The Mentorship Program
My Explorations in Self-Hypnosis
at a spot high upon the wall across from you.
I am going to slowly count backwards from ten to one.
Each time I count, take a deep breath and very slowly blink your
eyes. Ten...blink your eyes
ever so slowly...nine...eight...”
We are eavesdropping on a
session of hypnosis. The
hypnotist is giving the person instructions that will lead into the state
of hypnosis. LetÕs continue
“...two...one. And now you can just close your eyes and keep them closed.
Your eyelids are now very tired. In
your eyelids you find a comfortable feeling of tiredness, of relaxation,
or a moving sensation. However
you experience this feeling, let it magnify and multiply, let it increase
until your eyelids are totally, completely, and pleasantly relaxed.
“This is something you do,
no one else can do it for you. Take
your time and relax your eyelids. As
you relax them, you can allow that feeling of relaxation to flow outward
in all directions.
“Imaginary waves or ripples
of pleasant relaxation now move throughout the entire face. Allow your entire face to relax.
As you do so, waves of relaxation spread over the head....
“...Welcome this wonderful
feeling as it spreads throughout your entire body.
Completely and pleasantly, your entire body is relaxing and you
slow down just a little bit...you can slow down a little bit more and a
little bit more....
“...More in perfect harmony
now, you’re at your own natural level of relaxation.
It’s something you want, it’s happening here, it’s happening
These particular instructions
are adapted from Henry Bolduc’s book, Self-Hypnosis: Creating Your Own
Destiny. They’re typical of
the instructions hypnotists use in leading a person into a hypnotic state.
I have experienced hypnosis under the guidance of several
hypnotists and have found their procedures quite similar.
All induce a state of relaxation.
You may be wondering, as I did
when I first began, where the actual hypnosis comes into play.
Doesn’t the hypnotist invoke some magical words to put you into a
trance and take control of your mind?
No. That’s a false
stereotype of hypnosis. Entering
hypnosis is basically a process of deep relaxation while maintaining a
quiet awareness. It’s much
like what we experienced in the meditation on inspiration, with the
possibility of adding further suggestions to open the imagination to
deeper channels of the mind.
Cayce’s Story of Hypnosis
played a significant role in Cayce’s development as a psychic channel.
As a child growing up in Kentucky, young Edgar had a strong
interest in religion, a tendency toward mystical experiences, and showed
evidence of psychic abilities. The
concept of a mystic or a psychic being a channel, however, didn’t even
exist until several years after Cayce began his psychic work under
The first time Edgar Cayce
functioned as a trance psychic, there was a great personal need. According to the account given by Thomas Sugrue, in his
biography of Cayce, There is a River, it began with a strange event:
In the spring of 1900, at age
23, Cayce began work as a traveling salesman. One night, in Elkton, a town
about 40 miles from his home in Hopkinsville, he stopped at a doctor’s
office to get some powder for a headache he had been experiencing for the
past several weeks. The next
thing he knew he was home in bed. A
friend of the family had recognized him in Elkton, walking about
disheveled and disoriented and took him home.
The family doctor suspected that the headache sedative had been too
strong. When he recovered he
had lost his voice and was quite hoarse.
The hoarseness didn’t go
away and remained that way through the summer. Several doctors diagnosed
and attempted to treat the malady, but without success. Cayce decided his
throat was incurable, gave up sales work and began working in photography,
which was to become his career.
Hypnotism was a fad in America
at the time, much like channeling has been for awhile in the 1980’s.
One of its more dramatic aspects was the psychic powers it often
At that time, a traveling
stage hypnotist, by the name of Hart, came to perform in Hopkinsville. He had a trick of inviting someone to hide an object anywhere
in town, then he would ride through town blindfolded and direct the
carriage to the hidden object.
Hypnosis was also claimed by some (not incorrectly, although
prematurely) to be the medicine of the future.
Hart learned of Cayce’s
problem and bet he could solve it for $200, nothing if he failed.
Under hypnosis, Cayce talked normally, but when he came out, his
voice was hoarse as usual.
A physician from New York
heard of Cayce’s case and traveled south to try his hand with a hypnotic
cure. He, too, was a failure.
