What is Visualization?

Very basically, visualization happens anytime you review a memory or fantasy in your mind, when you project the picture and play it like a movie, or view a snapshot of a thought or desire in vivid detail.

It’s also a technique for mentally rehearsing a goal you intend to accomplish in the future. This is what Witches do when we cast spells or send out our intentions.

Imagine yourself living your best life like you’re watching a movie of yourself. In this movie you’re the star, and the star is here to get everything they desire! You observe the star of the show (YOU!) achieving their goals, getting what they want (and need), expertly performing new skills they haven’t tried before, having perfectly charming, compelling and articulate conversations, never feeling awkward or shy- always feeling at ease and confident, experiencing exciting situations and having physical strength and talents that rival any Olympic athlete. Basically, it’s daydreaming on steroids.

Honestly, well-done visualization is a freakin’ super power. There are few things within your magickal practice that will come close to being this badass and this Matrix-y. It’s just that good.

I consider visualization a fundamental skill to master before you begin spellwork and other more advanced forms of Witchcraft. Visualization requires daily disciplined practice for many weeks, and sometimes months. No one would likely say visualization itself is particularly difficult, yet it goes so far beyond a beginner ‘basic’ due to the sheer volume of life hacking that’s made possible once you unlock this door. As a beginner, whether or not you get this down early on in your practice will make or break everything else that follows as a magickal practitioner. Without it, you’re manifesting game will be weak AF. For that reason, even though I consider this a more advanced skill, I feel everyone- especially beginners, need access to it.

Witches and magickal practitioners use visualization to achieve our magickal goals as well as our mundane ones. But make no mistake- visualization isn’t something fluffy used by people who aren’t living in reality. It's quite the opposite; it's used by a whole array of people who know how to use it to bring about positive outcomes in their life. Highly successful people, including famous actors, athletes and Olympians, use visualization techniques to stay successful and achieve their goals. Many are just learning the benefits of these skills while Witches have been using them for generations.

What Happens When You Use Visualization

The daily practice of visualizing your spells and spiritual goals as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those spells and goals.

Using visualization techniques to focus on your goals and desires yields four very important benefits.

1.) It activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.

2.) It programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to complete your spell or goal.

3.) It activates the law of attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances your spell or goal will need to be successful.

4.) It builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to meet your goals and intentions (at least) half-way, a key element to successful spell work and magick.

The Science Behind Visualization

When you visualize an experience in detail getting your emotions and senses in on the action, the neurons in your brain react as if your visualization is actually happening.

Essentially, your brain doesn’t differentiate between a real experience and an experience you create in your mind. When you practice visualization you forge new neural paths in your brain, priming your mind and body for the experience to actually happen in your life. Do your own research to learn more about the science behind these techniques.

When we visualize goals as complete, it creates a conflict in our subconscious mind between what we are visualizing and what we currently have. Our minds are hard-wired to resolve such conflicts by working to create a current reality that matches the one we have envisioned.

Visualization activates the creative powers of the subconscious mind, motivating it to work harder at creating solutions. You’ll also notice new levels of motivation and find yourself doing things that normally you would avoid, but that will take you closer to success.

Another way visualization boosts success is by programming the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which serves as a mental filter for the 8 million bits of information that are streaming into our brains at any one time. The RAS is a network of neurons located in the brain stem that project anteriorly to the hypothalamus to mediate behavior, as well as both posteriorly to the thalamus and directly to the cortex for activation of awake, desynchronized cortical EEG patterns.

The RAS thinks in pictures, not words. Daily visualization feeds the RAS the pictures it needs to start filtering information differently. As a result, your RAS will start to pay attention to anything that might help you achieve your goals – information that it otherwise might ignore.

There are two types of visualization, outcome-based visualization and process-based visualization. Both can be effective for use with your magic.

Outcome-based visualization is when you create a detailed scene in your mind of yourself after you’ve achieved your goal. You’re visualizing already having achieved what you wanted, and now you’re enjoying the outcome of your work. For example, if you did a spell for a raise at work, you’d be visualizing yourself taking that first paycheck with more money on it to the bank and depositing it… then writing checks or making purchases and other ways you’ll spend the money. Now you’re wearing the new outfit or paying off your credit card bills or lying on the beach during that vacation you can now afford- paid for with your raise.

