Trance 2, Requirement 3
Describe three experiences of trance. These trances must come from three different methods chosen from the list below: (min. 150 words for each experience)
- Body Postures
- Sonic Driving
- Aescetic Practices
- Visual Concentration
- Spoken Guidance
For this, I chose one moderately unsuccessful trance working and two successful ones.
Body Postures (with Sonic Driving)
[Body postures, by their nature, usually involve sonic driving. For this posture, I used a rattle beat, recorded by Dr. Felicitas Goodman, and tried out Lugh's "crane posture": standing on one leg, folding in one arm, closing one eye, and stretching out to point.]
This trance experience can be best described in two ways: "disappointing" and "needs more experimentation." The posture is difficult to hold and balance is an issue, so trance took a long time to begin. Once in trance, two major sensations stood out: first, there was a warmth that seemed to reach my hand, one that felt like it was drawing forth inner power, but it did not go further; second, my left arm, which was folded to my side, seemed to become connected both at the shoulder (where it naturally connects) and at the wrist, where it rested against my side, as if I had a wing. There was an experience of the rattle "moving around," but this was minor, and usual for sonic driving. There were no solid images, but only vague feelings. The whole experience brought me to a notion of greater experiment, because I have a feeling that if I can get the posture right, then these feelings, I expect will intensify.
[I sang the Clergy Charm for 13 minutes.]
This was very interesting. I found that I spent some time settling on a tempo and eventually on a different tune than usual. By the end of the 13 minutes, I was chanting the entire charm in about 8 seconds, and this felt very comfortable to me. The most obvious thing I noticed was that I was able to concentrate on several things at once: I was chanting, considering the time left, able to look around, and think about a variety of different things (including what I might write in my journal for this particular tranceworking). On toward the end, though, when I glanced at my timer and saw I had 4 minutes left, I also found that while part of me thought, "Man, four more minutes?" (that's the impatient jerk within me), most of me really, really didn't want to stop. I was experiencing an interesting high that was combined with impatience and annoyance, and I realized that not only could I think about two different things at once, but I could actually experience several emotions at once. By the end of it, I found that the greatest benefit of this type of trancework is an ability to focus on several things at once, and to really, really focus on them: it was an amazing clarity of a sort I have rarely experienced before.
[I stared at the flame of a tealight for 10 minutes, with white noise from a fan in the backgorund.]
This was a visually interesting trance: as I stared at the tealight's flame, I noticed several things occuring in succession. First, I noticed additional colours in the flame, notably a greenish colour that I knew (logically) was not there. Next, the flame spread out and became two, though this was a trick of my eyes relaxing. The next thing I noticed, though, was that the part of the wick that was bright red with heat seemed to form a five-pointed star. I watched my breath for a time, and began to perceive the flickering of the candle as reflective of my breath (even thugh I wasn't breathing on the candle). As I watched each of these things happen, I also noticed that (like the chant experience above) I was able to focus clearly on things in my periphery and think about them while still holding solid with the flame itself. It was through this addition of focus on things around me that led into trance, and from there the stiffness in my body relaxed, my breathing steadied, and other visual and aural interference began to dissipate. Over time, I could see things in the flame: shapes that formed and slipped away, for instance. Then there was a short time when there was only the flame in my vision, and my inner eye began to catch clues of the areas around the flame: a cobbled floor and a sense of a high ceiling, deep within the earth. This stayed until my alarm went off to tell me it was time to exit the state.
- Goodman, Felicitas. Where the Spirits Ride the Wind: Trance Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences. Indiana University Press : Bloomington. 1990.
- Goodman, Felicitas and Nauwald, Nana. Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures: A Workbook. Binkey Kok : Holland. 2003
- Gore, Belinda. Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook. Bear & Co. : Santa Fe, NM. 1995.
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