Tag Archives: Trance-Portation

C is for Concentration – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So. Last week, I talked about what I planned on doing to mark Imbolg. I did… most of it. The candles took a couple of days longer.
During my ritual bath, I tried to do a little more trance work but… things didn’t go so well.
I wasn’t alone in the house – my wife and her girlfriend were busy, and chatting, in the other room. This is, I’ve discovered, very distracting. I wasn’t expecting it to be – usually, I can tune out their conversations and give them some privacy, even when I’m in the same room with them. I’m not sure why it was so hard to tune them out and go into inner space this time.
Maybe because I was actively trying to do it, rather than just distracting myself with something?
Anyway, long-story-short, while I did manage to use the elevator-technique again, and I did visit my wild geranium buddy again, it was really hard to “see” anything while I was down there, and I kept partially re-surfacing the whole time.
I also got interrupted at one point, near the end of my attempted trance. She didn’t mean to – my wife didn’t know that I was doing ritual work (I figured that since she was working on a project and entertaining someone else, I would have ample time to do my thing without having to put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door – I will have to reconsider this method) – but my sweetie came into the bathroom, poked her head into the tub, and had a conversation with me[1] about our evening plans and needing to get things prepped before meeting her girlfriend’s play-partners for dinner[2].
That was basically it for trying to maintain a trance which, granted, hadn’t been going so well up to that point anyway and which, granted, I had been about to wrap up in any case.
So I rode the elevator back up to the day-to-day world – it was a bit disjointed, and I kept “jumping levels”, so to speak – but was a little fuzzy/weird/distracted for the next half-hour or so. (I baked something – which is what the conversation had been about – and that helped a bit). I think, perhaps, that a bit of toast with peanut butter and maybe a cup of tea might have been a good idea.
Anyway. The gist of this is that my concentration was kind of shot when I tried to do this bit of trance-work, and it had a very palpable effect on what I was able to accomplish during the trance.
One thing that did happen, which may or may not be just me Making Stuff Up: I looked towards the eastern forest, where I’m pretty sure my tree/roots house is, and there is a very big lizardy thing living in the woods. I think it may be a house-guardian or something, because… well, because it wasn’t scary. A big, long, forked tongue came zapping out of the woods, wrapped around my right (passion?) ankle, and tried to yank me towards the forest (but didn’t succeed). But it wasn’t scary.
So I’m not sure what to make of that, but I figured I’d make a note of it here.
Also: I seem to have been dressed roughly like I was in grade eight, give or take a year. No braces (YAY!), but the same sweater and jeans and sneakers and hair-length. Did not actually feel like crap under those circumstances though, which was nice. 🙂
Watered the wild geranium. It nods its head at me, and I hear a little bell. Very cartoony. I don’t know what to make of that, either, but for the record: very cartoony.
Anyway, moving right along.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] My vision was kind of fuzzy at this point, which I’m taking as a sign that I actually was “down”, at least a little bit. So… bonus? It seems to be working?
[2] Polyamoury.

B is Boundaries and Balancing (and Baths) – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So last year, I did “B is for Balance” within the context of winter and summer and the seasonal rhythm of the earth (or at least the part of it where I’m living).
This year, I’m doing “balance” again, but I’m looking at it as part of my work with Trance-portation.
In Chapter Two, the author talks about different ways to ground, center, balance, and otherwise orient and anchor yourself (physically and energetically) in your space. She also talks about shielding – thense boundaries – while you work and developing a permiable shield that lets relevant information in but keeps out the white noise and the people who basically just want to play Silly Buggers with you. In theory.
I like Paxson’s description of balancing – the idea of orienting yourself according to the directions you recognize, but I have trouble doing shielding. I spend a morning doing figure modeling and, during the long poses, I practiced raising and lowering a “shield” (bubble) around myself.
It was weird.
I can’t actually tell if I was succeeding at shielding. The book says that when the visuals get fuzzy but you can still hear what’s going on, you’ve got a shield up. At least that’s how I understood it. But I can’t tell if I was just letting my eyes unfocus or what. :-\
I wrote, recently, about my first attempt at trancework since starting this wee course of study.
The relevant point from that, here, is that I tend to ground into water better than I ground into, well, ground. Maybe that’s because I’m a scorpio with a (full-moon-in) pices for my moon sign; or maybe it’s because my “spirit animal” is a barracuda. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a watery creature in general.
Or maybe it’s something else.
But I ground out into water – both in terms of visualization (when I’m trying to un-spin myself or, especially, someone else, the visual that goes into it is basically me plunging into deep, cool water, and bringing them with me[1]) and in terms of literally getting myself centred, back in my body, and unspun/calmed-down. Baths are my favourite thing, and I love swimming in live water (lakes and rivers[2]).
If I were to hazzard a guess, I would say that doing trance-work in water (or at least in tame water, like a bath tub), is pretty safe. Partly because (I think) the little water people in my tub are friendly towards me. (Possibly because I’m so clearly friendly towards them?) But also because it’s a safe place (for me[3]) that comes with (a) a lock on the door, and (b) its own private moat. 🙂 Add my tendency to ground in that medium, and I’ve got a pretty good spot to work from.
Granted, working exclusively with water (or in water) may mean that I end up shooting myself in the foot a little bit, in terms of being able to (eventually) get things done without having to head for the bath. But it seems like a good place to start. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Apparently this feels like having energy poured-into/dontated-to you, when you’re on the receiving end…? So I’ve been told. That and “best hugs in the city”.
[2] My wife, who’s much more aware of this stuff (by an order of magnitude) than I am, says that water is ancient and in-the-moment. Because it’s always changing. So… The water in the river, the rain, everything… that’s been here since it first cooled the planet down. It’s ancient beyond anything – beyond the shield rock across the river from me, even. It has accumulated memory of all that time. But it doesn’t have the same kind of Awake that a mountain or an old growth tree has because it’s always in flux, always changing. Ancient and new at the same time. I find this utterly, utterly fascinating, but all I know about it is second-hand. 🙂
[3] The bath was where I’d go to get away from my crappy husband, back in my first marriage. Lock the door and soak for as long as I could get away with, and just let the water take all the anger and rage and despair away with it at the end.

