‘Trance 1’ Posts


Trance 1: #10

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Create a self-hypnosis tape to put yourself in trance and go on a spirit journey and bring yourself back out. Submit a script as well as a summary of your results. (min. 200 words for the summary)

My journey script:

Breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling with the rhythm of the drums.

Sit comfortably, allow your body to stop fidgeting

Spend some time trying to empty your brain, focus on the beats

For each beat, you journey further and further down a wooden pathway, surrounded by fog.

The pathway is familiar, you’ve traveled down it many times before

At the end of the pathway is a stone gateway with two figures standing on each side.  

One is dressed in a white robe with blue trim.  There are no facial features revealed, just simply a long white beard. Your gatekeeper.

The other figure is a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman in a lose violet robe, the earth mother.

Through the stone gate is more indiscernible fog, but you can still navigate down the pathway.

Eventually you come upon a second gate that reveals itself through the fog.  On the other side you see a beautiful open field of yellow and green grasses and bright sunshine.

The path no longer continues, but in the distance there is a large hill or mound.

You walk up towards this mound and see a small stone-lined gateway that tunnels underneath the mount.

You enter through the third gateway and before you is a spiraling stone staircase that lead downwards into the earth

As you descend the air is cool and damp, but you eventually reach a round open chamber.

In this chamber there is a stone firepit that protrudes from the floor filled with rainbow fire.

You are able to look around the room and see faceless figures surrounding the chamber against the stone walls, each having its own place within the wall.  These are your ancient wise.

[Allow time to see, hear, feel and interpret any messages]

Once you have finished speaking, leave a prayer at the fire and return through the steps in which you came.


This was a very familiar journey work, as it was the same one done for my initial clergy journey to the mound, except it was scripted by me this time and not anyone else.  I recorded a separate track, bringing my own mixing skills back on the table, of my usual drum beat to help me follow along.  It worked for the most part, but honestly I was thrown off-guard by hearing my own voice, which I am not comfortable with, and of course with the guided meditation part.  To me, the speaking portion is distracting, and I would much rather allow my brain to do all the work for me rather than have someone else direct where my brain needs to go.  That’s not to say that this is never successful, it’s just not frequently successful, or preferred.

So my journey for this portion was partially successful.  I was able envision myself in the mound, but I did not hear any words from the Ancient Wise.  There was no message, and most of them weren’t even there.  I suppose unannounced visits are simply not always successful.  I walked around for a bit, said a prayer to those who have gone before, basically leaving a message that if there was anything that needed to be said, to feel free to leave them in my dreams later on.

 (Word Count: 227)


Trance 1: #9

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Keep a journal for five months detailing the trance work that you have done. Write an essay based off those journals that examines your practice over the time you journaled. In this essay, explain how you can apply the trance work to divination, magic, and other workings you do in ritual and personally. Entries occurring less than weekly will not count toward completion of this requirement. Your journal must include work from the exercises found in the support material for this course. (min. 1000 words)

I decided that a weekday would be best for doing my trance-work, simply because my weekends get too hectic between Grove and Kindred events (among other things).  It was easier to pick one day during the weekday to reserve for this purpose.

My trance-work started out in the spring during a fairly hectic time in my career.  Work was insanely busy, I was working long hours with no over-time, my boss was taking advantage of my dedication and I was really feeling run-down for it.  Perhaps this was the perfect time to start to do trance-work for my mental health, as well as for training my mind and body to take control in times of stress and need.  My hope was that this would also strengthen my mind for chaotic times as Clergy, whether it is through crisis’, or keeping energies where they need to be in ritual.

The first 3 weeks worth of meditations were fairly uneventful.  I was able to do my usual struggle for the monthly clergy journey to the mound.  My personal trance-work however, was not very successful, simply because I went into it without a purpose, and I went into it silently.  Doing silent meditation was my first initial goal and test to see how successful I could be at it, since it was always the hardest and least successful for me.

To change things up a bit, over the next 5 weeks I decided to try a guided meditation through “The Calming Collection”.  I was in the process of switching jobs, so I felt like my stress level was going to decrease and I was going to enjoy keeping myself calm and motivated.

Guided meditation is another method I dislike because most of the experiences I’ve had are with inexperienced individuals attempting to create a script from memory and instead just creating a bucket full of awkward words strung together in a poorly-written story.  So I decided to try a professional.  Unfortunately, my results were still not that great.  They were certainly improved.  I felt a lot more calm, I was able to focus more, and I even felt like I had reached the next level of trance in that my brain was starting to reach the level of calm that would allow me to experience a deep calm.

