Using Visualization in Spellcraft

This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about visualization and how it’s used in one’s practice and in everyday life.

visualization

Topic for the Week of 1/13: Although the word makes us think only of vision and our sense of sight, the practice of visualization involves any and all senses, not just sight but also scent, sound, touch, and even taste…”

There are multiple questions included in the continuation of the topic for this week, so I am going to break those questions up below, because I think it’ll be easier to answer that way, rather than taking the whole thing on at once.   So…

1) Do you practice this skill or use it in your path?

Oh hell yes.  All the time.  Anyone that reads a book and imagines what’s going on in the book in your head, or writes fiction, or daydreams about this or that is doing visualization.

In spellcrafting, especially, it is an extremely valuable tool used to set intentions and direct energy into those intentions.

It is also an excellent method of meditation.  One of my favorite meditations when I was first starting out at meditation was to visualize peeling and eating an orange, as it is one that has a very distinctive and strong ability to incorporate all five senses.

2) What do you actually DO when you ‘visualize’ something?

Visualization triggers the parts of the brain that have to do with receptors for each of your senses.   So it’s not just “thinking” about doing something, but awakening those parts of the brain that register sensation and… well, playing with them.

3) Do you find that it comes easily to you, or do you struggle with it?

I’ve been doing visualization all my life, both in my practice and path, as well as in the day to day.  So it’s not really something I think about anymore, to be honest.

4) Are certain inner senses easier to use than others? For example some people may find inner sight difficult, but hear things easily, and so on.

Because of my synesthesia, the hearing one always feels a bit weird because with visualizations it doesn’t always kick in as it does with actual auditory input.   But other than that… not really.  I would say that visualization-wise, my sense of smell is the weakest.

5) What do your physical eyes ‘see’ when you visualize something?

They don’t.   I don’t hallucinate when visualizing.  Whatever I’m visualizing plays out in my mind, not in the physical world in front of me.

6) Do you have any tips for others working on this skill? For those who struggle, what are other things that can be done instead?

I think a lot of people don’t realize that creative writing is a type of visualization.  That reading a work of fiction is a type of visualization.   They think that it’s some esoteric skill they can’t tap into, but have been doing it all along and not realizing it.   Use those ways of visualizing that are familiar to you and take steps to begin reaching beyond them.

Instead of reading a book, make up a story in your head.  Pay attention to what you’re doing in your head beyond just producing words, yeah?  Do you see your character doing those things?   Can you feel what that character feels?   That is visualization.   Practice and pay attention, yeah?

7)  Does struggling with visualization prevent growth in our practice?

I believe it could.   Without visualization, the energy placed into intention setting wouldn’t have the same kind of -drive- behind it.  That drive is what pushes the energy forward into creating the results you seek, so I sort of wonder if spellcasting without it would even work?   I’m not sure, as this isn’t a problem I deal with personally.

 

Self Doubt in Practice

Pagan Perspective is still on their holidays break (or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on there), so there’s no new question to work with again this week.   So this week, I again decided to snag a question from one of the pagan/witchy type groups I’m a member of on Discord and use that instead.

CoprinopsisPicacea

Topic for the Week of 12/30:  About what in your practice do you tend to doubt yourself? What form does this doubt take, and how do you respond to it?

Even though I have an education in botany, and I am very versed in how to handle and work with plants and the like that can be dangerous and/or poisonous…. there is still doubt in myself in this area.  I do use ingredients from such organisms in my spells and castings, sometimes pretty regularly, and there is an inherent danger in this not just from the potential of the obvious physical contact, but the releasing of spores, trichomes (these are the hairs on certain plants), or saps among other things.

Because of this self-doubt, I am extremely careful in my handling of any and all parts of such plants and organisms.  I take extra time and extra care, as well as extra precautions  and safe-guards to make sure I don’t accidentally end up hurting myself or anyone in my home during or after this part of my spellwork.

How this self doubt manifests is a good thing, and I hope that I never lose the self doubt involved in this practice, as it ensures that everyone I care about is safe. I can only hope that anyone else out there incorporating these dangerous and poisonous ingredients in their spell craft is just as careful.

 

What is Spell Craft?

“At some point I want you to do a post for me about spell crafting. What it is, what it does, how you do the process. I saw a Lisa and Peggy video on “to love a witch” and the partner had to answer questions about them and I realized this is an area I’m completely blank on.” – Gideon

spell1

Okay, well I should first explain that until recently?  I found spell crafting and spell casting to be synonymous.  But then, I discovered that people actually USE pre-written spells in books and off the internet that are designed by others… sort of like using a recipe when cooking. Not as a foundation to build from and adjust, but literally as-is letter for letter.

Because of the way I was raised, and how I was taught, this actually surprised me quite a bit.  This is because, in my family, you craft your spells either by yourself of with others.  They are then written down for posterity and to be reused and improved on in the future.  BUT, these spells are yours.  They are, by the very nature of having created them yourself, tailored to you and your energies and your particular affinities and abilities.

Until this recent discovery mentioned above, I couldn’t imagine anyone taking one of my spells and using it, letter for letter, to do their own spell casting.  It would be like someone deciding they wanted to wear my decade old, worn and still hanging in there pair of underwear, and  not just wearing them, but trying to make them fit their body in the way they have over time stretched and molded to fit mine.

