(You can also download these instructions here.)
Sorry, not talking about pirate maps where X marks the spot and you go and dig up a fortune in gold and jewels. Though you COULD use it to get gold and jewels.
A Treasure Map is essentially the same thing that the producers of ‘The Secret’ call a Vision Board. Some people call it a Wish Collage. The idea has been around a long time, under various names. It’s a way of manifesting what you want to bring into your life, whether material objects, achievements, travels, personal qualities, whatever. I've been using them since the early nineties, when he who is now my husband introduced me to them.
They really do work. I don’t always get everything I specify within the time allotted, but I do get most of it, sometimes in surprising ways. There have also been times when things have come about, but have taken longer than the period of the Treasure Map.
You can make them for any period you like. I find that a year is good. This allows time for things to manifest. Some things, of necessity, take time — though others can come about very quickly. It’s not a wise idea to give them indefinite time to happen; you might be waiting decades!
If you want to research what other people say on the subject, don't Google 'treasure maps' or you'll get the pirate kind. 'Treasure mapping' is the term to use. Meanwhile, here is what works for me:
1. Make a list of all the things you want
You might find it helpful to put them under headings for various categories: relationships, wealth, work, holidays....
This year our Treasure Map is strongly influenced by Robert Lee Brewer, who shares his ‘New Year tradition’ in Writing for Life, and calls his version a New Year’s Chart. (Full instructions here.)
His categories are:
- Things I want to do.
- Things I want to be.
- Things I want to learn.
- Things and people I want to see.
- Places I want to go.
- Adventures I want to have
We left out the words ‘I want’ from all of them, so as to bring it more into the present moment. and added another one: Things to have. We also extended the fourth item by adding ‘/ people to keep in touch with’ and making sub-categories: local friends, online friends, friends elsewhere, as well as more specific groups such as ‘children and grandchildren’.
2. Collect pictures that illustrate the things on your list
Magazines are a good source of pictures. Any that you bring into your home are suitable, as they will reflect your interests and priorities. A friend who loves travel recommends National Geographic. Some people cut out likely pictures all year, so when they come to make their next Treasure Map, they have a box full to choose from. You can also find printable images from those freely available online. (Best to save to your computer, paste to a Word document, and then adjust the size.) Or you could use your own photos if applicable.
If you can’t find realistic images, look for symbols, e.g. a heart for love, a dollar sign for wealth. You could draw these yourself with colored markers.
You can also use powerful words and phrases you come across, either instead of pictures or to label your pictures.
3. Get a BIG sheet of cardboard
Coloured is nice; something to make it special. Gold or silver is very special, but you can’t write or draw directly onto a shiny surface. (You could always write or draw on ordinary paper and then stick that on.)
4. Work out the basic design of your map
Instead of bunging things any old where, you might like to use some underlying ordering principle and arrange your pictures accordingly.
Many people use the feng shui baqua, which you can find by Googling. They feel it creates balance and encourages prosperity. I have sometimes used an underlying spiral or pentacle, to give powerful positive energy to my manifesting.
When I use the pentacle, I take note of what the points represent in terms of the elements. I also know what the elements stand for, e.g. earth = the material/physical level including money and the body, air = the mental realm, and also sound.
5. When it's done, put it up on the wall where you can see it every day.
(Check the dimensions of the proposed wall area first.)
You can also create single item Treasure Maps for individual things you wish to manifest, e.g. a holiday in a particular place; a specific job you're after; the ideal relationship.
You can go into a lot more detail this way than on an all-purpose Treasure Map, e.g. with pictures of the desired holiday location. Or you could have one central image with a lot of arrows going from it, either to words or more images (or both).
A simple picture on the wall can act the same way.
He Who Is Now My Husband was once married to someone else. In that time he saw a picture spread in a magazine of a house he really liked the look of, cut it out and put it up on the kitchen wall. Weeks later his wife phoned him at work and said, 'You've got to come and look at this house for sale.' He did, they fell in love with it and bought it. It was only after they'd been living in it some time that it dawned on him it was the same as the house in the magazine!
Unfortunately the payments proved too costly and they ended up selling it again. This financial stress contributed to the breakdown of the marriage. Be careful what you wish for! But the point is, the picture on the wall did work as a manifestation tool.
Hints and Pitfalls
1. You need to be very specific
One year, wanting to lose weight, I found a ‘before and after’ picture: two images, one wide and the other slender, of a woman’s back view in just her white bra and panties. I didn’t noticeably lose weight that year, but my husband did buy me the most beautiful white underwear for Christmas.
Another time, I thought I’d love to have a trip to Paris. I found a picture from a travel ad: the Eiffel Tower, crossed with the words ‘Allo Paris!’ I imagined myself joyously greeting the city. I have not yet been to Paris, but that year my younger son unexpectedly went to live there for a time, and I received phone calls from Paris.
2. Use coloured pictures
There is a story of a couple who wanted to manifest a holiday, and used a whole lot of black-and-white photos they found of the place they wanted to visit. They did get the holiday, but they said it was disappointingly flat and boring — it lacked colour.
3. If you change your mind about something, remove the picture (and any words attached to it)
E.g. if at first you wanted to go to Queensland, then later decide on Tasmania this year instead; or if you cancel the idea of lessons in belly dancing, in favour of yoga lessons. In these cases, of course, you would put up new pictures.
But you could just have a change of heart without wanting a swap. You might decide that, after all, a puppy would be more trouble than it was worth; or that you are not yet ready to live in New Guinea.
Either way, you don’t want to risk bringing in something you no longer desire.
4. Be careful what you wish for. (You might get it.)
This stuff does work. Think things through before you go blithely ordering them from the Universe!
The Universe Moves in Mysterious Ways (or, Nice Surprises)
Can it be a surprise, if something manifests that was on your map? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Well, sometimes the way things manifest can take you by surprise.
