Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance and Creativity…


I have been asked to explain my experiences with Hyperarousal Trance and how it has effected my creativity as a dancer and a writer.

I can only attempt an answer because I am just becoming aware of ‘how it works’. I never really thought about it. It just seemed to appear when it was needed, whether I was conscious or not of it’s ‘need’.

Perhaps it would be better for me to start with an attempt to explain H.T. and why I started using it.

Two years ago I came across an article somewhere on the web about the ‘ayoub’ rhythm and the Zar trance dance in Egypt and parts of Africa. Being a belly dancer, I was interested and read as much about the Zar trance dance as I could. Actually there was not that much information at that time. Later there was more written.

I found there was a common element in this Zar dance, wherever it was utilized. It was this consistent 2/4 rhythm of the ‘ayoub’ or ayyoub (or zaar) rhythm.

It is hard for me to explain, but the dumbeks (the drums) used beat out this rhythm like this: Dum…tek!, Dum tek/Dum..tek!, Dum tek.

Sort of like a dotted quarter note on the first Dum…followed by an eighth note tek, but the next Dum tek is evenly beat.

Repeat until trance ensues.

And it does. Now, everything I write here will be contradicted, because it seems that each country where the Zar trance ritual is practiced has their own rhythms.  Some are particular to the demons entrenched within.

Oh, yes, the Zar ritual. I can’t make any assumptions here.

The Zar ritual is a healing exorcism used to shake up a demon residing in a woman. You don’t exactly evict a Zar (demon)….you give them new marching orders.

There are many issues about this, and I won’t go into them except to say that this is a highly controversial cultural issue and I for one, am remaining open to it all.

However, I will speak on my own experiences here with the Zaar rhythm (or ayoub). And I will try to link how this experience of listening closely to the ayoub rhythm changed points of creativity in my own life.

As much as I can understand this. I haven’t really closely examined it before, just took its presence in my life as natural. It is tied with my belly dancing, or perhaps it is more correct to say that I first became aware of the transforming and trance making behaviors of the ayoub rhythm in my belly dancing. I would find that I was going into a trance, and this was when I wasn’t attempting any set choreography.

Choreography seemed to interfere WITH the ability to fall into trance.

My belly dancing brings me into an altered state. This is very common to many dancers but I believe is disrupted when we are doing choreography. Set patterns, which we practice to take into ‘muscle memory’ still makes us conscious of our movements and somehow takes us out of the free-fall of trance.

The constant beat of the ayoub transforms consciousness. Somewhere I read it’s like a ‘horse’ that is carrying you inward and upward somehow. Perhaps the connection is a universal heartbeat, I don’t know really, but I do know ‘something’ happens to me. If it’s an altered state of consciousness, it has it’s reoccurring points: time disappears and something definitely shifts.

We do know through brain studies that there are many physical functions that are effected by Hyperarousal Trance. Blood pressure lowers, the heart beat slows, the body temperature changes. Now, I am not sure that this exactly applies to belly dancing, which can be quite vigorous. But rhythmic stimulation does change brain waves.

We also know that there are definite issues with Hyperarousal Trance in heightened endorphins, boosted immune system (even temporary) and accentuated energy…and an overall feeling of ‘high’ or ‘good’. These probably are no different than exercise highs. Another issue is that pain seems to be lessened with the trance state.

However, there is already a lot of evidence piling up that shows the brain issues (waves, etc) are different in H.T. than in hypnosis, or self-hypnosis. It’s a deeper effect on the brain in some way than these above.

I do find that listening to the ayoub rhythm beat out on drums or picked up in the background of music, effects me fast. I also drum on dumbeks, and this practice has allowed me to access the trance as much as listening or dancing does.

Somewhere I read that “Theta” brainwaves is the ‘set’ of Hyperarousal Trance, but I am still investigating this.

However, recently I did come across this: Theta waves occur most often in deep sleep, but are also dominant in the deepest state of meditation (body asleep/mind awake). The best place for deep thought is in this Theta realm. In Theta, we withdraw from the external and focus on a deep internal landscape. It’s basically a twilight state. Theta is a waking dream, vivid imagery is there and we can access it because it is before us in the mind. We are receptive to information beyond what we would be in a ‘normal’ state. Theta is the gateway to learning and memory. As Dr. J.J. Harper says in “Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21th century”, Theta meditation increases creativity, learning, reduces stress and awakens intuition.

I can concur with this because there is something that happens when I am in a trance- like state, and this is accessed by what I have come to recognize  from the ayoub rhythm.

This entry is a work in progress. I have other things to say about Hyperarousal Trance, specifically to it’s relationship to subspace (another altered space) hypnosis, etc.

Generally the issue for me is creativity. I have realized over the past two years that H.T. is somehow very much bound up in my ability to ‘tap into’ different cultural issues, and to write about them. It seems that research is much smoother, easier and the writing, when I place myself in H.T. flows to where things reveal themselves and blossom.

