Grounding #2, and Why I Don’t Trust Visualizations

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This post is about changing the way I ground: Going from a visualization to a conscious technique, and why that’s worth doing.

I started working with energy in 1991. Back then, I did magick via visualization. My grounding visualization was something standard, like energy out my feet. I don’t remember the details, but they’re not important.

Some time in the early 2000s, that basic technique stopped working. I mean, it worked OK, but it wasn’t sufficient. I can’t recall exactly why, but it was around the time I started awakening more mental muscles, working with more energy in a broader range of signatures, and generally shifting from playing around with ethereal software to really doing magick. I needed something better to clean up afterward, and particularly to clean up after being drained by the more-skillful spirits that were starting to take notice of me.

Last post, we fixed that problem by building energy as you ground. If someone had handed me that post in the early 2000s, I would have used that technique. It’s simpler and easier than the one I came up with. But at the time, I didn’t fully realize that grounding is about signature, not quantity of energy. And, lacking that understanding, I couldn’t see the better technique. My model just wasn’t good enough.

That’s one reason I’m sharing this technique: It’s a concrete example of how a weaker model results in worse techniques.

Here’s the technique:

  • Establish a connection through the room you’re in, through the wall, and into the area outside your house. (You could also establish a connection into the earth, if you prefer.)
  • Maintain that connection, and connect the other side to the energy layer of your body.
  • Energy flows from high pressure to low pressure, so you’ll expel the energy. And because you’re sending the energy far away, you can expel a lot more of it than you can by just releasing the energy into the area around you. (Or at least, I can.)

Hold on, didn’t I just describe a standard grounding visualization? “Imagine a pipe, going from your chakras to deep inside the earth, draining away the bad energy.”

This is the hardest part of writing about conscious magick: Indeed, that is the standard visualization. But what you visualize and what your mental muscles actually do are two different things. Of course, I wasn’t able to spot that until after I switched from visualization to conscious magick.

For me, the standard visualization just releases energy into the area immediately around me. (That was last post.) But consciously engaging my mental muscles (the ones that handle connections), then consciously connecting out (not to the area immediately around me, but into the air outside my house), then using that connection to ground — consciously doing all that results in entirely different, more effective magick.

Yes, that more effective magick happens to match the standard visualization. And maybe someone more experienced with energy (and visualizations in general) would have gotten their mental muscles to do this full technique with just the standard visualization. But the question is: How would you know? If you aren’t directing your mental muscles consciously, how would you know if you’re getting the full technique or a simpler, less useful one? And if all you have are visualizations, and your best visualization isn’t working — where do you go from there?

That’s why I focus so much on consciously directing my mental muscles, and why I generally find that intent and visualizations are not enough.

Even today, even though my mental muscles know how to do the full, more effective technique, the standard visualization still just dumps the energy into the area around me. To get the proper technique, I still have to consciously step through each step. That’s part of why I don’t trust visualizations.

Other posts in this series: If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at

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3 Responses to “Grounding #2, and Why I Don’t Trust Visualizations”

  1. Simon says:

    Hi Mike

    Not posted my ill-informed opinions for a while as I don’t really have much to contribute until that book continues. I eagerly await for more chapters to be added as I find everything there very clear whilst the blog posts loose me a bit these days.

    This post made me realize i’m not sure if I really grasp what is the true difference between ‘sensing a connection’ and ‘visualizing’. It seems, as you’ve described it, that ‘establishing an connection’ still involves making a mental representation- which is what i understand as visualization. You say we should ‘engage our mental muscles’ but in terms of how we actually do this it still seems to involve visualization – just a different kind. In my limited practical experience of your methods it certainly feels that way. Just like talk of chakras, meridians, the ‘tripple heater’ and the upper/lower Tan Tien – whatever the reality of all this esoteric anatomy the actual method of interacting with it seems to be visualization. They just claim that their visualizations are accessing something ‘real’ (in the sense of a psychic/magical/archetypal/liminal structure) rather than just visualizing an image that is supposed to represent your goal ‘to your unconscious’ in some way.

    But..isn’t that really what you are doing?

    Its not just more word play about how we categorize visualization – i’m trying to understand what, if anything, makes ‘sensing connections’ and ‘engaging mental muscles’ something fundamentally different from ‘visualization’. Not the explanation of what esoteric anatomy the visualization is supposed to affect – but when you actually ‘engage mental muscles’ what is going on in that moment? Why is it not visualizing – or making a mental representation?

    Maybe it starts out as a ‘visualization’ but then becomes far more subtle and less easily defined mental process? But many other magicians would also claim the same of their initial ‘visualizations’.

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