My books are here! I have picked up the following books to assist with this course (all used, hence the long delivery time).
- The Trance Workbook by Kay Hoffman
- Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures by Felicitas Goodman and Nana Nauwald
- Ecstatic Body Postures by Belinda Gore
- Frogs into Princes by Richard Bandler and John Grinder
- The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
- Tranceportation by Diana Paxson
Which is a big giant stack of books that is honestly a little intimidating, but I’m sure I’ll figure out how to use them. Ecstatic Body Postures was the first book to get here, and it has a bunch of fairly straightforward postural examples. I did a very brief trance with the “Bear Spirit Posture” (a standing posture, which is an unusual way for me to meditate), and while I didn’t feel particularly bear-like (or have mental images of bears), the posture was a comfortable one for trance. I think I’m going to like the body postures part of this experimentation process more than the auditory part.
I’m hoping that the auditory experiences I can have with things like auditory confusion or other trance induction methods will work out better than drumming did. I did a tentative “second chance” on the drumming CD and got the same response – I actually stopped the meditation due to rising irritation and anxiety.
However, I did find MyNoise.net – which has a TON of online mixed sound machines, and I did a little experimenting with those, and found they were at least good at producing relaxation, if not specifically trance states. (The laundromat track is surprisingly soothing and trancey.) Also, the Polyrhythm Beat Generator is particularly good for trance states that aren’t the “driving” feeling of a solid drum track. My favorite presets are “Rejoice” and “10/10” for pure confusing rhythms. Unfortunately they don’t run continuously, so they’re not ideal, but I think I can explore this further.
What an awful week for practice. Wellspring was this weekend, and I thought that would mean lots of ritual time for me (in solidarity with my festival-going peers who are closer to Tredara than I am), and instead it was just one long string of “stuff” after another. I don’t think I got more than 10 minutes total in front of my altar this week – between home repairs and social commitments and all the usual stuff, it just didn’t happen, and I feel kind of crappy about that. I’m usually good at doing my devotions daily, and I just utterly failed at that this week.
My altar didn’t even get cleaned off until Thursday – so my well was dry by the time I got around to resetting everything. I do a weekly reset of my altar on Mondays – I wipe down the surface, fill the well, empty the incense burner, and generally make sure it’s well tended. It’s a good way to start the week feeling like I’m on solid footing with my practice. Or at least, it’s supposed to be.
Study group didn’t happen this week either, due to bad weather (specifically street flooding keeping us all from being able to get to the coffee shop), and it just threw off my whole weekend.
I’m hoping this coming week will go better. I know that the times I don’t feel like praying are specifically the times I need to take time to pray. That is my goal for this week.
Also – I started testing out a tiny prayer to use whenever I step outside into the sun. It goes:
Hail to the glory of Sunne – at her rising, in her journey, at her setting.
Sometimes I end up saying it while sneezing (stepping out into bright sunlight often makes me sneeze), but it’s a nice little practice that I hope to continue.