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Trance: From Magic to Technology
by Dennis R. Wier
Trans Media. 183 pp.
The title of this book caught my eye while I was at a friend's house, and I haven't been able to put it down since. Dennis Wier presents a brilliant if eccentric exposition of a model exploring reverie, concentration, addiction, hypnosis, TV-watching, yogic states, and magic as varying forms of the dissociative state he refers to as trance.
His model is presented in considerable detail, with certain stated assumptions that don't necessarily seem intuitive to me. He considers a thought (or feeling) as a discrete event, for instance, and feels that we may be nearing the ability to measure them; I often suspect that we concretize thoughts as a result of having a word for them. But he builds a system of amazing power from his first premises.
Concerned about trances in their pathological forms, he suggests techniques useful for the purpose of trance analysis and abatement. He provides an overview of modern hypnotic techniques such as NLP and Ericksonian Hypnosis. But the final chapter is some of the most original writing about magick I've ever found. I'd recommend this book to all students of esoterica.
“Another point is to remember the mantra rather than repeating it clearly. Remembering the mantra invokes the residual awareness component, and this will help you to remain in the dissociated trance plane.”
“The ostensible goal of spiritual consciousness raising activities is to terminate trance, but often only trance replacement occurs. In the worst cases benign trances become pathologies or delusional but with the label 'spiritual.'”
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