Altering Consciousness, Vol. 2, Capp. 13-15



Altered Consciousness in Emotion

Etzel Carden~a


p. 283 normalcy of shamans

"the majority of shamans and other religious practitioners that experience visions or being possessed by spirits seem to be psychologically at least as healthy as their cultural counter parts".

p. 289 normalcy of "fusional experiences"

"In fusional experiences, the person feels that s/he has merged or is part of another, whether a superior being, and may coexperience thoughts, sensations, and feelings."

{Co-experience of thoughts with another person is commonly known as "telepathy".}

"fusional experiences are prized within erotic (Wade, 2000 ...) and mystical experiences, which are typically associated with psychological health (Wulff, 2000)."

Wulff 2000 = D. M. Wulff : "Mystical Experiences". In := E. Carden~a, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (edd.) : Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington (DC) : Amer Psych Assn. pp. 397-440.

p. 290 normalcy of "other-attribution"

"alterations in the sense of attribution, the individual experiences that someone or something else controls his or her body, thoughts, and emotions."

"it should be emphasized that the experience of other-attribution in ritual spirit-possession and the related phenomenon of "trance mediumship" and channeling are usually sought after and not dysfunctional (e.g., Hastings, 1991 ...)."

{Actually, in typical ritual spirit-possession, the human experiencer becometh suddenly unconscious at the moment when the spirit taketh possession, and remaineth unconscious until the moment when the spirit departeth; so that there is no "sense of attribution" involved.}

Hastings 1991 = Arthur Hastings : With the Tongues of Men and Angels : a study of channeling. Fort Worth (TX) : Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

p. 294 telepathy hath empirical basis

"such phenomena as telepathy ... in fact have some empirical basis (Targ et al., 2000 ...)."

Targ et al. 2000 = E. Targ, M. Schlitz, & H. J. Irwin : "Psi-Related Experiences". In :- E. Carden~a, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (edd.) : Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington (DC) : Amer Psych Assn. pp. 219-52.



Visionary Spirituality

David Lukoff


pp. 301-2 visionary spiritual experience (VSE)




"The term visionary is used n the anthropological and religious literature to refer to a mental condition that leads an individual to propose radical changes for the entire culture. Such visionary experiences have led to major social movements ..., such as with the Iroquois Indian leader Handsome Lake. In the late 1700s, he spent six months in a state of catatonia accompanied by visions. Following these experiences, he ... communicated his visions and new insights to other, and synthesized ... a new religion and way of life that revitalized the culture (Wallace, 1956).

However, in most cases a VSE does not transform the culture but adds a new dimension to the individual’s spiritual life. ... People in the midst of a VSE often traverse the range of the world’s religions and cultural history in the form of spiritual content and experiences ... . When they return,


they often view the episode as a part of their spiritual awakening and as an initiation for their spiritual journey."

Wallace 1956 = "... Rapid Personality Changes". INTERNATIONAL RECORD OF MEDICINE, 169:761-74.

p. 302 madness

"The Old Testament uses the ... term, madness, to describe the behavior of prophets ... (Rosen, 1968).

Socrates declared, "Our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness, ... the madness is given us by divine gift" (Dodds, 1951, p. 61)."

Rosen 1968 = G. Rosen : Madness in Society. NY : Harper & Row.

Dodds 1951 = E. Dodds : The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley : U of CA Pr.

p. 302 becoming a shaman

"Anthropological accounts show that babbling confused words, displaying curious eating habits, singing continuously, dancing wildly, and being "tormented by spirits" are elements in some shamanic crises. In shamanic cultures, ... spiritual crises are interpreted as an indication of an individual’s destiny to become a shaman ... (Halifax, 1979)."

pp. 304-6 exceptional mental states : mystical experience


mystical experience


"interest in exceptional mental states dates back to William James on Exceptional Mental States : The 1896 Lowell Lectures (Taylor, 1983). ...

