Recently there was a post about visualization on the main pagan group I participate in. The question was about visualization and the answers were thoroughly academic, detailed, in depth and impressive.
Unfortunately, I tend to be a practical person and witch, hence the article on ham radios and psychic abilities.
To be honest, visualization has always been extremely easy for me. As a seer who was trained from a young age, I am used to seeing images in my mind – individual symbols and what I refer to as “TV of the Mind.” There are times when I literally see entire things happen in my mind’s eye in the same way one might view a television program. Looking back on my life, however, there was a subtle training that happened by my grandmother that helped me hone my skills and abilities and lead to the ease I have in communication with the dead and spiritual entities.
Like most other things in my life, it was a practical application of skills not an academic understanding of skills that shaped my ability. As someone who has a few academic degrees, I appreciate academic approaches. As a seer who was trained by a grandmother who only had a high school education and a grandfather who didn’t even have that, my esoteric training was decidedly lacking in academic points of view.
When I moved into paganism, I quickly learned that most persons in paganism approach the esoteric from a very academic view point. I came to value that point of view, seek it out and try to incorporate it. What I discovered was Occam’s Razor is a very sound principle. Or as my favorite childhood book said, “Simple pictures are best.”
Academically, visualization is the art and scientific practice of forming a mental image or to make something perceptible in the mind. In modern magick, visualization can be described as the technique involved in focusing on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal. Of course, there are great academics who have made a better explanation of visualization than I. In a blog by EagerEyes on Visualization and Visual Communication, you can read an entire article on what visualization actually means, well, means to this guy.
Which fundamentally is part of the problem with magick in general. What magick is and isn’t to one practitioner vacillates wildly. For me “visualization” actually involves all the senses, not just mental projection or creation of an image.
When I am talk or experience visualization, it comes in various forms from psychic intuition: auric readings, auditory information, visualized images I translate into verbal communication. Because my training was organic and practical in nature, I never ran up against these hard and “definitive” views of magick or visualization.
I would define visualization as the use of a persons’ mind to create change in their personal life and in the world around them. After all – why practice closing your eyes and seeing something? Because the ability to see something leads to the ability to create change on any realm and to receive information from realms that are not easily accessible or achievable in other ways. All magick is some form of visualization, from my perspective.
Simple Example: A Broken Hip
WDSC, the church I serve, has an elder member who fell and broke her hip. She has been slow to heal. I went with her to the orthopedics’ office to address the pain she is still having nine months plus later and the most valuable thing I gained out of that visit was an understanding about why this member continues to have pain.
The original fix was to put screws into the ball of the femur to address the cracking. The screws will eventually be removed. Normally, over time, the ball of the femur and the femur will rejoin with new bone growth so no screw of other implementation is used to join them.
This takes longer in some people than others. In our member, the ball of the femur is now sound and there has not been enough new growth from the femur onto the ball of the femur to stop micro-movement of those two bones. This causes our member pain and this is why she is not pain free.
Our member, being a long term magick user, and our group, now have a very clear picture that we can use to pinpoint healing energy sent to her. Now there is NO question about what healing for our member looks like: just like the picture in this blog only with three screws in the ball of the femur. For magickal practitioners nothing is more valuable than to understand this, to “grok” this.
In terms of magick, the difference between the magickal work that could be done before and now is night and day. Before, our group sent energy to her hip without a real understanding of what was needed. Now, we send energy with specific imagery in mind. With the diagram I have posted I can “see” our member’s bad hip – it has three screws and a small fracture in the area where the femur and the ball of the femur attaches. I can also “see” her hip well. I can visualize bone growth creeping up from the femur and attaching and holding the ball of the femur eliminating her pain and creating a literal wellness in her.
Now when I think of her, I visualize her hip with those three screws and that micro facture that is healing. I visualize the bone growth creeping up and attaching. I visualize the hip as whole and sound. I visualize her return to circle with a cane and significantly less pain. Now my magick can work on the very specific injury that will heal and enable her return.
Dia? That Was 100% Visualization!
Okay, earlier I actually said that visualization involves all the senses and then proceed to give an example that was largely mental imagery. Fair enough. One thing my childhood training taught me was to mentally translate psychic or intuitive feelings into imagery. In my experience this is training that seems to be lacking in the magickal community as I have experienced it.
