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Twenty-Two Stories About Deep Mind Dark Wood

Twenty-Two Short Stories About Deep Mind-Dark Wood.

By DJ Pynchon

Some of these stories happened as I described them.

Some of these stories are exaggerated.

Some of them are complete fabrications.

….Maybe.

1.  Preparation

It would be unfair to say that I had never cooked before. It would be perfectly fair, however, to say that I had never cooked so much so quickly for so many people. My plane was a few minutes late, and I was thrust out into the pleasant New England night. For Lee and Jim, it was 11 pm. For me, it was still relatively early, being from a time zone significantly west of here. The trip to Lee’s house was short, and windy. There was precious little time for pleasantries. But I was cooking, and stressing about it.

Then I remembered that I was at a hypnotist’s house. I stood there in front of the stove and listened to Lee and Jim talk, and decided to push myself into a little trance.

Then Lee said something to me and I looked at the time. It was 1 am. All the chicken had been cooked and put away.

I had wondered flying across the country if I’d be ready for this weekend.

I was.

2.  Self-Preparation

I was trying to figure out what I was.

Not who I was. That I had pretty much well in hand: nice enough, good looking enough for those I cared enough of to dwell on whether they thought I was attractive; smart, clever, polite, diplomatic. Those are all words that describe who I was. Or who I am.

But what was I?

Hopping into the hypno-scene as I had, I found myself drawn mostly to dominants. It made sense; all my fantasies prior to that had involved some kind of female hypnotist slowly taking over my will and giving me intense pleasure, inducing some level of amnesia and taking advantage of me without choice. You know, typical Catholic stuff.

And yet. And yet. Consider that a fair portion of the actual play I had concocted and put in motion involved me as the “top.” It involved me as the mover, the hypnotist, the one holding the whip (or, in my case, the sonic screwdriver).

Maybe… maybe I’m not, strictly speaking, a bottom after all.

And would that make a difference?

These were the questions going through my head in the lead up to Deep Mind Dark Wood. I thought it’d be a chance to explore aspects of myself that I hadn’t really had the chance to… at any point in my life, really.

And so I prepared myself to have the courage of my convictions. Wait. No, that’s not quite right. Because I wasn’t sure of my convictions. Not yet. Rather, I was going to gird myself to try on a new me. To one extent or another, I was hoping to break through and find out what I was. What I am.

And although I was trying to prepare myself, what preparation can one do right before you take that leap?

3.  The Scene

The prevailing color is green. Not the newborn Springtime green of the urgent growth, but the last gasp green of late summer, when Autumn has barely thought about licking the leaves of the trees in the valley.

Helter-skelter in the middle of the woods are scattered clearings and chock-a-block buildings. One such building rises towards the middle of the camp– a massive modest mansion. It has multiple personalities: come at it from any new angle, and you’d think you were approaching a new structure. It also has multiple stories: one in one part; two in another; and three or even four, depending on which staircase one ascends (or descends… or ascends, then descends, then ascends).

The interior of the dormitory is a maze of rooms and hallways. One imagines Escher would get dizzy navigating its entrails.

There is one large gathering and dining room, a well-appointed kitchen, and all the bedrooms one would want.

There are private cabins here and there and several fields for lazing about.

Across a path and hidden from sight is a disused religious maze, and if one weren’t careful, one could even get lost between the maze of the house and the maze of the maze, such is the disorienting effect of the place.

This weekend, though, the lasting memory will, no doubt, be the hazy sticky heat that lay about the place and made every movement seem like swimming through a dream.

In short, for all one’s hypnotic needs, the place was perfect.

4.  Initiation.

The circle.

People from many different corners of the world gathered together to invoke whatever good spirits (or bad, I suppose) to lift them to whatever goals they felt confident enough to inflict upon this weekend.

We held hands. ZanyM led us through the ceremony.

One by one we sipped water from a bowl and spoke of our hopes and dreams for the weekend.

The cadence of voices from other climes and other countries.

The whisper of what might be.

The far off sound of thunder.

Ray Bradbury may have been tempted to call it “delicate.”

Far off I swore I heard a raven call, symbol of change and the oaths you’re glad were broken.

And then another rumble.

And then the words of us, one by one, detailing the signs and symbols we’d adopted.

Ripples in the air spreading out in all directions.

The wave of vibrations hitting the ears and then to the minds.

The oscillator could chart the slide up and down as those words flitted around the gathering.

Already the minds receding and acceding.

I could feel the comfort of trance just from following the bowl from person to person, round and round.

Each word and hope feeding my sense of anticipation.

And the hinted, unspoken promise of any opening circle, that there will be a closing circle. That who you are right there, in that moment, will be deposited at the close, unchanged in any appreciable way. However far one strays from the origin, the circle promises the return, and therefore returns a perfect promise.

Morgan closed the loop with the last drops from the cup and bid us all strap in for the bumpy ride of the weekend to come.

And with that, the circle broke.

5.  Hypno-scenes from a hat.

They had put their nametags in a hat. DJ sat nervously. He wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the weekend. Frankly the promotional materials were rather circumspect on the question of what everyone would be doing to fill their time. But Mr. Dream, together with LeeAllure, as ringleaders of the event, had gathered everyone onto the side porch. Dream took the name-tags from everyone and threw them into a hat. He and Lee began by trading trances.

They described how, for the duration of the weekend, any filters that were preventing us from achieving our goals would be lifted, but only in such a way as to keep us safe and secure. But that, again, for the duration of the weekend, those filters would be placed somewhere else so that we would be open to the new experiences and to the experiences that we wanted. They spoke these words to each other.

Then, they picked names out of a hat, and each took that person to the side, and performed a hypnotic induction on them.

DJ was still a little nervous. He had met most of these people before, but he really only knew Lee. And, with some minor exceptions here and there, he had only worked with Lee.

Time passed.

One man with a slight accent picked DJ’s name. They wandered to the side.

They chatted nervously a little, in a way not entirely unlike a first date. The accented man asked for permission and began.

DJ dropped like a brick through water.

His mind had been ready, and he opened like a flower greeting the first rain of spring after the frost had faded away. As filters began being removed, DJ found himself nodding to the friendly suggestions.

DJ enjoyed the drifting.

Too soon, the accented voice woke him up.

DJ looked around, seeing various people in various states of trance.

The colors and lights looked brighter and, yet, gauzier.

He thanked the accented man.

Then DJ took a name out of the hat, and continued.

6.  Where the weather goes.

I have often thought that climate makes the culture. New Englanders are hardy folk, because they bear the brunt of fierce Nor-easters then harsh and humid horrid summers.

Southerners are lazily lackadaisical because, perhaps, their progress is forever slowed by half-backed molasses in the air.

Northwesterners are quirky and fond of the weird- months in the rain leads to inventing new ways to entertain and distract.

I hail from near the Pacific, where dry desert sun kisses the skin every day and no air or weather is anything other than a friend. The Western sun loves us so much it will not let a drop of water fall, nor fill the air, lest water distract from the sun’s love of us.

So when I walk outside into the New England summer I wonder what sins I have committed to earn so great a betrayal of what I rely on. In New England late summers, the sun is not your friend. It and its humid allies seek to stifle the very sense of thought. In many ways the slow burn squeeze of thought and brain power is perfect for an enclave such as this.

John Adams’ children from the area open their arms and tell me it’s beautiful. Polite and suggestible, I tell them it is. They look at me insistently, for I have not the fervor of an acolyte.

“It IS beautiful here!” they say again. And look! So it is!

Thus does culture make the climate.

7.  Air Superiority

The remit was simple and from the Wiccan-inspired people in our group: divide ourselves according to the ancient four elements of “Water, Fire, Earth and Air” and develop (within those groups) a group trance related to that element.

I found myself in the “Air” group. We tied some ropes onto a ring and each of us began to dance with each other through the ring, like a giant Ouija fetish, only with the ring holding air… as much as air can be held.

The other “elements” were doing it wrong, clearly.

Fire went down to the fire-pit and talked about themselves among the ashes, before flaming out with little trance accomplished.

Earth lay down sedentarily, contemplating the grass. In my field of vision, they never moved.

Water took forever to decide what state they were in- halfway through our dance, I don’t think they had even figured out a way to begin, or where that beginning would be. Finally Water decided that they wanted more of itself, and begged the sky for rain.

But we- we let the wind move us into whatever many positions we/it desired. Spinning ourselves around the ring. Tying us up in bunches. And when the wind was done with us, and we were done with the wind, the trance and the dance, we stopped.

8.  Clean hands, clean heart, clean dishes, clean mind.

I stumbled out of the kitchen, blinking.

My hands were wet and the entire front of my clothes was damp.

I blinked some more and checked the time.

An hour had gone. I leaned back into the kitchen and saw a pile of clean dishes.

I think I had done them.

I fuzzy memory came back to me.

An hour ago, Lee had led me to the kitchen. “It’s your turn in the kitchen to clean. As you clean each dish, you will find yourself falling deeper and deeper into a trance. Each dish you wash will make you happier and more open. Each dish you wash will clean your mind and make you more open. The cleaner the dishes are, the cleaner your mind will be.”

The image came back in a flood.

My mind was clean.

Looking back now, I realize…. I was in that kitchen a lot.

9.  Molecular Trance.

We are given a length of rope. Well… not really a rope. More like those thick sturdy lengths used to tie furniture. Everyone gets a choice of a color. Mine is blue.

We start with one volunteer in the middle. She stands there, with us surrounding her in a circle, in anticipation.

Three of us approach her, each placing our “rope” around her. Together we can stop her from falling over.

Together, however, we seek to induce her into trance.

We take her off balance, yet still connected to the ground.

I find myself whispering trancey words. The three of us with the fourth in the middle guide her into a glide into hypnosis.

In many ways this is a trust exercise; she trusts us to hold her to the ground. We trust her to fall and drift.

After a few minutes I feel the ropes around me. The same thing happens to the other two. Now we are floating on the ground, as people tug and shape us off balance. I feel like I am floating as I hold and guide the woman in the center. I can barely keep track of what I am saying, though I’m sure my whispers mean something.

I feel like I am floating up into the air and looking down, as ropes interlace between and among us spreading out in all directions. We are a molecule of 24, 25 people spreading hypnosis out from the center and then having it reverberate back in.

I feel it course around and through me. I feel like I am catalyzed and a catalyst. I feel full of words, ponderous and pretentious. Maybe that is who I am. And for once, I do not care.

We are a unit, and a molecule, and every molecule contains atoms, each of which contains positive and negative charge. Whatever charge I have in this molecule is important, and contributes to the sway. For what I am is who I am. Down the road Walt Whitman said that every part of you as sure’s a part of me.

For once, I understand what he meant (and all without benefit of drugs).

A breeze picks up, and, when we are done, we separate into our constituent parts.

10.  What the Butler Became

Towards the beginning of the weekend we were randomly assigned groups and asked to come up with suggestions for “classes” or experiences we’d like to have. Someone suggested we experiment with “transformation” play. Transformation play involves a hypnotic suggestion that the subject have all the characteristics of….someone or something else.

A traditional motif in “mcstories” is when the subject is transformed into a doll or a robot. For the subject, being in a “doll space” means taking a break from thought and responsibility. For the hypnotist, having someone you can order around and who will obey without thought or delay can be quite the fantasy come true.

There are other types of transformation play, however. Some people will enjoy having their intelligence taken away, and this can be done through “bimbo” or “himbo” play. Others may like to experience being an animal, or a specific pet. For others it’s as simple as changing or augmenting a specific personality trait.

So a lot of people wanted to experience different aspects of it at DMDW. As a group, we discussed different aspects of it, and those with experience discussed how best to elicit it from the unconscious.

For the hypnotist, it can be quite a charge to see someone you’re working with adopt a whole new persona, to your specifications and commands.

We then split off into volunteers and hypnotists to run through some possible transformations.

Jim was really interested in exploring service, so had a hypnotist instill a “butler” trigger on him. The butler had his own personality, both supercilious and punctilious. We came to call him “Sebastian.”

Cynthia wanted to experience animal play, and so was hypnotized into believing she was a cat… well, that is to say, a kitten. She crawled around on all fours.

Roger was an effervescent sort. He had kind of a bubbly personality and a certain joie de vivre. He wanted to experience having his intelligence drained away a little.

And me. Well, Lee and I had been discussing how I needed some experience being “not nice.” I’ve always been a little leery about opening up the dark side of my personality to others’ gaze. Lee, for some reason, thought it’d be fun to do. So she turned to me and started whispering in my ear.

