren’t (in most cases) tied to a physical location. Note, however, that subtle energy may behave differently on different levels.
  • Mental Planes: at the lower levels, this includes your personal mental “space”–if you imagine an object, you’re making it in some way on the mental plane. You can also connect with other people’s personal mental “space” here, like when doing telepathy. The higher levels include things that aren’t in just one person’s mind. If you’ve heard of things like the “collective unconscious” or “Plato’s theory of the forms”, those theories are describing parts of the mental planes.

Usually in the OEC when someone scans something they’re looking at it on the ethereal plane (the most basic subtle energy level). There are many other possibilities involved of course, but the general rule of thumb is to start with looking at the energetic, then move on to examining other things if needed or requested. Someone scanning you does not necessarily mean they’re trying to telepathically read your mind (that’s referred to as Probing and involves a mental plane), nor does it mean they’re necessarily going to see you physically. It just means they’re looking at your energy and the energy that is in your general area.

Remote Viewing is the other term that is often used. Most people use it incorrectly to mean scanning things on the physical plane. In actuality it refers to the strict protocol developed by the military for practicing clairvoyance in such a way that reduces the likelihood of false information shadowing actual received information (aka analytic overlay–they’re actually the ones that came up with the term). There are several variants of this protocol, look up the following terms if you are curious:

  • Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV)
  • Ganzfeld Remote Viewing
  • Associative Remote Viewing (ARV)
  • Beacon/Outbounder Remote Viewing
  • Controlled Remote Viewing (sometimes also abbreviated CRV)
  • Extended Remote Viewing (ERV)

Remember: if you are not following the remote viewing protocols then you are not doing remote viewing.


How to Scan

Where you start depends on where you are so I’m going to give a bunch of different exercises that may be helpful. I have organized them in the order that I would recommend to a complete beginner, but some of the exercises have advice for specific issues as well so feel free to skip ahead, mix and match, and come up with your own. What is important is that you practice scanning every chance that you get and aim all of your practice toward being able to scan more clearly and accurately. If you get stuff wrong at first that’s perfectly fine. It’s better to get things wrong and work toward getting it right than to fudge your way through and pretend. Otherwise you’ll never get better.


1. Sensing Energy

The first step is to get an idea of how your mind perceives energy in general. Some people experienced this when making their first psiball–the energy often feels warm, cool, tingling, or like a slight magnetic repulsion. There’s a few problems with this though: first, it’s possible to make your body change the temperature in your hands without it having anything to do with energy (consciously controlling subconscious processes is called Biofeedback); second, you’re not always going to be able to touch what you’re scanning with your hands. While interacting with energy physically is a good place to start, it’s important to also be able to scan without physical aids since so much practice in the OEC is done over the internet.

Charged Card Shuffle: For this exercise, get three objects that are identical on one side and can be marked on the other (playing cards, for example). Charge one of them with energy–you can either attach a psiball to it, or just put as much energy as you can into it (it may help to visualize the card becoming very bright and glowy with energy). Make a note of which card you charged then shuffle it in with the other non-charged cards and deal them out face down on the table in front of you (without looking of course). Now, see if you can sense which one is different. In the beginning you might try using your hands, but try to get to the point where you can mentally look at them and know which card was charged. Pay attention to how your mind shows it to you. Does the card look “brighter” somehow? Does it feel more intense in a way? Are you drawn to it or does it catch your attention? When you’ve made your choice, check your results. Be sure to keep notes to track your progress.

Variations: To increase the difficulty, add more cards. If you have someone to practice with, you might try having them charge the card for you to sense. Or each of you charge a card and mix them in with several others and try to sense which cards were charged and by whom. This will help you start to recognize psi signatures (see #3: Remote Scanning). This can also be practiced if your partner is online: just set the card you want them to charge off by itself a bit, tell them where it is or give them a photograph of it and ask them to send a lot of energy into it. Then shuffle the cards together and practice sensing like normal.