Internal Landscape (Trance attempt #1).

So, in typical and perhaps foolish fashion, I tried doing some Going Under while in my bath.

I used a technique for (in theory?) going into trance space that I learned at the local Pagan Schola –> Basically you imagine taking an elevator down through seven or so layers, each one a different colour of the rainbow (you start with red and go down to purple). Then you get out of the elevator, and you’re in your home base.

I my case, I closed my eyes and let my bathtub sink down through those seven layers (I saw my friendly water spirits at the green/heart level. That was nice. I hope I saw them true, and that they really are there and happy to see me be recognized as present. I also saw a Thai Budha in around Indigo, but I’m not sure that’s relevant or just some blip my brain threw up while I was moving). Eventually, my tub landed.
So. My internal landscape is. Maybe not all that surprising.
I landed on a hill – hard-packed earth with the grass and clover and similar growing on it (or, well, rooted in it), that looked like it was only about 3-4 weeks past the snow buggering off. It wasn’t cold – not warm, I was glad for the sweater thing I appeared to be wearing, but also no cold. It looked like the earth had been hibernating, right there, for a while though.
I climbed out of the tub (which is now dry and, fyi, I’m dressed) and looked to the west. It was edging towards sunset, so that’s how I knew (apparently). There’s a big river there. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was the Ottawa, to be honest. The area kind of reminded me of Britania. Anyway. Big river. Forest on the opposite side. River wraps around the land to the north and south, but I’m not on an island (at least not by the looks of things).
There’s a little town – with a big steeple in it(?) – to the north-west, right on the edge of the water. And then there’s forest[1]. To the East, north-east, and south-east. So where I’m standing in the meadow/transitional land between forest and shore.
That’s basically the gist of it.
Since this was basically a preliminary fact-finding mission, I wasn’t going to stick around very long. But it did (thank goodness) occur to me that maybe, y’know, it might be good to make some sort of offeratory gesture while I was there. Since I’d be coming back and all[2]. So I pulled out my water bottle (a green nalgene bottle that I’ve basically taken over from Ghost, of all things), unscrewed the lid, and did a wee libation and (I think, I hope?) said Thanks.
And a flower popped up where I’d spilled the water.
There was no puddle or anything, it soaked right in. And then this delicate, long-stemmed pink wild flower[3] just lifted up its head and opened right up.
I said Hi, and told it (her?) that I’d be back.
So I will have to go back now, because (in theory) someone is expecting me there.
After that, I got back in my tub and rode the colourful elevator back up through the colours. I winked at the budha (or maybe zi winked at me?), waved to the water spirits and told them I was happy to see them and glad they were here and that I’d swing by again when I came this way.
Eventually, I was back to myself. I used the grounding technique mentioned at this Emotional First Aid site to make sure I was fully back, and then proceeded to say Thank You to everybody and finish my bath with general maintenance. 🙂
And that’s my story.
[1] Once, at the suggestion of Miss Sugar, I did a similar exercise wherein I went to find my Internal House. My internal house, apparently, lives under the roots of a big old tree (deciduous, but not actually sure what kind. Not birch, funily enough. Potentially poplar or willow, though. It had the right kind of bark, even in the dark). As such, I suspect that I can follow a path from the house to the hill and back again, if I go looking for one. Granted, that remains to be seen.
[2] Given that this is my internal home-base/landing-strip – meaning part of myself as much as it’s anything else – I’m not actually sure what that means. Although if it means I just made an offering to myself, my own holy place, something like that… good? Can’t hurt, anyway. 🙂
[3] Near as I can tell, this is probably a wild geranium. It might be something else (maybe a mallow or a super-pale version of rose campion?), but Wild Geranium looks… pretty close. It’s got the right kind of seed heads and is the right colour, and it turns out that it’s native to the area where I live (and where my internal landscape looks to be situated). So… for now, that’s the guess I’m making.

