There is one toy/technique I love, that I don’t use nearly enough: The Ganzfeld procedure. For those unfamiliar with it I’ll explain it briefly, and if you’re curious I’d recommend a bit of time with google for more detailed instructions.
To do the procedure you need a light defusing mask. The classic “mask” here is a ping pong ball cut in half placed against the eyes. The shape of the half-sphere, and the white plastic cause the light to scatter as it passes through, meaning everywhere you look against the inside of the ball is just vague undifferentiated whiteness. I personally use a thick paper mask, like the paper you’d get in sketch book, part way to being cardstock. The mask is cut out like a sleeping mask, and around the edges is glued stretched out cotton balls, so the mask sits about a centimeter above the skin. This framing with cotton balls also allows the mask to completely touch the skin so no light gets in except through the paper, then just staple elastics to the side so you can wear it. The paper will defuse the light in a similar way. Then you need some headphones, and a device that plays white noise, and any Smartphone can grab an app for that.Sit down somewhere comfy, or lay down (though that makes it easier to fall asleep), start the white noise, put on the mask, stop moving and fidgeting, and just let go. Your eyes will struggle to find something to focus on, let them try initially, there shouldn’t’ be anything other than whiteness with no distinguishing features, after minute or so blink your eyes, focus on one spot, and relax. Eventually your eyes will unfocus as they get tired, and then you’re on your way.
What this does is put you in a state of sensory deprivation, not as good as a full chamber for it will do, but it gets the job done. What happens is without any clearly defined sound (thanks to the white noise), or anything clearly defined in your vision (thanks to the mask and your eyes getting tired), your mind kinda…panics? It knows it should be hearing something, it should be seeing something, but it isn’t, so it starts to fill in the gap and then you start hallucinating.
I hear you say “Now Kalagni, this is a mechanically produced hallucination; surely this isn’t useful for magick?”
To which I reply “Who are you, and how did you get into my head?! Also, of course it is useful, if used mindfully.”
Think of it like anything people use, on purpose or accidently for altered states and visions. Sleep deprivation, drugs, exhaustion, even dreams. All of these can cause visions that are completely “mundane” or mental, just images and concepts dragged out of your brain, nothing magickal or objective. True, perhaps, but they can all be focused. If you can keep your mind aware and in control, you can use any of these things to access a magickal experience.
If you go into the Ganzfeld with a specific goal, and keep your awareness focused on a specific end, it can be of great use. So what can you use it for? Well, anything visual/visionary to start. If I need to Look at a client and see what’s going on in their Spheres, I’ll probably sit down with the setup and when I feel reality fall apart, rather than letting my brain ramble and run the show, I direct my Vision toward that person and see what is going on. I use it to scry when I’m having difficulty, usually I’m fairly good, but if I can’t reach a person or place, sometimes this helps get over the hurdle. I know some people have used it to access past lives, that’s not how I work, but it’s another option. You can use it to communicate with spirits in a more intense way. In general it helps you clear out the distractions of sight and sound, so your spiritual senses can be more focused.
It works a bit differently for different people, but for me just before I start hallucinating a black-blue circle appears in the centre of my vision and slowly expands into the whiteness. When this happens this hole in my vision is my Gateway, I project my purpose onto/into it, make it link to the person or place, I might speak a small evocation “Before me opens the Void to Sheta, by Eerah is it opened, by Saytaraan it welcomes me,” whatever, and then I project my mind into the black-blue, and I’m off to wherever.
The thing to be wary of is having this become a technique you can’t operate without. If you can’t scry or communicate with spirits without this you’re going to have a problem. If you can’t scry or talk with spirits, this could help get you started, but you should pay attention to how it happens, what you feel, what the process is, and then work to recreate it without the setup.
The thing that I love about this technique though, is it is relatively simple (the hardest part is making the mask), it’s fairly quick to use (I think it takes about 5 minutes to start hallucinating for me), but it’s also really intense if done right. So really if you’re looking for something to experiment with, you could probably make this setup with stuff you have around the house, in less than 20 minutes, and be scrying in another 5.