Now, I'm sure most outsiders looking in want to know the burning question: What do witches really do? In my previous posts I might have mentioned some things we do, but mostly what we believe in. So today I will talk about visualization. This is an important tool in witchcraft. A lot of our work and beliefs come from within ourselves, so we use this to gain clarity and concentrate our energy on a specific outcome we want. This might be hard for some people, who aren't natural daydreamers or imaginative, but what's important is that you focus and receive the messages and images that are being sent to you.
Visualization is a type of meditation, so as well as relaxing you also might learn more about yourself or connect with deities. If you work alone, you can record the steps of a journey to yourself, or have a friend read it to you. Remember to leave enough space so you can concentrate on each part. If it's enough for you, you can just read it a few times, and remember it. One thing that might be useful is to write down what you experience. You might not experience anything if you're a beginner, but be patient! Below you will find a selection of journeys to take if you want to discover more.
PREPARATION (Do this before every visualization)
- Close your eyes and take three deep breaths - Breathe out all distractions in your mind.
- The next seven breaths will draw energy from the Earth.
- The first lights up the chakra at the base of your spine, which is red.
The second lights up the chakra below the belly button, which is orange.
The third lights up the solar plexus chakra, which is yellow.
The fourth lights up the heart chakra, which is green.
The fifth lights up the throat chakra, which is blue.
The sixth lights up the third-eye chakra on your forehead, which is violet.
- The seventh lights up the crown chakra, which is white. Let the pure light shine over you and connect to the Earth that gives you this energy.
- Visualize a white circle around you, to distance yourself from the outside world for a while.
- When you finish your journey, take notes if you wish, and then ''close down'' the chakras. You can leave the first and last ones slightly open. If you don't do this, you might become very sensitive to negative energy.
- Eat and drink to ground yourself - This is very important.
FINDING A PATRON DEITY
- Close your eyes and slip down deep into the darkness. Then open your inner eyes and imagine yourself outside a stone gateway. The sun is bright and there are trees, birds singing and flowers that give off a nice smell. There are two paths in front of you - Choose either the left or right, and go down it.
- Feel the ground under your feet, the sunlight on you and look at your surroundings. You might see animals and plants. What sort of landscape are you in? Continue walking, and take notice of everything around you.
- Another two paths are in front of you - Choose one. What terrain does it lead you to? A forest, a cave, open country, water, a building? When you get there, you will see an object - either on the path, an altar, or hanging from the trees. Pick it up, cause this is a gift from your patron deity - You now accept them. What is it? Does it mean anything to you? Remember it for later.
- Someone is coming towards you - this is your patron god or goddess. Notice what they look like; colors, if they are young or old, or have animals with them. Are they wearing something that makes you recognize who they are?
- Ask them questions about your spirituality, if they have any advice, or even what their name is. They might give vague answers and want you to discover things for yourself. No matter what they say, thank them for choosing you before you leave and find your way back to the stone gateway.
- Pass through it and back into the darkness. Come back, and open your eyes when you're ready.
- Take notes and do research. See if you notice any symbols from your journey in life.
FINDING YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL
- Close your eyes and sink into the ground. Imagine everything you go past - the building you're in, trees and plants, bones and fossils. Sink into the core of the planet and sit there.
- When you are ready, go back up - but now you're in a different place. You're surrounded by trees and greens - notice the trees, if it's night or day, and what the weather is like. Follow a path or explore whatever takes your fancy, and you will end up in a clearing. Stand there, spread your arms and invite your spirit animal to show themselves.
- An ancient spirit of the wild will appear. Do you recognize him? He will respond to your summoning by swinging a club against the trunk of a tree before he leaves. If he doesn't do this, this is a sign that you're not ready. Try again one lunar cycle later, and make sure you prepare yourself.
- Wait. When your spirit animal appears, immediately accept it, take on its shape and let it take you where it wants. Trust them, and notice where you are taken. They will let you know when it is time for you to leave - you will then regain human form. Remember the animal and to thank it.
- Close your inner eyes and sink into darkness. When you are ready, open your eyes and come back. Take notes.
FINDING A MAGICAL NAME
- Close your eyes and enter the darkness. Imagine yourself in an elevator, going down, down, down. The elevator opens and you find yourself in a candlelit passage. Go into it, and notice your surroundings. The texture of the floor and walls, decorations, and if the passage is straight or curved.
