Shamanic Trance Postures for Divination
These postures are gateways to an altered state of consciousness, and visionary experiences. This body of knowledge originates from ancient civilisations and many indigenous cultures throughout the world. Rediscovered in the 1970's by the renowned anthropologist Felicitas Goodman, these postures are a piece of living history from our heritage of spiritual tradition.
It involves holding non-strenuous, but precise physical positions together with an accompanying rhythmic sound eg. Shamanic drumming or rattling. There are a number of specific postures for divinatory purposes, for example the Nupe people in sub-Saharan Africa, use these ritual postures, and in the one that their divinatory shamans work with gives the experience of detachment and a dispassionate persepective of the question.
An Exercise – Nupe Divination Posture
Once again meditate or focus on your question, as with this work it really helps if the question is sharp, no ‘ifs’, ‘shoulds’ , ‘but’ and so on, get your question as razor honed as possible.
Sit on the floor, leaning toward your left and supported by your left arm. Hold your left arm rigid, with your hand at a right angle to your body. Place your left hand at a spot three to five inches to the left of your body and just behind a straight line drawn along the back of your buttocks. Bend both legs at the knees with both feet pointing to the right, positioned so that your left foot is resting just to the left of your right knee. Place your right hand on your lower left leg, where the muscle indents about halfway down your calf. Move your head slightly to the left, so you are looking over your left knee, and close your eyes.
If possible listen to a shamanic drumming or rattling tape, as this will enhance the visionary potential and makes the experience smoother, and more powerful. Allow the visionary imagery , or just simple ‘knowing’ to take place, when you have a sense of an answer (even if you do not understand it rationally) just gently release yourself from the posture, and come back fully into the present. If an answer is not immediately understood, incubate it, play with it, draw or paint it, this is important as the answer is not always addressed to the rational mind. Being with the imagery or vision will often lead to a deep and profound revelation.