Note: If you find you’re having trouble with the cards that were charged in the previous sessions staying charged when they’re not supposed to be, you may need to clean them. Just use your favorite grounding technique or visualize taking all the extra energy out of the cards and sending it into the ground.


2. Scanning Constructs

Once you can sense the presence of energy, the next step is to learn to sense details about the energy. This is most easily done with constructs. For example, being able to sense the form/shape of a construct, the color, the texture, or a basic action that the construct is made to do is all helpful.

Construct Shuffle: Start with very basic constructs at first and don’t pack in too many details, geometric solids work well. Make three different constructs (like a sphere, a cube, and a pyramid) and attach each to one of the playing cards (make a note of which is which). Then shuffle and practice figuring out which is which. In the beginning you may use your hands to “feel” the shape of each, but try to get to the point where you can sense it without touching. Try adding in other traits as well, like attaching different colored psiballs to the cards or using different textures. The more senses you can involve, the more your mind will have to work with in the future, so try attaching a taste or a smell–experiment and challenge yourself. Take notes on what you find works or doesn’t and track your progress.

Variations: To increase the difficulty, add more cards or more complex objects.

Pass the Construct: Another way to practice scanning constructs is the game Pass the Construct. If it’s just you and a partner, each make a construct (lay down some guidelines like basic shapes, fruit, etc.) and send it to the other, then write down what you think the construct is. When you’re both done compare your notes to what the person actually made. If you’re playing in a group, you can play the same way, just set up a system for who passes to whom (for example, everyone passes to their right, or to the next person down on the chatroom list). This gives lots of practice in not only sensing, but also making clearly defined constructs. The more clearly you can make the construct, the easier it will be for the person to sense. (It can help to have an experienced scanner act as a referee.)

Note: Remember, this is energy scanning practice, not telepathy practice, so don’t try to telepathically project at the scanner so they’ll get it right. Ideally, whenever two or more people practice scanning together whoever makes the construct should not think about the construct while the other person is scanning it–this will help to reduce telepathic interference (whether conscious or subconscious).


3. Remote Scanning

Once you’re used to sensing energy and constructs that are in the same room as you, it’s time to move on to scanning things remotely. Psi isn’t dependent on time or space, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re practicing with someone who’s in the next room or across the globe from you.

You will need a basic familiarity with psi signatures. A Psi Signature is a person’s unique pattern of energy that allows you to psychically “locate” them. If you aren’t comfortable with what signatures are, how to find one, and how to use them then check out a few of the articles that have been written on them specifically.

Once you have a signature, there are several ways of scanning. One way is to focus on the signature and mentally “go” to wherever it is (this is called Remote Presence). A handy visualization is picturing yourself in your mind and then going through a door or a tunnel that leads to where the other person is. Once you’re there, look at the other person or look around the room a bit and make note of what you see.

Another way is to imagine a room in your mind where you see whatever it is that you’re trying to scan. The person isn’t actually in your mind of course, but your mind can show everything to you there. Sort of like a Holodeck if you’re familiar with Star Trek, or the Construct in the Matrix where they would go before a training program was loaded. Just point your mind toward the person’s signature and ask your mind to show it to you there. This method can be a lot less invasive than using remote presence. People who are sensitive are often able to feel it very clearly when they are being scanned and if the scanner uses remote presence it can feel like they are hovering right next to them.

Keep in mind that when I say “see” I mean seeing something in your mind’s eye, not actually seeing it with your physical eyes in front of you. It can be similar to imagining or visualizing, but there is a subtle difference that marks it as more “real” somehow. A good way of testing this so that you can get a handle on the difference is imagine something like an apple. Not a particular apple, just your mental concept of one. Try to imagine it in as much detail as possible and mentally walk around and look at it. Now, imagine seeing your practice partner in your mind, but instead of filling in all the details you think should be there, give your mind a nudge and point it at their signature. Your mind should fill in the details on its own and you may notice some attributes that you didn’t expect, like an odd color or feeling. If you do this several times, you should notice a difference between when you’re just imagining and when your mind is actually looking at someone.

