Nonvisual Visualizations

This is another post that part of me feels shouldn’t need to be said, and yet experience tells me it does.

There is a thread of commonality between what I see in visualization and perception.

What do I see when I perform the LBRP and “about me flames the pentagrams?”
What do I see when I’m chatting with a spirit in front of me?
What do I see when I’m staring into someone’s energy body trying to figure out what is wrong with them?

I’ll give you a hint, it begins with B and ends in upkis.

That’s a slight exaggeration, but not too far off, when it comes to magickal stuff, I can’t really see anything. For a long time it was an issue, both between me and others, and between me and the traditions I was working with.

When I’d attend pagan events people would always play their woogity games and eventually “Read my aura” would come up. I can’t see auras. People would ask me, and I’d rattle stuff off “You had a hernia when you were younger, your relationship with your mother sucks, you’ve been getting migraines recently.” Then they’d ask me how I saw all that, and when I’d explain that I didn’t see anything, they’d react like I was lying. I’d explain that I don’t see things, and they’d confirm I was right, yet the fact it was non-visual seemed impossible to them.

When I read books on magick, there are those dreaded words “see” and “visualize.” “Visualize the figure approaching you, see what they carry.” That doesn’t work for me. I’m not a visual person. It’s not just about magick, it’s about my life.

The thing is I would like to think I’m an accomplished sorcerer of some sort, even without this ability to visualize, why? Because fuck your visualization right in the third eye.

Most people who see things, understand that it’s not physically seeing, that it’s a subtle sense, and it might not be objective, but the way your brain interprets information that’s not as “solid” as everything else. That ghost might not literally so wispy, that angel might not literally be holding a curved dagger, there might not literally be a blue sphere around that person…that’s all how our brain interprets the spiritual data, it codes it visually so we can understand.

If you’re not a visual person though it might not code in the same away, and you’re probably doing more harm than good in trying to work from a visual model of magick.

Stop for a second, and think back, think back to your earliest birthday party that you can remember. What do you remember? Do you see the cake? Do you hear your friends and family singing? Can you smell the candles burning? What do you remember? And what sense or form is it coming from?

Chances are this is the sense/model that your magickal perceptions use too. It seems in my experience that the way our brain is wired for memories is the way it handles these perceptions.

For me my memories and perceptions are data based. I can’t see the cake, hear the singing, smell the candles. I can tell you what room of the apartment it was held in, I can tell you guest list, I can tell you the weather. Not because I see/hear/smell any of these things, but because I know them. The best analogy I have is like reading a book. You know from reading in history class that during the War of 1812 the Canadians marched into Washington D.C. and burnt the WhiteHouse. You don’t remember it cause you saw it, or anything like that, but you remember it as the information, the fact.

That’s the majority of my memories. Information, I could describe them like I wanted them written out in a book, but not like I could describe something I see. The same thing goes with my magickal experiences. Very rarely do I see a ghost (yet, due to the visual-dominance in magick, I’ll often use the language of seeing), but I’ll know it’s there. I might not see anything about them, but if asked I could tell you she’s a young woman, that she has dark hair, that she always feels cold. Whatever. Even in more complex things like scrying. I can’t explain how, but when I scry I “know” I’m in a dungeon, or on a desert and I “know” there is music in the air. I can’t see or hear it, but I know it. I get all the same information other people get (sometimes more) it just not a sight thing.

It took me a long time to deal with it personally. Now it seems stupid to me, but when I was in my early teens and getting into magick it felt like I was failing when I couldn’t see what I was supposed to see, especially when friends who I was teaching would start seeing things. Things really took off for me when I decoupled sight/see/visualize and recoded it into my head as perception/understand/realize. Suddenly I realized I was aware of a lot more than I had been accessing, because I had been ignoring how my brain was coding it.

Again, this doesn’t feel like something I should have to say, and I see this mentioned from time to time. Yet two weekends ago I was hanging out with some woogity folks, and one of the people there just had this revelation, suddenly they were aware of new things, because they stopped looking for images and started using another sense.

