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Author Topic: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter  (Read 953 times)

Sarah

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Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« on: July 26, 2014, 03:44:04 pm »
A couple of notes first
1) I am aware that some words such as Shaman and Totem are problematic but they are used here because I am quoting from the book
2)(mainly for Staff) the book explicitly allows the questionnaire to be used online or on paper for the purposes of groupwork


first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work

Then I thought maybe what are your general thoughts on the intro and first chapter.

Then maybe answers to the questionnaire (some of these answers may be very private so feel free not to answer completely if that's uncomfortable for you)

Questionnaire p 10-14

Support systems


Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.

Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?

Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?

Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?

Background

Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?

Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?

Q3. What is your academic training? What kind of thinking did your department teach?

Q4. What strengths or skills do you already have that can help you in trance work? What do you think will be hardest to learn?

Physiology and Psychology

Q1. What is your general state of health?

Q2. How do you rate your temperament in the following areas? Consider the column on the left to be 1, and the column on the right to be 5. Where do you fall on the continuum?

Calm – -- – Lively

Forceful -- – - Responsive

Robust -- – - Sensitive


Q3. How do you react to stress?

Q4. Do you have any chronic or cyclical problems or conditions (especially heart, blood pressure, diabetic, menstrual or menopausal symptoms) that affect your mood, energy or focus? Are you on any medications?

Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?

Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?

Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?

Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?

How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?

Relaxation

Breath control

Visualiasation

Lucid dreaming

Self hypnosis

Shamanic journeying

Sensing and moving energy

Divination

Folk magic

Mythology

Shamanism

Jungian psychology

 


Purpose

What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?


general questions I came up with while reading

Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?
Question: what messages have you received from the/your dominant culture on the validity of trance work?
Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?

This is a discussion we can have over the course of the lunar month and I will kick start the discussion on the next chapter on Monday 25th August
Knowing when to use a shovel is what being a witch is all about. Nanny Ogg, Witches Abroad

Airelinn

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2014, 01:42:25 am »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
A couple of notes first

Thanks for posting this! Would it be possible to link it in or otherwise raise awareness to it in the original thread? Might help those out using the other thread's subscription to know when we're taking off. I'm not sure how to link in Tapatalk without just quoting and having the while discussion end up there by accident. :)

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2014, 02:31:40 am »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work


I've had a fair bit of experience of trance, most of it before I became Pagan. I've been doing NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) for about ten years formally, but I grew up with it informally as well. It places a large focus on trance work, and I've been trained in hypnosis induction as part of NLP training (though I don't practice - not on anyone except myself). I've also worked with binaural beats, which are one of my favourite trance induction tools, and more recently with drumming as an induction tool. In a more religious context, I used the rosary for about fifteen years, which was the most effective trance work tool I've ever found (I really miss it), and I did lectio divinia and the 'exercises' of Ignatius of Loyola for a long time, which taught me a lot of visualisation skills. As a Pagan, though, my trance work has mostly been instinctive, rather than trained. OBOD uses work based around an inner sacred grove that I found useful for a while, but mostly I go to my own inner places very instinctively. I don't do the 'upper world/lower world' thing that some Pagans have taken from Core Shamanism (as far as I can tell), and I've never attempted any kind of astral travel.

Quote
Then I thought maybe what are your general thoughts on the intro and first chapter.


It was a while ago now that I first read the book, so I re-read the intro and first chapter. I found it helpful to have some social history in the introduction. I was struck, though, by how positively the writer views Harner and 'Core Shamanism', which I find a little worrying. I'd like to know exactly which of the book's techniques are influenced by Core Shamanism and which aren't, but I suspect they won't be defined that way. It is good to hear that she's researched trance work from reconstructionist and pagan perspectives too, though.

I think that what she says about hyper-focus being both a blessing and a curse (though not in those words) is spot on. I can get into trance very quickly, and stay there for a long time, but there are many, many things I can't do in terms of being flexible and responsive while in that trance. It leads to very uncontrolled trance work. I have things to work on there, although my brain may just not be squishy enough to train in a lot of these areas.

Quote
Then maybe answers to the questionnaire (some of these answers may be very private so feel free not to answer completely if that's uncomfortable for you)


I've answered the questions that I find particularly useful for discussion, and kept the answers to the rest to myself, just so that we're not here all day!

Quote
Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?


I don't do well with the 'power animal' idea. It's just not how these things work for me. There are spirits of nature that I identify with more than others, and some come in animal form, but I don't have an animal guide. Instead, my guides are human-shaped. One in particular has been around since the beginning of my Pagan path, maybe earlier, and is helpful when I need to ask questions about things like trance work, or when I'm lost in a trance. I need to remember to call on them more often.

Quote

Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?

Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?


These two things touch on the 'hyper-focus' issue that I mentioned above. In my work and hobbies, I can get totally lost, to the extent that I lose time, forget to eat and drink, etc. I'm happiest when I'm fully absorbed in one thing - and that can both help and hinder my trance work. It can be far too easy for me to get lost in trance, too. I need to learn better control of it.

