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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion  (Read 1057 times)

Ameline

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Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« on: September 16, 2017, 08:03:05 pm »
Hi, everybody.

I'm a long time lurker on the forums and from what I've seen, I really appreciate and respect the community here. I have learned a lot just by reading. But it so happens that I have a rather sensitive personal thing I would like to discuss regarding trancework, visions and other "weird stuff".

Even though I've always was a firm believer in self-sufficiency regarding the spiritual path (or however should one call it), but I feel a need for someone to discuss these things with who has some knowledge on the topic and will not judge me (or at least do it silently). The plain truth is that I happened to follow a very thrilling road and... I am perhaps a bit scared. I don't know where to go. I don't know what is normal. I am at times even worried about a medical issue as my "trances" can get a bit odd. No books seems to clear up things for me. I think I need a real person to talk about things.

I don't know where to start. There were things in the past, but only recently they have tied together to form a picture. But on the risk of sounding boring, I'll probably start from the beginning.

I do have a history of seizures as a child. I don't know what they were. My doctor ruled out epilepsy, but I don't think it was tested, I would have been told. Then again, my mother was very anxious. I also had severe behavioral issues, back then called "minimal brain dysfunction" and it might be connected. Recently as I tried some drumming, I felt transported back and realized that there were "waking dreams" as this was happening. However, this might be a recent injection. The last one of these happened when I was 7. It was at school and I remember being thoughtfully ashamed as not only I collapsed on the floor and woke up to an angry teacher poking me with her foot, but I also apparently lost control of my bladder... It never happened again.

I always had very vivid dreams. I started lucid dreaming when I was about 16. I thoroughly hated it, though, and managed to un-learn it within the next few years. Last instance was when I was forcibly trying to wake up from a nightmare and found myself hovering above myself sleeping. I still was partially in the dream mindset and was terrified the monsters followed me home as I was just floating there helplessly. Additionally, I couldn't feel my heart beating (this has happened to me before that when meditating, far less overwhelming).

Nevertheless, I still keep a small shard of awareness as I sleep. I still have very interesting dreams. I used to meet interesting people and beings made of light who were trying to explain how the universe works :) Doesn't happen as much now. But I have learned a lot about magic, ritual and people from my dreams. I also sometimes "stalked" my friends realtime as well when sleeping. Fun times.

In my 20s I started to experience amazing states of connectedness and universal beauty when presented with certain sights (sky, wind, light) and sounds. It does sound a bit lame when I put it like this, but it's just so intense, every sense going into overdrive and you just want to cry because you feel so blessed just to be able to experience the world. I almost got myself run over by a car once when walking about like this, totally consumed in the beauty of the lines of every individual house and vehicle :D Now it's significantly more controlled and surprisingly even more powerful somehow as I am more aware in it. I don't know how this relates, but it's too marvelous to leave unmentioned.

I also sometimes had spontaneous visions, "waking dreams". It was as if my conscience split, both realities existing side by side, both just as real. This was very intense and the information relevant and valuable. It felt fully real across all senses.

My interest in trancework is an attempt to consciously work with such experiences and not just let them leak through willy-nilly. To take matters into my own hands, take an active role. I didn't have much success, though, and what I had only lead to more confusion, but the spontaneous visions and telling dreams almost went away. I'm really making a mess out of it, I feel.

Only rarely I do have a real vision when I grab my drum (defined as the sense of being fully both here and there, as those I had before, as opposed to a dream on one end and fantasy on the other). I do sometimes get them without the drum just by... I actually don't know how, I just do it when I feel the pull - this is easier to maintain, but I love my drum, it makes waking up easier.

Anyway, the main thing is that there is a lot of mental and emotional "static" that I seem to latch on happily before going any deeper. I typically am working on something personal, so I'm not inclined to disregard it as in meditation. I seem to be especially prone to vividly reliving old forgotten memories from my early childhood, though they typically feel quite relevant to the issue at hand. I also sometimes get a strong physical reaction, with over-tensed muscles (sometimes lifting me into an arch on my head and heels) and repetitive spasms of the body.

I have a persistent feeling that I can stop it at will, but I never got around to even trying for some reason. It's not like I'm trying to show off to an empty room... Happens only with drumming. The beat seems to become one of the compulsive movements/spasms. Due to my current housing situation, I need to be mindful of the noise, though.