Studies of this phenomenon date back to William James, who saw mystical experience as being at the core of religion and maintained that such experiences led to the founding of the world’s religions (James, 1902 ...). Definitions used in research and clinical publications vary


considerably, ranging from "upheaval of the total personality" (Neumann, 1964) to those that include "everyday mysticism" (Scharfstein, 1973)."


"studies have found that people reporting mystical experiences scored lower on psychopathology scales and higher on measures of psychological well-being than controls (Wulff, 2000)."

Taylor 1983 = Eugene Taylor : William James on Exceptional Mental States : the 1896 Lowell Lectures. NY : Scribner.

Neumann 1964 = Erich Neumann : "Mystical Man". In : Joseph Campbell (ed.) : The Mystic Vision. Princeton U Pr.

Scharfstein 1973 = Ben-Ami Scharfstein : Mystical Experience. Oxford : Basil Blackwell.

pp. 306-8 near-death experience (NDE)




"Since 1975 when Raymond Moody first focused public attention on the NDE in his book Life After Life, the NDE has been the focus of considerable scientific research (Greyson, 1993, 1997; Ring, 1990).


The NDE typically follows a characteristic temporal sequences of stages including :

peace and contentment

entering a transitional region of darkness

seeing a brilliant light

passing through the light into another realm of existence"


"Life review is also common, and the person returns with a mission ... . Greyson (2000) has pointed out the many similarities to the prototypical features of shamanic soul flight, OBE, and deep hypnotic experiences."


"NDEs are recognized as fairly common occurrences in modern intensive care unites (ICUs)".

Greyson 1993 = Bruce Greyson : "Varieties of Near-Death Experience". PSYCHIATRY, 56:390-9.

Greyson 1997 = Bruce Greyson : "The Near-Death Experience as a Focus of Clinical Attention". J OF NERVOUS AND MENTAL DISEASE, 185:327-34.

Ring 1990 = Kenneth Ring : Life at Death : a scientific investigation of the near-death experience. NY : Coward, McGann & Geoghegan.

Greyson 2000 = Bruce Greyson : "Near-Death Experiences". In :- E. Carden~a, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (edd.) : Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington (DC) : Amer Psych Assn. pp. 315-52.

pp. 308-9 effects of psychic experiences


psychic experience


"Psychic experiences are ... relating to the ... transfer of information or energy for which there is ... evidential support (Targ, Schlitz, & Irwin, 2000) ... . ... Examples include :

clairvoyance (experiences of remote events)

telepathy (communication without apparent physical means)

precognition (visions or dreams that provide formerly unknown information)

synchronistic events (meaningful coincidences of two apparently unrelated events)

after-death communications

poltergeist phenomena (physical disturbances in a house with no apparent physical cause)"


"there is no question that most people have such experiences. Gallup polls show that a majority of American adults have extrasensory experiences, and the


percentage is increasing ... . ...

A study ... found that reports of psychic experiences were correlated with reports of transcendental spiritual experiences, and more than 90% of the respondents with transcendental experiences considered them valuable (Kennedy & Kanthamani, 1995). Psychic experiences are considered to be genuine abilities by many, including the influential theorist of psychotherapy, Jerome Frank, who considered it a skill possessed by the best therapists (Frank & Frank, 1991)."

Kennedy & Kanthamani 1995 = J. E. Kennedy & H. Kanthamani : "Association between Anomalous Experiences and Artistic Creativity and Spirituality". J OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, 89:333-43.

Frank & Frank 1991 = J. D. Frank & J. B. Frank : Persuasion and Healing : a comparative study of psychotherapy. 3rd edn. Baltimore : John Hopkins Pr.

pp. 312-3 manifestations of being possessed by a spirit


spirit- possession


In possession states, a person enters an altered state of consciousness and feels taken over by a spirit, power, deity, or other person who assumes control over his or her mind and body. Generally, the person has no recall of these experiences in the waking state.

