On Ritual Trance - Part 1: Our 2 minds

How to enter and maintain ritual trance turned out to be one of the key points in my accounts of the Arbatel rituals of the Olympic Spirit of Ophiel and Phul. As not a lot of books on Western Occultism deal with this particular topic I wanted to share my personal view and hope it might be helpful to others. I have split this topic into three shorter posts:

  • Part 1 - Ritual Trance or 'Our 2 minds'
  • Part 2 - Ritual Trance or Science vs. Art
  • Part 3 - Selected Resources 

Let's get the obvious question out of the way first: Who am I to tell you how to achieve a proper ritual trance? There are plenty of good books out there on the topic from people with way more experience than myself. One might start from a point of view of Western ritual magick such as in Donald Michael Kraig's books or directly from a perspective of self-hypnosis. Both avenues will help to achieve results and a thorough understanding of the topic... Yet, this space is about sharing my personal experiences and so here we go... Or as Jodorowsky put it: "The wisdom that you do not give, you lose."

I will try to keep this short: The one thing I have learned about ritual trance is that you won't get anywhere unless you are prepared to freestyle - and find your own approach. Your teacher might be able to evaluate your ritual vibrations, the quality of how you draw your pentagrams or how long you endure in your asana without movement, but no one except for yourself will ever be able to judge the quality of your magical trance. Well, to make things even more tricky - in many cases not even you will be able to judge it, except from the results you achieved. It's the nature of many modes of trance that the person who is in trance - you - doesn't actually recognize the altered state of consciousness. This is not always true and sometimes there won't be a trace of doubt that what you are experiencing is part of a magical trance. Yet even in the cases where I did realize that my consciousness had changed, I never reflected on my state of consciousness as such, but I was busy staying in it and being aware of the contact and communication I made in this altered state...

So let's capture this as the first thing we can learn about ritual trance: you will remember it like things that happened to you in a dream or very long ago. There is a door that shuts at the end of a ritual trance, breaking the consistent stream of consciousness that we are used to in our everyday awareness. This closed door creates the impression that everything that happened in the room on the other side is much further away than it actually is. Don't allow your non-ritual-trance mind to talk or look down on the things you experienced in ritual. Our non-ritual-trance mind simply needs to accept that it wasn't part of the experience and therefore cannot judge. Our everyday consciousness has to learn that it's not an only child anymore - but that from now on there is a sibling just as lovable and dear as itself, called ritual-trance-mind. Get over it.

Maybe we should call this out as the second learning: never identify with your non-ritual-trance consciousness - especially when it comes to reflecting on what happened during a ritual! It's just one sibling talking about another sibling... If anything, try to identify with your subconsciousness, which is basically all there is to learn in magick.

(Click here to read 2nd part)