I have been doing a lot of speaking lately about the use of personal symbols to enhance, empower, and enrich your daily magical experiences. Today, let’s explore some more of the basic details of how to bring this instant, magical tool into your life.
We encounter and process symbols every moment of our life (both dreaming and awake). Effective symbols are those representational things that either move us forward (a religious, spiritual, or mystical image perhaps) or they keep us back (an image of a tragic event, for example). In other words, successful symbols can either inspire us to achieve our dreams, or they can control us to be lead in a different direction. If a symbol is not persuasive or fulfilling – we simply ignore it.
When you receive or recognize a personal symbol, you are quite simply giving substance to otherwise abstract thoughts or dreams. By using a personal symbol, you have a “thing” that is significant and will instantly remind you, both intuitively and consciously, of that symbol’s purpose or presentation. The simplicity of the symbol becomes anchored to your more complex desires and intentions and thus is easier to meditate with and contemplate.
I have found that for personal symbols to be most effective – for them to serve as a true summoning trigger – they should have what I call The Three P’s. A personal symbol should be:
1. Powerful. Magical symbols work their . . . well . . . magic . . . when they have force, represent important concepts and dreams and wants, and are compelling.
2. Provocative. Successful symbols arouse you. They instantly seduce you away from where you are to where you want to be. A provocative symbol invites you to remember.
3. Positive. Symbols should work their magic in a good and supportive way. In other words, you want to choose a symbol that is not only practical to visualize, but provides you with confidence, fills you with enthusiasm, and makes your heart lighter.
There is no such thing as a wrong personal symbol so long as it meets the three P’s! I just want you to have a positive experience (no pun intended).
One more thing, this is a personal symbol – I have no intention of helping you to create something you think you can use in a misguided attempt to control another person. This is about you, your beliefs, and what you appreciate. The creation of a personal symbol is about empowering you. If others are benefited by your boon along the way, that’s terrific! But, really, even if you could do so, would you really want the responsibility of controlling someone else?
So, on to the actual creation of your personal symbol. Advancing Jung’s active imagination concept and the shamanic journeys of auld, here is what I recommend for the basic creation technique:
1. Choose what you want to create a symbol to represent. This may mean sitting down and writing out your empowering and positive-worded goals. This may mean simply thinking of an outcome, event, or person. Most importantly, figure out the energizing and exhilarating emotions that accompany this goal of yours. There are no limits to the number of positive things you think about and feel here. The more the merrier. Your personal symbol is going to encapsulate everything you consider in this step.
2. Close your eyes and imagine you are in a desert. Look around and take in what you see. There are no judgments here. Just observe.
3. Suddenly, before you, an oasis appears. You recognize this place as one of serenity, and safety, and sanctuary. Walk to the oasis and be at peace.
4. Think back briefly to the thoughts and emotions you visited in step 1. Imagine what you want to accomplish. While distinct and detailed things, people, and places are the most effective, this is the time when it’s okay to be a little vague. You can deal with feelings and random thoughts. However, you want to ensure that what you want to accomplish is positive, optimistic, and empowering.
5. Ask that you be given a symbol to represent what you have been thinking about and what you want to achieve. There will only be one symbol. Let it just appear to you. Now ask yourself, does it meet The Three P’s? If it does, terrific, go with that symbol – no matter what has been presented to you. It can be a person, thing, call of light, etc. (As examples, on one occasion, I was shown a rock floating on top of the water. In other exercises, I have had a giraffe and crow appear. Oh well, that was what my subconscious needed to tell me for those particular situations.) If the symbol that appears is neither powerful, provocative, or positive, go ahead and ask for a new symbol. This happens sometimes when you are so entrenched in negative thoughts or doomsaying that you can’t initially find the positive side of things. Be patient with yourself. The right symbol will appear.
6. Once you have your personal symbol, pay close attention to its detail. Notice its color. Notice any sound it might make. Notice how it feels. (I once had a small, blue chirping finch.) The more detail you notice now – the more senses you bring into play – the better since you will be recalling your symbol later.
7. Notice your breathing and start paying particular attention to your out-breaths. As with most meditation practices, the concentration is on your exhalation since this is the time when your body relaxes.
8. Continuing with your mindful breathing, visualize your personal symbol at your heart chakra area. (At another time, I will show you some advanced techniques and the placement of the personal symbol at other locations around your body.) On your exhalation, watch the color of your personal symbol become brighter and brighter. See it grow bigger and bigger until your body is surrounded by a circle of light.
9. Take a moment and bask in the glow and feel of your personal magic.
10. Open your eyes.
From here on out, you can immediately visualize (even with your eyes open) the placement of your personal symbol at your heart chakra and the ball of light surrounding you. The more you practice with this visualization technique, the more anchored the symbol becomes to your positive goal. Don’t skip any of the steps in the basic technique. They are all there for a reason.
And . . . need I even say this. . . don’t practice this technique while operating machinery, or driving a car, or at any other time when your full attention is needed for your safety or the safety of another.
Finally, The Deck of Shadows also has symbols embedded in each of the cards down at the bottom. These are for you to use in those instances when a personal, magical symbol just doesn’t come to you or you would rather rely on something that is gifted rather than internally created.
Just some thoughts to help you on your magical adventure of self-awareness. Enjoy.