Once again, I was asked several questions by a student and various people about visualization. I hope that it also helps a broader audience as well. Enjoy!
Q1: What is visualization?
Crystalf: “The better question would be: What is it NOT?! It is NOT materialization. It is not manifesting something in front of your physical eyes – but rather, it is the means of a mental faculty. Everything that one visualizes is only perceived in one’s mind. And, of course, you’re able to do this, my dear student – every human being can. You only THINK that you can’t, as your expectations differ from what it truly is. Do you know the little blue elephant from that children’s TV show? Or, maybe better, do you know Bart Simpson? The little yellow boy with the red shirt, from the TV show called “The Simpsons”? You know him, right? Probably by now, as you’re reading about him, you have a picture of him in your head? Well, if so, then voila, that’s visualization. Congratulations!
The only thing that you have to train now is intensifying the phenomenon of your mind. Again, like in Bardon’s Step 1, by deepening your concentration of the image that you have in your head…”
Q2: I’ve tried for years to really see a visualized object with open eyes, but I can’t. Why is that?
Crystalf: “Because of what I explained before. No matter how intense a visualization becomes, it always remains a mental task and never a bodily one. An intense visualization may occupy your awareness, but it doesn’t “overwrite” the physical world and the perception of your physical eyes. Also, when a visualization becomes this intense, it dampens your awareness, which dampens the power that you have over yourself.
The mental plane is the furthest away from our material world. Therefore, if you want to imagine an object that you’re visualizing in front of your physical eyes, then you’d have to bring your visualized object from the mental plane, through the astral plane and into the material realm. Thus, it wouldn’t be visualization anymore and certainly not Bardon’s Step 2 training; but a very one-sided practice of sorcery.”
Q3: But Bardon writes, in Step 2, that an object needs to “appear before your eyes, so plastically that you can almost reach out and touch it. And that you should be unaware of your surroundings and only concentrate on the imagined object…“
Crystalf: “Indeed! And now read it again, very slowly, and closely observe the words! You “imagine” the objects. You need to be able to “almost” grasp them from thin air. The student should be “un-aware” of their surroundings. The practitioner will figure out the meaning behind this, quite quickly. It’s still about the imagination and pure concentration, which is what makes this perception so intense in your mind’s eye.
Everyone is familiar with the phenomenon of day-dreaming, when the workings of the mind dampen the faculty of the eyes and everything physical becomes blurred. Even better: day-dreaming does not dampen the faculty of the eyes, as the eyes continue functioning even while day-dreaming, but instead the mind is so focused on one’s day-dream that its perception of everything else fades. And that is what visualization, in its most intense form is about: conscious day dreaming! The key-word is “conscious”! The mind is not drifting, sleeping, or in a trance, but wide awake and so focused that one’s surroundings might even begin to fade away…”
Q4: It seems that a visualized image arises from some-“where.” And it seems that this training is partially intended to bring awareness to that place. Also, compared to our everyday personality, “who” is undergoing this practice? One more question, please. How much of our effort is put into this practice in comparison to letting go?
Crystalf: “Concerning your first question: This is quite similar to Question 1, above, which is concerned with what visualization actually is. Mental training is about becoming aware of one’s own mental faculties.
Do not try to work with your surroundings as you would in your mundane life but instead, bring your focus to your inner realms. Thus, a visualized image must arise within your “head” – from your mind. The “who” whom is doing this practice is the same “who” whom practices “Thought Control,” in the first exercise of Bardon’s Step 1. Thus, the first task in the whole initiation is to discover this faculty within yourself, which is the inner “I”.
Concerning your second question: Concentrate on your chosen image that you’ve decided to visualize and, at the same time, let go of all other thoughts arising in your mind. Don’t suppress them, but simply ignore them. They are unimportant, like clouds in the wind that are far away and that you can’t influence, so you let them go on their way, while steadfastly concentrating on your goal.”
Q5: I feel that when I visualize an object and try to feel the weight of the object at the same time, that it helps with visualizing the object?
Crystalf: “Well, that is NOT what Bardon intended and it actually leads to the opposite of the goal that is intended for Step 2. The goal for Step 2 is to train each of your senses SEPARATLEY, until the student is capable of working with each sense at the same level of proficiency. Only then, once each sense has been fully developed, should they be combined together. As long as one sense needs the support of another – like in your previous example, where the feeling of weight is used to support your visualization – it is an indication that Step 2 has not yet been completed to its full extent.”
Q6: How do you proceed when your visualization is missing in some parts, such as the left part of your visualization being more clear and vivid than the right part, etc?
Crystalf: “Take a simple object, such as an everyday object that you know quite well: a pencil, perhaps, or possibly the little blue elephant mentioned earlier, but don’t choose something too simple, as it should be something that your mind is already familiar with and, as soon as you’re able to fully visualize this image without any problems, proceed by visualizing other things.
The problem that you’re describing, often takes place when your mind is getting bored of visualizing, which usually happens as a result of your image being too simple, like a triangle or another simple symbol. But your mind needs work, thus don´t hesitate to give it some. A symbol is actually already quite advanced visualization work on its own, as your level of concentration must be strong enough to overcome the bored mind.”