If you visualize things, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great. Learn to play to your strengths. Even when you can’t see something, there is something in your brain that perceives and understands and translates in your own model. So when I’m learning a technique and I’m told to “visualize green energy” or something, I can just know that the energy I’m moving is green, and it works the same way. The translating back and forth becomes a non-conscious thing. If you hear things (as one of my old high school friends did) just tell your brain to hear the green energy. It might sound like nonsense to you, but your brain can mash it together and spit it out, and suddenly that C# on a clarinet sound pours out with your energy, and apparently that’s the same as green.

In a mundane sense we all experience and perceive the world differently. Magickally it is no different, so be open to letting your other sense take over, and stop fretting about seeing things, if that has been your concern. I can’t see my magick, but I know it.

11 Responses to Nonvisual Visualizations

  1. Andrew says:

    Yes. Brilliant. This is exactly my experience. I know a good deal of information about my visitors and neighbors, almost as if I had read about them in a book; I usually see my own journal entries about the experiences before I’ve even written them. Future Perfect tense, very much.🙂

  2. theenlightenedone23 says:

    Great post! It took me years to come to terms with how I sensed and interpret this energy and/or information as well. I’m sure this is the case for others as well, whether through luck or perhaps trial and error those experiencing this same issue will find their way 😉

    • Kalagni says:

      I stress it early on with my trainings because I’d like to save some time from that trial and error for other people. It’s funny to watch the lightbulb go off when someone stops looking and switches to another sense and it suddenly works.

  3. Dver says:

    Came here via Rune Soup. So happy to see this idea spreading! I wrote about this several years ago – when it finally occurred to me that I clearly didn’t have the same capacity for visualization that other people did, in any context – and found that quite a few others shared my situation. You might be interested in the conversation: https://forestdoor.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/when-you-cant-see/

    • Kalagni says:

      Oh dear. Gordon mentioned me again? I should be worried I assume heh.

      Thanks for link. It’s been something I’ve worked with for years, it just, as said, surprises me sometimes how many people don’t break out of the (broken) sight model.

  4. Charles says:

    How does that work alongside your vajrayana practice? I mean, with generation stage, visualisation of the deity is central. I am curious about this aspect of your practice.

    • Kalagni says:

      Actually that’s a great question, though it is still bound up in the tyranny of vision. It wasn’t about this specifically, but I’ll quote (to the best of my recollection, all mistakes mine) my Rinpoche from a conversation we had in October about working with my yidam.

      “You have to develop Vajra Pride in order to maintain the Vajra Body. When you can maintain the Vajra Body you will go about your life as Yamantaka. This doesn’t mean that when you reach out your hand and grab your tea you see a blue hand. It doesn’t mean you see extra heads when you look in the mirror. It means that no matter what you do, you know your are Yamantaka, even when you look just like you, you’re Yamantaka, maintaining that understanding is the key.”

      He was saying, in this context, but I believe it can be expanded, that it isn’t about sight, but understanding and reality. Aside from the data-coding, I’m a very tactile person in my sensing. So when I’m doing my practices I can sense things, know things, and feel things, but that translates the same as seeing them. I feel the difference in my third eye when I play the White Om there, even if I can’t see it. I can feel extra arms as I catalogue them and their weapons, even if I can’t see them. I know I’m blue or white, even if my mind’s eye shows only darkness.

      I would say the visualization of the deity isn’t the central factor, but the expression of them is, which can manifest in other ways.

  5. YES! I do a lot of blundering around in semi-darkness on pathworkings and such, but I know where things are and what they do.

    On the other hand, I’ve used drumming to get out there with fully-lit astral vision on rare occasions … and other times, it’s the same feeling my way around thing, but that works.

  6. Nenad Ristic says:

    Excellent post! For a long time I have felt like I could not really do anything with the occult information, since I am crap at visualisations, but I also interpret things as data (combined with some sort of internal sense, and sometimes, taste)

  7. Mossel says:

    “isn’t a dagger”

    Would it be relevant to state one time I asked a spirit to help me see them, and they described what physical phenomena they were?

    They described themselves as the line between shadow and light/
    \

    • Kalagni says:

      I’m not sure what your dagger quotation is referencing.

      Interesting though, that rather than going visual, they used another sense that you could connect to them with. It makes sense they’d do that, I’ve just never heard of it working out that way.

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