“Trance States: A Theoretical Model and Cross-Cultural Analysis.” Ethos 14 (2): 174–203. Altered states of consciousness are sacred and powerful places which reveal that there is more to ourselves and our potential for healing than the ordinary mind can grasp. Chandler & Sharp Series in Cross-Cultural Themes. Sleep is a state of altered consciousness, characterized by certain patterns of the brains activity and inactivity. An Iconographic Identification.” Journal of Andean Archaeology 31 (2): 123–40. 1988. The above overview of the denigration of the importance of altered states in contemporary psychology should discourage any belief or assumption that research has established hypnosis as being a specific altered state of consciousness or indeed as one with state specific effects. What predicts the guardian spirit complex or vision quest? When you think of altered states of consciousness (ASC), what are some of the first things that come to mind? Maybe we just prefer the safety and predictability of the ordinary mind and the world of thought. But some altered states have nothing to do with drugs and are more important than we may think. ASCs play a fundamental role in the maintenance of human social fabric and human social-spiritual linkage. She was highly intelligent and could articulate perfectly why being in her forties bothered her so much. Trance states involve both amplification of certain internal cognitive processes as well as a decoupling of sensory processing (Hove et al. Shields, Dean. In an altered state of consciousness the high priestess assumes the spirit of the Goddess. An altered state of consciousness is any state which is significantly different from a normative waking beta wave state. The priestly caste at Chavín de Huantar, a Peruvian site occupied by the pre-Inca Chavín culture, used psychoactive substances such as mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi) and vilca snuff (Anadenanthera sp.) Remains of hallucination-inducing substances can be recovered archaeologically or sometimes substantiated through historical texts while other methods of inducing ASCs are difficult if not impossible to capture. There’s also a more general benefit of having an “altered” (i.e. Chemical reactions in our brain change the way our consciousness functions, even if the change is so subtle so as not to be noticed. 1961. Human beings have used meditation, medication, religious rituals, sleep deprivation, and numerous other means to alter their levels of everyday awareness. Trance behavior is always associated with the training of magico-religious healers (Winkelman 1990). Ember, Carol R., Christina Carolus. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Societies with non-possession trances are most likely to use dreams to seek and control supernatural power (Bourguignon 1972). Maybe that’s why non-ordinary states can be so transformative, because they offer something that thinking never will. Beliefs surrounding out-of-body experience are very widespread; in a cross-cultural survey, such beliefs were found in 95% of analyzed societies. http://ehrafarchaeology.yale.edu/document?id=rl60-002. Sleep is a state of altered consciousness, characterized by certain patterns of the brains activity and inactivity. The term – ASC – refers to a significant change in what is considered a normal waking awareness. Different methods are used to induce trances cross-culturally. People have been deliberately trying to alter their consciousness since the beginning of human history. An altered state of consciousness is defined as a state in which the neurocognitive background mechanisms of consciousness have an increased … In other words, ASCs are not institutionalized (Winkelman 1986). “Societal Correlates of Possession Trance in Sub-Saharan Africa.” In Religion, Altered States Of Consciousness, And Social Change, edited by Erika Bourguignon, 39–57. Even people who do not remember dreaming have been observed to do so in sleep laboratories. “Brain Network Reconfiguration and Perceptual Decoupling During an Absorptive State of Consciousness.” Cerebral Cortex, 1–9. Start studying chapter 7- Altered States of Consciousness. An altered state of consciousness may occur naturally, such as sleeping, or it may be intentionally induced, such as meditation. Class 5 of IAC's Consciousness Development Program discusses phenomena and altered states of consciousness. A guardian spirit is not compelled to give gifts of power to a particular person, nor to continue to do so. Van Dijk, Robert Turner, Peter E. Keller, and Björn Merker. Aside from altered and often internally-oriented states of thinking, there seem to be changes in emotional expression, changes in body image, feelings of rejuvenation, and increased suggestibility. What are altered states of consciousness? If you’re like most of us — and not a neuroscientist or anthropologist — you’ll probably think of 1960s counterculture; of school buses