Q7: To what degree do you feel that one should develop their visualization for success, meaning should how vivid it is be based on one’s own perception and judgment or should others be able to visualize what one is describing to them too?
Crystalf: “A picture that you’re imagining must be as detailed in your mind, as it is in reality. However, it does NOT have to be physical, thus when you imagine the image of an apple on the tabletop in front of you, you should of course see the apple in your mind, however your physical eyes will of course still perceive the table in front of you. The apple that you’re imagining is only an image in your mind. Yet true magic does not take place simply through visualization alone, but with the trained mind as the images that are being visualized simply give focus to the magician’s mind. Thus, the image must be as clear as you need it to be in order to obtain the maximum amount of focus for doing magic. And therefore, visualization is a tool and not a means.
This leads me to your second question: No, every mind is unique, thus others don’t have to be capable of perceiving your visualizations too. That would be telepathy, which is totally irrelevant for initiation. Please also compare with my answer for Question 2.”
Q8: Is it possible that someone with more fire in their character would have less need of training in this area, or would it simply be advantageous; and should they do either the same amount of training or go even more into this direction and develop it even further?
Crystalf: “Very good question! Of course, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and there’s no reason why someone would ignore their strengths. But still, even for someone who is very good at visualization, they will still need to strengthen it through training in order to become capable of using it consciously and also after a great deal fine-tuning. I, myself, was born with very strong visualization skills, but I still trained it, very much so in order to bring it to the level that I can use it magically, as described in your question above.”
Q9: What, to you, is the difference between visualization, clairvoyance, scrying, and mental wandering or do you believe that they’re all closely related and simply within the natural development of training?
Crystalf: “Well, visualization is a conscious act of the mind, just like any other kind of work. One visualizes, either for training purposes or as an act of magic. Clairvoyance and scrying are both something that happens to you, even if the ability to do so is founded upon one’s visualization skills, as it trains your visual perception. Thus, the latter abilities that you’ve mentioned are the result of much visualization training and thus initiation. Mental wandering also fits into this category, however, as it is too advanced for this brief Q&A, I will reserve it for another place…”
Q10: Do you feel that once one learns how to visualize, that they simply have this skill for life or is practice needed for a certain level of proficiency, beyond what most people would normally be capable of doing before training?
Crystalf: “A little bit of everything of what you said. After finishing Step 2 of Bardon’s system, you will have developed this skill and can proceed further. And as soon as you become a magician, you stay a magician… BUT: as with everything else in life, sports, or in your job, without regular training you will lose your proficiency at things. As only the things that you do every day will be things that you do with much skill. So, in order to truly be a full-time magician, you need to work on it full-time. Not only on the weekend or in the evening hours, but every day, and also during work. Mostly, it’s enough to maintain a higher level of awareness, to stay in the right state of mind. But especially when it comes to the skills needed for evocation and kabbalistic speech, regular training is advisable. So yes, the skill remains for life, but in order to be in a state of fine-tuning, it needs regular training.”
Q11: What to you equals a successful visualization and is there an end to how much you can keep surpassing, deepening, and improving beyond your previous successes?
Crystalf: “A successful visualization is when an image that you imagine is as detailed, in your mind as it is in reality. What you’re deepening is not the ability of visualizing itself, but your level of concentration, which is the skill that is being focused into your imagined image – that more and more of your physical perception fades away in comparison to your mental image. Please also compare with my answer for Question 3.”
Q12: How much do people let their expectations lead to them to overtraining and, if so, would doing work with the emotions help to balance it out?
Crystalf: “Overtraining only happens when a student trains one sense by itself, and neglects the others, as all senses must be trained equally. But visualization is a mental faculty, which is much more transcendent than the emotional part of your astral body. Thus, your mental training is able to influence your astral body, but not the other way around while, on the other hand, working on your elemental balance only affects your astral body by itself. In order to influence your mental body, you need to work with your mental senses, which is a part of the Mental Schooling of Bardon’s Step 7.”
Q13: Can people be overly visual in their approach to daily life? And, if so, what would the downfalls be of being overly visual?
Crystalf: “Humans ARE visual animals. That’s why I claim that everyone is capable of visualizing. Everyone is overly visual in their approach to everyday life, except for the magician who trained all of their senses. And the downfalls should be clear for everyone walking a hermetic path: Quick judgement, ignorance, aggression, etc… In fact, most human mistakes stem from using only one of our senses for about 90% of our lives. And then we also have our clairsenses, too, which are ignored by about 99% of mankind. So is it any wonder then, why humankind is in the state of being that it is today, at this present moment?
Q14: What are some basic exercises that you do to strengthen visualization?
Crystalf: “Exactly what Franz Bardon describes in Step 2. Nothing else – yet whenever I read online about how people are doing exercises by other authors to support their Bardon training, I always wonder why students try to avoid the very simple and clear instructions of Bardon by distracting themselves with other stuff, rather than doing what they should be working on. There is no easier or more direct path to initiation (to my knowledge) than “Initiation into Hermetics.”
Q15: Do different temperaments have different degrees of visualization?
Crystalf: “Please compare with Question 8, above.”
Q16: Why don’t my visualized images become “alive” all of the time?
Crystalf: “Please compare with Question 7, above.”