Process-based visualization is when you create a detailed scene in your mind of the process leading up to but not beyond achieving your goal. You’re visualizing completing the steps and actions leading up to getting what you want. Now instead of visualizing spending your raise (outcome), you’re visualizing completing the certification or credits you need to qualify for a more senior position at work, you’re visualizing sitting down with your boss and creating a detailed plan for what it will take on your part to earn a raise, like coming to work on time every day or improving your communication skills, or making a bigger effort to be a pro-active team member, or demonstrating leadership qualities. Now you’re visualizing doing those, and visualizing your boss and co-workers acknowledging the changes and improvements you’re making and praising you at the company quarterly meeting until one day your boss pulls you aside and tell you how proud they are of you and you earned your new raise.

Studies done on visualization techniques show some advantage to using process-based visualization over outcome-based because for some test subjects, having already visualized achieving their goal tricked them into believing they no longer had anything left to accomplish, and reduced their motivation.

When using visualization in this way for personal growth and non-magickal life goals, this would be important to keep in mind. However, for spell work and magick, outcome-based is more often the preferred method for ensuring spells work properly and resonates more on an energetic and magickal level. With that said, most experienced Witches employ both process-based and outcome-based visualization in their practice. Do your own research on the topic and experiment to find what works best for you.

How to Start Visualizing

Visualization is really quite simple. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine — in as vivid detail as you can — what you would be looking at if the dream you have were already realized. Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the ideal result.

You’re Already Doing It

The thing is, you’re probably already visualizing on a regular basis- maybe even daily! The problem is that most people are doing visualizations to create the life they don’t want; they are often using it to imagine the worst outcomes of things or worrying about the future.

For example, when your teenager is five minutes late coming home and they haven’t called and you start imagining all the worst case scenarios of what’s happened. Every step of the way you try to erase the ‘bad’ images and stay positive, but can’t stop yourself from going back to the ‘what if’ mental loop. That’s a form of visualization. Only you’re visualizing what you don’t want.

Or when your last paycheck doesn’t quite cover the rent and you start that mental downward spiral of panic and hopelessness, imagining yourself homeless and on the street begging for change.

The trick is to optimize and master this skill in a way to make it work for you at an intentional level. Stop focusing on what you don’t want, and start putting that energy and focus into what you do want.

How about when you’re getting dressed for a date and you’re thinking about how the evening will go- what you’ll order, what you’ll say, how you’ll laugh, what that first kiss will be like... that’s visualization, too, only you’re focused more on what you want rather than what you don’t. Chances are you’ll act out at least some of what you imagined earlier, and for visualizations where you mentally prepared for what you wanted, you’ll feel better prepared (and actually be better prepared) in the moment for having ‘rehearsed’.

In spell craft and magick, words matter. If your intention is to draw your goal toward you, then using negative words- that is, words that repel, instead of positive words- that is, words that attract, results in undesirable results and unintended consequences. Visualization helps us flip the script and stay empowered.

Using Visualization for Witchcraft

How Can Visualization Be Used in Witchcraft and Magick?

Visualization for Witches is using your imagination to hack your mind and reality on the mental and Spiritual planes to make things happen on the physical plane. Like in the example earlier, your mental ‘movie’ might include your spell being executed flawlessly and manifesting perfectly.

Visualization in spell work is a key ingredient, in my opinion. In fact, it’s my position that successful spell work doesn’t happen without it. The evidence is born out through countless real-world examples of people who understand and successfully utilize this superpower.

Everything you imagine and project onto your spell work and magick, from your intentions, to your energy and even your feelings and thoughts, all influence the outcome. Visualizations helps you control that influence by teaching you the art of focusing and directing your thoughts and energy exactly how you intend.

Visualization Tips

1. Know Your Goals Are a Done Deal

Your dream, your goals, your intentions aren’t ‘possible’. It’s not a wish. It’s not a prayer request. It’s a DONE DEAL.

Your mindset matters. If you don’t believe it’s possible to achieve the results you want or the goal you’re working toward, it won’t happen for you. PeriodT.

Visualization helps you align your walk with your talk. Your words, thoughts, intentions/Will and actions all need to agree with each other. When any one of these are out of sync with the rest, your probability for success plummets.

Often we find it hard to dream big, it’s like we don’t believe we deserve to get what we want- that’s where visualization comes in. Once you have visualized finishing that 5K in your mind’s eye, it stops being solely in the domain of the impossible and starts being something you believe can happen.