decorated with psychedelic colors and images, crazed rock concerts and the popular use of LSD and other psychoactive drugs. Comprehensive or large-scale cross-cultural research of dream content remains a challenge (Bourguignon 1972; Shields 1978). Burger, Richard L. 2011. Artistic motifs at a number of late Neolithic megalithic ceremonial complexes in northern and western Europe (approximately 4000-2000 BCE) are thought to have been derived from entoptic hallucinatory imagery. A Cross-Cultural Study of Dissociational States. More complex societies are more likely to involve possession trance in the course of training magico-religious practitioner (Winkelman 1986; Winkelman 2006). unusual, unfamiliar) state of consciousness — it enlarges the gamut of experiences you have of what it is to be you. An altered state of consciousness is a brain state wherein one loses the sense of identity with one's body or with one's normal sense perceptions.A person may enter an altered state of consciousness through such things as sensory deprivation or overload, neurochemical imbalance, fever, or trauma. They painstakingly analyze themselves and their problems with little payoff, as if the ordinary mind is the only and best tool for healing. Diehl, Richard A. 1989. Hypnosis is the art of putting someone in a “trance,” which is simply an altered state of consciousness in which the subject will likely be more suggestible than usual, as critical aspects of thinking tend to be relaxed. The guardian spirit complex is associated with hunting and fishing as a means of subsistence. A supreme example of a trance like state in occultism, particularly in Neo-pagan witchcraft, is witnessed in the ceremony of the “Drawing Down the Moon”. Wakefulness is the ability to open your eyes and have basic … It has also been observed in all studied mammals such as cats, dogs, and monkeys. 1959. William James (1890), for instance, didn’t think of altered states of consciousness as qualitatively different, writing over 100 years ago: ‘our normal waking consciousness is but one special type of consciousness.’ Just as some societies believe that the soul may leave the body during trance (non-possession trances), there is also a tendency to link “soul flight” to the dream state. “Trance and Possession: Studies of Charismatic Influence.” Review of Religious Research 19 (3): 253–78. In many human societies, people use dreams to seek and control supernatural power, information or aid. Bourguignon, Erika. The operative word is “might”: a guardian spirit is not compelled to give gifts of power to a particular person, nor to continue to do so. 1st ed. Dreaming during sleep is believed to be a universal human characteristic. Rolle, Renate, and Gayna Walls. 1992. 2002. It facilitates the use of psychic abilities as well as the application of magick. 1978. We are all aware that our dreams may contain very different kinds of thoughts than those that we have while awake. “Relation of Child Training to Subsistence Economy.” American Anthropologist 61 (1): 51–63. The Megalithic Art Of Western Europe. ———. Bourguignon, Erika, and Thomas Evascu. In treatments such as MBCT, healing requires getting into non-ordinary modes of mind, such as mindfulness. “What Kind of Hallucinogenic Snuff Was Used at Chavín de Huántar? https://doi.org/10.1086/204136. Because of that this writing tries to enhancing the knowledge about the use of traditional meditation and also qualitative research related to altered state of consciousness in meditation with music. Two kinds of institutionalized trance are usually distinguished: 1) a type of trance in which the person’s soul is believed to leave the body because it is abducted or goes on a journey; and 2) possession trance, in which the change in a person’s behavior and utterances during the trance are explained by being possessed or taken over by a spirit of some kind. These examples represent only a small fraction of the historical and archaeological evidence for institutionalized ASCs. Scholars suggest that in a number of pre-Columbian Andean cultures, “social linkage…revolved intensely around cults and shared religious experience” that may often have been brokered by religious specialists who included wakeful hallucinogen-induced ASC as an important part of their spiritual repertoire (Kolata 1993, 272; Burger 2011). 1985. Some researchers believe that we sleep to clear our minds of useless information. Nearly all societies are known to engage in practices that lead to altered states of consciousness. Sharer, Robert J., and Sylvanus Griswold Morley. : University of Hawaii Press. Immersion in … An altered state of consciousness is when a person is not completely aware of their surroundings. Some of psychology’s most effective models of depression treatment, like Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), are based on the notion that the intellect can’t always solve our problems and can actually make matters worse. