Ask Dr. Druid . Day 9 . Spelling Backwards

  Ask Dr. Druid

Day 9 .. Spelling Backwards

spells & spelling

This piece will grok better for you if you read it
with your mouth as if out loud.
[Ask Dr. Druid is designed to begin at the beginning. Click here.]

    Another lifelong attention & visualization tuning and honing exercise is spelling backwards.

   Many people insist they ‘can’t visualize anything.’ This isn’t true, of course, but, gee, they are convinced. (Ask them to tell you how to get to their house or how many chairs they have in their living room.)

    To understand how I came up with this spelling backwards trick, let me tell you a glimpse about NLP. NLP is one of the cleverest and clearest templates of how the mind works, but it has this silly enormous rhinocerously cumbersome name: Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Luckily the acronym ‘NLP’ is easy to remember. By sherlock-holmesian observation, the NLP folk discovered that when we’re processing our internal info in primarily auditory terms, our eyes track along the horizontal axis. When we are tracking inner info visually, we look up. When we are tracking info in the kinesthetic or feeling modes, we look down. It’s as if the eyes were the mouse of the mind. An excellent thing about NLP is that it has no belief content involved, it’s strictly process.

   One of the unhelpful things that teachers do when they are doing spelling tests is to tell students to “Keep your eyes down on your own paper.” Of course really good spellers visualize. And where is visualization stored? No, not down on your paper, but up!

   Back in the day when I was studying NLP, I realized that if you spelled words backwards, you would have to visualize them in order to be able to do the task at all. So, for yourself and for a kid, make a list of short words to spell backwards. Start short so you will have lots of success.

     There are the classics that spell another cool word when backwards: evil spelled backwards is live. Dog/god. Devil/lived. Straw/warts. Rats/star. Ward/draw. These are nifty, but whenever you’re waiting in a line, you can practice any short words. Most words won’t ‘mean anything’ spelled backwards. Stay short in the early going. This is a cool trick, not a test.

    You can learn to imagine the word on a screen or the sky for that matter. You can imagine a plane skywriting the letters. You can notice the ‘font.’ Make the letters bigger and brighter. More neon or chiseled in marble. Play with the effects.

    Tibetan monks learn to visualize worlds with such dimensionality and completeness that they can enter those worlds in the way that we enter this one. We’ll talk more about that kind of visualization later. In the meantime, this little inner scrabble game can hone & tune your visualization so you can become more conscious and deliberate about visualizing.

   You should play with this game with your eyes open and with your eyes closed. I do implore you to stick with three and four and five letter words until you can manipulate the qualities of the letters with ease. Bigger, tiny, red, orange, cursive, print, all caps, lower case. Play.

    When I do this game with kids, I have a list of words that are something they like or recognize when they spell them backwards. Azzip/pizza. Arbez/zebra. Drib/bird. Evif/five. Yks/sky. I say the letters slowly. And repeat them. A-z-z-i-p. They have to see them in their mind’s eye and write the reverse down. They do not write the a-z-z-i-p down. The point is to visualize the letters with your mind's eye.

    I have to remind you to stay short early on because of our cussed and cursed temptation to compete. You’ll learn so much faster if you build on successes rather than making your mind sulky or baffled or balky with failure. And short is three letters or four letters. If the trick isn’t working for you, it’s because you’re not staying with short words. If someone says ‘t-a-c’ to you, you can spell back ‘cat.’ Practice three letter words if necessary until you can do them like eating popcorn.

    You are visualizing the whole daggone world you’re walking around in, by the way, so quit saying you can’t visualize anything. We’ll unwrap that metaphysical, nature-of-reality present more later. In the meantime, spell back.

   Ni eht naem emit lleps kcab.



A trick to backspelling longer words eventually is to use the sky or an inner sky – something really big so you can make the word big enough so you can see it easily.              


Ask Dr. Druid, 66 Days from Lead to Gold, Secrets of  Alchemy You Can Use, a druid shaman’s playbook .. Intro; Prologue; Day 1; Days 2 & 3; Day 4; Day 5; Day 6; Day 7; Day 8; Day 9; Day 10; Day 11; Day 12; Day 13; Day 14; day 15 Review 2; Day 16; Day 17; Day 18; Day 19; Day 20; Day 21; Day 22; Day 23; Day 24; Day 25; Day 26; Day 27; Day 28; Day 29;


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4 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Druid . Day 9 . Spelling Backwards

  1. I got stuck in a long supermarket line and played with this spelling backwards. It certainly whiled the time away. It's like being able to do a crossword puzzle but in my head without pencil or paper. I'm hooked.

  2. Thanks for reminding me, temps, that spelling backwards is a terrific little interstices filler — great at stoplights, but not while actually moving in a car if one is the driver.
    When actually driving, I make sure I'm cleanly and clearly only grokking what's on the dayreal road or in the mirror. Ye gawds know what most other people are thinking about.

  3. Mmmm…casting a spell backwards. Sound like Harry Potter.
    I find it interesting the way doing this shuts down all the auditory, morphological, and other associations one might have with the word so that you are forced to just visualize it. Wasn't this a Robert Dilts thing as well or were you the one who told Dilts about it?
    Anyway, is it possible to do this with other modes of perception and imagination?
    Golbgop now if I say that backwards, how would I visualize one?

  4. I told Dilts about it at a seminar I took with him. I saw his eyes go up imaging it. I gave him a list of 3, 4, & 5 letter words already spelled backwards to give to teachers, as I recall. Azzip/pizza & so forth. Kids love playing this game (“What is t-a-b backwards?” “Bat!!!” The more tasty or yucky or gruelling the result, the happier they are. F-l-o-w/wolf & so4th. K-n-u-j/junk. The spelling bee words usually don't spell anything backwards the first way (like a-z-z-i-p) but end up spelling something kids'll grok.
    It is crucial with kids to Have Almost Constant Success. As soon as they miss or struggle with a 4, go back down to 3 . . . or miss a 5, go back to 4.
    Spelling backwards is my favorite Stuck In Lines Game to this day.
    Seeing a golbgop is like seeing a nrocinu — only for those who believe.
    You can begin to notice that this extra-seeing is performed by there being a slight extra pressure behind the left eyeball.

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