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Exploring Trance Mediumship

Exploring Trance Mediumship

We’re going to explore the history of trance mediumship, talk a bit about what trance is (and isn’t),   and how to prepare for trance, according to what I recently learned in a trance class I took recently with The Reverend Nancy Ryall.

Trance Mediumship in History

trance mediumship has been a part of the entire history of human experience

trance mediumship has been a part of the entire history of human experience

Some of the earliest historical references we have to trance for spirit communication are found in the records from ancient civilizations.

In Greece, for instance, we have the Temple of Epidaurus and the Oracle at Delphi.

There are myths, stories and legends in most cultures that tell of trance-like states.  The Yogis, Shamans and Christian mystics used trance to get closer to the Spirit world.  Trances have been brought on by drumming, chanting, rituals, and even use of hallucinogens.

In the late 18th century, Anton Mesmer worked with energy to induce trance while Emanuel Swedenborg worked with words and suggestions to induce hypnotic trance in about the same period.  Swedenborg’s records show that he visited in Spirit with Andrew Jackson Davis, who was born about 150 years later.  Davis confirmed in trance that he visited with Swedenborg in spirit regularly.

In the early days of modern mediumship, trance mediumship was quite common.  There were, however, frauds who faked trancelike conditions and gave this form of mediumship a bad name.  Mental mediumship mostly replaced trance for a long time, but today trance is coming back into practice more and more.

There are many misconceptions about trance, many fostered by the frauds in the last century as well as by Hollywood, with movies like the Exorcist. There is nothing scary or frightening about trance…it is not a Spirit taking over your body, or going to sleep and then awaking, not remembering what happened.

Trance mediumship is not a physical connection, but an energetic one…understanding that we are energetic beings in physical bodies for this time on earth can help with better understanding of trance.

Shamans, mystics and spiritual leaders from almost every religion have used trance to enhance communication with Spirit

Shamans, mystics and spiritual leaders from almost every religion have used trance to enhance communication with Spirit

What is Trance?

In a general sense, trance is simply an altered state of mind.

An example Reverend Nancy Ryall gave that made things pretty clear about trance states is like this…you’re driving down a familiar road, going to the local grocery.store.  You go on automatic pilot and suddenly you are there, without thinking about the turns and stops along the way…you’ve been in a light trance.

We do light trance states all the time, I learned…

There is a shift in the senses, and a subduing of the personality.  It’s natural, and normal.

There’s a difference between going into these normal trances and sitting for trance mediumship.  The difference has to do with the intention.

With trance mediumship, the intention is to communicate with our spirit guides and teachers, so that we can learn and develop our spiritual nature more completely.

a scale can demonstrate the balance of levels of trance mediumship

a scale can demonstrate the balance of levels of trance mediumship


Robin Hodson, a prominent teacher about trance and other aspects of Spiritualism, uses the graphic of a scale to demonstrate trance…the deeper the trance, the less the medium’s own personality is involved in the communication, and the more an invited spirit can share energy with the medium for fuller communication.  Robin outlines six levels of trance, ranging from light inspiration to deeply subconcsious.

Trance has been shown to have physical affects on the human body as the energy is shared…from slower heart rate and breathing, to lowering of body temperature to altered perceptions of touch and other stimuli.

Brain waves have been measured for people in trance, showing that there is a lowering of frequency and a heightening of amplitude the deeper the trance state.

Many feel trance and deep meditation are enabled in the Pineal Gland, a tiny gland in the brain.  Sometimes the Pineal Gland is called the third eye and it is thought to be the spiritual center and seat of the soul.  It needs 7 hours of darkness for best function, and it is thought that flouride use can cause calcification of the gland.

trance mediumshipPreparation for Trance Mediumship

To prepare for trance, I learned to consider my comfort above all.  My chair, being undisturbed, the noise levels, the temperature…the keyword for trance is comfort.

If at any time you don’t feel comfortable with what is happening, stop.  Remember your trance is a contract between you and Spirit, and your comfort is a measure within you that you need to pay attention to.  We each have an internal guidance system that I talk about in a free eBook on Designing Your Life to be what you want it to be…in career and business as well as in all aspects of your life.  Check it out here.

experience trance mediumship for yourself by contacting Nancy

experience trance mediumship for yourself by contacting Nancy

The Process of Going Into Trance

Both mesmerism and hypnotism have been used to induce trance states…the easiest way is through meditation.  Counting breaths and yoga breathing techniques are ways to quickly go into a trance.

Communicate your intention to your Spirit Guides and Teachers.  Rather than leaving them guessing, state what your intention is, most often to communicate with and learn from them.  It could be to bring healing, or to share their philosophical teachings.  Tell them what you want.  And then listen…communication goes both ways.

Expand your aura.  Your aura is your energy field that is around and within you.  Push it out to fill the room, the building, the universe.  When you expand your aura, you reach out to the Spirit world to invite them to come close.

And then, relax and have fun with trance.  While it is sacred to be with Spirit, our guides and teachers have personalities.  They like to enjoy their time with you and yours with them, and they want you to enjoy it, too.  It’s a time of growing, learning and exploring, so have a good time with it.

Nancy Ryall is an Ordained Spiritualist Minister and a Commissioned Spiritualist Healer.  She serves as Pastor of a Church in Illinois and she and her husband travel widely to teach about Spiritualism.  She is a member of the International Spiritualist Foundation.

I took a course on trance with her…this article is just the tip of the iceberg.  While it explains some aspects of trance, it does not give you the experience that I had.  I invite you to go to Nancy’s website to learn more and to take a trance workshop with her.  She will guide you to go into trance yourself, to communicate more with your spirit guides and Infinite Intelligence.

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