Category Archives: Alternate therapies

Visualization and Affirmation


(image courtesy

By Spencer D Gear

Contact (May 1997) recommended visualization [which is also known as guided imagery] and affirmation for “harnessing the power of the mind toward achievement and goals.” That is not what those involved in occultism say. David Conway, in Magic: An Occult Primer, exposes some of the agenda of visualization:

By now the adept has visualized the required forms, and, it is hoped, contacted their astral equivalents. In addition the force behind these forms will have been admitted into the circle. At this point we come to the most important part of the ritual… We shall flick the switch that lets in the cosmic power….

To do so he must temporarily lose his reason, for it is reason which bars the doors of the conscious mind where the astral world lies waiting. The way to open these doors is to assume a state of unreason similar to the divine frenzy of the Bacchantes. Like their delirium the aim of such unreason will be to receive the deity that is being invoked….

At last–and he will certainly know when–the god-form will take control of him… While the power is surging into him, he forces himself to visualize the thing he wants his magic to accomplish, and wills its success” (Conway 1973, pp. 129-32).

As articulated above, these deities being invoked often have very evil ramifications. However, nowhere in Contact‘s promotion of visualization was there even a hint of people losing their reason and unreason taking over. Instead, it was the road to mental health. The research literature and personal experience of occultists confirm that visualization is sometimes associated with horrific evil. Why was there no warning in your article?

“Many new age disciplines offer various techniques of visualization as a help to contacting the spirit world” (Ankerberg & Weldon 1991, p. 148). Hunt & McMahon show where such visualization may lead:

It promotes the unrealistic attitude that, rather than face a problem in the real world, the solution is to fantasize a different illusion, which becomes one’s new `reality.’ Instead of correcting this madness, many psychologists encourage it. In fact, a growing number of today’s psychotherapies are based upon this very theory. Such therapies incorporate visualization and the acting out of fantasies, a process which encourages the idea of escaping from problems rather than confronting them and working out a real solution (1988, p. 210).

Dennis Livingston of New Age Journal understood the implications when he criticised new age guru, Shirley MacLaine

I found the implications of her philosophy basically cruel and callous. . . MacLaine’s basic truth is that we create our own reality. . .
Are you poor? You chose poverty because you need to learn certain lessons. . . Do you have cancer? . . . Did you lose a loved one? . . . You participated in creating that reality . . . nobody is a victim . . . evil is just a matter of your point of view.
It sounds like the perfect yuppie religion, a modern prime-time rerun of nineteenth-century Social Darwinism. Both blame the victim. Only now, the poor are not poor because they are ‘unfit’ . . . [but because] they want to be poor . . .
If I were a dictator, I could think of nothing better than to have a nation dedicated to following MacLaine’s agenda (1987, p. 79)

Former occultist, Johanna Michaelsen, believes that “without a doubt one of the most powerful techniques being used to initiate the next generations into the New Age religion is visualization.” She is clear about its intention to help people “look within themselves to discover and release their divinity. . . It is not a neutral technique” (1989, p. 109). Even church leaders have wrongly bought into this technique. Michaelsen said that

in personal interviews with Witches I have been told that their covens have `laughed themselves silly’ at how the church has so wholeheartedly adopted their occult techniques, thinking that as long as they tagged `Jesus’ at the end of them that they were perfectly okay. In my own earlier days I used extensive guided imagery/ visualization techniques for developing psychic powers and mediumship. . . It was a colossal shock to me to discover that virtually the same techniques I had practiced as a occultist were being used in the church” (1989, p. 110).

Yet, Contact wanted to promote visualization as a road to mental health. I appeal for an honest evaluation of the techniques being advocated.

Works consulted

John Ankerberg & John Weldon 1991, Can You Trust Your Doctor?: The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc.

Contact, Issue 10, May 1997, produced with assistance by the Bundaberg Consumer Advisory Group at the Office of the CDO for Mental Health, PO Box 2730, Bundaberg 4670, Australia; phone (o7) 4151 8111. The newsletter offers the disclaimer: “The opinions expressed within `Contact’ are not necessarily endorsed by those who produce, sponsor or fund this newsletter.”

David Conway 1973, Magic: An Occult Primer. New York: Bantam.

Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon 1988, America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.

Dennis Livingston 1987, “Taking on Shirley MacLaine,” New Age, November/December.

Johanna Michaelsen 1989, Like Lambs to the Slaughter, Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.


Copyright (c) 2007 Spencer D. Gear.ย  This document last updated at Date:ย  9 October 2015.