One of the first things that gets asked by the budding Witch is “the first thing I shiuld get/need/understand?”
A lot of the time they expect to be told about a particular book, ritual, tool or set of correspondences and are surprised they directed to learn internalised processes.
In my opinion core of the Craft is found within the mindscape. Without one particular foundation stone it is impossible to build upwards and be effective within other areas.
So here are my five top Tools of the Mind.
Visualisation – The Cornerstone
In order to be able achieve anything magically, both in terms of yourself and the world around you, you must be able to perform visualisation. Without this the following Tools of the Mind are impossible to achieve, because they are inherently reliant on the ability to “see” with the minds eye.
Visualisation is the cornerstone of all magical practice. Whether you are drawing your dream job to you, wishing the worst of happenings upon your greatest enemy or attempting to heal a hurt of some level you need to be able both visualise the thing you are trying to achieve and project it into the world around you.
Simple Visualisation Technique
The start point of visualisation is the ability to form an image in your minds eyes and hold it for a period of time. The easiest place to start is with simple images, such as a two dimensional geometric shape but with time and practice you will be able to movie on to three dimensions, textures, detail etc. This technique requires lots of practice for the first time. Set aside a few moments each day to allow yourself to develop this skill and ensure that you will be free from distraction (phone off, social media off etc). You are not only training you’re mind in visualisation but in concentration/focus as well so the fewer distractions the better. Its probably best to avoid things like plinky music (unless you need to mask traffic or in my case motorcycles with lawnmowers for engines) and candles which may become a fire hazard whilst you have your eyes closed.
Pick a particular geometric shape and colour which particularly resonate with you. For your first couple of sessions you may want to have a physical representation in front of you so you can study it.
Close your eyes and call the image into your minds eye. Hold the image for as long as you can, allowing any thoughts that may appear to come and go. Don’t examine them or worry about them, just allow them to pass and return to your chosen shape when ready.
Once you are able to hold the image comfortably for a period of five minutes develop the image in to a three dimensional version of itself. Now practice holding this image whilst at the same time rotating it and visualising it from different angles with the aim to increase the time you practice for to ten minutes.
When you are comfortable with with the three dimensional shape and movement add a texture and the sense of touching it, or scent and sound to round out the experience. The aim should be to hold the image for fifteen minutes.
Ground – The Foundations
The ability to ground oneself is equally important. Magic and Witchcraft, at their core, are focused on making changes in the world around you. That requires energy from you as a magical practitioner and for you to work with the energies of deities and/or the Universe itself. Encountering such powers can be a heady experience and without the ability to ground our own energies and our minds it will only be a matter of time before we find ourselves away with the fairies (maybe literally so).
Simple Grounding Technique
The quickets way to ground yourself it go get out of a situation, into the outside world and stamp your feel and, as the song says, “shake it off”. In terms of visualisation a tree roots visualisation is a quick way to ground your energies but again, this is best done away from the situation you have found so giddyfying.
Close your eyes and take three or four deep, calming breaths.
Visualise that from the soles of your feet extend roots. Follow those roots deep into the ground and attaching themselves to a large solid lump of rock/crystal.
Feel grounded by the earth and your roots and visualise yourself turning into a well earthed tree.
Once you feel more settled and calm allow the roots to return to the soles of your feet and bring your breathing back to normal before opening your eyes.
Protect – The Walls
Whilst working with these heady powers it is important to protect yourself by building your defences. There are many reasons why you may wish to protect yourself whilst working magically. You may be working with unfamiliar energies (be they belonging to mortal practitioners or spirits/deities) and wish to guard against the unknown. You may be concerned that someone, or something, is acting against you or you are planning to act against someone and wish to be protected against any repercussions. Whatever the reason it is advisable to become practiced at simple protection methods (ie visualisation) so you are able to build your walls at a moments notice.
Simple Protection Technique
The simplest way to protect yourself is to visualise yourself surrounded by a reflective shell of some kind. It may take some practice however in time this form of reflective shell can be quickly established around yourself should you feel the need.
Close your eyes and take three or four deep cleansing breaths.
Visualise a mirror, reflective side facing outwards, in front of your body covering you from head to toe.
Visualise a second mirror behind you, again reflective side facing away from you.
Repeat for above your head and beneath your feel and visualise the four mirrors coming together to form a reflective box around you.
Affirm that negative intent is unable to pass through and will be returned to the sender in full measure and fix the visualisation before opening your eyes.
Banish – The Door
Building your walls is all well and good but in order to work as a practitioner you need to be able to allow energies to flow. This means letting energies in to your space in order to interact with them and sometimes they aren’t all that wiling to leave or as good for you as you initially thought. The same goes for people as well. The phrase ‘shut them out’ is very reminiscent of what the technique of banishing seeks to achieve.
Simple Banishing Technique
Banishing can take a bit more effort because you are attempting to remove forces from your presence and the most effective forms of banishing involve ritual action. This, however, it not always possible in “an emergency” and visualisation can help in the interim. I would always suggest that if you feel the need to perform a quick banishing visualisation that you follow it up with something more detailed such as the Ritual of the Lesser Banishing Pentagram or a cord cutting visualisation, depending on your situation.
Close your eyes and take three deep, regulated cleansing breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Begin by imagining that with each breath in you are inhaling white light which is spreading through your body.
With each outward breath visualise that the breath you expel as a black/grey smoke, which it any negative energy leaving your body.
Continue with this visualisation until you are filled with white light and then begin to extend this light to form a white sphere of protection around your body.
Affirm in your mind that negative forces are unable to remain within it or pass through it to your person.
Fix this visualisation in place and slowly bring your breathing back to normal and open your eyes.
Meditation – The Window
If visualisation is the foundation of everything and the walls and doors your protection the best way to describe the culmination of these techniques as the window to beyond the veil. Meditation is the culmination of the proceeding techniques. In order to meditate you must be practiced in visualisation, you must know how to ground yourself before and after and have the ability to protect and/or remove unwanted influences should you encounter them (particularly relevant to pathworking meditation).
Simple Meditation Technique
I’m going to stick with the image of the house for this example meditation.
Find a comfortable supported position in which to meditate. Make sure it is free from noise and distraction as much as possible. Close your eyes and take a few deep calming breaths and prepare your mind for the visualisation ahead, which you will have already decided on ahead of time. In this instance we’re going to enter a summer garden.
Once you are ready slowly build your house around you. The floor is your foundation and support, acknowledge how grounded that floor makes you feel. The walls and ceiling protect you, acknowledge that nothing may pass through them without your permission. Visualise a closed door before, again acknowledging how you feel secure in your surroundings.
To your left you notice a window which is covered by a long curtain. You know if you draw the curtain back there is a full length glass door behind it. Approach the curtain and draw it back to reveal a summer garden. The glass door is not barrier to sight, sound or smell and you are able to appreciate each detail through the glass. It is up to you if you remain within the house and enjoy the view from within your house or open the door and step out into the garden.
Should you choose to enter the garden open the door, closing it behind you once you are in the garden. Make your way through the landscape and encounter as many senses as it offers you; sight sound, scent and touch. Even if you have remained in the house you are aware of the feeling of anything that you may wish to touch, be it the rough bark of a tree or soft grass beneath your feet.
When you are ready return to your house and return through the glass door ensuring that it is closed behind you. Take a moment to appreciate the garden before drawing the curtain closed on the scene. Return to the centre of your room. The walls, ceiling and closed door all protect you and the floor beneath supports and grounds you.
With this image in your mind allow your breathing to return to normal and feel yourself come back into your body in that present moment as you open your eyes.