The Trickster is here...?
Truthfully, I'm not a great reader. It's not for a lack of comprehension skills but rather a short attention span exacerbated by social media. However, I did force myself to finish Synchronicities by Allan Combs and Mark Holland recently and I am glad I did. This book opened my eyes to the complex history of both synchronicity and Trickster mythology, both of which I had only a surface level knowledge of previously. With this new information, I have since developed an opinion, or theory, on how this relates to the paranormal community today.
It's mentioned in the book (I am paraphrasing to the best of my ability without the book nearby) that the Trickster makes a fool of, or humbles, anyone who tries to control the chaos or synchronicity that the Trickster presents. That is, if the experiencer is not willing to listen to the lesson being taught.
This idea of chaos had me reflecting on the modern day paranormal community, especially with how it exists online. With a rise in discordance in the community of paranormal investigators and researchers, it's started to appear that with every attempt to take control or manipulate paranormal phenomena, an obstacle mirrors it, preventing the person from obtaining proof or deeper understanding of the phenomena. Almost as if...the Trickster is here in our community, but no one can see him for what he is.
Mind you, this idea as a whole is not new. It's been realized in recent media, specifically the documentary series Hellier. If you've not watched it (you should), there is an overarching theme related to synchronicity and the Trickster. However, this experience for them was very personal; almost like it existed just in their own ecosystem. I'm now recognizing this Trickster presence on a larger scale, and among a group of people who may not know what they're experiencing.
As the paranormal has gained massive popularity in the last two years (and for good reason, with the rise of uncertainty in society and desire to make sense of our human experience and purpose) it feels as if the Trickster is presenting us with lessons, or maybe even breadcrumbs leading to bigger answers or more meaningful journeys. However, as chaos reigns, we're caught in this web of ego - both our own and others - and are then bound in the spiders silk and blind to what is really happening around us.
I've yet to flesh out what understanding and seeing the Trickster in my own corner of life, while maintaining a presence online, looks like. My concern for the bastardization of my experiences with strange phenomena by way of social media is ever-present, however, often pushed aside by a desire to accomplish goals that I suppose I'm not quite ready to let go of entirely. And so I am likely blinded by the tricksters web of chaos as well. But I believe the realization of the above is a step in the right direction.
Self Inducing Sleep Paralysis
My sleep paralysis episdoes started in 2009. At the time, I was terrified. I didn’t want to explore it; I didn’t want it to happen. I simply wanted to…sleep. Undisturbed.
However, as the years passed, sleep paralysis happened more frequently. I was in my twenties, tired, stressed, drinking heavily, eating poorly and in an unhealthy relationship which I now recognize as being a huge contributing factor to WHY I was having sleep paralysis to begin with. I was still terrified but I was simultaneously growing a fascination with what exactly was happening in that in-between sleep. I noticed that the sleep paralysis had morphed over time and that often I was no longer paralyzed while having these “hallucinations”. If I wasn’t paralyzed, then what exactly was I experiencing? Not only this but what I was seeing was no longer the standard shadow man or “sleep paralysis demon” either. The figures had become clearer, taking the form of men and women. I could see distinct clothing and expressions on their faces. I could feel the emotion they carried with them – intrigue, sorrow, patience. They were watching me, and I think waiting, to see when I would notice them and if I would finally ask what they wanted. (I should note that I am not diagnosed with any condition that would explain away these “hallucinations”)
I never asked though. I continued in my slumber, afraid of what I was seeing. I didn’t understand how to control it and I didn’t feel confident enough in myself to believe that I had any universal duty to them. It was simply something that was happening to me, and I was at Its mercy.
Ten years passed of this frequent sleep paralysis until I moved into my new apartment. But this move was different. For the first time, I was moving in with a significant other. My boyfriend and I moved in together and suddenly, every sleep related issue I was having completely stopped. You would think I would be relieved but suddenly I felt an emptiness, a regret. I had lost my opportunity to become closer with the Other, to understand a mystery of the universe. I missed my chance and I wanted it back. And thus began my experiment to make sleep paralysis happen again, but on my terms.
I taught myself how to self-induce sleep paralysis with something I call the 4 M’s.
Magick, Melatonin, Mugwort and Meditation.
I am an occultist and practitioner of magick. Specifically, a blend of Celtic, Iberian and Appalachian practices originating from my family and my ancestors land and practices. An herb I had always felt inexplicably drawn to is mugwort. When I began seeking to induce sleep paralysis, I looked to magick and mugwort first. I knew that mugwort provided sleepy-herbal properties and brought on vivid dreams. I figured, honestly on a good guess, that this would help me if I were to drink a mugwort blended tea before bed. (I am not advising you to do the same. Please consult a doctor before ingesting mugwort.) This proved to be incredibly helpful as I started to have wildly vivid dreams when I would drink my tea. So, I continued on to the next step – incorporating magick.
Detailed spell work is not a big part of my practice, admittedly. But I knew that if I wanted to communicate with the Otherside in such a vulnerable state I needed to bring in magickal help. I began incorporating spell work into my practice and centered it around dream work, and protection. I would set intentions and manifest what it was I wanted to be doing. Which was…having sleep paralysis.
At this time, I also began experimenting with taking melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep vitamin that I had taken previously to help with insomnia, so I was familiar with how to properly use it. (AGAIN – not advising you to do the same. Please consult a doctor before ingesting Melatonin.) I cycled between this and my mugwort tea, but never took the two at the same time and often took breaks from ingesting any of it at all.
Lastly, I started a daily meditation practice. This is something I had always wanted to do for various reasons, but I knew that the discipline from learning how to meditate deeply would help in my goal. After meditating and traveling in my meditations often, I knew I was ready to try to self-induce sleep paralysis.
When I would become tired at night, I allowed myself to stay up just slightly past that point of tiredness so that I could feel my eyes be heavy and my body begin to relax. Laying on my back (Tip: If you do NOT want to be having sleep paralysis – do not sleep on your back), I would let myself drift on into a daydream-like state where my eyes would wander and glaze over. Before I knew it a static feeling came over my body from head to toe, which I recognized from my other instances of sleep paralysis (Another tip: if you start to feel this sensation while falling asleep on your back, this is a great time to move your body and get up, if you do not want to have sleep paralysis).
This is where the experiment gets interesting and honestly, becomes larger than what my medically and biologically uneducated brain can comprehend. Once the static feeling washed over me, I would begin to sense a presence in the room, almost immediately. Shadows in the room began to come alive and most interestingly– the FEELING of fear would overcome me. I knew what was happening, but my body produced fear anyway. Why does our body create this sensation at this time?
In conclusion, I have not yet mastered at this point how to communicate with whatever it is that shows up when I conduct this experience. This is something I’m still working on, as I find that it is too easy to slip out of this state of consciousness before being able to do anything. But even if this is ongoing for me, I believe it’s something I should, and have wanted to, share with others.
The deep dive I have done into my sleeping life has magnified both my spiritual and paranormal experiences in the waking as well as taught me valuable lessons about how to manage my fear and regulate my emotions. I have also continued my meditation practice that has helped me greatly in communicating with another side of life that I had always wished to be closer to.
And for all these benefits, I hope that sharing this with you may benefit you in some way too. Not to say that you must induce sleep paralysis to grow and expand in your search for the paranormal, but maybe that you might consider exploring your emotions, deconstructing the things that happen in subconscious. And be okay with admitting when you don’t understand something. But try to learn more anyway.
Amanda is a paranormal investigator with 14 years of experience located in Spokane, Washington.