In a letter to the Cayce family he noted, however, Cayce seemed to
resist accepting the posthypnotic suggestions about his throat, as if
wanting to take charge himself. The doctor suggested that someone hypnotize Cayce and then
give him the suggestion to talk about his illness.
A local hypnotist, Al C. Layne wanted to try and Edgar was willing
to undergo one final experiment.
A year since the problem had
first begun, the fateful experiment in hypnosis was attempted. Layne gave Cayce the suggestion that Cayce would put himself
to sleep. When Cayce was
breathing deeply, the hypnotist suggested that Cayce would “see his body
and describe the trouble in his throat.”
Cayce then spoke in a clear
voice, stating what would become his trademark of an opening line: “Yes,
we have the body.” Cayce went on to describe the problem in the throat
as due to poor circulation. He
indicated that the circulation could be improved by the use of suggestion
while he was in this unconscious state.
Layne gave the suggestion and Cayce’s throat turned bright red. After about 20 minutes, Cayce said the condition was removed,
and asked that it be suggested that his condition return to normal, and
then awaken. The suggestion
was given, and it did and he did. His
voice was restored.
Within a few days, however,
Cayce’s voice was weak again. Using
the same procedure as before, Layne was able to help Cayce regain his
voice. For almost a year,
Cayce needed these periodic hypnotic sessions to keep his voice
Layne immediately saw the
potential value of Cayce’s trance.
Hypnotists in Europe had demonstrated that while in trance, the
hypnotized person often evidenced the psychic ability to diagnose another
person’s illness. Cayce had
been able to diagnose his own problem and effect a treatment.
He might well diagnose someone else’s condition.
Layne decided to use Cayce’s trance to build his own medical
practice. Soon Layne (a
self-taught, non-licensed osteopath) had opened an office and was using
Cayce to secretly diagnose and prescribe treatments for patient’s
conditions. In this way,
Cayce began giving what Layne called “readings” without Cayce knowing
When Cayce learned what was
going on, he was quite upset and made Layne promise to stop. But Cayce was dependent upon Layne for the hypnotic
treatments, and they continued their work.
Cayce later learned that Layne had also continued with the
readings. Layne insisted that
the readings were definitely on target, the diagnoses given to the
patients were accurate, and the remedies suggested were working well.
Nevertheless, the practice bothered Cayce and he broke their
with his voice forced Cayce to return to Layne, once more, however, and
Cayce reluctantly agreed to giving readings for Layne’s patients.
Word of Cayce’s and Layne’s work finally leaked to the press
and Layne, who was practicing without a license, left town.
Cayce found another hypnotist
for his treatments, and gave readings for other people only occasionally
as the need warranted. It
took many years before Cayce finally accepted that his psychic readings
were beneficial to those in need. Only
then did he accept his role as a psychic.
When given the name of a
person, Cayce would often describe the person’s environment.
On one occasion, he described the room perfectly, but noted that
the person wasn’t there, as he was supposed to be.
Moments later, he indicated that the person had just arrived.
It was as if he had traveling vision, as well as a sixth sense of
knowing where to look. With his psychic X-ray eyes, he could look within the body
and describe internal conditions that doctors would then verify with their
It was the accuracy of his
psychic perception and the fact that doctors who followed Cayce’s
prescriptions with their patients had success was what convinced Cayce. His clairvoyant power was phenomenal. He once prescribed a medicine that couldn’t be found
anywhere. It was no longer
made. Cayce then gave the
formula for making it. Soon
after, a letter came from a doctor who had located the formula for the
treatment and it was exactly as Cayce had formulated it.
On another occasion, Cayce prescribed a remedy that no one could
find. Cayce then identified a
particular pharmacy, described a shelf in the stock room, and indicated to
look in the rear, behind more currently used medicines.
The pharmacist was located, asked to check out the directions, and
found an old bottle of the remedy.
As the “father of holistic
healing,” he described the interaction of mind and body, especially the
workings of the endocrine system and the healing functions of the body
that would take medicine over forty years to discover for themselves.
Cayce restricted the use of his psychic talent, in fact, to medical
diagnosis and prescription, until one fateful meeting.
Some twenty years after that
first experiment hypnotizing Cayce, a wealty printer named Arthur Lammer
asked Cayce if he had ever sought out the mysteries of the universe
through his psychic trance. Cayce
hadn’t even thought of the idea. Lammer’s
suggestion came as another challenge.
