You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.
Note: This post is quite old, and my thinking has changed. If you’re starting with magick, use the exercises in my book instead. (Online version is free.)
In this post:
- How to control magick through visualization
- How to know you did it right
- Tips for overcoming common problems
Image from Eddi07 on flickr
The first step to learning magick is learning magickal visualization.
In normal English, imagining and visualizing are basically synonyms. In magick, imagining is seeing pictures in your head, and visualization is when those pictures trigger your mind to do magick.
This post will show you how to move from imagining (which everyone can do) to visualization (which must be learned).
For experienced mages, read What’s Really Happening and the section after it to see why the exercises work and why people feel energy.
How to Control Magick Through Visualization
What Visualization Does That Imagination Doesn’t
Think of magick as a physical task, like walking.
Imagining walking doesn’t make you move. To move, you need to engage the parts of your brain that control your muscles (your motor cortex).
Visualization is like walking. You engage the parts of your brain that control your mental muscles, which move energy, connections, and other aspects of magick. You communicate your intent through images, but the magick happens when you engage your muscles. We’ll do more with your mental muscles later. For now, just know they’re the parts of your mind that control magick.
How To Begin Engaging the Magickal Parts of Your Mind
Image from cle0patra on flickr
The parts of your mind that do magick already listen to your body. Emotions change your energy signature. So do physical activities like Tai Chi. Simply taking deeper breaths relaxes you and engages the cells in your chest, which changes your energy slightly.
To get the parts of your mind that control energy to listen to your imagery, sync the images with one of those activities. For example:
- Breathe deeply. This will make your body change its energy a little, and make the mental muscles that control energy start paying attention.
- Imagine a white glowing mist (representing the energy) entering your lungs every time you breathe in.
- Imagine it leaving its incandescence in your lungs, so you exhale a dim mist.
- Repeat with each breath for several minutes.
- When you’re done, imagine breathing the incandescence back into the room (the inverse of steps 2-3).
What the visualization represents: The incandescence represents energy. With each breath, you are breathing energy into your chest, which you then release when you’re done. You’ll find this in hundreds of books and websites.
What’s really happening: The deeper breaths are triggering your body to generate a small amount of energy in your chest. This engages the parts of your mind that generate energy. At the same time, you are visualizing images that suggest to your unconscious that you would like more energy. Since the parts of your mind that control energy in your chest are already active, they will pick up this instruction.
That’s the idea, anyway. It may take a few tries before everything connects.
How To Know You Did It Right
Imagining is easy. Recognizing the energy it builds is the hard part.
There’s no universal feeling associated with energy because energy isn’t monolithic. Every energy has a signature. The physical sensations happen when your nerves absorb the energy’s signature, changing their state. Different energies affect different nerves differently, producing different sensations.
I don’t know what what your energy will feel like. But here are some common sensations you can use as a baseline:
- Energy sometimes makes your skin tingle, like when someone almost touches you.
- Energy sometimes fills your body with warmth from the inside, like drinking hot tea on a cold day.
Energy is easier to feel as it moves through your body. When you build energy in a specific spot in your body, its signature will match that area’s signature. As you move the energy, it will hit parts of your body with different signatures, causing more obvious sensations. Just visualize the glow spreading from your lungs throughout your body to move the energy.
Image via Wikipedia
If You Can’t Feel Energy
Practice. Most people take 4-5 sessions to begin feeling energy, and another 5-10 sessions to be able to move it.
Make your own visualization. Some people represent energy with stars, fire, flowing water, etc. Pick something that speaks to you.
If it’s still difficult, try non-magickal visualization first. My favorite exercise comes from Initiation Into Hermetics, page 86:
- Take an everyday object. Study its details.
- With your eyes closed, visualize it in as much detail as possible.
- Once this becomes easy, repeat the exercise with your eyes open.
You don’t need to learn precise visualization to learn conscious magick. I never did. But if you’re having trouble getting started, it should help.
Try Tai Chi or Yoga. Both are traditional styles for working with energy through physical movement. Combining those movements with imagery may work better for you.
Check the comments below for tips from other readers.
If You Get a Headache
Magical energy excites your nerves. Eventually, it can cause a headache.
To fix it, release the energy (called grounding). That’s step 5 of he meditation: Reverse the visualization you used to build the energy.
The most common reason I see grounding fail is the person spent 10 minutes building energy, but only 10 seconds releasing it. As a novice, it takes about as long to release the energy as it took to build.
If Energy Makes You Anxious
Your energy reflects your emotions. If you’re anxious, your energy will reflect that. Building that energy will make you more anxious.
To fix this, meditate on a relaxing scene (a beach, prairie, etc), then hold that calm emotion while you do your energy meditation. You should make a different, relaxing energy this time.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.