At times, and these are not as rare as they would seem, I can access this trance almost without effort. That is a good day of activities, and especially writing. I think this is not rare amongst writers, either. I do know that my ability to concentrate and focus has allowed me to produce 4 novels, many poems, short stories, etc in the last two years alone. I am an American woman, and write about Japanese 16th century culture, 6th century Berber culture, modern Turkish culture and Celtic culture in my books. I have no background in any research, but these things become easy and unfold in different forms when I write. I can only attribute this to the background music and beat of the ayoub and other rhythms.

Something is happening in the brain here, and I for one am very grateful.

I am researching DNA and mysticism and have come across writings were it is proposed that everyone is capable of psychic powers, heightened intuition, clairvoyance, etc. Perhaps with a relaxed and then again…directed mind, you can tap into the prime DNA alphabet soup for transport into a heightened highway of the mind and the cosmos.

Anything is possible out there…and in here.

Lady Nyo

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4 Responses to “Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance and Creativity…”

  1. avatara Says:

    For the past several years I have been interested in, and using certain brain wave entrainment programs, for various reasons. My initial interest came from an inability to sleep well, and a friend sent me some information. Since then, I have looked at quite a few different programs made specifically for sleep, clear thought, meditation, etc.

    What you say is exactly right, in that sound can have a definite effect on how our brains function, and how we do things. The term trance might lead some people to think of something other than natural connection to our inner soul, but I believe that is exactly what happens during these times. The world around us is so loud and vocal and distracting, that we have lost touch, or never had touch, with the deepest part of ourselves that directs us, in very natural ways, to know and understand not only ourselves, but the world around us. Shamans and other holy people through the ages used various methods to achieve this connection, but I believe we have been taught to fear that kind of contact because we can’t be controlled otherwise.

    No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night (smiles) The sound, the drums, the beat, that you describe are a natural rhythm that allows us to get in touch with that part of us that still remembers…and understands nature. Dance and music are a pathway to that connection, as are some digital sounds, hence the brainwave entrainment using digital sound. Some may argue that these could be dangerous, but I always remember something I read. “That sounds like brainwashing”, “your brain needs washing!”

    Thank you for this Jane, it is something I think is very important, and a means by which we can regain our natures and our souls.


  2. Jane Says:

    Hi avatara!

    I am so glad you read this and chimed in here (figured you would! lol)

    I think we are programmed by society (parents, teachers, peer group??) to be afraid of these things…but I do think they are part of our potential in the ‘alphabet soup’ mix of our DNA…and link us to the cosmos.

    I know that sounds wild, but why not???

    clairvoyance, heightened intuition, etc. are all a ‘tap-in’ to the subconscious and deeper brain wave issues.

    This Theta wave is very interesting, and may be the lead-in to deeper discoveries of our ‘natural’ abilities.

    The more open we are to things external to our experience or taught knowledge, the more we find that it might just apply to ourselves…

    Thank you, avatara for your comment….it fits, it’s part of your extended experience….

    and it validates that we are much more ‘capable’ of extraordinary things than we know yet.



  3. smotp Says:

    Altered States of Conciousness have long been a rich area for exploration of ourselves and the worlds around us. I use the plural as your world view and mine may be very similar but probably not identical. I believe that my world is real as equally you believe yours to be real. Many of you will now be frowning and saying ‘real is real’. Well that all depends on your point of view and is a relative statement.

    Jane uses an altered state of mind ‘HAT’ braught about through rhythmic sound. Binaural sounds of different frequencies played into different ears can create a third frequency that affects brainwaves and promote a number of interesting effects.

    Mystics and Shaman across the planet for millennia have used the stress effects of fasting, dancing and psychoactive drugs to achieve varying altered states.

    In those altered states they find Enlightenment, Information that helps their society and Answers to questions of life, mind and soul.

    Different traditions call that place of knowledge and understanding different things. The Akashic Records, The Collective Unconcious, the Astral Plane all are just names that we should not get hung up on. That the thing exisits is less and less in doubt.

    Rupert Sheldrake postulates what he calls the Morphogenic Field, connecting all living things and where our shared knowledge is stored.

    This ‘library’ of information is being added to to by each of us often without knowing. And the feed back from that sharing and storing also effects us without our knowing.

    There is the effect called the ‘100 monkeys’ first recorded by observers of wildlife where new behaviour, once taken up by a sufficient number of individuals suddenly becomes the norm for all. Even where there is no apparent contact between those individuals with the behaviour and those suddnly learning it.

    In my view we are all like individual icebergs floating in a sea of unconciousness. Only a fragment of us is visible to each other and yet our very being is constanly melting and refreezing so that we exchange and share with the that sea.

    Our abilities are in fact limitless. The boundaries are imposed by us as we agree on a concensus reality. Arthur C Clarke wrote a long time ago in my youth: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indestinguishable from magic.’

    For all that many of us pooh pooh such things as HAT or PSI or spiritual enlightnment, in fact the magic all around us is simply technology that we have yet to understand.

    My regards


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