Altered States of Consciousness: Developing Psychic Abilities
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Whatever is buried within us grows. Like a seed, all the fear, trauma, and pain we carry sprouts and blossoms into a monstrous plant within the fertile earth of our unconscious minds. We cannot escape what has been repressed within us. Entering trance states that induce ego death is a powerful way to explore, embrace, and heal certain parts of ourselves that our egos have prevented us from exploring or facing.
The Collective Unconscious, also known as the Universal or Deep Mind, contains the energetic blueprint experienced by all of life. All I can attest to from my own shamanic experiences of journeying into the Collective Unconscious is that our Souls live in or emerge from this primordial space. The trance techniques explored below will lead you through the light to potentially deep trance states.
How you decide to use these approaches is completely up to you. If, however, you have a history of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or any form of severe mental illness, please consult a medical professional before trying these techniques. Changing your breathing pace and rhythm is probably one of the better-known trance state techniques. There are many yogic breathing practices out there which you may like to work with such as pranayama which is used to remove mental and emotional obstacles — but can also induce a trance-like state.
Holotropic breathwork by Stanislav and Christina Grof is another form of altered breathing which involves breathing rapidly and rhythmically and can lead to intense altered states of consciousness. If you have high or low blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or glaucoma you should consult your physician before trying holotropic breathwork.
Another simple breath work technique is simply to breathe in and out slowly and deeply. You can even incorporate mindfulness into your breathwork practice by focusing your attention on your inhalations and exhalations which often produces a light trance state. Mantra , or repetitive sounds or words, is another way to enter a trance state. Many Hindu, Buddhist, and even Christian monks and believers utilize mantra as a way of altering their consciousness. Prayer is a gentle technique that can alter consciousness, but I find that prayer induces only a light trance state as the conscious mind is integral to the practice.
However, if prayer calls to you, experiment with different ways of praying such as in a different language or made-up language to try and bypass the barrier of the rational mind. You might like to buy yourself a drum such as a djembe , hand drum or bongo or find some primal rhythmic soundtracks online.
I like listening to Mongolian throat singing because it has a profoundly earthy, almost abyss-like, quality to it. You may like to research sounds from indigenous cultures or music from instruments that relax you. The point of inducing trance is to move past the rational into the fluid state of the subconscious. You might also like to experiment with binaural beats which are sound frequencies which easily put you into an altered state of consciousness.
Altered state of consciousness - Wikipedia
Read our article on binaural beats for more insight I recommend exploring the Delta and Theta tracks. I am quite frankly surprised by how largely ignored self-hypnosis is within spiritual circles. Not only that, but you are always in control i.
There are many ways to induce self-hypnosis, and I recommend you read more about alternative methods in our self-hypnosis article. This simple technique involves sitting somewhere comfortable and undisturbed and staring at a certain point or object above your level of sight. As you focus on this single point, become aware of the walls or objects in the periphery of your vision and focus on the point and your periphery simultaneously.
Hold this gaze for at least five minutes. Yes, I know this sounds cliche, but focusing on a repetitive movement can help induce a trance-like state. You can easily get pendulums from new age stores or on Amazon. You can also make your own pendulum by getting the string of a tea bag and tying something heavy like a button or safety pin on the end. To do the pendulum technique, sit comfortably in a quiet place and focus on your pendulum. Try this exercise for five to ten minutes to induce a trance state.
Interested in developing your Higher Sense Perceptions and awakening your Psychic Powers?
This is a common technique that many people have no trouble with. If you have a strong imagination, you will have no issue with visualization as a trance technique. You can use a pre-recorded visualization or you can create one of your own. For example, you might like to visualize light filling your head and entire body.
An Exploration of the In-Between
You might like to visualize yourself soaring through the sky like a bird. Burning incense or topically applying essential oil is another wonderful way to induce a trance state. Good scents or essential oils for trance include frankincense , palo santo , sandalwood , copal , myrrh , and lavender. Physical exertion exhausts the body and tires the mind — which is great for inducing a trance state.
There is a reason why indigenous people dance a lot in their rituals. On some level, they must understand that dancing is a powerful way of bypassing the limited ego and reconnecting with the deeper Self. You may like to do catharsis through intense cardio exercise running, jumping, swimming, dancing or try a technique like dynamic meditation to induce a trance state. Intense or prolonged yoga can also create an altered state of consciousness.
