Basics and Assumptions

I’ve written some stuff on wards and energy work. This is an area that I have done a bit of work in, and am very comfortable pontificating on.

I saw this post on Tumblr, and it gave me pause.

What struck me wasn’t so much the technique describe so much as the assumptions that were made regarding how energy work , well, works, and how to manipulate such energy. It’s reliance upon the tropes of intention and visualization made me want to look a bit deeper into what was truly being presented here.

The post describes a technique to create a psiball. What a psiball is never seems to be discussed, although my own work with compressed energy balls seems to be about the same thing.

Give it at least two weeks of daily practice. Chances are, you’ll get some results by the end of those two weeks. When you finally make your first psiball, the excitement you get makes it feel like you’ve just created a cure for the common cold. You’ll be so amazed that you were able to do it, and even more so amazed that it’s actually true. But keep in mind: results come from practice. You can’t expect to make your first psiball without having practiced for anymore than 10 seconds. I expect you to sit down in a quiet place, relax, clear your head, and then attempt psiball creation for at least fifteen minutes every day.

I may be a bit biased because I’ve been doing this kind of work for so long. But this is the first kind of exercise I ever did with energy. It didn’t take two weeks to figure out. I won’t fault the author for giving a longer time frame for developing the skill, but I do wonder if this makes it seem harder and more complicated than it is. Fifteen minutes of practice a day for two weeks just seems like a lot of effort.

But this is a minor thing. Chalk it up to teaching style and my own overconfidence. Move along, Chiro.

We immediately step into the visualization bias.

What is visualization? It is the very first step of all psychics, and required in almost everything we do.

This is a very profound assertion, and with very profound implications.

First, though, I want to touch on the author’s use of the word “psychics.” The usage here is not the plural of “psychic” but seems to be along the line of how “physics” is a singular. The author is using this term to refer to any psionic or magical ability.

Now let’s get back to visualization.

What is visualization? It is picturing or feeling something in your mind’s eye. Detailed and intense daydreaming is a form of simple visualization. There are two forms of the said visualization: Tactile and Visual.

I’m not big on the vision-centered bias in magical work. At least an attempt is made here to allow for some other sensory modes, but the assertion that these are the only two shows where the author’s comfort zones are. (Acknowledgement is given to other senses, but they are crammed into the “tactile” category.) It’s the assertion that there are only two modes of visualization that irks me, but honestly, the focus in metaphysics on vision is so strong that I’m happy the author even mentions a second.

Although I still like Mike Sententia’s take on the subject.

I’m not big on the assertion that visualization is the most basic and important element of this kind of work. I think it can be, if that’s how your model works. But I’ve done plenty of work of this kind without visualization in any form. If the specific technique relies upon visualization, fine. But I’m cautious about the assertion that it is vital to all magical/energy work.

To use an example, lets say you wanted to form energy in your stomach and have it move up into your head. If you were using the Visual Visualization method, you would first relax and close your eyes. Then you would imagine (or visualize) energy forming in your stomach. Then you would visualize it moving up and into your head. But if you were using the Tactile Visualization method, you would first relax and close your eyes. But then you would not use visual stimuli. Instead, you would “feel” energy forming in your stomach. You can feel it as warmth, electricity, coldness, pressure, etc. (anything that means “energy” to your mind). You would then proceed to “feeling” this energy up through your body and into your head. Along with “feeling” the energy, you can also “smell” it (as whatever you think energy would smell like) and “hear” it (as whatever you think energy would sound like: crackling, steaming, etc.).

This is actually a good example, and a good description of a practical technique to develop sensitivity to this kind of energy work. It’s the terms that throw me.

Lets use the example of creating energy in your stomach and moving it to your head. If you were to simply imagine the energy forming in your stomach and moving to your head, nothing will happen. It is daydreaming and imagination, not true visualization. However, if you were to sit down and think over your goal first; think to yourself, “I will create energy in my stomach and move it to my head now.” Then, begin imagining it, but also “willing” it to happen. That would be true visualization. It is hard to describe the feeling, but you need to get your “intent” across (to your subconscious mind). This is true key. To move that energy, you have to visualize it happening, and “know” that it will happen. Intend for it to happen and then do it.

The focus on “intent” is always suspicious to me. I frankly don’t see how stating an intent is any different from imagining it to happen. You’re basically speaking to yourself. It is the focusing on the sensation that brings results.

Focus, not intent.

And I can hear the complaint that I am criticizing the technique too harshly. I’m not, really. I’m criticizing how the technique is being described, because I think that the change in focus is what is actually going on, but that this action is being masked by discussions of intent. The two are being conflated.

Now we get to the actual technique.

There is a lot of stuff here about counting and whatnot. If that is what works for the author, fine. It seems a little extraneous to me, but whatever it takes, I suppose.