I used to have a sort of "guide" when I was a child and teen, but she is more of a healer and better at soothing than leading (though she did help me with a persistent pain issue recently. I don't think of these interactions as visions or journeys - I'm too conscious and it's happening in my mind, even though I don't actively imagine it). We agreed I need somebody more firm and direct. So she brought him. It's been a year. I still have a pretty ambivalent feeling about him. I like him and he seems trustworthy - and exciting - but also somewhat dangerous and unpredictable.

Whatever tests I was able to try, he registered as being perfectly OK, but I am still hesitant to let him lead. He's a sort of a prankster, but very preoccupied with truth and independent thinking. Even his tricks are pretty much riddles to be solved and means to see through illusion. Massively helpful, I have to say. It was only with his lead that I did get anywhere. I mostly see him as a lightweight black short-eared canid (jackal or coyote) sometimes with streaks of primary colors in his fur, but he made it clear that his current look is more about me than him.

As it is probably clear from my writing, I don't have much of an idea what I am doing. I have no idea what to do. I don't know where I am supposed to be going and why. I'm just confused... I jumped right in without checking I can swim well enough, it feels, and trying to figure it out by myself doesn't seem to work all that well... and I don't get advice from dreams all that often anymore, so I guess I have to try people :)

[edited to add whitespace]
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 01:14:25 pm by Jenett »

Waldhexe

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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 03:10:18 am »
I'm not sure I can give good advice on this.

If you feel you're loosing control and if you doubt your brain behaves normally it could help to get a medical opinion. You could also ask for your medical file from your childhood doctor.

There are also a couple of excercises which could help to get more control like grounding, centering and visualization excercises...

F.ex. you could visualize a house in your mind with different rooms representing different kinds of meditation or journey work. Before you go on a spirit journey you visualize the house and go through a specific door. When you're finished you trace your way back and close the door. The important thing about the house is that it is a closed space, nothing can leave or enter without you consciously opening a door so it's helpful to spend time on visualizing the boundaries (is there a garden with a fence or hegdes...? What kind of wall does the house have, how does it look, feel, sound, smell...?). It might help to structure what you're doing, kind of cleaning up your head space...

Jenett

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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 02:11:05 pm »
A quick note: I went through and edited your post to add a little more whitespace (blank lines between paragraphs). It's really helpful if you do a blank line every 4-5ish lines of text, since it makes it a lot easier to read on screens (and also improves the chances of more people replying...)

I think I need a real person to talk about things.

Books are great, but you're right that real people can sometimes be more help. That said, there's some things where real people online can only be a limited amount of help. (Just to set some expectations here!)

In person, if you're working with someone about trance, there's all sorts of things about body language, pacing, reactions afterwards, and other important detail that just don't come through in later reports online, no matter how self-aware or able to articulate what's going on someone is (and you sound pretty self-aware and articulate here, for the topic, for what it's worth. It's often hard to describe these things.)

Quote
As it is probably clear from my writing, I don't have much of an idea what I am doing. I have no idea what to do. I don't know where I am supposed to be going and why. I'm just confused... I jumped right in without checking I can swim well enough, it feels, and trying to figure it out by myself doesn't seem to work all that well... and I don't get advice from dreams all that often anymore, so I guess I have to try people :)

Several directions to explore spring to mind here.

1) You mention you'd tried books, but not which ones.
If you haven't taken a look at Diana Paxson's Trance-Portation and Ivo Dominguez Jr.'s Spirit Speak, I'd recommend both - not just because they focus on trance and interaction with various entities, but because they're both particularly good with troubleshooting advice, or 'if you're getting this thing, here's something to try'.

(I suspect in both cases, parts of them will be very useful to you, and parts will be more meh. That's okay, though make sure to read any safety/self-care/aftercare notes carefully.)

2) Neurological weirdness is... well, a reasonably common thing.
Do you currently have symptoms of anything like that? (I am currently in weather-induced migraine aura land, which makes me think about this more than I might otherwise.) Some of what you describe is not that far distant from migraine aura or similar neurological stuff, especially the heightened sensation.

Which isn't to say you need to make that go away, or that it's all about the science and not about the numinous mystical experience. But being able to figure out which it is a particular time might help you make better informed choices about when to try a new trance approach, or do something more complicated, and when it might be better to do something else. Or an idea of which approaches to try in general.