Quote
Q3. What is your academic training? What kind of thinking did your department teach?


I think there's a difference between analytical thinking and critical thinking. The former is something I've developed through my academic studies. The latter, I'm not so good at. I think both are important when doing magical work of all kinds, including trance work - and so are other types of flexibility in thinking. I think it's good if you're used to questioning anything that happens to you, from a critical perspective, so that if (f'ex) you meet a spirit who tells that it's your familiar and it wants to stay with you forever, you can test that against what you know, what you believe, how you understand things to work, etc.

Quote
Physiology and Psychology

Q1. What is your general state of health?


It continues to piss me off that this is a VERY commonly-asked question in these things - to the extent that some trance-work training won't accept you if you have chronic illnesses. Yes, it's important to understand and be able to work with your body - but that's true for everyone doing this kind of work. And honestly, I think I'm probably far more body-aware and mindful of my body and its limitations than a lot of people, who may be liable to get into more trouble than me as a result.

That said, it is good to be reminded of your limitations, and to learn when trance work should be avoided because it might exhaust you, or because you'll struggle to get into/stay in trance, or because you need a clear head.

Quote
Q2. How do you rate your temperament in the following areas? Consider the column on the left to be 1, and the column on the right to be 5. Where do you fall on the continuum?


I've kept these answers to myself, but this was a very interesting exercise. I think there are pros and cons to being on either side of the scale, for trance work, and that it's good to be aware of where you might fall on the scale, and how this might affect you.

The same goes for the medical questions, which I've kept to myself, but which are useful to be aware of. F'ex, I can't attempt trance work for a few hours after I've taken my painkillers. It just doesn't happen - it's like my head is too 'noisy'. Later on, though, it's fine. That's something I can control and work with.

Quote
Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?


I'm interested in others' answers to this. I don't know whether the 'shamanic illness' is a myth or a reality. It's certainly a very pervasive myth in our community, IME, if it's just a myth. I've had a long-term illness but it didn't turn me into anything special.

Quote
general questions I came up with while reading

Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?


Yes. As a child I did trance work without knowing what it was - something to do with my Asperger's and spending a lot of time on my own and making my own entertainment. Visions, speaking in tongues, words of knowledge etc were commonly going on around me throughout my childhood in church. I see those as variations on the same theme. Later, as I said, I pursued NLP, which has some good techniques for trance work of various kinds.

Quote
Question: what messages have you received from the/your dominant culture on the validity of trance work?


The general culture around me isn't interested, or is actively hostile towards it, but I've never paid any attention to that. I'd be interested to hear if others think this affects us on a subconscious level, though.

Quote
Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?


I've never worried too much about what's 'real'. Experiences are real, and if I'm having experiences, that's good enough for me. I know this worries a lot of people, though. I'm interested in why.
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2014, 11:08:43 am »
Part 1 of question answering.

Quote from: Jake_;154027

Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.


I live alone so I have privacy. It's easiest to work in the evenings when the neighbours and kids all around me have gone inside and it's quiet.

Quote
Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?


No meatspace pagan community. Just online which is mostly TC these days. We're all doing the book together though, so yay!

Quote
Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?


Brighid and the Morrighan. I read about them, felt drawn to them and started making offerings. It grew from there. I light candles and pray daily. Sometimes I'll get hints of things but I need to work on that.

Quote
Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?


Listening to music. Some of it is specifically to quiet my mind.

Knitting and playing minecraft type games lets part of my mind mull over topics that I've been thinking about.

Quote
Q4. What strengths or skills do you already have that can help you in trance work? What do you think will be hardest to learn?


I'm generally a calm person and find it easy to relax. I have done some work with breath awareness, counting breaths and patterned breathing. The hardest thing to learn would probably be visualisation. I realise that's not all about seeing, but often guided journeys and meditations have a lot of visual components so it's more work to find other ways to do them.

Quote
Q2. How do you rate your temperament in the following areas? Consider the column on the left to be 1, and the column on the right to be 5. Where do you fall on the continuum?

Calm – -- – Lively

Forceful -- – - Responsive

Robust -- – - Sensitive


2
? (don't understand this one)
3

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2014, 01:28:23 pm »
Quote from: Emerald;154285
? (don't understand this one)

 
I think forceful v. responsive would be whether you are active versus reactive; does most of your behavior initiate and do, or does it react to circumstances and external forces?
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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2014, 03:34:58 pm »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work


I don't think I can accurately say 'where I am spiritually', really, at least not in a way that will be useful to anyone else. I am where I am.

As for trance work, my experience is fairly limited. I've done fire divination that may or may not have been influenced by outside entities; my recollections of it are warped and weird, though I apparently claimed to be someone else. My record with meditational states is pretty poor, mostly for lack of practice.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Then I thought maybe what are your general thoughts on the intro and first chapter.


The intro is a lot of background, which I think is probably skippable if anyone isn't much interested in the history and inspiration that motivated the author to write.

