Trance is an animist practice that shifts our mental states so that we can access different ways of thinking and relating to reality.

Entering into trance is like re-tuning a radio; you don’t go anywhere, but the signals you’re picking up, and so the information you receive, changes.

Trance practices are helpful when we:

  • Want to receive new teachings from our guiding ancestors or lineage members.
  • Want to influence the physical world at a more malleable level, such as the energetic level.
  • Develop our mental and energetic flexibility, to enhance our creativity, problem solving and expression of emotions.
  • Need to divine on questions that are complex or challenging.
  • Are working on the energetic level for healing or protection.
  • Want to work through our altars to influence the relationships we’re working on.
  • Need to interact with spirits for any reason.
  • Need to gain experiential understanding of a relationship, problem or wound through spirit flight.

There are different types of trance, from the light trance we all enter when we’re reading, watching TV or falling asleep, to the deep, transformative levels of trance accessed during spirit flight, hypnosis and sensory deprivation.

Trance practices are at the core of animism, and as such can be used to enhance almost any animist practice. However, as an advanced practice there are contraindications to the use of trance, which I talk about here.

There are a huge number of methods for entering a trance. Some of the most common are drum rhythms, dance, song, sensory deprivation and single-pointed focus. The essential element of trance work is that we are changing our mental state from our normal, everyday state; anything that helps us achieve this can be a method for working with trance.

To begin introducing trance into your animist practice, you could work with the rhythm of a drum or your voice to enter a light trance before doing a divination.


For a refresher on the basics of divination practice, join the free 12 week Foundation in Animism course here: