Hypnagogia, Theta trance, and smokey figures of inspiration

My first discussion post on paganspace!

Hypnagogia is the mental state which many people use to enter lucid dreaming or astral project. I'm really interested to hear other's experiences in hypnagogic state who have entered without the intention for lucid dreaming.

Some people experience this their whole life without trying, while others teach themselves how to induce it. Personally, I've experienced various levels of it my whole life without trying, and actually worked hard to prevent it do to the fight-or-flight mechanism that kicks in at the beginning and being too afraid. 

Recently, I had my most extreme sensory experience which led me to learn the word "hypnagogia" and understand what it is both in mystical and scientific terms (I tend to believe they are always connected).
It usually starts with sleep paralysis (historical reference: see Goya, Musgrave, Fuseli's paintings, Persian bakhtak myth, Chpt. 34 Oliver Twist is full on hypnagogia), which is a terrifying experience. But I've now learned, for myself, if I don't fight it to try to wake myself, it eventually releases into hypnagogia.

During hypnagogia, your brain waves become theta while you are still transitioning from alpha (wakeful waves). This is like entering REM while still awake. Theta is also what happens when someone enters trance. It can involve all of your physical senses, even synesthesia, and also produces more accurate auto-symbolism than dreamstate, also epiphanies occur.
It is known that it has led many famous artists and inventors to create their own methods to induce it for the purpose of inspiration (Salvador Dali, Edison).

One of the most fascinating things for me is that this tends to be the major source of witnessing "shadow people". For some reason, throughout history, all around the world, the same sort of hooded figures are seen. Are we influencing each other's imagination or is there something to it?

After my last experience, I am still deciding whether to intentionally explore this state more or if it could become dangerous or draining for me. My intention is not to lucid dream through this method, just to receive messages and inspiration.  
I deal with trance state a lot, but it is always in my control and on my own terms. Hypnagogia feels like throwing myself into the void, another dimension, where anything could come at me. 


Attempt to summarize my recent experience:

Breaking through the sleep paralysis, I had full control over my body, I felt and was sure I was 100% awake, but the world looked different. The windy thunderstorm and leaves blowing outside had come inside my house to create chaos, I was faintly aware of strange black sunlight and geometric patterns overlaying my environment. Smoke filled the lower part of the room. I had synesthesia, smelling sights and feeling smells etc. There was one large hooded shadow person in the corner, who somehow felt familiar and not so scary, almost protective, though in retrospect, should have been terrifying. After some time taking in the chaos and slowly understanding what state I was in, I heard a loud clear voice. This was new for me, and was the most chilling thing for me (the thing that later made me find more information to make sure I'm not schizophrenic or something).
It said, "we're here", not in an ominous way, more a simple announcement of arrival (it still startled me so much to hear so clearly). I turned my head toward my front door where there was a huge group of shorter hooded smokey figures overlaying each other. They repeated it, loud and clear. Then, they surged toward me (the movement in scientific terms is called the Tetris effect). They began to surround me and that is when I decided I had had enough of that world, I thought, if I can push my body through the ones standing behind me and lean against the wall, then they'd lose their physicality and disappear. That is what happened. I came back, and was frozen in shock for 30 min before I got up and immediately began to write...I had 2 -3 major epiphanies about subjects that had been hanging in my subconscious. 
While it was happening, I was sure of my physical experience and wakefulness, but as i write and speak about it, it does sound a bit wild. 


Thank you for taking the time to read and look forward to hearing other's thoughts, insights and experiences!

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I see "shadow people " all the time ( I have extreme sleep problems Plus I am essentially a witch) however have you ever figured out what they want besids to watch us?

The same as anyone that constantly watches, to participate.

I see them a lot too, at least the one that was "familiar" to me has shown up throughout my whole life (also childhood sleep problems like bruxism).

The only thing I've come across as far as old myth and eastern beliefs are djinn, for their smokey-ness, and djinn are fascinated with the human body and material experiences. 

But they are also known to have a variety of personalities, and these shadows seem pretty uniform. 
Working with djinn and yoruba/santeria saints, you invite them to our world and there is an exchange. But going to the shadow people's hypnagogic realm is so different. 
And interesting that we have always received epiphanies from such experiences. Are they assisting in that or just observing?

