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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in visualization

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Inner Strength

Being overweight in a society which reveres skeletons as fashionable, I’ve learned to turn a blind eye and deaf ear; assess the strength of furniture; determine the width and depth of space and deflect looks of disgust all because I dare to be outside the norm. Contrary to what many people believe, I used to be slim, athletic and well within societal norms.  As a freshman in high school, I was on the gymnastics team and at my lowest weight of about 115 pounds.  I was also miserable.  I hurt all the time and felt conspicuous with my bones jutting out.  Even at that low of a weight I was never a size zero like one of my sisters but size twelve is certainly respectable.

Life happens and weight seemed to find me.  Low income, poor nutrition and many mistakes along the way piled on weight to my 5’4” frame.  I make no excuses as I am responsible for my situation and myself.  I’m overweight not stupid.  Life happens and this is how I am right now in this moment.  I can’t wave my magic wand and become 120 pounds again.  Honestly I don’t know that I ever want to be that thin again.  I don’t believe it was healthy for me.  However, I would like to be thinner than I am now.

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Working with the energetic momentum of whatever it's your intention to shift - rather than against it - is almost always ideal. The Cauldron of Lilac Fire visualization is invaluable for doing just that. It naturally balances and powerfully purifies pretty much anything you'd like, including (but not limited to) people, objects, relationships, physical spaces, and situations. And the more you practice, the easier and quicker it becomes.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
When Guided Meditation Goes Wrong

I visualize so strongly that a guided meditation can get out of hand if I don’t discuss and plan what’s going to happen in advance. Artists, writers, and theoretical physicists are all types of people who visualize and dream in a fashion that feels real. It’s a sign of high intelligence, and it can be great when one is controlling one’s own visions, while trying to write a novel for example, but even a simple guided meditation intended for relaxation can go wrong if I’m picturing things from my own experience that are different to me than to the person leading the meditation. The following quote from my memoir was one such incident.

The woman leading the meditation had me picture a beach. To her, a beach probably meant some tropical vacation spot, but to me, having grown up in Sonoma on the north coast of California, a beach was a place where waves crashed three stories high against jagged black rocks.

The image at the top of this post is Stillwater Cove on the Sonoma coast. It doesn't look very still, does it? That is as still as it gets on the Sonoma coast.

Quote from Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:

     “You’re going to a peaceful, beautiful place, perhaps in the woods,” she said.

     I was transported to Elfland, the redwood forest of my initiation.  Light slanted between the boles of the great trees, illuminating the swimming dust motes.  The light dappled the tiny leaves of a hazel nut bush, swept across spiders’ webs and spotlighted the tunneled brush at the entrance to the rabbit run.  I smelled the redwood dust, and the tang of the sea on the wind.

     But Sandi had not finished her sentence.  “Or the beach.”

     I was wrenched away from the grove, catapulted through the air and deposited on a deserted section of beach.  The strong wind off the sea blew my hair into my face despite my braid, and the light cloth of my pants buzzed in the gale like the reed of a flute.  The crash of the surf, the sea wrack lying on the wet sand, the smell of salt and fish and seaweed, the white glare off the hot sand under my feet, the infinite blue of the unbroken horizon, the crying of the circling gulls, the V-patterns in the wet sand from the suck of the undertow.  So, the beach.  I liked the forest better, but the beach was alright, if cold.  I had never liked the way the wind off the ocean made the warmest day feel cold.

     “You wade out into the water,” said Sandi.

     In my vision, my feet moved of their own accord, taking me into the freezing water of the Pacific, gritty with churning sand.  The waves surged around my knees, and I dug my toes into the sand to keep my footing.

     “You will be cleansed in the pure water,” said Sandi.  “It’s up to your knees now.  Now your hands.  Now your hips.”

     Fear came over me.  One did not go out into the ocean without a wetsuit, not at any time of year.  Nobody but the surfers ever went in above the knees, and I was no surfer.  At pagan gatherings I had seen men… swim out into a bay stark naked to push the offering ship past the breakers, but I was no SEAL either.  I wanted out.  I wanted to get back on the dry sand and get out of these wet pants and warm myself in the sun as best I could.

     “Now your waist,” continued Sandi.  “Now it’s up to your chest.”

     I thought desperately at her, Sandi get me out of here.  Sandi get me out of here.  But I could not speak.  Fear silence was on me.

     “Now the pure, cleansing water is up to your neck.  We’ll go on when you’re ready.”

     I projected desperately at her, Sandi get me out of here, Sandi get me out of here, but I was never a particularly good projecting telepath, and my powers had deserted me when I became depressed, and anyway Sandi would have had to be a receiving telepath to hear me.  Clearly she was not.  I did not really expect her to hear me, actually; it was simply the only means of communication left to me as I sat rigid in the grip of the silence, a long shot though it was.

     “Are you ready to continue?” Sandi asked.

     I shook my head wildly.  It was all I could do.  I could not speak.