I only marked two bits in the first chapter, both on page 8 of my copy (paperback, 2008 issue)- the utilization of "messages from the dominant culture" for self-examination instead of deterrents, and noting the difference between "real" and "useful". Neither of these are new to me, and probably not new to a lot of people who have spent time on TC, but I appreciate that they're pointed out.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.


I live with my dad in a single family home; I have plenty of privacy, and he isn't bothered by my practice.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group?


Nope, no groups.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?


This question makes me uneasy; while the author mentions in the intro, I believe, that the work done by her predecessors was known to them not to be traditional shamanism, she does use the word shamanic, and the usage of totem outside its culture is problematic.

That said, I don't work with any kind of individual animal in a non-corporeal, spiritual sense.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?


Again, wording: acquiring deities is not really a mindset that gives me good feelings about the approach of this book.

I honor several deities; I do little in the way of actual contact, really. I make simple monthly offerings, or simple offerings when I'm in need of their assistance, but that's about it. I've used divination to hear from them, on occasion, but it's not a regular thing for me.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. How do you make a living?


I don't, at the moment.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?


Weaving and crochet would probably be the most prominent at the moment, with reading and writing being very prominent in the past and working their way back up in the present. I would say the state of consciousness I end up in is hyperfocus; it's not something I had to learn to attain, as I have ADHD-PI.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. What is your academic training? What kind of thinking did your department teach?


It's fairly minimal; I'm a sophomore in college, at the moment, and still working primarily on requirements. I'd say the main thinking that I've worked on so far is trying to learn time management, and planning.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q4. What strengths or skills do you already have that can help you in trance work? What do you think will be hardest to learn?


I am really unfamiliar with trance work or what it entails, so it's a little difficult for me to evaluate what skills I have that will be of use, or which will be necessary to acquire and difficult to do so.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. What is your general state of health?


Eh. Could be better, could be worse.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q2. How do you rate your temperament in the following areas? Consider the column on the left to be 1, and the column on the right to be 5. Where do you fall on the continuum?

Calm – -- – Lively

Forceful -- – - Responsive

Robust -- – - Sensitive


More calm than lively; equally forceful and responsive; less robust than sensitive.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. How do you react to stress?


Depends on the stressor, really. Things that are out of my control often fall of my radar entirely, or very nearly, emerging in my thoughts only to be replaced quickly by some random distraction. Things within my control- if it relies on my ability to perform, I will procrastinate and distract myself with anything I can, while trying to ignore a quiet internal voice of 'you're a complete waste of life'; if the stressor is not about my performace... honestly I pretty much tie everything within my control back to my ability to be useful, successful, or productive.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q4. Do you have any chronic or cyclical problems or conditions (especially heart, blood pressure, diabetic, menstrual or menopausal symptoms) that affect your mood, energy or focus? Are you on any medications?


My depo shot keeps me on a pretty even emotional keel, which I appreciate. Chronic issues include migraines, "fibromyalgia" pain/flares, significant oversleeping, depression, and body awareness issues caused by my ADHD-PI.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?


I am pretty sensitive to alcohol. I am extremely sensitive to caffeine. I limit my use of OTC medications because painkillers seem to have little effect on me, and I am highly sensitive to things like decongestants. I've never used any 'illicit' or otherwise mind altering drugs.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?


Entirely too little exercise; I walk, and I've recently started doing push-ups. That's it. My diet is also fairly random, thanks to the state of my kitchen and my non-existent cooking skills. I eat a lot of frozen foods, but I'm pretty good about avoiding processed junk food and such.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?


No such experiences for me.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?


I was in and out of standard psychologist/therapist counseling for a solid decade, for depression and various life events. It was useful in a short term cathartic way, but did not do much in the way of long term effects, except to make me learn how to talk about my perceptions of my own behavior and that of other people.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?

Relaxation ; Breath control ; Visualization ; Lucid dreaming ; Self hypnosis ; Shamanic journeying ; Sensing and moving energy ; Divination ; Folk magic ; Mythology ; Shamanism ; Jungian psychology


Relaxation- moderately capable, but it's not a technique I've needed to utilize overmuch. Breath control- never tried, would be willing to learn. Visualization- decent. Lucid dreaming- dabbled in a long time ago, vaguely interested in for ancestor work. Self-hypnosis- no experience, not particularly interested. Shamanic journeying- that damned word again; no experience, no interest. Sensing and moving energy- very poor, moderately interested in learning. Divination- fairly intuitive, can always learn more. Folk magic- strong inclination, can always learn more. Mythology- working on it at present! Shamanism- this is going to be some book; no interest. Jungian psychology- no experience, no interest.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?


I don't have any particular goals, really? I'm interested in learning about it and what it has to offer, and I'll decide whether to pursue it further from there.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?


No.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: what messages have you received from the/your dominant culture on the validity of trance work?


I would say my culture is fairly dismissive of it, but I've not paid all that much attention, really.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?