He agreed to the experiment. Lammer
asked many questions concerning metaphysics, reincarnation, and the
spiritual nature of the human being.
The answers that came from Cayce’s psychic trance to such
questions opened an entirely new horizon for Cayce’s psychic vision.
What followed was Cayce’s teachings on the various ways that
human beings are channels of divine energy and the significance of that
Suggestibility of the Subconscious During Hypnosis
common today to define hypnosis as a state of heightened suggestibility.
This definition is another way of stating what Edgar Cayce
explained was the essence of hypnosis--communicating directly with the
The subconscious mind operates
upon the principle of suggestion. It
accepts any statement as being true.
The conscious mind operates by reasoning upon sense impressions. It regards any statement, Cayce noted, as a proposition to be
analyzed and evaluated.
If I suggest to you that
there’s an apple in front of you, your immediate reaction will be to
compare that statement with the impression from your senses.
Your conscious mind will disagree with me.
The conscious mind can’t accept suggestion, but first evaluates
On the other hand, if I
suggest that you imagine an apple, or pretend that an apple is in front of
you, your conscious mind will step aside and allow your subconscious to
bring up an image of an apple. The
subconscious mind readily accepts the suggestion concerning an apple and
immediately complies with a suitable image.
While the subconscious mind is
involved with the imaginal apple, the conscious mind may kibbutz from the
sidelines. It may note that
the imaginal image isn’t like the experience of a real apple.
It may note that pretending isn’t the same as reality.
If the conscious mind is distracted, however, from the activity of
the subconscious, then there’s nothing to interfere with the effective
reality of the imaginal apple.
The process of hypnosis is
like seducing the attention of the conscious mind and redirecting it
elsewhere. Relaxation helps
in this process. As the body
relaxes, the sensory system also relaxes and the conscious mind grows dim.
It’s very much like what happens as we fall asleep.
The only difference is that in hypnosis, the conscious mind
doesn’t dissolve, because the hypnotist’s voice has captured its
attention and gives it a place of restful focus. If the hypnotist were to cease talking for a prolonged period
of time, the conscious mind would lose that focus and the person could
easily fall asleep.
As the person relaxes more
fully, and the dimming conscious mind rests upon the pillow of the
hypnotist’s voice, the subconscious becomes uninhibited in its response
to suggestion. Whatever the
hypnotist suggests can be vividly imagined by the subconscious mind.
And what it thus imagines, it takes to be reality.
In this way hypnosis becomes both a state of heightened
suggestibility and a state where the hypnotist can communicate directly
with the subconscious mind.
Self-Hypnosis Through Relaxation Imagery
can learn to enter the hypnotic state yourself by learning to respond to
your own suggestions. Focusing
on images suggestive of relaxing is the basic procedure.
Let’s see how it works.
Get into a comfortable
position, perhaps reclining in an easy chair or lying down on a bed. Rest your arms at your side.
Take a deep breath, hold it momentarily, then let it out with a
sigh. Now you’re ready to
work with suggestive imagery.
We’ve learned that we can
control our body indirectly by imagining certain images.
That’s how we’re going to enter a relaxed state.
Focus on your right arm.
Notice anything about your right arm that might feel heaviness and
say to yourself, “my right arm is heavy.”
Don’t do anything with your arm, just let it lie there.
Repeat the phrase to yourself several times, “my right arm is
heavy.” Allow yourself to experience your arm as feeling heavy.
As you imagine your arm feeling heavy, notice how you let go and
relax in your right arm. You are responding to the suggestion.
After about a minute, go
through the same process with your left arm.
Then focus on both your arms at the same time and repeat the
phrase, “my arms are heavy.” During
the next minute, focus on your right leg, repeating the phrase, “my
right leg is heavy.” Then
your left leg. Then both legs
at the same time. Finally, spread your focus out over your arms and legs.
Repeat to yourself, “my arms and legs are heavy.”
The more you experience your arms and legs as heavy, the more you
let go and relax, the more you’re responding to suggestion, and the more
you’re becoming absorbed in a self-hypnotic trance.
If you want to go further with
this procedure, repeat all of the above steps, but this time, use the word
warm instead of heavy. When
you’re finished, repeat this phrase as an integrative suggestion, “My
arms and legs are heavy and warm.”