Also, the static part is pretty normal for a lot of people - we have lots going on, our brains need to sort through some of that before we can do deeper work. Some people find building routines or meditation practices specifically to include processing that help.

3) The link between emotional processing and physical response is a thing.
There are body modalities that focus on this (and also some self-managed meditation techniques: a lot of moving meditation techniques do this, where you're not focusing on a specific trance-space conversation or experience, but on releasing that emotion or experience in your body.) If you're doing a lot of emotional work with physical consequences, that might be something to explore more.

(The body modality I've done the most with is Feldenkrais, which was fantastic for me, but is more 'geeking about the body' than 'emotional resolution' but there are lots of others out there.)

4) Are you doing any journaling about this?
When I'm trying to sort out a problem, or figure out what to do about something like this, notes are really helpful.

(For example, I'm mostly not commenting on your dreamwork because it's not a thing I do: I know from my own notetaking that bar when I'm taking some supplements, I remember dreaming about one week every 3 months, and very scattered times outside that.)

However, trancework can be particularly responsive to changes in our lives (where we're living, how we're living, schedule, stress levels) so more tracking about what's going on might be helpful to you, and figuring out if there's more than one thing affecting how things come out for you. Chances are there is (we have complicated lives, most of us.)

I may have more thoughts later, too.
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Ameline

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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2017, 06:34:41 pm »
Thank you both for your responses, there is a lot to think about. Incidentally, I would like to apologize for that post, I was running a fever yesterday. It's pretty convoluted even by my standards. So another thanks for reading it all and making sense of it, I guess :)

Anyway, after I wrote all of that, I finally tried the most obvious thing and asked the guide about my problems.
The answer: "You are just so heavy with anxiety and fear, even though you're doing your best to ignore it - no wonder you can't move freely, let alone fly. No worries, we can work with that (...)"


1) You mention you'd tried books, but not which ones.
If you haven't taken a look at Diana Paxson's Trance-Portation and Ivo Dominguez Jr.'s Spirit Speak, I'd recommend both - not just because they focus on trance and interaction with various entities, but because they're both particularly good with troubleshooting advice, or 'if you're getting this thing, here's something to try'.

(I suspect in both cases, parts of them will be very useful to you, and parts will be more meh. That's okay, though make sure to read any safety/self-care/aftercare notes carefully.)

I managed to skim through Trance-portation and it seems a lot more reasonable than the books I've read. I pretty much raided the university library regarding this subject - in theory they should have a copy of every book published in my language. The trouble is, these things are apparently rarely being translated and what is are the most popular titles. These tend to be quite fluffy-pink in nature, at least to my liking. I was able to get reasonable books on tarot there, for example, so I assumed it's an issue with the topic at large. I will look into it more. It really seems like it might be nicely hitting the problems I have

2) Neurological weirdness is... well, a reasonably common thing.
Do you currently have symptoms of anything like that? (I am currently in weather-induced migraine aura land, which makes me think about this more than I might otherwise.) Some of what you describe is not that far distant from migraine aura or similar neurological stuff, especially the heightened sensation.

Which isn't to say you need to make that go away, or that it's all about the science and not about the numinous mystical experience. But being able to figure out which it is a particular time might help you make better informed choices about when to try a new trance approach, or do something more complicated, and when it might be better to do something else. Or an idea of which approaches to try in general.

Also, the static part is pretty normal for a lot of people - we have lots going on, our brains need to sort through some of that before we can do deeper work. Some people find building routines or meditation practices specifically to include processing that help.


Sometimes I'm not sure if it really could be just something wrong with my brain. I sometimes get asked if I took drugs when I try to talk about these experiences. It's a very... universal love kind of thing, when all the senses go into overdrive, you notice individual blades of grass, each controlled explosion in the motors of passing cars, smells of every person going past you, how does the fabric feels against your skin as you move, how every step sends vibrations through your whole body... and everything is just so indescribably beautiful, the elegant lines of rooftops, the light being reflected on electric wires, the wind which brings a sense of infinite expanse... and your mind fills with images if you close your eyes and you have a deep sense of being tied with the past and future - that each little individual thing contains it all...
I typically get just tired and moody afterwards, no migraine, thankfully, just a bit of a headache. I don't know. It's one of the more spectacular things my mind does among other slight oddities (among which is the ability to achieve orgasm just by a certain shift of conscious attention). I have read about seizures that manifested similarly, though...