To be intuitive is to have feelings that suggest information you could not know on your own. The best example of this in popular media is people who do things out of their ordinary routine that have consequences that are extraordinary. Society calls these “coincidences.”
My esteemed High Priest, Lord Mannawyddan drilled me with the adage, “There are no coincidences.” There is a belief that as a magickal practitioner ties themselves into the energetics of the world, everything happens for reason and has a rippling affect that cannot be imagined or understand in the actual moment of the event. After 9/11, these coincidences are still a matter of wonder and discussion in this CNN article.
“There are no coincidences.” Lord Mannawyddan
(I have to admit that at this point my blog became two different and related blogs. Look for a future blog called Practical Magick – What Magick in Real Life Looks Like.)
The problem with most magickal practitioners is that they are blinded to the events of magick that are happening in a constant stream around them and to them every second of every day. Christianity has a teaching of “Sunday Christians.” Persons who are Christians only when they go to church on Sundays.
Paganism today, has “Sunday Pagans,” pagans who think that only when they are actively involved in some visualization or meditation or magickal endeavor or ritual practice or Sabbat celebration is magick happening. They are blind to the FACT that magick is happening in every second of every day. They buy the idea of coincidences and then blithely watch as magickal opportunity after magickal opportunity scroll by them unharnessed and unclaimed. Eventually the Universe decides the person isn’t really interested, and stops sending the messages as frequently.
Conversely, paganism has a lot of “Holy Roller Pagans” who spend so much time in ritual, meditation, visualization, spell crafting or Sabbat celebration that they too are blind to the magick happening around them every day. They are waiting for the sky to open and the heavens to sing. Holy Roller Pagans dismiss their own small quiet voice of notice.
About now, you are remembering that I started this blog talking about visualization and the promise to a practical guide about visualization.
As you can see, however, it is hard for me to delineate between visualization and other magick disciplines. Life is magick. Living life is magick. The act of developing visualization is based in fundamental magickal understanding. Therefore, visualization requires an understanding of magick: what it is, what it does and how it behaves. And magick like any other energy does have a standard set of rules by which it behaves just like gravity or electrons or neurons. Magick is an art and a SCIENCE.
In order to harness visualization, you must become friends with what scientists call your amygdala. In my book, Family Coven: Birthing Hereditary Witchcraft, I devote an entire chapter to what I call the Three Truths: Mundane, Amygdala and Circle Truths. This is an in-depth discussion about what types of feelings and intuitions you receive and how to distinguish between them and harness them. Something that is intimately tied to this discussion and cannot be covered in this blog.
I am friends with a great high magician from the OTA who wrote to my Pink Haired Beauty after her question about visualization, “You may not even be primarily visually oriented, even while most people are. If you primarily feel, rather than see things, substitute “feeling” and “knowing” that a transcendent structure is in place rather than “seeing” it in the mind’s eye (or better, do both together). You can “feel” the circle and the pentagram and fields of flow and energy too. Yoda actually insists on this, even when talking about the “luminous” force (a visual) — “…You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.””
Step By Step
1 – Check In
This is an active practice that is advocated by psychologist and counselors. There are apps to help you with this practice. DBT or Dialectal Behavior Therapy is a great place to start this and there are plenty of DBT apps to help you figure out what Checking In with yourself means and how to use Check Ins to move your mental and emotional wellness and, of course, your magick. The first goal of Check Ins should be to feel, see, taste, touch, hear, or smell energy when it happens. Recognize the force, if you will.
2 – Learn Your Energy and to Recognize Outside Energy
After you can recognize energy, you need to separate your energy from outside energy. This is continued work of Check Ins. When you can recognize the force, then you need to determine if the force is from YOU or happening TO YOU. If you are empathetic this might mean a lot of your anxiety is actually being generated by your nervous mate or an unwell friend or because you are accidently still energetically plugged into unhealthy relationships.