To go deeper, begin to practice the meditation on the breath we
learned earlier. Watch your
breath without interfering with it. Repeat
the phrase, “it breathes me.” It’s
a very passive experience. Besides
relaxing heaviness, you may also experience waves of tingling sensations
as you move deeper into the self-hypnotic state.
By now you have become very
relaxed. You will notice that
your thinking is hazier and you may experience spontaneous daydreams, or
have a tendency to fall asleep. You’re
bordering on the sleep state. You’re
beginning to directly experience the region of the subconscious mind.
that Cayce indicated that all subconscious minds are in contact with one
If hypnosis is a means of
communicating directly with the subconscious mind, we should expect that
ESP would be more pronounced during hypnosis than during the normal,
waking state. Hypnotic
subjects should be mind readers. Experience
and research proves this assumption correct.
In the original golden years
of hypnosis of the 1800’s, the psychic aspects of hypnosis were almost
taken for granted. Hypnotized
subjects could read books blindfolded.
Hypnotists could deliver suggestions simply by thinking of them. In
demonstrations of the “community of sensation,” meaning the telepathic
sharing of experiences, the hypnotist could bite into an orange and the
subject would report the taste, think of the lyrics of a song and the
subject would sing them, have himself be pinched and the subject would cry
ouch. In fact, some
hypnotists could telepathically hypnotize their subjects even over great
distances. Witnesses verified that the person, for no apparent reason, lay
down on the couch and seemed to go to sleep.
In other occasions, the person would stop what they were doing,
make some excuse, and go to the telepathically suggested location.
Telepathic hypnosis is a
controversial subject. The
psychiatrist, Jules Eisenbud, in Parapsychology and the Unconscious,
tells of his experiments sending suggestions to patients that they phone
him. I have experienced
myself the effect of telepathic hypnosis.
Without my knowing that he was even thinking of me, a hypnotist
telepathically induced analgesia in my arm.
I was unaware of the effect until it was pointed out to me that I
couldn’t feel my arm being pinched. In my book, Awakening Your Psychic
Powers, I give more details about this incident and provide other accounts
of telepathically transmitted suggestions. Cayce reminds us that we affect
people by our thoughts. The saying “Don’t say anything about a person unless you
can say something positive” should be extended to what we think.
Sending people thoughts of encouragement is a natural and positive
use of telepathic suggestion.
Modern research in
parapsychology, where ESP is statistically tested in laboratory settings,
has confirmed that hypnosis often increases telepathic ability.
Modern studies have also demonstrated the striking telepathic
rapport that people in hypnosis can achieve with one another.
Imagery: A Channel of Self-Diagnosis
his self-induced hypnotic trance, Edgar Cayce was able to clairvoyantly
diagnose the medical problems of people who sought his help. Cayce indicated that we could diagnose ourselves if we would
Hypnosis has often been a
catalyst for helping people to turn to the knowledge within. Marshall S. Wilensky, Ph.D., a Canadian psychologist,
reported the use of hypnotic imagery to elicit self-diagnostic imagery in
patients of varying medical conditions.
Wilensky used suggestive
imagery, borrowed from Jean Houston’s book, The Possible Human,
involving a personification of the body’s inner wisdom.
His experiments demonstrate the evocative power of such imagery.
After entering a light
hypnotic trance, the person imagines being on top of a mountain searching
for a path down. After making
a careful descent, the person discovers a door leading into the depths of
the mountain, entering an atmosphere that has the vibrations of renewal
and restoration. The person
comes to a door with a sign upon it reading, “The One Who Knows
The person opens the
door and meets someone who is completely knowledgeable about the
person’s body. The person sits down in front of this knowing one and
asks questions. The One Who Knows Health answers, not just verbally, but also
through images and bodily sensations that the person experiences.
Here are some brief
descriptions of the cases Dr. Wilensky presents, showing that the imagery
that comes through these sessions are surprisingly accurate, given
follow-up medical examination.
One woman asked about her sore
knee. The wise being answered
her directly, “Forget about your knee.
See somebody about your fatigue immediately!”
She went to her physician the next day.
The results of blood tests indicated that she had leukemia.
