By Raven Digitalis
Vision boards are focal items that carry a particular set of intentions, with the goal of bringing about certain qualities, traits, experiences, and manifestations into one’s life. For some people, these boards are more like “affirmation boards,” containing positive written messages. For others, they’re more like pieces of art like a collage. Others prefer to simply focus on symbols, while others prefer to create a piece that combines these approaches. With daily focus, vision boards are believed to help the mind and spirit align to the energies and intentions at hand, thereby shaping one’s own life experience. Vision boards and affirmation boards have been amplified by New Age schools of thought, but they can easily be applied to self-transformative practices of Witchcraft.
Choosing to Begin Crafting
During my beautiful and scary visit to northern India a few years back, I had the pleasure of hand-delivering a copy of my latest book, The Everyday Empath, to my beloved friend Vishnu. As a fellow empath, he was thrilled to receive a copy of the book, and also asked if the book contained information about creating vision boards.
“Indeed it does!,” I proclaimed.
My dear friend explained that he had become familiarized with Vision Boards due in part to the New Age work of Louise Hay, whose teachings promoted affirmations, visualization, and metaphysical healing techniques related to the Law of Attraction.
“So, what does your vision board look like?,” he asked.
“Ummm… I haven’t really made one yet…”
“But Raven! Here we are, you and I, discussing our life’s goals, but you haven’t made a vision board to focus on daily? Let’s work on this!”
What can I say? He was right! Shortly after returning to the States, I went to a local Dollar Store for a big piece of cardstock. With art supplies and magickal trinkets handy, and a dedicated sacred space in which to work, I started crafting the first pieces of a magickal vision board.
I know all too well how easy it is, in the midst of life’s hectic flow, to put off “little” things like this, but the fact of the matter is that intentional art is an act of magick, and magick itself is art. Vision boards need not be restricted to any kind of fluffy metaphysical feel-better practice, but can become an empowering spell that can be as deep as the heart of a Witch.
Choosing Proper Colors & Symbols
To begin with, decide whether you’d like to create the board on paper, on a tack-board, or even virtually. Plan the size of your board accordingly. Beware that sometimes the board will have a mind of its own, because you are tapping into the unconscious, so new things are likely to enter your mind once you start working on it more diligently. When putting thought into the construction of your vision board, consider how many photos, phrases, symbols, and other items you wish to include.
You may wish to draw common symbols on your vision board – as long as they are aligned to your intentions – such as pentagrams, hexagrams, dollar signs, hearts, flowers, smiley faces, or anything meaningful to you personally. You may also wish to include sigils on your vision board. These are self-crafted symbols, using a particular method, representing specific manifestations in an abstract form. Occultist Austin Osman Spare originally popularized the use of sigils in magickal work, and the practice of sigilry has expanded in recent years. Magickal folk of all varieties utilize sigils in modern times, either standalone or in conjunction with other forms of spellcraft or ceremonial workings. For those readers who are more Witchily-inclined, I can’t more highly recommend the book Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff (see Sources & Further Reading at the end of this article).
Maybe your board will focus on various manifestations, which is common, or maybe it will be in regard to one goal in particular, thereby becoming a spell for a particular solitary purpose. Although this article focuses on vision boards that are more “life general,” individual spells can be created either as vision boards or as part of a spell’s creation.
When considering the colors you use in the vision board, including its base material (paper, wood, dry-erase board, etc.) and the color of markers and decorations used, it’s wise to bring to mind some of the common metaphysical color associations (red for love, blue for insight, green for healing, black/white for all-purpose… you know the drill!). If you study or practice eastern mysticism, you may also wish to consider color esoteric alignments related to the seven chakra centers on the human body, as imparted in ancient Vedic and Yogic texts.
Choosing the Right Words
I’m a big fan of a beautiful and simple book called The Golden Key to Happiness by Japanese Shinto author Masami Saionji. Something that especially stood out to me in this book was her emphasis on the power of words. In one part of the text, she discusses that the words we say or think over and over on repeat actually creates a sort of self-hypnosis. This self-induced hypnotic state can be challenging to break when we become accustomed to thinking in certain patterns, and expecting certain results in our lives. Saionji also emphasizes that the thoughts of the past create the thoughts of the present, and the thoughts of the present create our future experience. Although it’s easier said than done, we do have the power to control our thoughts and realize when the mind is playing tricks or is conditioned to a particular modus operandi.
