I am up in Vermont this weekend, and whenever I get up here I make it a point to fit as much Vajrayana practice in as possible. Because the air is clean I always do some Tummo practice, but I also work on Sadhana. This trip it is Red Jambhala in the morning and Vajrakilaya at night. Anyway, these two visualization heavy practices got me thinking about the role of visualization in magic.
I was speaking recently with someone about things I do in my regular work that I did not include in my new book but should have (apart from proper grammar and spelling). More visualization was one of my top answers. My friend was a bit surprised as he is pretty dedicated to both Hoodoo and the "Old System" Grimoire magic, neither of which have much visualization to them. "I kinda lump visualization in with new age hooha and GD style work. Its not really very traditional is it?"
The answer of course is that visualization is traditional in magic. For instance, in both generation stage Tantra, and in Taoist Alchemy, visualization plays a key role. I strongly suspect that it played a key role in the magic of the PGM. For instance all those beings that "appear" in the Mithras Liturgy, I am fairly sure are meant to be visualized in a manner similar to visualization of dieties in Vajrayana.
This is a far cry from the "visualize your intent and let it fly" school of magic. Rather than just daydreaming a result, real magickal visualization creates something actual, either on the etheric, astral, mental, or causal planes. Often several of them at once.
Take the visualization of Archangels in the LBRP for instance. Anyone who has done an actual angelic evocation will tell you that visualizing angels is a damn site different than evoking them, just as having an angel contact you and reveal themselves in their full mystic glory is a damn site more powerful an experience than an evocation will provide. In the LBRP and other rites where a being is visualized, you are creating a "throne" for the power of that being to enter. In the case of a regular banishing, or even a full on exorcism, an evocation would be impractical. So instead we visualize the angels, giving them a hold an the astral and etheric world, and seeing them equipped for the job at hand. Than we call upon the power of that being to enter the visualization and vivify it. It really is Michael there in the South, but not the FULL monty. Its a point of access to the fullness of Michael.
As as side point, Michael comes to mind because I am writing a script for a ritual based upon a Vision that I had about 7 months ago at Valley Forge. Thanks to the Evocational Magicks group, I know now that this vision is linked to the same process described the the "Chaplet of St Michael", a prayer that I was unaware of until they started discussing it there.
A more radical visualization of a god or angel takes place in the field of invocation. Here you are "taking on a god form" - visualizing your own body as the body of the target god or goddess. This creates a suitable and attractive astral envirnment for the being to manifest within. At its lowest, this is a good way to channel the blessing of that being, at its best, this can lead to real communion with a divine being or alien intelligence. In the case of Generation stage Tantra, not only the self is set aside, but all phenomina itself is replaced by the mandala (see picture above) and a type of Transvocation takes place. This gets fully realized in the completion stages that do not depend upon visualization.
Apart from visualized beings, I also make liberal use of visualized forms attached to physical objects. This can be anything from a simple sigil linked to an energy source and branded onto a building or person, or it can be a complex "astral mechanism" made to effect a person such as rotating tetrahedrons that circle the central chanel in a patient and cleanse vital force before it reaches the organs. I have been known to visualize costumes on myself or on on people to get them to act a certain way. This is sort of a more complex method of shielding.
Anyway, i just wanted to make a real post to the blog here that wasnt a link to something else, or just self promotion.
Go out an visualize whirled peas.