How To Enter A Trance State
Entering a trance state is a very basic magickal technique that all magick-users should master. It is the first step toward astral projection or mediumship and many divination methods simply do not work if a trance state isn't first acquired. Entering a trance may seem difficult and even scary to some people the first time, but it's very natural. Humans are hard wired for trance. Western culture is the only culture that rejects trance as a valid form of spiritual expression. This may be why so many people seek unhealthy ecstatic experiences and become addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex and pornography and thrill seeking. All of these fulfill similar needs as trance as all produce ecstatic states, but they may have harmful affects on the body or on the person's life and relationships.
There are no necessary tools for acquiring a trance state. There are some things that can help, or make the process more enjoyable.
Music, especially drums.
Lighting, candles can be used for focus, strobe lights can induce a trance state (and also seizures).
A flog, whip or cat o' nine tails
There are several ways to enter a trance or ecstatic state.
The most basic and simple method for entering trance is complete relaxation and focus. That is, you simply get comfortable and focus on something, say the tree in your back yard, or a crystal in your hand. Get more and more relaxed, always thinking about that object and then boom. There you are.
But this is difficult for many people. Not just the relaxing, but also the focusing. The reason this is difficult is because your brain is always busy. It's noticing all the sounds around you, the changes in light, the smells and the whole time it's talking to you and telling you how silly you're being. In order to be successful, you may need to distract your brain.
Drowning out environmental noises with some sort of repetitive sound is much more effective than attempting to eliminate them. Drumbeats are the best (180 beats per minute is ideal) but wave sounds or just static are also helpful. This gives your brain something to listen to, but nothing really to wonder about and because it's repetitive, it'll eventually lull it into a place where it's not even listening anymore.
Your eyes also are constantly sending messages to your brain, and again, just blocking out all light isn't going to be as effective as providing some sort of distraction. Watching the aforementioned tree move in the wind and observing the play of light over its leaves is a great distraction. You can also pick a simple picture to look at; something tricky is ideal, like an optical illusion. Your brain will puzzle over it and forget to worry about what your mind is doing. Some people find gazing at a candle is helpful while some people prefer to overload their brain with strobe lights. Don't do that if you have a history of seizures! Disconnecting your TV from the cable and turning it up loud will give you not only and incredibly boring visual but also a annoying audio, which will lull your brain into a stupor in no time.
Your body is also sending messages to the brain. It's saying that you've got an itch, you're a little hungry, you might have to go to the bathroom soon, it's a little too cool in here, don't you think and I think our pants are too tight. For many the discipline of ignoring these sensations is part of trance, but others find these sensations impossible to ignore. If you find your body is distracting you, you'll have to distract it. You can distract your body by repetitive sensations, like massage or flogging though you may need someone else's help with this. Submerging yourself in warm water or by simply exhausting your body through some sort of exercise may also help.
Many people enter a trance state through ecstatic dance. You may have seen movies in which Voodoo Priestesses or tribal Shamans performed a ritual dance and received the answers to his or her question, either by journeying to talk to the spirits before or after the dance or having a spirit actually speak through them. Ecstatic dance keeps your brain busy so your mind can wander by tying it up with moving your body, exhausting your body so that it doesn't provide a distraction, and filling your ears with drum beats.
It's difficult to describe exactly what it's like to be in a trance state. Most people don't realize they are in a trance state the first time and once they do they snap right back out of it. This is okay; it's all part of the process. Eventually as you move, or lay there, you will find that the music is very distant, or you will find if you are dancing that you no longer are directing your body, it's dancing on its own. You will be in a dream state- and that's okay. You will feel distant, relaxed, and yet hyper aware. You will feel as if your body is unimportant, perhaps even out of your control, but you will look on the world with new understanding.
Once you are in a trance state you may wish to explore journey, astral projection, mediumship or a variety of other interesting methods of divination and enlightenment that are available to you through trance.
Less Recommended Methods
One of the easiest ways to achieve a trance state is through the use of drugs, and this is practiced in many cultures worldwide, but I do not recommend it in our culture because many of the most useful drugs for this purpose are illegal and those that aren't can have devastating affects on your mind and body. There are few specialists who can guide you through the process safely, and experimenting on your own is dangerous and if you require medical attention, you may end up facing drug charges and rehab.
Another method that is popular worldwide is asceticism. That is, causing yourself so much pain that your consciousness flees your body in an effort to relieve the suffering, thus throwing you into an ecstatic state. This can be accomplished through fasting, subjecting yourself to severe heat or cold or lack of sleep or whipping or cutting yourself. For obvious reasons, I do not recommend this method either. Again, there are few specialists available to guide you and if you end up in the emergency room and if you damage yourself enough to need medical attention, you'll likely find yourself in treatment for mental illness.
For More Information:
Print this page for your Book of Shadows
Did you try this project? Tweak it? Have a different method? Tell us what you think!