“In your mind is a control panel. And on that control panel is a section marked ‘filters.’ And on one of those filters is a dial marked ‘Snarkiness.’ It’s probably set to about a ‘6’ right now. For the next hour, I want to change it, just a little, to ‘8.’ Nod your head if this is ok.”

I, of course, nodded my head.

“Good. Now wake up! <snap!>”

I opened my eyes and I felt, frankly, lighter than I had before. I also felt slightly more predatory. For a while I saw most of the people there as some kind of prey.

I remember going up to “Sebastian,” and engaging him in conversation about how awful butlers were- that they are backstabbing, gossiping two-faced creatures—just to see how polite he could stand to be as I was crapping all over his chosen profession.

I noted with wry amusement how flustered he was becoming. I stopped just before he was about to blow his top. As I left I noted how his shoelaces were not equally well tied. Which flustered the poor bastard even more.

We interacted like this for a while as the group broke up into social discussions. I found my way next to Lee and whispered some of my observations into her ear. I was mimicking this person, or making fun of the ostentatious way one of them was conducting a trance.

At some point I was told that Roger was brought out of his “Himbo” trance, and I immediately responded, “How can anyone tell the difference?”

Before we went inside, Lee reset the dial; dinner was approaching, and I still had three full days with everyone.

11.  Bang a Gong

I’m not sure why the gong was there.

It was large and looked like it came straight from the set of some Asian movie where monks at a Buddhist temple gather. It was slung from a stand at the side of the room.

Brigit and Sonia were there. Sonia was underneath the gong, lying still but looking around furtively as if something were sure to happen. I walked up and Brigit greeted me.

“Sonia’s a gong.”

“I’m sorry?”

“I said, Sonia’s a gong. Watch!”

And with that, Brigit took the gong’s mallet and drummed it on the gong. The effect on Sonia was immediate. Her whole body shook with each reverberation of the gong. As the sounds quieted down, Sonia’s own palpitations and shivers declined. Just as Sonia came to a rest, Brigit hit the gong again, sending Sonia into more and even greater convulsions.

“Can she-?”

“Oh, no. She’s completely mindless right now. All she is is a gong. Gong, gong, gong. She’s gone gong….” Brigit hit the gong in time with every time she said “gong” or “gone.”

She handed me the mallet.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. She said you could earlier.”

I slowly rapped the mallet against the gong, marveling at how responsive Sonia was.

After a while, I couldn’t help myself. I choked the mallet up and swung it hard and strong at the gong, sending a crashing, booming sound through the room unmatched by anything save for the shriek of ecstasy as Sonia spasmed underneath.

I was about to laugh, when I looked down the room and saw some people look at me sharply, as though I was disturbing something they were doing. Which we probably were.

I held my hand out to silence the gong, and Sonia stopped her thrashing immediately.

Brigit and I looked at each other for a moment

“Do you think…” I started.

“Yes?” she asked.

“What would happen if we hit her with the mallet?”

Brigit and I held each other’s eyes for a moment.

“Let’s find out” she said, eagerly.

Brigit took the mallet from me and started bouncing it off of Sonia’s prone body. Sonia re-started her convulsions. Like the gong, the quivers and quavers kept going even after each mallet’s strike was over.

Sonia looked like a woman in the throes of unseen passion as we took turns hitting her with various degrees of force.

At some point, I saw someone I had to talk to, so I left Brigit to continue poking and prodding.

As I hit the other side of the room, I heard another shriek as Brigit doubtless smacked Sonia as hard as she could. The same people who had been disturbed before glared at me again.

I looked at them and showed my bare, empty hands.

“Not my orchestra this time.”

They grimaced, and went back to their scene.

12.  Mosquitos, a haiku.

Trance is hard enough

Blood sucking insects all ‘round

Inductive itching?

13.  Rapport, Part 1: The Staring Contest

Breakfast at Camp Mindfuck is dangerous.

Mark was talking with Lee about plans for later that day.

Mary was over on the other side of the table, discussing some arcane

scientific discovery.

Mark absent-mindedly asked Mary to pass the water. Neither looked at the

other as Mary reached over to grab the pitcher. Neither really considered their actions as Mark reached across for the pitcher.

But each glanced up to make sure there would be no spill.

They made eye contact.

Each considered how funny it was to make eye contact at a hypnosis event.

Each decided to let the other look away first.

You know, for science.

Each saw the smirk in the other’s face.

Each knew this meant there was a double down.

Each knew that this was dangerous.

The other person’s eyes became the most important thing in the world.

Would they shift away from the other’s?

Would they lose focus first?

Would they trance out or keep focus?

Would they, could they, should they resist?

Each could barely hear the conversation fade away.

Each could barely hear as their hypnotists started whispering in their ears.

Each could barely imagine it, because maybe that wasn’t actually happening.

Each could barely contain themselves as they drifted away from the

breakfast table into a sweet sleepy space.

Each could barely stop themselves from imagining a million different ways to

drift together.

Each could not contain their drop into that yawning sleepy open space

beneath them.

And then…

And then…

A shadow passed as someone else asked for some water.

And the spell was broken, and each was returned to the present tense.

Shaky, Mark managed to pour himself some water, and pass the pitcher on.

Each returned to their conversations.

Breakfast at Camp Mindfuck is so much dangerous.

But it is also dangerously fun.

14.  Maze (a poem)

I am lost

I am following a person I barely know around a maze

Drawn and charted on a former church floor

I am following them, and then I’m not

I am following the lines on the floor

I am lost

I am drawn to the center like the maze

I am drawn to follow

I am meant to follow between the lines that draw me to the center

I follow between the lines

I chart the lines between trance and meditation

I place myself on one foot after another

I am lost

I am steps in a maze which have retraced themselves

I am lost in a loop in a maze which has turned upon itself

I was following and now I am lost and by myself

I stop

The line between trance and meditation is a line I cross

And so I cross myself and my path

I am meant to draw myself to the center, and so

I find myself crossing all kinds of lines

I am no longer drawn to another maze’s center.

Amazingly, I have found myself my own center.

I am found

I am no longer lost.

15. Rapport, Part 2—The Hypno-Egg Contest

Mark started.

He handed the egg to Mary. Mary held it carefully and protectively in her hands. She handed it back to Mark.

Likewise, Mark cradled it in his hands before handing it back.

Mary held it, slightly heavier than last time, before send it the other way.

“I wonder,” Mark said, “which color brings you into trance more? Is it the blue color or is it the red.”

“Wait,” Mary said, “isn’t that cheating?”

“You should answer my question before I answer yours.”

She handed the egg back. “No, seriously—can you do that?”

“Well,” he smirked, “I did help invent the game. So the rules are pretty much what I say they are.”

She smiled. “Well, then, Mark. Would you say that the colors are more effective when you inhale or when you exhale? But don’t answer.”

“W-what?” They continued handing the egg back and forth, but suddenly, Mark’s hands began to waver.

“Because I need you to think about that while you concentrate on handing this Hypno-Egg back and forth so very carefully. And while you worry about that, think about how much you want to win this game and how that desire keeps you going and then think about the feel of the egg in your hand and the weight that you must bear to keep going, and think about all the colors you’re ignoring because the changing rainbow of colors would be captivating if you thought of them too much and then…”

She might have kept talking; Mark wasn’t entirely sure, because he felt himself sinking. But then he realized, she had stopped speaking. She was staring at the egg in his hands.

All he had to do…

All he had to do was shift the egg from his hands to hers and he’d win.

He’d “win.”

He could feel his thumb twitch as he tried to make that move.

He could feel Mary’s eyes staring.

He could sense her outstretched hands waiting.

And yet, for some reason, he just couldn’t do it.

And so he “lost.”

Mary, of course, remembered it the other way around.

16.  The Tough Nut (a haiku)

Repeating “I can’t”

Is its own kind of trance state

A sad, lonely one.

17.  Rapport, Part 3 – Mirror Trance

Mark was walking down the hall when he heard Lee talking with Mort.

“Oh sure,” she said, “mutual trances are a lot of fun. I did one with Mark over at NEEHU last year.”

Mark’s ears perked up. It was a fantastic memory for him. NEEHU was the first hypnosis event he had ever been to and he recalled how nervous he was getting off the plane, driving to the hotel, and meeting the first few people at the event. He had met Lee at the pool and she had both assuaged his nerves and introduced him to his first live trance. The next day, she had somehow convinced him to do a live demo in front of the unconference. He remembered thinking to himself “zero to 60 in no time at all.”

At some point during the demo, Lee had Mark face Sarah, one of the other volunteers. Lee started whispering at them, telling them that they were going to go into a trance.

“I don’t know which of you is going to go into a trance first, you,” touching him on his shoulder, “or you,” now touching Sarah. “But you find you can’t take your eyes off of each other’s eyes, and, Mark, you’ll find that as you watch Sarah go deep, you’ll go just as deep as she looks, and then a little deeper. And Sarah, you’ll find that as you watch Mark go a little deeper, you’ll go just as deep as he looks, and then go a little deeper. And you’ll see the trance in each other’s eyes, and….”

And that’s where his memories got a little hazy.

Mark shook his head and looked around. He was here, at Deep Mind Dark Wood, and Lee was talking about mutual trances, again. It was just Lee and Mort lounging in the room. He stepped into the sitting room, and looked up to see Mary walk in from the other hallway at the same time. They made eye contact with each other, and stopped.

Lee laughed. “I was going to go get some volunteers, but I think we have some already. Mary… Mark… would you please come here and demonstrate something for Mort for me?”

Mark briefly considered saying “no,” just to be difficult. But he walked over and took up a position just opposite Mary, who, likewise, found herself standing across from Mark.

Lee kept talking to Mort, explaining what was about to happen. “So it’s really about establishing rapport between the two people. And I know this will be a little bit easier than usual because of how they had been working together earlier today. So I’ll just ask them to look at each other.”

At this point, Lee directed her voice at the pair staring at each other in the room.

“Look at each other’s faces and take a deep breath in and let it go.”

Mark and Mary did this in unison.

“Now just begin to breathe normally. And as you do that, just look at each other and see how relaxed and happy the other person is.” Mark nodded, noticed that Mary nodded at the same time, and both grinned.

“And as you see how relaxed the other person is, see if you can get as relaxed as they are. Notice how their eyes soften, even as they stay focused on you. Notice how their breathing slows, even as yours slows.”

Mark was noticing all these things. He noticed how her eyes softened but kept focus. He noticed how his breathing was suddenly matching her breathing. He noticed all these things and less. And less.

He had dim flashes of how beautiful Mary looked as she was obviously slipping into a trance, with Lee’s words sliding by his ears. Lee’s voice, however, was a music he could hear and even follow, but whose melody slipped by him.

And he thought that if Mary looked like that falling into trance, he must look the same. And- just as Lee was saying at that exact moment, though somehow he didn’t exactly hear her- that same thought made them both fall even deeper.

The whole world swallowed them up as consciousness fell around them both.

And then-

“And 1…2…3…4… wide awake on 5.”

His eyes blinked into consciousness staring directly at Mary. He watched her blink into wakefulness as well. They both giggled shyly. They stole a glance at each other.

And then-

“-and drop right back down twice as deep, Now!” as Lee snapped her fingers.

And the trance swallowed them both again.

There was nothing but darkness for a while, and then….

“And 1…2…3…4, wide awake again on 5.”

This time, waking up was even more of a chore.

They stole a shy glance around the room again, only to find that it had filled up with ten people watching them intensely.

They both looked down, bashfully.

“And that’s how you do it. They’ll feel like they’re in quite the state of rapport for a while-and they are-but it’s really easy, especially if you have such good subjects like this.”

Mary and Mark both sheepishly thanked Lee for the compliment. They were furtively trying not to make eye contact. Eye contact seemed… dangerous.

Lee kept talking to the newly arrived crowd as Mary and Mark pretended to pay attention. They were slowly and imperceptibly (to themselves anyway, though Lee noticed) moving closer to each other.

Finally, they “accidentally” touched, and made that eye contact…

And fell…

They fell past the room’s laughter on their way down.

They fell past all sense of propriety, too. (Morgan, who arrived in the room halfway through, would say that the little bit of drool dripping from Mark’s mouth was the sexiest thing she had seen that weekend, to that point.)

At some point they never hit bottom. But they never broke eye contact, either. And at some point, somewhere in there, they knew they needed to come back up, or else they would drift in trancey blackness forever.

And so they led each other back to the waking world and to the applause of their friends.

