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Trance states in Shamanism

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  • mythisis@aol.com
    From a friend of mine Mythi Trance States in Shamanism Date: Fri Jul 7, 2006 6:12 am (PDT) TRANCE STATES (or whatever title you want to give it) (The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8, 2006
      From a friend of mine

      Trance States in Shamanism

      Date: Fri Jul 7, 2006 6:12 am (PDT)

      TRANCE STATES (or whatever title you want to give it)
      (The following edited extracts from a paper wrtten by Joseph Bearwalker
      Wilson in 1978.It describes some theory of the trance state as it applies to

      copyright, 1978, 1995 by Joseph Bearwalker Wilson
      In order to journey to the other dimensions of existence a shaman induces an

      altered state of consciousness in himself similar to a state of
      self-hypnosis. While in this shamanic trance he is in complete control;
      able to take his
      consciousness and subtle bodies into nonphysical reality where he visits the

      heavens and hells of existence, communicates with and controls spirits,
      information, retrieves souls, and makes subtle changes in reality which may
      affect the physical world.
      A classical, and fairly accurate descriptive definition of hypnosis is "a
      condition or state of selective hypersuggestibility brought about in an
      individual through the use of certain specific psychological or physical
      manipulations of the individual." The key words here are "selective
      hypersuggestibility." A hypnotherapist uses that selective
      hypersuggestibility in order to help
      bring about desired changes in an individual. On the other hand a person
      practicing shamanic techniques uses that state in order to fine tune his or
      senses in order to see, feel, hear, and smell more vividly while traveling
      the other worlds.
      The lighter trance states feel like those times when you are reading a book,

      or watching television or a movie, and are so engrossed that you are not
      aware of your surroundings. The deeper trances feel similar to how you feel
      you are first waking up in the morning. You are aware that you are awake,
      your imagery is vivid and dreamlike, and you feel relaxed, calm, and good.
      The ability to attain a and control a trance is the result of cumulative
      conditioning and mental training.A weight lifter trains himself by
      daily. He begins by lifting relatively light weights and progresses to
      and heavier ones. Eventually he is able to lift a 200 pound weight above his

      head with relative ease. By working in this manner he has trained his
      to respond according to his will. After he has reached his goal he can
      maintain the ability by practicing only two or three times per week. If he
      practicing entirely his muscles will gradually loose their conditioning and
      strength and, after a time, he will no longer be able to lift the weight.
      reestablishing a routine of practice he will bring his ability back to
      where it
      This same principle applies to the trance state. You train your mind to
      respond in accordance with your will in order to produce the ability to
      develop a
      deep trance. This is done by daily practice. It may take some time and
      to establish that ability, but once you have it you will be able to maintain
      it by practicing only once or twice per week. If you stop practicing
      entirely your ability will gradually lessen. Like the weight lifter you
      will need to
      begin a more regular practice in order to reestablish your abilities.
      When you go into any trance you gradually progress from ordinary
      consciousness into deeper levels. It's convenient to have a means of
      measuring the depth
      of your trance, so the paragraphs that follow outline some of the symptoms
      found at various depths. For convenience sake I've divided the depths of
      trance into four major sections, and, using terms borrowed from the hypnotic

      sciences, called them the Hypnodial, Light, Medium, and Deep trance states.
      In the
      Hypnodial Trance you progress from ordinary consciousness through the
      following steps: feeling physically relaxed, drowsy, your mind becomes
      relaxed and
      you may feel apathetic or indifferent, your arms and legs start to feel
      heavy, you may have a tendency to stare blankly, and have a disinclination
      to move
      your limbs. As you border this and the Light Trance your breathing becomes
      slower and deeper, and your pulse rate slows.
      In the Light Trance you progress to a reluctance to move, speak, think or
      act. You may experience some involuntary twitching of your mouth or jaw, and

      sometimes of the eyes. You will feel a heaviness throughout your entire body
      a partial feeling of detachment. You may also experience visual illusions.
      As you border this and the Medium Trance you recognize that you are in a
      trance, but may find that feeling hard to describe.
      In the Medium Trance you definitely recognize that you are in a trance and
      may experience partial amnesia unless you consciously choose not to. By
      yourself the proper suggestions you can make any part of your body
      insensitive to pain, and can experience the illusions of touching, tasting,
      smelling. You will be more sensitive to variations in atmospheric pressure
      temperature changes. As you border this and the Deep Trance you may
      complete catalepsy of your limbs or body. In other words, if your limbs or
      positions are changed you will leave them in the new position until they
      changed again.
      In the Deep Trance you can have the ability to open your eyes without
      affecting the trance. You will also have the ability to control such body
      as heart beat, blood pressure, digestion, and body temperature. You can
      your body and limbs completely rigid. You will be able to recall lost
      memories and experience age regression. Here you can vividly experience the
      sensation of lightness, floating, or flying. You can also experience both
      and negative visual and auditory hallucinations both while in the trance,
      if given the proper suggestions, after awakening from the trance state.
      (A positive hallucination is when you are told that you see something that
      not there, and you see it. A negative hallucination is when you are told
      that you do not see something that is there, and you do not.) In this state
      can also stimulate dreams and visions, both during the trance state and
      proper suggestion) later in your natural sleep.
      Each depth of trance has valuable uses. For example, in the Light and Medium

      Trances you can learn to begin practical shamanic journeying so that you can

      see, hear, touch and smell experiences in the worlds which border ours. In
      those trance states these journeys will feel similar to a fantasy or
      and you may wonder if it is real, or just your imagination. As you train
      yourself to deepen the trance the journeys become more vivid, until, in the
      Trance, they look and feel as though they are taking place in physical
      Copyright (c) 1978, 1995 Joseph B. Wilson
      Joseph Bearwalker Wilson (

      People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the
      sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only
      there is light within.
      - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


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