How To Work with Magical Images

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

Meditations for Magical Images

A strong, naked man stands on a rocky terrain, one foot elevated. He holds his arms straight out to the sides. He has a gentle smile on his face. William Blake's Albion Rose.
The magical image of Yesod is “A beautiful naked man, very strong.” The Dance of Albion (Day of Joy) (1794–1796), by William Blake. From Wikimedia.

A mighty king sitting on a sapphire throne. A warrior queen standing in a red chariot. A golden-haired child with arms upraised. These are some of the magical images of the Tree of Life. What do these mysterious images have to say? In this post I’ll share how to work with magical images in your own meditations. I’ll introduce what they are, how to meditate with them, and provide a script you can use as a guided meditation to enter into a deeper journey with them.

At the end of this post is a 100-minute video tutorial on magical images and how to work with them. If you like this post, please check out this recording of an in-depth class.

What are Magical Images?

A woman in a loose white gown, belted at the waist with a string of flowers, her hair is long and loose, with a rose tucked behind her ear. She stands in a garden surrounded by roses, with a few poppies and other flowers. Labeled "Glad Golden July" by Florence Harrison.
The magical image of Netzach is “a beautiful naked woman.” One of the symbols of Netzach is the rose. “Glad Golden July” by Florence Harrison.

Magical images are symbolic word descriptions or visual illustrations. They can be used to help us connect to the astral realms or collective unconscious.

Magical images are facets or colors of Divine Unity; when you are working with a magical image, you are working with Source energy. In fact, separating a magical image from Source energy can eventually result in its “battery” going dead.

Magical images are repositories of both information and emotion. They get their power from their history, repetition of use, who uses them, as well as how and why. Ultimately, magical Images are living images that teach and heal. Read on to discover the magical images of the ten sephiroth and learn how to work with these psychic doorways.

The Magical Images of the Ten Sephiroth

This graphic shows the ten sephiroth of the qabalistic Tree of Life, each sephirah labeled with its magical image. In this post, I share how to work with magical images.
  1. An ancient bearded king in profile.
  2. A bearded male figure.
  3. A mature woman.
  4. A mighty crowned and throned king.
  5. A mighty warrior in his chariot.
  6. A king, a child, a sacrificed god.
  7. A beautiful naked woman.
  8. A hermaphrodite.
  9. A beautiful naked man, very strong.
  10. A young woman, crowned and throned.

How to Work with Magical Images

The magical image for Tiphareth is “A king, a child, a sacrificed god.” Alternatively, a more detailed description includes: “A naked child with golden hair, standing with its arms upraised.” The Sun from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot by A. E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, Pamela-A edition.

Before You Start

  • Choose the sephirah you wish to work with. Consult the Sephiroth Short List to see what each sephirah represents.
  • Familiarize yourself with its magical image, Names of Power, colors, tarot cards, and other symbols.
  • If you have trouble visualizing, you might like to find or create a piece of art that expresses the magical image you’d like to work with. Have it on hand to refer to. In your imagination, try to make changes to the image to better match the concept you have in your head.

Preparation

  • Bring your hands into prayer position to begin the meditation. State silently your intention, to connect with this sephirah through its magical image.
  • Come into a comfortable meditation posture. Turn your awareness to your breath. Soften and deepen your breathing until you’re breathing deep into your belly.
  • Perform the fourfold breath for several minutes.

Building the Image

  • Return to normal breathing. Begin actively building the image in your imagination. Let one section at a time become more and more detailed and clear. Alternatively, you can let an overall experience of the image, perhaps cloudy at first, slowly develop more clarity and detail.
  • Once the image is as fully experienced as possible, recite the Names of Power for this sephirah several times. Start with the Name of God for the sephirah. If you like, proceed to the Archangel, and order of angels, concluding with the mundane chakra.

Learning from the Image

  • Let your mind switch to a state of receiving. Do any additional details or experiences arise?
  • Ask questions, either of the figure present, or for general contemplation. Take careful note of the answers the magical image gives, experiences you have, or spontaneous ideas that come to mind.

Add the Tarot Cards

  • Now imagine each of the four related tarot cards (four Aces for Kether, four twos for Chokmah, threes for Binah, etc.). Add each of the four related pip cards, one at a time, to the scene, contemplating its relevance in relationship to the magical image. Ask the image for insight into these cards.
  • After working through the four related pip cards, add the Trump of the same number as the sephirah (Magician for Kether, High Priestess for Chokmah, Empress for Binah, etc.). What does the magical image tell you about this card? Does it share any stories?

Ending the Meditation

  • Prepare to end the meditation. Let the magical image know you need to leave. Thank, in turn, the image, any guides who helped you, and the spiritual entities you invited.
  • Become aware of your breath. Perform several rounds of the fourfold breath to return to your own, natural state of consciousness.
  • Bring your hands into prayer position to end the meditation. Offer thanks for being able to do this practice today.

Guided Meditation

I wrote this script originally for the class I taught on the magical images (see the video below). I decided not to use it, but am reproducing it here for anyone who might like to work within a more storyline type of guided meditation.

You can record this meditation, or just read it through several times until you remember the basic outline. Then enter into a deep meditation and imagine yourself going through these scenes.

This script is only an introduction. I designed it to help you get into the experience as deeply as possible. The real journey begins when you start to explore the magical realm on your own. Have fun getting to know the magical images this way!