3 – Be Able to Moderate and Control Your Own Energy
My husband is five foot, six inches tall. I have seen him use energy to appear to be seven feet tall to someone who was threatening a gathering with drunk and disorderly conduct. That act is a goal of all magickal practitioners. Control of your emotions, and the harness of the energy emotions in you create are all disciplines required by magickal practitioners. I often think of Sam right now when I think of emotional and energetic control, or lack thereof. When Sam is angry, his energy expands and would fill the whole house. I am watching him learn to moderate the energetic consequences of strong emotions and have come to understand that this is an actual function of the developing mind and body. There is nothing wrong with being angry (happy, sexually charged, sad) and something not quite right with making it rain every time you are sad.
4 – Be Able to Identify Outside Energy Sources
Once a magickal practitioners understands their own energy sources and can control them, they can learn to identify outside energy sources and control the effect of those sources upon the practitioner. If you are empath you already know that if you best friend is angry, it might make you angry. Know that you can recognize and deal successfully with your own emotions and energy, you can move on to identifying the outside energy sources and tuning down and out the ones that do not serve you. Further you can tune in and up sources that have so far been weak and in the background, bringing them into focus. My article about ham radios is a great place to start.
5 – Be Able to Identify Symbols
There are sound reasons why learning a symbol set – any symbol set – can help you. This is where active visualization comes in. If you can visualize runes, witch’s runes, ogam, or any other symbol set, then over time those can be used by Divinity to help direct you. Unfortunately, the best symbol set to learn and use for new practitioners is the plants, trees, insects, and animals in the area you live. Too often we ignore those messengers or do not spend time deciding what their messages could mean and miss Divinity’s messages to us. Moths are not butterflies.
6 – Master Visualization (Magic, Meditation, Energy Manipulation)
BUT WAIT! There Is More!
Here is thing, what I propose in the section before should not be viewed as a ladder. There is no way a person has mastered number one then moved on to number two without skipping around to the other numbers and working on them simultaneously. There is a reason why I have harped on about “Doing the F@#$ing Work!”
The activities and disciplines that I was given by Lord Mannawyddan more than fifteen years ago, still hold today.
- Keep a magickal journal DAILY – Have some way to keep notes on animals, symbols, energies, feelings, events. (This can be short and sweet.)
- When you do magick or ritual, keep a journal about how that works out and what symbols and signs you receive. (You don’t have to know what it means. If you notice a specific butterfly on day one, it may just be a butterfly. But if that same butterfly has shown up at the same time every day, that is something you want to know. If you do ritual and then receive a sign, it may not be until much later that the meaning of that sign is clear. If you record it, then you can get to the meaning later. If you don’t, you have lost that divine message.)
- Practice the discipline of meditation daily, at the same time everyday. (Preferably sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight. This can be a simple mantra or go out and face the sun in the sky and say a prayer or blessing of your choosing. It can take as little as three to five minutes to do.)
- Practice a daily symbol discipline. (Pull a daily tarot, rune, witch’s rune, ogam, oracle, I-Ching, animal card…. Something…. Anything! WRITE IT DOWN.)
- FOLLOW UP: When you receive a sign or symbol, hunt it down. Determine what it means to you and then WRITE THAT DOWN. (GOOGLE my friend…google.)
- REALITY CHECK: Have an accountability partner you can run your experiences through. Decide together what something means and then write down the difference between what you thought alone and what you think now that you have had a reality check. Keep up with confirmations. Write down the thoughts of your accountability partner even if you disagree. The difference between what you think, what the partner thinks and what was actually true can prove to be invaluable information.
- Practice psychic games with friends or your community or your spouse(s) or roommates. This is really the greatest advantage to group working.
All magick revolves around a set of standard ways in which energy functions. In order to detect and interpret energy, you must cultivate in yourself how to see, feel, taste, touch, know, energy and this leads to the collection and manipulation of energy for the physical change only witches have the power to create. Cultivating that requires work. Sometimes very tedious and boring work, that over time and with great discipline will transform the very way you look at your life and things that happen to you every day.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok Authors Note: I do not agree with this definition. GROK for me is to have more than a basic understanding. Grok is to have a soul deep understanding that will lead to change in the physical realm. It is one thing to KNOW something (I knew my member had a broken hip.). It is something else to GROK her injury (I know she is having micro-movement between the ball of the femur and the femur and healing will only be complete with the ball of the femur and femur are joined with new bone growth.).