Monday, October 19, 2009

Fear of Trance

Why do I tell you guys this stuff??

I may have mentioned before that my books are in for Magic 1, which I need to complete before I can begin Trance 1, since there is a Trance 1/Magic 2 crossover journal requirement. I have not cracked one of them. In fact, I began Bardic 1 and lent a book out so I could buy some time before I have to start. The sooner I start Magic 1, the sooner I have to do Trance 1. I decided to (finally) spend some time trying to figure out what the big deal is with trance. What am I so afraid of that I don't even want to do it? Because it's not that I can't do it. It is that I won't do it, but without knowing why, I didn't know where to begin.

I have had a few trance experiences. Most of them have involved music and are safe. My guitar makes an excellent barrier, and if I am the one playing the music, I am the one in control. I have had many encounters with Deity in a deep meditative state, but these are states out of which I can bring myself fairly easily. I have been "taken hostage" by a Deity of two who really wanted my attention, but other than that, since I have become a pagan, I have very little experience or desire for trance.

This has recently become a bigger problem as I begin working toward my first oath with the Order of the Crane. I am not taking any of this lightly, and entering into trance to meet Garanus is something that I will be needing to do soon. This may be one of the hardest lessons I have to learn on the Initiate path, and now that I know why, I hope I can finally begin the work.

So, why, you ask? Story time, Children. Circle round.

What seems like ages ago now, in 1994, I was an impressionable and young (16) woman who had just decided on her own to go through the Catechism classes and convert to Catholicism. I had several meaningful experiences and loved the church at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. These folks are not your typical Catholics, however. No sir; no ma'am! These were Charismatic Catholics. These were the speaking in tongues, slain in the spirit, Glory-Hallelujah! Catholics. Yes, I was one of them.

I began attending a weekly music Worship night, in which I became musically involved as I got a little older and my talents became known. Keep in mind the congregation was made of primarily college students and the high school students from the area who attended the Christian Fellowship meetings that a few of the students majoring in religious studies lead for the other local churches. (I'm getting there, I promise.) From the vantage point of the musicians, watching what I now know to be ecstatic trance, I would see grown (to me, they were grown) men and women, humbling themselves completely before an all-loving, all-merciful God whose unconditional love would rain down like Mana from Heaven. These people would pray with all they had until they wept, many of them would speak words that sounded a lot like gibberish, and more often than not, at least one or two of them would become so overwhelmed that they hit the floor.


I started to attend Worship nights on nights when I wasn't performing, and one day it happened. I lost myself completely in my favorite song. I was praying quietly, just thanking God for this and that thing that made me happy--being appreciative and asking for nothing in return (It's funny, really. I still pray like this). I began to sing, and I focused myself through the words, made the words I was singing my prayer. I felt a warmth washing over me, not unlike what Wiccans describe when they "draw down the Moon." The feeling was very overwhelming to the point of tears. I felt them running down my cheeks before I realized they were coming. I began to sing louder, without really deciding to, and then, (why am I telling you this?), a stream of words came loudly out of my mouth. I have no idea what they were, and I am quite positive it wasn't even English. I felt as though I were somewhere else, back inside of my mind, and this was all happening to someone else. Then, the world tilted, and I hit the floor.

This phenomenon happened to me only a handful of times. The first was almost the most powerful. The most powerful occurred in a Hotel in Chicago with my College Fellowship group. A small handful of us women went to a National Meeting held over New Years. New Years Eve, we had a full-on worship band that had a member from Franciscan UofS, and they played several songs that I new. This time was much like the first, only there were a lot more of us, and we danced as David danced that night. This was the only other time I spoke in tongues.

(Still my friends? Good.)

I lost track of time that night, and I felt like I had been hit by a truck when I came to almost an hour later. There were several of us on the floor when I awoke, apparently all still lying exactly as we fell. I was startled, and I felt very uncomfortable. I was almost ashamed at what had happened, and I immediately shut down from it. A few people approached me and told me how lucky I was to be "chosen." "Chosen?" I asked. They said, "Why yes, to be touched by the hand of God." The looks I got from the Hotel staff that had come in to begin cleaning were very telling about the way they were feeling. As someone who has a very hard time accepting criticism, and believe me when I say that I was far worse back then, I couldn't even keep eye contact with any of them.

Long story short, I felt completely undeserving and quite embarrassed by the whole thing, all at the same time. In the end, as the "ritual high" faded, I decided that I was an adult, lying on the floor with a bunch of other crazy people. This was not normal, and I must never allow myself to be in that position again. I began systematically shutting down that part of myself, that small piece of you that is capable of reckless abandon. For years since then, I have been battling with control issues. I have finally been able to achieve sexual freedom within the past two years, and now, it seems, I am ready to conquer the need for mental control and achieve spiritual freedom.

Wow, this is long, thanks for reading. There is quite a lot more to this, but I am not sure how to put all of it into words. I fear it would end up being a dissertation on my psyche that no one, including me, really wants to read! What I hope to accomplish in saying all this aloud is this: I want to learn to give in to the call, to travel to those places where I will meet with the Kindred without the bondage of societal norms and fear of rejection. I want to let myself go enough to leave this mundane world behind and go to the Kindred--instead of always expecting them to come to me.

So yeah, Samhain is going to be a big deal for me. I am going to lead in the hopes that someday soon I will be able to follow without holding back.

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