Wild Geranium. 🙂

Trance-Portation: Self-Evaluation Questionnaire (Part One)

So, as-you-know-bob, I’m working my way (very, very slowly) through Trance-portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World. I admit, I’m not following my rule to do the exercises in one chapter before starting to read the next chapter. But I’m still doing the exercises and reading things more slowly than I would if I were just wanting to learn this stuff in theory.
Anyway. One of my goals for this year, along with doing PBP13 and taking good (or at least noticeably better) care of my body[1], is to work my way through this book, SO, with that in mind, I present Part One of Trance-Portation‘s Self-Evalunation Questionnaire.

Support Systems:

1) What is your living situation? Do your family/housemates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in-which to practice the [book’s] exercises? If in doubt, negotiate or find somewhere else to work.
I live with my fairly witchy and woo-friendly wife. She supports me in developing my practice. She also works outside the house, while I work from home, so I have ample time during her working hours to practice the exercises (that said, I will still need to mark out time from my own (other) work to do them – this is more likely to be a barrier than anything else).
2) Do you belong to coven, circle, or other spiritual group? If yes, does it practice meditation or trance work? If yes: What kind, how often, and for what purpose? Are any other group-members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to learn these skills?
I don’t. So… N/A? That said, if any of you reading this are working with Trance-Portation, feel free to chime in with your own experiences as is applicable. 🙂
3) Do you (already) have a power animal, totem, or other “invisible friend”? How did you acquire/engage it? How often do you contact it? How does it contact you?
Uh… Not that I know of. I’ve written about bears and bats, and I like cats and have a huge fondness for crows. But none of that (other than the bit where one of my goddesses, see below, takes the form of a bear, and two of the others have connections to crows) means than any of these animals are my Spirit Helpers.
That said, there are (or were in my last place… not sure how to invite them to join me in the new place – suggestions?) little water spirits theoretically living in my bathroom. (Sometimes I wonder if they’d be up for helping me with my messed up toilet…).
They might qualify as (potential) non-deity, non-human Friends or Helpers. Maybe. Worth checking in about, perhaps?
Oh. And I think one of the sewing machines has told me her name. (I think she appreciated that I paid some attention to her – we’ve got all these fancy, iron-and-steel antique machines coming in and I think she was feeling like a bit of a Plain Jane in comparison).
Additionally, my ancestors have my back. Which is awesome. I’m mentioning them here because they aren’t deities, but they could theoretically fit in either category.
Re: contact: When I do boiling water offerings (which remains haphazard). ~Once a month at this point. (Maybe I should step it up?) My ancestors get more attention/contact than that, though. (See below).
4) Do you have a strong affinity with, or devotion to, (a) specific deity/ies? How did the relationship develop? How often do you contact them? How do they contact you?
Yes. I’ve written about my People HERE (both who they are and how I got to know them). The short version is that Maia grabbed me by the brain until I started paying attention, and the other four turned up in response to a call-for-positions that I sent out to the world in general.
Re: Contact: I do candle offerings once a week, at this point. (YAY!) So my gods and ancestors (see above) get regular devotional contact. Also any time I’m smoking the house (incense to clean things up), and any time I do boiling water offerings. When I’m prepping dinner, I put bits of the (good) food into the compost[2] and actively say Thank You to my People for looking out for me. Sometimes I give them blood (though not that often – usually menstrual, but not always). I ask them for advice/guidance (and ask them to be really fucking obvious with the clue-by-fours, because I’m kind of dense that way). I say hello. I smile at them via their altars and periodically do little “I’m thinking of you” waves and stuff. It’s not huge, it’s VERY casual. It frequently feels one-sided, but periodically I get word back (sometimes very loudly). I know they’re there. Sometimes it’s hard for me to hear them, though. :-\
So that’s part one. More to come.
– Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] So far, so good. Having a week of modeling work in mid-January (and another coming in early-February, and another coming in mid-March) is not hurting this project any. It’s giving me physical activity for days at a time (YAY) and also giving me reasons to do yoga on the off days (partly to ease the modeling-induced stiffness). So huzzah! I’m finding that Cobra Pose is a big help for my lower-back/hip problem, fyi. 🙂
[2] To explain: Back when I started doing regular devotional stuff, I had a house with a yard. In the yard was a compost heap. The compost heap is a place where all my gods are present in some form or other – plants, earth, heat, moisture, and change. Thus, I used it as a place to make offerings – both small, daily type ones during food-prep and larger ones (grain + honey + milk + wine… you get the general drift) at various points through the year. Even though I don’t have a yard, I do continue to use my compost container as a place to make food-based offerings.