Visualization is the practice of using your mind to affect your physical world by imagining yourself in ideal situations or performing skills you want to get good at. Basically, it’s a super-focused form of daydreaming. A lot of times, we do it without even thinking about it.
When you’re driving to work and you start thinking about that order of cheesy mozzarella sticks you’re going to share with your friend later that night, you’re using visualization. Or say, for instance, you’re researching a new car purchase and imagining what it would feel like to drive up the California coast in a Mustang convertible, that’s using visualization too.
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 popular in personal development circles. It’s when you create a detailed scene in your mind of yourself after you’ve achieved your goal. For example, if your goal is a trip to Bali, you could imagine yourself strolling through the Ubud market, holding a basket of fresh fruit, feeling the sun on your bare shoulders.
Process-based visualization is popular with athletes, among other high-performing individuals. Pro golfers Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus used visualization before matches. Nicklaus invested a lot of time imagining himself playing every hole, hitting each ball perfectly. Visualization exercises were also part of basketball players Michael Jordan and Larry Bird’s workout regiment. You can read more about that here and here.
A process-based visualization for your trip to Bali would be if you imagined yourself packing your favorite sandals into your suitcase, driving to the airport, and getting on the plane. You could end your visualization with you stepping out of the Denpasar airport and smelling the sweet, exotic scent of Balinese flowers.
Why Science Says it Works
The science behind this is fascinating, though that’s not what this article is about. So here’s the super-condensed version.
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. Read more about that here and here.
Why Visualization is Perfect for Magic
1. Visualization allows you to believe that the goals you have for yourself are possible.
Magic depends A LOT on the intention you put into the spell and the mindset you’re in when you’re performing it. If you don’t actually believe the thing you’re going for is possible for you, it will not happen. Period.
That’s where visualization comes in. If you spend some time visualizing before or during your spell, you’re aligning your beliefs about yourself with your goal. If you see yourself in your mind’s eye hiking up a volcano in Bali, you’re much more likely to believe it will actually happen.
2. Visualization puts your focus on what you want, not what you don’t have.
Again, your magic is powered by your intention. If you really want something, it’s easy to get stuck in the overpowering knowledge that you don’t have the thing you want.
When there’s two feet of snow outside and you’re digging your car out of a big, fluffy drift, you might think you’re sending out the thought that you want to be exploring a hot, steamy Balinese jungle. If you’re spending most of your time focusing how cold you are now though, you’re putting the intention and feeling of “cold” into your magic. Since you’re powering your spell with what you don’t want, your spell will probably work—by bringing you more snow.
Instead, if you spend a few minutes visualizing, immersing yourself with thoughts of your Bali trip, you can be sure that you’re setting a strong, accurate intention for your spell.
3. Visualization helps you get clear on what exactly you want.
You know the saying, “be careful what you wish for”? I’ve so been there. A while back, I wanted nothing more than to make a full-time income working remotely. Then, when I finally got hired by a company that offered me just that, I found I was miserable. I ended up working around the clock and feeling overwhelmed for months. Had I been more clear about what I wanted when performing my job spells, I could have specified that I wanted to make money remotely while living a balanced life instead of the vague intention of making money online.
Magic is a powerful tool and if you don’t get clear about what exactly you want from the spell, you could end up with some interesting outcomes.
Practice visualizing in detail what you want out of your spell or ritual. Allow your desired outcome to play in your mind like a scene from a movie. If there are parts that you’re glossing over (like what the rest of your life will look like after you score that “dream job”), dig into that and make edits until you’ve created the perfect vision to power your magic.
4. Visualization sheds light on resistance that might be holding you back.
Visualization is a super fast way to connect with your deepest, more private, beliefs about yourself. Think of it as a way to “hack into” your subconscious, and pinpoint the limiting thoughts you have about yourself.
For example, you could be visualizing your trip to Bali, and suddenly, a negative thought flits through your mind.