If all else fails, I hope a stereotypical optical illusion like the one below helps to inspire a trance-like state try staring at it for five or more minutes :. It is also a critical component of awareness and paying attention -the most important skill one can develop as a witch. However, the term altered states is frequently discussed in a manner that makes it seem as if achieving an altered state of consciousness is difficult to accomplish or that it requires the use of hallucinogenic or toxic plant material.
While there are measurable changes in brain waves that accompany some altered states, and much has been said about what those specific brain wave states are most conducive to metaphysically, there is also considerable pseudoscience and straight-out bullshit that has been published on the matter. Altered states are an integral part of witchcraft. Not so much a tool as a natural consequence, one will find themselves entering an altered state of conscious as part of many magickal acts.
In fact, it can be argued that an altered state is essential in order to feel the energy currents about oneself and to wield them to effect change -which is the basic premise of magick. One such term is that of the soft gaze, where one looks at the world with eyes half focused to better see that which is there to be seen.
Another more poetic name is that of starlight vision, invoking the difference between shining a beacon of light on something and that of using starlight by which to see it. While these do both more specifically refer to the noticeable physical difference in someone in an altered state, as well as describing the manner in which that individual is seeing the world about them, they do still also demonstrate the activation of witch power.
This is an altered state of consciousness. The witch power is turned on, the psychic senses primed, and one walks with a foot in the otherworld. This state of being is useful in all manner of magickal acts as it allows one to more clearly see and feel the energy about them.
This allows one to more effectively bend and alter the course of that energy, to more clearly hear the voices of Gods and spirits, and to divine more accurately as messages are able to come through more cleanly and with less distortion. The following are simple means of achieving an altered state of consciousness. They are safe, effective, and do not require any bizarre or hard to come by materials. Your experience with these may very well prove that one or more is more effective at helping you to enter an altered state than other means, while one or more may prove to have little -or even an undesired- effect altogether.
You may even find that certain of these means is better suited to achieving an altered state as part of specific magickal acts. This is because the context in which you employ any of these means can alter their efficacy.
How to Induce a Trance State For Deep Psychospiritual Work
For example, the foods you eat, stress of the day, and many other factors can result in a differing mental state from which you begin. This can change the needed duration or dosage necessitating an increase or even a decrease of any of the following means in order to accomplish a noticeable difference in your mental state that lends itself to the magickal work you hope to accomplish. There is a reason why the words for spirit and breath are the same in many languages or share the same root word.
Breath is one of the simplest means of moving energy through and throughout the body. It requires no additional tools and no previous training or experience; you simply just need to focus on and consciously alter your breathing. Both increasing and decreasing the rate of your breathing can facilitate changing your state of consciousness. Experiment with the speed of your breath to learn how you can most effectively use this in your craft practice.
Few people who regularly drink coffee or tea are unaware of the effect too much caffeine can have on them. While personal tolerance naturally varies from individual to individual, the stimulating effect of caffeine is quite effective in achieving an altered state of consciousness. However, the caveat is that it is very possible to overdose on caffeine.
Like any overdose, too much caffeine can be dangerous and may require medical attention. To this end, caffeinating yourself to the point where you are physically shaking, have difficulty focusing, and are nauseated is not only counterproductive, but does constitute the beginning symptoms of caffeine overdose. Now, necessary disclaimer and common-sense warnings out of the way… Depending upon your own tolerance levels, a cup or two of coffee is easily all that is necessary to sharpen awareness and reach a more focused state.
One particularly effective way that I like to use is blending black tea which is also a magickal catalyst with other appropriate herbs that naturally facilitate in shifting awareness and activating your witch power, such as Cinnamon, Damiana, or Yarrow. Of course, the closest connection between higher consciousness and spirituality lies in the Eastern religions of the world. Because of their emphasis on meditation and self study, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Shintoism all bring a person into a state of higher consciousness.
In addition to spirituality, another way to reach a different level of consciousness is through drug use. Many individuals take hallucinogens that directly affect brain waves and force a person into a different perception of the world around them. Everything from magic mushrooms to ayawaska, a natural hallucinogen used for generations in the Amazon jungle. Its used to change the mind and create altered states of consciousness for the user.
Regardless of how it is reached, a higher conscious level can have amazing affects on the body, mind, and soul. We must remember that we are both spiritual and physical beings and when we neglect our mind we lower our level of consciousness. But through meditation and spirituality we can achieve the highest level of consciousness we desire.