Encyclopedia Article


A physiological state where the practitioner seems to be in a dream-like condition. Often linked to mysticism or ceremonies in which the practitioner is in another consciousness.

Among the Navajo healing traditions, diagnosticians enter trance-like states as they search for the cause of an illness or imbalance. In many cases, the trance is more akin to waiting for an answer to appear than it parsing through surface signs and symptoms. These trances can be induced by the ingestion of jimsonweed, also known as sacred datura, and other substances, although often the trance is induced mentally by the practitioner.

Consuming peyote also induces a trance-like state, where it is common for the practitioner to experience the sensation of going on a journey, something akin to a vision quest. Peyote rituals are part of the Native American Church, which blends indigenous spiritual traditions with elements of Christianity.

Photo Credit: 

"Datura swallows the galaxy, August 10, 2012" by Mike Lewinski is licensed under CC BY.

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