18.  Rapport, Part 4 – That Scene

They would refer to it ever after as that scene.

Periodically, someone would poke their head in to see what was occurring, but only the five people in the room could tell you.

I wouldn’t dare to tell you that I knew what exactly occurred; I was in another part of the complex entirely, staring at the sky and counting shooting stars. But this is what I’ve been able to piece together, after talking to each of them.

Vince had asked Lee and Morgan to do a scene with him. Vince and Morgan had been working on some transformation play involving turning Vince into a butler type named “Bartlesby” earlier in the day. But tonight, he wanted a different kind of vacation. Tonight he wanted some doll play. He wanted to be doll-like servant for Morgan and, by extension, Lee. Vince also wanted to experience what needles felt like, and Lee had brought a batch. Mark had listened to some of the negotiations during dinner and asked if he could watch. Lee, Morgan and Vince all agreed.

Mark ran into Mary on the way to the room where “that scene” was about to occur. The three had already begun, so Mark and Mary sat on a bed in the medium size bedroom. Vince was standing in the middle of the room, already with his shirt off. Lee and Morgan had begun with a dual induction, sending him so very, very, deep.

While down, the two hypnotists constructed a doll persona, filled with nothing but thoughtlessness and obedience. But periodically, one or the other would give the doll an imaginary treat. When the doll ate the treat, the doll would say a new mantra that would both express Vince’s deepest thoughts at that moment, and reinforce the obedience and subservience he was feeling.

As Mark and Mary came in, Morgan had just given Vince a treat. He placed it in his own mouth, and said, “An obedient doll is a happy doll.”

Mark and Mary sat on the bed facing the scene. That line had entirely captured their attention. It was one thing to read that line in a smutty and hot mind control story, but to see it playing out right in front of them? That was something else entirely. This, as they told me later, just didn’t happen.

Morgan and Lee stalked around Vince, like two very sexy sharks taunting their prey. Occasionally smacking his chest or running their nails lightly across his back.

Vince was so far gone into “doll-space” it was hard to tell if any of those feelings even registered in his brain.

Lee placed a treat in his hand. This time, he said, “I am a happy doll.”

Mark and Mary inhaled at the same time. Somehow, they wound up sitting even closer to each other. By the time the next treat was given, “I live to serve,” Mark and Mary found themselves clutching each other. Apparently this whole scene was turning them on. Because of the rapport they had been feeling throughout the whole day, however, this quickly became a closed circuit.

By which I mean, every time Lee or Morgan did something to Vince– the first needle; the second needle; “I live to obey”; “happy dolls obey”; Lee slapping the skin where the needles found themselves impaled in Vince’s skin; the moment Morgan let Vince feel the pleasure coursing through his body for 20 seconds of blissful moans and then silence; when Lee and Morgan took turns with the breath play; “I am yours to command”; etc., etc., etc.—Mark and Mary would find themselves turned on, and turning each other on.

First they were clutching each other’s arms. Then they had their arms around each other. Then they were sitting in each other’s laps. Then they were grabbing each other’s hair and forcing each other to watch. At some point, Mary told me, staring down at the ground, she was pretty sure they were dry humping.

Morgan said she wasn’t sure which was hotter, the scene she and Lee were running, or the heavy petting on the couch.

No one was sure how long the scene lasted. Mark said it felt like 20 minutes. Lee thought it was about two hours. Vince lost all track of time and didn’t even know what day this happened. All I know is that I didn’t see them for at least three hours. I saw that door closed and didn’t bother to poke my head in.

No one was sure how or why it ended. Maybe the sun came up. Maybe there’s only so long a doll can be played with.

No one was sure how Mark and Mary managed not to tear off each other’s clothes, given how much they were apparently pawing at each other.

But really, everyone was certain, that the heat from that room peeled the paint off the walls and seared certain moments into their brains.

As Mark Twain once observed about stars, sometimes, when you least expect it…. Moments just happen.

19.  The Voices and the Bodies.

In the field in the afternoon, they gathered. They divided amongst themselves, an equal number of hypnotists and subjects. The subjects lay on the grass, soaking in the warm late summer sun. The hypnotists moved among them and around them. Their voices starting out as whispers.

They cajoled and urged the subjects to let their bodies stay behind in the warm ground and let loose their unconscious selves to dance around the tree.

Their voices collided and roamed the bodies supine before them.

On some unspoken signal, the voices, as one, raised in volume and intent.

This was not just going to be some simple sleepy trance.

No.

As one, the several hypnotists wanted to hear their chorus sing.

Once cajoling voices became commanding voices, controlling voices, demanding voices. Voices that seeped into sleepy minds and pushed through whatever inhibitions still remained after a weekend of fractionation.

Together, the ten or so hypnotists acted as a conductor, pushing their words into the soon writhing bodies in front of them. The hypnotists had started in a circle, clockwise, but now were going every which way.

The bodies in the middle, some began to clutch each other thoughtlessly. Others had their eyes roll up into the backs of their heads as if possessed.

Which, of course, they were.

The words flooded over them like a flood across a desert of rocks, leaving no resistance in their wake. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. The voices were insistent, were they not? The voices only asked for obedience for just as long as they kept talking.

And the obedience was for just one purpose, after all.

Pleasure.

And these voices, without their own decision or thought, demanded that pleasure. They wanted to lure it out into the open. To magnify it. To have each body’s pleasure reverberate off the next. To multiply and focus it. Up into the air. And back onto their waiting, quivering, deliciously strewn bodies.

Together, these voices squeezed in on what remained of the bodies’ minds. As every thought squeezed out let more pleasure in.

Together, as one, the throng of bodies on the ground outside under the warm late-summer sun, moaned and shouted and groaned and pleaded and cast their yesses out into the canyon.

And as the echo flowed back upon them….

The voices grew silent.

For they were sated and proud of what they had done.

20.  Hash-Marks

Each hash-mark is an orgasm.

One that I will forget.

The reverse of Doctor Who’s silence.

There each instance of terror is a mark to remind yourself of what you didn’t

want to see.

Here, each mark is a trigger for an orgasm you don’t want to forget.

Yet must.

Because each time you see it

You remember each time before.

And then you come.

They shared the game this time

And we got revenge on the other

Once we were allowed to remember

What’s this on my arm?

What’s that on yours?

Dozens of hash-marks

Dozens of orgasms

Shared

And shared alike

Until it was time to say good-bye.

Rolling up my sleeves

A friendly predatory glint in my eyes

Arms outstretched.

“Give me a hug.”

21.  Quiet.

Whenever you have been among your tribe

And you are returning to the grey, structured wilderness

Take a moment of quiet

To consider the questions unanswered

To reflect on who you are

And what you must take with you when you go.

22.  Warping and Wrapping Up

We cleaned the place up, as good tenants do. Every bit of trash was retrieved. Every bit of unused food collected. We had all pitched in, every one. When someone wanted to feel a trance, or go for a walk, or just to talk about what they had experienced, there was always someone there to talk to. Each and every person there had something to share.

And they shared it.

You may well ask what I get out of writing these stories or blogs about my experiences (even when I fictionalize them or render them into tone poems).

It’s only when I reached this last one that I truly realized.

As I’ve said before, I am trying to pay this forward. I am trying to repay those whose stories led me to this point, whose words cast out into the fiery confines of the internet, found my mind and encouraged me to take that first step blinking into the sun and solar systems of the various hypnosis events.

And I hope that I may one day be a good enough writer to lead others to make that same first step.

But I also write because when I took that first step I found myself a home. And so I write to go back to that home, and relive it once again.

We take care of each other and ourselves.

We clean up after each other and ourselves.

It’s what you’re supposed to do, after all.

After all, we are a community.

And this is what communities do.

NEEHU6: Part 2- The Wrath of Uncon

NEEHU6: Part Two: The Wrath of Uncon

 

Or

 

Ethics, Schmethics

We drove out from near Manchester, New Hampshire to Hartford in what felt like record time. I had a class that I was co-teaching with Mephki, founder and commander of the NEEHU Empire, but I may have misread the schedule (and by “may have” I mean, I did) so we wound up arriving well in advance of the class.

It was good to be back in the Society.

The playground was pretty much how I remembered it. The main difference seemed to be that, instead of the pale undecorated walls there had been last year, the walls had been painted red and orange, and it gave it a bit of pleasant, sultry ambience. But in any event, the feeling that surrounded me as I entered was the feeling that I was coming home; I saw so many people I had spent time with last year and at the various –ehus as I walked in. I felt immediately comfortable and in my own element. It was fantastic and heartwarming.

Being early at least allowed me to attend a class on “Overcoming Resistance,” which was a fun demo class taught by the erudite LeadPrism and the clever and gorgeous SashasTrance. Largely they focused on when the subjects “pretend” to resist, and ways to circumvent or have fun with that kind of resistance play. Part of it was to feed into the fantasy so many of us share of having our will overcome by a skilled hypnotist. Some of it is (and I think I’m actually giving away secrets, so my Subjects Card may get revoked) that we subjects like the attention hypnotists give us, and resisting means that the hypnotist will be paying that much more attention to us. It’s a little bit like the “brat” paradigm in some BDSM relationships.

[The “brat” paradigm occurs where certain submissives will “act up”– perhaps by deliberately disobeying a command, perhaps just by deliberately making the dominant work harder for something, or perhaps by something else—in order to get punished by the dominant. Essentially, the brat is goading the dominant. Some people love the dynamic, because it injects a certain level of fun and change into the relationship. On the other hand, some people can’t stand it, in part because on a certain level, the power exchange originates with the brat—the brat acts out to initiate the punishment, the punishment isn’t devised at the behest or whim of the dominant.]

In any event, resistance play can be a tool by subjects to draw more attention from the hypnotist. Other times it can serve as a tool for a role-play scene. LeadPrism and SashasTrance enjoy doing interrogation scenes, particularly mad scientist scenes. So practicing and playing with “resistance” is central to that kind of play.

The demos were fun and hot, and the questions and discussions were likewise on point and informative. I felt like the weekend was already off to a great start.

Right after that was the first of three classes that I was helping to present that day.

The first class of the day for me was “Intro to NEEHU 101.” For this class, Mephki and I went over the history of NEEHU and gave first-timers an overview of what to expect from the weekend and how to get the most out of their experiences. Part of the point of the class is also to emphasize the need for all the participants to take care of themselves. We try to remind them to get enough sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and watch themselves if or when they might suffer from “con drop” after the weekend. We also reinforced general ethical criteria, emphasizing the need for consent from subjects and hypnotists alike. We answered questions and led a general discussion. I was very gratified that people seemed engaged and enthusiastic about the event and the outline that Mephki and I provided.

The second class for me was Hypnotic Amnesia with LeeAllure. This was a repeat of a class we had done at MEEHU and WEEHU, and is based on the book the two of us have been working on. I’d like to say I can remember most of it, but I, frankly and not at all ironically, have dim recollections of what we did. (It worked!) I know we spoke about some of the techniques we used, as well as demonstrating a few of the games we’ve played with amnesia.

I’m pretty sure she had me demonstrate our “special water” game. This is a variant on the Merovingian scene from the Matrix: Reloaded, where a chocolate is given to a woman which produces an orgasmic effect on the woman who immediately forgets about it. For my part, Lee has given me a post-hypnotic trigger that, when she calls whatever I’m drinking the “Special Water,” I have a feeling of an orgasm with every sip…. And then I forget that I had the orgasm. The lingering effect, however, is that I feel thirsty… which of course makes me drink more water. I am told that it can be very entertaining to watch. People again seemed engaged and fascinated by the overall topic.

The third class was the Ethics Roundtable, which was billed as a panel discussion with HypnoMaestro, Sleepingirl and myself. I say that we were billed as a panel discussion because there was apparently some miscommunication wherein HypnoMaestro was under the impression that he was the moderator of the discussion. This turned out to be fine, just not what I expected. In any event, the class had a robust and frank exchange of views, with HypnoMaestro giving what he described as the “State of the Union of Hypnotic Ethics for NEEHU.” He recounted a progression from the first time ethics was discussed at NEEHU where the central question was actually “Do we need ethics?” to today, where-by the end of the class- the question seemed to be “What Sort of Ethics Should We Have?” Which leads me to the following tangent, which might be boring to some of you, so please feel free to skip ahead where there will be some sexy bits.

Tangent: Pynchon Pontificates on Hypno-Ethics…. Again.

One of the suggestions I made at the class was that the –ehu’s should individually impose as close to a mandatory orientation/ethics class for new attendees as reasonably possible.

