If the mind is the ultimate ritual tool, then Diana Paxson’s Trance-Portation is its boot camp. Written for use either as a personal tool or as a complete textbook for training groups, Paxson covers nearly all ground that there is to cover on the subject of using hypnosis and guided meditation to enhance ritual. While this book won’t make you a licensed hypnotherapist, it can and will make you a better magician if you follow through with Paxson’s programs.


Written in a friendly, easy-to-understand voice, Paxson takes you step by step through the skills you need to build to get the most out of trance technique whether you do the work alone or with a partner. Build your skills one chapter at a time emerging at the end of the book with a host of new experiences. Trance-Portation is a full psycho-spiritual workup: those who explore it from beginning to finish will know how to meditate, how to check their perceptions, engage in some forms of remote viewing and know how to deal with and create magical constructs such as a fetch. Not all of these techniques require hypnosis and altered states, but for those that do you will know exactly what you have to do to get in and out of various levels of consciousness to make magic happen.


More food for thought to consider while exploring this book: the growing use of trance skills and ecstatic dance is a curious evolution of Goddess-based practice in the 20th century. Wiccan priestess Doreen Valiente spoke out vehemently in her books about avoiding all use of hypnosis and guided meditation. Yet in the early 21st century nearly any form of ritual participation involves altered states and elevated trust in those guiding the experience – the necessity of Paxson’s book only illustrates how deeply attitudes have changed. Another change that Trance-Portation could bring on is that it could easily replace Starhawk’s Spiral Dance as a starting point for feminist-oriented magical study, as it establishes many of the essential skills necessary to really benefit from the exercises in Starhawk’s book. Combined, the books form a very complete beginning system – Trance-Portation’s focus on continuous exercises and activity gives a person following directions carefully a sense of skill and comfort that overcomes much of the inertia that prevents a person from working magic. 


Trance-Portation is highly recommended to any person serious about building their ritual and psychic skills.


~ review by Diana Rajchel


Author: Diana L. Paxson

Weiser Books, 2008

pp. 304, $19.95