By: Cheryl Mitchell

Many years ago I belonged to a Spiritual community that was instrumental in my personal growth, both emotionally and spiritually.  One of our leaders, Father Exum, was gifted in “calling down the Spirit.”
During one unforgettable evening prayer gathering, I found myself surrounded by our group with everyone “laying hands” on me and Father Exum praying exuberantly, repeating the command, “I call upon you, Jesus Christ, to anoint this child with Your light.”  At the time I did not realize that what Father Exum was actually doing, with the support of the group, was inducing a trance state.
After several minutes of whipping up the energy and evoking the Spirit, he instructed me to call upon Christ myself and ask for His blessing.  As I did so, I threw my head back and looked upward.  I still remember the vivid image of that clear night and how each star seemed like a precious jewel suspended in the dark tapestry of sky.  The clarity of it was breathtaking. Suddenly the light from one star began to intensify, and it seemed to grow bigger.  Now, all of my attention was fixated on that star, and although Father Exum was still praying, the sound of his voice faded away as the light from that star began to move toward me at an unbelievable speed.  In an instant it flooded through me, and I realized I was falling, yet in that moment I was so completely at peace that the thought almost didn’t register.  
The next thing I remember is opening my eyes and seeing myself surrounded by Father Exum and our group. They were all smiling broadly, and I thought I saw a faint glow around the group as they helped me to my feet.  I was so calm and peaceful, so absolutely centered in that moment that it seemed completely natural to have been lying on the ground like that. I really thought nothing of it at the time.  
Today as a hypnotherapist, when I look back at that experience, I see all the beginning components of a successful hypnotherapy session.  I had seen Father Exum in action many times before, so I already believed he could easily call down the Spirit, and I expected him to do just that.  As he was praying he asked me to look at him and to listen carefully, thereby fixating my attention.  I had a strong desire to follow his instruction and when he first began to pray and he told me to “breathe in the Spirit” I took a deep breath each time and visualized doing just that.  And when he told me to call upon Christ myself, I also accepted that suggestion and did so. It was a masterfully executed induction.
At the moment at which I was slain by the Spirit, I fully believe that the Divine took over and anointed me, just as requested, and Father Exum’s role of bringing me into an altered state had ended.  But I will never forget that experience and although I don’t conduct my sessions in the same way our group handled our prayer sessions, I do use the same elements to bring my clients into altered state and assist them in connecting with their Higher Self and Spirit.
Some call it faith and prayer, I call in hypnotherapy.