Trance State in African Traditional Healing vs Hypnosis
My knowledge of hypnosis was very limited before I started this course with Translife. I used to think that hypnosis was something that was used on stage for entertainment where the hypnotist was some sort of magician using mystical powers to get people to do whatever the hypnotist wanted. I feared hypnosis, as to me it was something from the dark where the hypnotist cast a spell on the unsuspecting participant. I was even convinced that people who practice witchcraft use hypnosis to woe victims to them so that they can capture them and make them perform cultic rituals so they can become zombies. Even as a child my father used to warn me about hypnotists, as he said that it was white witches “bathakathi” who use entities to control your mind and if you are weak, you will be captured.
Of course these were all misconceptions of what hypnosis is all about. I now know the truth about hypnosis, in that every person has experienced some form of hypnosis in their lives through things such daydreaming, watching TV, reading a book, listening to a speaker, being mesmerized and chanting.
In fact I’ve used hypnosis many times without realizing it and I will recall this through some of my past experiences. Self-hypnosis is used in African traditional medicine even though we don’t call it hypnosis but trance. A Sangoma goes into a trance through drumming, dancing and chanting, and allows an ancestor healer “indlozi” to possess their body and communicate directly with the patient, providing specific information about his problems. Even with the different modalities of practice of traditional healing such bone thrower, faith healer, air bender, fire bender and water bender, they all use trance. The traditional healer goes into trance state to tap into the energy of the patient in order to communicate with the patient’s ancestral guides (amathonga), seeking guidance to what could be affecting the patient. The traditional healer, based on the message they receive from the patient's guides (amathonga), will then communicate to their own higher ancestor being of healing (indlozi) for the cure.
As someone who was born in a family that still practiced traditional rituals, I was taught that “ithonga”, ancestral guides, can communicate to us directly when we are asleep; hence their name comes from the name “ubuthongo” meaning state of sleep. They give us messages in our sleep about our health and wellbeing. Dreams play a pivotal role in how “amathonga” communicate wish us and it is not always easy to interpret these dreams. The message communicated by “ithonga” through a dream is specific to that particular individual; the way messages are communicated by “ithonga” differ from family to family. One cannot simply generalize and interpret a dream to have the same meaning to everyone else, as the message of a dream is unique to that particular individual who had the dream. Dream analysis is not always easy and you often need to consult. This is what is also taught in Hyposis, as a Hypnotherapist in dream analysis, you guide the client to interpret and understand the message in a dream for themselves, as this is a message directed to their life situation.
Another practice that is common to “Ndawo” spirituality is that of “kufemba” which is a treatment where the “Sangoma” sniffs out evil spirits or entities in either a patient’s body, his or her home, or place of business. In Trance State Therapy (Hypnotherapy), very often you are able to pick up if a client has entity possession.
When I was young my grandfather never called me by the name I was given in this lifetime as he used to tell me that we have been together many lifetimes, so he will always call me “Ntombi”, as the name I used to be called in the previous lifetime we were together. He used to challenge me to try to remember things that he had taught me all those lifetimes and will say “I’m not going to teach you things I’ve already taught you many lifetimes before, you need to remember as you are going to need them in this lifetime”. This used to frustrate me as I couldn’t recall those memories.
When I was 16 years old I became very ill. My parents took me to a number of people to get help but my condition got worse and I became paralyzed. I was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with a condition called myasthenia gravis. When my grandfather heard I was in hospital he was very angry at my parents and demanded that my father bring me to him.
The first day I was at my grandfather’s house he commanded me to get up and walk. I tried and I couldn’t. He then told me that he needed to speak to my higher self to find out what the problem is and how he could help me as he was struggling to tap into my energy, and that I needed to channel. He did a series of chants, burning mpepho and other herbs. He made me a mixture of spiritual herbs to make “igobongo” and beat it into foam. I ate the foam, joined him in the chant and I started channeling.
When looking back at this memory and many other rituals that my grandfather and I performed, I realize that what we were doing was a form of hypnosis. Hypnosis for me is an altered state of consciousness where the client is guided to a state of trance and the subconscious mind takes over to allow the client to be receptive to suggestion given to him / her by the hypnotist. Hypnosis can be used to facilitate healing for phobias, psychological problems, spiritual issues and illness where an emotional problem presents itself as a physical symptom. It teaches a patient to take responsibility of their own healing. The reason why it so effective in psychological cases is that it allows the client to re-live a past event or past life where they may have experienced trauma or something unpleasant. The client is led to come to their own conclusion and have a better understanding of why things happened to them and why they feel the way they do. They form part of the processes of solving their own problems.
We are all here on this earth for our soul to grow and develop further. In our conscious state, we may not always understand the lessons or see the messages that the universe is giving to us. Hypnosis enables us to get in touch with our higher self, to see and learn the lesson. It also enables us to remove the baggage of past karma and any dark entity that we may have allowed to attach to us. You are guided to a place of love, and forgiveness releases all darkness into the light.
With love from
D.Emed, B.Com Hon
Chairperson: EPASA Public Relations Committee
Tel: 0861 105 808 or Cell: 0724051378