Posted in elemental kingdom, Energy healing, Shamanism, spiritual skills and techniques, transformation

Shamanic Trance Intensive

As a shamanic practitioner, I wish to understand trance and look to history for inspiration.  I look towards those ancestors who lived before agriculture, the hunter gatherers.  A time when shamanism was synonymous with everyday life.  For thousands and thousands of years, humans have appreciated that there’s another state, another experience available within the human sphere, beyond our physical expression, and it happens during trance. 

Trance is a part of our lives even today, but we rationalise it as something ‘other’.  To our forebears  it was as real as what we call ‘normal’ everyday life.  They saw how powerful this state of consciousness is, they understood the possibilities and embraced it.

I’m especially interested in learning how to intensify the trance state in today’s world without the aid of hallucinogens.  I’ve realised there are numerous ways we can go deep into trance, especially when we layer the methods. 

Breathing is a hugely fundamental tool, as is repetitive percussive sound at about four beats per second.  These are my usual techniques when I’m doing shamanic work.  Another layer is sensory deprivation, wearing gear that renders us unable to see or hear.  Of course, if we are free-floating in a large tank of salt water in the dark, that’s going to do it, but that’s too impractical for the most part, so I’ll give that a miss since my bath isn’t big enough.

The shamanic trance intensive retreat kicks off with a vision quest, a powerful way to induce trance in itself.  One of the ways it does this is to induce a state of fear.  The idea is spending anything from a night to five days and nights alone, without human contact, with little or no food and only water to drink, with no comforts and staying awake the whole time, in a state of meditation and contemplation.  Staying with ourselves.  And that’s the scariest bit, having nothing to distract us from ourselves.  We live in a world where there’s so much to fill us up so that we’re not having to be with ourselves, TV, radio, music, books, phone, computer, social life, activities, food, alcohol.  We keep ourselves engaged to avoid having too much emptiness when who-knows-what can emerge from within us.  Vision quest is all about being with ourselves good and proper.  And that’s something that can take us into trance.  Some crazy things happened to me on my first vision quest, things like hearing the rain make melodious music and feeling a lot of presences with me. 

Sweatlodge is all about breathing and heat and fire.  Sweatlodge is ceremonial.  Ritual and ceremony are also trance-inducing through the power of repetition, focus and  building the intensity of the energy.  Sweatlodge is a purifying experience but also brings us into a deeper state of consciousness.  Like vision quest, sweatlodge induces increased levels of fear because it can be difficult to breathe and manage the heat and one can feel trapped in a small space.  The heat can be challenging and along with possible dehydration, it’s easy to find oneself becoming dizzy and light-headed.  Trance-invoking percussive sound and chanting are also used during sweatlodge.

Trance dancing and drumming in a repetitive rhythm around a fire is a powerful experience, especially at night.  Group shamanic trance dances always induce deep and profound trance states and are ideal for undergoing shamanic journeys. 

Finally, I’m learning currently about postures and what they contribute towards shamanic trance experience.  It was back in 2018 at a London workshop that I first found myself working with movement during meditations, activations and journeys.  I’ve found correlations from a number of sources that endorse either body movements or postures during meditation or journeying to create a potent focus and energetic alignment for a particular purpose.  This work can create powerful and intensive trance states and I intend to write a more detailed post on the subject in the future.

The intention of trance is to achieve as deep a state of consciousness as possible, in order to open oneself up to the non-physical world.  In doing so, it’s possible to really boost one’s capacity to experience otherworld reality and beings.  An even stronger connection with ones’ spirit guides is reached.  That’s why the trance intensive retreat spends several days creating deep trance states, so that participants can intensify their connection with elemental and nature beings such as tree and plant spirits, landscape guardians and the energies of earth, air, fire and water.  These beings don’t exist at a physical level and therefore we can’t communicate with them that way.  They exist at the emotional energy level and by inducing a non-physical energy stance, we are able to experience and communicate with these and other beings.  Nature beings and elementals are teachers and have gifts to give.  Where plants are concerned, this is paramount for healing.  Where elementals are concerned this is a way to achieve healing, balance and harmony for humanity and planet Earth.       