The Hypnogogic state consists of several overlapping states of conciousness. At the simplest level it involves perceptions of phosphenes which are then reified into sytill and moving pictures. This explanation was famously used by Lewis and Clark in an attempt to decipher shamanic art in a n article in the Journal Current Anthropology over twenty years ago. Although the conclusions of the study have been called into question the basic physiological description of the process given in the article remains valid.

As far as the shadowy figures are concerned the phenomenon is well known in Iranian Sufism where the Latifa tradition associates it with the lowest level of a graduated series of altered states of consciousness . The experience is associated with the Prophet Adan and the color grey. For this reason the Prophet Adam is often depicted as wearing a grey turban in Iranian religious art.

There are many different uses of the hypnogogic state used in practical occultism (I know of several dozen)! One of the most important of these uses is for Skrying (a vast subject in its self)!

It is simplest from a Heuristic viewpoint to conceive of this state as a kind of gateway into both altered states of consciousness and into "alternative realms of being".

The Middle Eastern connection is interesting, because from my own personal experience with this, that is where it all started. I say that because many years ago when I began using a certain Mesopotamian ritual format, things were never the same again. It never happened before that, so I do not deem the timing of it to be coincidental. 

In the beginning, when you are left to fend for yourself, it can be quite fearsome and baffling. People used to argue in here about sleep paralysis, and the mundaners would always allude to a deep seated psychological phenomena as being the cause to the effect. Some of that was about the intrusions of the succubus, for example, where the dreamer would become "sexually charged" from the event, and indeed it will sexually charge you. Might scare the hell out of you in the beginning,  but over time you begin to figure out what is happening.

The reason that I do not believe it is purely psychological, or scientific in nature, is because with a certain simple and easy banishment practice, even done mentally instead of physically, while you are still in that quasi dream state, the worst part of it simply goes away on it's own over time. You may have to practice this a bit, but it becomes second nature, even when you are not completely awake.That would be the part where you become "frozen" in a dream state, with some Dark Entity presiding over the event, feeling like you are going to die or something similar, which is a freaky kind of experience. It is, quite frankly, way beyond hypnagogia.

However, when a certain Dark Entity is involved, the sexual aspect of it never really goes away, and is something you can work with as a form of empowerment. This is not something to be feared. How long this continues is determined by the "connection" you will have with that entity.

(NAAMAH, be with you!)

It's interesting what you expressed about your personal experience and leading you to Mesopotamian ways. I feel the same steadily came to be for me. Always returning to your earliest source. 

I came from a hyper religious background, and as a child, I had concluded that this one shadow figure that seemed to follow me all around the country, was either demon or djinn. Everyone told me it is bad and must be exorcised, yet I had created some kind of relationship with it and never truly felt a threat. 

Later, I began to work with djinn through Zaar and other rituals, and eventually stopped overthinking it (even started to think of my djinn friend as some one a bit like Chango, if the sexuality part is to come into play). But, since coming to live in the middle east, these experiences have become 100x more sensory and potent, physical. Then again, touching down in this land you immediately feel the thickness of ancient energy, feels like swimming through layers of dimensions every day. 

Every spiritual or supernatural experience is catalyzed by our tangible world. Our ability to witness it and experience is due to our body and it's functions, whether we can explain what is happening physically fully or not yet, the intangible world is also navigated using this amazing material tool, our body, its chemicals and electrical sparks. That said, I still think of your advice as a legitimate both spiritual and psychological tool, and I appreciate the reminder greatly. I just needed a confidence boost to get through the physical fear reaction!

“Jinni, in Middle Eastern and Islamic folklore and mythology, a spirit or demon lower than an angel. The plural form of the name is jinn, the feminine form jinniyah. Composed of fire or air, jinn can assume both animal and human form. They may be either good or evil: If good, they are beautiful; if wicked, they are ugly.”

Ohh, well, after reading further a research article on the Zaar, covering demographic areas of the Middle East and Africa, it occurs to me that what we have here amounts to something equal to a "psychiatric feeding frenzy", to the point where they blame all the petty little personal problems that the so called "afflicted" typically have on that curious little pet peeve known as "possession".  I was extremely appalled by this article, humored, but fascinated nevertheless.

I can understand how it could easily overcome the unsuspecting, or the unaware, when they “dip’ into something they don’t understand the consequences of, or are lacking in information as to how to deal with the downside of it.