After several of these alternative meditative attempts, I decided to go back to my usual routine that has more of a success rate.

The next 4 weeks were spent doing weekly meditation through listening to drumming on a CD.  I picked rhythms there were simple and repetitious without singing, and allowed me to simply listen to the rhythm and focus on that instead of all of my thoughts and concerns.  These were pretty successful and I felt I was able to reach a level of deep personal trance that I was unable to attain previously.  My only issue with this method is sometimes I start to dance along with the rhythm, or I start to picture scenarios appropriate to the music (think movie scenes).  So while not 100% successful, it will do in a pinch when I am unable to take a drum with me.  Compact meditation right here.

My final and preferred method of trancing out and meditation is through actual physical drumming.  The repetitive movement and sound that I create through MY own brain and where MY subconscious wants to go is far more successful for me and what I enjoy the most.  It forces my mind AND body to focus on the same rhythm, and it’s my rhythm.  It’s the beat coming from me allowing me to focus and remain calm.

When I was being brought to the mound for the first time, Caryn asked Ian to drum for me.  She did this because over the many years we have done work together, she knew hands-down that this was the best method for me to be able to do this for the first time.  She was very correct, and I was able to successfully complete the journey with my fellow Clergy.

In our rituals at the Grove I have been the designated drummer for quite a few years.  I have developed a process and etiquette for drumming that I feel best suites public ritual in my opinion over the years.  My go-to rhythm involves 9 beats that is very similar to a human heart that I call the heartbeat of the earth.  This is done in a very low, non-intrusive sound so it is not overpowering the speakers or offerings during ritual.  Once a liturgist has finished speakings and a call and response is induced, the beat increases sharply during the response to enhance the energy of the group mind.  When we reach the praise offering portion of the right, the intensity of the beat may become louder, and with each response I hit the drum sharply again to enhance the energy of the group.  When there are portions where a lot of awkward silence may break up the flow of ritual, I will increase the intensity of the same beat to keep everyone on the same page.  The highest point of energy in our rituals, where the drumming has to be the most intense and consistent, is when folks are performing their personal magic.  I truly feel that having the rhythm of the group mind to back them up during their workings only enhances their rate of success and passion for their outcome.

At this point the energy of the ritual needs to come down off of its highs, so my rhythms will start to decrease in volume (again, except for during the responsive portions).  At the very end of the flow, I will then try to keep everyones spirits up with a fun beat during the recessional on the way to revels to feast and ground.  People will sometimes linger after ritual to dance around, but the sound will help carry everyone and their energies off to revels so we can then all ground together as a community.

Now, there are parts of ritual and magic that physical drumming is not appropriate or even possible for.  During an omen/divination where I have to physically pull and read the runes, then drumming is not possible.  For personal omens I could listen to a CD, of course, but I don’t bother.  In public ritual, either someone else will continue the drumming, or we will do so in silence.  Silent meditation would also be an option here, and is the most likely candidate during public ritual where I am reading the omen, which is why it is still important for me to continue trying and improving my own personal ability to silently meditate.

(Word Count: 1097)


Trance 1: #8

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Describe what happens to the body during a trance state from a physical standpoint. (min. 300 words)

During a trance-like state, at least during the beginning stages of getting used to trance-work, my body was generally still, but somewhat fidgety.  Since I’ve been working on adjusting my abilities to trance, I’ve noticed the subtle adjustments in how my body reacts.  It becomes more calm, eases into the trance-state with less distraction, and I am able to keep on focus for a longer period of time.

Psychology today describes the process of going into trance or hypnosis as a disconnection of your mind from your body and surroundings.  You feel relaxed, similar to taking a nap, but the difference is the experience you have during trance.  There’s often a sense of disconnect with time and an aware europhia (Psychology Today). Other sensations that people have experienced include arm levitation

Essentially, your body does not really go through many physical changes except relaxation.  You may feel sensations of hot or cold, breathing may change, you may shake, but overall your body is the same before the trance.  Mentally, however, you go through various changes in order to prep your mind for the journey, during the journey-work, and then the adjustment back to a normal alert state.

