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Possesion and Santeria

Through the influence of horror movies and stories, we tend to associate the word "posession" with demons and little girls twisting their head around as they spew green vomit. This is all fine. But this is not specifically what we refer to by the word posession. To be "posessed" is to be "owned" or "captured" by the Other and, in our case, it is a voluntary process. You give your body over to the Other willingly for a period of time and surrender its powers to the Other. This Other will then decide what to do with the body, what to say, how to move, how to breathe, how to dance. 

When you turn on your radio, there are many stations to choose from. You roam through the dial trying to find the right song for the moment, or the right bit of news, or the perfect right wing talk show host or raving fundamentalist Christian. Once you pick the station and let the dial settle, all the powers of your small radio are given over to that station. The way its insides will vibrate, the sound it will produce, will all be determined far away, in another place, in the originating station. Your single radio is now "possesed" by the radio station... until you turn it off or switch the dial.

But how can this happen with you? You are you and there's noone else that can be you and everyone else is not you... right?

Experiment 1: A Set of Instructions

  1. Grab a pen or pencil and a piece of paper.

  2. Write the numbers 1 through 8 on the piece of paper.

  3. Now choose a space for the Experiment that is about to happen (your room? the garden? the park? the beach?) and, once you have chosen it, write it on the piece of paper as a title.

  4. Now write next to number 1: "Standing quietly in _______ " (and write the space where the Experiment will happen.)

  5. Now write next to number 8: "Standing quietly in _______ " (and write the space where the Experiment will happen.)

  6. Now in numbers 2 through 7 write some very simple instructions for yourself. These should be very easy to accomplish and should easily transition from standing quietly back to standing quietly. (Some examples could be: walk ten steps in a circle, do a half turn, raise your arms, scratch your nose, etc.)

  7. Once you have finished writing the instructions, picture yourself following the instructions in the designated place. Make sure that all the instructions are easy to follow and that they flow easily from one to the other.

  8. Now go to the chosen space. Stand quietly and breathe for a few minutes.

  9. Read the 8 simple instructions to yourself.

  10. Follow the instructions, slowly and carefully, step by step.

  11. Do this only once. When you complete the set of instructions stand quietly and breathe for a few minutes.


Experiment: Waking the Dead

Here is a neat and safe Experiment to activate some genetic memory. It combines some Santerķa principles with Toltec techniques, and a sprinkle of Central American something or other that for lack of a better name shall go unnamed.

Sitting quietly in a comfortable position, put some music that reminds you of earlier times; perhaps the songs of your childhood, or the romantic songs your father used to sing when drunk, or the ballads your mom used to dance to, or the music your older brothers listened to.... you get the point. Put something too old to be exciting now, too old to be "cool and hip" (or is it the other way around?), but that brings up memories just like certain smells bring up those memories.

Now, close your eyes and begin to see in front of you the images of other people in your family. They can be old or young, close to you or indiferent to you. They can be alive or dead. They can be people you knew or people you only saw in pictures. The point is to have a visual image of them. As the parade goes on and on in front of you, pick one of them. One of them might come to you and grab you (hopefully, this is meant figuratively--but you never know with these relatives), or you might make a decision and grab one of them. Once you pick one, begin to see their face more clearly. See as many details of their face, their posture, their body, etc. See also how he or she moves. Pay very close attention to their expressions, the shape of their faces, and see their smiles, frowns, tears, etc.

Try to see as many different frozen pictures that illustrate their moods. As you see these pictures in your head, try to feel out for them. Attune yourself to these moods. Go from one to the next, try to see which moods are the dominant ones.

Now, see his or her face in different time frames. See the face when younger, see it as a child, as an infant, as an elder, as an adult, in the best of situations, in the worst part of their lives, etc. Move the face through different times. Do this and try to find a dominant presence. The dominant mood and the dominant presence of that relative will remain there through all changes and all times.

Once you have this mood, you might invite this person to your "house." Your house is your body. You can define the duration of the visit, or the purpose to be accomplished. You can do this for communication with that person, or to invoke in you certain abilities and knowledge that person had. You can possess in yourselves these abilities and this knowledge. You might begin to act, talk, walk, or think like this person. You will see yourself becoming that person.

When you decide the Experiment is over, or at the designated time, tell him or her in a gentle but firm voice that it is time to go. Thank them for having visited your house. Drink some water or take a shower. Finally, do one of the grounding Experiments given in chapter ( ).