There was the year we lived in a place with a really good view of the heavens. My darling was always wishing for a telescope, so we put a picture of one on our Treasure Map. Some months later we were invited to lunch at a friend’s, and the subject came up in conversation.
‘I’ve got one I can lend you!’ she said. It turned out she was minding one for her brother, who was in no hurry to get it back. We had that telescope for years and it got a lot of use. She did eventually contact us to say her brother would like it back now — just after we had moved to a place without that clear view of the night sky.
Even more far-fetched was the Mercedes. Himself always had a hankering for one. I would not have thought of it for myself, but once it was suggested I wasn’t averse to the idea. By the time we became Pensioners, it seemed highly unlikely, but one year he decided to put it on the Treasure Map anyway. Which he did, and then we promptly forgot all about it. (It was right in the centre of the map, but it was only a small picture, not eye-catching.)
In due course our car started giving trouble. We were going to have to leave it some days at the local garage, and would not have a vehicle. At the time we lived way out of town at the end of a dirt road with no public transport. We were even a good long way from the local village; much too far to walk. There were no car hire places handy either. We asked at the local store if they knew of anyone who might be able to lend us a car. They did — a guy we’d never heard of, with coincidentally the same surname as ours. It seemed he owned a few cars, and was willing to lend them. What kind of cars we didn’t know, but we’d be happy to take anything that worked. We phoned him and he agreed.
You guessed it. When we got there, he said, ‘I think I’ll let you have the Mercedes.’ All he wanted in return was that we fill up the tank when we gave it back. It was an old model, but it was a fair dinkum Mercedes, and very comfortable. It was a day or two later that I happened to be standing where I could see the centre of the Treasure map close up, and went, ‘Omigod, look at that!’ as I pointed out the picture of the Mercedes.
So my darling got his wish, and after two weeks of driving around in it, he wished for it no longer. An imported car, and a luxury car moreover, spare parts would be expensive. Our dirt road was hard on any car; we were always terrified of what it might do to the Mercedes. We realised that owning one would be far too stressful. We handed it back happily. We’re still amazed at the way it manifested, both the unexpectedness of the circumstances and the kindly way the Universe didn’t saddle us permanently with something we only thought we wanted.
Of course you should never use your Treasure Map to manipulate people, much less interfere with other people's maps! But I did that once.
When I was dating He Who Is Now My Husband, it came about that I had occasion to spend time in his bedroom. I noticed the Treasure Map on his wall. It was a simple one with just one picture in the centre, of a couple dancing. The man was him, beaming with joy. The woman's face had been whited out. Arrows were drawn from the picture, each one culminating in a word or phrase. The two I remember now were, 'Likes sex' and 'Highly spiritual', both of which certainly applied to me.
As a joke, next time I visited I surreptitiously stuck a cut-out of my face, from a photo, over the blank face of the woman in the picture. I also added a few arrows leading to very specific items that identified me, e.g. 'Grew up in Tasmania'. I crossed out his specified age range and substituted my exact age at the time.
I didn't, of course, understand then how powerful Treasure Maps are. You will note, we ended up married. That's fine; it's lasted 18 years so far and our love has grown and deepened. But I was unwittingly playing with fire, and can only be thankful I was so lucky.
The funny thing is that he never noticed my alterations to his Treasure Map! By then, it had become part of the background for him, not consciously perceived. Which brings me to my next topic:
How do they work? (My theories.)
On the face of it, Treasure Mapping takes Creative Visualisation a step further. If consciously imagining good stuff happening to you is effective — and our champion athletes and successful business people can attest to the fact that it is — then surely having actual images to focus on physically is even better?
Yes, I think it does work that way for a while. But then, as related above, your map tends to fade into the background and you stop consciously noticing it any more. I believe that is even more effective, because it is still within sight and you will still be taking it in on some level, repeatedly, on a daily basis. I believe it then goes straight into your subconscious to work its magick. The subconscious cannot distinguish between what is imagined and whats real — which is how Creative Visualisation works in the first place. This just speeds up the process. Or so I think.
Anyway who cares, so long as they do work? LOL
What If You’ve Got Everything You Want?
Ha ha, who has? Well, me, surprisingly enough. OK, not EVERYTHING, but a heck of a lot.
‘How do you want to spend the rest of your life?’ my darling asked me last night. I didn’t have to think about it very long.
‘Just the way I’m already spending it.’
I am fortunate, at 72, to have done and experienced a lot. I have travelled extensively, within and outside my own country, and although I haven’t been to all the places I ever thought I’d like to see, I don’t have a wish to travel any more at my age. How blessed are we all, that TV has made armchair travelling so much more realistic and exciting! It is the same with many other things: I’ve either done them or have reached the point where they no longer entice — or a bit of both. Just as well I went camping in Kakadu when I was much younger; camping anywhere doesn’t seem like fun now. If the sex life isn’t as athletic as it once was, mellowness is nice too, and it’s not like I’ve missed out on much. And so on.
This made it very difficult to create a Treasure Map for the coming year, which is one reason for deciding on Robert Brewer’s list, particularly with removal of the phrase ‘I want’. Instead of going after a whole lot of new things, we’re opting to keep what we’ve got — the home we love, the friends whose company delights us, the car that feels perfect for us, etc.
There are a few things I’d like to learn, and a few things we’d like to have. They are included, as words or pictures or both.
The big goal at our age is health — in my case the maintenance of, in his case the improvement of. ‘Healthy’ is in our ‘to be’ category, with subheadings such as ‘Massages’ and pictures of heathy food and fit bodies. Our ‘to do’ category includes Walking’, and I drew a stick figure in the act of doing just that.
Well, you get the idea. Have fun!