Perceptual Bias

I can’t see auras.

Now I can perceive them, don’t get me wrong. I can feel them, like a tactile sensation. Or just get impressions from them. But I don’t see them.

I can’t meditate, either. I just end up taking naps in ritual garb.

This makes people explaining psychic, spiritual, or magical experiences or techniques to me rather tricky.

How do I do that?

“Well, first you visualize it.”

Okay, how do I do that?

“You just see it in your mind.”

But I don’t see it.

“Well, you have to see it.”


So I’ve had to become more creative in learning certain magical techniques, and I’ve had to learn to translate people’s perceptual modes into something I can work with.

So I listen to how people structure their experiences, and that helps me understand what mode they’re working in. And I keep in mind to include different modes when explaining things to others.

I’ve been in situations with people I normally have trouble communicating with, but after learning what their dominant reference system is and talking back to them in the same terms, have got on with them a lot better. I’ve also known one or two people who essentially agreed about an issue, but because one of them was strongly kinaesthetic, they had a lot of difficulty talking and each perceived the other as awkward, obstinate, and at odds with their own point of view. What they were saying was basically the same. How they said it was very different. Once I realised what was happening it was almost comical, but communication problems like that are occurring all the time.

How can knowing this help you construct better pathworkings? Well, once you’ve realised you’re not just visualising things, but trying to hear, feel, smell and even taste them, it’s quite simple. With a well-structured pathworking, everyone will be fully drawn into the experience and discover that perceptions they are normally weak in become fully as powerful as their primary ones. Next time then, don’t just see that doorway, feel the warp in the wood, hear the squeak as it opens, and smell what’s on the other side before you see it.

Or sometimes I just have to find something else that gets me comparable or equivalent results. (Talking to others with the same problem can help.)

I respectfully submit that, for every person who has sat quietly, grounded, centered, and breathing, there is a person who has leaped around laughing and singing and winding up with the same results. Just as there is more than one route between Detroit and Tampa, there is more than one route to transcendance.

And sometimes you just know.

Close your eyes, and raise your right hand. Then stick it out in front of you. Then touch your nose.

Through all that, you knew where your hand was, yes? Even though you couldn’t see it, even though it wasn’t touching everything, you somehow felt where it was. You somehow knew. That’s proprioception.

Proprioception doesn’t feel like anything. It’s like you just know, but in a different way than you know your phone number, or than a psychic knows what will happen tomorrow. The knowing is a second-by-second update of some physical sense, but one you can’t describe.

There are different ways to experience things. As Pagans and magic users we should embrace and expect this diversity.


3 responses to “Perceptual Bias

  1. Pingback: Pagan Polytheism | Blacklight Metaphysics

    • Oh, I know there are way to improve visualization. But no matter how much I work to improve my visualization skills, they will never be as good as my innate kinesthetic sense. So many times its just easier to translate the “visualization” into a sense I deal with better.

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