Repetitive rhythms have been employed across time and cultures for the purpose of entering altered states of consciousness. This may be within a formal religious ritual with choirs and musical instruments, or it may be in an informal ceremonial gathering involving drums, chants and shakers.
Many modern folk will have experienced the trance state induced by electronic dance music. Similar effects have been created with repetitive visual stimuli, as explored by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs with their strobe-effect installation Dream Machine.
With practice and guidance, one can learn to navigate the dream-like state induced by such repetitive techniques and to follow the cascade of images towards a given objective. This may be for reflection, meditation or amusement. It may be to summon healing energy or guidance for oneself or others, to focus on a particular dilemma, or to seek resolution to relationship difficulties.
This evening William will talk about the history and use of these techniques in entering an altered state of consciousness.
Dr William Rowlandson is Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent, specialising in Latin American culture and history. He has published books and articles relating to literature, poetry, mysticism, psychedelics and dream visions. He trained with the late ZoÃ« BrÃ¢n in the principles of Core Shamanism and trained in Cuba in Afro-Cuban ritual drumming.
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