Rituals, Hypnosis, Automatic Writing, and Black Opium Incense

For my senior thesis I’m writing a collection of poems that revolve around the occult, so I went to my grandmother’s house in order to do some research and to collect some of her books. One of the books that caught my attention was on the subject of autosuggestion and hypnosis. The title was Hipnoticese Usted Mismo, Spanish for hypnotize yourself. It’s an out of print book written in Mexico, by some woman I can hardly find information on. 

The book mainly argues that all rituals and magic spells are tantamount to a form of hypnosis, but that in order for hypnosis to occur, the ritual must put an emphasis on exactitude and particularity, because this is what tends to make the performer or observer open to suggestion. This means observing certain rules, such as conjunctions in the stars or using certain shapes and designs, as well as performing all steps of the ritual in an orderly fashion. Somehow, it is the procession of events that makes one open to suggestion. Luckily, that same day, I got to test out the book’s hypothesis in action.

As I returned home, I ran into a cooky friend who had been begging me to perform a ritual with her. I was walking halfway down the block when she called out to me. I had actually been thinking about her earlier, but was on the fence about doing the ritual with her. Since she ended up running into me anyway, I took our meeting as more than just a chance occurence, and thought of it as an opportunity to watch something interesting unfold. 

I sat on her front steps and she reappeared from behind her door with earth salt, a goblet of water, some sticks of incense, a cigarette, a candle, and some pencils. She made a make-shift altar on her steps out of all of these things. She’d say silly things like “You have a very big Sun Eye. But look at how almondy your Moon Eye is. It is just as strong,” and took everything that happened in our surroundings as a sign of the spirits. “Do you hear the wind chimes? It means everything is just right.” Or “I hate that loud music from the car, it must be a sign from the spirits that they are getting mad.” I thought to myself, this is what it must feel like to communicate with the dead via shaman priests. The important thing was for the priest to foster an atmosphere of openness, and for the participant to suspend his disbelief. The pivotal step to suspending my disbelief was my taking her suggestions.

She made me put my hand on the star shape she had drawn on the steps, and I felt a tingling movement going down my arm. She asked me what I felt, and when I replied she told me that I was now clean, and that the demons would jump from the star shape on the steps to the goblet full of water. Then we lit the candle and the incense, released some of the earth salt, and consecrated the space by reciting an incantation she had found, a “Sumerian exorcism.” Then we were ready to call down the gods, and I was to serve as her vessel (how she got me to agree to do this, I’m not entirely sure.)

At this point, I felt my conscious mind beginning to sink. It is the same feeling I get when I’m in the therapist’s chair, and we’re discussing heavy topics, navigating the unconscious. It’s a certain weight and a depth I feel in my head, like a stone plunging into water. I still had a small sliver of consciousness though. It was like the periscope of a submarine. I had to fight to keep it there, because I knew I couldn’t keep myself from falling into total hypnosis completely, I needed to keep abreast of what she was doing to me. But for the most part I acted the part of three different gods. During that time, I had the distinct feeling that there was someone else inside of me, or other facets of my soul speaking.

At the end of the ritual, she was really pleased with the results. She paid me in black opium incense, which is supposed to increase creativity. I did some research on Opiates. Opium was especially popular among Romantic poets, because it would give them visions and daydreams that would fuel their poetry. I’ve been doing extra research on the incense, and they say there isn’t any actual opium in the incense, but when I used it my eyes were really big and black, and I felt really strung out. In the morning, I huffed the fumes from the incense directly, and used it to acheive my first real, successful effort at automatic writing. I received this message from my unconscious:

you are not in any way responsible for what happens to you i am taking over control of your life i am the inner you the real you the you that can be a demon and an angel the you that wants to live fantastic lives off the cragged landscape of who you know you can be the precipice we must jump into it we must experience all that life has to offer you and i i will take care of you i will guide you you just have to let me take the reigns sometimes and live your life through you because you are the thing that i value you most and i want to take care of you you need to know this about me i have the power to save you from the bullshit that you’ve gone through so if you trust in me i will take you to where you need to be we will reach the heights of spiritual attainment together feel this excstasy in violent throws of passion tumroil pain everything we must livei ti we must die in it we must feel the passions of life utterly and bring to fruition 

Bring to fruition what? 



6 thoughts on “Rituals, Hypnosis, Automatic Writing, and Black Opium Incense

  1. charlessnarls

    Automatic writing always seems to leave us on those cliffhangers. My own attempts have been trying, as whatever aspect of me ‘takes control’ when I relinquish conscious observance of the pen doesn’t care for grammar, sentence structure, or coherence in general. I’ll get a couple lines in between scribbles, but mostly my brain wants to turn “automatic writing” into “automatic drawing.” I let it, but having some semi-coherent writing to look back on would be nice too.

    1. mannersofthemoon Post author

      I think I was able to get such a coherent message because I limited the writing to the use of a keyboard. I read into the message I received all kinds of Romantic notions I have about life — that it should be dangerous and fast paced, and that risk should be involved. It makes sense, because I’m an extremely adventurous person, and it seems that drama is more real to me than an everyday, quotidian existence. I think that this is a deeply held belief I have about art-making, I think I unconsciously seek danger and pain, so that I can write about it. For the past year, I’ve been trying to become a poet seer. Here is something related, a letter from Rimbaud:

      ‘I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. – For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed!’

      1. charlessnarls

        Though he’s near the top of my “to read” list, I’ve yet to read Rimbaud. From this I can see the appeal. I feel like I’m living parts of the process now. It’s insufferably, terribly beautiful.

        Thanks for sharing that. I think I needed to see it.

  2. erniekeep

    I think it works as it is. Just that we must bring to fruition. I mean, you can sow and reap more than one thing, literally or metaphorically, and you could say that your days were spent that way, sowing, reaping, bringing to fruition.
    Great post. You have a bonkers life. Are all Americans crazy then?

    1. mannersofthemoon Post author

      I love this interpretation! No, not all Americans are insane, but I tend to attract the loony ones. Also, I don’t tend to have these experiences while I’m at college. Usually when I’m home. I live in a 100% Hispanic neighborhood, that do all kinds of fucked up shit and believe in all kinds of weird things. Among them, Santeria….


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