What surprised me more than any other thing I witnessed was that several people were adamant that this was a bad idea. Why? The only reason I heard (or remember being given) was that it was because people don’t learn when it’s mandatory.

Let me state for the record (he said, pounding on the podium) that I think it’s a terrible, terrible idea not to have “mandatory” ethics/orientation classes.

[I put “mandatory” in quotes because a small, privately-operated convention would simply not have the resources to investigate whether someone was attending an –ehu for the first time. Therefore, there would really be no way to strictly enforce a “mandatory” ethics/orientation class requirement. So when I say “mandatory,” what I mean to say is that the –ehu has a statement that says something to the effect of “New attendees are strongly encouraged to attend this class for their own safety, knowledge and enjoyment.”]

If, in fact, it is the case that a clueless hypnotist or subject can cause damage whether through neglect or ignorance, then it seems a no-brainer (if you’ll pardon the pun) to have such a mandatory class. I’m led to believe that every state in the US (and most countries around the world) requires people to attend classes before earning a driver’s license. Is the idea that such classes are boring a reason to jettison the notion of requiring such classes?

To the retort that “such classes create the illusion of safety, which cannot be guaranteed” (which I have heard as a partial justification for not having such classes) I would counter that driver’s-ed classes are likewise no “guarantee” of safety, yet few would deny that, on balance, the existence of such classes makes the world and the highways safer.

And finally, to the retort that “mandatory classes are boring,” I suppose that just makes it a challenge to those who would teach it to make it more interesting and fascinating to the class. As I pointed out in the discussion, my “Subjects 102” class is really 2/3 about ethics and setting boundaries. It’s merely incumbent on discussion facilitators to be more enticing, and to fold ethics discussions into their standard classes.

I’d also point out that it’s not unheard of for kink-related organizations to require people to attend one or more munches and/or orientation classes before being allowed to attend play-parties, so there is a track-record of such requirements.

And with that, I get to hop down from my soap-box.

The rest of the discussion was, for me, really interesting, because it felt like everyone was taking the topic seriously, had strong views, and was respecting everyone else’s opinion. More importantly, it did not devolve into a shouting match, nor did I get the sense that anyone’s feelings were hurt. If only all of life’s important dilemmas could be conversed about so easily. The conversation continued onto Fetlife, and took on its own life (as one would imagine). Many conversations centered on the question of what ethics in hypnosis should look like, why or whether EH should have an ethical code separate and/or distinct from any other kink-related activity, and what enforcement should (or shouldn’t) look like.

Directly afterwards, a group of our friends had a meeting to discuss our “Consensual-Non-Consent (“CNC”)” game. The methodology behind the game was that anyone involved was given a gold or a red-colored necklace. The red-color meant that you were a “bottom,” while the gold meant you were a top. (Switches would wear both necklaces.) Each of us wrote down our limits on a post-it we stuck to the back of our name-tag. Otherwise, anyone with a red necklace could do anything to a person with a gold necklace as long as each was wearing the necklace (and within the parameters of the limits). This essentially meant that there were shenanigans throughout the weekend with our extended troupe of marauders.

After that class, and our little meeting, I admit, I was a little beat. We made our way back to the hotel where HYS, Lee’s slave, had put our luggage away. We rested for a bit, got changed and then headed back to the Society for play-time.

The first order of business once we got back was for me to find WildNutmeg and tackle her…. Wait. No. Actually, it was to bring her into the back room, where we had volunteered to help out with dual inductions. Wiseguy and Mrs. Wiseguy were the ostensible coordinators, but I gather from his blog that Mrs. Wiseguy was busy all day and the two of them did not reach the Society until quite late, so Nutmeg and I were on our own at first.

We did a couple of inductions, including a beautiful one with Unidragon in which we had her envisioning herself flying and soaring into the air and into a trance and in an out of several hypnotic orgasms. It was great to see how Nutmeg and I worked together doing something that we hadn’t actually practiced. We had established an incredible rapport at Deep Mind Dark Wood (for reasons which I’m working on explaining in a separate blog) and it was wonderful to see that rapport continue. We fell into sync very easily. We did a few more, and then Lee volunteered to sit between us.

We did our darndest to take her into a trance. But apparently at some point I happened on the phrase “it’s such a good feeling.” It turns out that when I happen on a phrase I like, I repeat it. Which was unfortunate, because Lee flashed back to Mister Rogers singing “It’s a good feeling,” which was decidedly unsexy.

Nevertheless, Lee forgave me, because she immediately turned the tables on us, and did a very quick double trance on Nutmeg and I. I…actually don’t remember everything she told us. Shortly thereafter, she was off to do a scheduled group trance and Nutmeg was asked by Wiseguy to do some dual trances with him and Mrs. Wiseguy.

Before too long, it was time for Lee and I to do a demo. We had decided on a hypno-interrogation scene, much like the one she and I had done at MEEHU. This time Nutmeg was invited to join us. Nutmeg and I conferred, and chose a “secret code,” which is what Lee would attempt to get out of us. We decided on the first 6 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Where I had the first three numbers (1,1,2) and Nutmeg got the last three (3,5,8). Almost immediately I realized my mistake: Nutmeg, having the second group, would almost certainly wait for me to break, before she did. So I wouldn’t have the joy of watching her break first.

Lee went after us using a variety of hypnotic, NLP, and other techniques. It should be noted that I can be a little mouthy in these situations. So I might say things like, “If I confess will you stop boring us?” “You really are a bitch, aren’t you?”, and the classic, “Fuck off!” There was slapping, some hair pulling, and one point where she stood on my thigh in her high heel shoes. Surprisingly, this did not lead to a bruise. (This will be important later.)

She played us off against each other beautifully, playing to our sympathies for each other (Though when Lee told Nutmeg she’d torture me in front of her, Nutmeg offered to help a little too eagerly, thank you very much.). She also “injected” us with a drug that made us susceptible and suggestible. She played on our rapport, telling us that each would feel what the other was feeling, as she pressed down on the place on my thigh where her heel had been.

Between the language, the physicality and the atmosphere, I was definitely soon in the mind space that I would give her what she wanted. I tried to hide breaking, by telling her that it was “First a matter of telling the truth, First a matter of not lying, and Second something to pay attention to.” But before long I told her. And then Nutmeg “broke,” as well. The shame of it was that Lee (like me) does not have a “loud” voice. And much of the interrogation was more intense than boisterous, so a lot of our scene was lost on the people watching it. Nevertheless, we had a great time.

The three of us retired to the “pillow fort” built in the corner of the play room. We laid about and talked about the scene. After a while, Lee lured us into yet another trance, playing once again on our rapport. She made the pleasure of the trance I was feeling reverberate off of Nutmeg, which reverberated off of me, and so forth, until pretty soon, the two of us were a bit of a writhing display on either side of Lee. Lee also may have used her rather fetching spiral-ish-threaded stockings as the basis for a trance, but there’s a certain point at which things got a little blurry.

Lee got up for a while, and Fleur sat down. Fleur wants to note that I did, in fact “drag her to the pillow fort by her hair.” In my defense <cough, cough> I don’t recall any actual “dragging.” But it’s entirely possible I was in such a fantastic top space that some entirely hot and consensual “dragging” may have occurred. Some people just like being treated like a puppet… Or a poppet. I had worked with Fleur a little bit before, and I had an idea. So, with their permission, I put both Fluer and Nutmeg in a trance at the same time, and gave them both the same post-hypnotic suggestion, which was loosely based on a video series called “Hysterical Literature.” Go ahead, look it up on Youtube, I’ll still be here when you’re done.

In those videos, a woman sits at a desk, fully clothed, and reads from a book. As she does so, someone underneath applies a vibrator to her and builds her to an orgasm, as the woman attempts to keep her composure for as long as possible.

In my variant, I gave the Fleur and Nutmeg the post-hypnotic suggestion that anytime I read something to them, they would feel the words I was saying on their private parts, as if the very consonants and vowels were-ahem- strumming over them.

Shortly thereafter, I tested it by reading one of the stories I had published on Tumblr to Fleur. It was a major success. She held herself up against a wall as I, very simply, read the story to her. A few minutes later, I tried the same thing with Nutmeg. Once again, it worked. There’s a fantastic feeling in having someone literally writhing. On. Your. Every. Word.

In the middle of this, ZanyM came by and watched the scenes. I explained in detail what was happening with Fleur and Nutmeg. She was in a bit of a suggestible state, and as I set the scene, I saw that brief enchanting flutter of the eyes that indicate that the brain is accepting new commands. Before long she leaned into me, and I started reading to her… and it worked on her. It’s one of the beauties of fractionation that one can find ones’ self in such a suggestible state. I read her the same story, all the way through, and watched admiringly as she felt every single word. I was so pleased with the moment; that the evening had coalesced in three scenes, each filled with incomparable magic and beauty. I am still so speechless with how wonderfully ZanyM captured the moment from her perspective in her blog.

Sometime after this, Lee, HYS, Lee’s puppet, and I went to dinner. We wound up at our shared hotel room and chatted with ZanyM for a little while. ZanyM was gracious enough to do some of her lovely body work on me, which I greatly appreciated and left me in good stead to be energized and well for the rest of the weekend.

ZanyM’s partner, DrDream, came by, and we all gossiped and discussed our general plans for the weekend.

Shortly afterwards, exhausted after a long, long day of excitement, intrigue, and fun, we collapsed into our beds.

NEXT TIME: Class! Another Class! Yet another class!! Fun classes! All the classes!!! The future of –EHUs!!! Hypno-oh-Oh-OH! Pynchon is approached! Pynchon is approachable?? Dinner!

NEEHU6 Blog and Trip Report: Part One: The Voyage Home

The Voyage Home

Or

Traces and Places of Home, Back in New York City

To begin with NEEHU, I have to backtrack to a few days before.

But before I do that, I need to fast-forward to today. As I begin this blog, I’m somewhere South of Cleveland, twenty-thousand feet in the air. I am exhausted, but exhilarated. My weekend this year was even better than the one last year. I wouldn’t say it was more life-changing, but then again, I didn’t know at the time that last year’s NEEHU would prove to change everything for me. I also just received a lovely email from someone saying that their experience this last weekend changed their life. In my somewhat fractionated, somewhat tired, somewhat open state, I freely admit that the email had me sobbing. Great, big, ugly sobs.

And so I get to begin writing, telling, as much as I can, about how I experienced this NEEHU.

But as I said, to begin that story, I have to go back a few days before the “Unconference” itself. When I decided to return to NEEHU (not that it was particularly a tough decision) my friend ZanyM suggested that I come out and teach a class in New York City a few days before. Now it just so happened that the day I would arrive to teach the class was also the day Lee was to return to the States from a month-long trip in Europe spreading the gospel of erotic hypnosis.

After some coordination, it was decided. I would teach the Subjects 102 class I had taught already at WEEHU and at a special class for the San Francisco hypno-group. Travel arrangements were made, tickets were purchased, and I prepped myself for the trek.

The class itself is really a basic class for subjects to offer tips on how to define and develop boundaries and limits, how to work towards asking for the trances and experiences they want, and how to behave ethically in the community.

Tangent- On Ethics in the Erotic Hypnosis Community.

This topic is one I imagine I’ll be returning to over and over again in this blog and in however long I stay in the community (hopefully a long, long time). And for some of you out there, particularly the more vanilla readers, you may very well wonder why there is any sort of issue with ethics in the Erotic Hypnosis (“EH”) world.

To talk about this I should (once again) take a step back and give some context. Having ethical standards isn’t just important in the related BDSM community; it’s essential. Consider that hitting someone hard (whether with your hand or an implement) is generally considered assault and battery. But what makes it all right in the BDSM community? Consent and assumption of risk. If I ask someone to slap me across the face, I have consented to the resulting slap. This is why, for example, boxers do not get arrested for their actions in the ring, or why you are unlikely to be able to sue someone if you get injured by a fair tackle in a pick-up tackle football or soccer game (or why you can’t accuse someone of assault if they foul you in a basketball game). By participating in your chosen sport you have implicitly consented to a degree of touching, hitting, jostling or what-have-you.

But with BDSM this can be problematic. For one thing, several states claim that you cannot consent to what I understand lawyers call an “intentional tort,” like punching. In other words, no matter how much someone says “punch me” out loud and with sober intent, you cannot, in fact, punch them in that State. In other states, consent is a defense. Great. But how do you establish consent? Well, it becomes imperative to negotiate that consent. But, as I’m sure you may be noticing, surely someone can take advantage of this state of affairs; it seems like it would be relatively easy to assault someone in a BDSM arena and claim “oh, I thought I had consent.” Almost certainly you then have a “he said/she said” (mix genders as appropriate) situation. And one need only Google “rape culture” to see how these sorts of conflicts play out in the world or in the justice system.