Always. We put strong emphasis on things being 'real', when what is really important is if things are true and useful. Real is effective for evaluating things that are tangible and physical, I think; for the non-physical, true and useful are far more, well, useful.
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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2014, 03:45:08 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;154268
I've answered the questions that I find particularly useful for discussion, and kept the answers to the rest to myself, just so that we're not here all day!


I probably should have done this- I'll have to remember it for next time, and keep my less useful answers noted down somewhere else.
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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2014, 08:29:01 pm »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work

Then I thought maybe what are your general thoughts on the intro and first chapter.

Then maybe answers to the questionnaire (some of these answers may be very private so feel free not to answer completely if that's uncomfortable for you)


Okay. So, I'm me, and I've been into magic and paganism for I guess over fifteen years now. I try to maintain a regular meditation practice, but that doesn't always work as well as I'd like - I start and stop a lot these days, it seems. I used to do more trance work when I was younger, and I'd like to resume the practice.

My thoughts on the intro and first chapter... well, aside from the whole wording issue regarding shamanism etc, it seems like a fairly standard 'this is what the book is about' sort of deal. It's nice to know people have varying issues regarding achieving trance states - I think I fall more on the 'closed head' side of things.

Okay, some questionnaire stuff! I've answered it all, but am only posting the things that may be of relevance. (I assume nobody cares how 'forceful' I am.)

Support systems

Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?

In terms of support, I have recently started working with a very small group of women a little, but it's nothing too intensive so far. Other than that, I have ya'll here at TC!

Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?

I'm not sure I'd call them power animals, but I do seem to have an affinity for crows and ravens. I assume this is because of the currents with which I work.

Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?

The Morrigan. It's a longterm relationship, but at this exact moment in time it's not super active.

Background

Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?

I work in animation. The department I am in is almost the exact opposite of what people think my job is - it is so, so not creative. It's a job that requires attention to detail and involves figuring out how things work. It's the kind of job where you listen to podcasts or music while you work to keep your thinking brain happy. So I guess that's a sort of weird multitasking and hyperfocus?

Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?

I write, draw, and dance. Those all require a lot more creative brainflow. I've never really had to learn that part, and it just took time to learn patience and discipline.

Q4. What strengths or skills do you already have that can help you in trance work? What do you think will be hardest to learn?

Visualization is extremely easy for me. What I think will be hardest is letting go of some control.

Physiology and Psychology

Q4. Do you have any chronic or cyclical problems or conditions (especially heart, blood pressure, diabetic, menstrual or menopausal symptoms) that affect your mood, energy or focus? Are you on any medications?

I have seizures every so often that may or may not be linked to stress. I'm on medication, which doesn't seem to affect my mood, energy or focus.

Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?

Pleasantly!

Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?

I wouldn't call it life-threatening, but before my first seizure I was experiencing some pretty weird shifts in perception. I remember looking at the sky, thinking it was about to open up. I was pretty into chaos magic at the time so it seemed weirdly plausible.

How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?

Relaxation - Pretty good.

Breath control - Pretty good.

Visualiasation - Excellent.

Lucid dreaming - Utter crap, willing to learn.

Self hypnosis - Willing to learn.

Shamanic journeying - As I understand it in the context of this book, I used to be... decent? So, willing to learn.

Sensing and moving energy - Adequate.

Divination - Excellent.

Folk magic - Good!

Mythology - Good.

Shamanism - Ehhhhhhhh...

Jungian psychology - Adequate.

Purpose

What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?


I want to deepen my magical and spiritual practice. It's my hope that being able to tap into a trance state will allow me to better work with spirits.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
general questions I came up with while reading

Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?


Yes, I do. In a lot of ways, I find I'm a practical person - if something isn't useful, why bother with it? I don't particularly care if a spiritual issue is 'real' so long as it's doing something for the person who is experiencing it.

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2014, 12:00:32 pm »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
...

first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work


I'm Veggie, and I've been some flavor of pagan for fifteen years.  Spiritually, I'm in this place that I'm apparently supposed to be in, that sometimes makes amazing amounts of sense and sometimes makes no sense at all.  All my trace work has been accidental, so I'd like to be able to do it deliberately.

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Then maybe answers to the questionnaire (some of these answers may be very private so feel free not to answer completely if that's uncomfortable for you)


I'm trying to be accountable with this work through, and so I answered the questionnaire in full on my blog.  I'll highlight a couple of things by posting them below as well

(A note: Jake, I know the terminology you are using is from the book.  My responses to the terminology is toward Paxson's use of it, and not yours.)

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Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?


I do not, aside from The Cauldron.  Since this project is a Cauldron project, it is likely that the group will be supportive.

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Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?


No, and I’m not sure how I feel about the concept, honestly.  I think the terms are tossed around too often.

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Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?


Oh, Lordy.

Yes, I do and, for the most part, they found me.  I contact them routinely for a variety of reasons, and they do the same.  Different methods are used – two speak inside my head, and all of them communicate through dreams and feelings.