{Would "has no recall ... in the waking state" imply recall during the dreaming state instead? If there is no recall at all, nor any statement to that effect by the experiencer during the "possession state" (and, indeed, there never is any such statement during genuine spirit-possession); then it could hardly be fairly asserted that a person "feels" any such thing at all. Typically, the diagnosis of "possession" is simply a deduction by bystander onlookers.}


The deliberate induction of possession states has been part of valued religious rituals in many cultures (Behrend & Luig, 2000) ... . ...


Possession is a central feature of Haitian Vodou ceremonies where specific deities are invited to "ride" the bodies of worshippers during ceremonies. Possession also appears in early Christianity in a positive light, particularly in the form of "speaking in tongues." Many contemporary forms of evangelical Christianity consider it desirable to be possessed by the Holy Spirit, with physical manifestations that include shaking and speaking in tongues."

Behrend & Luig 2000 = H. A. Behrend & U. Luig : Spirit Possession, Modernity, and Power in Africa. Madison : U of WI Pr.

p. 315 hearing divine voices; seeing divine beings

"In a study ... among Hispanic ..., Lata (2005) found that ... Visions of loved ones[,] of saints, angels ... occur often. ... .

... approximately 10% of the general population have the experience of hearing a comforting or advising voice that is not ... one’s own thoughts (Barret & Ethbridge, 1992). ...

Inner voices have played a significant role in the lives of many noted individuals, including Carl Jung, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Martin Luther King, Jr. ... (Liester, 1996).

Hearing inner voices is often experienced as helpful by people who are experiencing a spiritual awakening (Heery, 1989)."

Lata 2005 = J. Lata : Visual Hallucinations ... : a need to assess for cultural beliefs. Puerto Rico : Carlos Albizu University.

Barret & Ethbridge 1992 = T. R. Barret & J. B. Ethbridge : "Verbal Hallucinations among Normals, I". APPLIED COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, 6:379-87.

Liester 1996 = M. Liester : "Inner Voices". J OF TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 28:1-30.

Heery 1989 = M. Heery : "Inner Voice Experiences". J OF TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 21:73-82.

pp. 319-20 coping with VSEs

p. 319

"Some residential treatment approaches have addressed spiritual dimensions ... . Perry (1974) founded Diabysis, a Jungian-based group ... . ... Soteria House, located in San Jose, California, ... ran from 1971-1983 ... . The staff was trained to view ... a spiritual component of mystical experiences and beliefs. ... Soteria

p. 320

or Soteria-based houses are currently operating in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and some other countries (Mosher et al., 2004)."

Perry 1974 = J. Perry : The Far Side of Madness. Englewood Cliffs (NJ) : Prentice Hall.

Mosher et al. 2004 = L. Mosher, V. Hendrix, & D. Fort : Soteria. Philadelphia : Xlibiris.



ASCs as Paradoxically Healing

Aaron L. Mishara & Michael A. Schwartz


p. 328 scope of altered states of consciousness (ASC)

"Vaitl and coworkers (2005) include the following experiences as ASC : ... daydreaming, hypnagogic states, sleep and dreaming, near death experiences, ... sexual activity and orgasm ... . Moreover, one could easily argue for the inclusion of spiritual transcendent experiences ... (see Mishara, 2010a)".

Vaitl & coworkers 2005 = D. Vaitl, N. Birbaumer, J. Gruzelier, G. Jamieson, B. Kotchoubey, A. Ku:bler et al. : "Psychobiology of Altered States of Consciousness". PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN, 131:98-127.

Mishara 2010a = A. L. Mishara : "Kafka’s Doubles ... : Hypnagogic vs. Hyper-Reflexive Models of ... Anomalous Conscious States". PHILOSOPHY, ETHICS, AND HUMANITIES IN MEDICINE (PEHM), 5:13; doi:10.1186/1747-5341-5-13.

pp. 328-9 altered states of consciousness are no less "accurate" (but are rather instead more accurate), than ordinary consciousness




"ASC ... states may enable a heightened or expanded awareness of reality or at least "alternative reality.""


