A not insignificant part of my UPG has been gleaned from interactions with my Gods during what I’ve just come to refer to as visions – this may sound like trance-work to some, or not to others, but either way this is how I’ve been going about this form of deliberate and pointed communion.
It’s sort of like daydreaming, but more work. And you have to take an active role in the thing, otherwise I’ve found that the experience doesn’t yield much other than vague sensory mush or just actual daydreaming. To me, this differs from a lot of other similar work in that I don’t “go” anywhere – it’s more just opening your head. You are creating a stream-of-consciousness dreamscape and inviting Others in. Sometimes you can speak with your Gods directly this way, though I’ve found that to be rare. Most other times, unidentified spirits make their way in or no one shows up at all.
- This state is relatively easy to get to with practice and patience
- Does not require “godphone” abilities or experience with spirit-work
- Can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time – my sessions are usually about an hour
- Does not always require specialized tools or preparations, ritual gear, or a spotter to help bring you out
- Because you are keeping your head “pried open”, staying in this state can take work and concentration to maintain
- You cannot do anything else while working the vision (divine, write, speak, etc.) – with practice, minor repetitious movements can become part of the process, though, like moving your hand to hit a small instrument
- Communication is very hit-or-miss and you rarely get to speak to who you initially wanted to – this can be helped with prior god or spirit-specific preparations, though
- Communication (for me at least) is weak when it does happen, and it takes intense will-power to listen to what your visitor has to say
- As a result, discernment is a must for processing what you learn there – there is a very high chance that what you heard or saw was made up by you (I usually wait for another form of verification before taking visions to heart)
- As with any other method of entering altered or meditative states, this has the potential to elevate levels of anxiety (I’ve personally experienced feelings of claustrophobia, for example), and pulling out of the vision state prematurely or too suddenly can be disorienting or even painful
All of that said, my formula for doing this is really easy.
- Create space: I usually do this work at night, in the dark, and in quiet a place as I can manage. You might want to light candles, light incense (I usually do), or do it in a spiritually significant spot like outdoors or at your shrine. If you want to open up to somebody in particular and keep everyone else out, you might consecrate wherever you are to allow only them in. But like I said, this method is hit-or-miss, so in that case your chances of no one showing up goes up too.
- Prepare yourself: Incense does this for me, so does relaxing in your prepared surroundings for a few minutes. If you have a favorite psychic-ability-enhancing substance to ingest, now is the time (maybe set some out for your “guests” as well). I usually just stick to tea and incense. I would generally stay away from alcohol also, as I’ve found that this hampers your ability to keep your head open; I think a few others feel the same way. Obviously not everyone does, though, and I’ll sometimes share a swig of hard liquor with my Gods beforehand if I’m trying to meet with one of Them. Drunkenness, though, is not conducive to communication with anybody, really; corporeal or not.
- Put on music: or don’t. My body is very picky about what sorts of sounds it can do this kind of work with, so I have to stick with shamanic drumming recordings or a binaural beat generator. Anything even slightly irregular will eventually be painful to listen to if I keep my head open with it. I haven’t tried doing this in silence yet, so I don’t have any pointers there.
- Establish the dreamscape: picture a setting, any setting. And really picture it. If there’s grass, know what it feels like between your toes. If it’s a cave, know what it smells like, how the sound of your footsteps carry. Look around in all directions to establish what’s around you.
- Wander: Sometimes I’ll hang around where I started, sometimes I’ll venture someplace else. During one session a few months ago I started in a field and decided to jump into a stream to see where it would take me. I wound up in a swamp. If no one shows up to talk to you where you are, don’t be afraid to go someplace else.
- Listen: You might perceive things just beyond the scope of your senses; you can pursue these “voices” or wait until someone draws nearer. What will happen most often with me is that in the off-chance that I do run into a god or spirit, I can sense if they’re trying to speak with me, and it’ll feel more like a very distant whisper or very muffled voice. The communication can be nonverbal, but if not, then you usually have to go way out of your way to perceive their words. What words you do glean, treat them as suspect.
- Come out: slowly. Begin by moving your body, then turn down the music, and open your eyes. Just coming out of the working can take several minutes on its own.
- End: thank your Gods and spirits, make final offerings, close your circle, etc.
- Homework: Write down what you learned from the vision so that you can consult it later. I’ve never gone out of my way to research things that I heard or saw in my visions, as time usually separates the wheat from the chaff for me. I’ve had things that I experienced be confirmed by lore a year, two years, down the road. One of the most nonsensical visions I’ve ever had that turned out to be true was one where I saw my old patron god and goddess sort of hand me over to a thundercloud that came out of a cave before disappearing. It was only afterward that I remembered that I’d attempted to oath myself to them when I was 14, and it was much later that I realized that I’d indeed devoted myself to a God of both thunderclouds and caves. In other words, you open your head, you never know what you’re going to find. And things that may seem like stuff you made up may actually turn out to be a very poignant message. Just don’t do anything stupid and don’t take yourself too seriously. Figure out a reliable method of discernment that works for you and your Gods.
So that’s my method. Call it what you will, call me what you will, but this is something that I devised about 4 years ago and I’ve been using it pretty successfully since. Mostly, however, I don’t want other polytheists to think that they have to wait for gods and spirits to contact them… if ever. It is entirely possible to take the initiative, and this is one way to do that.