     But Sandi did not understand that I wanted to stop the whole thing.  She said, “We’ll wait until you’re ready.  The water will cleanse away your fear, wash it away from you, and you will be at peace.”

     I realized I was going to stand there neck deep in the surf until I agreed to go on.  There was no way out of this but forwards.  I was going to drown.  No, I could hold my breath.

     Sandi asked, “Are you ready to continue?”

     This time, defeated in my attempts to communicate, I nodded.

     “The water passes over your head.  It washes away your fear.  You are one with the peaceful water.”

     It was not washing away my fear.  I hoped Sandi would get me back out before I ran out of breath....

     Finally Sandi said, “Now the water is receding.  Past your neck, past your shoulders, past your waist, past your knees, past your ankles.  Now it is gone, taking your fears with it.  Open your eyes and wake up.”

     I opened my eyes.  I was surprised they were dry.  Did the silence even extend to preventing me from using tears as a signal?  I had been sure I was crying.”

During the guided meditation, I could not break away from it or say I wanted to stop because I was only given the opportunity to choose to pause or go forwards, not stop the scenario. The difference between guided meditation is hypnosis is a word and a license. Although Sandi called this guided meditation, she was actually a licensed therapist, so the word hypnosis could have applied also. (She has since retired and moved to another country.) People who are "high hypnotizers," that is, who drop into trance states easily, can be unable to get out of a situation like that without a safeword. I have yet to ever see a meditation leader, ritual leader, or hypnotist offer participants the opportunity to get out of a meditation or hypnosis session once it starts, so, after that experience, I only meditate alone.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Wow, that's cool that the Witches' Tower post is being shared all over! Thanks for sharing about your meditation experiences. I s
  • Hrefna Colberg
    Hrefna Colberg says #
    I have been reading several of your articles after discovering the Witches' Tower in San Diego on Women of Power's Facebook, a Pol
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Telepathy didn't work? Go figure.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thank you! Yes, we did discuss it afterwards.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    You are right, there are many ways that a guided meditation can go wrong. For us who sometimes guide meditations its easy to over
Pagan savings challenge, week thirty-five:  all the tools

Pictured are some of the tools I use in my money work:  a dedicated candle (with matches), another candle holder I use for a long-term money spell, my wallet, prosperity oil, and of course the money I have thus far accumulated in the Pagan savings challenge.

Perhaps more important are the non-physical tools, some of which I have touched upon before.  They include the ability to lie to oneself ("I don't really have that money"), the power of visualization ("I can see that fireplace insert I'm saving for clearer every day"), and the discernment to know when or if I should deviate from this course and spend my wad prematurely (which will take a really stupendous occasion for me, both because this year has been somewhat fortunate and because I've taught myself to be tight-fisted).

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Pagan savings challenge, week twenty-nine:  picture this

For the first time since this challenge began, I didn't take a picture of the cash.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I feel the touch of the hand of fate.  Why wouldn't I take a picture?  Maybe it's so we can talk about visualization.

Having a growing bank balance, stuffed money jar, or other visual reminder that the savings is adding up can actually be a bit risky, because the temptation to use that money can also grow.  While it may be appropriate to do so, determining that requires discernment.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Phoenician Goddess c. 2500 BCEShe was standing in line at the deli counter when it happened. Out of nowhere, for no reason at all, she felt something take over her breathing.

Later, she might wonder whether she’d been looking at one too many Venus figurines for her online archeology course.

But now her mind, as it had for days, weeks, decades on end, was chattering non-stop, yammering thoughts (judgments, really) through circles within never-ending cycles of not-good-enough. Such had been her life, so-called, whatever you would call absenting yourself from actual contact with the world's flavors, textures, and other trinkets of sensation. Certainly her world — although some might call it sterile — was neat, tidy, clean.

She wasn't discontent with her circumstances. Any time she had peeked out of her circumscribed la-la-land, however arid — and, to her credit, she had attempted several sorties — she'd encountered bits of barbed wire in her milk, darts flying through the air, cutlery strewn across the sidewalk. In her, yes, limited experience, the world was not a friendly place. If her existence within her self-imposed isolation was a bit lonely, actually loveless, at least she was safe. Trips to the grocery store and library were adventures enough.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Lovely, Lizann! Thanks for your response.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely! Thank you for these holy words! From my "In Praise of Aging" series, my own belly reflection.... In Praise of Aging T
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Synchronicity, such a pleasure, such a grace. The Divine's style of event planning? All of which is to say: Emily, thanks so muc
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    This is beautifully written, and I can close my eyes and meditate. I read Buddhist books sometimes and I was reading about the con

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I am learning about using energy in ritual and magic. What is energy supposed to feel like? How do I know I’m doing it right?

Wiccans and Pagans often use the word “energy” to mean the power that emanates from living things, deity, the earth, or all three. Geek that I am, I have likened it more than once to the Force from Star Wars, “It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” I have also likened it to the “qi” or “chi,” the core principle of tai chi and Chinese medicine.

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