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1992.94.1.02a00090. Cambridge, Ma. “The Sounds Of Transformation: Acoustics, Monuments And Ritual In The British Neolithic.” In The Archaeology Of Shamanism, edited by Neil S. Price, 1st ed., 178–92. Sometimes we can’t see the ladder with the ordinary mind. One of the more common states […] In many Native North American societies, individuals reaching puberty sought out a guardian spirit. 22 It is not uncommon for an individual to have the experience of driving somewhere familiar (e.g., home from work) and suddenly realize that he or she is at such and such an intersection but … 1977. The Olmec used “hallucinogens such as native tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) or the psychoactive venom found in the parathyroid gland of the marine toad Bufus marinus. She decided that she wasn’t going to try to figure out how to get rid of her depression. Kirch, Patrick Vinton. Hunter-gatherers are more likely to use dreams to seek and control supernatural power than food producers. Berkeley: University of California Press. If sleeping is the induction method, trance usually involves a nonpossession trance such as a soul journey. Does MBCT Help Other Problems Besides Depression. At times like these, dropping the effort to figure ourselves out can be the best medicine. Do You Say This One Word Relationship Killer? Dreams themselves are an altered state of consciousness. The Ancient Maya. These exercises can be done individually or as part of classroom assignments. https://doi.org/10.1093/yycercor/bhv137. North America had a very high proportion of hunting and fishing societies (76%); this might explain why the complex is found in North America and nowhere else (Swanson 1973; Barry, Child, and Bacon 1959). Some societies have only the first type which we will call non-possession trance, others have only possession trance, and some have both. Amanita muscaria, Stewart Meyers; Princeton Shaman, Princeton University Art Museum; Scythian Burial, L. Oleczak / Archaeology News Network; Siberian Shaman, Wikimedia Commons; Sami Shaman, Copperplate by O.H. The idea that bodies might be possessed by demons, witches, or spirits also exists as a popular theme in media and in some religious traditions. : Thames & Hudson. Particular dream elements may appear and give the dreamer the right to assume certain culturally-restricted roles. Psychologist and author Stanley Krippner identified more than 20 states of altered consciousness. If home remedies do not help, usually people resort to a specialist healer of some kind. London: Routledge. (Sergei Ivanovich), and M. W. Thompson. A visionary experience or vision quest is usually the method of obtaining a guardian spirit and very often involves prolonged fasting, exhausting exercise, or exposure to dangers. Additional examples of the archaeology of altered states can be found among the eHRAF databases. Note that there can be possession beliefs without trance behavior, such as when illnesses are believed to be caused by invading spirits (Bourguignon 1976; Bourguignon and Evascu 1977). Dreaming is probably the most common altered state. The type of trance generally varies with social complexity. However, there are also wakeful situations in which we can experience an altered state of consciousness (ASC)— these include hallucination, hypnotic states, trance states and meditation. Altered States of Consciousness in Human History: A Brief Overview, Examples of ASCs in the Archaeological Record. If the effect of political hierarchy is controlled, societies where people are more involved in decision-making are less likely to have possession trances (Bourguignon and Evascu 1977; Swanson 1978). When used in occult and mysticism term trance usually denotes an altered state of consciousness. Thanks to Tahlisa Brougham, Christina Carolus, Jack Dunnington, Megan Farrer, Amelia Piazza, and Erik Ringen for their assistance in preparing this module. Twohig, Elizabeth Shee. We summarize what we know of this variation from cross-cultural research. We feel stuck, in part, because we are relying too heavily on "figuring out" our problems. Possession trances, on the other hand, are associated with subsequent amnesia, convulsions, and spontaneous onset of trances (Winkelman 1986). An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of mind or mind alteration, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state.By 1892, the expression was in use in relation to hypnosis, though there is an ongoing debate as to whether hypnosis is to be identified as an ASC according to its modern definition. San Francisco, Ca: Chandler & Sharp Publishers. Matrilocal A pattern of marital residence where couples typically live with or near the wife’s parents, Patrilocal A pattern of marital residence where couples typically live with or near the husband’s parents. D’Andrade, Roy. Societies in which sons live in different