“Almost all people are hypnotics. The proper authority saw to it that the proper belief should be induced, and the people believed properly.” – Charles Fort
I always seem to return to the topic of Hypnosis given how important understanding, and instigating an understanding of it in others is. Using the Qabalistic model popular in Western Esoteric traditions, I’ve made the claim that Binah (which has associations with ‘samadhi’, intuition, and is Understanding etc.) should also have an association to hypnosis (though not the act of hypnosis as in stage hypnotism, but moreso autohypnosis – I just say ‘hypnosis’ as I’ve often also followed that with saying all hypnosis is self-hypnosis). Crowley attributed ‘The Vision’ to Binah, which I paralleled to the concept of Thought In Statu Nascendi (which is thought as it is just arising or is “being born” prior to being formed into words and appears as impressions/images), and you can read about the Polyphony of Thought in further detail in the post about Wilhelm Stekel whose work introduced me to the concept.
I emphasize that hypnosis has to be understood, so that people drawn to esotericism or mysticism stop seeking some external influencing agent, and so that they may be actually cognizant of what they are doing not only to themselves in meditation, ritual, prayer, etc. but also, so that they retain a mindfulness of external influences from other people and art, so that first we can understand the effects of our actions/words, and then the influences of media manipulation which in today’s climate of propaganda, fake news, and distorted social movements is needed more than ever. I received tons of backlash for having basic awareness of hypnosis, and investigating it – even going so far as to become a certified hypnotist when I needed to investigate through practical matters what ‘hypnosis’ is and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t anything different than an ordinary function of consciousness, which was a notion repeated throughout the class – we’re always going into various trance states. The key to being a “master hypnotist” (autohypnotist) would be to know how to control your state, and to bring yourself to the appropriate trance required for the circumstances before you, and to bring about the intended influence on oneself for what they’re doing. Then, of course what really got people’s goat was that I said ordinary activities are hypnosis, from listening to music, or as Stephen King said in his CNN interview, “writing is hypnosis”, stating he performs a “ritual” (in getting his coffee routine done) and then sits down and channels his intuition, receives visions of the world he’s creating. This going inside and receiving impressions matches up with what I wrote above about Binah, the sephirot for receptiveness and intuition and also matches its quality of a certain “selflessness”.
All religions utilize hypnosis. As I was reading through Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis by William Kroger M.D. I came across this excellent quote to support the position which I figured I’d share, “In studying the underlying tenets of all the major religions, the scholar oriented in the phenomenology of hypnosis as well in the theology cannot help being impressed by the observation that suggestion and/or hypnosis are being utilized at many different levels of awareness. One need not refer to the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, or any other religious work to realize that hypnosis in one form or another is practiced in nearly all religions.” He wrote in the same chapter, “The ancients employed magical rites and incantations to induce meditation by chanting, breathing exercises, and dancing. The Hebrews used fixation on the four letters of the tetragrammaton and developed other names for God. Methodical meditation, breathing exercises, and ecstasy states are similar to the practices of Yoga, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Sufism, and Christian meditation, including the repetitive prayers developed in the Bryzantine Church and the praying of the Rosary. It is obvious that the cadence and intonations of prayer in a relaxing environment, posture, eye fixation on an altar or religious symbol, and the rhythmic chanting are hypnagogic. Finally, the self-contemplation and self-absorption characterizing prayer and meditation are practically identical with modern-day autohypnosis. Meditation as a potent modality for changing behavior has certainly withstood the test of time. A modern version is transcendental meditation (T.M). Although the ritual for each differs, they are fundamentally the same and are based on similar principles of conditioning.”
This sentiment finds itself echoed in Friend or Traitor? Hypnosis in the Service of Religion by Margaretta K. Bowers M.D: “The religionist can no longer hide his head in the sand and claim ignorance of the science and art of the hypnotic discipline. At law, ignorance is a poor defense, and it is also unworthy of the dignity of the ecclesiastical position. Whether he approves or disapproves, every effective religionist, in the usages of ritual, preaching, and worship, unavoidably makes use of hypnotic techniques, and is therefore subject to the same responsibilities as known and acknowledged by the scientifically trained hypnotist. Hypnosis is the vehicle by which the services of religion are brought to the people, and these effects are either good or bad, according to the personality of the hypnotist-religionist, and the motivations, ideations, and rituals he employs.” (emboldened emphasis is mine).
I find that I’ve been flopping like a fish in the sand, or like the loon on the street grabbing people by their shirt collar asking them to “Understand” not only hypnosis, religion, mysticism, but most importantly, themselves. Acknowledging and investigating hypnosis is a first step in so doing.