The trance scene is one I got introduced to during the last few months of 2010. What an amazing experience it has been and what awesome things I expect of it in the year to come! I have heard of it before through guys at school who would return to our hostel after the weekend and mention ‘a rave party’ and ‘ecstacy’ but never fully understood what it was about at that stage. The trance scene is rooted in Hinduism which entered the Western cultures mainly through travelling hippies who brought it over from India. South Africa is now considered to be one of the up and coming trance “hot-spots” and the Cape region in particular it seems. These parties are held on farms or camping sites in outlying rural areas and draw people from all over the place and one would often hear foreigners moving among the crowds as well.
Originating out of Hinduism, these parties have a definite spiritual aspect to them and the original idea behind the music (which consists of quick pulsing rhythms and beats) is to help the dancers or ‘worshippers’ reach a transcendent state, similar to sangoma-style or shamanic dancing rituals. From what I have perceived that element is definitely still present together with the use of various substances in order to reach that state and to facilitate hallucination. Many of the party-goers would further dress the part and come clothed as witches, magicians, and actually more often as anime characters. Other than that there would be your average drinking and weed-smoking student or other curious party people attending. The whole scene also fits very well with the green state of mind much of the Western world is now embracing as paganism and pantheism are beliefs held by many. Think the movie Avatar meets flee market, turn it into a party and you’ll find yourself at a typical trance event.
My reason for attending was slightly different though. It was not so much the music, the colourful artwork or the various herbs, fluids and pills which attracted me but rather the people. I view the world quite differently than most of my fellow party-goers due to a meeting I had with God a few years back and now living in an affected and continually changing state because of that meeting and ongoing relationship with God. I held many of the views mentioned above and consider them to be dead-ended and illogical when looked at as part of the bigger picture. Among all the stalls selling food, organic clothing, healing crystals, medicinal and hallucinogenic herbs, myself and a group of friends set up a stall with a sign saying “Spiritual Readings, Cleansings and Healings”, and that is what is being done there. None of us have specific training or studied alternative medicine but all of us had that ‘God encounter’ and now trust that He provides the ultimate pleasure and satisfaction in life and wish to share it with whoever engages us at our stall.
The average person attending these events is there because they are fed up with the ‘world system’ and seek freedom from it. You hear it in every conversation: they are angry at the church, they need to stand up against the illuminati and freemasons, they want to break away from consumerism and become independent from the broader economic system, or they simply want to be able to do as they wish without having to worry about consequences. Weird thing is that many of the opinions are in line with the actual agenda of the illuminati/freemasons of old where they want people to break away from structure, embrace chaos and ‘Do as thou wilt’ as Aleister Crowley put it. At the end of the day there is no ‘good and proper’ earthly system which will satisfy us and give us peace. All these people remain consumers shopping around and browsing through theories which fit well, only until something more fashionable comes along. If we can’t find peace as individuals, we will never have it – no system will solve our problems and bring about peace, it is only when individuals find peace through truth that systems will start to work.
That is what our aim is at the parties through our stall, to introduce people to Truth, the person, so they can be set free and function in peace, even though still part of a wicked system. What typically happens once we are approached is a person would look at our sign in a slightly confused manner after which they will ask us how this thing works. We tell them about the three options, and that we work through Jesus Christ as medium to connect to God (inspired by the Furious Love documentary amongst others). From here we have seen physical and emotional healing and many being touched and intrigued by what we are doing there. At the end the highlight of it all for me is to just spend time in conversation and share the love of Jesus with real people who are usually rejected by the church.
What I have found is that many of these people broke away from their traditional beliefs (usually Christianity) because of it being misrepresented and now unfortunately embrace any other teaching, regardless of whether it has any foundation in truth or not. A German girl, for instance, told me last weekend that she ‘believes in a spiritual dimension and an afterlife’ but to believe as we do freaks her out. The reason she gave was that if we accept what we accept about God and who He is, we have to live in a certain way but because she chooses to believe that there are many gods and no right and wrong, life is ‘more convenient’ for her. I then asked her if she would choose apparent convenience above knowing truth and living according to that. She said yes. Growing up as an Afrikaner boy from a family consisting almost completely of lawyers, I was quite shocked by her statement, then just smiled and told her that it is quite a chance to take. She then replied by saying that at least she will find out once she dies and that will only happen in many years from now. I of course questioned her statement once again seeing that technically she could die in the next few minutes and mentioned something along those lines to her. She shrugged her shoulders and smiled back at me.
People, like the German girl, have a real and legitimate frustration with the world and I share it with them. I am exposed to Jesus’ offer of peace and restitution through his death and resurrection as solution to everything that is so wrong with this world, and so is the German girl. Many alternative offers are also being made to me and her on a daily basis and it is up to us to choose which ones we take up and which we reject.
Also see Justine Toh’s article on religion, spirtuality and consumption as displayed through the best seller and now movie Eat, Pray, Love here.