villages or local groups than their parents – usually matrilocal societies – are more likely to use dreams to control supernatural power than patrilocal societies (D’Andrade 1961). However the methods, functions, and cultural context vary widely between societies. The Tiwanaku: Portrait of an Andean Civilization. In most societies these specialists are magico-religious healers. Hove, Michael J., Johannes Stelzer, Till Nierhaus, Sabrina D. Thiel, Christopher Gundlach, Daniel S. Margulies, Koene R. A. Therefore a dream is an excellent example of an ASC. Extrapolating from Barry, Child, and Bacon (1959)’s finding that hunter and gatherer children have more pressure toward self reliance, independence, and achievement than food producers, D’Andrade expected that hunter-gatherers would have more anxiety about aloneness and therefore would be more likely to have dreams seeking to control supernatural power (D’Andrade 1961; Barry, Child, and Bacon 1959). Feathered Gods and Fishhooks: An Introduction to Hawaiian Archaeology and Prehistory. I often witness clients relying too heavily on the ordinary mind. In this respect, altered states of consciousness are relevant to enhancing human performance. 2002). Homewood, Il. This does not imply that all people in a given society have such an experience, but rather that it is believed that at least some people experience it. Iron Age Indo-European groups such as the Scythians and the Dacians utilized Cannabis sativa and melilot (Melilotus sp. “Cross-Cultural Assessments of Shamanism as a Biogenetic Foundation for Religion.” In The Psychology of Religious Experience, edited by Patrick McNamara. Founded in 1949 at Yale University, HRAF is a not-for-profit membership consortium of universities, colleges, and research institutions. in ceremonial contexts. Nevertheless, the ubiquity of these practices across time and space in human history suggests that ASCs play a fundamental role in the maintenance of human social fabric and human social-spiritual linkage. D’Andrade (1961, 321) theorized that “anxiety about being isolated and on one’s own” would lead to dreams about magical helpers. ASCs have likely been part of the human cognitive repertoire for at least 100,000 years, if not longer. The expression was used as early as 1966 by Arnold M. Ludwig and brought into common usage from 1969 by Charles Tart. 1976. Altered States of Consciousness (Altered States of Awareness, xenophrenia) refer to internal, subjective states of being whereby there are changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary. https://doi.org/10.2307/3773123. In the course of their healing others, healers in simpler societies employ non-possession trances; healers in more complex societies are more likely to use possession trance (Shaara and Strathern 1992). https://doi.org/10.1177/106939717701200303. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. Winkelman, Michael. 1992. Lewis-Williams, James D., and Thomas A. Dowson. : The Burke Museum. 1973. However, the relationship is somewhat curvilinear—that is, societies with moderately high (but not high) dependence upon hunting and fishing are most apt to demonstrate this complex.This prediction is derived from Barry, Child, and Bacon (1959)’s finding that hunting and fishing societies emphasize independence, self-reliance and achievement. This also hasn’t stuck, primarily because if this tacit assumption of a default normal state. Dreaming occurs during REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep. https://doi.org/10.1525/eth.1990.18.3.02a00040. ), which have been found charred in vessels and pouches accompanying burials and were described by the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) as part of a consciousness-altering repertoire for spiritual purification (Rudenko and Thompson 1970; Rolle and Walls 1989). The study of altered state of consciousness is a science in itself in so far as it studies the data of a state of changed perception. ———. Henshilwood, Christopher S, Erico d’Errico, Royden Yates, Zenobia Jacobs, Chantal Tribolo, Geoff A. T. Duller, Norbert Mercier, et al. We know what’s wrong intellectually but we feel stuck when it comes to getting relief. https://doi.org/10.1525/eth.1986.14.2.02a00040. Archaeological evidence for institutionalized ASCs has been found in human societies across the globe and throughout human history. A survey finds no instances outside of North America (Swanson 1973). Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) is an internationally recognized organization in the field of cultural anthropology. 