Posted in Celtic festival, Goddess, Mother Earth, mythology, nature

The Goddess and The Wheel

The Goddess is complex and has many faces.  The ones most talked about are Maiden, Mother and Crone.  Personally, I see the Goddess in the turning of the Wheel of the Year and assign three moons to each Goddess aspect on the cycle, making four.  Maiden, Mother, Crone and one more.  I call this fourth face Bride, sometimes, she is the Sorceress.  The energy feels like this:

The first face is the Maiden, the story of divine feminine starts with her. 
She is Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. 
She’s a Winter’s landscape, like the land beneath snow.
She is waiting to grow into her power.
The acorn waits in the dark earth for the Spring sun to kiss it awake.
The acorn grows into the oak just as the Maiden grows into Bride, Mother and Crone.
Her womb is waiting to bleed.
The Maiden sits in the season of Winter on the Wheel of the Year, for she is first.
 And the Celtic New Year begins at Samhain, last day of October.
Winter precedes all other seasons, just as the dark void gave birth to light.
Everything starts in the dark, as the baby is born from the dark womb.
The elemental energy of the Maiden is Air, for hers is the first breath.  
She is assigned the moons of November, December and January.

We are now at Imbolc, last day of January. 
The season when light returns and the earth wakes from slumber.
Powerful season of Fire and renewal.  
The sun has kissed the Maiden and she has woken up.
Everything is stirring in nature, in her season.
The birds and beasts are mating and trees and plants are thrusting out their leaves.
Here sits the Bride, assigned three moons of February, March and April. 
She is the May Queen whose potent, fiery blood brings transformation at Beltane.
Just as Spring transforms the land.
She is red and white, purity and blood, for her womb is fertile and not yet pierced.
She is the Enchantress.

The Goddess energy passes on at Beltane.
When the womb of the May Queen is pricked.
Life is growing within her dark womb.
The season of the Great Mother Goddess is here.
Divine Mother rules the moons of May, June and July. 
She reigns through Summer, season of abundance and blessings. 
She is the cornucopia of plenty. 
She births the land as the magical child, the seed of humanity.  
She reigns until July’s end, whence comes the festival of Lughnasadh.
Festival of the Child of Light, which is us, dear listener.
For we, and all beings upon the Earth are her children.
The earth is rich with flowers, corn and fruit during the season of the Great Mother.
The element of Earth is her gift to us.

At August’s start, power passes to the Crone.
Wise Woman, she is Elder. 
She, who is Keeper of the Wheel of the Year.
Turner of the wheel.
She oversees the process of change.
She sits at the spinning wheel with the silver thread in her fingers. 
Her element is Water, for water is a record keeper, as is the Crone. 
To her are assigned three moons of August, September and October. 
Her womb is not barren, it is the void.
Cave of inconceivable power.
It is the gaping gash of Sheela Na Gig.
She beckons us to enter.
To go inside ourselves and know who we are.
She sits in the season of the ancestors.
At Samhain, the ancestors are honoured. 
And the Crone passes her power back to the Maiden.
The wheel begins again, not a circle but a spiral.  

For this reason, as a woman in her Crone stage, it is mine to gift my power to the Maiden, imparting wisdom and teaching skills to one who is starting on the same journey I have travelled.  Already, the honour and opportunity has befallen me, more than once, in teaching my shamanic craft.  I hope that all women in their crone-years, the years we call peri-menopause, menopause and beyond, will gift some of their power to the Maiden, for she is a Bride-, a Mother-, a Crone-in-becoming. 

We Crones are the ones who have travelled the full stretch of the road and passed through all four stations.  We are in our full power.  And if we don’t value that, if we don’t honour ourselves for all we are, who will? 

The Wheel of the Year