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Q2. How do you rate your temperament in the following areas? Consider the column on the left to be 1, and the column on the right to be 5. Where do you fall on the continuum?


How can I even answer these?  My temperament changes, as my default state is chameleon with rage issues.

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Q3. How do you react to stress?


Badly.

Sometimes I overeat.  In the past, I’ve self-medicated with alcohol, but I’m pretty good at not doing that any more.  Ummm…I get angry.  I’m more comfortable with rage than sadness.

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Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?


Yes, yes, YES.  A mixture of CBT, DBT, and narrative therapy since 2009 for my Depression.  I love my therapist.  This will be stopping in September 2014 when she closes her practice, as I don’t want to start over again with someone new, but I think I’m okay with that.

(As an aside, and not posted on my blog, I really don't care for the reason for the question.  There's an implied stigma.)

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How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?


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Relaxation


Adequate

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Breath control


Adequate

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Visualiasation


Excellent

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Lucid dreaming


Excellent

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Self hypnosis


Willing to learn

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Shamanic journeying


Trying not to react to use of ‘shamanic’ and failing.  Willing to learn if we can use another term.

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Sensing and moving energy


Excellent at sensing; adequate at moving.

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Divination


Adequate on average.

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Folk magic


Adequate.

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Mythology


Adequate.

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Shamanism


There’s that word again.  See answer to journeying.

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Jungian psychology


Highly dissatisfied with Jung and not even remotely interested.

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What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?


I’d like to better be able to explore the liminal edges, and I feel that I need to have a solid grasp of trance work in order to do so.
***

I'll address the remaining questions once I re-read the Introduction and Chapter One.  I have a feeling that the terminology is really going to be a sticking point because of my Words Mean Things bent.
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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2014, 12:44:54 pm »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work


I have been a practicing Pagan for just about 20 years now.  I definitely feel like I am always looking for ways to deepen my personal practice and expand my knowledge into how other people approach their practices.  While I have some experience with trance, I have none in a group ritual setting, all my work with trance has been on my own.

*note:  I sort of rearranged some of the questions to put things that I could answer together in the same place as I felt some of the questions are too similar to need separate answers.  Also didn't post my full answers, though I did journal them out for my own reference.
 
Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.


I am married with a son just starting high school, but both of them are pretty good at giving me time if I say I want it.  I don't work, so often have the house to myself during the day, though my husband's work schedule is strange (12 hour shifts, at least 3 days a week), so when he is off work, sometimes I am more busy with less free time.
 
Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?


I meet regularly with some friends who are also Pagan, and we often do rituals for Sabbats.  We have also done full moon celebrations and other rituals together.  We haven't done much trance, and the meditations we have done have been very free form (some of the rituals have had time to meditate on the goal, but no structured or guided meditations).  My friends do support anything I am working on, and we often talk about whatever we are each involved in at the time.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?
Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?


I have felt the presence of wolf in my life since I was a child, and have always felt close to her.  I do have several deities I work with on a regular basis (and have worked with for the majority of my practice).  The relationship I have with the deities I work with started with a deep feeling of connection as I read about them or spoke their names out loud.  While I did do some seeking (and a ton of reading and research) about different deities, I typically trust my gut when it comes to guides, deities and spirits, and when I felt pulled to follow, I do.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?
Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?


I am a housewife, so don't have a job outside the home.  Mainly I use altered states when cleaning.  I enjoy a lot of crafting, reading and playing games on the computer.  If I am doing a very repetitive thing with the crafting (or gaming) I might find myself using a form of light trance to keep with it.  I started doing this when I was in grade school, running on the track team.  I was a long distance runner, and found that getting into a light trance helped me to ignore the little pains and tiredness I felt while running and push myself longer and harder.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. What is your academic training? What kind of thinking did your department teach?


I was blessed with a father who really pushed me (and still does) to think and to examine the world around me.  The high school I attended also made special effort to not just have us memorize things, but to take a stand and be able to defend it.  I find that I still do a lot of considering things from multiple viewpoints.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q4. What strengths or skills do you already have that can help you in trance work? What do you think will be hardest to learn?


I have done a lot of visualization work, and think that will be helpful.  I have struggled a lot with things like trance and journeying because I learned to define them in a specific way when I was first starting out, and trying to break free of that mental conception isn't always easy for me.  I had to similarly untrain myself in regards to grounding (because ultimately the tree grounding that is pretty universal is not very effective for me).

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. What is your general state of health?
Q4. Do you have any chronic or cyclical problems or conditions (especially heart, blood pressure, diabetic, menstrual or menopausal symptoms) that affect your mood, energy or focus? Are you on any medications?
Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?


I am pretty healthy, definitely nothing major to worry about.  I am a bit over the weight I would like to be, but working on it.  I do my best to eat healthy and exercise, I would say that I follow my dietary standards 80 percent of the time and exercise about 70 percent of the time.  I am female, so definitely notice mood and other swings during menstruation, but typically they aren't overwhelming.  I don't take any type of medication.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. How do you react to stress?
Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?