*  *  *

Are you getting the idea? Maybe the "you" that you thought you knew is not quite as clear as it was before? Maybe others are more "you" than you realized? But what about things unseen? What about "others" that are not human? The relationship is the same. In other words, there is no need to meet an alien in a flying saucer to be totally weirded out by how strange "others" can be... just have an "in depth" conversation with a good friend. And yet now you know that there is an element of "you" in them... so they can't be drastically different from "you"... You are in them! The same applies to other stations that are further away... to the beings that are known as "gods" or "saints" or "characters" or "archetypes" or "aliens" or "faeries"... the list goes on and on. "You" are in "them" as "they" are in "you".... that's right, kookookachoo!

Through that tender, small bridge of shared "youness" that unites "you" with other beings, you can call them over. Ask them to visit and stay a while. Maybe they can say some things. Maybe they can sing. Maybe they can move for a while in ways that are normal to them. Maybe they can leave something written behind. And then, through that same narrow bridge they can leave when you subtly start to turn down the music, turn up the lights, make some coffee and announce that you are ready to watch your nightly news. 

The first visits are always the hardest. It's a new place to come to. They don't know you. What could you have in mind for them here? And, even more frightening (to "you")... you don't know them! What could they have in mind for you? But after a few small visits when you both get to know each other and loosen up, the communication will start to flow and the visitors will feel more and more at home, knowing they can leave after a little while.

As with any visitor, you don't want to impose too much on them! Don't ask for much, not until you've known them for a while. At the beggining (maybe for a long time) just let them do what they would do normally. Remember that their "normal" actions are totally alien to you and so each movement that they make is like a gift, no matter how small, no matter how apparently insignificant. So let them relax and "do their thing" (and, if possible, record them while their doing it!). Maybe later, with some help, you will start to get some specific requests out of them, but let it sit and wait for a while. There is no rush. They are not going away. Neither are "you".

Experiment: Identity

  1. Sit and close your eyes. Have a shamanic ambient CD playing in the background.

  2. Now inhale and exhale following the rhythm of the music.

  3. Now, with each inhale say internally: "I am _______ " and fill in the blank with your name.

  4. Do it for about half an hour.

As you repeat the phrase, the words will become harder to understand. As the meaning gets confused, continue to repeat them as pure sound, as a kind of unknown mantram that you somehow recognize.

Experiment: Identity part 2

  1. Sit and close your eyes. Have a shamanic ambient CD playing in the background.

  2. Now inhale and exhale following the rhythm of the music.

  3. Now, with each inhale say internally: "I am NOT  _______ " and fill in the blank with your name.

  4. Do it for about half an hour.

As you repeat the phrase, the words will become harder to understand. As the meaning gets confused, continue to repeat them as pure sound, as a kind of unknown mantram that you somehow recognize.

Don't do both Experiments on the same day, but try to do them one after the other on following days, maybe for several days alternating between one and the other. Notice any perceptions that come up within you, around your body, around the room, in your breathing, in your emotions. If you develop extreme anxiety or find it difficult to talk with others after doing this exercise, it may possible be too strong for you. In which case, you may want to stop doing it for a couple of months or years. Come back to it when it is safer. Otherwise write down some of the impressions that come to you while doing it and afterwards. Who are you really? What do you mean by "you"?

Maybe you will start to feel that sometimes you are not so much "you" as other times. How can you distinguish what is really "you" from what isn't? To begin with, your personality, your likes and dislikes, your desires, your fears, all have been gathered from the dust of your experiences, which themselves are the effects of a myriad causes. So where are "you" in all of that? And now we face a new breakdown: you are inviting a new "you" to take over, a foreign "other" to flow into your form and take over for a space of time. Who is this "other" and how will it come?

Experiment: A Small Gesture

  1. Pick a character from TV or the movies. If you pick a movie, it's preferable if you have this movie on video tape, so that you will be able to watch it several times and go back to it when necessary. If you pick a character from TV (a character can mean a fictional character from a TV show, a news anchor or a recurring "talking head") then tape a sequence where this character appears.

  2. Watch the scene at least 3 times without any action on your part other than watching.

  3. Now, pay close attention to the physical movements of the character, including facial expressions. Pick one movement that seems particularly important to you.

  4. Start to act this movement out on your own. Do it in front of a mirror several times.

  5. After doing it a few times go back to the tape and watch it once more. Check on yourself. Refine the movement as you do it. Make it as close to "perfect" as possible.