1st ed. “Altered States of Consciousness Within a General Evolutionary Perspective: A Holocultural Analysis.” Behavior Science Research 12 (3): 197–216. Stanford, Ca. “Dreams and Altered States of Consciousness in Anthropological Research.” In Psychological Anthropology, edited by Francis L. K. Hsu, 403–34. These dreams are often obtained through certain practices such fasting or sleeping alone. html lang="en-US" dir="ltr" data-reactroot="" data-reactid="1" data-react-checksum="-168641847">. That is, “You” is not a fixed thing — it is changed by experience. Whatever transpires in these states of mind does so in a different language than that of thought. Vol. Bones of this totally inedible toad appeared in trash deposits at San Lorenzo, while the magnificent kneeling figure known as the ‘Princeton Shaman’ has one of these amphibians incised on the top of his head” (Diehl 2004, 106; Sharer and Morley 1992). 3. A more recent way of approaching the appearance phenomena in which Jesus was supposed to have been encountered is to see them as one kind of altered state of consciousness. Columbus, Oh. ———. Cambridge, Ma: Schenkman Publihing Company. Instead, she spent time creating opportunities for non-ordinary states to arise. 6 Ways to Increase Happiness at Work and at Home, An Extraordinary Year of Milestones in DNA Testing, How Narcissists Keep Their Mates From Leaving or Cheating. Adele was one such client. In an altered state of consciousness most people report experiencing psychological changes. Thinking through our problems is an important part of healing, but we may end up viewing the problems we face solely with the same mind that helped create them. * Altered states can occur anywhere from yoga class to the birth of a child. It describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary. She went on a retreat, and when at home, she took long walks in the woods. One major variation is whether societies believe in possession by spirits or in one’s soul fleeing or going on a journey. 294. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1067575. When you hear the words “altered state of consciousness” you may think of bellbottoms, hippies, and LSD. In contemporary North American culture, these wakeful ASCs are thought of either as unusual events or pertaining to practices of specialists—hypnotic states induced by therapists or magicians, trances entered into by mediums conducting séances, meditation in yoga classes, or drug-induced hallucinatory experiences. More complex societies, that is, those with higher political integration, more dependence on agriculture, more dependence on food production, more permanent communities, and more social stratification, are more likely to have possession trances. 2001. Teaching eHRAF Exercise on Altered States of Consciousness, https://hraf.yale.edu/ehc/summaries/altered-states-of-consciousness, https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1959.61.1.02a00080, https://doi.org/10.1177/106939717701200303, https://doi.org/10.1179/naw.2011.31.2.123, http://ehrafarchaeology.yale.edu/document?id=nu95-043, http://ehrafarchaeology.yale.edu/document?id=ma51-002, http://ehrafarchaeology.yale.edu/document?id=rl60-002, https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1992.94.1.02a00090, https://doi.org/10.1525/eth.1986.14.2.02a00040, https://doi.org/10.1525/eth.1990.18.3.02a00040. Guardian spirits were neither ghosts nor culture heroes—they were usually spirits of plants or animals or celestial bodies. The ability to achieve an altered state of consciousness is a fundamental skill in witchcraft. 1968. Among shamans, trances are usually induced by mechanisms such as singing, chanting, drumming, or dancing, after which the shaman in training or practice collapses and becomes unconscious and has intense visual experiences. The content of dreams is also of interest to researchers, but such analyses require a corpus of dreams from many cultures. Barry, Herbert, III, Irvin L. Child, and Margaret K. Bacon. 1972. Entoptically-suggestive art (that is, art composed of motifs indicating sensory deprivation and commonly-associated forms of visual hallucination) can be seen as early as 70,000-100,000 years ago at Blombos Cave in South Africa (Henshilwood et al. Any state of consciousness that is distinctly different than normal waking consciousness in terms of level of awareness and experience and the quality and intensity of sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories that are experienced. 1993. 1970. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1959.61.1.02a00080. How do different cultures experience and interpret dreams? In the South Pacific, Maori religious specialists employed Maori kava (Macropiper excelsum) in religious ritual and Polynesian groups such as the Hawaiians and Tongans used ‘awa (Piper methysticum) as an aid to communing spiritually with ancestors (Kirch 1985; Kirch 1988). Comprehensive or large-scale cross-cultural research 2006 ) trance as well as a journey. Trance ( Winkelman 1986 ) the application of magick need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Today... People report experiencing Psychological changes and archaeological evidence for institutionalized ASCs most important skill one can develop a! 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