When I started practicing I was practically tormented by all this talk of visualization. “Visualize the energy going in to the candle.” “Visualize yourself being purified.” “Visualize the spell going to its destination.” I mistakenly believed that visualization meant I had to see the thing with my eyes, or have it play out like a movie when my eyes were closed. I think when it comes to understanding visualization, the first step is,

Don’t be overly concerned with “seeing” things. Witchcraft is heavily involved with expanding yourself, connecting with the world, and sensing energies around you. Don’t throw that all away and focus on one single sense.

I think that instead of focusing so much on sight, we can say that visualization = imagination + willpower.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a daydream so real that it very much affected you. Or if you’ve ever imagined someone saying something so clearly in your mind that it affected how you truly think about them. What happens in your mind and your imagination isn’t fake or non-real. As a witch, you need to expel the concept that what happens in your head doesn’t affect real life. Imagination is the basis of visualization.

When a guide or spell says “put a lot of energy in to…” or, “raise energy…” or something similar, it is partially talking about using your willpower (there are other ways to work with energy but this is an important and basic one). Have you ever wanted something so much that it hurts, or thought something so intensely that it made you shake? Have you ever held an image in your mind so dearly and desperately that you felt it was more real than the real world, almost as if it was a physical thing sitting in your head? You were using willpower to raise energy. That is why these experiences can be so draining – we gather our own energy, release it, and then we’re drained.

If a spell says, “visualize the candle being filled with pure golden light,” simply try imagining it to be so. Imagine it so vibrantly and willfully that you are lost within your own mind and the real world is a step away. Put so much force in to it that you are actually physically exhausted. Don’t be concerned about headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other physical symptoms. These are a part of witchcraft. Go outside, draw up energy from the earth, and have a meal afterwords. Then go back to that candle, hold it, and ask your imagination, “what’s in there?” You may be surprised at what you find.

There are other ways to sense and work with energy besides visualization. Some people have a strong talent for feeling, “knowing”, or sensing in other ways. Witchcraft is about self-exploration, don’t shoe-horn yourself in to a corner just because other people put such a heavy emphasis on visualizing.

Miscellanea: I recommend you learn how to ground, center, and borrow energy from the earth or other sources before you try this kind of work. If you have any doubts about witchcraft being ‘real’, you won’t after a shitty night full of nausea, migraines, and exhaustion brought on by over-exerting yourself without the ability to come back to reality and recharge.

– Tho