When choosing words for your vision board, you may be inspired to simply incorporate a scattering of words of power. Little affirmations such as “loved,” “abundant,” and “happy” can really go a long way. If you speak various languages, try incorporating a bit of each. Unleash those creative juices!
Be certain that your board doesn’t make use of negative statements. Don’t begin things with “I am not,” “I do not,” or “I will not,” for example. Regardless of positive intentions, a negative statement tunes our psyche to a negative energy, which is associated with loss, have-nots, and ideas of imperfection. Instead, we are focusing on bringing out that which we desire to access and amplify in our lives. The words “Not sad and not poor” have a totally different energy, psychologically and magically, than “happy and abundant.”
We are each the center of our own universes, by default, so remember to make the board about yourself. Use yourself as the subject. (Trust me, it’s not selfish; it’s necessary!) While it would be wise to say something like, “I am a positive influence on friends and family,” it would not be wise to place that power onto others with statements like, “My friends and family respect me.” Can you feel the difference between the two statements?
It’s also essential to limit statements to present-moment action or being. Instead of “I will achieve my goals,” you’ll want to write, “I am achieving my goals.” This is still a true statement because you are intentionally choosing to activate this statement, and it becomes truer every day. The goal isn’t to fool yourself (because your higher self knows better), but to amplify positive things you’re already working on.
The concept of vision boards is becoming widespread due to its creative power and stories of success. My brilliant cousin Tracy is a businesswoman who works within numerous professional spheres, yet keeps spiritually connected and mindful despite a hefty workload. One of the companies she operates is LyfeSpark (.com), where users can create virtual vision boards, meet realistic life goals, and receive direct personal support.
When consulting Tracy about my vision board, she gave a memorable tip about affirmations. She advised me not to use phrases like, “I am working my hardest to be better” or, “I am striving to do my best.” Instead, replace words of struggle/toil with more optimistic terms that imply an ease of natural order. In this case, something like, “I am evolving toward self-actualization” would be more fitting. This sort of terminological optimism is also good advice for how we communicate every day!
Equally important to writing “affirmative affirmations” is that your words must be believable. What I mean is, if you write, “My life is happy and joyful” on your vision board, part of your unconscious mind might give a negative internal response, such as, “That’s bullshit and you know it.”
Words carry incredible power. The knowledge of the mind’s interplay with a magickal affirmation can allow you to more carefully select the words you utilize. Following this example, it may be better to write something like, “I create happiness and joy in my life every day.” So, write things that you know are true, and qualities you are intending to strengthen.
Writing “I am safe” could be a good idea because you know it’s true even if your anxiety or stress tries to convince you otherwise. (However, if you’re genuinely not safe physically or emotionally, then it’s time to make serious life changes, possibly with the help of legal and/or psychotherapeutic professionals.)
Here are some ideas for phrases that you might feel drawn to write, with examples of alternate affirmations that carry a more positive tone:
I will always be happy → I am creating happiness.
I release the past → I create a positive future.
I work diligently against stress → I choose peace.
I’m not depressed or anxious → I have control over my emotions.
I am going to travel soon → I look forward to seeing the world.
Everyone respects me → I have self-respect.
I am wealthy and rich → I am actively creating financial stability.
I refuse to be single anymore → I am openly attracting my soul mate.
I am powerful and influential → I am becoming more self-confident every day.
I have strong magickal powers → I am a child of the gods.
There’s nothing I can’t do → I am achieving my goals.
I free myself of disease → I create health and healing.
I banish fake friends and toxic people → I choose to surround myself with good people.
My life is free from struggle → My life is abundant and joyful.
I wish for health, happiness, wisdom, and love. → I attract health, happiness, wisdom, and love.
I am not sad → Happiness is my natural state.
The Universe will meet all my needs → All of my needs are becoming met.
Choosing Imagery & Visuals
Here’s where things become a bit tricky, and where we must use our intuitive powers – and our knowledge of both magick and psychology – to determine which kinds of imagery to use on our boards, if any.
It’s standard in New Age thought to create vision boards that are heavy image-based collages, kind of like a real-life Pintrest. The idea is to cut and paste inspirational images from magazines, or print photos from online, and affix them to our board as items of focus. Commonly you’ll see people using photos of happy people, scenic landscapes, ideal body types, fancy cars, and whatnot. But, like I said, this is where things get tricky in a magickal sense.