Just as in the laws of nature, the strong and the cunning will overcome and manipulate the weak, whether of mind, or body, or both. The “laws of the occult” maintain reminders that the same thing happens in the realm of mainstream religion born occult superstitions, which are a prime source of feed for this kind fear mongering.

On the social level, forget about the possession of oppression. If it weren't for “possession”, then we could count on erratic behavior and personal problems to just disappear into the ether. But oppression apparently is all good.

Due to my lack of familiarity of how the occult evolved in the folklore of medieval Middle Eastern history, also, some mainstream informational sources pertaining to the Djinn, amount to nothing more than what I would call "Tales From the Crypt". Maybe I just don’t have the right "Book of Djinn", and that's probably the case in reality. But in any case, apparently, this is what keeps orthodox mainstream religion in business. Typically, this stuff is deemed to be evil and self destructive by any measure of “conventional wisdom”.

It also occurs to me that psychiatrists and exorcists are very lucky in a sense that the human brain was never designed to be completely stable to begin with. Essentially, the rice is already cooked, it just needs to be meshed with something of other ingredients. So, you may want to consider keeping your own personal psychiatrist and exorcist on hand as a backup, when the sky is falling. Ha ha ha…And of course, the same phenomena can, and often does occur in the occult, without a doubt.

Thanks for taking the time too look in to it, in any case. 
Yes, there is this element of Zaar in Egypt developing into a method of release for repressed women. An excuse to break the rules. Keeping it in the context Egyptian history, it became further bastardized after the cabaret bellydance movement and performance of bellydance in a more entertainment-based setting (rather than traditional, ritual, folkloric).
It came to a point where zaar was so distorted and looked down upon that it is still technically illegal in Egypt for the traditional musicians to perform it's music in the proper way. 

Yasmin Henkesh has done extensive research and has a large collection of film and recordings of traditional ceremonies from Sudan and south Egypt. If you think of the practice as a sort of fusing of yoruba and sufi tradition it becomes a specialized form of "sama" for women (using the "short-circuit" method of inducing trance rather than the "lullaby" repetition of sama and zikr). 
My experience both in Zaar and Santeria rituals (having roots in yoruba, and all the same personality of djinns are worked with) has led me to see the practice as more than just exorcism and in fact, through channeling and inviting the entity to share physical space with you allows you to heal and "exorcise" negative energy.

In fact, one ritual I had done with Henkesh herself, left me with a vision which deepened my fate to reach Iran. I've now come to find out that the Zaar ritual had somehow travelled through sudan and ethiopia to reach the south Iranian islands. Until I went there, I had never known that they have their own isolated version of this ritual  here, and I am yet to find sufficient writing and research on it. Planning to do it myself, it's just not the easiest community to enter. 

We'll dedicate this one to our friend "Chango"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjxdQT_JMRMthunder and lightning

Spirituality continues to evolve, in a timeless and never ending process, on every corner of the planet, always guided by cultural and ethnic nuance. But it often comes down to the same phenomena, just from different methodologies, prespectives, practice, dance, language, culture etc.

People inherently have a natural tendency to explore and reap the timelessness of the many common denominators of human spirituality, since the days of the first civilizations. The only thing that limits this process, or distorts it, is the narrow minded approach to cultural reconditioning and re-programming that fits the template of regional superstitions and dogma, that can only be contained by repression. This has become the "establishment", rather than the exception. Unfortunately this will be the demise to many an "awakening",

But what is timeless in and of itself, cannot be completely contained, or destroyed, and it never will be. At least, that is my prediction.

The interesting thing that always pervades orthodox religion, is that it cannot escape the lineage if it's roots, which much of it's doctrine has been stolen or borrowed from the ancients. I have been involved in endless discussions about this, That is why it is often not hard to differentiate between say, what the ancient Mesopotamians or Egyptians practiced, and what evolved from those practices and mythos, and what can, or cannot be, incorporated into conventional so called 'traditional" theologies.


The Kahuna, being that you have been familiarized with it, was a very rich tradition, evolved over thousands of years, albeit at times very dark, that escaped the influences of the west until only very recently in time. But when you study the lineage of it, they had an elaborate and detailed creation myth, for example, that strangely parallels mythos similar to the Babylonian Enuma Elish, although it obviously was "lightened" by more modern westernized practitioners.

