There are many ways to create trance induction, here is a page from my notes that I am using to write my book Tarkhem: Music and the Black Arts
Old French transe
"fear of evil", from the Latin transīre
"to cross", "pass over"
Wier, in his 1995 book, Trance: from magic to technology
, defines a simple trance (p. 58) as being caused by cognitive loops
where a cognitive object (thoughts, images, sounds, intentional actions) repeats long enough to result in various sets of disabled cognitive functions. Wier represents all trances (which include sleep and watching television) as a dissociated trance plane where at least some cognitive functions are disabled such as volition but not consciousness within the trance typically termed hypnosis.
Sound can play an important role in inducing trance, although as Rouget points out, music does not of itself induce trance; sometimes it triggers trance while at other times it has a calming effect. In archaic trance ceremonies, different sounds can send people into trance, from loud drums to soft rattles. People can go into trance while dancing or while lying still. There are different theories as to why music can induce trance, from its emotive power to conditioned reflex. Rouget feels that music is a socializing influence on the trance phenomenon, and that this depends on the ideological systems in which it occurs. He also considers trance as ‘a state of consciousness composed of two components, one psychophysiological, and the other cultural’.
Mindlessness reached through intense arousal
. It is aimed to be reached through sexual
excitation, intense emotions
, sensory overload
, the "right way of walking" described by Carlos Castaneda
and the use of disinhibitory or hallucinogenic drugs.
(m.; also n. mantram
) consists of the root man-
"to think" (also in manas
"mind") and the suffix -tra
, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be "instrument of thought". A sound, syllable, word
, or group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation"
Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially "thought forms" representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations
The orthodox attitude of the elite nature of mantra knowledge gave way to spiritual interpretations of mantras as a translation of the human will or desire into a form of action, with some features in common with spells
in general. These sounds are manifestations of ultimate reality, in the sense of sound symbolism
postulating that the vocal sounds of the mantra have inherent meaning independent of the understanding of the person uttering them.
To attain single-pointedness of mind, repetition of mantra's can be done in the following ways
- Mantra Yoga (chanting)
- Japa Yoga:
- Vaikhari Japa (speaking)
- Upamsu Japa (whispering or humming)
- Manasika Japa (mental repetition)
The vibrations and sounds of the mantra are considered extremely important, and thus reverberations of the sound are supposed to awaken the Kundalini
or spiritual life force and even stimulate chakras
according to many Hindu schools of thought
The Transcendental Meditation
technique uses mantras that are assigned to the practitioner to be used as sound only, without connection to any meaning or idea.
Spiritual exercises of Surat Shabda Yoga include:
(repetition, particularly silent repetition of a mantra given at initiation),
(listening to the inner sounds of the Shabda or the Shabda Master).
People can also use trance, particularly in the context of ‘ritual’ events, to learn new strategies of thinking or of relating to one another. States of consciousness bring about a momentary release from the subjective personality and permit experience of the collective consciousness within the human psyche.
Trance phenomena result from the behavior of intense focusing of attention, which is the key psychological mechanism of trance induction. Adaptive responses, including institutionalized forms of trance, are 'tuned' into neural networks in the brain and depend to a large extent on the characteristics of culture. Trance is still conventionally defined as a state of reduced consciousness, or a somnolent state
. However, the more recent anthropological definition, linking it to 'altered states of consciousness' (*Charles Tart), is becoming increasingly accepted.
Trance can be deliberately induced using a variety of techniques, including:
Pranayama (breathwork or breathing exercises)
Coitus (and/or sex)
Sweating (e.g. sweat lodge)
The particular technique that an individual uses to induce ecstasy is usually one that is associated with that individual's particular religious and cultural traditions. As a result, an ecstatic experience is usually interpreted within the context of a particular individual's religious and cultural traditions. These interpretations often include statements about contact with supernatural or spiritual beings, about receiving new information as a revelation, also religion-related explanations of subsequent change of values, attitudes and behavior (e.g. in case of religious conversion).
Benevolent, neutral and malevolent trances may be induced
(intentionally, spontaneously and/or accidentally) by different methods.
: Trance through the sense of hearing by chanting, auditory storytelling, mantra, overtone singing, drumming, music, etc.
Rhythmic induction Entrainment is the synchronization of different rhythmic cycles
. Breathing and heart rate have been shown to be affected by auditory stimulus, along with brainwave activity. The ability of rhythmic sound to affect human brainwave activity, especially theta brainwaves
, is the essence of auditory driving, and is the cause of the altered states of consciousness
that it can induce.
Neuroanthropology and cognitive neuroscience
are conducting research into the trance induction of altered states of consciousness (possibly engendering higher consciousness) resulting from neuron firing entrainment with these polyharmonics and multiphonics
. Related research has been conducted into neural entraining with percussive polyrhythms. The timbre of traditional singing bowls
and their polyrhythms and multiphonics
are considered meditative and calminative and the harmony inducing effects of this potentially consciousness altering tool are being explored by scientists, medical professionals and therapists.
There are four principal brainwave states that range from high-amplitude, low-frequency delta to low-amplitude, high-frequency beta. These states range from deep dreamless sleep to a state of high arousal. These four brainwave states are common throughout humans. All levels of brainwaves exist in everyone at all times, even though one is foregrounded depending on the activity level. When a person is in an aroused state and exhibiting a beta brainwave pattern, their brain also exhibits a component of alpha, theta and delta, even though only a trace may be present.
The sound dimension operates through the harmonics of the melodies
as well as the physical impact of amplified sound waves
. These elements combine to entrain the human organism within the ‘soundscape’ created by high volume sound systems, just as for example monks chanting together entrain themselves, body and mind, to the collective harmonic.
In Altered States of Consciousness
, the subject can experience various ‘subjective realities’
or dreamlike visions, including mythical, science fiction, religious and mystic experiences. These experiences can have a positive and lasting effect on the subject. Masters and Houston have coined the phrase ‘Visionary Anthropology’
to describe a process whereby subjects are invited to explore a world in their imaginations, and to experience and describe elements of it such as its art, customs, music etc.
The ASCID seems to enable a creative visualization process, which aids artistic practices. Auditory musical imagery (or hallucinations) can also be experienced, especially by musicians. Such imagery can be described as ‘automatic’ or ‘self-creating’ works of art. Another phenomenon which can occur with the ASCID is ‘accelerated mental process’ (AMP), which is a form of subjective ‘time distortion’. In this state, the subject experiences a volume of thoughts or images far greater than that experienced in normal time.