Colored Shields: For this exercise you’ll need a partner. Talk to each other a bit until you both have a good feel for the other’s signature. You may want to start by taking turns scanning each other to get an idea for what the person “looks” like normally. Then each of you make a basic bubble shield around yourself that is a particular color (bright, primary colors work well), and take turns scanning each other. Take notes on what colors you see and what color the person made their shield to track your progress. Note: some people see other people’s energy fields as particular colors. If this color is getting in the way of seeing the color of the shield, ask the person to nudge the shield out so that it’s past the edge of their field so none of their field sticks out past it.

Variations: Try other attributes like textures as well as colors. Also try programming different kinds of shields and trying to sense what the shield is made to do. To increase the difficulty, have your partner layer several shields on themselves and see if you can tell how many there are and what the attributes of each shield are.

Remote Construct Scanning: It’s helpful to be able to find things that are in the same general area as another person (like in the same room or house). To practice this use an exercise similar to the Pass the Construct game, except instead of sending the constructs to each other, the person who makes the construct should set it down near them and point the scanner to it. Directions like “it’s to my left” or “it’s on my keyboard” are helpful in the beginning or the person who made the construct can also highlight it. Highlighting is mostly a mental technique that makes something more obvious–it doesn’t actually change the construct, it just acts as a small mental beacon that says “oh hey, here I am! Look at me!” To highlight a construct, simply think of it and visualize it getting glowy, bright, and more obvious compared to all the background info. Their mind will pick up on this signal as they scan. Subtle energy can be used in some cases to aid in the highlighting, or be used by itself for those less likely to pick up on a mental flag. You should get to the point where you can simply zero in on the person then look around in their general area and find the construct that they made without additional help.

Note: Some people don’t keep their rooms energetically clean anymore than they do physically. If you run into a lot of random, half-dissolving constructs that are interfering with being able to find the real construct, ask them to clean up a bit (don’t just ground their room yourself, that’s rude–there may be things they want to keep). You can also ask your mind to show you only the construct that was just made or the constructs made within a certain timeframe.


4. Coordinate Scanning

Not everything that you scan will be in the physical vicinity of the person you are talking to. There are times when you need to scan a person that you do not know, or an object that is somewhere else (physically or even on a different plane). For this, it is helpful to be able to scan Coordinates: a code associated with an object that the mind can use to find it.

To make a set of coordinates, pick a random string of characters that is at least seven digits long (this decreases the chance that you’ve used any given string before). Feel free to use letters, numbers, and even symbols, though symbols can be more difficult to type since some computers render them as strings of boxes. Mentally associate this string with what you want the other person to scan; if you want to visualize tying the label to the object, that might work, or I usually just think of the object clearly as I type in the characters–whatever will signal your mind “this set of coordinates refers to that object/person/etc.”. Then, instead of focusing on a name or signature when they begin scanning, they will focus on the coordinate string. A short-term, quick-and-dirty version of this is telling the person something like: “scan *this*” or “look *here*”, where you’ve mentally linked the word “*this*” or “*here*” to whatever it is you want them to scan.

Coordinate Scanning: To practice using coordinates, have your partner pick something that is not near them but is still verifiable (the moon is not nearby, but it is difficult to verify what you scanned was correct). For example, your partner may make a construct and send it to a different location–the tip of the empire state building, for instance–then they will give you a set of coordinates for the construct. If you describe the construct correctly, then you found the construct successfully.

Variations: If you are practicing in a group, have one person make a set of coordinates that is associated to one of the other people practicing, then have everyone scan it and see both how well they match and if they can identify who it is. (Getting people to scan themselves without realizing it is always amusing–they end up noticing things about themselves that they wouldn’t normally).


5. Dealing with Analytic Overlay

Analytic Overlay (AOL) is when the mind “fills in the blanks” with details based on what it analyzes would be logical to perceive rather than what is actually there. For example, if you perceive something “long” and “yellow”, your mind may jump to the conclusion that it is a banana and start showing you banana-like details, when in fact the object was a long yellow pencil. This happens because your mind likes to organize sensory input into familiar patterns, rather than accepting seemingly random attributes that don’t immediately make sense.

