Visualization seems to be one of the skills that the majority of the people I have encountered struggle with most. Last post, I talked about how this is an important skill for those seeking to practice witchcraft. Today, I want to dive deeper into this skill and give some exercises and examples on how you can grow your visualization skills.
The simplest exercise is to look at an object – really study it. Now close your eyes and mentally develop a picture of that object in your mind. You could even act like you are developing a photo or waiting for a polaroid to develop. This builds your skill of observation and also stores images in your mind for future use in your visualizations. You can vary the time you allow yourself to study an object to improve upon your speed of observation. Your observation doesn’t have to only be about sight. You can grow into using aroma, audio, palate, and tactile observations.
You can take this exercise a step further by finding a friend or partner to take turns describing items to each other. One of you closes your eyes while the other one will start to describe an item to you until you are able to guess what item is being described. Try not to guess too fast wait for all the details. This isn’t an exercise of quickness. It is an exercise of mentally forming a picture.
Another exercise is to revisit adjectives and adverbs. In case you forget (or get them mixed up like I do), adjectives are the describing words for nouns. Adverbs are the describing words for verbs. Adverbs often in with the suffix: -ly. Look up the definitions of different adjectives and adverbs, then use a thesaurus or thesaurus.com to find their synonyms. Pay close attention to their subtle differences.
Let’s take the word: “cast”. There are at least eight different definitions for the word “cast”, but I want to focus on the definition that best describes how it is use in casting a spell. That definition is “emit, give”. Thesaurus.com gives sixteen synonyms for that definition. The top one being “direct” and my chosen top one being “bestow”. “Direct” is defined as “point in a direction; guide” or “put all efforts towards”, but there are also six more definitions. Now, let’s explore “bestow”: “to present as a gift: give; confer” or “to put to some use: apply”. When we cast a spell, we are directing the flow of energy to manifest our goal and some times we bestow blessings with our spells. As you can see, there are subtle differences in the words that can paint different pictures of the same subject. I honestly find that fascinating!
This is one of my favorite memes and it illustrates how a synonym’s subtle change in definition can paint a completely different picture.
Now you can take this exercise a step further by remembering a fond memory and either mentally, verbally, or manually (by writing) retell that memory, but take every opportunity to describe the scene. What was the weather? What did your clothes feel like? look like? If you are eating, what does the food taste like? How does if feel in your hands? What about in your mouth? Recount every detail possible. I found that when I was first beginning, it was helpful to write out these memories, especially using an electronic method, because you can write the story of your memory and then go back to edit your details. “That strawberry was so yummy and juicy,” can turn in to “That ruby red strawberry with its countless seeds bled juice down my chin and fingers as I bit into it and the succulent flavor of summer exploded into my mouth.” I know that can seem intimidating, but I’ve had a few years of practice. Also, I will let you in on a little secret… I used the thesaurus to find that perfect synonym for “yummy”.
Do you see how the first sentence about the strawberry creates almost the equiveillance of first grade finger painting of the strawberry? (My son is in first grade right now and learning about adjectives and adverbs, while also enjoying creating finger paintings, so this reference is coming from that experience and not from a place of judgement.) The second sentence almost transports you into that moment. You can imagine the feeling of the juices rolling down your chin and fingers. You start to imagine the minute details of the seeds and the color of the strawberry. You can almost taste the strawberry yourself and the sentence starts to lean you into the emotions that we might experience around summer.
I have found that exploring new words has greatly enhanced my ability to visualize, but it helps me create an aspect of my visualization by just thinking of a word rather than struggling to find mundane words that don’t quite describe what I am trying to portray in my mind. The last side of this exercise is to read descriptive nonfiction stories and visualize what you are reading. This can be much like how I lead you though a visualization above with my strawberry sentence.
Remember, a visualization is your own – it is your own story – thus it can never be wrong. Don’t get caught up in worrying about if you are doing it right or wrong. Enjoy the process, get lost in the descriptions. Apples are red, but in reality, they come in a variety of colors, including: orange, yellow, green and all the shades in between, so paint them how you see them. Lastly, if a black or purple apple fits better in your visualization for your spell, then mentally paint it those colors. You are in control. You are the one with the power and the only limits are the ones you place on yourself. I hope you have a blessed week and I look forward to sharing with you a very descriptive writing of mine about a memory that was my visualization escape for a long time in my next post. As always, may you always have the blessings of your gods!