One man inquired about the
night pains in his legs. His
wise being gave him an image of two oxygen tanks strapped to his legs. When he went to his physician, examination revealed a
circulatory disorder, starving his legs of oxygen.
A man suffered from a kidney
and prostrate infection. Treatment
with antibiotics had cleared the infection, but the man complained of
fatigue and physical distress and hadn’t been able to resume working. His wisdom figure appeared as white light and as a sensation
of movement in his lower abdomen. The
information given was that the infection was indeed gone and the
discomfort was an excuse not to work.
His wisdom appeared as a sensation of movement, it explained,
because it was a “call to action.”
Subsequent examination bore out the truth of this message.
A woman suffering from
fainting spells had been diagnosed by CAT scans, but the source of her
problem couldn’t be located. Her
wisdom figure appeared as a star and as a crystal.
When asking about the problem, she touched the right side of her
head, just above her ear. A
repeat CAT scan located a glioma in just that location.
A subsequent reexamination of the original scan also revealed this
In Wilenky’s opinion, the
inner wisdom figure is an image representation of a state of
consciousness, an internal awareness that has proven therapeutic value.
Once again we see the value and power of the process of
personification. Using an image of a person, or being, can unlock hidden
powers within the mind.
Power of Hypnotic Role Playing
playing allows us to take on the characteristics of the role, to channel
whatever characteristics the role suggests.
Role playing is a process of pretending. It engages the channel of the subconscious mind through an
act of the imagination. By
neutralizing any interference of the conscious mind and providing more
direct access to the subconscious, hypnosis can increase the power of role
playing to an incredible degree.
In his book, The Laws of
Psychic Phenomena, Thomas J. Hudson describes a very revealing
experiment in hypnotic role playing that he witnessed in the company of
many well educated people. The
hypnotist, Dr. Carpenter, hypnotized a man and told him that Socrates was
alive and standing right in front of him. Soon the young man said, “Oh
yes, I see him there now.” Dr.
Carpenter told the man that Socrates was very eager to speak to him and
would answer any question that the young man would care to ask.
The young man began asking some questions and found that Socrates
did answer. He relayed these
answers to Dr. Carpenter. Members of the audience also suggested some
questions to ask Socrates. As
the man relayed answer upon answer, he gradually came to play Socrates
himself. He amazed the
audience with his eloquence and profundity.
Hudson noted that these speeches, for they were becoming that, were
delivered in a spontaneous manner with no hesitation.
He proceeded to provide a complete account of the universe, a
compelling spiritual philosophy worthy of the speaker’s role.
Even though the audience had witnessed the artificial creation of
Socrates, the man’s performance was so convincing, his utterances so
inspiring, that many people even took notes!
The demonstration dumbfounded
the audience. In his waking
state, the man, although college educated, wasn’t an impressive
intellectual or speaker. Yet
his Socrates was genuinely gifted. The
audience genuinely believed that Dr. Carpenter had enabled the man to
contact the spirit of Socrates. In
later experiments, Dr. Carpenter suggested to the hypnotized man that he
was in communication with a disembodied spirit of supreme intelligence.
Once again, the man proceeded to expound the most spellbinding and
marvelous spiritual philosophy, exceeding even his Socratic performance.
Hudson remarked that a transcription of the discourse, had there
been one, would have made a very credible book.
Hudson told this story to
demonstrate one of the powers of the subconscious mind that we vastly
underestimate. He calls it
“deductive reasoning power.” If
you give the subconscious mind a certain assumption, that Socrates is
present, for example, it can take that premise and instantly draw out its
implications. Using the powers of the imagination, the subconscious begins
with the person’s own unconscious memories to fabricate its performance.
Being in contact with other subconscious minds, it can also draw
upon other person’s memories. Conceivably, it could also attract actual
spirits as a resource. It
could tap into a universal level of awareness, accessing the Akashic
records of all knowledge. Whether
it’s accessing a disembodied pattern of thought forms, or simply the
unconscious knowledge of the person, it’s not possible to determine in a
given instance. What is
clear, however, is that the initial premise has a lot of power to generate
a surprising performance. The
subconscious was able to deliver on cue in a very convincing manner.
The story of channeling
Socrates has a double-edged, good news, bad news, lesson.
