Posted On February 10, 2010

Filed under ancestors, kantele, ritual

Comments Dropped 2 responses

Lately things have been pretty dead for me spiritually. That’s not all that’s dead; my grandfather died last Thursday. He was the main reason why I decided to move to Finland, because he talked about the country my entire life. It wasn’t terribly sad for me when I heard that he died though, as he wasn’t himself for well over a year as a result of alzheimer’s, so I was prepared for this news. It was interesting that on that day in the afternoon, I poured out a half liter of cider to my ancestors, and he would have been among them by that time. Later when I actually found out that he was dead, I played a song on the kantele singing about how he was loved in life and will be remembered. Then I offered some incense; juniper to be precise.

I find the kantele to be a very powerful tool for connecting with the spirit world. When Väinämöinen played it, all creatures gathered near him to hear it. Often when I play the kantele, I too feel a great deal of energy around me. The instrument was considered to be the Finnish shaman’s greatest tool. I’m not going to get into a giant debate as to whether Finland had shamans or not, but there has been evidence of trances that resemble those in Siberia of the comatose state the shaman ends up in while journeying. It was said that it took two to three people to trance. The shaman, or tietäjä, had an assistant with him, who would also be trained somewhat in these matters. The journey was done normally while sitting on a rock or under a tree. As I mentioned in the hiisi entry, rocks were considered a magically potent spot. The shaman would play the kantele while singing, and every line he sung, the assistant would repeat. Once the shaman fell over, the assistant would take over with the kantele and singing. Another way that I have heard that trances were done, was with three different people, but only one would actually journey. One person would play the kantele, and there were two people sitting opposite one another at a table. The two would hold hands, and when the one sung a line, the other would repeat, and while they were doing this, they would rock back and forth until one entered trance.

I have always wanted to try this method of trance, but the problem in this day and age are the lack of people interested in doing it, so there is no other option but to do it myself. I don’t trance outside anymore since it’s cold, so I do it in my room. I light incense beforehand, usually juniper or lavender as that seems to be what the spirits enjoy best, and I invite them to come to me. I haven’t journeyed anywhere in a long time, because it would be dangerous to do so with my health, so the spirits just come to me. I rock back and forth while playing the kantele, though I only occasionally sing. Lately I have been doing so, since it gets the best response. Normally the subject matters are lyrics inviting the spirits in and praising them, though I specify always that only spirits that wish me well can come, and those that do not can leave. Everything I say is in the moment, so I don’t really remember exact words afterward. After that, what comes to me comes. A number of events that I have seen or heard in trance have come true, but it likely depends on your skill level as to what happens. I have met several people that just can’t seem to let their guard down enough to fall into a trance. If that is the case, then there’s not much that can be done. Perhaps it’s for the best as it can be draining to do. After the trance, I always leave the immediate area and go eat something. You’ll want to have something that’s somewhat filling, though it doesn’t need to be a giant meal. Even a piece of bread or two with butter and cheese on it I have found to get me back into reality well. A good thing to do then is write down what you heard or saw; I often forget very quickly as to what went on.

So there is the late trance entry that I had promised to write. I’m not sure how often I’ll be updating in the future, as I mentioned that things have been pretty dead spiritually. I think that most people go through times when the spirits and gods are very active in their life, and then other times when there’s next to nothing, so it’s all quite normal.


2 Responses to “Trancing”

  1. Nik

    Mm, dead time or no, you’re a lot farther along than I am. I have trouble just getting to regular old sleep, though! If I could manage a few good journeys I might be able to put more weight on regular practice, but as it is I’ve got a not-so-little voice in me always saying it won’t work this time either, so why bother? I keep fighting it, though, and if nothing else I’m having more dreams in regular sleep, which is a good development, I think.

  2. Christine

    Some people get a lot of their messages through dreams, so that may be the way for you. I don’t have as much activity in that area, though occasionally a message does pop up. A lot of my knowledge on how to do rituals and such came from what I saw in trances, so it was quite helpful even though I don’t do it as much now. Hopefully something good will develop for you in time.

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