Trance and spiritual possession are two terms that have existed in many religions and often denotes to a change of state whereby an individual loses self-consciousness either voluntarily or involuntarily. Spiritual possession stems out of the belief that spirits or gods can have full or partial control of a human being. On the other hand, trance is more or less the concept of “crossing over to a new conscious state” in which an individual state of mind alters psychologically and socially.
To enter into a trance, an individual must be in a particular environmental setting, atmosphere, and place. Additionally, stimuli may be required such as a given type of music to help induce the experience such as deprivation of food, sleep, use of particular kinds of drugs. For instance, the “Umbanda” uses a unique type of altering, statutes, and dressing to heighten the process. The above circumstances can enable an individual quickly enter into a possessive trance during a religious event. Amongst the “Umbanda,” their cultural beliefs and practices aim at heightening deep sensory experiences. Cultural practices such as the use of drugs such as Cannabis amongst the Hindu during spiritual devotion help initiate loss of consciousness as individuals prepare to uplift their spiritual awareness of possessive trance.
Voudon finds its roots from a combination of West African beliefs and traditions together with Roman Catholicism. They believe in a Supreme Being and worship spirits they believe are in charge of different domain parts of human living. According to Brown (15) followers of Voudon believe that the “spirits can also take control of the bodies of its members”. As much as they believe and practice it, its members originated from Haiti and are found in Brazil, United States, and Jamaica considers it as a way of life. It is a whole set of many cultural elements that involve medical practices, proverbs, songs, personal creed, and a whole sort of assortment that define the lifestyle of its followers.
Brown, Karen McCarthy. “Afro-Caribbean spirituality: A Haitian case study.”Vodou in Haitian life and culture. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2006. 1-26.