Possessed by the Spirits
"Possession" - a term that evokes associations, most of them negative. I am sure that in your mind a nice mixture from various horror-movies, exorcism and other religions in which possession is normal is swirling around. Here in this article I am describing various forms of possession, as I know them and experience them when working with this technique.
Obviously the term possession is widely spread among the shamanic practitioners, I frequently hear this term and wondered how on earth so many possessions exist, at all. After I realized that possession seem to be defined on a much broader base then I imagined I was releaved a bit. Usually the term arises when newbee-shamanists talk about minor contaminations of the energetic body - this contamination quickly become a full-fledged possession in their language, I suppose because they do not know real possessions. The common contaminations I mentioned can be treated by simply extracting them or a cleansing rite. Most of the time this energetic waste does not have much life of its own - but on occasion I met very simple life-forms. These contaminations are not akin to the classical possession.
Felicitas Goodman described in her works that during a genuine possession the brain shows different patterns of acitivity as when not possessed by spirits. These patterns also can be seen as manifestations of personality in general. Some other special phenomenons can be described as rare forms of possession: The multiple personality syndrome, epilepsy and some special forms I am mentioning below. Sometime diseases, different behaviour and body postures and even a change of the eye-colour can be perceived then. When personality A possesses grey eyes, diabetes mellitus and is collecting stamps, personality B has brown eyes, but no diabetes and likes football - personality C has commons with the other two personalities but is much younger in spirit. The situation with MPS is much more complicated, sometimes, because elaborated hierarchied and relations exist among the various personalities. During a Grand Mal attack the EEG shows a sort of thunderstorm in the brain, chaotic patterns.
For our shamanic work the controlled and induced possession is of interest. During your animal-dance you can experience controlled possession, when your animal is taking control of your body. Your power-animal is happy to enter a physical body for a short time. This kind of work intensifies the relationship to your power-animal and strengthens the bond. Possession-rites are very intimate between you and the being you are calling into your body that requires deep trust. In cultures where these rites are part of their spiritual background this is not always the case, but here in our culture, where these trance-techniques you only can encounter in charismatic currents of christian churches we have the unique possibility of establishing a more positive and relaxed approach to possession-rites.
In general, the actual possession manifests itself according to the traditions and cultural expectations of the attendants of such rituals. So amnesia is common in the voudou-religion but impossible to the !Kung. This cultural differences are also present among the spirits that can be called and invoked into your physical body. The chaos-magic current induces possessions in various paradigmatas, thus making it possible to analyze the various forms of possessions. The controlled induction of possession is also called invocation in magical circles. During your animal-dance you invoce the power-animal. To invoke a different being is is important to find out as much as possible about this being you want to call into your body. Its function in its pantheon, names, forms of religious practices, rituals, prayers, legends, myths that describe the being. The more informations you collect the better is your starting point for your own ritual. The shamanic journey again shows its potential as a powerful tool to get authentic informations. You should make many journeys to the being you want to invoce and establish a trustful relationship. As soon as you achieved this you can start to develop a special invocation ritual that suits for the being and yourself. Of course you need at least basic-knowledge of bannishing rituals, controling spirits and ritual-procedures to accomplish this.
Despite of all preparations done, many of the invocation-rituals fail. The participants of such rituals often have too much fear of loosing control or of blaming themselves. These problems can even distort a ritual so extreme that it becomes more a mockery then a ritual of respect. How to induce such an invocation cannot be explained in easy-to-comprehend terms, if at all. I use a kind of inner gear I turn to enter the trance of possession. Because I work only with few trustworthy spirits it became easier for me to induce the trance-state over the years of practice. Excellent possession-rites always have a bigger frame and rarely in private settings. The more participants the easier you reach the trance-state. Sensible musical accompaniment by drummers can even safe a ritual when many participants do not have any clue of what is going on or are simply beginners. The utilization of entheogens in ritualistic context of possession-rites should be considered carefully, too.
The possession itself I compare with driving a car. Usually I myself am driving it, but during a possession I am only the co-driver, sitting besides the spirit, driving my body (in my case this is angel condor, most of the time). Depending on the depth of trance and the control I retain during these rituals I can only watch the activities or sometimes even asking the spirit to do something or to abstain from certain actions - usually the spirit cooperates, but not always. During possession you can accomplish things you usually cannot do. Sometimes I experience that the participants could not look at me directly or where stunned and unable to do anything. Other, more para-normal activities and phenomenons can happen during a possession-rite, like telekinesis, rapports or teleportations, vital-force shocks of some participants and so on.
To end an induced possession-trance you have some possibilites open to your decision. The easiest way is total exhaustion. Benevolent spirits are often using this kind of trance-stopper - after some hours of intensive possession the serviteur falls asleep. Another, more rare method is, to cooperate with the invoked spirit that it retreats when you give an inner signal. In chaos-magic some trance-rituals are not that positive and an exorcism is necessary to urge the spirit out of the body it possesses. The exorcist draws a chaos-star over the hara of the possessed. Cutting the connection that is being hooked in the neck-chakra is also a possible way of finishing a possession, sometimes. If no method is working at all, controlled physical force is the best solution. Slaps into the face in combination with cold water are quite efficient. The possessed is considered free again when he is able to reply rationally and can identify himself again.
I know of three kinds of possession that can be explained easier within the huna-model of our psyche. All three forms of possession share one common thing: They appear only within humans that have a really low vital-force-level. Malevolent spirits can ride a body only when the human inhabiting it is weak and having no power to keep the inner borders intact. This weakness can be the result of traumatic experiences or severe illness. However, these three forms of possession are rare.
The possession by a Lower Self - the memories and emotions are totally different to those the affected person ususally has. Deep changes in behaviour and a change of hobbies, preferenced can be accompanied by total desorientation: "Where am I? That is not my home!" - the memories are no longer synchrone to the situation the hosting body is in. A solitary Lower Self that possesses a person can survive very long without body and remembers often times long ago with different languages and cultural identities. The Lower Self then replaces its own memories with the ones of the possessed victim. In some extraordinary cases even the colour of the eyes or other physical attributes can be replaced.
The possession by a Middle Self - the personality of the victim is changed, but this change is more subtly then a possesson by a Lower Self. The memories and emotions remain unchanged but the rational mind is changed dramatically into other ways of thinking that have nothing in common with the ones, the possessed one usually has. A possession by a Middle Self is less confusing but the changes are quickly realized by friends and relatives.
The possession by a Lower and a Middle Self at once - This kind of possession is the most common among the three forms I am explaining, simply because usually a complete identity roams the twilight more often then only fragments like solitary Lower or Middle Selves. Deceased one usually keep themselves together after death. This kind of possession changes everything, memories, emotions and personality as wall as the way of thinking.
Now I want to mention two other forms of extraordinary states of being that now can be more easily explained within the huna-paradigm. The unification with the Holy Guardian Angel and the MPS-syndrome. The phenomenon of us Otherkins I am explaining elsewhere. All these phenomenons have not much in common, but a closer look reveals some interesting details.
In ceremonial magic the unification with your own Holy Guardian Angel is one of the most prominent goals. This unification is not an possession at all, but a state of being. The magician invokes his own Higher Self and is "possessed" by it for a short time. To learn about your own true will and to manifest it does mean nothing more or less to stay in a deep relation and contact with your Higher Self. The "Holy Magic of Abramelin" contents the long preparations and the inner prerequisites necessary to achieve this communication. Obviously the Middle and the Lower Self must be quite developed for this operations.