I see a ton of people talk about trancing and ways to do it but I don’t think I’ve never seen someone talk about aftercare after trancing. This is an incredibly important step, not only to keep things safe but to assure the experience ends on a good note.
- Ensure you have the proper time. Rushing a trance is not only a bad idea but dangerous. If you’re taking an entheogen, don’t plan it for just an afternoon. Set aside the whole day and evening, maybe even the whole weekend. A trance might only last half an hour but the aftereffects could last much, much longer. Most drugs aren’t flushed out of your system completely for 24 hours. So just because you feel “fine” doesn’t mean you are. If you danced or moved while tracing, you may have pulled a muscle and might not even know it until later. Trying to trance before work or something might seem like a great idea at the time, but the aftereffects of seeing or talking to spirits there might come back to this side. You really don’t want to accuse your boss of being an ogre now do you? Give yourself time to sleep and get over it and back to yourself.
- Be aware of any side effects. Even mugwort gives “mugwort hangovers” where there’s side effects from dealing with the herb. The same is true for most if not all entheogens. Watch for the signs of poisoning and be prepared to call Poison Control (US# 1-800-222-1200). Sometimes these side effects are mild such as a headache or confusion but they can also be paranoia, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, heart palpitations, etc. Familiarize yourself with any side effects and keep track of them in some sort of record so you can refer back to it later. By the way, alcohol, caffeine, and other “not drug drugs” such as that are included in this.
- Be aware of your condition. Experiencing side effects of the trancing aren’t all bad. Confusion might be disorienting, but if you’re somewhere safe, you could channel that confusion to write a great poem or draw some fantastic art. You can use that confusion to go into another trance or divine. But be ready to acknowledge your condition. Be aware of yourself enough to say, “You know what? I can’t go out an buy groceries. I’m still experiencing X side effect from my trance.” This can save you from doing something foolish like insulting your boss, angering a loved one, driving under the influence, and going out to buy groceries without any trousers on.
- Do NOT attempt during times of stress or anxiety. Not only will entheogens or trancing likely compounds the issues at hand, you’re unlikely to accomplish it with ease. If you’re using entheogens and can’t seem to travel, you may try to take more of the drug and end up ODing. I’m not saying folks with anxiety disorders shouldn’t trance. What I’m saying is that if you’re having an attack or under duress, don’t attempt it.
- Set up food and drink ahead of time and then eat/drink. No, really. Take the ten minutes to make yourself a sandwich or put a bowl of soup together for yourself. Even pre-cutting a loaf of bread and putting the butter and a dull knife nearby will help. Trance work is exhausting both physically and spiritually. Eating helps not only ground you as it’s a mundane, repetitive task, but also restores your energy. For beverages I usually recommend straight up water, non-caffeinated tea, or slightly sugary beverage. I recommend staying away from coffee, caffeinated tea, or soda. (Caffeine is a stimulate and trance-inducer.)
- Drink water. Yes this deserves it’s own space. Even if you follow step four, you should also be drinking a lot of water. This helps cleanse and purify you, as well as shock your system back from woo~land. Besides, you’re likely to be dehydrated. Drink.
- Prepare the room. If you’re trancing inside, move all sharp objects out of the room (unless you’re using them in trance. See number 9). Move all objects you might slip on out of the way (like yoga mats, for example, are extremely slippery when you’re trying to trance-dance.) Keep small children and animals out of the way so you don’t trip on them or accidentally hurt them.
- Set up a comfortable space to crash. Again, trance work is spiritually and physically exhausting. Make sure you have a nice, clean space to crash. Whether that’s a freshly made bed or a pile of pillows and blankets on the floor.
- Keep friends at hand. If you’re going for something truly intense, make sure friends, family, or loved ones can and are willing to check up on you. I HIGHLY recommend keeping them at least somewhat in the loop of what you’re doing, why, and what you’re taking as a stimulant (if you are). Make sure they know the number for poison control (US# 1-800-222-1222) and the way to the nearest ER. Also, just having someone to pour you a glass of water or make a bowl of soup is a true luxury.
- Use sharp objects safely. I use a sharp knife during some of my trances and a sword or bow in others. I’ve trained myself to handle these weapons properly during trances and outside of them. If you don’t feel absolutely confident about your skills, skip it until you do.
- Wear clothing that is comfortable but unlikely to make you trip, fall, set yourself on fire, etc. If you’re a klutz, you might want to wear the most comfortable shoes you own (or none at all if you’re like me and can’t walk in shoes well). Jewelry’s fun but make sure you know how to get out of it, especially if your long hair tangles with rings or earrings. (Trust me on this one.) If you have long hair, either wear it back or make it a priority for it to not set on fire. If you wear glasses, hearing aids, or other medical or essential items, keep them safe and out of the way. And finally, keep long nails away from others. You’d be surprised how many people get scratched that way.
- Keep a record. Keep a record of every trance you have. This is useful later when you need to compare notes or work up an alibi. If your trances begin to take a pattern, you can then having a starting point. It’s also great for dosing amounts if you use entheogens.
- Write a note. Seriously. Write a note explaining why you are doing what you’re doing, where you started (your location), and the time and date, maybe even your name and address. Add in any entheogen you’re taking, the dosage of it, and keep it with a sample of the entheogen in question if applicable. These notes are incredibly useful in case of accidental poisonings or you trance-wander your way into traffic. I recommend keeping one on your person and another beside your trancing space.
- Keep a sample. Keep a sample of whatever entheogen you’re using for comparison later. It’s also great for emergency services in case of accidental poisonings. Keeping a sample will help eliminate any troubles and get you proper care as quickly as possible. Because of this I recommend NEVER completely emptying a jar of flying salve.
- Keep a first aid kit and medical supplies on hand. This is great for those bruises, nicks, scraps, and sore muscles after trancing. If you’re traveling, keep your medications and vitamins in the first aid kit as well. Document any injuries you’ve sustained for your own research and records. Keep a cold compress or ice pack around as well for those sore muscles. Doing this step can keep you longer healing times and infection.
- DON’T take aspirin or pain killers. Have a headache? Sore muscles? I know the temptation is to pop an aspirin and carry on but that’s ridiculously dangerous. Pain killers will mask any symptoms of overdosing and may cause bleeding. Aspirin’s a blood thinner and thus may cause bleeding or upset your stomach further. Skip the pain killers and suffer your way through.
- Thank your folk. Thank friends, family, loved ones, any participants in the trance or rites, neighbors, pets, deities, fae, and spirits. If they worked with you or dealt with you during your trance especially. I include pets in here because animals are incredibly sensitive to our emotions and if you were particularly frenzied, they may have been scared. Treat them kindly.
- Breathe. Take some time to just breathe and enjoy the act of it if you can.
- Enjoy the mundane. There’s often a post-trance moment of depression. I personally enjoy the act of coming back into myself and my mundane life. Maybe talking about car loans seems petty after conversing with gods but that’s something exclusive to humanity. Try not to compare your life to the life you have on the astral or the time within the trance. It is not the same.
Following these simple steps can change your experience from “great” to “fantastic”.
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