Posts Tagged ‘questionnaire’

On the recommendation of the charming people at the Wild Geek Hang, I picked up Diana L. Paxton’s workbook on  altered states of consciousness – Trance-portation – a week or so ago. Five chapters in, and Paxton has me convinced to go back to first principles to consolidate my (admittedly slight) understanding of journey-work and, hopefully, expand my understanding and ability.

With that in mind, the first exercise in the book is a self-evaluation questionnaire. Apparently, I have readers now, so I feel like I should say thay this might get a bit TMI in places, so feel free to skip it if that’s not your thing. I’ll post something on deodorant later in the week.


Support Systems

Q1. What is your living situation? Do your family or house-mates support your spiritual practice? Will they allow you the privacy in which to practice the exercises? If you are in doubt, negotiate, or find somewhere else to work.

A1:  At the moment, I live with my family. They’re fairly indifferent to what I do, but I wouldn’t say they’re terribly supportive of the space or time I try to allocate for my practice (religious or artistic). The best way for me to get space would be to leave the house.

I’ll have to revisit this question when I move out, I’ve no idea what it’ll be like living with Jamie.

Q2. Do you belong to a prayer circle, kindred or coven, or other spiritual group? Does it practice trance work or meditation? If so, what kinds, how often and for what purposes? Are any other group members working with this book? Will your group support your efforts to master these skills?

A2: No, to all questions.

Q3. Do you already have a power animal or totem? How did you acquire it? How often do you contact it, or how does it contact you?

A3: I’ve had contact with a small number of animal spirits in the past; always on the other side. If they’ve tried to get in touch over here, I haven’t noticed. I don’t recall the last date I went over, but it’s been far too long.

Q4. Do you have a strong affinity with/devotion to specific god/desses? How did you acquire them? How often do you contact them, or how do they contact you?

A4: I have a preference for the Celtic pantheon, with an interest in the  Norse one. I believe that I was recently contacted by Lugh, but – although he said I was being watched – he denied being my patron.

It should be noted that I have no idea how to acquire a patron/matron, nor how to talk to deities. I probably conducted myself like an idiot child.



Q1. How do you make a living? What states of consciousness or mental skills do you use in your job, and how did you learn to attain them?

A1: I’m a software tester. It’s an incredibly tedious job that requires just enough engagement to keep you from zoning out, and entails sitting in front of a computer monitor in a basement lit by fluorescent tube lighting. It’s a struggle to keep on task, but I keep trying to improve.

Q2. What other work or hobbies occupy your time? What states of consciousness do you use? How did you learn to attain them?

A2: When I’m not funnelling my free time into renovating a house, I paint and write, and I have occasionally (far too occasionally) slip into a state where I lose track of hours at a time. I can’t induce them, but I do enjoy them after the fact.

I also read, play computer games and tackle new and outrageous projects. Like renovating a house.  Seriously, don’t do it unless you have a bottemless money pit.

Q3. What is your academic training? What kind of thinking did your department teach?

A3: I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, which is mostly teaching you how to think like an artist and analyse concepts.

Q4. What strengths or skills do you already have that can help you in trance work? What do you think will be hardest to learn?



Physiology and Psychology

Q1. What is your general state of health?

A1: Pretty good. Some pains here and there, but I’ve been worse 🙂

Q2. How do you rate your temperament in the following areas? Consider the column on the left to be 1, and the column on the right to be 5. Where do you fall on the continuum?


Calm – -¦- – Lively

Forceful -¦- – – Responsive

Robust -¦- – – Sensitive

Q3. How do you react to stress?

A3: Better than I used to, but still very, very badly. I don’t recognise shifts in my emotional state, and stress is one of those ones that sneaks up on me and pulls the rug out from underneath me, then beats me into submission. It usually ends in shouting, swearing and tears, followed by weeks of embarrassment.

Q4. Do you have any chronic or cyclical problems or conditions (especially heart, blood pressure, diabetic, menstrual or menopausal symptoms) that affect your mood, energy or focus? Are you on any medications?

A4: No, and progesterone-based contraception, which means no bleeding, cramps or PMT. Fookin’ A.

Q5. How do you react to alcohol or drugs?

A5: The only recreational drug I’ve ever taken is marijuana, and that had no noticeable effect. Medicinal drugs do what they’re meant to, I guess. No allergic reactions, any road. Alcohol makes me more relaxed, and eventually sleepy; I’ve only been drunk once, and I hated the feeling of being out of control and nauseous.

Q6. How much and what kind of exercise do you get? Are you eating your vegetables?

A6: I’m taking pains to get more fruit and veg, and I’ve recently started back at martial arts after a five-month absence. I also run two or three times a week, with a view to building my stamina to the point where I can do the British Army fitness programme (I’m not joining the army, I just want to be fitter). At some point in the next five years, I want to run a marathon

Q7. Have you ever had a life-threatening accident or illness? Did you have any weird experiences during the crisis? Did it change your attitude toward life?

A7: No

Q8. Have you been in counseling? What kind and for what? How did you respond to it?

A8: Ugh. I was in counseling for a couple of years for my ‘behavioural problems’. Who’d have thought that an Aspergic kid who was bullied from the age of five, and blamed for being bullied would have anger-management issues? My school put me in one-on-one counselling at ten, and that was fine, until they replaced the sympathetic therapist with a patronising one. The professional therapy the school put me in after I refused to go to the new counsellor landed me in a group with arsonists and juvenile delinquents, and I refused to go after the third session started with another session of learning each other’s names. Apparently, I didn’t think that a therapist who could learn out names after three sessions wasn’t much cop.


Skills and Knowledge

How would you rate yourself on the following topics? Excellent? Adequate? Willing to learn?



Breath control

Willing to learn



Lucid dreaming

Willing to learn

Self hypnosis

Willing to learn

Shamanic journeying

Advanced beginner. Not intermediate, yet.

Sensing and moving energy

Willing to learn


Willing to learn

Folk magic

Willing to learn


Willing to learn


Willing to learn

Jungian psychology

Willing to learn



What are your goals in beginning this training? Why do you want to learn how to do trance work? Once you have learned it, what do you want to be and do?

I want to help. Who and how, I don’t know, but I want to make the bit of the world I’m responsible for a bit better when I hand it on to the next generation than it was when I took charge of it. That said, I’d settle for not making it any worse.

I’m also hungry for knowledge. I started dabbling in Shamanism because I was curious, I think (apparently I’d remember if I’d been called. IDK). I’ve seen enough thus far to believe that there’s more to life than can be known by empirical means, and I want to know more. I want to see what’s beyond the physical world, and I want to share that experience through my writing and painting.


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