Begin to visualize a stream of energy coming out of the pool of limitless and powerful energy in your stomach. Visualize the stream coming up your body and to your shoulders. At the shoulders, visualize the stream splitting into two and moving down your arms and into your hands. Then visualize the two streams coming out of your hands and meeting to form a ball in-between your hands. To sum it up: you should be visualising a powerful pool of limitless energy in your stomach with a constant stream of energy coming out of it, up your body, down your arms, into and out of your hands, and into a ball. You should be holding your hands in a cupped shape, palms and fingers facing (but not touching) each other. There should be a space in-between your hands that are about the size of a softball (bigger for big hands, smaller for small hands). This is where the energy will merge and form into a ball. Continue to visualize the energy moving from your stomach and pooling into a ball in your hands. Do this for a few minutes. If you start to feel pressure, tingling, heat, cold, change in air density, etc. then chances are you’ve made a psiball (albeit a weak one).

I have two criticisms of this technique to offer.

1) I would have done some preparatory work to increase the sensitivity in the hands. Rubbing them together at a minimum.

2) I would would have connected the movement of the energy with the breath.

Beyond that, this is a solid technique. That’s pretty much how I do it. Should work well.

So now what do we do with this thinger?

Well we’ve done it; we’ve made the psiball! But how do we get rid of it now? As you may have noticed already, when you “let go” and stop concentrating on your psiball, it will naturally dissipate and fade away (rather quickly I might add). This means that when you’re done with your psiball, just stop concentrating and “let go” and you’ll have effectively rid yourself of it.

I suppose this would work, but it seems sloppy to me. That energy doesn’t always just fade away, and can linger about if simply left alone. This also doesn’t address the fact that you would have essentially dumped a large amount of your energy into the environment, which can impact your surroundings, others nearby, and your own energy level.

I almost always reabsorb energy balls.

There is a way to make your psiballs last. This is through means of something called “programming”. If you program your construct to hold itself together (for however long or until you command it otherwise) it will do just that. Like all things, the programming will eventually deteriorate and the construct will “die out”.

This is very quickly jumping from basic energy work to servitor creation. In theory there’s nothing wrong with that, but the complexity level has a very steep progression here.

That sums up Psiball Creation, the building block of all psychics. The main point of a psiball is to get your body used to manipulating psi energy. From there, you can move onto programming psiballs, telepathy, telekinesis, or any other psychicic skill that meets your fancy.

I still balk at the assertion that this is necessary for all other magical work. I’m going to say right here that setting up expectations of telepathy and telekinesis might be a bit much, especially at this stage.

The author also talks a bit about creating wards in another post. And I take issue with it, because wards are generally seen as far different things that the author presents them.

Psychic Shields are definitely an active method of psychic defense, and working with core images is a passive method. Something between active and passive methods is called the Ward. Psychic Wards are energy constructs meant to perform specific tasks. Just like a psiball, they can be programmed, and this post will teach you how to do this.

The basic instructions are to establish your intent, create a psiball, program it, and then just kind of hang it up like a psychic doily.

now that the ball is created and programmed, you have to send it on its way, in other words, you have to hang it somewhere. For example it might be the north-west corner of your room. Just keep the intention to hang the psiball there and push it there (physically). That completes the creation process. (Note: You can also use them against attacks on the mind or body.)

That’s all you got?

Wards are incredibly complex magical structures. What’s being described here is more akin to a simple defensive servitor. Wards are generally understood to be woven into the environment and structure of the space you are protecting. And they can be passive or active, depending on how you make them.

Again, this technique should be effective. But it is a horribly simplified understanding of what is going on and of what can be done with this kind of work.

And this long fisk, which isn’t really intended to be an overly harsh treatment of the author, comes to a point.

When we are teaching people the basics, our assumptions flavor their experience, and potentially limit them in what they can or will develop.

On Tumblr, I had this to say initially: “I’m starting to see some of this as like learning Newton before Einstein. We know it’s problematic and much more simplistic than that, but it’s a reasonable starting point before your delve into deeper stuff.”

And I think that’s okay, to a certain extent. Sometimes we need to present simplified models before moving on to more complex ones. But we need to acknowledge that these models are simplified and don’t cover all instances. We need to stress that this isn’t it, that the reality of more fluid and complex, and that we’ll move into that later.

And we also need to break down what processes are really occurring. There is a risk of becoming locked into a particular model and having that mask or limit your understanding of what is going on. My example above of stressing intent over focus may not seem significant, but it can make the difference between successful magic and getting flustered because your Eat Pray Love Secret Positive Thinking Affirmations doesn’t seem to be working.

Honestly, if I were to edit the presentation of these techniques, I’d make the adjustments I already mentioned above (breathing and sensitivity training) and just cut out the assertions made regarding theory. Focus on the technique. Let the results speak for themselves. Worry about theory later, and be open to the student’s take on it.

“What do you think you just did? Describe it to me.”

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One response to “Basics and Assumptions

  1. Pingback: Basics and Assumptions | Practical Pagans

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