Shamanic Trance Techniques
There are many ways known how to enter altered states of consciousness. To get a system into it I have summarized some of them in this section. I have to point out that the misuse or light-hearted use of the described techniques may result in serious damage of mind and body. The use of entheogens is prohibited by the law and thus I have not written anything on them. The techniques are not described in detail to encourage the beginner to find his/her own ways in achieving trance. The more advanced psychonaut may find some interesting spot-lights for his own practice.
Concerning some doubtful activities in the esoteric scene I must emphasize that the described techniques and methods of inducing trance are frequently being used by psycho-sects and other more religious groups to manipulate their followers and control their minds. These methods of brainwashing have become very popular in the New-Age scene, unfortunately. Thus I condemn this way of using trance to control the minds of innocent people. Please note that the techniques described below makes the mind open for manipulation and suggestion. If you are not sure about the integrity of your "Master" or Guru, keep a healthy portion of scepsis. It is your mind which is on the stake!
Two ways of trance induction I have deliberately left out because I have no practical experience in them: The withdrawal of sleep and fasting. Both are potent ways of trance-induction.
There are many hybrid forms of inducing trance-states where two or more methods are combined. As far as they are known to me I mentioned them (with no guarantee of completeness). The trance experience itself is being dictated by the traditional expectations of the culture. Serviteurs of the voodoo-cult expect amnesia during their trance, the !Kung would be puzzled if they experience an amnesia in the same trance-state to mention an example. In our culture exists a lack of traditional expectations on trance-states. So we have the unique possibility to create our own trance-experiences. No doubt, the traditional trance-patterns can help us a lot.
Some hints for trance-working: The preparation is vital. To do trance-works properly you need first and foremost TIME. It is important to have a distance to everydays stress and routine, which can hinder your trance-experience. Think on the things you need for your trance - the location, the daytime (night or day?), incenses, music and rhythm, the intention (what do you want to achieve? Energize a sigil or invoke a spirit for a healing seance etc.), warming-up or relaxing. Some valuable hints for Seið may be: Don´t eat or drink too much before starting the trance, visit the toilette before starting to shake. Unexperienced persons should ask the rountined ones for supervision and guiding. Some trance techniques require a bannishing and earthing by another persons. The duration of the trance can vary from 15 minutes to more than 24 hours, depending on the techniques used. Techniques for earthing must be a part of your repertoire before starting to do some trance-techniques like Seið or useage of entheogenics. It is difficult to describe the state of mind, which is required for successfull magic or shamanic rites and works. It can be described as "Clearness" or "Certainty". Doubts can undermine the best intentions and techniques. One reason for leaving the ego behind in trance-works.