Spells get passed down, of course, but they are not used letter for letter.  They are altered and adjusted, rewritten and reworked to fit the person using them. Because without personalization, how is it supposed to mesh with your energy and intentions?

So with that said… lets do a little bit of defining of terms.  Keep in mind these are my definitions of these terms.  This is not a general consensus, nor are my views on this spelled out anywhere that I’m aware of where there’s some kind of adopted agreement where others are concerned.  It’s just me and my definitions.

Spell (as a noun) – The gathering of your intention, your will, and energy (yours, ambient energy around you, and/or the blend of energies belong to the tools and supplies you use), and pushing them into a ritual, item, or magickal action of some sort that then projects them toward the goal behind that intention.  You are the microphone, the spell is the speakers.

Spell Craft (as a noun) – Working with spells, including any creation or designing of magickal workings, whether that be ritual spells, free form spells, etc. Spell craft is an “umbrella term” (much like the word “witchcraft”) that is used to encompass the process of creation through to casting of spells, and the practice of magickal workings as a whole.

Ritual Spells (as a noun) – This type of spell is much like a recipe when cooking.  You have an ingredient list (supply list) and a set out series of steps involved, usually with a pre-planned incantation.  They are often planned well in advance to be done on certain powerful days that align with the spell’s intention (such as a full moon ritual).

Free Form Spells (as a noun) – Returning to the analogy of cooking… this is when you “wing it”.  It’s still a spell, as you are directing will, intention, and energy into a magickal working… but it is not as rigid and regimented as ritual spells.

Spell Casting (as a verb) – Very literally, the casting of a spell. Spell casting concentrates and directs energy, and it does not necessarily require tools or supplies (although they can definitely help).  It is, at its core, a projection of intention and energy.   Tools and supplies are simply used to hone, wield, and better direct that energy.

Spell Crafting (as a verb) – This is the literal act of crafting of spells. The work. The research. Spell crafting involves not just the collecting of items wanted or needed to better direct the intention behind a spell and energies involved, but can include anything from writing incantations to creating incense or oils. Making your own supplies for magical workings is also spell crafting, which can involve the designing or making of supplies such as poppets, sachets, teas or food, candles, etc.

In my case, spell crafting and spell casting can often go hand in hand as one, as I do a lot of free-form spell work. When I am using supplies I am familiar with and that I know are safe, there are many times that I will craft as I go, and cast in the moment.  In other words, I might bring together ingredients to create a brand new spell, make the supplies I need in the moment (such as a poppet out of a piece of paper… also spell craft), and cast immediately.

Other times, especially if working with plant parts that I’m not fully familiar with, or trying something a little outside my familiarity, I will do a lot of research first.  Take notes.  Plan and do more research.  Sometimes spells are complicated and you need to craft different things for them first (again, such as poppets, sachets, oils, sprays, etc), and/or you want to get the wording of your intentions just right and may need to spend time crafting just the right words for the task.   All of this is spell crafting… some of it may also be spell casting if you are instilling your intention into the items as you make them.

I feel like I talked myself in circles here.   But…. maybe it made sense?

I’m sure you have lots of questions after this post, and I’m happy to do a subsequent post on this if there’s anything you’d like for me to go into more detail about, or any curiosities you have.   Just let me know.

 

Where My Perspectives Have Changed

So, last month on  YouTube, MIRTHandREVERENCE did a video answering a subscriber’s question about how her practices and perspectives have changed over the 40+ years she’s been on her path.    I really like this question, and decided I wanted to share my own experiences concerning the differences between how I was raised, and what I practice now.

crossroads

I think that the biggest difference is the use of deity.   In my parent’s home, we had the God and Goddess of the Pagan’s wheel of the year.  We also had Buddha, Sanshin, and Quan Yin.   My father had a shrine, my mother had an altar, and there were small statues set out in reverence to these deities throughout the house.

I never really felt comfortable worshiping deities, and once I had left my parents home soon after I turned sixteen, I stopped.  That isn’t to say that I stopped my faith, only that my faith changed.  I did not personify my faith, but rather reach beyond the faces and “deities” to the elements and the energy of creation, evolution, and balance itself.   This is where my focus lies in my devotionals, petitions, and invocations.

Along that same line is the difference in how much worship and prayer is involved as a whole.   I spend less time on my knees in front of a shrine or altar, and more time within nature, bonding and appreciating it all.  I also do a good deal of my worship standing or active within nature.

Group gatherings.  Meh.

Growing up, my parents attended many group gatherings with like-minded folks.  They had circles and they had munches.   They sought out a pagan parenting mentor (who you know as Z) to assist them in guiding my sister and I along a similar path.

Other than with my sister?  I don’t worship with others.  I have no interest in sitting in a coffee shop talking about deity and ritual.  I don’t need others energies and intentions and motivations screwing with my spellcraft.  Just… not for me, I guess.  I suppose you could say that I just don’t “play well with others” in that way.

There is much that has remained the same in the separation of those fifteen-ish years, but above are the most notable differences that have developed over time to transition my faith from that of my parents into something that works for me alone.