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Trance 2, Requirement 2

Explain the use of trance in group ritual, including the Neurolinguistic Programming techniques of "anchoring" and "leading" in trance induction. Give an example of how you would script this use in ritual. (min. 300 words)

Trance in group ritual is something that helps to bring us all into the same state, inducing flow experience, establishing group mind, or allowing us to access symbol sets and thoughts we might not have access to for various reasons in our normal states of consciousness. In exiting the "normal," we can enter the "spiritual" or "other" states. To do this as a group can be a very powerful thing.

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) techniques such as anchoring and leading can be very useful. Some definitions might be:

  • Anchoring – Anchors are actions, words, visual objects, or another sensory trigger that brings one into a specific state of mind, or draws forth a memory or past experience.
  • Leading – Leading follows from pacing, and is a part of building rapport. Rapport is established by pacing (or "matching") another's actions, vocal inflections, breathing patterns or volume in order to reflect them back to the person. This mimicry allows you to slowly "suggest" the direction of the conversation or interaction. Once pacing has been established, leading can begin through changing your tone, body language, or actions to lead the other person to a new conclusion, state, or place.

Anchors can be used in ritual in at least two particular ways:

  1. Repetition – establishing specific acts, phrases, and/or patterns that, when called on in whole or in part, anchor a person to a particular ritual state or experience.
    • In a conversation with Rev. Jenni Hunt, she told me of a specific anchor for her: "We are here to honour the gods." This is something Ian says in every rite, and she developed it into her touchstone with repetition. The fact that the Cranes rarely (if ever) use this phrase may have had a way of throwing her off, since that touchstone wasn't available. I began using it on occasion in ritual once I learned of this disconnect.
    • In my own experience, the phrase, "from deep within the turning Wheel of the Sky, a single ray of light shines down, out and down. . ." is an anchor. I use it when I do a Two Powers meditation, but have to mentally add it in when I am not leading. This is because at every rite I did at 6th Night, this phrase was used in the Two Powers, becoming that anchor.
  2. Immediate Creation – By creating strong experience and then applying a specific action or phrase, an instant anchor can be established.
    • The Clergy Order Work is a good example of this, developing a strong experience for those who took part and then creating a charm that could be sung to bring that experience home at any time.

In order to start using leading, you need to establish rapport with the congregation. Anchoring can speed this along, particuarly if you have a common phrase or prayer (such as "Let us pray with a good fire" or a cosmos prayer of sorts). For rituals where there are many new people, though, you will have to spend more time establishing that rapport (most often through greater cosmos descriptions or additional trance work) before you can begin to lead them using NLP techniques.

Leading can be done verbally by using a pattern for your words. The most common pattern is probably this:

Pace, pace pace. Lead.
Pace, pace, lead, lead.
Pace, lead, lead, lead.

The "pace" placeholders above are statements of fact, or statements grounded specifically in what a person knows or feels. The "lead" placeholder is for statements that depart a bit from this grounding, and begin to suggest an idea or a feeling that isn't as grounded. As the pattern progresses, additional leading occurrs, allowing the listener to slowly reach the point of understanding and accepting the point they are being led to.

The Two Powers is an excellent example of this, starting with:

"Begin with your body [pace]
Plant your feet firmly on the ground, balanced and upright [pace]
Let gravity pull you to the earth evenly [pace]
Release the tensions of everyday life [lead]"

Soon we come to breathing:

"Now, focus on your breath [pace]
Fill your lungs completely, and exhale fully [pace]
As you breathe out, feel roots reach from the soles of your feet [lead]
Let your taproot reach the waters far below. [lead]"
Now, we build on that again
"Breath in now, [pace]
And as you do so, draw the waters up through this root [lead]
Feel the waters as they flow up your roots, into your legs [lead]
Feel them as they cool your body and pool in your loins [lead]"

Then, repeat.

This process can go on for a very long time, leading the folk deeper and deeper. Drawing on it for attunement meditaitons (such as the Two Powers meditation above) can be particularly powerful, as can using it for a gatekeeper meditation or for the Waters or main workings.



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