One of the biggest causes of AOL is Frontloading: telling or hinting at what a person should expect to perceive. For example, asking a question such as: “I tried to make a blue psiball, could you scan it to see if I made it right?” would be frontloading–the scanner is more likely to see a blue psiball, even if it is not there or is made incorrectly.

When you’re learning to scan, it’s important to avoid frontloading where possible (even if it is tempting to ask leading questions so that you have less of a chance of being completely wrong). If someone agrees to let you scan something, ask them to give you as little information as possible. For example, “scan the area around me” or “scan my right hand” is better than “scan the blue psiball in my right hand.”

However, it is not always possible to avoid frontloading and it’s important to learn to scan accurately in spite of it. The trick is to learn to recognize the subtle differences between seeing something that you expect to be there and seeing something that is actually there. There are a couple ways to go about this:

Purposeful Frontloading: When I had been scanning for about a year, one of my friends (who often modified his energy system and had me scan for changes) got frustrated with how nervous I was about frontloading and AOL. He asked me to scan his head and look for a pyramid shaped structure inside. I had trouble seeing it, but he asked “are you sure you don’t see it?” and went on to describe some other things that I should see attached to the structure. I finally managed to see what he was talking about and described some of the other details I saw about the odd shapes as well. When I was done, he told me that there were no such things in his energy system and he’d been completely frontloading me. I was more than a little embarrassed, but he immediately asked me to think back about how it had felt to see the things he had told me to look for and to compare it to how it felt to scan things normally. He was right, there was a subtle difference in the feeling (besides the initial difficulty that I had in seeing what he was talking about). This turned out to be one of the most valuable scanning exercises I ever did.

The downside of trying to replicate this exercise is that it doesn’t work if you’re expecting it. You’ll need a partner who thoroughly understands the point of the exercise and preferably one that can B.S. convincingly (not something I normally recommend, but if it’s obvious when they’re frontloading you, the exercise won’t work either). If they have trouble making things up, have them keep what they say to a minimum, for example, “okay, the next construct is ready; it’s on my mousepad.”

Have them make up at least five different (but similar and equally probable) scenarios. For three of them, they will actually make the construct that they ask you to scan; for the other two, there will be no construct at all. Have them randomly select ahead of time which scenarios will be which. An example series might be: blue sphere, no construct, yellow pyramid, green sphere, no construct. As you scan each one, make detailed notes about what you see and how it feels. Don’t have your partner confirm or deny anything as you are scanning, wait until the very end and then have them list what each scenario actually was, then compare it to your notes. Note: make sure that the area is completely cleared in between each scenario so you don’t have bits of constructs floating around that might interfere.

Variations: Instead of having your partner not make any construct for the frontloaded scenarios, have them tell you what each construct should be before you scan, but for several of them, have the construct be entirely different. An example series might be: blue sphere (actually made), red cube (actually a yellow cylinder), yellow pyramid (actually made), green cube (actually made), black sphere (actually a bright pink pyramid).

Reverse Frontloading: This trick works best once you have some practice with recognizing the difference between the feeling of AOL and scanning something that’s actually there. In essence, if you feel like what you’re seeing is AOL, frontload yourself into not seeing it that way, and the two suggestions may help to balance each other out and let you see what is actually going on. NOTE: this is no guarantee for overcoming frontloading. It’s a mental trick, and it requires a lot of practice and self-knowledge to use it correctly.

An example of this would be when I’m scanning someone’s energy system and something just doesn’t feel right or seems very unlikely, I’ll stop scanning for a moment and clear my mind, telling myself “no, that’s wrong, they look totally normal and there’s nothing wrong.” Then I’ll look again and start with the assumption that they look totally normal. Some of the time, everything settles down and I’m able to see what’s going on or what might be causing the problem the person is describing. Other times, however, no matter how much I try not to see whatever the weirdness was, it will keep popping up. Usually this ends up meaning that there really is something very odd going on that needs to be looked into further. However, if you’re just having trouble getting your mind to slow down and give clear information, you may want to take a break and try again later. If you’re still not sure, use the next technique:

Get a Second Opinion: Even the best scanners I know will ask others (without frontloading them of course) to scan things and give their opinion. When several good scanners all come up with the same things independently, it’s a pretty good bet that is what’s actually going on.