As one can imagine, it is rare for people who have experienced consent violations in the BDSM community to go to the local authorities. Given how many people are uncomfortable with the idea of kink, many people understand that to go to the authorities could result in the loss of their job or worse. (It should also be noted that, while a “consent violation” is a bad thing, not all consent violations are treated the same: accidentally having a slip of a tongue and calling someone something they didn’t say they’d appreciate is far different from leaning over and punching someone while they’re in the middle of a scene with someone else. Neither is a good thing, both are to be avoided, but each is a separate issue and should be handled differently.)

But DJ, I hear you asking, are there any special issues with regards to EH play involving these things? Why yes, gentle reader, yes there are. You see, much of the fantasies involving EH typically spiral around the idea of losing your control to another person. Many of us look for that person who will overcome our will power and “make us do these things we don’t [really] want to do.” In short, it’s practically a whole arena predicated on the fantasy of consent violations.

How the hell do you police that?

So my class was developed to try to get subjects to consciously (heh) think about their limits and boundaries ahead of time, so that they don’t (whether inadvertently or predatorily) get seduced into something they may not be comfortable with at that time. And what’s rather remarkable, is that in talking to recreational hypnotists, they’ve said, almost uniformly, that having a subject who can set boundaries and say no, even under trance, makes them more comfortable working with that subject. Think about that.

In any event, it’s a topic I’ll be returning to here and there throughout this blog, I imagine.

I arrived in NYC, met Lee (who had arrived about an hour earlier at the same airport) and headed for some martinis and some appetizers at a very good Thai place just around the corner from the class.

I confess I was nervous. It is one thing for me to teach a class in San Francisco, effectively my second hometown, and to do it at the request of people who had sat in on my class and could assess whether it was something worthwhile. It was quite another to have friends—who had never actually been in the class—essentially stick their necks out for me and vouch for my relative qualities as a teacher. I really did not want to let them down.

With all of that said, it really seemed to go over well. The Eulenspiegel Society, a fantastic organization, generously allowed me to teach at their TES Hypnokink and Novice SIG (“Special Interest Group”) for about 90 minutes. It was a nice crowd and there were some fantastic questions (except for the fellow who may have been confused as to the nature of the class being geared towards subjects as opposed to hypnotists. But that person did arrive late-or else, in my jet-lagged state, I misunderstood the question.).

The second half of the class was given over to open discussion, which I also found very gratifying and informative.

(I can’t tell you much of the details since such discussions are generally considered private so as to create a safe space for open discussion. Please imagine that I answered questions wonderfully and masterfully and that will be far enough from the truth to protect the integrity of the event.)

Also—technically speaking, I can now say I performed off-Broadway.

A group of us then went out for a quick bite and then Lee and I crashed at ZanyMo and DrDream’s place. Special thanks to both of them for being such fantastic hosts and friends. Somehow, despite me being on Pacific Time and Lee being on British Standard time, we all went to bed at around the same time.

The next morning, Lee and I went to Penn Station and then boarded the train for her place up in New Hampshire. Although NEEHU does more or less start on Thursday night with pre-parties and hot tubbing at the hotel, Lee wanted to go home for at least one night before the weekend, and I was happy to accompany her to prep for the classes we’d be co-presenting. Plus, riding on a train with “your own private hypnotist” for a few hours is pretty cool, and I’m not one to look gift-horses in mouths.

But even on top of that, there was the fact that there is a lovely symmetry in spending the day with Lee. Faithful readers may remember that when I arrived at NEEHU, at the pool, at the hotel, Lee trance tackled me and gave me my first ever live trance. It was the culmination of a day that changed my life (and it’s only gotten better from there). So spending the same Thursday-one year later- with Lee only made sense.

After the train we took a bus for the remainder of the trip, which is where I wrote the “Prologue” blog.

We spent the remainder of the day and night getting various items together and hatching plans, as well as meeting up with people who’d be traveling with us to the site.

As, perhaps you can tell, I was excited to return to NEEHU. I was also slightly nervous—would it be as fantastic the second time around?

I mean, can you ever really go home again?

NEXT TIME—Classes! More Classes! Three hours straight of classes! Why do I volunteer for these things? Subjects 102 contains a whole section on saying “no,” why can’t I do that, too? And, of course, catching up with “old” friends.

30) Fitful sleeps

31) My first munch..

MEEHU, A Personal Blog, The Conclusion

Sunday in the Park With George

 

Or

 

May All Your Mondays Be Like This

            I was in a park by the Lake in Chicago. If I even knew the park’s name, I don’t think I would tell you. I was holding hands with two beautiful women (even if one was and is ridiculously tiny). A handsome man stood near us. A third woman, my friend and fellow instigator, walked around us, saying words over us and through us. It was a magical spell as sure as anything in this reality can be a magical spell:

The hot humid summer afternoon;

the words;

the fractionation of the previous four days;

the morning we had just spent, roaming around parts of Chicago;

the zoo;

the friendships;

the way the sun caught the gold, green and yellow flowers all around us;

the way we were finishing each others’ sentences;

the trance that Lee was sending us into, each hand holding on for dear life, each hand and each breath and each other hand sending us deeper and deeper into a trance;

the way the summer breeze caught our sighs, caught our minds, caught our senses;

the way I had mentioned to Lee that I had never really had a walking, waking trance;

the way Lee had said, “well, then,” and began my walking, waking trance;

the way Seb had chosen that moment to do the same with Fay and Emiliana;

the experience as I had said good-bye to cc and DaSade and Sleepingirl;

the moment I had shook hands with AmHypnotic;

spending time with Tesdenic;

remembering all the moments;

being the Doctor;

being another Doctor;

running from the Weeping Angels;

hashmarks on the arm;

the general camaraderie of the group as they had one last meal together in the hotel kitchenette, giving hugs and promises of seeing each other at the next one, whatever and whenever that next one would be;

driving through the Chicago traffic, always alert but somehow never feeling anxious or nervous;

Pynch-rage;

the snippets of words and conversations from the previous few days;

Lee playing the number slider game “2048,” sending me deeper and deeper as the numbers collided into each other and added up;

our minds in a trance in a park in a bustling city of millions, yet no sound in that park save the rustling of leaves and plants and Lee’s words and the trance that took us into itself and made us leave the waking world;

“your service is so pure”: words said to me that I was still, am still, will still (be) processing;

the three drink minimum fractionation moment;

“an orange juice sounds SO good right now,” “Why yes, yes it does”;

Em’s first trance;

Em trancing me;

Fay’s burning trance;

the hypno-egg;

The Empire of Light;

the flickering beat of memories behind my eyes, now vivid, now fading, now vivid, now fading…..

These are all just words struggling to convey the message to you, dear reader, that this was a perfect moment.

And if you’ve ever been in a perfect moment, you know that black words on a white page will not give such a moment form. There was once a monologist named, improbably, Spaulding Grey. He came to fame talking about his experiences with a bit part in the movie, “The Killing Fields” in a movie, directed by Jonathan Demme, called “Swimming to Cambodia.” He takes well over an hour building to a moment…. I will not spoil that moment here. But the point is that, having the attention of an audience and an unlimited capacity for words, it took him more than an hour to lay the groundwork for describing one perfect moment. Which was, after all, but a minute on a day on the other side of the world. How can I describe a weekend that was a string of perfect moments, like diamonds on a royal crown?

All I can say is that there are a few moments I’ve had in my life that I would describe as “perfect,” (and I will not share them with you) but this weekend had several. And they still take my breath away.

And then the trance ended, and we walked on.

We walked to a coffee house and chatted about nothing in particular for a while. Before long it was time to take everyone home, I dropped Lee off at the train, and drove Seb, Em, and Fay over to the airport.

Then I drove myself back to the hotel room; my plane didn’t leave until 5 am the next morning. I walked down the hall that had just recently been full of people and kink and trances and all manner of shenanigans. And the place was silent and quiet. Somehow, although I knew there were a few people still there from the weekend, I didn’t run into any of them.

I pieced myself together as best as I could. I drove to the airport, dropped off the hulk-mobile, and made my way home.

Once again, Mrs. Pynchon said that my energy was “so clean” when I saw her again. As if I had been cleansed. I always find that ironic, given how dirty some of our play is. Whatever the –ehus do with me, they sharpen me somehow.

*       *       *

Thanks, as always, to the volunteers, organizers and to everyone who attended MEEHU.

Thanks to Sleepingirl, for her inspiration (for starters) as a writer, subject, and friend. She is wise beyond her years. She is wise beyond my years, frankly. But also for being someone else who has a hard time taking a complement. At one point we had this wonderfully weird fight where we tried to make each other uncomfortable by relaying compliments to each other. Talk about perversion.

Thanks to Mephki, for starting the –ehus in the first place, and for her continued friendship.

Thanks to SweetGasp, for being a fellow Doctor.

Thanks to DannyK and Dancecode and others for being brilliant Weeping Angels.

Thanks to AmHypnotic for being such a fantastic example for the community.

Thanks to Daja and SpiralTurquoise, for whom, even though I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with them, I could always see they were spreading their own brand of cuteness and joy throughout the uncon.

Thanks to Seb, for his friendship, and for setting standards as a writer that I can only hope to attain. Also thanks for being brave and throwing yourself into the mix, even when the alternative must have seemed so enticing.

Thanks to Em, for being an unexpected diamond and fellow traveller. It is so gratifying to meet someone who shares the same energy.

Thanks to Fayvie, for being so brave and game as to come to a different country, and for meeting all of these crazy people, and for taking that leap. (I also guarantee that Mrs. Pynchon exists).

Thanks to LeeAllure. She has been a friend, hypnotist, mentor, co-writer, and… did I mention friend?

            And finally, to Mrs. Pynchon. She still doesn’t understand why the hell I’m doing it, but she is so happy I am, and supports me every step of the way. I am humbled by her love. Thanks for being part of my journey.

And, incidentally, thank you, gentle reader, for going on this journey with me. Hopefully you’ll continue on this path.

Next time:  Twenty-two Short Stories About “Deep Mind Dark Wood.”

MEEHU, A Personal Blog, Part 5: Saturday!

Moments in the Woods

or

How Much Can you Do in One Day?

I woke up excited at the prospect of attending the first full day of MEEHU. For many people, going to conventions is solely about the socializing. While I adore the socializing, I loves me a good panel discussion and I was looking forward to a fair number of panels and classes.

Among the classes was Lee’s Rapport class, which I believe I am contractually obliged not to discuss about because it’s one of those classes with a twist. Suffice it to say that it’s an interesting class with a useful application beyond hypnosis.

I also sat in on SleepingGirl’s and Ms. Mesmer’s “Subjects 101” class. This was an outgrowth of conversations and a session she had had on Hypbook to focus on the needs of subjects. Apparently, in several previous unconferences, subject oriented classes were few and far between. Sleepingirl had taken the lead (somewhat ironically) for a discussion on the needs of subjects, especially with respect to focusing on empowering subjects to set boundaries and learning how and when to say no. This panel built on that, including what challenges are faced by people being introduced to the arena for the first time. There were various types of individuals there, from those who had been dreaming of coming to something like this for all their lives to people who were being introduced to the idea for the first time by their partners. One individual was so nervous he had had troubles leaving his room on Friday night, and attending this panel was the first time he had found the courage to actually participate in the fetish in “real life.”

My heart bled for him. (And more on him later.)

The panel was brilliant, and Mesmer and SG really kept it moving and informative.

I then attended the Dual Induction class, led by Wiseguy and LeeAllure. A dual induction is…. Well, just that. An induction performed by two people on a single person. They went through various methods of induction—one taking the lead and another following; one person speaking in the left ear speaking to the “Left side of the brain” and being more formal, while the other spoke in the “right ear” while being more artistic.

In order to bring forth volunteers, we sat in a circle and the Wiseguy and Lee placed an office chair in the middle. They spun it around and, wherever the chair stopped, that person would sit in the chair and receive an induction.

Whether it was karma or some other grand design, the first two people to be in the “mush pot” were perfect. First was MigMig, who had flown in last minute from Mexico City. Aside from a shared love for the beautiful game, Mig was a fantastic participant and a good conversationalist. He was a joy to have at the event.

