Seeing is Believing.......

......But one must believe in order to see

Visualization is one of the most powerful tools at the witch’s disposal. What one can see in the mind, and then focus on, will come to pass in one form or another. In order to see the desired result in your mind, you must be able to see what is, rather than what appears to be. You must be aware of all that is around you, on all levels. You must have control over your own mind, and be able to focus and "see clearly. This "altered" state of awareness (altered meaning not what is normally accepted as "normal") is termed by some as the "Starlight vision." Why "Starlight?" The name comes from an analogy used to help understand it, originally used by Starhawk in her book The Spiral Dance . It goes something like this:

Imagine you are walking through a dark forest at night with the aid of a flashlight. While the area within the narrow circle of light given off by your flashlight is bright and clearly visible, the rest of your surroundings are still shrouded in darkness. And, no matter how much you move around your light, your picture of the world around you is disjoint, like a jig-saw puzzle that is still in pieces. But if you turn off the light, and let your eyes adjust to the light of the moon and stars, you can begin to see how the world fits together. You get a broader perspective of your world.

The awareness we strive for is much like when you turned of the artificial light, only the flashlight we turn off is that of modern misconception and denial. We open ourselves to the stimulus that has always been there, but we were unaware of because of our narrow focus. True, at first it is difficult to make the transition, just as your eyes took time to adjust to the ambient light of the forest. But with practice and persistence, it becomes increasingly easier.

Word Association Trance (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Many times, our first exposure to the Craft doesn’t seem all that magickal. In the early part of our training, we may be in larger groups, only a few of which are actually apprenticed to the teacher or teachers. This is one of the most inconspicuous of the exercises that you will run into.

 Everyone is laying in a circle on the floor, comfortably on their backs. Turn down the lights. Soft music may be playing, so long as it not distracting to the group. The person leading the lesson will explain that he is going to say a word, and that the next person in the circle is going to say the first word that comes to mind. Then the next person is going to respond to the word the second person said, and so on. For example, the group leader says "Sun." The next person may say, "Summer." The third person may then come out with "Butterflies." I think you understand enough to continue now.

After a while, the group leader will tell everyone to say the word prior then their own word. (e.g. showers/rain, rain/clouds, clouds/smog, etc.) After some more time passes, the group will say the two words prior, then their own. Soon after this point, people will probably begin saying long sentences describing what they are seeing. Eventually, no one will be speaking at all. After everyone has had a chance to explore the places they are at, the group leader will instruct them that as he counts down from five, they will be slowly more awake and aware, and that when he reaches zero, everyone will be wide awake and feeling refreshed. He will also be sure to mention that everyone remembers whatever it was that they saw, did, tasted, etc.

Be sure that everyone is wide and completely awake. Change the atmosphere, turn on the lights and music (moderately), and discuss among the group what each experienced.

Simple, huh? With a little practice, you won’t even need to use the word association. You will have gotten so used to the feelings, sights, and sounds that it will become second nature to drop into a trance whenever it may come in handy.


For those of you who might not be able to get together with anyone or anything more conversant than a houseplant- either because of location, situation, or just lack of anything resembling a life (present company included), there are some exercises that you can do solo. While you won’t have the satisfaction of telling anyone of your wonderful experiences with them until you DO manage to regain human contact, you also don’t need to feel foolish because what you’re doing is different than the person next to you. Yes, even among the "enlightened," peer pressure can have a profound impact. As much as we may harp on not worrying about Bob or Joe or whoever is going to react to your particular style, all of us still do just that- worry. With these, you can practice in private, with minimal supervision or equipment, and almost anywhere.

Simple Visualizations (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

This exercise is for those who have difficulty visualizing. Close your eyes, and imagine that you are looking at a white wall or blank screen. Practice visualizing simple geometric shapes: a line, a dot, a circle, a triangle, and so on. When you are able to see the forms clearly, visualize the screen in color: red, green, purple, black, even plaid if you really want to. It may help to look at a colored object with your eyes open first, then close your eyes and mentally see the color. Finally, practice visualizing the geometric forms in color. Change the colors and forms until your are comfortable enough to bring them to mind at will.

The Apple (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

A little more advanced, but the results can be startling. Visualize an apple. Hold it in your hands. Turn it around. Feel it. Feel the shape, the size, the weight, the texture. Notice the color, the reflection of the light on its skin. Bring it up to your nose and smell it. Bite into it, taste it. Hear the crunch as your teeth sink in. Eat the apple, and feel it slide down your throat. See it grow smaller. When you have finished eating it to the core, let it disappear.

Repeat this exercise with other foods. (I personally like licorice- tying knots in it is another good excercise.)

The Pentacle (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Visualize a line of flickering blue flame, like a gas flame from a Bunsen burner. Now mentally draw a pentacle, a five pointed star with one point up, in the invoking direction, starting at the top and moving down and to the right. Watch it form out of the blue flame. Hold the image in your mind for a few moments.

Now retrace it in the banishing direction, starting in the lower left corner and moving up. As you do, watch it disappear.

The Knot (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Visualize yourself tying a knot- any knot you can tie easily in reality. Try not to see a mental picture of yourself from the outside; instead, put yourself in the picture. See your hands moving, and feel the cord. Feel every movement you would make, then draw the knot closed, and feel the cord pull tight.

Candle Gazing (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

In a quiet, darkened room, light a candle. Ground and center, and gaze quietly at the candle. Breathe deeply, and let yourself feel warmed by the light of the candle. Let its peaceful radiance fill you completely. As thoughts surface in your mind, experience them as if they come from outside. Do not let the flame split into a double image; keep your eyes focused. Remain for at least five to ten minutes, then relax.

The Diamond (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Light a candle in a quiet, dark room. Ground and center. Gaze at the candle and visualize a diamond in the center of your forehead, between and just above your eyebrows. The diamond reflects the light of the candle, and the candle reflects the light of the diamond. Fell the reverberation of the energy. Hold for five to ten minutes, then relax.

Mirror, Mirror (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Ground and center. In a mirror, gaze into your own eyes. Focus your attention on the space between them. Repeat your own name to yourself, over and over. Asthoughts surface, experience them as if they were outside you. After five to ten minutes, relax.

The Rock (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Ground and center. Imagine that you are standing on the seashore, looking out over the waves. In your strongest hand, you hold a heavy rock. Pick it up, inhale, and, as you exhale, let it fly! Watch it splash in the sea just below the horizon.

As you look up again, you realize that you can see another horizon twice as far away. Mentally stretch to see it. In your hand you hold a rock twice as large as the first. Again, take a deep breath, and, as you exhale, throw with all your might. Watch it splash into the far waves.

Again, you look to see another horizon twice as far away. In your hand is a rock twice as heavy. Take a deep breath and throw the rock as you exhale. Watch it splash in the distance.

Practice until you can feel the release of power that goes with the rock.

The Hammer (from The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk)

Ground and center. Visualize a heavy hammer in your hand. A stubborn nail is sticking out of a board in front of you. With all your strength, drive the nail into the board. Repeat three times in all.

At first, these exercises may seem rather silly, or that they aren’t doing anything but taking up time. With practice, you may begin to notice things look different. Nothing drastic, only the most subtle of changes. The room is a little brighter, the colors a little more vivid than you remember, the computer a little louder when the fan comes on. No, you’re not going crazy- you’re beginning to use more of your senses than what you have in the past. You’re beginning to adjust to the Starlight.

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