trance stories: the new meditations pt. 2 & new book!

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First, the new book we’ll be studying: from Diana Paxson comes “Taking up the Runes”! Our group is studying this co-currently with “Trance-portation”. I’m so ready. I particular, the advice of the introduction is to study from the heart moreso than the head. That will be a bit of challenge for me, but I feel like today’s excerpt in trancing will culture me to do just that: Emotional memory.

I wonder if my recent online gender-switching activity might offer some insight into this. Want to see what I’m talking about?

genderswitch1This, apparently, is what I would look like as a female. In a single day, social media lit up with people trying to find out what they would look like as a different gender. The reason I find this so fascinating is that it affirms that there are inherent differences to how a face is structured, but moreover, I’m noticing that the way a person gazes tells a lot about them. If I were to see a woman looking like this, I would assume she’s confident, relaxed, unafraid, and ready to face anything. I myself, do not feel like this is my personal character. I have all kinds of insecurities, worries, hang-ups, and the like. So for exercise 14, I’m having a lot of difficulties understanding how to recall my feelings of the time. I’ll do my best.

Exercise 14:
So now I will be able to relive a past event, and feel what I was feeling before. The event I chose was being on a mountaintop with my friend from California, Andrew. It was an odd experience, but we were both very excited to go camping in February. It may have been a tad ill-advised, and indeed we didn’t expect it to be so cold. Side-by-side I had feelings of elation and feelings of fear. We were far out in the countryside, not close to any urban area. It was in the middle of the world’s largest estuary seawall. We could have died. But up there on the mountain, we had the chance to truly feel alive.

Let’s do a Checksum! (Exercise 15)
Is this interfering with life or work?
No, actually. Although I am seriously starting to question if I have enough challenge at work. But that can be good thing.
Are your sleeping and eating habits changed?
Not particularly, but I am more aware of my vegetable intake. I’m also quite aware of the effects that medication has on me.

I’m going to say the checksum is fine for now.

So, the final bit of this chapter deals with everything we’ve studied so far:

16: observe and remember objects
17: repeat a paragraph that you heard on a recording
18: use mudra, sway rhythmically while you chant, use a sensory cue to get out of trance, and make invisible spheres of energy by rubbing hands together, by yourself or with partner
19: Choose a non-traumatic life event and return to it. Write down all the particulars.
20: Do your checksums

NOW, this very much summarizes everything we’ve been doing so far, in previous chapters, up to and including this chapter. So, let’s activate it. Here’s the thing about notes: they are only useful so far as you apply the logic. What does it look like in practice?

16: I have memorized every bump of my heart pendant. I have discovered that it is “Danforth Pewter” and it is handcrafted in Vermont, which is not far from where my grandmother used to live. Within my mind, I can see the hasty handscrawl across the curve that tells me that. I can see the odd shape of the trinket, how it neither forms a “perfect” heart nor does it look like a biological heart. But these are mental considerations, and I’m trying to feel, to have a “real” connection with the object as I scan it into my subconscious. What is the quality of pewter? What is the shade of its uneven texture? Where is it thick and where is it thin? I close my eyes and memorize, placing into my world, a world that will soon expand…

17. A poem that I use for this meditation: “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

I use this poetic excerpt for the questions it raises about life, for its depth of interpretation and ambiguity of meaning to the author never officially addressed. And it’s a super-cool trip.

18. I have no partner for this, unfortunately. I’ve considered putting out the feelers for a heathen group in town, we’ll see. Anyhow. My mudra is chin mudra, for its simplicity. My chant for now is a familiar one:

oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tatsavitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt
– Rigveda 3.62.10[11]

Gradually I wish to switch to one more relevant to the Norse pantheon, such as:

Ásliðr alle
Valhallr visir
Magn í rotum vindal skal
Magn í rotum vefa skal

And eventually:

Veiztu hvé rísta skal?
Veiztu hvé ráða skal?
Veiztu hvé fá skal?
Veiztu hvé freista skal?
Veiztu hvé biðja skal?
Veiztu hvé blóta skal?
Veiztu hvé senda skal?
Veiztu hvé sóa skal?

-Havamal 144

For spheres of energy, I have a routine consistent with tai chi, but I look forward to adapting to Paxson’s form.

19. ~has been amazing. Returning to that mountaintop. I have some video of it as well. It’s… beyond words.

20. Okay, checksum time: How is this affecting me? Well, it IS making my writing richer in imagination, which is a benefit. Detriments? I should be hitting the pavement and researching literary agents. I keep getting rejected. These meditations help face the reality of the rejections, though. They remind me that the world is broad, I’ve seen much in my life, and this is not the end.

Finally, what is happening in the dream world? Many social interactions. I’m still there, still taking note. But a very strong voice told me to contact another friend from California. Why now? Every now and then, after I have gone off and lived life a bit, been through some major changes, and embarked upon a new venture, I will get this really strong voice that tells me to contact her. An actual physical voice, yelling at me in the early morning hours. I have no idea why.

Alright, that’s enough for now. If I’m  doing my checksums properly, I know when to call it a day 🙂

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