6. Free Practice

As you are learning to scan, even before you get the above exercises down, practice on everything. There are usually plenty of people in the OEC who would like various things scanned. When I was first starting, I would tell people “hey, I’m new at this so no guarantees about accuracy, but if you’d like I’ll give it a shot.” After I told them what I could see about it, I would usually include the disclaimer, “that’s what I see, but I could be wrong.” Besides reminding them not to take my scans as absolute fact, it also helped my mind to stay open to new possibilities about whatever it was that I was scanning rather than locking down and settling on just one interpretation of it.

Using that approach, I got the opportunity to scan a very wide variety of things–some things that I wasn’t even sure if I could scan, or that I had to come up with creative ways to conceptualize so that I could get useful information about them. But it challenged me, and as I practiced I found little mental techniques that helped and I gradually got better. I’m including several of those techniques I found helpful here:

The “Show Me…” Technique: This works best if you are able to communicate decently well with your mind/sub-conscious/inner/etc. Essentially, clear your mind, decide what you want to see, ask, and see what shows up. For example, one of the main “organs” in a person’s energy system is their core (it’s in their abdomen, if you want to look for yourself). If I’m scanning someone and I want to see their core in detail, then I’d say to my mind, “show me their core,” or I could even go one step further and specify a particular level or area of their core that I wanted to examine. Feel free to be as detailed in your instructions as you find is helpful. For the most part, as long as you have a decently clear concept of what you’re asking to see, your mind will oblige and show it to you. However, it’s still up to you to interpret what your mind shows you.

Note: this technique works with any type of clairvoyance, not just when scanning subtle energy. It’s a good way to start learning to perceive physical things, in fact. When practicing with a partner, for example, you could try “show me their hair color.” Or if they hide a picture of a random object in a closed envelope (like the military used to do during remote viewing trials) “show me what’s in the envelope.” This works by removing the need to conceptualize how the information is gathered and just focusing on the information itself.

Mental Computer Simulation: Remember that your mind communicates in metaphor. What you see when you’re scanning isn’t necessarily what is literally there, but you can take advantage of this. When you scan, imagine that what you’re seeing is basically a three dimensional computer simulation that you can manipulate at will without actually affecting what you’re scanning. So if you can only see the top layer but you want to look underneath, ask your mind to hide that top layer from view. The possibilities here are endless: rotate it, explode the image so you can see each piece individually all at once, view it by layer, type, date, creator, or simulate what might happen if a particular construct is triggered. Play around with it, it’s very useful.

Color Coding: Another thing that comes in handy is asking your mind to highlight things for you. For a while a lot of people were asking me to check out energy system modifications that they had done. I had a hard time remembering what was new from the last time I had scanned them, so I would scan them and ask my mind to highlight anything that was different from the last time (because my sub-conscious remembers a great deal more than I do). While I see things in various colors that my mind chooses for various reasons, I’ve also found asking my mind to temporarily color code things for me to be very helpful. For example, highlight all the mods someone has added to their system, but color code them by energy/activity level. Perhaps I set green to mean acting normally, yellow to mean it’s waiting for some stimulus, and red means that it’s deactivated entirely. Some things may show up in other colors if they don’t really fit into your color coding schema, but then you can experiment to figure out exactly your mind is trying to tell you about them.

Graphs: There are some things that are difficult to conceptualize purely visually. For example, if you wanted to see a system’s energy level over time, you could scan them and try to compare energy levels from one time frame to another, but this gets unwieldy. If you want to compare things, it’s most helpful to ask your mind to make you a graph. Basically draw up the x and y axis in your mind, decide what each will be (like x is a given time frame and y is energy level of a particular person’s system, or maybe several bars denoting how well several different systems are functioning) and then ask your mind to graph it. Anything that you want to compare, if you can design a graph that would make sense for you, your mind will fill in the data for you as far as it knows. Some healers even set it up in their minds so that the graphs are interactive–if they adjust a point on the graph, the corresponding things get adjusted in the person’s system (though to do this properly so that it will work in the long-term, your mind has to actually know the best way of bringing that change about. Healing is not as easy as just adjusting a bar graph).


