Would You Care to Trance?

Neurologists do a lot of work studying the brain and the effects of aging and maturity on its function. They don't tend to do much work in the way of consciousness, since the Archonic paradigm that dominates academia and the sciences doesn't allow for the existence of such a thing.

So what I mean to say is that if you feel that the world has become cold, gray, dead, inert, hopeless and meaningless you're not imagining anything at all; the Archontic philosophy that arose in the 18th Century has annihilated all meaningful resistance to its dominance so even the opposition to the ruling class is entirely Archontic; materialist, reductionist, mechanical, dialectic, dead, empty, anti-human.

We live in this William Gibson Reality, only without any of the cool bits. The attack on Sony Pictures was straight out of a Gibson novel (even the hackers' name) and yet another signal that the digital cuttlefish that controls information has a soft white underbelly that can be exploited to deleterious effect (the Cloud hack was an earlier shot across the bow), and the danger only grows.

The Transhumanist movement and the Singulatarian movement have most certainly run out of gas in the past few years, with Singularity prophet Ray Kurzweil getting a day job at Google, but the promise of a mechanistic Nirvana lives on in their hearts. I don't know how much currency it has in the greater culture; it seems that digital trivia and binge drinking (eg.,distraction and oblivion) seem to be the preferred methods of deliverance for the Millennials.

The ubiquity of digital media has made Archontic reality a literal Borgsong, an inescapable static that is rewiring our brains every day (and our DNA, according to some scientists) preparing us for the Skynet Apocalypse that seems nearly inevitable. But at the same time I sense a growing discontent, a silent, simmering dissent that can't even identify itself, its gripes, its goals.

But if you know the psychology of repression, you know that makes it all the more potentially explosive. The Archonic media gives constant voice to their preapproved pseudo-dissenters, not a single one of who challenges the materialist status quo, but human souls are starving and wounded and henceforth unpredictably dangerous.

As Timothy Leary once said we can't understand an interior process until we have an external model. The Archons and their simpering toadies (make no mistake, all of them live in a state of perpetual misery and self-loathing) recoil at the truth of this but the fact is that our Skynet is just an inferior simulacrum of our interior supercomputers and the nonlocal superconsciousness that makes up the Collective Conscious/Unconscious.

This isn't a "belief"on my part, it's a conviction.

Archontic pseudo-reality is all about turning off this signal, using the tired tools of ridicule and pseudo-skepticism. And as it stands, consumer culture keeps people tranquilized enough not to care. But no student of history-- or science-- expects any status quo to remain in place forever.

All drugs-- chemical or digital-- run the risk of tolerance and inefficacy, and we're just one medium-strength solar flare away from the whole system going down for good.

I know entheogens are being talked up again, and I'm encouraged by the serious work being done with them, but I've been working with hypnogogic trance for a number of years now (which I briefly mention in this post) and I'm getting to the point where it's as powerful as any hallucinogen, but seems to more reliably tap into what I can only refer to nonlocal consciousness. 

I can only describe it as a kind of remote viewing in that I'll drift along in that fuzzy stream of semi-consciousness and then find myself in the middle of the ocean or on top of a skyscraper in a stark moment of clarity.

In another time people might have called these moments "astral travel," in that I very often visualize-- with great clarity-- places I've never been or seen before. Whether or not these visions are "real" in an objective sense is immaterial, the point is the experience itself and the effect it has on bridging the conscious and unconscious spheres.

It's not always entirely pleasant in a soft, floaty kind of way, but it's always profound. And it's kicked loose a roadblock on my creative impulses that I've struggled against for several years now, so I can't help but wonder if these moments of shock are helping to rewire my unconscious mind in a way that it has become more accessible to my conscious flow, which is really what hypnogogic trance is all about.

So this form of meditation isn't just for kicks: it's about positive change. I feel like I've turned back the clock on certain sectors of my own neurology, and that's vitally important for someone in my line of work.

How do you do it? It's almost laughably simple, but it requires a lot of experimentation on your part. What you need to do is sustain a state where you are semi-awake, able to access both your conscious and unconscious thoughtstreams. Similar to that state you experience after you've awoken from an afternoon nap.

I use a bunch of pillows to position myself so that I'm comfortable but in no danger of actually falling asleep. I recommend trance/ambient music (SomaFM's Drone Zone is excellent) and any kind of supplements that may relax you (Theanine, Valerian Root, St John's Wort) or maybe a glass of warm milk or tea. Again, you want to be relaxed but you don't want to fall asleep. It's simple but not easy, if you get my meaning.