On the one hand, by demonstrating how the subconscious mind is
capable of amazingly creative improvisation, we’re reminded that the
appearance of channeling a spirit doesn’t necessarily mean a spirit is
involved. On the other hand,
the demonstration also shows the power of personification, how proposing
an image of a being can open a profound channel of inspiration.
We might wonder, therefore, if it’s possible that given the right
image, one could actually open up a valid channel of universal
intelligence. What might this
right image be? Cayce
suggests that we choose according to our ideals, that it be an image of
the higher self. Cayce’s own experience serves as an instructive example.
Cayce’s Hypnotic Journey
have been a couple of references in this essay to the fact that when Cayce
went into trance, he experienced going to what he called the Hall of
Records and getting his information from an old man.
Although his trance source didn’t describe the process in such
concrete images and personifications, the waking Cayce did. Here’s a verbatim account of Cayce’s waking description
of his journey in the trance state, taken from comments he made at a
“I see myself as a tiny dot
out of my physical body, which lies inert before me.
I find myself oppressed by darkness and there is a feeling of
terrific loneliness. Suddenly,
I am conscious of a white beam of light.
As this tiny dot, I move upward following the light, knowing that I
must follow it or be lost.
“As I move along this path
of light I gradually become conscious of various levels upon which there
is movement. Upon the first
levels there are vague, horrible shapes, grotesque forms such as one sees
in nightmares. Passing on,
there begins to appear on either side misshapen forms of human beings with
some part of the body magnified. Again there is change and I become
conscious of gray-hooded forms moving downward.
Gradually, these become lighter in color.
Then the direction changes and these forms move upward and the
color of the robes grows rapidly lighter.
Next, there begins to appear on either side vague outlines of
houses, walls, trees, etc., but everything is motionless.
As I pass on, there is more light and movement in what appear to be
normal cities and towns. With
the growth of movement I become conscious of sounds, at first indistinct
rumblings, then music, laughter, and singing of birds.
There is more and more light, the colors become very beautiful, and
there is the sound of wonderful music.
The houses are left behind, ahead there is only a blending of sound
and color. Quite suddenly I
come upon a hall of records. It
is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I am conscious of seeing an
old man who hands me a large book, a record of the individual for whom I
On other occasions, Cayce
“felt himself to be a bubble traveling through water to arrive at the
place where he always got the information,” according to records in the
A.R.E. library. In another
instance, “he went up and up through a very large column; passing by all
the horrible things without coming in contact personally with them, and
came out where there was the house of records.
It, the column, wound around on a wheel like the Rotarians have.
He felt very secure traveling that way.”
That was Cayce’s experience
of the imagery that accompanied his psychic trance.
We might wonder, what would happen if that imagery were used as a
series of suggestions to someone in a hypnotic trance?
Would it lead to the same type of psychic, universal awareness
Henry Bolduc has tried that
experiment. In his book, The
Journey Within: Past Life Regression and Channeling, he tells the
story of what happened when he turned Cayce’s description of his trance
into a script for hypnotic suggestions.
His first experiment was with
Daniel Clay, a lay minister whom Henry had trained in self-hypnosis, and
who initiated the idea of following in Cayce’s thought patterns.
After Clay was in the hypnotic
state, Henry began by turning Cayce’s first statement into a suggestion:
“You will see yourself as a tiny dot out of your physical body, which
lies inert before you.” That
suggestion was easy for Clay to follow.
At the next suggestion, “You find yourself oppressed by darkness
and there’s a feeling of terrific loneliness,” Clay’s face drooped
in sadness. Clay’s facial expressions showed appropriate responsiveness
to each of the remaining suggestions. At the end of the sequence, Henry gave Clay the name of
someone and it was suggested that the old man would produce that
person’s record book. Clay
made a few statements about the person in question.
Afterwards, Henry was able to verify that some of what Clay
indicated was correct. They
decided to continue this line of experimentation.
Each time they repeated the
experiment, Clay’s body seemed more adjusted to the sequence. There was less physical torment expressed during the passage
by the grotesque figures, and the clairvoyant information was clearer and
more accurate. The result was
that Clay began to channel what appeared to be a universal consciousness
called, “The Eternal Ones.” This
source identified itself as a state of consciousness within us all. It distinguished that source from spirit mediumship, a
channel the Eternal Ones discouraged in no uncertain terms. Clay has since built a reputation for accurate and inspiring
I have met with Clay on
numerous occasions and have interacted with the Eternal Ones.
