Visualization, or Creative Visualization as it is sometimes referred to, is the use of mental imagery to obtain an objective. A vivid mental picture of the desired thing is held firmly fixed in the mind as if it had already happened.
The technique has been widely employed in many fields such as the arts, sports, business, alternative medicine, religious practices, psychotherapy, psychical research, the mystical and occult arts, and self-improvement.
Creative visualization also is known by other terms such as "positive thinking," "positive imagery," "dynamic imaging," "creating imaging," "imaging," and so on.
It is ancient knowledge that the power of thought, imagination, and will does change circumstances. Creative visualization does help the individual to organize the resources necessary to achieve the goal or task that he is presented with. It also is believed to aid in establishing a harmony which facilitates fortuitous synchronicities, or opportunities, and "good luck." With visualization the person is better able to use his advantages because he is more aware of them.
Creative visualization seems to be most effective for the individual when practice in a quiet, relaxed situation, similar to that of meditation and prayer. Some person feel that during the practice they call upon a higher power such as the Divine, the Higher Self, or a spirit guide or a Guardian Angel to help them realize their objective.
In his Magic: An Occult Primer, leading occultist David Conway explains the absolute necessity of visualization for performing Magick:
I her book "Spiral Dance", Miriam Starhawk desribes Visualization as follows:
"...the technique of visualization is something you will gradually master, and indeed must master if you are to make any progress at all in magic... it is our only means of affecting the etheric atmosphere.
It enables us to build our own thought forms, contact those already in existence and channel the elemental energy we need down onto the physical plane."
This visualization technique has been popularized in the West under different names by various writers. One of the earliest books was 'The Power of Positive Thinking' by Norman Vincent Peale, a Methodist minister. The book encouraged a combination of prayer, affirmative thinking and a faith in God. It encouraged the use of affirmative words and phrases such as 'I am beautiful and loved,' and 'I am successful.' These phrases were to be written down and contemplated on to become part of the consciousness. They were to give reassurance and help eliminate any negative images the person might have.
Another work was 'Psycho-Cybernetics' by the plastic surgeon Maxwall Maltz. The book discusses the tremendous influence which imagination has upon self-image. Through his work Maltz observed that patients with poor self-image benefited little, if at all, from plastic surgery, while patients having a good self-image, or improved it, experienced good transformation following surgery.
In 'Creative Visualization' author Shakti Gawain compares creative visualization to "magic" in the highest sense of the word explaining that positive energy attracts more energy.
Gawain's terminology of "magick" in the highest sense of the word was similarly defined by Aleister Crowley, Magick is "the art or science of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will." In both descriptions magic occurs only as the result of mental activity. The thrust of such activity has been labeled power and/or energy. The result is that change or changes occur in conformity to the will of the person or persons exerting such mental power.
One might wonder why such mental activity is associated with Magic. The questioning is legitimate when one thinks of the popular definition or usage of the term Magic. Customarily when one hears the term he thinks of the young, handsome magician who pulls the rabbit out of the hat of saws the girl in her skimpy costume in half. This is referred to as stage magic which is mostly based upon sleight-of-the-hand manipulation and optical illusion.
However, the type of magic which Gawain and Crowley are describing is something entirely different. By many, especially Neo-Pagans and Witches, it is referred to as true or real Magick and spelled with the final "k" -the old spelling of the word - to distinguish it from stage magic. It should be pointed out, however, that there are skeptics that think the spelling of magic with the "k" is just a trick by those believing in the former to make their magic seem more real.
Objectively speaking there seems to be no convincing answer to this argument, either one believes in Magick or one does not. Those believing in Magick claim its function is to make something happen which the person desires or wills to happen. They believe the person is able to do this with the power or Psychic energy that the person possesses. There is an admission, although, that at times the person's power may not be sufficient enough to achieve the sought after object or perform the required task and, it is at these times that the gods give the supplemented power needed.
Magick becomes more powerful as the power or Psychic energy within them is increased or built up. The power builds up within the individual like steam in a pressure cooker. The individual wants it to build till he can no longer hold it, but he holds it as long as he can. This is why a group of Witches, each building up power within themselves, within a Cone of Power think when released all of the power flowing from each person can be directed to obtain the sought after objective. The accompaniment of dancing, Chanting, hand clapping, and/or Cord Magick is used to stimulate and build excitement within the individuals. The flow of energetic power increases. Some who have developed this Psychic ability claim that one can see the power flowing upward as a shimmering silver or blurred silver light.
Within this build up of energetic power fits the technique of visualization. With visualization, the person establishes a vivid picture in his mind of what he wants to happen. The picture is not of something that will happen, but rather it is a picture of the thing or event which has happen. This last distinction is crucial in the process of visualization. The mental picture must be of an event or thing that has already occurred or materialized. The purpose of this is to eliminate all doubt in the person's mind that the desired thing will come true because the person sees that it already has.