The second person in the “mush pot” was that very same fellow who had felt stranded in his room the first night. I was so happy for him that he was able to enjoy a trance at the hands of such great teachers.

There were a few other trances and, amusingly enough, when they began discussing having multiple trancers with a single subject, AmHypnotic (who is a fantastic hypnotist in his own right) waltzed into the room. Timing. AmHypnotic then joined Lee and Wiseguy in “ganging up” on a “poor, unsuspecting” subject. It was awesome to watch.

There were other classes and discussions and it was just a delight to soak up all of the thoughts and the overall energy of the place.

One of the classes that Em, Seb, Fay and I attended was “your first trance” which was set up to have people try to experience their first trance as either a hypnotist or subject.

Fay very nicely asked if I was interested in being her first subject. I said I’d be honored.

She had me focus on the wall behind her, on which was a water sprinkler. She said the following:

“OK DJ. Please focus on the sprinkler behind me.”

I did.

“Look at how shiny the sprinkler is, and how it draws your eyes to it.”

It was very shiny. It was, all of a sudden, very fascinating.

“… think about it calming you down.”

I did think about it. How shiny it was. How the light reflecting off of it was holding my attention.

“Think about how it makes you feel….. “

What? How it makes me feel?

“Safe. How it’s used to make sure people are safe.”

Wait… what?

“Think about its uses.”

And I couldn’t resist: “Yes. Think about it’s a good thing it’s there, because looking at all these people in this room it’s kind of a firetrap. And thank goodness we’re not going be burned alive. Easily, anyway.”

And that kind of killed the mood for a minute.

So instead, she decided to try a simple hand-shake induction. Which involves, as you would expect, shaking hands and then, interrupting that process by pulling and saying, simply but firmly, “sleep.” It’s not one to try on beginners. But by this point, I wasn’t really a beginner.

So she did that and it worked. However, although I was obviously a willing participant, she hadn’t technically asked me permission to do that induction right then and there.

So I said, as I was shaking her hand, “here, this is how you should do it. ‘Fay, may I hypnotize you?’”

She said, “yes.”

And I said “thank you.”

And just as I breathed in to say “sleep” to her, she pulled on my hand and said “Sleep!”

And I was out.

She brought me up, and Seb and Em were still laughing.

“Hoisted on my own petard.” I said. Sigh.

After this, we started talking about “switch fights,” which raises an interesting question, “What is a Switch?”

Tangent- What is a Switch (Particularly in Hypnosis-speak)?

 

I think the usual way that people on the outside looking in tend to think of a scene in the BDSM world (when they think of it) is probably in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sense of it. Which is to say, on the one hand you have someone holding the whip, and on the other you have someone getting whipped. In the BDSM general parlance, one person is the “top” and the other is the “bottom.” This is more or less generally accepted terminology, though you will find master/servant (or master/slave), Dominant (or Domme) and submissive, parent/little, or Sir or ma’am and “hey you,” depending on the needs of the people involved. However you slice it, when someone is performing a type of scene usually there is one taking the lead and the other who is following. Like in a dance.

Oftentimes, one person enjoys being in a space where they are only one or the other. However, some people are quite happy doing either. For example, in these journeys, I’ve seen people who have enjoyed being tied up with rope, and being bound helplessly in the air. The next day, I’ll see them tying someone else up.

With hypnosis, it seems, there is a greater fluidity in whether one serves as either hypnotist or subject, at least more than I’ve seen in my (Admittedly relatively limited) observances. Because hypnosis is premised on (generally) more vocal interaction, it’s easier to switch from one side to the other. In fact, several hypnotists will say that they go into trance themselves, while helping someone into a trance state. That’s not something that can really happen while whipping or tying someone up.

There is, in some corners of BDSM, what are called “switch fights,” which is where two people will actually “fight” for dominance over each other. Sometimes the “winner” is preset, but not always. This can be fairly tame, like a wrestling match or pillow fight, or it can be fairly brutal.

In hypnosis, however, you can have a switch fight between any two people who are interested in going into a trance. In a sense, you’re offsetting their desire to go into trance with their competitive nature(s). The winner(?) is whoever resists going into trance.

So Fay and I discussed having a hypno-switch fight between us and what form that would take. Initially we tried the handshake induction against each other. But literally every time we tried it, we both pulled and said “Sleep” at the exact same time. Which was funny from the outside, but not terribly effective; we were more likely to bang our heads against each other than send each other into trance.

Finally, as a group, we thought about the “hypno-egg.” (see the last blog for info about the Hypno-egg).

If I were entranced to think about the hypno egg the same way Fayvie was, then we could hand it back and forth, and whoever went into trance “last” would “win.”

It was a plan. But first, dinner, which was prepared by the fantastic staff and volunteers at MEEHU. Truly, the whole day was wonderfully run, and it was a joy to be with everyone.

Before the hypno-egg toss, however, I had one pre-planned scene to attend to. At NEEHU, the lovely and talented SweetGasp had put together a “Weeping Angel” Scene. In that scene, she had hypnotized several willing subjects to be the Angels. They were told that they would see a designated person as “the Doctor.” If the Doctor saw them they would stand perfectly still. But if they noticed the Doctor “blinking” or looking away, then they could move. Their goal? To touch the Doctor.

I was told it was a fantastic scene, but I was unavoidably detained at dinner and missed it at NEEHU, so I was determined to participate with her this time around.

I didn’t see much of her over the course of the weekend; her room was quite the social and sundry center. She had surrounded herself with a bevy of like-minded people, and occasionally I would pass by her room, hurrying to some other appointment, catching glimpses of some enticing play before having to scurry on.

SweetGasp and I had agreed on one thing, however: we were both to be the Doctor. I was to be number 13, and she was to be number 14. We had also dressed in our own versions of what we thought “our” Doctor would look like. I was in a blue plaid sports jacket, with a bluish V-neck over a white t-shirt. SweetGasp was also in a jacket over spangly baubles and a very fetching skirt. We started in one of the play rooms where she had entranced the five angel volunteers. We began:

Me (Facing away from the angels, back to back with her, who was facing them, as I held the sonic screwdriver out and activated it): Nope, no angels over here.

Her:     Uh…..

Me:      Do I know that voice?

Her:     I remember that voice.

Me:      Any angels in your area?

Her:     Oh, yes.

Me:      (turning around) Oh. (Glancing at her.) And you are?

Her:     (pulling out a sonic screwdriver) You.

Me:      Oh…. (looking her up and down) Still not ginger.

Her:     (Glancing at me) Plaid? I can’t believe I wore that. At least I have taste now.

Me:      (Turning to face her) Really??

Her:     (Facing me) Yes!

At which point the angels moved, and we turned back to face them.

Me:      On the plus side, you do give meaning to the phrase “wibbly-wobbly.”

And so forth. The banter was almost more fun than the scene itself. But the scene was brilliant in its own right. The “Angels” were consumed with us. Every time we looked away they would advance with serious intent on touching us. We worked our way down the hall as the angels advanced on us, through the con suite, until they cornered us and tagged us after about a half hour of running and banter.

It was fun, and I’m profoundly grateful to both SweetGasp and all the Angels. Though next time we need a rule that if our banter makes them break character, they lose and are no longer an angel. We might have won.

After that (and by now it was only about 8:30 pm) I found the delightfully tiny Fayvie, along with Seb and Emiliana, back in the rainbow room. We found someone to entrance me and give me the same command as Fay, namely, that the hypnoegg would entirely hypnotically consume me and that every change in color would send me deeper. (And thanks to Autumn for filling in on short notice!)

So Fay and I brought two chairs to face each other; we were maybe about one foot apart from each other, and began the competition. It was amazing how deeply consumed each of us quickly became in the Egg (and I capitalize that on purpose). The urge to give in to the trance was enormous; the Egg, which was maybe one foot in length, seemed to loom large in my vision. Each change in color made me want to go deeper and deeper. It became more and more difficult to hand the Egg back to Fayvie. And each time she had it, it was an internal struggle whether I wanted it back or not. Literally, it was an internal war over whether my eagerness to go into trance would win out over my own competitiveness. What made it extremely funny was that Fay was in the exact same boat.

After almost ten minutes of handing the Egg back and forth, each time taking longer and longer to hand it to the other person, the Egg finally settled on one person. Fay held onto it, and I “won,” even though I couldn’t take my eyes off of it either.

Once Seb leaned over and turned the Egg off (thus rescuing both of us) I looked around, and easily about 8 people had gathered around to watch.

Shortly thereafter, Lee returned from an evening she had spent out with some friends. I told her about the Egg fight, and, after a little while, Fay and I agreed to a rematch.

You’d have thought that after the first time, given how fractionated we both were, the second time would happen much more quickly. You’d be wrong.

In fact, this one went on about twice as long. Fay and I slowly handed the Egg back and forth between us. Every move became more and more of an effort, but each one of us was spurred on by our own competitive natures. What also contributed was that our respective hypnotists, Lee and Sebastian, began egging [sic] us on (you’re welcome). Pretty soon the crowd had doubled: we had no fewer than 20 people watching us hand this colored egg back and forth.

For some reason, we had decided that the color blue was the most enticing color. The Egg would shuffle through all the colors on about a 45-60 second timer. We would therefore try to time our hand off to right when the color was about to turn blue. This of course meant that we had to hold on to it, staring intently at the shifting colors, trying to remember to let go right before blue, as either (or both) Lee and Seb were telling us how fascinating the colors were, as the crowd stared at us intently slipping away and us the slipping the Egg from one hand to the other.

It was intense.

In the end, after a good 20-30 minutes, and crowd cheering, and each of us laughing (and enjoying being the center of so much attention, let’s be honest)…. Fay finally succumbed again. I’d say it was a good feeling to emerge victorious, but I was pretty much gone as well, as the last few times I had the Egg it felt ridiculously massive in my hands, and it took such concentrated efforts to push it over to Fay.

[As I read Mrs. Pynchon this, she laughed and said, “Erotic hypnosis?? It’s not like I’d poke my head in, see what you two were doing and say ‘Oh, the depravity!’”]

While I rested and recovered (and Seb shared some time with Fay) Emiliana approached Lee. She had decided to actually experience a trance, and asked Lee to put her under. I couldn’t help but sit nearby (in my already out of it space) and listen in. Lee incorporated Emiliana’s background and interests into the trance; it was amazing to listen to, and I, for once, I managed not to “trancejack” someone else’s trance. However, you’ll have to check out her blog for the details. (http://emilianadarling.wordpress.com).  And for Fay’s take on some of these events, check out: http://fayvie.tumblr.com.

At some point, we realized it was well past 2 in the morning. One by one we drifted off to bed. I was exhausted, but looking forward to more hijinks that were to come.

NEXT TIME: Hypnotic Amnesia class! Pynchon teaches a class! Who for the price of one! Hashmarks! Emiliana really becomes one of us! Strangest, switch-fight, ever!

MEEHU, A Personal Trip Report, Part 4, Friday Night

I Know Things Now

Or

Scenester Stories.

We found our way back to the hotel and made it just before dinner. Dinner, served by the Unconference, was a selection of some of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzas. Now, I’m a fan of thick crust, but must admit that the soup-in-a-bowl nature of the deep dish pizzas was not to my taste.

Nevertheless, it was fantastic catching up with some of my old (you know, “old,” as in, from four months prior) friends over dinner, including Mephki, Marc Cabot, SweetGasp, and others. It was also wonderful to finally meet some of the people I had only known through Hypbook. The atmosphere was, for me, so comfortable and friendly.

I got dressed and joined LeeAllure and, well, everyone, really, in a slightly cramped room for a hypnosis stage show. I walked in just before the show was to start so I wound up sitting on the floor in the corner.

The show was a “classic” hypnosis show. For those of you who don’t know what that means, here you go: Usually, a hypnosis show starts out with the hypnotist/performer discussing the pluses and minuses of hypnosis, what it is and what it isn’t (this portion of the performance was somewhat curtailed for the obvious reasons). Then the hypnotist runs people through various “suggestibility” tests. This usually takes the form of the hypnotist telling the audience to imagine that their hand is attached to balloons, which lift their arm up. If your arm actually moves and levitates (which happens for far more people than you might at first imagine, even if you’re not at a hypnosis conference), then you’re probably fairly suggestible.