For myself, my body can sit still for a good while as needed, but the stillness does not help my meditative state.  Movement is what helps me and allows me to trance out.  Rhythm through drumming is what keeps my mind focused, alert, but able to still avoid the distractions of thoughts and day-to-day activities.  The beat gives me something to focus on, provides a repetitive motion and sound, much like a heartbeat, and allows my body to adjust to that while my mind clears and fills with rhythm instead.  When in ritual, the same applies.  The drumbeat uniquely keeps everyone in the same rhythm and focus, which is something you can’t do through guided spoken meditation very easily, and certainly not during silent meditation.  Rhythm makes everyone want to dance, everyone want to focus on the same beat, and raise the energy as needed during the proper time.

(Word Count: 346)


Trance 1: Citations

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“History of Hypnosis.” Healing with Hypnosis. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2014. <http://www.healingwithhypnosis.com/self-hypnosis-articles/history-of-hypnosis.aspx>.

Hunter, C. Roy., and Charles Tebbetts. The Art of Hypnosis: Mastering Basic Techniques. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub., 2000. Print.

“Dionysian Mysteries.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysian_Mysteries>.

“SACRIFICE, PRAYER, AND DIVINATION.” Sacred Texts. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/rac/rac19.htm>.

Jonuks, T., and A. Kriiska. “Book Review: Anders Andren, Kristina Jennbert and Catharina Raudvere (eds), Old Norse Religion in Long-Term Perspectives. Origins, Changes, and Interactions. An International Conference in Lund, Sweden, June 3–7, 2004. (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2006, 416 Pp., Illustrated, Hbk, 978 91 89116 81 8).” European Journal of Archaeology 10.2-3 (2007): 257-58. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://eldar-heide.net/Publikasjonar%20til%20heimesida/Spinning%20seidr,%20Lund%20conf%20Heide.pdf>.

“What Does Hypnosis Really Feel Like?” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hypnosis-the-power-trance/200907/what-does-hypnosis-really-feel>.




Trance 1, #7

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Using one of the three methods described in requirement 6, describe in depth a single experience you had while in the trance state from an experiential point of view (i.e. what did you feel, see, sense, etc.). (min. 300 words)

One of the coolest trances I ever experienced was at our old farm, where I had Caryn, Will, my dad, and a few others over for a small fire, meal, and drumming.  Caryn, Will, and I decided to start drumming around dusk.  A fire was burning in a metal barrel, tall enough that you could see the flames from the top.  The heat from the barrel was soothing and the night was crisp.

As we continued to drum, everything else was silent around us except for the sounds of nature (we were on a farm, afterall, very peaceful).  The rhythms were in-sync, the fire was mesmerizing, and we were all quietly attaching ourselves to the rhythm and the moment.

I noticed my father sitting next to me just watching the fire and enjoying the music.  He was very quiet and contemplative, which is not abnormal for him, and he always enjoys supporting my spiritual endeavors so he’ll come out and participate now and then.

After the drumming stopped for this round, dad smiled and said that he zoned out during that and he had never done that before (lets face it, he’s a farmer, they don’t do this kind of stuff).  He was pretty tickled and felt refreshed and reconnected to the earth afterwards.  And of course, I was tickled pink because I got to experience that moment with him and interlink with him on a level we never have before.  It was an important moment for me and was really rather easy to obtain a trance-like state, even from someone who had never done anything like that before, or had any thoughts towards trying it.  It just happened naturally due to the ambiance of the light, the darkness of the night, the cool sounds of the earth, and the rhythmic beats of the drum.

(Word Count: 305)


Trance 1, #6

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Identify and explain three methods of attaining a trance state. (min. 150 words per method)

The number one method of attaining a trance state for me is through drumming (or rhythm).  Rhythm allows you to latch onto a “heart beat” of sorts and maintain a consistent and expected state that then allows the rest of you to relax and let go.  At least that is the experience of drumming trances for me.  Once I am in my “groove”, my mind focuses on the rhythm and the beat sorta…fills my soul and my thoughts so I can’t focus on other things.  I have to maintain the rhythm or be completely caught off-guard and feel distraught and unbalanced.  Think of this similar to counting sheep to fall asleep, it’s the repetitive rhythmic motion that your brain has to focus on, that actually allows your brain to relax from stress and distractions and go into a trance state.  This is what drumming does for me, and my love for music only enhances the feeling, which is why this is still the number one method of trance for me.

