Keep a journal for five months detailing the trance work that you have done. Write an essay based off those journals that examines your practice over the time you journaled. In this essay, explain how you can apply the trance work to divination, magic, and other workings you do in ritual and personally. Entries occurring less than weekly will not count toward completion of this requirement. Your journal must include work from the exercises found in the support material for this course. [This requirement matches up with Req. 3 in Magic 2] (minimum 1000 words)
The actual work for this is most likely the easiest of the CTP for me as I journal everything from meditation to divination. However the writing of this essay would have to fall into one of the hardest because how do you write an essay summarizing these activities? I have been working with trance work from the early days when I started on the Pagan path. Though I have worked with trance, I have always found it difficult to reach the desired stated for any reason amount of time. The more I practiced the more it seems I had difficulty maintaining the trance state once it was achieved. Many of the techniques and exercises listed in the support material have been a regular part of my daily, weekly, and monthly practice from nearly the beginning. Several years ago, I learned about the use of Binaural beats to help induce and maintain trance states easier for those who found the practice difficult. I very quickly adapted their use in my practices after a brief period of experimentation to see their effectiveness for me personally. As, during the summer of 2009, I discovered the use of ecstatic trance through the form of Sufi Zikrs. Even using this I have found a way to incorporate into my practices, though not on a scale as frequent as others.
For the Binaural beats, in December of 2012 I purchased the CD collection of Kelly Howell who specializes as a Sound Healer. She has created a full suite of CD’s that are based off the Binaural beats. There are several of her tracks which I have been using nightly since the purchase I made in 2012. The first is called The Secret Universal Mind. This track is designed to be used nightly for at 6 weeks. It is a form of Binaural beats combined with Neuro-Linguistic programming. The track is an hour long that is listened too as you lay down for bed each night. It is designed to help you connect with the subconscious and the universal minds to help in building personal image, power, and to knowledge buried within us all. The frequencies used induce Theta and Delta waves which result in a deep trance state. The first few weeks using the track, I only seemed to sleep more soundly than I ever have. But after about a month, I started noticing I woke up much happier and calmer than I normally did. Within the next month of listening, I found that I no longer fell asleep in the middle of the track but seemed to journey within myself much like I did on my journeys to meet Demeter. This was a nice change because the journeying to meet Demeter is a guided visualization meditation. I was able to not only enter into the trance state without vocal guidance but was finding I could maintain the state throughout the hour long session. Now that I am approaching two years of use, I have found that I seem to have more insight into myself, into situations that otherwise would be extremely stressful, and into those around me. I also do not seem to be held back nearly as much with my Post Traumatic Stress or Borderline Personality Disorders anymore. This is something my therapist has taken note about during several sessions the last few months.
Since I found I was able to now achieve the desired state I moved on to the second track which was for journeying to one’s inner temple. This second track that I use very regularly is the one called Guided Meditation. There are two versions of this track. One contains a guided visualization with Howell while the other is just the Binaural beats with shamanic drumming. I first started working with the version which contained the guided visualization so that I could get a general idea of the path it would lead me. Because of the work with the previous NLP track I was able to move into the track without the visualization voice over with in just a few days. I have been using it for just over a year to perform trance journeying to an inner temple which I constructed in the astral. The temple is a starting ground for me to travel to the Upper and Underworlds once I have cleansed myself through the process of the journey to the temple itself. In this journeying, I connect with the Two Powers then enter into the cave entrance that leads to the temple deep inside the mountain. Along the way, I come to a water fall which fills a crystal clear lake which I have to pass through to wash away negative emotions and bring my spirit into harmony with the deep Waters of Rebirth within the Earth Mother. In the lake, there are fish which absorb the negative emotions, transforming them back into pure subtle energies that flow away with the current. From there, I step out of the far side of the lake into a shaft of pure warm star light which fills me with the divine energies of the heavens as it dries my body. I then proceed from there deeper into the tunnel until I reach the temple. The distance always seems to vary, never taking me the same amount of time or route to reach the inner sanctum. Once in the inner sanctum I am free to explore the Otherworlds, connect with my spirit guide or helpers, or simply be within the comfort of the temple. Because of all the routine work I have been doing I have found a great deal of progression in my trance and mental discipline skills. I went from not being able to hold a trance state for more than a few minutes at a time without the aid of guided visualizations to the point where now any time I need to stop in a stressful work day, breath calmly and slowly for a few moments before I can enter into a light trance which I can told for 15-20 minutes.
I have another recorded trance journey in which I use a Binaural beat along with shamanic drumming overlaid on the track for my weekly Saturday work with Demeter. Each Saturday morning I rise with the sun to perform my morning devotionals then sit down on my large meditation pillow with headphones to start the journey. The recording uses a track of Binaural beats which I had generated with an app on my smart phone and the shamanic drumming file of Paul Clavis which I purchased off iTunes about four and half years ago. I have performed this trance journey every Saturday for the last four as part of my devotion work to Demeter. Through this work I have found great healing, expanded my understanding of nature and all its connections, and become much connected with the cycles of life and death. I go into further details about this specific trance journeying in requirement 10. This original track I used had a guided visualization track overlaying the Binaural beat and drumming. Now with all the work I have been doing with entering and existing trance state I able to trance journey to meet with Demeter without the use of the guided visualization.
Though the requirement does state that practices that are not at least weekly are to be counted, I feel it important to include my work with the Sufi Zikrs. There is a local Sufi center that meets for open Zikrs on the 3rd Friday of each month. After my experience at the men’s spiritual retreat in 2009, I have made it a personal devotion to attend these open Zikrs in Eureka Springs each month. Most trance work is a solitary experience but with the Zikr you experience trance as part of a group. It gives such a powerful connection within the community of people coming together that I feel there is something we as an open Druid path could learn from. In requirement 7, I go into more detail into the first experience but as I said I felt it important to include in this summary essay because it is such a powerful technique that we could benefit from it. As for duration, I have been attending these monthly events since the fall of 2009. The only time I have missed them is due to illness or inclement weather. Otherwise, I plan most of my life around them they are so meaningful to me.
As for applying these types of trance work to my personal workings, divination, and magic, I believe that this type of mental training gives me the needed discipline to advance in all areas of my life. Through further training with trance states and with the progress I have made from struggling with maintaining the state to being able to enter trance states at will, I find that performing these takes have become much more powerful. In divination where I tended to “reach for answers”, I can now reach through the flow of time with the aid of my guide and helper spirits to see things that have happened, that are happening, and that will happen in the future. I have also found that through trance work I have been able to connect more with deities associated with divination who have been able to help me further my skills. On a magic level I have found it much easier to formulate my desired result more firmly in my mind. I can hold the image throughout the working and have a deeper connection with the sources of power I use to energize it. But something else happened that I was not expecting by adding a deeper skill in trance. Through several trance journeys I worked with Hekate to learn a form of magic that I call circuits. These circuits are complex system sets and structures which are implanted into items while in a trance state to help facilitate functions such as healing. My more developed mental discipline through trance work has allowed this since their creation requires a vast ability to hold the detailed circuits in the mind’s eye while imprinting them. In the end this frees me from having to hold every formula, variable, and connection to power sources in mind while trying to focus on the actual working at the time. What this has led too having a great deal more success when working with magic. I have been currently working on creating a circuit to implant into a short sword that is tied into the Equinoxes that allow me access to the balanced powers of fire and water as well as with the ability to ‘activate’ the swords circuit in ritual to help keep the energies balanced. In ritual I see trance work as being a tool to help create a unity with all those participating in the rite. It can link people in a way that might be extremely difficult to do otherwise.