“Do I deserve to spend that much money on a vacation for myself?” or “My boss will think I’m so flaky if I take off work to go on this trip.”
Uncovering and acknowledging those thoughts is the first step to getting rid of them and changing your mindset in a big way. Note any negative thoughts that come up in your visualization and take them apart.
For example, if your thought is, “My boss will think I’m so flaky if I take off work to go on this trip.” ask yourself if that’s actually true. Would she really think you’re flaky? Do you have a history of missing deadlines or showing up late? Do you call in sick a lot?
If the answer is no, then your boss thinking you’re flaky is probably not something to worry about.
If you’re still worried, you can think up some ways to make sure your work will be covered while you’re gone. Are there things to delegate to others? Would having a conversation with your boss resolve the issue? Can you finish your projects before you leave?
I know it’s a lot of work to sift through all your beliefs, but with the help of visualization, you can identify them quickly without the stress of actually being in that situation. Once you get rid of those negative thoughts, you clear the way for all your magical spells and rituals to manifest.
5. Visualization supercharges your spell with raw emotion.
When you’re really focused on a goal and you imagine it unfolding moment by moment, strong emotions are bound to show up. Joy, contentment, and giddiness are some of the emotions I’ve felt during visualizations, and spells I perform while I’m feeling that potent, glowy energy are supercharged. Emotion fuels magic, so get yourself feeling great and see the results in your magic.
4 Tips to 10x your Spells and Rituals with Visualization
When you’re using visualization in your spell work, pick a specific moment you’d like to manifest in your life. Being vague won’t do it. You have to get down the nitty gritty of the vision you’re creating with your spell. Make sure you’re visualizing yourself in a specific place, doing a specific activity, with specific people. Notice how the “you” in your vision reacts to things, such as opening up that college acceptance letter or seeing your checking account balance on your online banking app. The more detailed you are, the clearer your intention.
Use All Your Senses
Get all of your senses involved to make your vision feel as real as possible. What does the air feel like against your skin? What does it smell like? What do you see? Is it a bright afternoon or a colorful sunset? Can you taste anything? What can you hear? Music? Laughter? The sound of crashing waves? There’s no such thing as too much detail here!
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.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you try visualization during your spell, but you just can’t seem to focus, that’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply guide your mind back to your vision. Everyone gets distracted sometimes, but the more you do it, the better you’ll become. A good way to ease into this is to pick an amount of time you know you can do, like one minute. Then set a timer and start visualizing. Once you feel comfortable with one minute, try two and so on. You don’t have to visualize for a long time for it to be effective. Three to five minutes is plenty.
If this feels tedious at any point, it’s time to stop. Visualization should feel fun and joyful. If it doesn’t, it won’t have a positive effect on your spell.
My Favorite Visualization Spells and Rituals
I like “charge” my spell candles with my vision. I sit in a comfortable position and set a timer on my phone for three to five minutes. With my eyes closed, I hold the candle and start visualizing a scene of what I’d like my life to look like after my spell does its thing. When the timer goes off, I open my eyes and light my candle. As I watch the flame flicker, I think about my vision rising up into the universe like a beam of light.
Sometimes I choose to journal my visions rather than imagining them. If I’m doing this for a full moon ritual, I’ll spend five minutes journaling, then set my journal outside or put it by a window while I sleep so the powerful energy of the moon will charge my pages with moonlight.
If you have access to a campfire, grill or backyard firepit, I enjoy journaling about my vision and burning the pages once I’m finished. The smoke sends my vision straight up into the abundant sky. Make sure you stay safe while doing this, especially if you write a lot like I do and have several pages to burn.
Feel free to get creative with visualization! You can try listening to a guided visualization recording on Spotify or Youtube. Maybe you’d like to try visualizing while listening to your favorite song or the soundtrack of your favorite movie. If it’s a pretty day, you can take a visualization walk and enjoy nature!
However, you choose to use this powerful tool, make it your own and always, always have fun with it.