(Word Count: 170)

Another method of trance is through meditative breathing.  This seems to be the bare bones basic method of getting to a trance state, and in some ways is very similar to my loud drumming method.  It’s all rhythm and repetition.  Your brain can latch on to the rhythm or action being performed so it cannot focus on all the distractions. However, breathing is a more accessible method, and one that can be done anywhere, such as the office, when needed.  The extra oxygen from breathing in and out in a repeated pattern helps to encourage an alert trance state.  After enough repetitions, the brain becomes used to the rhythmic flow and you may even start to lose count and succumb to the trance state naturally.  This is a rather non-evasive way to meditate and trance in order to allow your mind to be more receptive to the divine or unknown.  This way is representative of mental acuity and cleansing.

(Word Count: 159)

Lastly, visual trance, or journeying really, is another way to attain a trance state.  Using the breathing method above to start, or just silent meditation, you force your mind to focus on a visual “mind journey” to reach either a purposeful location, or allow your mind to wander where it pleases.  The premise is the same, your mind is latched onto the visual aspect of the journey that it is prevented from being distracted by the mundane (for the most part).  Your journey, or where your mind or the divine decides to lead you, tells a story or provides insight into your mind or what messages from the divine you are supposed to procure.  This method allows you to see things and go places you might not otherwise be able to in the physical world.  That is why I am interested in enhancing my skills for this method, because I am curious as to where it might lead me.

(Word Count: 159)


Trance 1: #4

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Identify and describe three instances where trance is found in ancient Indo-European cultures. (min. 150 words each instance)

Three cultures that had historical notations of trance-like work in the Indo-European cultures are the Norse, the Hellenic, and the Irish cultures.

Shared throughout the Greek and Roman cultures, one example we have that shows trance-like historical connotations are the Dionysian Mysteries.  This was a savory ritual where participants would ingest intoxicants and engage in trance-like activities in order to remove inhibitions with the intent of returning to their natural primal mental state outside of social restrictions.  Bacchus and Dionysus were both generally associated with madness, more of a divine madness however.  The induction rites associated with the Dionysian Mysteries had a very trance-like structure based on a death-rebirth theme and spirit possession (Wikipedia).  Part of these rites required dance and rhythm that was representative of the “invocation of spirit”, similar to possession.  The thought behind these trance dances is that it was a form of liberation from society where participants were considered more equal than current society allowed.   They believed they would gain divine power and knowledge through trance.  I can certainly sympathize with this method of trance, as rhythm is my top method for trance through drumming and the only way I feel completely comfortable allowing my mind to “let go”.

(Word Count: 181)

In Irish culture, after lengthy conversation with both Kirk and Sean since my Irish culture knowledge is limited, I learned of an old trance custom called the Taghairm.  During this ritual, a seer is wrapped in a cow’s hide that has been previously sacrificed for this purpose.  The seer was then placed somewhere quiet, alone, and was left to sleep and await for spirits to arrive in his dreams to deliver messages and inspiration (Sacred Texts).  I am suspect at the ability for trance-like states while sleeping, I suppose it is possible given the proper environments.

This particular custom is thought to link the seer to the divine through the skin of the cow, because the intent and sacrifice of the cow prior linked it to the divine through purpose.  This would allow the seer to procure enlightenment through a meditative sleep trance and some sort of mental acuity during this time of solace.

(Word Count: 152)

In some of the old Norse Culture, Seiðr had many different methods of a trance-like state.  One in particular, Gandr, is where the *gothi would send a “mind-in-shape emissary” forth.  This was generally done through “spinning”, or a representative act of “spinning” such as yarn, which is then sent out like a whirlwind and then comes back.  Several historical references relate to the spinning concept, such as folklore suggesting that skilled sorcerers could steal milk from other peoples cows by milking a rope (Andrén).  The emissary is referenced multiple times as some sort of spun thread or magic wind that has been spun by a type of sorcerer.

There is a Saami poem called “The Son of the Sun” that depicts three win-knots that contain the soul of a new human, which is another reference we see in the lore of magic wind or something spun that acts as an emissary carrying something. I sort of picture this like a boomerang effect in that what you send spinning outward would eventually return to you, for whatever good or bad.

(Word Count: 179)


Trance 1: #5

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Describe three ways trance can be used in personal spiritual practice. (min. 100 words each)

One basic way to use Trance in personal spiritual practice is through meditation.  This requires an internal focus to quiet your thoughts and mind, and focus on being still and silent in a reflective moment.  Meditation is something I have been working on throughout this course, and it definitely improves through repetitious use, though I suspect for me it’s taking longer than most because my mind simply doesn’t like to lay still.  However, I am determined to keep focus on meditation to help reduce stress and keep my mind sharp, eased, and focused.  This will, in turn, benefit my mundane life and career and allow me to handle situations (particularly those of stress) with more ease.