The hypnotist will bring volunteers up and perform relatively quick inductions on each person. Then the hypnotist will have the volunteers run through various scenarios. This could be having various subjects believe that another subject smells funny. It could be that the hypnotist tells you you’re singing karaoke, or that the person next to you is extremely attractive or smells weird, or that you’re from the planet “macho” and that you’re going to show just how incredibly manly you are while the Village People’s “Macho Man” plays over the sound system. It can be incredibly cheesy and/or incredibly funny, largely depending on the quality of the volunteers and/or the hypnotist. For a really good fictional account of a hypnosis show, (and a pretty good primer on hypnosis in general) check you this story: http://www.mcstories.com/BusmansHoliday/index.html

The usual question after a show like this is whether the people were “really” hypnotized and/or were “made” to act in such ways: were they made to do things they normally wouldn’t do? The way I’ve always thought of it is that a hypnosis show is somewhat self-selecting: people go into the room because they’re curious. People volunteer to be on stage knowing they’re going to be the center of attention. People who are up there are either unafraid naturally, natural show-offs, or looking for an excuse to “show off” or “come out of their shell.”

After the show, Lee and I retired to my room to do a scene that we had set up beforehand. She had said that one thing that she enjoyed doing was slapping people into a trance. No, really. But, really. And after our experience at NEEHU where she had slapped me across the face a couple of times, (http://wp.me/p4vV5a-l) I was actually kind of intrigued by this concept and asked to experience it.

So Lee and I sat on a couch facing each other. First, she had me do something entirely unexpected; she told me to slap her. This was problematic for all sorts of reasons. Culturally, men are (or, at least, I am) indoctrinated against hitting women. Or a woman. Or any woman. I had never done it, not even in jest. And she wanted me to do it, several times. After making sure it was ok with her, and having Lee walk me through the process I… did it. Several times. There was one slap that was errant, and she said I had caused a slight ringing in her ears. But for the most part, I guess I slapped her…. Well?

It was a very, very, strange experience for me. But then she looked at me and said it was her turn. For the briefest of moments I thought to say, “No thanks; I won the bet. I slapped a sadist. Thanks for the $100 victory.” But then I thought I valued my continued existence on this earth, and decided to endure my turn.

Lee looked me in the eyes, and measured the distance from her hand to my cheek, and began slapping me. The first time was like the shock to my system when she slapped me at NEEHU. Even though I knew it was coming, there was something so visceral about it actually happening that shocked my system. She slapped me, several times, all the time making sure that my face was directed towards her, looking me in the eyes and putting me into a kind of trance. She noted how dilated my eyes were, and was enjoying, it seemed, the power trip.

For a while (and by a while, I mean that it “felt” like thirty minutes, but it was only like about three minutes) it put me into a kind of “sub space.” I felt myself entirely in Lee’s control in a very real way. There was a flush of release as she was slapping me, and I felt floaty and in something approaching a trance-state. She alternated cheeks and varied the amount of force she was using; she obviously did not want to cause bruising.

At some point, however, something very interesting happened; some part of me, whichever part of me isn’t submissive, woke up.

Something in me clicked into place, and all of a sudden, I had to stop myself from slapping Lee back. Lee laughed. “You just switched, didn’t you?” And I smiled back. I could feel a malicious, defiant look in my eye.

She kept slapping few more times, however, just to see what would happen. How I didn’t slap back, I’ll never really know, but shortly after that… it wrapped. It was my very first BDSM “scene.” I wouldn’t say I was as impacted (so to speak) as when Lee unexpectedly slapped me at NEEHU, but it was rather brilliant and wonderful nevertheless. I felt unexpectedly energized. It felt like several different parts of me (whether that was my “top” and “bottom” part of me, I don’t know) had had a work out. I felt “balanced,” for lack of a better word. In short, Ten out of ten, would do it again.

After the weekend, I described the scene to Mrs. Pynchon (and note, I had actually told her ahead of time that I was thinking of dabbling in physical BDSM-type activities). As I told her about the slapping, a look came over her face.

I asked her if something was troubling her about the scene.

She said, “I don’t like it.”

And I felt a moment of panic– had I gone too far? She’d listened as I read her every word of this blog before I published, and was so extremely supportive of everything, but sometimes the actual reality of it can be more troubling than the possibility.

She noticed the concerned look on my face, and said, “No, no. Look, I don’t get it. But I wouldn’t get it if you were into NASCAR.”

I blinked. “NASCAR??”

“Yeah, you know, all those cars going round and round in circles for hours. I’d have more serious problems if you were into that; I wouldn’t understand it at all. But this… I don’t get it. But…whatever. You’re having fun.” And she shrugged.

Lee and I went down to the pool, where the pool water felt really good on my face.

We ran into Em, Seb, and the super-cool and super-tiny Fay and they joined us. I caught up with Mephki some, which was nice.

After the pool, Lee and I went back up for a second scene we had discussed trying, a hypno-interrogation scene.

We hadn’t really worked out all the details. Essentially, although Lee isn’t big on role-play, we decided on having me play a spy with a secret code stuck in my head. Her job was to get the code out of it.

We enlisted the lovely and reliable Tesdenic in the crucial job of holding the slip of paper with the code, to determine if I was lying.

We went to the “red room,” which was the room set aside for BDSM activities. I don’t think we expected to do anything serious—certainly I didn’t—but the other rooms were for much more quiet play. In one corner a couple was engaging in fairly strong impact play, in another corner, one person was slowly tying another up with rope. We went to the third corner, on the other side from the doorway, where there was a chair.

She had me sit down and “tied” my hands behind me and we began.

We quickly established that I was an American spy, and that she was a “Commie Russian Bitch” as I soon described her. (What!? I was in character.)

She tried to grab my attention for a trance, but I resisted. I talked a good game, telling her that I’d rather die than give her the code.

“Soon you will be only too happy to give me the code.”

I resisted looking her in the eyes. She grabbed the shiny pendulum hanging from her neck and tried to pass that in front of my eyes. I looked away.

She grabbed my face (still slightly sore from the slapping) and held me so that I was forced to keep eye contact with her.

And here…. Here is where I lost character for a minute.

You see…. In character, as a spy being held so that I was facing my assailant head-on, this is where I would have spat at her. But… you see, we hadn’t talked about the boundaries of our scene. I also realized that if I had spat at her, we’d be escalating the scene very quickly. And I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that.

Despite my hiccup, we continued the scene.

She pinched me, and said, “That was a special version of Scopolamine. You know what that is, don’t you?” Scopolamine is a drug made from nightshade that is reputed to have hypnotic and amnesiac effects on the user. It was the basis for a fun zombie episode of “Castle” and was a trigger we had used in our sessions for our book project. “But this is a special version of the drug, keyed to your DNA, so it’s even more effective. It will make you very suggestible very quickly.”

I may have used various epithets at this point.

She picked up my cell phone, which had dropped down on the floor in my “struggles.” She flipped through the photos and found one of my dogs. “This dog looks happy. I’d hate it if anything happened to it. Something bad could happen to this dog unless you tell me the code.”

I retorted, “Are you kidding? That one pees everywhere in my house. You’d be doing me a favor. I’ll give you one of the digits of the code if you get rid of him.”

After a while, however the “special Scopolamine” began to “work.” She slowly put me under, all the while I “resisted.” She told me that any lie would cause me pain, and that any time I told the truth I would feel pleasure.

Over the course of the next few minutes, I finally gave her the code: A24601. (I know, I know).

She went over to Tes, who confirmed the code, and came back. Telling me that she may have more tasks for me, that I was to be placed back in my house with no memory of the interrogation.

And then she brought me up, and we finished the scene. I must admit I was exhausted. I had been “in character” for about thirty to forty-five minutes. And although I was in a trance, I was trying to react as if I were someone else and not “me,” if that makes sense. It was fun to step out of myself, but I also understood why people—like Lee—aren’t so fond of “role play”; there is something less “real” about it. It was still incredibly fun, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I cannot tell you how many people told me that night and later in the weekend that they had poked their head into the room, and were really interested in knowing what was going on with us, but couldn’t because we were on the other side of the room.

After this, we retired to the “Rainbow Room” which was filled with various colored and flashing lights. Among the dood-dads was an LED internally lit egg. For example, like this: http://www.brookstone.com/color-changing-waterproof-led-light-genesis-egg (cheaper ones are out there, but that link has a video (caution: may induce hypnosis)).

We met up with Seb, Emiliana, Tesdenic, and the incredibly tiny Fay in the room.
Seb had, at some point, hypnotized Fay into being thoroughly entranced by the egg when it was in her hands. He was playing with her by alternately placing the egg in and taking it out of her hands, sending her down and then bringing her right back up. She was a human yo-yo, and it was quite a sight to see her ride the roller coaster into and out of trance.

We took turns suggesting things Seb could do to and with Fay while she was under. Finally, Seb groaned and said, “Look, maybe you don’t understand. All those things sound like really hard work. I’m the world’s laziest hypnotist.”

Lee was holding a larger bouncing ball with an internal flashing light.

She said, “You think you’re lazy? Here. DJ?”

I started. “Uh… yes?”

“Be like Fay.” And she tossed the ball right into my hands.

… and I was out. And then she took the ball out of my hands… and put it back in them. And now I was riding the hypno-roller-coaster up and down.

It was both strange and oddly fun to be the center of attention like that, with people watching as Fay and I were put through our paces. (This is all foreshadowing for the next blog, by the way.)

In between trances, it was great “debriefing” with Emiliana and getting her reactions to the events and people of the day. Her blog (http://emilianadarling.wordpress.com) is fascinating, because, while I’ve been a hypno-aficionado, she had almost no frame of reference whatsoever for her experiences.

Somewhere in there, fractionated and a little wobbly, I crept back to my room to sleep. I had covered so much ground, literally and figuratively, (in fact, as I’m recounting these events, I feel almost like I’m just reporting and not really processing or analyzing, but I want to make sure I hit all the fun events). Regardless, I was excited to see where Saturday would take me.

NEXT TIME: Classes! Politeness Wars! Switch Fight! Hypno-Egg Toss! Worst! Induction! EVER!

NEEHU, A Personal Recap, Part 3. Day One: Friday.

A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On.

I dragged myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m. Which, for me, was really more like 4:00 a.m. Fortunately, the wonderful and well-appointed hotel provided a buffet breakfast. I sat down with some of the friends I had made over the course of the previous day. Lee came over and sat next to me. Before I knew what was happening, and only shortly after she had said “good morning,” she tossed the “pause” trigger at me, and started tickling me. It was a fine good morning, thank you very much, and, as I mentioned, quite the abs workout. She released me, and at the same time stopped tickling me, which caused my brain an interesting minor conniption. I accused her of being a sadist, to which her only response was, “well, you’re the one laughing.”

I then met in person, for the first time, LeeAnn. (I know, this will be confusing; there’s a “LeeAnn” and a “Lee,” or “LeeAllure”: I won’t change either of their names, so you’ll just have to bear with it.) LeeAnn had come to hypnosis via her hope to deal with some personal issues, and had found an open and inviting community in Hypbook. She had brought her husband, CT, along in an effort to educate him about the community. It should be noted that LeeAnn is a loud woman, with an easy and infectious laugh, and had the wide-eyed look of the kid in the candy shop for all of the weekend. She was also fascinated by how easily I was going under, and then coming up, and then going back under, at LeeAllure’s urging. Then again, so was I.

We ultimately departed and went our separate ways to the location where NEEHU proper was to be held. The location is called “The Society,” and it is a BDSM club just outside of downtown Hartford. Should you type “The Society Hartford” into your handy map or browser search of choice, the first thing that will show up is “The Society Room of Hartford.” This is most definitely not the same place. Which is how I wound up driving through the very center of Hartford, Connecticut, at 8:30 am (5:30 am my time) in an unfamiliar car and jet lagged beyond all contortion. It was an inauspicious start.

Fortunately, I was able to drag my sorry self to the Society (five miles away from “The Society Room”) without too much more effort, beyond a sheepish acceptance of being lost.

The Society is a very interesting place. It’s located in a post-industrial part of town, in what I can only imagine must have been the warehouse district once upon a time. Somehow, a number of small churches have grown up around the location. At various points in the weekend, we could hear the strains of gospel or Christian rock drift down to our little dungeon. Some were perplexed that this happened even late into the night, but it is the trend for churches to provide late night entertainment for those believers who struggle to remain clean of drugs and alcohol. Be that as it may, you haven’t lived until you observe a hot BDSM scene to the strains of Newsboys’ “God is Not Dead” coming down from upstairs.

