portals: thoughts on trance from a recovering alcoholic

When I pulled a card from the Passages Oracle Deck from hijaquecura (on IG), and I got the portals card, I kind of chuckled to myself. How fitting for today’s’ topic! But first, some background.

I have been focusing a lot on my energy work recently, getting to know my own energy, recognizing energy from other beings and embracing the idea of building my mediumship skills.

Over the past six months or so, I have really began to trust in my psychic abilities, particularly right after an experience when I am journaling about it or going through it in my head. But time is a cruel mistress, and I find myself doubting my own accounts in the light of day. Even with recurring synchronicities and encounters during meditation, doubt still pokes its head in and my practice suffers.

Part of the issue is realigning how my brain thinks about psychic abilities. Knowing that a lot of these instances happen energetically, in our minds’ eye, or minds’ ear, or however you experience them is one thing. But trusting yourself? Trusting you know your thoughts compared to messages you have channeled? That’s a whole other animal.

Yes, that’s a pretty fancy way of telling you I have trust issues. A major factor of my practice is building my confidence for a reason. I trust others at the drop of a hat (some might say too easily), but I question EVERYTHING I do. Part of it is my past as an alcoholic — I used to tell myself and others a lot of lies, and I was pretty good at fooling myself — so I look at everything with scrutiny. Part of it is the fact that as a child I learned not to trust my body — if you’re sick, you can’t be too sick to go to school, and are you really that sick in the first place? — so I question any weird feeling or sensation in my body, and my perception of it.

So, how have I cultivated a spiritual practice then, that focuses heavily on meditation, trance & spirit work? Honestly, I am still very much developing it. I am still trying out methods that help me, because not all of them do. I approach it from the POV of a scientist (another childhood dream) — and try to log things as they happen, look for consistencies and look for results. I’m no expert, this is an average witch blog after all, but I have learned a little bit about what works for me.

Trance is an altered state of consciousness. It allows us to connect to the deeper channels of our minds, with spirit, and our higher self. Whatever your motivation for entering trance, it acts as a portal (see, I told you it was connected HAHA) to the spaces we get to visit in our dream, only with intention. Some examples of this includes hedge riding and astral projection.

One of my best methods for entering trance is self-hypnosis. In order to become better at this practice, I began with guided hypnosis videos (YouTube is a wonderful resource). This is how I first met two of my spirit guides. I still use videos from time to time, but I am practicing the skill of inducing hypnosis by myself. I was a tad nervous at first, but as always, research saved the day. You can’t get “stuck” in hypnosis, and it’s fairly safe. I should add the disclaimer, however, that I first started this after discussing with a counselor, and I would advise anyone to consult their doctor or mental health professional before doing so.

The use of oils, balms, ointments and candles all help me to enter trance. I have a mugwort oil from Dirt Witch, CBD products and a flying ointment that can all assist me when I feel I need it. Mostly, I work with the mugwort oil. I rub it into the soles of my feet, my wrists and my temples. Again, consult a doctor if you are thinking about using any herbal products, particularly if you have any health risks. Mainly I stick to white candles, as I keep things simple and don’t have a lot of space. But I find that candlelight just helps the atmosphere.

Another method is automatic writing. I plan on doing a whole post on this soon, as it has played a huge part in my life as a writer in general. I actually learned about automatic writing later in life, but found that I had been doing it most of my life, particularly to help myself process and heal from trauma. There are great tutorials online if you are unsure where to begin, and as I stated, I will be covering this more in depth.

A final method I’d like to share to you is one that is fairly new to me. When I was on bed rest with my daughter in 2019, I taught myself to knit and crochet. Little did I know I was opening up a great method for entering trance. Knitting is now one of my favorite trance methods. I knit continental, and find that as long as I am working on a simple pattern (right now I am making myself a loosely-knit cotton prayer shawl in garter stitch) I can get lost in the repetitive movement, and the click-clack-swish of my needles. Fiber witchcraft is a growing passion of mine, and one I intend to share on a deeper level in the future.

After using one of these methods, I record in my Book of Shadows, in my phone or even just speak out loud to myself about what happened and what was experienced. After an encounter with my guides, I am usually left with a smile on my face and a light vibration all over my body.

I am still working on ancestor and spirit connection, but its all a work in progress. That’s what witchcraft is, isn’t it? Creating portals to the places we want to go, casting spells to bring our intention to fruition and cultivating a practice that brings richness into our lives. Learn to trust yourself, as I am learning to trust myself. I promise it’s the biggest leap you can take on this path.

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