- You arrive at a doorway leading to a chamber. Is it covered by a curtain or screen, or is it open? Enter it, and take note of your surroundings. In the middle of the room there is a plinth - go up to it. There is an object on it that will give you a clue to your magical identity. Study it, wear it or eat it, depending on what it is.
- You notice another doorway, which leads you through another corridor. You feel fresh air, and emerge into open terrain. what kind of landscape is it? Is it day or night? What kind of animals and plants are there, if any? Is there a presence of one of the elements? Explore for a while here, and you might find more clues to your magical name. Sit down somewhere.
- You might be approached by a figure or an animal, or your attention might be drawn to something in the environment. This will give you more clues to your magical name. If you speak to someone, they might even give it to you. No matter what you discover, thank them.
- When you feel you have found all clues, close your inner eyes and go back into the darkness. Step into the elevator again and go up to where your body is, and open your eyes.
I will now include some visualizations you can do during the holidays. The first one is Samhain. Now you might be able to speak to the dead, but don't try to cross over to their realm - this might disturb your mind. For this one you'd maybe also want to hold something while doing it to ground yourself.
- Close your eyes and notice what thoughts come to you. Flick them away.
- In the darkness, you hear waves in the distance. You go closer, and your other senses might notice it. A breeze, a salty smell, sand under your feet. Open your inner eyes, and you will see that you are on a beach. What color is the sand and the sky? As you walk along, you will find a raft. Step onto it. What to you notice? Is there anyone else on it? What do you see and hear while it goes out to sea?
- You arrive at a small island, which is connected to land by a bridge. What does it look like, and who do you see and hear on the other side? There might be familiar faces. Those who wish to speak to you will be on the other side of the bridge, but neither of you can cross. When you finish speaking with them, thank the guardian of the bridge and ask them questions if you like.
- Lie down or sit on the island, and think about your life. What do you remember, and what have you learned? Who do they involve? Are they still alive, or are they in the Summerlands now? Have they made an impact on you that remains with you? When you are ready, go back on the boat and back to where you came from. How do you feel? Is there anyone with you?
- If someone is with you, thank them when you come ashore. Concentrate on the ground, and hold your item of choice as you come back.
- Lie down on the floor in your preferred sleeping position (lay down some pillows if you like) and close your eyes. Concentrate on your heartbeat, and slowly imagine another heartbeat that matches yours deep in the ground. Follow it down far under the earth.
- You will feel the heartbeat becoming louder. Let yours sync up with it. What do you feel towards other life? Do you feel awake or sleepy?
- Become aware of the seeds and roots in the Earth. What does the Earth give them? Concentrate on one and become one with it. Compare yourself and your life to it. Is it really that different?
- Feel the Earth around you become warmer. How do you think it / you will respond? Do it. Feel the heat of the Sun becoming stronger and closer. Continue to imagine how the seed will respond to it. When the process is complete, open your eyes and see. You might be in a different position now. Close your eyes again and become comfortable, but close to the position you found yourself in.
- Become aware of what you were thinking and how the seeds grow. What happens if they don't? What do they need?
- Listen to your heartbeat again, still in sync with the Earth. Then slowly come back to reality.
- Take notes and come back to them later. You might have come up with some seeds of ideas.
- This is best done outdoors. If you go into a wild forest, an idea is to bring a friend with you so you are safe and not disturbed. Bring some food and drink and have a nice picnic afterwards.
Sit against a tree, close your eyes and concentrate on how that feels. Feel the life in it, and become aware of any sounds around you. Feel your body become one with it - What characteristics (physically or symbolically) would you like to have and why?
- Now think about things you like about your physical self. Imagine that you hear someone coming towards you, and open your inner eyes. Greet the figure and notice if you recognize them, if they have someone with them and what they're carrying. They place the object in front of you and wants you to take it. They are honoring the things you like about your physical self. Take it and remember it, in case it may be important to you in the future.
- The figure wants you to follow them - do so. Observe how they, who else is with them and you move. Let them take you far into the forest and notice your surroundings. Make all of your senses feel it. If you find something to eat or wear, do it. If anything happens around you, feel if you want / can join and why. Notice how your physical body is responding to your spiritual journey.
