VISUALISATION AND SENSUALISATION
Michael Freedman S.G
When working on the Imaginative Level of the Pentagram Rites, you are instructed to visualise each Pentagram as you draw it, hanging in the air in front of you, glowing in its proper colours, then growing in size until it stretches from floor to ceiling; and the Mighty Archangel of the Pentagram standing within it as in a doorway.
The techniques discussed in this paper and the next will train you to be able to visualise Pentagrams, Mighty Archangels, God-forms, Magical and Tarocchi images or anything else, whenever you wish. The secret of success in ESP [extra-sensory perception], OBE [out-of-the-body experiences] and many other so-called "magical powers" is also to be found in these techniques.
Many older books on Magic go astray on the subject of visualisation. Neophytes are told that they have to visualise Pentagrams, Hebrew letters, Images from the Tarocchi, God-forms and so on, as clearly as though they were really out there in front of them. They are told, "Until you can do this, you are not visualising properly."
This is completely wrong. Anyone who ever did achieve this level of visualisation, was hallucinating, either because they were ill, or because they were under the influence of alcohol or hallucinogenic drugs.
It is not the aim of the ritual magician to have hallucinations. Our aim is to expand our awareness so that we can perceive the wider realms of the universe, without external controls or conditioning, whether from drugs, `spirit guides' or anything else. The way of Magic is a way of freedom.
TO VISUALISE IS TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION
To visualise is to imagine what something looks like. If you have seen it before, to visualise is to remember what it looks like. If you are visualising something you have never seen, you should imagine that you can see it. The more often you imagine or pretend that you can see the golden Pentagram of Air hanging before your eyes, the clearer in your mind's eye will the imagined picture become. You do not have to have an hallucination of a Pentagram. The memory of a Pentagram is enough. People who do a lot of visualisation finds it improves with continued practice.
Few people can clearly visualise the whole of a complex scene or image at the one time, but find that the various parts come more clearly to mind as they place their attention on them.
VISUALISATION IS ONE KIND OF SENSUALISATION
The term "to visualise" strictly refers only to vision or sight, i.e., to visualise is to have a mental picture. However, the whole process is far wider than this. You need to practise remembering sensory experiences other than sight. For example, in the magical exercise, "Breathing the Aethers," you were told to imagine scents, tastes, sounds and so on.
The word "sensualisation" means to imagine or remember any kind of physical sensation or activity, whether seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, moving and so on.
Visualisation has become the term most commonly used for the activity properly called Sensualisation because the sense of sight is the strongest sense in human beings. Our eyes are among the most efficient of all in the animal world. Hearing is the next most significant channel of information for humans.
This is probably why these two senses head a 2000-year-old list in Sefer Yetsirah, in which various activities are referred to the simple letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Letter........ Activity.............Letter............. Activity
Our senses of taste and smell are extremely dull compared with those of some other animals. There are many animal senses which humans either do not have or have in such slight amounts that we never learn to recognise them, e.g., the awareness of magnetic fields that some birds have. A good introduction to lesser known senses is Droscher's The Magic of the Senses.
EVERYONE IS ABLE TO VISUALISE
Until I began serious magical work, I rarely used my visual imagination. I used to describe things mentally to myself in words, not realising that along with the words, there was also a picture in my mind. Then, one day I lost my keys. I searched my flat high and low and couldn't find them.
Sitting down to have a rest and a cup of coffee, I realised that I could imagine the keys; that is, I could remember what they looked like. As I remembered what my keys looked like, I realised that I seemed to be able to imagine their surroundings - they seemed to be on a glass-topped table, beside a crystal ash-tray. I did not own either such a table or an ash-tray, but my neighbours did. Sure enough, my keys were where I had left them the previous evening while visiting the neighbours for a drink.
The point of this story is not that I had suddenly developed the ability to visualise, but that I had suddenly become aware that I, like everyone else, had always had mental pictures of things in my mind, as well as verbal descriptions of them. It was not a new ability, it was an expansion of my own awareness that enabled me to comprehend something that was already there. Everyone visualises and sensualises all the time. Not everyone realises it.
A TRAINING PROGRAMME
The development of good sensualisation takes more than a few days or weeks. It requires constant, regular practice. To exercise your sensory memory and imagination for 5 or 10 minutes each day is far better than an hour's work once a week.
The best procedure is to start by visualising, i.e., remembering, a variety of simple, geometrical figures, such as a triangle, a rectangle, a pentagram or hexagram. When you can readily call to mind any of a variety of simple figures one at a time, begin to recall them in pairs. Imagine a triangle inside a square or a square inside a circle, and so on. Use your imagination to summon up the memories of all kinds of geometrical figures, both singly and in groups. Then add other shapes to your exercise. For example, recall letters of the alphabet . First use English letters; later, when you are familiar with them, add Hebrew or Greek letters.