3) The link between emotional processing and physical response is a thing.
There are body modalities that focus on this (and also some self-managed meditation techniques: a lot of moving meditation techniques do this, where you're not focusing on a specific trance-space conversation or experience, but on releasing that emotion or experience in your body.) If you're doing a lot of emotional work with physical consequences, that might be something to explore more.

(The body modality I've done the most with is Feldenkrais, which was fantastic for me, but is more 'geeking about the body' than 'emotional resolution' but there are lots of others out there.)

That might be interesting to look deeper into. You're absolutely right that there is a link with strong emotions when odd things happen. I do love dance and can achieve some weird states of consciousness quite easily, especially if it's a group thing (I love, love going to concerts), but I never go anywhere with it beyond immediate emotional release.
4) Are you doing any journaling about this?
When I'm trying to sort out a problem, or figure out what to do about something like this, notes are really helpful.

(For example, I'm mostly not commenting on your dreamwork because it's not a thing I do: I know from my own notetaking that bar when I'm taking some supplements, I remember dreaming about one week every 3 months, and very scattered times outside that.)

However, trancework can be particularly responsive to changes in our lives (where we're living, how we're living, schedule, stress levels) so more tracking about what's going on might be helpful to you, and figuring out if there's more than one thing affecting how things come out for you. Chances are there is (we have complicated lives, most of us.)

I may have more thoughts later, too.

Journaling... ah, journaling. I do keep a journal for major interactions and originally dreams as well, but dreams are hard. I dream too much and in too much detail and it takes too long to write down, so I get frustrated. I have to say I don't particularly enjoy keeping a journal. But I tend to scatter this stuff over several online forums and fb groups (mostly the dreams). Wouldn't it be so much nicer to have a place where you could actually share these things? It feels much more alive when there are other people involved, and I am also interested in what others might be up to. There isn't a dedicated thread, is there? Is it because of a lack of interest in such a thing?


F.ex. you could visualize a house in your mind with different rooms representing different kinds of meditation or journey work. Before you go on a spirit journey you visualize the house and go through a specific door. When you're finished you trace your way back and close the door. The important thing about the house is that it is a closed space, nothing can leave or enter without you consciously opening a door so it's helpful to spend time on visualizing the boundaries (is there a garden with a fence or hegdes...? What kind of wall does the house have, how does it look, feel, sound, smell...?). It might help to structure what you're doing, kind of cleaning up your head space...

I do like this, it looks like a solid frame to put things into, which might help things a lot. I will try it.


But there is this lingering question. What do I actually do with all this? What am I supposed to want to achieve? Where do I go and why? What kind of solutions can I actually expect? I think there should be a project...

Jenett

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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 09:49:54 am »
Sometimes I'm not sure if it really could be just something wrong with my brain. I sometimes get asked if I took drugs when I try to talk about these experiences.

It doesn't have to mean something's wrong (I mean, that's worth checking, if you have other symptoms, but not everything that's different is 'wrong' or needs fixing) But there's a lot of different ways brains work, and looking at some of the options and how other people handle that thing can be helpful in figuring out how to handle your particular body and brain and situation.

From some of what you say here, I wonder if some of the writing about synesthesia might be interesting to you, for example.

Quote
Journaling... ah, journaling. I do keep a journal for major interactions and originally dreams as well, but dreams are hard. I dream too much and in too much detail and it takes too long to write down, so I get frustrated. I have to say I don't particularly enjoy keeping a journal. But I tend to scatter this stuff over several online forums and fb groups (mostly the dreams). Wouldn't it be so much nicer to have a place where you could actually share these things? It feels much more alive when there are other people involved, and I am also interested in what others might be up to. There isn't a dedicated thread, is there? Is it because of a lack of interest in such a thing?

If you'd like to make a thread, go ahead - I think there isn't one because a lot of people are more private about their dreams and/or the people who do want to track it want to track it in a space they control.

Tracking doesn't need to be a big deal. I have an online account that's used for journalling and general posts (on Dreamwidth) where I can make posts to a known list of people, or private ones, or public ones. My dream posts are almost always private posts. If I wake up from a dream and remember anything about it, I write down a short description.

The dreams I do remember tend to be cinematic with soundtracks and tons of details, so I don't write down every detail, but I do try to include any major symbology things (I have had both bears and dinosaurs semi-regularly for a long time, for example.) I tag the post with "dream" so I can find it again later.