I don't handle stress as well as I could.  Some things don't bother me, but I do have a couple things (typically when family members are ill or when money gets too tight) that send me into a stress induced panic.  My biggest problem is that once I start that spiral, it can be very hard for me to pull myself out.  I enjoy casual use of alcohol, but don't use any drugs.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?


This one I have heard before, that some kind of life-altering situation sparks a change in people spiritually, but I have not had any such event in my life.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?


I have never received professional counseling.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?


Relaxation, Breath control, Visualiasation, Folk magic, Mythology-  these I feel I am pretty adept at

Lucid dreaming, journeying, Sensing and moving energy, Divination-  these I have some experience with, but don't feel as comfortable with my own abilities.

Self hypnosis, Shamanism, Jungian psychology-  I really don't think I know much of anything about these, wouldn't mind learning

Quote from: Jake_;154027
What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?


I think that trance work would be useful in my personal practice.  There are a lot of things that seem to have trance as their first step, and I would like to explore some of these practices more.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?


My family wasn't very religious when I was little (holiday Christians pretty much), so no.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: what messages have you received from the/your dominant culture on the validity of trance work?


I feel like the main cultural perspective is that trance is something that is done by religious fanatics, mountain mystics or drug users.  It's not a positive perspective.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?


I very much feel that real is not a useful distinction, because what is real to me is so heavily tinged by my own experiences and life events that it may not seem real to anyone else but could be very real to me.  I also think that sometimes we get hung up on truth and accuracy and don't put enough validity on useful.  Parables and teaching stories are great examples of things that may not be either true or accurate but can be very useful.
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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2014, 01:01:12 am »
Quote from: Jake_;154027

first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work


I self identify as pagan in general but I follow a Druidic path, though not as a reconstructionist- more as a philosophical inspiration and framework- and I am a member of ADF but would like to join OBOD if I had the extra cash. I started learning about paganism when I was 14/15 and my initial introduction was through Wicca, but it never quite stuck with me for various reasons. I identified as agnostic for the next 10 or so years but was always drawn to paganism and started studying it again to get a grasp on meditation exercises to help with my depression/anxiety. About a year and a half ago I picked up a book on Druidy by John Michael Greer and found that I actually already believed in just about everything outlined within and it was a natural fit.

Quote from: Jake_;154027

Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.


I live with my partner of several years. It's actually been a struggle for me to talk about my beliefs with him since he's pretty firmly atheist and very skeptical to metaphysical things. It's improved though over time and he gives me the physical and emotional space I need to explore my practices (and really enjoys the incense I burn).

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?


I don't belong to any spiritual group such as a coven (or grove, if you will) since I'm very firmly solitary in my practice. I enjoy online exchange and discussion but I'm very hesitant to get involved in person- perhaps due to my mistrust of organized religion.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?


I'm hesitant to refer to them as "power animals" or "totems" (for the obvious problematic reasons), so I think of them more as guides. I interact with them in meditation sometimes but I more see them as aspects of the self rather than separate entities.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?


Yes, I work with the Morrigan on a semi-regular basis. I'm still on the fence about whether I see deity as a part of the subconscious or an individual force in the more classic way deity is perceived. I admit I have a lot of hang-ups surrounding the whole idea of deity/gods/goddesses.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q1. What is your general state of health?


Currently it's pretty damn good, especially compared to how things used to be. I used to suffer from severe depression and anxiety, which was debilitating and almost led me to commit suicide more than a few times. I got a lot of great help from a wonderful therapist who I think really saved my life and taught me strategies for how to deal with the negative thought processes and circumstances the contributed to my illness. Since then I've been living much more healthily and my work with pagan practices has also contributed to this (sidenote: cognitive behavioral therapy is very similar to a lot of meditation exercises I've encountered).

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q3. How do you react to stress?


Generally pretty well- but it depends on the type of stress. Financial stress is the hardest for me to deal with, whereas stress arising from interpersonal relationships is much more manageable. I do have to be very careful with my stress levels though, for reasons stated above.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q4. Do you have any chronic or cyclical problems or conditions (especially heart, blood pressure, diabetic, menstrual or menopausal symptoms) that affect your mood, energy or focus? Are you on any medications?
Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?


I understand this is a touchy subject for a lot of people since many courses will deny participants who have certain conditions. I currently am healthy but in the past was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, PTSD, and at one point bipolar II disorder (though that was a controversial diagnosis that my doctors could not agree on and I would say I am not actually bipolar-- the other 2 are definitely true though). My experiences with meditation and shadow work have overall improved my mental health, however, though I admit if I were in a worse place I could see how certain forms of shadow/trance work could be detrimental and/or re-traumatizing.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?


With alcohol, I'm such a lightweight so I've learned to partake moderately. With drugs, I wouldn't know since I tend to stay away from them due to the mental health issues mentioned above as well as experiencing the havoc that can be brought on a family when several members are drug addicts. I've heard of many people having amazing spiritual experiences with them but it's not something I'm interested in trying.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?