2. Focus on What You Want, Not on What You Don’t

Most people use visualization in their daily life. The trouble is it’s more often focusing on what they don’t have, what’s wrong or what they wish were different.

In the same vein, if you’re feeding the negative self-talk about why you can’t, why it’s not a reasonable goal, why the odds are stacked against you, you’re sabotaging yourself.

It’s easy to get stuck in the overpowering knowledge that you don’t have the thing you want. Thinking about achieving your goal in terms of ‘Wouldn’t that be nice?’ places into question your certainty about what you want, deserve or believe about your goal’s success.

Instead, try making the shift to ‘It’s great!’ Notice how that small change affects how your body feels when you use supportive, affirming language instead of the language of nullification and denial.

If you’re sending out the thought that you want more friends, while spending most of your time focusing on having no friends, you’re putting the intention and feeling of “no friends” into your magic. Since you’re powering your spell with what you don’t have, your spell will probably work—by making sure to bring no new friends into your path.

Instead, if you spend a few minutes visualizing, immersing yourself with thoughts of your fabulous new friendships, you can be sure that you’re setting a strong, accurate intention for your spell.

3. Know Thyself

That saying, “be careful what you wish for” is a good reminder that sometimes we’re wrong about what we say we want. Getting exactly what you ask for while realizing that’s not what you meant at all is a rude slap in the face. It forces us to get real with ourselves at a level we hadn’t before.

In the magickal world we call this ‘Unintended Consequences’. This is how we describe getting mixed or crap results from spells that have gone awry due to our negligence in crafting said spell. It’s when we learn we weren’t clear or specific enough about exactly what we wanted our spell to do, and we sent out mixed messages to the Universe.

Visualization will help you see your blind spots. If there are parts of your story or ‘movie’ being used in your visualization that you’re oblivious to, have locked away, ignored or are hiding from, you’ll want to resolve those conflicts before beginning your spell work.

If we’re using visualization properly, we’re playing through the entirety of our scenario’s outcome. It gives us a chance to really work through exactly what we want and get right with ourselves and our story. We can identify the areas we’re glossing over, like what happens after we get what we want, and dig into those to make edits and revisions until we’ve created exactly what we want.

4. Do The Fucking Work ™

Doing the Fucking Work requires you to meet your visualization, your goals and your intentions at least half way. To manifest your spell work and magick, you can’t stay in the fantasy zone of your imagination.

You have to align your words, thoughts, intentions & actions. Don’t expect the ‘Universe’ to do all the heavy lifting for you while you sit back and reap the benefits. It doesn’t work that way. You have to do your part.

5. Get Down to the Nitty Gritty

When it comes to spell work, being vague just won’t cut it. You have to get the fine details of your goal down. Visualize yourself in a specific place, doing a specific activity, with specific people. Notice how the “you” in your vision reacts to things, such as seeing your checking account balance on your online banking app, or opening up that college acceptance letter.

How does the paper feel? How does it smell? What does it sound like to break the seal on the envelope? Imagine the taste of licking the stamp. Is there music playing in the background? What is the weather like- is it sunny, windy, hot, chilly? Can you hear crashing waves or laughter? Is there a pesky fly buzzing near you. Are there children playing nearby? Get all of your senses involved. You cannot have too much detail here.

Tap into all those sensory experiences and make them as real as you can. The more detailed you are, the clearer your intention.

5. Feel All the Feels

Strong emotions make for strong spell work and magick. And vice versa. It’s natural for feelings to show up while you’re intensely focusing on your goals. Let them! Radiant Joy, excitement, rage, extreme love, compassion, fierce protectiveness, pain… all emotions are valid and all can be useful for different kinds of magick.

Emotion is a powerful fuel source for magic, so don’t shy from them. Allow yourself to feel your emotions that will come up when you’re really present in your vision. Let those feelings flow through your body and mind like a stream of water pouring from a faucet. Don’t hold onto any emotions during your visualization or push them away. Just let them move through you organically and know they’re going to strengthen your magic.

6. Keep It Fun

Practice makes perfect. Visualization required self-discipline and many weeks or months of regular practice. Don’t get discouraged and don’t get give up. Keep it fun and joyful! If you have a bad day or practice session, set it down and come back to it later. Sometimes we just can’t hold our focus and trying to visualize when we’re tired or distracted is no fun. Plus, that energy goes into our spell and magick which and we don’t want that.