So if clairvoyance is just “faking it,” what’s to say we’re not just making stuff up? The easy answer to that is, we are. That doesn’t make it less useful.
But I’m not sure the easy answer is true. We don’t always make up the stuff we see in visions; sometimes, it just comes to us. Of course, that’s also true of a schizophrenic, so we need to be careful. How do you test a vision to make sure you’re not just “making it up”? There are two ways to go about it: during the vision, and after.
Intellectualizing and doubting a vision while you’re having it is a good way to stop having it, even if it is a “true” (let’s just stipulate that some visions are true) vision. So how do we test a vision to make sure? There are several ways offered by the traditional magicians of the Golden Dawn, but many of them are of limited actual utility. I recall reading one that requires the projection of various Hebrew letters over the vision to see if it survives the experience. I had Hebrew at 8:20 AM; some days, I barely survived the experience, and I was corporeal. It’s easier simply to confront a vision with the symbol of the vision you were trying to evoke. For example, if I’m calling the spirit Och, and I’m not sure I really have the spirit Och, I just imagine his sigil and “throw” it toward him. If he fades away, flickers, looks different, and so on, he’s clearly not Och. He might be self-deception, or a deceptive spirit, but he’s not Och.
Another way to test a vision is after the fact. I do a simple skeptical analysis as I record it in my journal, asking myself some simple Socratic questions. The correct answers, for a real vision, are in parentheses:
1. Does this vision tell me something I didn’t already know? (yes)
2. Does it tell me something I want to hear? (no)
3. Does it tell me something I dread to hear? (no)
4. Does it sound like my own self-talk (for me, sarcastic, flippant, a bit elitist)? (no)
5. Was it mostly in words or in images? (audial is my favored thinking mode; if it’s visual, it’s probably not me)
6. Does it tell me one of the following things that are never true? (no)
A. You are the savior, most important person in the world, yadda yadda.
B. You are vile and horrible, nasty nasty thing you.
C. Everyone/Someone is out to get you.
D. That movie you just saw is actually true.
E. You’re not really human.
7. Does it say or do anything inconsistent with its symbolic nature, such as a supposedly Martial spirit being all loveydovey? (no)
Obviously, it’s important to remember that sometimes visions do tell us something we dread to hear, sometimes particular spirits prefer to communicate in words rather than images, or vice versa, and sometimes visions do offer us good news.
The ultimate test is this: Does this vision, in any substantial way, small or large, improve my life? If the answer is no, it is not a true vision. If the answer is “yes, it proves that I am the Chosen One!” you need to seek therapy. Because you’re not.