What has impressed me the most isn’t how different or
spellbinding the Eternal Ones might appear, but how much resemblance I
sense between the spirit of Clay’s sincerity of purpose and gentleness
as a human being and the effect of being in the presence of his trance
channeling. That resemblance has confirmed for me Cayce’s perspective
that channeling, when it’s not “trick shooting,” is an expression of
the channel’s own growth in consciousness.
Henry describes a second
experiment, with a woman named Eileen Rota.
Using the same procedure, Eileen ultimately channeled a source
called “Pretty Flower,” yet whose self-description and style of
teaching was quite different from the Eternal Ones.
Pretty Flower’s work has since been published as a book, Welcome
Home: A Time for Uniting.
interesting about Eileen’s experience is that soon after Pretty Flower
appeared, she told Henry that it would be better for Eileen to use her own
imagery rather than Cayce’s. She
suggested images that were more in keeping with Eileen’s own style of
higher self consciousness. When
Henry shifted to using these images, the work accelerated.
Improving trance channeling by
using the person’s own imagery parallels Cayce’s story of his
development as a trance psychic. Under
hypnosis, when he, rather than the hypnotist, was allowed to design the
suggestions, Cayce finally made some progress.
Henry reports a third
experiment that sounds an important note of caution. A woman wanted to
learn trance channeling and Henry asked her first to master the
preliminaries of self-hypnosis and its use for general self-improvement.
She was impatient, however, and asked her husband to give her
hypnotic suggestions following the Cayce imagery.
Although she showed some signs of modest success, she began
suffering from a skin irritation that required her to give up the
experiments. It’s easy to
speculate that opening herself up to channeling stimulated some unresolved
emotional problems. Her story
serves as a warning against moving too fast into such experiments.
Experiments with Trance Channeling
use Cayce’s imagery as a basis for suggestion, to test its effectiveness
as an approach to trance channeling, makes a lot of sense. I wanted to experience it for myself. I called up Henry Bolduc and asked him if he would
demonstrate his method with me. He
The only thing about Henry
that fits the popular stereotype of the hypnotist is that he has a beard.
A man of tremendous warmth and enthusiasm, I trusted him the moment
he walked up to my door. Besides making a house visit for our first session, he also
went into our kitchen and taught me how to make a quick and easy soup for
I was anxious to try the Cayce
imagery, but he insisted that we move slowly. His plan was to start with
recapturing childhood memories and then past life recall before attempting
channeling. We followed his
I had been hypnotized several
times before, by different hypnotists, and found nothing unusual about
Henry’s induction. I did
find his personal warmth, however, to add to my feelings of comfort and
At the end of our first
session, I emerged with a past life memory that pleased Henry immensely. I was skeptical, however, that I had recalled an actual
memory, or even anything meaningful.
As the weeks went by I had to admit, however, that as an
allegorical story, my “memory” did reveal some important themes in my
Henry encouraged me to
practice with a self-hypnosis tape that included the induction of hypnosis
and some positive suggestions about self-confidence.
I worked with that tape several times a week.
A couple of months later,
Henry again led me through a past life recall experience.
This time he suggested that I would remember my very first
lifetime. I experienced something very stange, as if out of a
science-fiction-fantasy novel. It
concerned souls working with God’s creative forces to make a material
world and inhabit it with bodies. Part
of the soul’s discovery process was learning what physical feeling was
like and what it added as a channel of awareness.
Again, I was skeptical about
the experience, except that the story was an intuitively inspiring one
that has stayed with me. Recently,
when Ken Carey published his channeled book, Return of the Bird Tribes, I
found that some of his descriptions of the primordial life of Native
American souls were similar to my own story.
More than I realized, I must have been tapping into a universal
level of the imagination. It’s
so easy to undervalue your own experience.
In my third session, I told
Henry that I thought that I could contact a higher self plane of
consciousness. My intuition
visualized it as the process of rising up on a blue flame.
Henry agreed to try that image and we proceeded. During that
session, I became so deeply relaxed, my body felt very heavy and I seemed
to float within it. I found
that the effect of dissolving into blue flame to give me a sense of a very
quiet confidence, an expanded sense of being all-knowing.