My single-most played track ever, and
 a very powerful invocation for trance work

The encouraging thing about the process is that in my experience it is accumulative, in that your prior results accumulate and contribute to future results. It's a practice, in other words, not like a drug. It's not really meditation because the point isn't to quiet the mind, the point is to turn up the power of the mind as far as you can handle.

But you're doing something unique in that you're trying to unify the conscious and unconscious, sort of like a computer tapping into a network. It's psychedelic as hell, far more chaotic and nonlinear than dreaming (which is why I scoff at the theories of UFO abduction reports being the result of hypnogogia), and produces the occasional auditory hallucination (bells and tones, usually, but sometimes voices as well). It's gotten so I keep a notepad on my bedstand since interesting little phrases and riddles frequently pop up during the flow.

And it's my experience that there's another network available beyond your own conscious mind, though I'd really have to sit down and catalog the reasons why. I'd rather you experience this for yourself. If you're a willing psychonaut, get ready for a lot of work but also major dividends in the future.


  1. Hi Chris, long time reader, first time commenter. Certainly, something is up with the paranormalities abounding. There are dreams, and then there are DREAMS. I congratulate you on your ability to induce lucid liminal states, it's something I've had very limited success with, but even those occasional hits leave me flabbergasted. Enough to know that there's a whole lot more playground on the other side of the fence. Keep up the good Work.

  2. Thank you very much and I hope you are encouraged to keep at it. It is a lot of work but the payoff is worth it. Good luck in any pursuit you choose.

  3. I'm with you on principle, which is to say I liked about half of what you wrote. The rest is part of a disturbing pattern I've noticed in your writing of you using every opportunity possible to caricature and vent resentment, venom and hatred against a target you, like myself, disagree with. Although unlike you and the materialist reductionist, I think it's possible I'm wrong. It's a very familiar place...I've been both and hated both. It was a weakness I inherited from my Jehovah's Witness upbringing I eventually came to realize was not a strength...and in doing so learned empathy. Now I find myself defending people I disagree with. "The Archons and their simpering toadies (make no mistake, all of them live in a state of perpetual misery and self-loathing)" Really? No exceptions? That's a gross generalization in the style of Anne Coulter. Didn't she say the same about atheists...as well as gays and liberals...in nearly every paragraph she's ever written? So is Stephen Hawking an Archon or just a simpering toadie?

    1. Yes, yes, yes- and in six months you'll be writing me comments like "as a former Gnostic and now a committed materialist and reductionist, I think you are such and such and this and that." I'm setting my calendar to it right now.

  4. Chris-
    Been reading your blog posts for a while now, they're quite addictive but in a good way! This one particularly resonated as it reminded me of an incident where I discovered (or I should say, "rediscovered") a similar method in my childhood, the flicker phenomenon written about by Burroughs & Gysin. This happened when I was about 8 or 9, back then my parents had an old stationwagon & it being the 70s, no seatbelt laws or child safety seats as exist now. So my brother & I got to ride in the rear cargo area a lot, & on one such occasion, was laying down with eyes closed while sunlight strobed thru the trees, playing geometric mandalas across my retinas while we drove. To put it mildly, I was tripping my little brains out! I didn't know how to put what I was experiencing into words at the time, just that it was cool as hell. The experience stayed with me ever since, not really understanding it until years later when I discovered Burroughs/Gysin in late HS via Re/Search & then had that "A ha" moment. But I think a lot of techniques for altering one's consciousness are like that, not so much discovered per se as rediscovered. How much knowledge about such things was lost in the past? How big was the library at Alexandria after all? How large are the Vatican's Z stacks? Fortunately gnosis never dies, it just (re)awaits its own (re)discovery. Kudos.

  5. Hey Chris, I almost posted about this record initially and then listening to the track at the end of the post and knowing you're using this type of music as a tool, I really wanted you to hear it. This is my 2nd favorite record from 2013 (and just a favorite record in general at this point - been listening to it every night to go to sleep recently after taking a bit of a break from it to explore elsewhere) and it's an analog synth-drone epic. And it's not just someone taping down some keys and hitting record and then spacing out for 45 minutes. Something about this record conjurs up actual movement, which is why I think Journey From Anywhere is a perfect album title, and why I think you might put it to good use.