"An ASC deviates from the everyday nai:ve ... attitude of constructed-consensual reality ... by transforming or suspending it ... . ... ASC ... provides ... the altered state as deviating from the "normal," ... in a ... sense ... as ... transcending it in a manner that could provide an alternative view of reality."

pp. 330-1 spiritual restoration : causation of "spontaneous remission"


effectiveness of shamanic curing


"Some cultures regard healing to take place "if that person has been spiritually restored before death" (Krippner & Achterberg, pp. 359-360). ... That is, "healing events (i.e., treatment outcomes)" are different in kind from "healing experiences (i.e., the subjective aspects of the treatment, including its attributive meanings, its ritual context, and the client’s feelings)." ... That is, ASC may enhance different types of healing. ... For example, many of the studies of shamanistic healing indicate that it is effective for somatizing patients with low energy, anxiety, and depression ... . Krippner & Achterberg (2000) remark, however, that cases of so-called "spontaneous remission" (O’Regan & Hirschberg, 1993) resulting from such practices simply index healing processes whose mechanisms are still not known." ...


Currently, notwithstanding ..., the efficacy of meditation and hypnosis are better studied than shamanism."

Krippner & Achterberg = S. Krippner & J. Achterberg "Anomalous Healing Experiences". In :- E. Carden~a, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (edd.) : Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington (DC) : Amer Psych Assn, 2000. pp. 353-95.

O’Regan & Hirschberg 1993 = B. O’Regan & C. Hirschberg : Spontaneous Remission. Sausalito (CA) : Institute for Noetic Sciences.

p. 335 function of shamanism

"Shamanism is "a practice in which a person deliberately alters her consciousness for the purpose of interacting with spirits in order to serve the community in which she finds herself" (Barus^s, 2003, p. 136). The most common role of shamans in their service to the community is healing, which may require soul journeys and death and rebirth experiences (Winkelman, 2004)".

Barus^s 2003 = I. Barus^s : Alterations of Consciousness. Washington (DC) : Amer Psych Assn.

Winkelman 2004 = "Shamanism as the Original Neurotheology". ZYGON, 39:193-217.

p. 336 Pithecanthropine gesture-language

"Donald (1991) had conjectured that a capacity for "using the whole body as a communication device" had emerged prelinguistically during the period of homo erectus by means of he calls ... the ability to ell stories through gesture and dance."

{Likewise, the language of bees is expressed by bodily movements.}

Donald 1991 = M. Donald : Origins of Modern Mind : three stages in the evolution of culture. Cambridge (MA) : Harvard U Pr.

p. 337 shaman of the Rabari

"among the nomadic Rabaris in western India. The shaman (bhopa [‘shaman’] or bhopi [‘shamaness’]) acts as a medium of communication between the Rabaris and the Mataji or mother goddess. After a period of listening to intense drumming, the shaman starts to shake, and, as a result, falls over (sometimes fainting), and is caught by members of the audience, indicating a possessed state ... . ... A further facilitate ASC, the bhopa may ingest opium water from the palm of the hand of an attendant Rabari".

p. 341 Taman (of Nepal) shaman’s apprentice

"a Tamang shamanic apprentice who is possessed by voices will shake convulsively, be confused, not eat, have distorted visions and seek solitude. ([Randal et al., 2008], p. 337)"

Randal et al. 2008 = P. Randal, J. Geekie, I. Lambrecht, & M. Taitimu : :Whose Voices Are We Hearing?" In :- A. Moskowitz, I Schaefe, J. Martin, & M. J. Dorahy (edd.). Hoboken (NJ) : Wiley. pp. 333-45.


Etzel Carden~a & Michael Winkelman (edd.) : Altering Consciousness : Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Praeger (an imprint of ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara (CA), 2011.