When Henry asked me to speak,
I hesitated. No matter how
relaxed I might be, or confident I might feel, I was getting in my own
way. It was like I had a
sense of stage fright, and I was blocking the ability of the expanded
awareness to speak out. Henry
suggested I relax and then encouraged me to simply start talking.
Once I began, by surrendering the need to make sure I would say
something wise, the words flowed easily.
In that respect, it was much like the process of inspirational
As agreed, Henry gave the
suggestion that I would speak about my book.
I did so, particularly about my attitude toward writing it. Using a humorous and non-critical example, I teased the
compulsiveness in my approach to writing the book. I also provided some alternative images and early childhood
memories to remind myself of what it was like for me to approach work in a
more casual manner. I
described several different exercises I could do to keep my attitude
positive and help the work proceed smoothly.
I kidded myself about wanting to receive the text of the book
effortlessly through this trance state, saying that I wasn’t really the
sort of person who would enjoy taking dictation.
Henry was very excited about
this session. My wife was in
attendance and she, too, thought I had said some very important things
about my writing. I was
skeptical, as usual. I
assumed that I remembered most of what I had said, and it didn’t seem
like any big deal. Henry encouraged me to listen to the tape, try the
suggestions, and keep practicing with the self-hypnosis tape.
I didn’t listen to the tape
of my channeling session for several weeks.
One day, my wife pointed out to me that I had been complaining
regularly about the progress of my writing and perhaps I should listen to
my tape. I did and was quite surprised.
There were many key statements that I had forgotten.
They spoke directly to my feeling stuck in my writing and were just
the sort of counsel I needed to hear.
What particularly impressed me was the tone of the reading.
It was like listening to myself being a wise and loving big brother
and my best friend. Nobody
else could know me as well and know just what to say to get me back up on
my feet. It was a record of a
state of consciousness that restored me to myself.
I began practicing its advice, with good effect.
A few months later, Henry
conducted me in a fourth session. In
the middle of my trance talking, I suddenly announced, “There’re
entities that would speak.” I sensed something like a ball of energetic
knowing just above my head, and I experienced it as wanting to open up.
I heard myself say, “There’s a plant entity.
There’s a bird entity. There’s
an angel entity. There’s an
extra-terrestial entity.” I
felt apprehensive, nervous.
Henry seemed calm and took my
announcement in stride. He
began to suggest that I might allow them to speak.
I heard myself advise him, “The channel’s blood flow is
constricted...warming the hands will open the channel.”
I must have been referring to the physical consequences of being
nervous. Henry suggested that
my hands and feet would become warm and they did.
One by one, I allowed the “entities” to speak.
Each character had something
interesting to say, each provided food for thought.
I later discovered some Cayce readings that resembled what the
plant told me about the creative forces, what the bird told me about
intuition and what the angel told me about celestial music.
The angel also gave me some interesting advice about combining the
exercise of walking with singing silently to myself, which I have
continued to practice with good effect.
The basic message of the extra-terrestial was for me to grow
stronger in the earth before I allowed my imagination to soar so high.
Afterwards, Henry was
enthusiastic, as usual. I was
intrigued, probably because of what Cayce would call the “wonderment”
of it all. During the
channeling process, I didn’t feel possessed, or out of control.
Rather, it was more like I had become suddenly inspired to speak as
a plant, to speak as a bird, and so on.
It felt like role playing in trance, a way of giving expression to
various intuitions. It was
hard, but I tried not to be too skeptical, or analytical.
Subsequent sessions were more
like the third. I practiced
speaking improvisationally from a trance state of higher consciousness.
No more characters appeared. Instead,
I continued to give myself advice about writing and about developing my
In this trance work, and while applying the advice I received, I learned an important lesson. My tendency to become fascinated with the phenomenon of trance channeling got in the way of my being a graceful channel. It became clear that it was important to integrate what I experienced in trance into my daily life. If I approached trance channeling as a way to overcome my sense of inadequacy as a person, it was easy to become attached or addicted to apparent power of the trance state. On the other hand, as I incorporate the trance insights, including the experience of feeling confident in approaching life in a spontaneous manner, the trance state itself becomes less a compelling need. Instead, trance channeling feels more like simply taking time out, as in meditation, to honor and focus exclusively upon a state of awareness that’s always there.