  6. Now go back to the mirror and repeat the movement several times. Sense your inner reactions to this movement. What do you feel? What do you sense? What do you think?

  7. During your regular day, repeat this movement every once in a while. Every time you do this, note to yourself (and, if possible, write down) any changes in mood, thought or physical state in yourself.

  8. After a few days, stop the movement altogether. If you catch yourself doing it later "unconsciously", take note of when you did it, what effect it had and how you realized you were doing it.

Experiment: A Small Gesture 2

  1. Look at this picture:

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  2. "Take" a physical gesture from it. (This can be the facial expression, the position of the eyes, the tilt of the neck, the position of the arms, etc and it shouldn't be the full posture, just an element of it.)

  3. Like you did before, practice this gesture in front of a mirror. After some practice, come back to the picture and check on it. Keep on doing this until you feel that you "have it".

  4. With your eyes closed, standing or sitting, try "getting into this posture", holding it for a few seconds, then letting go. Do this several times. Note any changes in mood, thoughts, feelings.

  5. During the week, move subtly to this gesture in different situations (at the line in the supermarket, in front of the computer, talking to your mate, etc.). Don't do this in an "obvious" way, so as to be noticed, but with such subtlety that noone will know you are doing anything at all. Note any changes in your mood, thoughts or feelings as you do this in different situations. Do you work the same way? Do you talk the same way?

  6. After a week, stop the exercise. If you find yourself doing the gesture "unconsciously", note when, how and why.


In the language of Santeria, to be "possesed" by a God is to be "mounted" by him or her. You become a horse and hand the reigns to a higher cosmic entity which now takes control of your body, displacing "you" and now using your body as a vehicle. Through our "shamanic music" invocations, we are attempting to become horses for higher entities (however we choose to define either word) other than ourselves. We invite them to take over our bodies and to "play" through us. We don't espouse any particular "pantheon" of Gods, Deities, Demons, Archetypes, Higher Dimensional Entities, Saints, Aliens or Elves. When inviting someone in (specially in such an intimate fashion!) it is up to you what you wish to invite and what what you want to call "it". But even without any recourse to a specific "pantheon" there is plenty of work that can be done in preparing the "space" for this "mounting" to occur: the physical space, the mental space, the shamanic space and the attention. Once you become adept at using these tools and at entering and leaving these spaces (and you have learned that they are not necessarily associated with a particular group or ideology) you will find yourself in a position to design your own specifics, in all of the aspects mentioned above. We are interested in developing skills, not in influencing your ideology, system of beliefs, or sense of purpose. We hope that when you develop expertise and find that others want to learn from you, you will also allow them to differentiate between what is "you", what your "skills" are and what your "invocational space" is; so that they will then be free to develop in their own way.

Experiment: The Dreamer in the Mirror

Sit or stand in front of a mirror. Do this at night. Put a candle to your right and darken the room. Put also a glass of water to your left. Now, stare at your mirror self. Pretend that you are staring at your dream self. That is, the self you adopt when you dream. Also, pretend that the other self, the dream self, is conscious of you. You dream that image while the other is dreaming you. The other contains the consciousness of your dream self, while you contain the consciousness of the waking self. Stare at the other as if you are staring at an actual being—a dreamer. Any changes or manifestations of the other that you see, take them as dream images; not real in themselves. Just the contact and the waking are real. Do not react to what you see with fear, desire, or attachment. Just observe with your dreaming eyes and your dreaming mask.


Group Exercise

  1. Divide the group into riders and horses. There can be more horses than riders.

  2. Start the timer for 10 minutes.

  3. For 10 minutes have the riders give simple instructions to the horses. It can be as simple as take a breath or as complex as take two steps forward.

  4. Change roles and try it again.

The instructions should be given in a soft calm voice and they should be spaced out so that the whole exercise takes on the feeling of a movie in slow motion. Don't make any sudden moves! Every action should be done with care and extreme attention. None of the actions should be difficult or even challenging in any way. They should also not intrude into the actions of others.



Possesion and Santeria

The process of becoming a horse for a God, the difference between the Babalao and the Horse, the ways different Gods are brought down



How Does A Radio Pick Up a Signal? ] Gods and Humans in Greek Myths ] Music as a Path to Resonance and Reception ] [ Posession and Santeria ]

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