Not as much as I should be getting probably, though I am eating healthier these days.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?


If by life-threatening you mean near-death experience, I would say yes but it happened when I was very young so I don't remember. I would also consider depression/PTSD to be life-threatening but that may not be the target of the question.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?


Relaxation - Adequate, could always improve

Breath control - Adequate

Visualiazation - Excellent

Lucid dreaming - Abysmal and willing to learn

Self hypnosis - Never tried it

Shamanic journeying - OK enough? - trying to improve

Sensing and moving energy - Shitty; this is a real weakness of mine

Divination - Pretty good

Folk magic - Not bad, willing to learn more

Mythology - Good, I've always loved reading about it

Jungian psychology - decent

 
Quote from: Jake_;154027
What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?[/B]


I want to explore the concept of deity more with it since it's something that I've always had a lot of trouble figuring out where I stand on it. I also would be interested in trying out spirit work/contact, just for the hell of it. Also I'd like to go deeper with shadow work from a personal empowerment standpoint.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?


In another religious environment? No, not if you mean churches and such. But I did take a class on Buddhism in college where we did a lot of meditation practice and I had one very interesting, deep experience from it during a group trance which I'd like to replicate on my own.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: what messages have you received from the/your dominant culture on the validity of trance work?


I think it's largely ignored at best and scoffed at at worst. Nobody's getting street cred from trance work in my neck of the woods.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?


I'm not sure, honestly. It's something I've been trying to sort out for myself for quite some time and I'm hoping to gain some understanding of this as we progress throughout the book/discussion.

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 01:35:23 pm »
Quote from: Jake_;154027
A couple of notes first

Questionnaire p 10-14

Support systems


Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.


1)I live with my partner who doesn't really understand my spiritual practice but accepts it and likes that i do it because it makes my life work better. He is more than happy to give me time and space to do whatever i want. he is also away a lot with work so I have lots of time on my own anyway


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Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?


2) no my pagan community is pretty much TC at the moment


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Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?


3) not comfortable with the words “totem” or “power animal” but I do have what I call an “animal companion” who came to me when I was a teenager and has been around ever since,We are in contact most of the time, she is mostly always around. Not convinced that this is at all a necessity, and if i didn't have one i don’t think I’d feel the need to go looking


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Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?


4) I have a relationship with Brighid and Morrigan. I first approached Bridgid when my best friend was pregnant and the baby was breech. I prayed and gave offerings that both mother and baby would be ok and we built a relationship was there. Morrigan told me when she was ready to a approach here.I also am influenced by/follow Tyr.




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Background

Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?

Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?


1) 2) I make and sell Jewellery and cards for a living, I write poetry and I play computer games all of which give me altered states. I also spent a long time doing sharp end youth work in which I learned how to be both hyper aware and wide focused in a healthy way (which is very tiring for me)

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Q3. What is your academic training? What kind of thinking did your department teach?


3)I have a degree in Eng Lit and creative writing which gave me an intro to lots of different thought systems, furthered my critical thinking skills. influenced the way i think about stories and society and taught me that creativity takes work


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Physiology and Psychology

Q1. What is your general state of health?


1) honestly? my immediate response to this is “mind your own business!” My body doesn't work very well for lots of reasons, but I don’t think that matters, what matters, i think, is that I know its needs and boundaries, that i know how to look after it and how to put it back together when I over do it



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Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?


5)badly, I’m pretty chemically sensitive


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Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?


6)i don’t get enough exercise. I eat lots of fruit and veg but i also eat a lot of processed crap, (except i’ve cut out on bread because it gives me heartburn now)



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Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?


yes

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Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?


8) yes, I  saw a clinical psychologist once a week for 2 and a half years in my early twenties to deal with an enormous amount of life trauma. Best/most important thing I ever did.


Quote
How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?


Relaxation Adequate

Breath control not very good, willing to learn

Visualiasation Excellent  

Lucid dreaming Not something I've ever tried, willing to learn

Self hypnosis Not something I've ever tried, willing to learn

Shamanic journeying never done it.

Sensing and moving energy not sure

Divination good,  i have a knack for it

Folk magic  good,  i have a knack for it

Mythology good

Shamanism well i dont know what this means in this context, so

Jungian psychology Not as much as i thought i did but i'm not particularly interested in it



Quote
Purpose

What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?
 

honestly? Because The Morrigan made it clear to me that she wants me to learn it

general questions I came up with while reading

Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?


Yes, I grew up in a church that was part of the "Toronto blessing" movement so there was a lot of different sorts of altered states being experienced

Question what messages have you received from the/your dominant culture on the validity of trance work?

The dominant culture doesn't seem to care one way or the other.
Knowing when to use a shovel is what being a witch is all about. Nanny Ogg, Witches Abroad

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2014, 09:26:59 pm »
Finishing the questionnaire.

Quote from: Jake_;154027

Q3. How do you react to stress?


A lot better these days. I can get irritable but less likely to get anxious over it, now that my generalised anxiety is well managed.

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Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?