7. Retroscanning

Not only does psi not appear to be limited by space, it also doesn’t seem to be limited by time. An example of this is precognition, where people sense what is going to happen in the future. It is also possible to look back in time to see what happened–this is called retrocognition. Retroscanning simply refers to scanning back in time to see what happened. It’s very useful when someone would like a second opinion on something that happened to them or that they did or perceived earlier (Note: when doing a retroscan, ask the person to only give you the time at first, rather than frontloading you with their description of what they think happened).

The easiest way I’ve found is to scan the person/construct/area/etc. and specifically ask your mind to show you as it is right now. Then ask your mind to back the image up to when you want to scan–here is where you can specify a particular date/time and have your mind jump directly there. Then play the image forward and watch (in real time, faster, slower, or in a loop–whatever shows you what you want to see). If I don’t know what time something happened, but I know some sort of change occurred that I want to examine, then I visualize a timeline or a slider bar (like they have on youtube videos) and I ask my mind to mark on it when the changes occurred. Then I can zero in on that to just before and allow it to play through so I can see it in the process of occurring.

Construct Retroscanning: To practice retroscanning, ask a partner to make and destroy a series of simple constructs, and to write down the exact date and time (include the timezone) they did each one. An example series might be: makes green sphere (12:00) and then destroys it (12:02), makes red cube (12:03) and then destroys it (12:05), makes yellow pyramid (12:06) and then destroys it (12:08), makes blue cube (12:09) and then destroys it (12:11), makes black pyramid (12:12) and then destroys it (12:14). Have them give you a list of just the date and times, and then scan and take notes on what you see. Compare your notes to theirs and see how close you got.

Variations: To increase difficulty, have them only tell you the time that they started the whole exercise, and nothing else about what they made (including how many constructs or how long they let each construct sit before destroying it). Then scan and see if you can tell what they made. As a bonus, come up with a way for your mind to show you when each thing was made and destroyed as well (possible visualizations might be little labeled markers along a timeline for each construct, or a little digital clock that counts off in one corner of your “vision” as you scan).

Extra-credit for the curious: In case you were wondering, it’s also possible to scan into the future, though it’s generally considered rude to scan someone else’s future without permission. If you want a general idea of the ways things might go for a person or object, try visualizing its Timeline–basically the general path that things could take that branches at various decision points. The future is always changing, but you may be able to see some things as being more probable than others.



Scanning is one of the most useful and versatile skills that you can develop. I’m constantly discovering new ways to look at things and things that I didn’t even realize existed that I can now examine in detail. It really opens up the metaphysical universe to you–no matter what paradigm you follow.

There is no substitute for practicing a LOT, especially in the beginning. Remember that scanning doesn’t have to be limited to practice sessions: stay aware throughout the day of what is going on around you on the other planes and find ways of using scanning in your every day life. The more you use it, the faster your mind will start showing you more.

Good luck!




**Note: This guide assumes that you have a basic familiarity with subtle energy and energy manipulation. For example, if you’ve ever tried to make a psiball, the “stuff” that you made it out of was subtle energy. Subtle energy includes a lot of different energy “types”, which are usually just different patterns of energy. These common patterns have been given names like psi energy, chi (also spelled qi or ki), prana, reiki, and many others. Subtle energy isn’t a physical energy like electricity, so you can’t measure it with physical instruments, but it’s also not a purely mental thing–it’s not your imagination, or your attention, or some some kind of psychological byproduct. It’s a non-physical substance that you can interact with and shape with your mind. Beyond this basic description, the best way to learn about it is to learn to scan and start watching to see how it behaves. (back to top)


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