If we are cutting-and-pasting photos of other people’s happiness, is that really inspiring our own… or could it create jealousy and a feeling of “lack” instead? On a metaphysical level, is having the image of two smiling people in love inspiring us to manifest the same, or is it sending energy to the people in the photo? This is what I tend to believe, which is why my own vision board displays a very limited amount of actual images (all of which are drawings), and no magazine cutouts.
For this reason, I feel that sketching and drawing images on a vision board is miles more effective. This way, the image of people, places, fat stacks of cash, or whatnot, actually comes from the mind and hand of the practitioner themselves. This seems far more magickal than latching onto external images of the goals we are achieving.
Additionally, for people like us who are more esoterically minded, actual photos/clippings of gods, deities, and symbols could be much more relevant and spiritually connecting. Gods and angels, for example, do not exist in the human dimension. This is why connecting to their images on a vision board can be safe and encouraging due to their divine energetic embodiments. This can also strengthen a person’s devotion to their patron and/or matron god(s). Like everything, it’s up to the practitioner’s intuition and creative spark!
Choosing Herbs, Stones & Spell Components
If you have a little collection of “small powerful stuff” you’ve found in nature or which has been gifted to you, this could be an ideal opportunity to utilize these items. It’s easy to accumulate little stones, charms, berries, and other special items because Witches and mystics know a powerful item when they see it. Rather than letting these things accumulate in a pouch, drawer, or box – or even scattered about your altar – consider affixing some of them to your magickal vision board.
A few items that I may suggest affixing to your board, if you get the calling to do so, include feathers, leaves, flower petals, powdered incense, found objects, small gemstones, metal charms, incense resins (dragon’s blood, copal, frankincense, etc.), and raw herbs. Be sure to consider the metaphysical property of any item you affix to your spell.
An easy way to seal items to your board is to use a hot glue gun, although any reliable “fixing” method will do. When you affix the object, incorporate your own affirmation or spoken spell. Make it an intentional act. Magick follows intention. Most importantly, know that you are performing important esoteric work to help improve your life. Improving your life, by extension, helps improve the life of everyone you touch.
Choosing Ritual Timing & Procedure
It’s essential to be in a positive, encouraging state of mind when creating or ritually empowering a vision board, or any creative act of manifestation magick, for that matter. We get out what we put in. While it’s advisable to mystically surrender to the gods (etc.) during times of high stress, positive manifestation work needs to be performed when we ourselves can lend that vibrational boost to the working at hand.
You may wish to consider the sun or moon’s zodiac placement (and to be mindful of any retrogrades) when crafting your board. Daily planetary rulerships may also be taken into consideration:
Sunday ~ Sun
Monday ~ Moon
Tuesday ~ Mars
Wednesday ~ Mercury
Thursday ~ Jupiter
Friday ~ Venus
Saturday ~ Saturn
After you have finalized your board precisely as you’d like it, and after you have performed your own personal magick to enchant the piece as a living spell, consider where to place the board. Personally, I do not like to show the board to other people, in order to “keep it secret, keep it safe,” by not dispersing the energy to others. I chose to staple my big board on the ceiling right above my bed so that it is the very first thing I focus on upon rising for the day. I have found this method to be profoundly effective.
However you choose to craft the board, and wherever you choose to place it for daily reflection, follow your intuition and believe in yourself. You are the magick; you are the power. Happy crafting!
Resources & Further Reading:
Byrne, Rhonda. The Secret. Hillsboro, OR: Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2006
Digitalis, Raven. The Everyday Empath: Achieve Energetic Balance in Your Life. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 2018
Ellwood, Taylor. Inner Alchemy: Energy Work & the Magic of the Body. Independently published, 2018
Gawain, Shakti. Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1995
Goleman, Tara Bennett. Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart. New York, NY: Harmony Books, 2001
Hay, Louise. You Can Heal Your Life. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 1984
Saionji, Masami. The Golden Key to Happiness. Utsono, Japan: Gratitude Books, 2003
Zakroff, Laura Tempest. Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 2018
Raven Digitalis (USA) is the author of The Empath’s Oracle, A Witch’s Shadow Magick Compendium, Esoteric Empathy, A Gothic Witch’s Oracle, The Everyday Empath, Planetary Spells & Rituals, and Goth Craft. Originally trained in Georgian Witchcraft, Raven has been an earth-based practitioner since 1999, a Priest since 2003, a Freemason since 2012, and an empath all of his life. He holds a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Montana, co-operated a nonprofit Pagan Temple for 16 years, and is also a professional Tarot reader, editor, card-carrying magician, and animal rights advocate.