Some people find it useful to put in weather information, or things like the moon phase or health notes. I find it most useful to have it in the place where I talk about other things going on in my life (since that's what I mostly use the Dreamwidth account for.) so it's pretty easy to tell (even years later) that this dream was when I was spending a lot of time on this thing, or going through this stressful thing, and this dream here was after that resolved.

Other people just keep a brief journal (paper or digital) where they write down a quick summary. (Again, even 3-4 sentences will be helpful when looking for patterns) and a couple of sentences each day about what they did. You don't have to do it forever, but if you're trying to figure out what's going on with something like dreams or numinous experiences, or magical results, having records helps tremendously in figuring out any patterns.

Quote
But there is this lingering question. What do I actually do with all this? What am I supposed to want to achieve? Where do I go and why? What kind of solutions can I actually expect? I think there should be a project...

That's not really a question other people can answer for you, y'know?

The thing I'd think about is that dreamwork or trancework - those are tools. They can be pleasant and/or meaningful experiences by themselves, and if that's something you enjoy, go for it.

But if you want to use them to do something, it's up to you to decide what you're doing, and how those tools fit into doing it. Some people use these tools to learn about themselves, or to develop relationships with deities or other entities. Some people use them for magic or transformative work. Lots of options! (Trance-Portation goes into some of the different ways you might use trance, and has examples scattered through that may also give you ideas.) 
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Ameline

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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 04:57:42 am »

The thing I'd think about is that dreamwork or trancework - those are tools. They can be pleasant and/or meaningful experiences by themselves, and if that's something you enjoy, go for it.

But if you want to use them to do something, it's up to you to decide what you're doing, and how those tools fit into doing it. Some people use these tools to learn about themselves, or to develop relationships with deities or other entities. Some people use them for magic or transformative work. Lots of options! (Trance-Portation goes into some of the different ways you might use trance, and has examples scattered through that may also give you ideas.)

Yeah, you're right. It's just the almost backwards way I got to it - trying to harness things that were already happening as opposed to trying to make things happen. I am all too aware that all by itself it is just a tool - a toy if not employed for a purpose. But I really haven't figured out what was the purpose in the first place. Do you think there might have been a sort of subconscious plan that I should uncover and follow, or could it have been just a sort of natural "overflow" that happened without anything deeper than that? There are things that I want. But it keeps feeling "flat" or "frivolous" if I try this way of going around getting to them. Isolated goals with little further meaning...

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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 04:21:49 pm »
But I really haven't figured out what was the purpose in the first place. Do you think there might have been a sort of subconscious plan that I should uncover and follow, or could it have been just a sort of natural "overflow" that happened without anything deeper than that? There are things that I want. But it keeps feeling "flat" or "frivolous" if I try this way of going around getting to them. Isolated goals with little further meaning...

I'm usually not a "There must be some hidden deeper meaning" person about this kind of thing.

I tend to think there are skills that come easier to us, and others we have to work for more, and often we're (unsurprisingly) drawn to or end up having more experiences with the skills that come easier to us.

But the larger question of "what do you do with this" is, well, where religion or philosophy or personal projects or desire for knowledge come in, really. There are lots of possible options there, but only some of them are going to be appealing or interesting to you.
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Re: Looking for some advice regarding trancework confusion
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 05:00:31 pm »
I'm usually not a "There must be some hidden deeper meaning" person about this kind of thing.

I tend to think there are skills that come easier to us, and others we have to work for more, and often we're (unsurprisingly) drawn to or end up having more experiences with the skills that come easier to us.

But the larger question of "what do you do with this" is, well, where religion or philosophy or personal projects or desire for knowledge come in, really. There are lots of possible options there, but only some of them are going to be appealing or interesting to you.

Thank you very much. That is actually quite the liberating thought. It could be that it "overflowed" when the need or desire for something crossed a certain threshold, crated enough inner pressure which then went ignored, and voila! a thing happened that made ignoring it impossible. It took me a long time to admit that I in fact do have needs and desires, and even longer time to accept that it's OK. Yeah, I was one of those people, brain floating on a cloud. A saint, nay, a martyr... ahh, the joys of being a teenager. I am still not 100% comfortable with simply wanting something, it's more like 80% comfortable, but that is mostly fine in day-to-day life. This is almost like a deeper meaning, though   ::)

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