I have been asked about ‘the morning trance’ I mention from time to time. It’s a really large part of my practices, and is something that may be found useful, especially for those who aren’t great sleepers to begin with.
I started doing this in ’89 or ’90, when I was living in a house full of magicians in San Francisco.
I am not the best meditator. I know lots of folks who can happily do that thing in veritable war zones, and I’m not one of them. I am far too easily engaged by sounds (I also can’t sleep with music or TV’s on either, as I can’t help but listen). I also have a history of insomnia, both the ‘can’t fall asleep to begin with’ variety and the ‘wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep’ kind.
In ’87 or’88 I learned a basic trance induction techniques for active imagination work, and started using them when I woke up in the middle of the night. I still use these most anytime I find myself awake and not falling easily back to sleep.
Below is a version of what I was originally taught:
Lie flat on your back. Lightly touch thumbs & index fingers together on each hand, which rest by your side. Breath through your nose. I’ll give you the bare bones idea, you can fill in from there, no need to have a gazillion lines of the same thing.
Begin speaking softly, in you mind:
- I breath in, and notice that my feet are warm & heavy
- I breath in, and notice that my feet are sinking into the earth
- I breath in, and notice that my legs are warm and heavy
- I breath in, and notice that my legs are sinking into the earth…
And so on, all through the body.
Repeat for any area that seems resistant or tense, for me that is usually my jaw. If you mind is racing, start at the head, then go to the feet. Sometimes this takes a few passes to get the body to accept the instruction from the mind.
Once you have done that, start again:
- I breath in, and notice that my feet are dissolving into darkness
- I breath in, and notice that my legs are dissolving into darkness
- I breath in, and notice that my hips are dissolving into darkness…
Go through the whole body, and let yourself float in that space.
Some folks will be able to short-form this into just a few lines, at least in time. Something like this:
- I breath in, and notice that my entire body relaxes completely
- I breath in, and notice that my heart rate has slowed
- I breath in, and notice that I have fallen into a deep trance
- I breath in, and with every breath I slip deeper into a calm, quiet place
- I breath in, and notice that I am floating in the silence of infinite space.
There are I am quite sure far more elegant scripts, but these have always worked well for me.
As for practice, you can just hang out in that super relaxed space (which is highly therapeutic), do some active imagination work, or meditate.
I have essentially four ‘places’ I travel to if I decide to ‘do’ something.
- I am the Tree, and/or a creature who lives on/in the tree. Sometime this is very Woden like, sometimes more like being a squirrel. Both have their uses!
- The parapet of a watch tower, sometimes a room just below this.
- A crossroads.
- A chamber or cave many steps down, underground from the center of the crossroads.
For a lot more ‘work’ using this type of active imagination, I highly recommend Visual Magick by Jan Fries. If you are looking for more ‘programmed and directed’ instructions, a lot of RJ Stewart’s books are very good. I’m sure there are dozens more, but I’ve not read on the subject since the early ’90’s.
I hope some may find this of use. Feel free to add recommended resources to the comments!
Aidan Wachter, April 2016