Part 1: The Cafe

You’re sitting in a cafe. You close the tarot book you’ve been studying and start to shuffle your cards. You read every book you can get your hands on, and yet you notice you get the best readings when you focus on the images and find the story.

A tarot friend is with you. This friend gets astonishing psychic impressions. You wonder what it would be like to be more in touch with your own intuition and psychic gifts.

You’re sitting quietly with this friend. You’re comfortable, feeling easy, just shuffling your tarot deck as you contemplate.

Your friend asks, if you could change anything about yourself, what would you choose? Several glib answers flit through your mind, but as you think about it, more serious ideas bubble up to the surface. You fleetingly imagine what your life would be like with these differences. You realize that one is the crux of creating the outcome that you desire. Moreover, this one in particular captures your imagination and opens vistas of potential.

You realize you are mindlessly flipping over the cards in your deck as you think these thoughts. Flip, flip, flip. The images start to form a story, moving faster and faster until they blur together in an animated sequence. Before your brain spins out into a crazy trip, you see a card that is perfect. It perfectly describes what you want and where you want to be in life. You hold it in front of you and look closely at all its details. Yes, this one is perfect. If only I had this!

What card do you see?

Part 2: The Museum

The dream, if this is what it is, shifts abruptly. Now you’re outside, by yourself, walking along an old cobblestone street. You’re not sure exactly where you are, but it looks familiar. You think you’ve been here before.

You’re going along, minding your own business, when you suddenly take a left turn and end up in an occult museum. It’s filled with alchemical art, religious allegories, and mysterious symbolic paintings. Although you’re fascinated by each piece you see, you still crane you neck to look around and see what else is there.

A docent rushes up to you, hurrying you along with a breathless: “We’re about to start. Don’t be late!”

You arrive at a not-very-museum like doorway, with a heavy, muted tapestry hung in the frame. At first its pattern is hidden in the thick folds. But as you touch it to swipe it aside, the weighty fabric rustles and hums with anticipation. It stretches flat as you extend your arm and you recognize a familiar and very powerful image. You let the experience of the tapestry wash over you. Recognizing its importance, you renew your determination to find out what lies within.

What does the tapestry reveal?

As you step past the tapestry you catch a whiff of a faint but familiar scent. It comforts you and feels appropriate to this place.

What do you smell?

Part 3: The Gallery

You enter a circular gallery of ten simple images that shimmer with mystery and vibrate with potency. The air is thick with a murmuring sound like the rustling of leaves. You wonder, is it voices? Or something else? You strain to hear more clearly.

What do you hear?

From down a long hall at the far end of the room, a new docent approaches you with an air of quiet efficiency. He says in Jeevesian tones, “Welcome to the vestibule.” You furrow your brow in confusion – you’re well past the entryway of the museum — but before you can ask he continues with a challenge. “With what image do you enter this realm?”

You are quite certain he wants a secret password and you realize the gig is up. You don’t belong here! But then you remember the pattern on the tapestry. With a mental shrug, you make a guesstimate at what he might be looking for. You tell him what the tapestry revealed as you entered this room.

There is total silence for at least three eternal seconds as he blinks slowly. You’re pretty sure he’s activating some secret button to have you evicted. But then he smiles unctuously.

With a bit of a sneer, he relinquishes these three pieces of advice. “You may go wherever you like. If you have any questions simply ask one of the helpers nearby. When you’re ready to leave, retrace your steps.”

With a slight bow, he tells you to enjoy your time in the vestibule and let him know if you have any questions. He disappears into the dark inner reaches of the gallery. Just before he completely vanishes, he says, “Remember to use the key.” What a weirdo!

Part 4: The Art

You turn and become aware of the ten pieces of art in this place. You gaze at each in turn, making the rounds of this room. But over and over one draws you to it. It’s not the most mysterious, or the most powerful. But somehow it feels the most relevant.

You feel like there’s something you need to do, but don’t know what.

You look at this artwork from all angles. You’re starting to get a bit obsessed with it. You know you need something, but you don’t know what. It feels like you need to… who knows… plug into it, open it, activate it.

Wait—what’s that? How could you have missed it? It’s not hidden; you just didn’t see it until now. It almost looks like letters, like a word, or an abbreviation… You struggle to make it out. The thickness of the air in the room whispers against your skin. Is that a word? A name? You’re excited or frustrated or something and abruptly realize you’ve been holding your breath. You relax as you breathe out. And your little sigh, your exhalation, is not silent. It’s not like you planned this, but the air vibrates your vocal cords and you voice the letters.

Part 5: The Magical Realm

Whoa.

You’ve shifted.

You’re not in Kansas anymore. Or wherever you were.

You’re… this feels freaky but cool… you’re in the artwork.

The artwork you were so obsessed with is now 3D and Technicolor with a 360 panorama. And it’s your playground! You can go anywhere, do anything, explore it however you like. Who is there with you? And who will you meet on your journey?

Then you remember what Jeeves told you. You can go wherever you like. If you need help, just ask. When you’re ready to leave, retrace your steps.

And you’re off on your adventure! What was that pressing question you had? I’ll bet someone here would love to discuss it with you! You head off to explore this magical realm.

Video Tutorial on the Magical Images of the Ten Sephiroth

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to magical images. If you’d like to dive deeper into the topic, please check out this 100-minute video tutorial. If you head over to YouTube, you’ll find the links and handouts that go with it.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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