Before a house can be built or a dress can be fabricated, someone had to imagine it. The architect or the fashion designer first created a mental image of the finished product. That's what creative visualization means. The same is true in magick: visualization precedes manifestation.
Whether you realize it or not, you're constantly visualizing. When you read the word “apple” you instantly form an image in your mind. When you converse with someone, you mentally witness the scenarios being described.
Creative visualization isn't merely running pictures randomly across the landscape of your mind, however. The images you create have specific purposes. Some years ago, researchers discovered that cancer patients could improve their health by visualizing Pac-Man-type creatures gobbling up can-cer cells. You can use visualization to facilitate relaxation, as mentioned earlier, to get a better job, to protect yourself and your loved ones — just about anything you desire.
The Power of Imagination
As a child, you probably played make-believe and imagined all sorts of fanciful situations. Perhaps you still spin out vivid daydreams or indulge “what if” scenarios in great detail. Conjuring up images at will and directing them toward carefully chosen objectives is the essence of creative visualization.
Most people underestimate the power of thought and the ability to change reality by changing your mind. But when you get right down to it, most of the decisions you make — especially the life-altering ones — are shaped in your mind long before you take any action. You might imagine a number of possibilities in detail before finally selecting one route to follow.
Sometimes the things you fear most come to pass, because you keep worrying about them and investing them with emotional energy. This is an example of the power of imagination at work, in a negative way. A witch never puts her mind on something she doesn't want to happen.
Your thoughts and visualizations guide energy in a particular direction. The Buddha said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Metaphysicians believe all thoughts resonate in the cosmic web that links human beings with everything else in the universe. When you form an image in your mind, you plant a seed in the web's energy matrix. The more you nourish that seed, focusing on the idea with deep feeling, the more likely it is to grow into something tangible.
Visualization in Magick
Visualization is a key component in magickal work. You must be able to form a picture in your mind of the result you intend to manifest. Clear, simple, vivid images generate faster and more satisfactory results than indistinct or confused concepts. First envision what you desire, then fuel the vision with your willpower to cause your intention to materialize. Your will animates the image and moves it from the realm of spirit to the physical realm.
Author Shakti Gawain brought the concept of creative visualization into widespread public awareness. Her bestselling book Creative Visualization contained ideas that witches have long utilized, and presented them in a way that virtually anyone could easily understand and apply in their daily lives.
Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways to use visualization in magick. The most important rule is to envision the outcome you desire. Don't focus on the problem or condition you wish to change. For instance, if your goal is to heal a broken leg, don't think about the injury — envision the leg strong and healthy. Don't concern yourself with the steps that lead to your destination, either. Just concentrate on the end result and the rest will fall into place.
Make sure to include yourself in your visualization. See yourself rolling in a pile of hundred-dollar bills or happily performing the job you desire.
Imbue your visualizations with as much sensation as possible. Instead of only seeing something occurring, allow yourself to hear, taste, smell, and touch as well.
Don't keep changing your mind or the images you've created. It's okay to refine and enrich them, but if you keep putting out new and different visions you'll confuse the matter.
Be patient. Some intentions take a while to manifest, especially complex goals or ones that involve other people.
You can create visualizations for yourself or for others, but if someone else is involved you should get permission first. Otherwise, you may be interfering with that person's free will or manipulating her. Visualizations for the good of all, such as envisioning world peace, are generally okay.
If you have trouble visualizing, here are a few tips that may help you improve your imaging skills:
Think about your intention as you fall asleep and bring it into your consciousness as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Use photos or pictures cut from magazines to strengthen your visualization process.
Display images in a place where you'll see them often throughout the day, to continually remind you of your objective.
Connect physical objects symbolically to your mental images. For instance, in a love spell two candles could symbolize you and your beloved.
Above all, believe that your visualization will bear fruit. As motivational speaker Denis Waitley puts it, “If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”