One of the most famous employments of the Cone of Power occurred on Lammas Day, August 1, 1940, in England. At a Sabbat, as related by Gerald B.Gardner, all of the covens in southern England gathered in the New Forest for "Operation Cone of Power." Its mission was to send a telepathic message to Hitler to keep out of England. Some of the thought sent were "you cannot cross the sea" and "not able to come." There is no certainty that this Cone of Power worked but those believing in it no doubt thought it did because the Nazis did not invade England.
In some incidences persons in a Cone of Power may use visualization for healing purposes. In their minds each person has formed a mental picture of a certain person suffering from an illness as already healed and well. At the zenith of power they all might shout the person's name, saying he is well. All their power is directed toward that person. This process can be repeated.
If the person or Witch is alone, he or she can use the same magickal technique. For example he may desire money or love. The person will imagine himself with the money he desires or needs, or he may imagine himself with the person he wants to love. The image of the money or person grows more and more vivid till it becomes real to the viewer. When the viewer feels he can no longer hold the power within him he might release it by shouting "MONEY" or "LOVE". The person often repeats his shout as his power is released.
"Visualization is the ability to see, hear, feel, touch and taste with the inner senses. Our physical eyes do not see; they merely transmit nerve impulses touched off by light stimuli to the brain. It is the brain that sees, and it can see inner images as clearly as those in the outer world. In dreams, all five senses are vivid. With practice, most people can develop the ability to use the inner senses vividly while awake.
Some people naturally see images; others may hear or feel impressions. A few people find it difficult or impossible to visualize, but most find the facility will improve with exercise.
Visualization is important because it is through internal images and sensations that we communicate with Younger Self and the Deep Self. When the inner senses are fully awake, we may see visions of extraor-dinary beauty, smell the blossoms of the Isle of Apples, taste ambrosia, and hear the songs of the Gods."
A Biblical Perspective
The Occult usurps the rightful place of the Scripture in the life of the Christian. It attempts to give direction and guidance to the individual and ultimately deliver him into bondage. The Bible is clear on the subject. Astrology, Divination, consulting or contacting the dead (Necromancy) and in fact the Occult in general, is an abomination to God. Some would have us believe the Bible endorses certain Occultic practices as an art that offers mankind an understanding of his true self, an opportunity to create his or her own reality to suit his or her personal spiritual goals. The following Scriptures indicate otherwise.
The above Scriptures clearly reject the use of Occultic practices and all forms of divination by God's people. God not only cleanses his kingdom of all Occultic influence, he outright condemns those who practice its arts. Scripture also calls each of us to place our faith in Jesus Christ rather than the created universe. The book of Colossians reminds the individual to "see to it that no one takes you captive through vain philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of man, according to the elemental principles of the universe, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8). We are to remain vigilant and guard our hearts, for from the heart flows the living water of life.
The Occult offers us every opportunity to turn away from our Creator. We are seduced by other gods that come to us from the heavenlies as we seek to divine our future. The Occult claims to offer us hope, but it can only deliver our souls to be burned. It claims to decode the mysteries of the cosmos, yet the Creator has done so in his Word. The Occult utilizes various methods and devices to inform the novice; the Lord offers the believer the Scriptures for instruction and a relationship to cement his future.
The Occult attempts to displace the true God of the universe with the false gods of the ancients. The Christian stands as the only sentinel to call forth the deception of the Occult in another's life. We must stand and rightly speak God's truth into each soul and thereby become a missionary of hope, rather than a deceiver of demonic spirits.
"Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord." - Leviticus 18:21
"Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death... I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people... I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them..." - Leviticus 20:1-6
"And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars - all the heavenly array - do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." - Deuteronomy 4:19
"If a man or woman living among you... is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention... take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death." - Deuteronomy 17:2-5
'When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or Sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.' - Deuteronomy 18:9-11
"They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal." - 2 Kings 17:16
"He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Ashtoreth pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, 'In Jerusalem I will put my Name.' In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced Sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger." - 2 Kings 21:3-6
"The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest... to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Ashtoreth and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense... - those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts." - 2 Kings 23:4-5
"Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law..." - 2 Kings 23:24
"You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you. Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame..." - Isaiah 47:13, 14
"The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven [see ISHTAR]. They pour drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger." - Jeremiah 7:18
"At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up and buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground." - Jeremiah 8:1, 2
"The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth - all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods." - Jeremiah 19:13
"I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests - those who bow down on the housetops to worship the starry hosts, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molech, those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him." - Zephaniah 1:4-6
"But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies." - Acts 7:42
"No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons." - 1 Corinthians 10:20
see also: PATHWORKING
see also: 'INNER HEALING and CHRISTIAN VISUALIZATION' in the ARTICLES Section.
RELATED ARTICLES FROM OTHER CHRISTIAN SITES:
(Opens in New Window)
VISUALIZATION: God-Given Power or New Age Danger? (Part One)
John Weldon and John Ankerberg (Christian Research Institute)
VISUALIZATION: God-Given Power or New Age Danger? (PartTwo)
John Weldon and John Ankerberg (Christian Research Institute)
Ankerberg Theological Institute
IMAGINATION AND VISUALIZATION
Ankerberg Theological Institute
Let Us Reason Ministries
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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