    Compound Eye - Archaic Atmosphere - Journey From Anywhere lp

    "This double lp features 4 sides of improvised electronics that lead the listener into the dark recesses of the duo's subterranean explorations. Each of these works move at a slow and considered pace, gradually unfolding into a transportive blur of dark psychedelic minimalism...this is a music which has the potential to melt time, open space and create a flowing web of liquid memory. A sublime record for those who like music that encourages travel."

    1. Thank you Andrew- always on the lookout for new electronic sounds.

  6. This is something that has come to me naturally a lot in my life, with no intentional preparation--always before becoming fully awake in the morning or falling asleep in the night. The experience varies.I have taken flight around the neighborhood (I knew what my neighbors' backyards looked like from a couple hundred feet in the air before anyone even thought of GoogleEarth) and I have composed beautifully written prose about subjects I know nothing about but I am too lazy/too much of a dumbass to keep a notebook handy. Chaotic imagery also occurs, one weird scene following the next. If I want this to happen I have built myself a trigger scene, that of a lion and tiger walking side by side in a jungle setting. I learned later the chaos thing is part of some Eastern traditions. Another good way of trancing any time is shamanic drumming--YouTube has some decent "tapes" or look up Michael Harner. Anyway, I think I'll try out something along your method. Thanks for The Secret Sun. I have learned so much here over the years. --Johnny Walsh

    1. Good to see other practitioners out there. Thanks, Johnny.

  7. Chris,
    For years now I've practiced something quite similar, and I attribute ALL my best ideas, and many recent exciting breakthroughs in my anthropological/archaeological pursuits. I do it by pushing myself to a point of mental tiredness where I'm forced to 'relax' control. At that point, I turn the lights off, and float in that 'semi-awake' state you describe. I find (also keep pad handy) that ideas and thoughts will seemingly 'jump' into my mind. Napolean Hill describes the 'well' that is dipped into as 'Infinite Intelligence.' Really enjoyed the post. As my own recent post somewhat indicates, I've been studying and contemplating (always) ancient systems of human development...as it goes without saying that this is sorely lacking in our modern existence. As always, your perspective is enlightening. Make Mine Secret Sun! ~ Dave

  8. Very interesting, Dave. I don't recommend pushing yourself like that since there are dangers in subjecting your body to that kind of stress but I'm glad you got to experience the state in question.

  9. I really enjoyed this essay, Chris, because it highlights a couple of things that happened to me. I've meditated on an inconsistent basis for years, inconsistent due to high strangeness occurrences that take place if I'm consistent. While they never scare me in the moments, I never understand them and back off to try to get some perspective.

    During meditation however, I usually ignored the filmy scenes of color and light that takes place on the backs of my eyelids. One day, I just decided to focus on the images and I had a wonderful vision of being able to swim in water without the use of my limbs. I knew I was awake and dreaming as well, but I never thought of this as a trance. It's a great descriptor.

    After a brief amount of time, I found myself able to slip into a trance walking around my house when I was home alone. I could conduct minor tasks and spend several hours in trance until one day when I heard a disembodied voice tell me, "Hello."

    His voice sounded like an old TV announcer from the late fifties and my mind's eye saw a man who looked very much like Ward Cleaver from the old Beaver show. His hair was combed like the actor who played Beaver's dad.

    I killed the trance because it startled me so. I remember forming the question, "Do I really want to talk to someone I can't see with my eyes?"

    That kind of thing has never happened again and I'm sorry I didn't just go with it to explore my own subconscious, but the experiences seems to escalate quickly enough that they rock me for a while. I'm glad to hear you're having such great experiences and are fearless. It's encouraging.

  10. I feel these are natural states experienced in the womb and early childhood, re-attainable if we can relax deeply enough to go deep-diving into the collective unconscious. Usually sleep comes first... as a kid I would only have to think of infinity or eternity to feel like my consciousness would start travelling, slowly at first, then gradually building up to such dizzy speeds I would get scared and will it to stop. Now I can enter the 'twilight' state almost anytime, except if there are disturbing vibrations around. Eating no more than I need definitely helps, as does getting enough sleep and exercise. Entheogens help open doors, but somewhat violently, and they don't help much in keeping them open, that takes changing the way you live to be closer to nature, and amongst people who know when to give you space if you need it. Thanks for opening an interesting discussion!