I've never used illegal substances. I haven't had alcohol in over a decade. I was a teenager then so wasn't so much with the moderation. I'd be fine having a few drinks.

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Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?


I've been lax the past few months, but also it's winter and cold, brrr. I walk almost everywhere and also like to dance at home for fun. I eat several colours of vegetables, especially if I'm having stir-fry. I eat fruit too.

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Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?


Nope.

Quote

Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?


Yes. I've had CBT and talk therapy. For depression and anxiety mostly resulting from various asshole people in my life. I learned coping strategies and am now very aware of my thoughts and how I'm responding to situations.

Quote

How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?  


Relaxation - Adequate and working on.

Breath control - Adequate and working on.

Visualiasation - Willing to learn. I have trouble with a lot of visual things (I'm visually impaired so that probably doesn't help). I'm working on using my other senses in trance-work.

Lucid dreaming - Willing to learn.

Self hypnosis - Unsure what this involves.

Shamanic journeying - Willing to learn.

Sensing and moving energy - Adequate at moving, working on sensing better.

Divination - Adequate and improving with practice.

Folk magic - Willing to learn/learning.

Mythology - Adequate and learning.

Shamanism - ?

Jungian psychology - Archetypes thing?

Quote

Purpose

What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?


To build stronger connections to my Gods and other beings I end up working with. To more reliably gain inspiration in my writing and art (I've had times where I zone out a bit while doing something repetitive and I'll get words that form into poetry, but those are few and far between). If I learn things that aid myself and my community, even better.

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 10:28:19 pm »
Joining in a bit late, the last week in July was our biennial hell week at work, and it's taken me longer than usual to recover this go round.

Quote from: Jake_;154027
first I thought it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves, where we are spiritually and what if any experience we have had with trance work

I'm working on developing more structured practices after several years without any sort of religious/spiritual focus at all. I want to study trancework because as a generally solitary practitioner, I need tools that don't depend on a group presence.

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Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.

I live with my husband and cats. He's pretty uninterested in my spiritual practices (doesn't mind them, but doesn't feel any need to be involved). One funny thing about my living situation is that now that I don't need to hide from parents, roommates, etc., I find I keep doing it out of habit. For example, I doubt my husband would care if I just shut the door and said, "don't bother me for a hour," but I still find myself fitting things in to times when he's not around.

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Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?
Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?

I wear a lot of hats at my job, so most important mental skill is multi-tasking. I think this is easy to pick up in modern society! I'm not so sure it's useful for trance work, and would go so far as to say it's probably detrimental. I have a hard time stopping the flow of "must-check-this-and-then-that-what-about-the-other-thing-oh-wait-and..."

For hobbies, reading, crafts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, and sewing), cooking, yoga, wasting time on the Internet... Reading is probably the best example because I can get very absorbed in a book. I've been able to do that as far back as I can remember. Crafts tend to be less absorbing and I'll often have some "background noise" on. Yoga helps me to focus on the present moment, but also reminds me that I still need lots of practice there!

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Q3. How do you react to stress?

I tend to withdraw from stressful situations. If I'm having overall life stress I tend to sleep at lot, go out less, do less at work, etc. One of the reasons I wanted to join this study group was to create a sense of responsibility so I would be less likely to quit if I had difficulty with the work.


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Question: Have you ever experienced altered states in any other religious environment?

Yes. My family used to go to special healing Masses at a local Marian community when I was a kid. As part of the service they lay hands on you and you might "rest in the Spirit." It was actually a pretty powerful experience, but as I got older and drifted away from the Church, it stopped working for me.

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Question: do you think the distinction between real and useful in this context is a good one? Why or why not?

I think it's a good way to evaluate, but it does put more responsibility on the evaluator. Objectively real is a concrete standard; useful gives you some wiggle room. So one needs enough self-awareness/honesty to determine if something is actually useful or just something one wants to be so.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2014, 10:29:02 pm by beachglass »
"The further we go, and older we grow, the more we know, the less we show."  ~ Robert Smith

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Re: Tranceportation: Intro and first chapter
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 10:22:57 am »
Quote from: beachglass;155908
One funny thing about my living situation is that now that I don't need to hide from parents, roommates, etc., I find I keep doing it out of habit. For example, I doubt my husband would care if I just shut the door and said, "don't bother me for a hour," but I still find myself fitting things in to times when he's not around.



 
I do this too!  My hubby is like yours, if I told him I was going to go meditate or do something faith related in the bedroom for a while, he wouldn't bother me (if I don't tell him, sometimes he comes to look for me, just to make sure I am okay though).  

But I tend to do things when he isn't around.  Part of it is that he works so much that I try to be available when he is home to spend time with him.  Part of it is that, even though he has no problem with what I believe, I know that he thinks a lot of it is bunk.  He doesn't teas me or anything like that, but just the knowing of what he thinks inside makes me self-conscious.  It is something I am trying to work on because I feel like it is way more my issue than his.  I don't think he would have a problem with me doing everything out in the open.
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