(Word Count: 116)

Another method of trance work is one that my Grove does on a regular basis before each high rite, but I am not as fond of.  This is the use of trance journeying.  In this particular case (the Grove), they journey to meet the deities before each high rite to familiarize themselves with them and open up communication about the upcoming rite.  We also do journeys to the mound as Clergy, which I maintain when I can, but is my only particular form of journey-work that I do on any regular basis.  However, the more I read about other peoples successful journey’s, the more it does make me want to give it another shot to see if I can improve on this particular skill-set.

(Word Count: 124)

Lastly, possession is another form of trance that people will incorporate into their personal spiritual practice, though it is not one I incorporate into mine.  I know several local heathens, Laurel Mendes and Cat Heath specifically, that use Seiðr as a form of  “possessive trance” in ritual to help answer questions from the divine during local heathen festivals.  Donald and I were able to participate in one of these, though it was late at night and it was freezing, so my ability to absorb myself into the ritual was beyond what I could control and adapt.  We were able to watch as the chief liturgist performed this particular trance state and connect to the divine for us to all connect in our own way to have answers given.  Note to all future Seiðr people, please do these where we can all be comfy and receptive 🙂

(Word Count: 128)


Trance 1: #3

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Describe the ethical issues surrounding neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis. (min. 150 words)

C. Roy Hunter gives a very good encompassing and appropriate simple defining rule to ethics in hypnosis:

Do for the client what you would want done if the roles were reversed.

This pretty much wedges perfectly in the type of ethics in ADF spirituality and priesthood which we are trying to accomplish.  The National Guild of Hypnotists created an outline of ethics to follow to help keep the industry and trade safe and maintain the integrity of the practice.  One of the biggest potential threats that someone may experience while under a trance-like state is sexual misconduct if approached by an unethical hypnotist (Hunter, 145). Though, really, any method of taking advantage of a patient while they are under a trance-induced state is unethical.  Beyond sexual misconduct, this could mean financial/fraud manipulation and emotional manipulation.

The ethical standards are also important for the safety of the practitioner.  You could get sued for any of the above and risk your entire career if found guilty of client misconduct.  So  all it’s very important (in really all forms of business and counseling) to conduct yourself with the highest moral integrity, especially acting as a representative to the Gods.

(Word Count: 194)


Trance 1: #2

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Give a brief history of hypnosis. (min. 300 words)

The technique of hypnosis has been around for thousands of years, the earliest records dating back to ancient Egypt and China.  Ancient Greece has remnants of a temple of Asklepios dedicated to a healing God as a sleep healing temple.   The purpose of this temple was to force the patients to prepare relax silently on a stone lounge in order to meet Asklepios.  He would come to them and then declare their symptoms changed, depending on what they were.  This declaration was a form of hypnosis to change the mindset of the patient for an alternative outcome.

Over time, however, the most prevalent influence on the “discovery” and development of hypnosis was Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer from the 1800’s.  During this time, he put a lot of research and investigation into what he called “animal magnetism”, where he used magnets to manipulate energy with power of suggestion to heal people. He’d use various methods such as touch trance-inducing, or waving magnetic wands over his patients during his experiments. While his name for this was inaccurate and weird, and what he did was considered very controversial to its time, he did a lot of experimentation that resulted in good foundation work for trance.

The word “hypnosis” has varied hypothesis on where the term was coined exactly.  Some say that Mesmer’s work was picked up by a Scottish surgeon named James Braid who was the original creator of the term “hypnosis”, from the Greek God Hypnos who was a God of sleep.  He issued this name under the assumption that people who were in a Trance state were asleep, which was inaccurate but the name stuck.  The other hypothesis was that “hypnosis” was coined by a french physician named de Cuvillers.

Modern hypnosis is attributed to Clark Hull, who wrote the book “Hypnosis and Suggestibility“, which was subsequently used to help train doctors on using hypnosis to aid in surgical procedures during World War II when morphine was not available, and rather successfully.  It was because of this success that the “Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis” which became an international organization of various types of physicians and doctors dedicated to the practice of hypnosis and what it provides for modern medicine (Gurgevich).

(Word Count: 371)