- You now see an old building. Notice its condition and how it's decorated. Does it tell you anything about this place and its inhabitants, your spiritual path or yourself? When you are ready to leave, thank the figure, and listen to what they have to say and accept anything they give to you.
- Imagine the scenery around you fading, and feel the tree against your back. Separate from it, and slowly come back to reality while you reflect on your journey, and take notes before closing.
- Now eat and drink, but leave some of it to give back to the Earth and tree, and food for animals.
- Ideally, you should do this outside, facing east, just before sunrise. You will need something to sit on and a chalice of orange juice.
Close your eyes and sink into the darkness. Focus on your chakras, starting from the top and going down to your solar plexus. Imagine it's a fiery wheel, growing in light around you, and let it fade slightly.
- Think about this energy point in your body. How does it react to the stress of everyday life? Do you think it would be useful to have it open all the time?
- Become aware of where you're sitting, and the life around. Feel the temperature changing as dawn approaches. Be aware of your solar plexus, and focus your energy going down into the Earth, and into the Earth's core. See it provide energy to the world above it.
- Now compare that core to your solar plexus. How does this energy affect you? Try it out by drawing energy from the Earth to your solar plexus, and cast it towards the circle of light around yourself. What does that feel like? Let it go back into your solar plexus then down to the Earth again.
- As it's getting lighter and warmer, draw that into your solar plexus. Direct that energy towards the sky, then back to your solar plexus and down into the Earth. Absorb the light.
- Keep concentrating on this energy until the Sun rises. Stand up and greet it, holding your chalice of juice. When it's fully risen, drink it. This energy will now stay within you throughout the darker days to come. Take notes, reflect, and close down.
- This can be done inside or outside (preferably by a bonfire), and you need a pen, paper, some wool thread and some corn (preferably from this year's harvest).
Hold the corn, close your eyes and focus on it's life cycle: Seed, shoot, stalk with corn that goes from green to yellow under the Sun, giving life to more seeds and so on.
- How has your life been since the last harvest? What have you learned, and how have you grown? Have you had any ideas or projects, and have you ''harvested'' these, or are they still growing? What are you thankful for having received the past year?
- Now think about the ''weeds'' of your life. What is unnecessary, what you don't need anymore.
- What would you like to keep from this harvest into the next year? Who would you share it with and how? What would you like to achieve in the next year, and how would you do that?
- You notice someone sitting in front of you. What do they look like, are they carrying anything? Do they ask for or give you anything? Offer them your harvest and see if they accept. What message do they have for you? Thank them, and let them walk away.
- Open your eyes and write down a word for your blessings on the right side of the paper. On the left, write down a word for what you don't want anymore in your life. Tear the paper in half. Take the thread and attach the blessing one to your corn. Crumple up the other and toss it into the fire. If you can, take the ash and bury it. Close down.
- If you can, do this outside by water. You're gonna have to stand and move during this, so make sure you have space. You will need a blue candle.
Stand facing north. What do you feel and associate with this direction? Turn east. What do you feel and associate with this direction?
- Turn to the south. What do you feel and associate with this direction? Turn west and complete the circle. This is the direction of the sunset. Sit down and close your eyes.
- Picture the sea. The Sun is on its way down, reflecting on the water. How does this make you feel?
- There is a boat setting sail towards the Sun. What do you see? Think back on your life the past summer. What has happened? On the shore there are some arrows, a bow and a small fire. Take each bow, and associate it with something you're saying goodbye to. Dip it into the fire and shoot it towards the boat. Do this with all of them, and wave with your right hand to the boat, saying goodbye to everything you're letting go and watch it fade away.
- Before you finish, think about all the gifts summer has given you and the world. How the Sun has affected everyone and everything. Light your candle while giving thanks to the Sun for the good times. Consider this when you make your notes.
I have to admit writing these down got me very relaxed and I even visualized a little. Some of these I have done before, and gotten really powerful experiences. Even if you're a Wiccan or not, I think doing some of these might really help you relaxing and thinking about everything around you. Meditation is quite similar, though I like having something to visualize about. That way you don't get easily distracted. If you try out any of these, let me know how it went! Hope this gave you some insight into witchcraft, and an important and powerful tool we use in our work.