When you feel comfortable about bringing to mind any of a wide range of figures and shapes, practise remembering them with a variety of colours. At first, imagine one or more figures all in the same colour. Later, imagine them in different colours. Eventually, try to remember five pentagrams, each in its elemental colour.
Spend a few weeks on visualisation, then go on to use other senses. First, call to mind simple sounds, such the sound of a tap dripping on a stainless steel sink. Then, for example, try to remember the different sound of a tap dripping into a bowl of water. Use your imagination to recall all kinds of different sounds under different circumstances. Remember the sound of different people's voices, the sound of a disc or tape, or the sound of your own voice reciting god-names, and so on.
Spend a couple of weeks remembering sounds, then turn your attention to smells. Recall the smell of tea, and compare it with your memory of the smell of coffee; or bring to mind the smell of different foods or herbs. During the day, go out of your way to smell different substances, so that later in your training session, you can try to recall the smells. Try to remember the various smells of the things you ate at each meal during the day.
Next, spend a couple of weeks remembering tastes. Then, go on to remembering physical sensations of other kinds, such as the feel of a pen held in your fingers. The different feel of holding an apple, or a sandwich.
In every case, start with simple memories of individual experiences, such as the feel of plastic compared with paper. Build up over a week or so to more complex sets of memories of using the same sense.
By this time, you should also be having training sessions in which you deliberately remember a number of different sensory experiences combined. Remember, not only the smell and taste of a sandwich, but also the feel of the bread on your lips and the tactile and kinesthetic sensations as you bit it and your teeth met.
What I am doing here is just giving you examples. You must choose your own things for remembering.
Do not worry when you start telling yourself stories or making comparisons. "That smelled like peppermint," or "I liked that taste better than this one." Take no notice of the comments that your left brain cannot help making all the time. Whenever you notice you are telling yourself about the smells or sound or tastes or whatever, bring to mind the memory of the original smell or sound or taste itself.
THE EVENING REVIEW:
A time-honoured magical exercise is the Evening Review. It involves consciously remembering all the events of the day in reverse order, first remembering those that happened most recently and working your way back to when you got up in the morning. It is always done last thing at night, just before or just after getting into bed. The Evening Review is a practice of great value which any magician would do well to adopt on a frequent, if not daily, basis.
TO REVIEW IS TO REMEMBER
The knack in achieving success with the Evening Review is not to do what most people find they do at first, namely, tell themselves a story about their day, as though they were telling someone else about it.
The important thing in the review is merely to remember and relive the events in reverse order, without judgement or internal commentary.
What you do is remember the events, of the day, the sights, the conversations, the tastes of your meals, the smells of the city, your house and garden, and so on,. Always remember them in reverse order, from the evening back through afternoon and morning until you remember getting up in the morning.
By recalling the events in reverse order, you first recall those incidents which are most recent and therefore most easy to recapture as sensory memories.
Do not tell yourself a story about the day's events, like writing a diary; remember what actually happened as though remembering a video.
Let your body do the remembering; let it recapture the experiences without getting involved in the internal verbal commentary which you can be sure will be rattling along in one part of your mind. Whenever you start to comment or excuse or rationalise or seek explanations for what happened, return to the actual memory of the sounds, sights, smells and sensations that took place during each incident of your day.
PURPOSES OF THE EVENING REVIEW
One purpose of the Evening Review is to release the stress of the day's activities although the Foundation Technique of Meditation is more efficient at this.
Another reason for doing the Evening Review is to enable you to recall systematically and at will various experiences, whether external, as in the everyday Review; or internal, such as you might have when engaged in remote viewing or past-life memory work. Everyone should learn to do the Evening Review and use it, if not daily, at least once a week.
The style of the Evening Review is precisely the same as that of the Foundation Technique of Meditation. Many of the magical techniques you will learn use the same casual approach as the Foundation Meditation. That is why you learn it before you learn anything else.
ASSIGNMENT NO. T5/1
Begin the Training Programme in Sensualisation, keeping a record of how you got on as part of your Magical Diary. After a couple of months, send in a detailed report of your work. In the meantime, let me know on what date you started your Training Programme, and how often you expect to be doing it each week.
ASSIGNMENT NO. T5/2
For one week, do the Evening Review each night either just before or just after going to bed. Send in a report of how you got on.
ASSIGNMENT NO. T5/3
After you have completed a couple of months of the Training programme, do another week of daily Evening Reviews. Do a report comparing your first attempt with the later one.
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