Don’t Visualize

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Responding to How to Begin Magick for Complete Novices, Rose (who we’ll assume is a novice) asks:

I was just wondering… how to I make myself visualize? I have been trying to study up on it, and sometimes when im meditating i see random colors and shapes, but nothing is clear..? what can I do?

And John asks:

Why is visualization or sensing important? Can’t magick be done without visualization, or is visualization necessary, or is visualization simply a technique to empower yourself?

Here’s my advice: Don’t worry about visualizing.

I give visualizations on some beginner posts because beginners like them. They’re easy to write, generally easy to do, so authors write them, people expect them, and they make beginners happy.

But visualizations aren’t important for magick, and I personally avoid using them.

A visualization works like this: You make some assumptions about what’s out there in the world. If your friend has knee pain, you might imagine a ripped tendon repairing itself. You focus on it really hard, and you hope something happens.

Easy. But not very effective, because there’s no way to know what your unconscious mind, ethereal muscles, and ethereal software actually did in response to those images. You’re hoping they picked up your intent to heal your friend, and you’re hoping they know how to implement that intent — what energy signatures will nudge the atoms in your friend’s tissue to bring about that result. But both of those are mere hopes. Any one of those steps might fail. Those resources might not know what you want, or they might not know how to do it. Try and see: Visualize your end table turning into gold, and see how your ethereal muscles and software aren’t able to make that happen.

In short, I’m not a big fan of visualization because it doesn’t guide your ethereal muscles and software on how to implement your intent. And they often need that guidance.

Here’s what I do instead:

First, I engage my ethereal muscles. (That’s my term for the parts of your mind that drive magick.) They’re the key to doing magick, engaging them is what makes the difference between imagining vs magickal visualization, and between theater and magickal ritual.

Second, I guide my ethereal muscles in some way. You could use a visualization for this, but you don’t have to. When I want to connect to a piece of ethereal software, I engage my ethereal muscles for communication, then think the name of that software, such as “my manifesting software,” or “reiki healing software.” Or to adjust my shielding, I focus on the feeling of the connections around my body. There’s no one right way to guide your ethereal muscles, so as a beginner, do whatever feels most natural to you.

Third, I sense what’s out in the world using sensory connections. This lets me ensure that, when I guide my ethereal muscles to connect to that ripped tendon, they (1) actually find the right tendon (because I can consciously feel the energy I’m connecting to), and (2) the tendon actually is ripped, or at least, has the energy I associate with heavily injured tissue. (You wouldn’t want to send healing energy to the tendon, only to discover the pain was from a cartilage injury, right?) Sensory connections help me ensure my actions actually line up to the outside world.

I avoid visualizations because they don’t work well with sensory connections. When I visualize, I dream up some images, focus on them, and hope they work. Because I’m focused on those images, I’m not feeling what my muscles and connections are doing, so I miss out on that sensory information, and can’t easily adjust my magick to suit this particular situation. Visualization, along with rituals and other approaches to magick that direct your focus to your actions or images, make it hard for me to use sensory connections, so I avoid those methods.

(Instead, I let my ethereal muscles place their info into my mind in whatever way they prefer. It might be abstract data, or tactile feelings, or even visuals. Whichever way they represent the information, I use that representation to guide that bit of magick.)

There’s a catch, though. Sensory connections are themselves non-trivial magick. I started magick at age 11, and didn’t develop sensory connections until my 20s. Now, you have blogs and books to guide you, so you can learn sensory connections with a few years of experience, but they’re still not a novice technique. So, if you’re a novice, feel free to use visualizations until you get to the point where sensory connections make sense for you.

And if you’re like Rose, feel free to not use visualizations. Instead, guide your ethereal muscles in whatever way feels most natural to you.

(Want more? I discussed this topic a few months ago, too.)

Do you have some other novice-friendly way to guide your ethereal muscles? Leave a comment.

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3 Responses to “Don’t Visualize”

  1. John W. A. says:

    When working with sigils, a la Liber Nulll-style, I noticed something. It isn’t necessary, as a mage, that you jump through all the hoops of magick; ethereal muscles, visualization, projection, the ‘Energy Model’, etc.

    You can just use the ‘Psychological Model’ without having to visualize concrete objectives. Even without a truly specific objective, if you leave enough wiggle room for your objective (or Specific Intent) to happen, your Subconscious Mind will pick the better alternative for you, as it knows what you’d want and who you are better than anyone else could ever know you.

    Also, how are Ethereal Muscles different from projection or visualization? Not just the concept or rough idea; how do they “feel” differently? Is it just intuition? Are they extra senses? Do you need to focus on them to be aware of them?

    From the user’s perspective, objectively, how do Ethereal Muscles differ from any other type of projection out there? What are the advantages?

    • The simple explanation — that ethereal muscles are the parts of your mind that drive magick — isn’t any better than anyone else’s explanation. I’m sure everyone says there are parts of your mind that make magick happen, it’s fairly obvious.

      Where direct magick differs is:

      -Consciously engaging your ethereal muscles, so you can find the right mental posture for doing magick, even while conscious or distracted.

      -Awakening your ethereal muscles by doing magick on them — essentially, healing your ethereal muscles, though that’s really not the right term — rather than just practicing until they wake up.

      -Working with how the ethereal muscles connect to your brain, and again, doing magick on those connections to improve them.

      I guess my answer is, the very basic definition isn’t anything special. It’s kind of obvious to me, really, and I assume everyone has that sort of concept. But once you dig in, I’m doing some useful techniques with them, and I haven’t seen analogous techniques elsewhere.

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