Imagination derives from the Latin word imago, which means image. For magickal training the imagination is not seen as fantasy or mere daydreaming. In magick there is no such thing as “just your imagination” as imagination is the key to unleashing the transformative powers through symbols and symbolic acts. Jung recognized the power of symbols (such as visual imagery) when he wrote “The psychological mechanism that transforms energy is the symbol.”

Unlike the pop culture concept of the power of positive thinking, currently exemplified by the marketing phenomena of The Secret, true magickal acts require more than simply thinking about it. The word imagination gives a clue, being related to the word image. Visualization, and popularly Creative Visualization, are terms that have been used to promote the concept of the creative aspect of visual imagery. From a magickal perspective there is more to visualization than meets the inner eye, as we can have imaginary or inner counterparts to all our physical senses. For a magickal working to be powerful we need to engage all our inner creative faculties, and this will include imaginary senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

Working with the imagination, and imagery, instantly transports the magickian into a trance. It is actually that simple for an altered state of consciousness to occur – simply by closing the eyes and imagining. In fact it is not even necessary to close the eyes. An overview of trance is outside the scope of this article, but is also necessary to understand in depth to be a competent magickal practitioner.

In his monograph on Training the Will Roberto Assagioli writes the following about imagery:

  1. Images, mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the physical conditions and external acts that correspond to them. Some psychologists have formulated this law in the following ways:
    1. Every image has in itself a motor element, and
    2. Every idea is an act in a latent state.

For the practice and study of magick it can be seen that ideas and images form the seed from which the Willed magickal act can grow from.

The modern marketing industry knows the value of using images and colors (along with words) to encourage consumers to buy products. Even the popular and wise sounding phrase that “one picture is worth ten thousand words” is of modern origin within the advertising industry, and was used to sell advertisements containing pictures as well as words.

Hypnosis and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) make use of imagery and the connection (anchoring) of images with feelings to help transform a person’s thinking or actions. This can be used in a therapeutic sense, or for covert practices such as seduction. An awareness of how symbolism and imagery can be used to snare your Will and encourage you to act in ways other people believe you should act is a useful step in self mastery, and essential for anyone aspiring to practice magick.

Creative ways of practicing visual imagery are endless. Simple visualization practice may include such things as imagining colors, smells, sounds, sensations and tastes, visualizing letters of the alphabet, non-complex symbols, and everyday objects. More advanced practice could include reconstructing a familiar scene in your mind, visualizing tarot cards or complex symbols, and exploring the visual representations of multi-dimensional objects beyond the three dimensional world we are familiar with.

Suggested Reading