The Society is, ironically, very comfortable; it is clean, and filled with places to lounge and relax in in and among the St. Anthony’s Crosses and chain spider webs. As you enter past the guarded door, there’s a changing room just off to the left. Beyond that there is a long hall that goes to the main room. The hall has two doors on either side, one that leads off to a quiet room to the left and a “medical play” room with gurneys to the right. The main room is quite large, and had been sectioned off for our purposes with a vending table and a blanket fort, as well as chairs and couches for us all to sit at. Off the main room on the right was a separate play room, with various implements as well as a class room. At the end of the main room was a narrow “hard point” which opened into the kitchen and another lounge-y area. Beyond even that was a bar room with booths.

I had volunteered to work in the kitchen, and threw myself into washing dishes (I demurred from actually cooking or serving as a sous chef; in my jet lagged state I did not want to be trusted with sharp implements. Moreover, my track record with cooking is genetically poor.) As a bonus, I find focusing on washing dishes to be extremely satisfying. Almost trance inducing. I pretty much washed dishes for more than an hour while SweetGasp, aided by the able sous chef, OneEyedStranger, and with assists from Sleepingirl and CCKitten, rocked out a fantastic series of breakfast and lunch items. (This is where SweetGasp unleashed her beignets upon an unsuspecting group of attendees. Had she charged for them, I’m fairly sure she’d have walked away from the weekend with a profit, or at least a few souls in her pocket.)

Sadly, I am far older than I used to be, and the jet lag and standing got to me, so I handed off my task to other people and went off to classes.

The next bit will only be understandable if you read my story “Be Careful What You Switch For.” Which I’ll place right here. Go read it—I’ve been told it’s not so bad.  ttp://djpynchon.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/be-careful-wha…-for-fiction-2/

So I had posted the story a few days before NEEHU. As I was wandering around the Society, Lee walked up to me, and used her sleep trigger. She leaned in and started whispering to me about how awesome it would be for me to have a mantra running through my brain that would feel so good if I were to find myself repeating it out loud every so often. She didn’t use the “mindless plaything” one from the story, but rather suggested “My mind is open, I am so happy.” That’s it. Try it. Repeat it a few times and you’ll find it’s a pretty good feeling. (You probably shouldn’t do it right before you see a car salesperson.) And really, beyond the other suggestions she gave me, it was very helpful; it put me in a frame of mind to be more accepting of the world I had found myself in. However, and in line with the thread of my story, she asked me to get other people to say it, too, albeit with less orgasmic rewards than in the story. This was something I was unable to do.

Tangent- Willpower and Hypnosis

One of the questions I do get asked often is whether you can be “forced” to do something under hypnosis that you otherwise wouldn’t want to do. I think there are two ways answer to the question: directly, and from a more “meta” perspective.

Directly speaking, the answer is no. You can’t be “made” to anything you don’t want to do. More broadly speaking, hypnosis can lower your inhibitions, especially if you do so in partnership with a skilled hypnotist. So, to reframe the question, when you are drunk and “making a fool of yourself” are you doing so “unwillingly”? Are you responsible for your actions?

In my experience, just from the weekend’s activities, I can honestly say that I stopped myself from doing things which I was asked to do. Lee’s suggestion was that I get other people to say the mantra “My mind is open and I am so happy.” I had a few opportunities to carry out the suggestion later on Friday, but I didn’t. And I didn’t because doing so would have not been congruent with the consent I was given for the scene in question; in other words, it would have been taking them out of their “scene” and inserting them into mine. And, for whatever reason, I couldn’t get myself to do that. Later in the weekend I was given a suggestion to experience something, and I refused, because the environment I was in just wasn’t comfortable, for whatever reason. The hypnotist understood and redirected me to something fun I was comfortable doing. In both cases I was given “commands” that conflicted with whatever ethical code I was following at the time. In both cases I refused to follow the commands. I felt more in control of my actions than I do when I’ve been drinking. So, in my experience, you cannot normally be made to do something you don’t want to do.

From a more “meta” standpoint, note that one of the appeals of recreational or erotic hypnosis is that it fulfills the fantasy of giving up control to someone. Whether in that fantasy world it’s because the hypnotist is “stripping away” the will, or because the inductee is giving up the will, um, willingly. So if that’s the fantasy, why is that person trying to resist? And how? And so, for such people, there is a tension between the fantasy fulfillment and the requirements that such play is entered into with consent. And for those people, the answer to that question is, by design, much trickier.

 

So after the quick induction and instruction from Lee, at 10 a.m., I attended my first class. It was taught by a veteran of hypnosis events called Wiseguy. Wiseguy has written many stories that are among the foundations for the erotic hypnosis genre. They are excellently written, and are on the more romantic or “soft” end of the “mind control” genre. He led a class on “Brain Overload,” which is to say, on hypnotic inductions that confuse or “overload” one’s thoughts. In essence, the brain becomes so overwhelmed by rational thought that it seeks an exit from thought, and runs towards a trance. These are inductions designed for active, critical minds, such as my own, and it was the best way for me to start the weekend. He read a fantastic hypnotic script that had me in a light trance.

I believe it was sometime this morning (though it may have been fleetingly the night before) that I met LeadPrism, who was attending his first –EHU a well. He and I would have several wonderful conversations throughout the weekend, as we both came at it more from the amateur hypno-enthusiast side of things, than from the BDSM side of things.

After the first class, I ran into LeeAllure and LeeAnn, who were discussing–what else?—hypnosis. LeeAnn had mentioned to Lee that she (LeeAnn) had never put anyone else into a trance, and certainly not live. Lee volunteered me for the honor, and offered to help her through the process. Which is how I found myself seated on a couch in between two gorgeous women about to be put into a trance. Or, as I like to call it, being in a “Lee Sandwich.” This time, Lee was on my right, while LeeAnn sat on my left. LeeAnn playfully put one of her legs over my left leg. Lee followed suit and put one of hers over my right. So there I was, held down, and about to be forced into a trance. (I know, what a terrible predicament. There’s no violin small enough to convey your sympathy, I’m sure.)

Lee started the induction, and…. I was out in less time than it takes to describe it, really. LeeAnn, I guess, was startled by how quickly I was gone, and couldn’t find her voice. Partially, I understand that she was also being tranced by Lee’s induction. They had a conversation, as I floated between them, and decided that we (Lee and I) should try and induce LeeAnn. At this point, LeadPrism came into the room, and Lee asked if he would join us. MrDream (the other half of ZanyMo, and a fine hypnotist himself) happened by, and he, too, volunteered to help induce LeeAnn. So with me on LeeAnn’s left, Lee on her right, and MrDream and LeadPrism on other chairs nearby, we all started talking in smooth, hypnotic tones.

I think all four of us kept talking for a good ten minutes. LeeAnn was out cold, and it was wonderful to watch up close as someone else went into a trance. Halfway through I realized, “I’m helping put someone in a trance!!!” It was the first time I ever put anyone into trance (or, at least, a quarter of a trance). I thanked LeeAnn profusely for the honor. Less than 24 hours officially into the weekend, and I had both hypnotized and been hypnotized. There weren’t any commands given to her that I can recall, beyond that LeeAnn should be open to having a good time over the weekend.

Shortly after that we broke for lunch.

After lunch, I wandered around, after doing a little bit of clean up and some more dishwashing. I went into a class on “dual inductions and co-topping.” There I found Lee and her friend ZanyMo doing an odd “co-topping” session with “GleefulAbandon.” (Gleeful and I had sort of bonded earlier on our shared love of Broadway tunes, and I had asked if she knew the lyrics to the “Confrontation” scene from Les Miserables. It was something in my mind as an uber-geeky thing to do to just randomly do it in the middle of the room or something. What? Jason Siegel and Neal Patrick Harris do it. Youtube it.) Essentially, Lee and Mo were infringing tightly on Gleeful’s space. Gleeful saw me, made eye contact and said “help me.” I confess, I saw the odds, and joined in on the co-topping. Somewhere in there, Lee and Mo used the overload to send her into a trance.

It was a very instructive scene to observe if for no other reason than that it firmly established that going into trance does not necessarily require relaxation.

 

 

Tangent- Facial Expressions

I need to make a note about the expressions on people’s faces as they go into trance. I had heard it said many times by hypnotists that watching someone give in to a trance is a very fantastic sight. Having been around people as they were drawn into and out of trances, I must say, I quite agree. There’s something delicious about seeing that look of surrender on someone else’s face. This is so particularly where you yourself know that feeling that’s conveyed. I mention this now, because Gleeful had a particular look at times when she heard a trigger word, or when someone was about to hypnotize her. The look was something along the lines of “Oh god, I can’t believe this is going to work again, and I like it, but I can’t believe I like it, and I can’t believe I’m this easy.” The reason I know that look and what she was conveying is because those very words were going through my own mind, about me, the whole weekend.

 

At some point on Friday, Lee spoke to me about how she wanted my participation in a hypno demo that was happening later that evening. I also spoke to Marc Cabot about a scene I had come up with in my mind for his ongoing subject, Ms. Mesmer. He agreed to help with it, and we agreed to do the scene on the following evening.

I took OneEyedStranger and SweetGasp to the hotel, where we spent some time in the hot tub, watching the rain come down. After that, I took them out to dinner, and then went back to the hotel to change before we finally headed back to the Society for the evening’s events. I must apologize to the two of them because I needed reminding of my destination easily five times in each direction. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that it was only a 15 minute drive. Apparently my poor brain had been rather overloaded.

Friday evening was designated, in part, as requesting cocktail attire. It was nice to see everyone dressed to the nines. Fans of corsetry would have been very sated by the visions on display, and I actually felt slightly out of place in a simple blue-lavender suit, when there were so many people in leather and lace.

The group had planned a series of hypnosis demonstrations, to give people an idea of the various ways hypnosis can be used. LeeAllure had had this idea to involve this pseudo-hypnotic method called, rather delightfully, “Erickson Ambiguous Touching.” Lee had demonstrated it to me several times. Essentially, the “hypnotist” (although hypnosis isn’t particularly required) shakes the subject’s hand, using a method whereby the middle finger drags across the palm while thumb and pinky alternately tap on the outside of the hand. It’s deceptively simple, yet time after time it resulted in my hand going numb and, essentially, staying in one place until moved by the hypnotist. Plus, by dragging a finger from the shaken hand to the other hand, the numbness and catalepsy can be transferred. Yes, I know. And yet it worked.

Lee gathered me, LeeAnn and Mrs. Wiseguy together to demonstrate this method. We took turns. First Lee shook Mrs. Wiseguy’s hand and left it in the air, then demonstrated how the hands stayed in place. Mrs. Wiseguy did the same for me, posing me in Rodin’s “Thinker” position. Then I did the same with LeeAnn and, in a spurt of improvisational genius <cough, cough> posed LeeAnn making the “YMCA” letters, one after another. LeeAnn then did the handshake with Lee. We still had some time left, so Lee decided to do a quick hypnosis scene with us.

First, she had me go into a bit of a trance with my eyes open. Then she had LeeAnn and I face each other and had us do a “mirror” trance. Which is to say, you place two people facing each other, and tell each that they are going to go into the same level of trance as the person they’re facing. Sit back, relax, and watch the decent. LeeAnn was slightly concerned—and I can’t blame her—because it’s a very intimate thing to do. And she was somewhat concerned that her husband, who was in the audience, would find this objectionable (I understand, ultimately, he did not.) So, as I was going deep, I was doing my best to keep her calm, and to demonstrate that there was no cause for alarm. To my mind, it lasted less than a minute, but I am certain it went on for much longer than that.

There were other demonstrations. Marc Cabot had a hysterically funny trance, which you should read about on his blog (“You want to make fun of me, ok then, you can’t stop yourself from making fun of me.” “Look at me, I’m Marc, and I wear a funny hat to bring attention to myself.”). There were a couple of really hot and intimate scenes as well. (In some cases I wish there had been a microphone to pick up some of what was said on “stage.”)

The point of the demonstrations was to show how hypnosis can be useful and entertaining with respect to everything from a hot and heavy BDSM scene, to a typical adult Vegas-style hypno show with induced orgasms and singing, to something playful and innocuous, like our scene. In that sense, it was very effective.

I spent a good chunk of the rest of the evening hanging out and chatting with various people. I got to talk about some favorite topics, including Doctor Who, and English soccer.

[Deleted Scene].

At around 2 a.m., I dragged myself back to the hotel and poured myself into bed.

Next time- Saturday, Part One. Improv scene! Slapping! Pushing! Moving! A day as a “hypno-slave.” So much happening that Saturday had to be broken into two parts! Stay tuned!