But the fact remains, what we are basically talking about is the same pudding, but with different recipes for it. Because of the so called civility of organized religions, It is very difficult to put these experiences into words, I think, for anybody, and for obvious reasons. It is more appreciated, understood, and benefited from via the "experience" and practice of it, which is the universal linkage, rather than by putting it in words.

It's like "a picture is worth a thousand words", kind of thing.

I had never heard of the Adam connection. Do you have a more direct source for me? Is it an old concept or something organized in new sufi mysticism? I'm going to continue looking around for Adam and a grey turban, haven't found one yet, but also...it's hard to find any prophet depicted without a shroud!

Please tell me more uses! Since you mentioned Scrying, it makes more sense now how the state can be utilized in so many more ways. 

Hey, I didn't realize where you are living currently in the world. When I looked at your profile today, read your reply, it comes as quite a surprise, and the first time I have ever met anyone who lives the life you are living, where you are living it, with that kind of metaphysical perspective. Astonishing!

Anyway, that is awesome! What I also wanted to mention was that this kind of experience is certainly not limited to demographics, or culturally limited in any way.

The ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures were notorious for the practice of this kind of mysticism, and truly, that is where it all started. I stumbled upon it, sort of incidentally, through other Witch connections I have had in the past, and some of it international. 

For example, there was a National Geographic documentary called "Haunted Hawaii" that is circulating through the public libraries here. I managed to view it once, and was pleasantly surprised to discover a few things that were contained therein, that actually matched up with that specific psychic phenomena talked about in this thread..

One is that so called  "sleep paralysis" or the psychic phenomena attached to the same, was, and is, a quite commonly known phenomena out in this neck of the woods, and obviously elsewhere, and was well known and documented with the indigenous cultures of the region, the Polynesian and Micronesian, who were very spiritual in their ancient days.

Two is that in this documentary, there are oral testimonials from people who not only experienced the exact same thing, but experienced it in a specific place where I used to stay over, in a valley where in the ancient days of the Polynesian Kings, there were centers of what they call "Heaau", ie altars and places of elaborate ceremonial ritual, some of it involving human sacrifice. You can imagine the energy transference from one generation to the next.

Three is that in this treatise, I was surprised to see a "Kahuna" or spiritual teacher, whom I happen to know personally, who is interviewed and talks about this kind of psychic phenomena from his own experience..

So, none of these experiences people were having locally I actually knew about until I saw the documentary.

With all of this combined, it reinforces the theory I have about any of this being limited to something purely psychological, or psychiatric. If that is the case, then you would need a psychiatrist to sort it out for you, and clearly, that is the last thing you would need to do.

So what you do, is do what you are doing, connect with the djinn through Zaar, and get your feet wet. then work it through, having the self confidence that you can do this without any psychic harm to yourself, and reap the benefits at the same time, instead of succumbing to unsubstantiated fear, conventional superstitions, or psychic turmoil. 

I'm certainly a lucky gal to have found my way to such a rich environment. I only hope I can keep these things alive and circulating beneath the blanket of orthodox islam. 
I will mention though, it seems the young generation here are having spiritual awakenings right and left, many just don't have the context or language to explain what is happening. They are already a highly superstitious people, full of ritual and magick that doesn't quite match up with the overlaying islam. The youth are slowly recognizing that and feeding pre-arab invasion persian mentality. 
Talk of "energy" or "enerjhi" exchange/work is surprisingly common, even among the oldest village shop owner, and somehow they reconcile their pre-islam spiritual knowledge with islam without a second thought. 

That said, I have heard about the Kahuna way, and it seems to deal with the splitting of our conscious spirit and subconscious which creates an almost separate entity of your shadow self. It's definitely a possibility kahuna could help to understand what is happening in hypnagogia regarding shadow people. But I think right now, anyone's guess is as good as another's. We only know what we experience ourselves. Every explanation I've heard still seems to some degree lacking. Patience, I'm sure things will come to light eventually, in the mean time, we keep sharing and working, as you say. :)

Even if it is all psychological, it doesn't become less spiritual or powerful. If people have been able to create and invent world-changing things while in hypnagogia, there is certainly something about it that feeds into our world beyond an individual's psychological experience. 


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