It's been years now, but I went to a Wiccan Festival with an older coven-mate of mine. While we were there he was astounded because he finally found a technique that produced a different mental state for him. Perhaps true trance state, or just relaxation or elation, I don't know. In any case he said it was the first time he had ever felt anything remotely magickal. He has since passed into Summerland.
I was astounded myself.
I came to Wicca because I had had these experiences I couldn't explain, things I knew were proof of a different plane of existence. Experiences I could not deny. I realized that people come to this path for different reasons. I guess this is a "well-duh" moment, but I had never considered it before. I couldn't imagine staying in a religion for any other reason than reaching for the experience of the Gods themselves.
People come to Wicca to be accepted because of different sexual orientation, or because the Divine Feminine is actually honored and they believe this is important. They come to socialize with people that hold similar values (lay-Wiccans). Sometimes I think a large portion of pagans come to paganism/Wicca simply because they are not Christian and need and/or want somewhere to be. I think some come for a positive image of the body and sexuality, where no one needs to feel ashamed for being who they are or what body type. I'm sure there a million different reasons each unique and beautiful person comes to Wicca.
What I want to underscore here though is this; we are a magickal tradition. This can get lost for different reasons I won't go into here. This magick stems from the same space that Christians reserve for miracles, chanting and prayer (since many of us originally come from Christian backgrounds, you'll see me use many comparisons this way). It's not evil or wrong or unnatural to work appropriate magick, and it is our responsibility to seek that "liminal" space anthropologists speak of-- "The Inbetween".
When we are Inbetween we can experience the God*dess and our prayers will be more likely to be heard. Imagine trying to call someone on the phone but not having the right number. You simply won't reach them.
Different mental states are extremely important, and increasingly difficult to attain. For me, the older I've gotten, the harder it is. Imagine trying to achieve a meditative state with a toddler screaming at you. Or even a sleeping baby in the next room that may need tending to at any moment? How about working 3 jobs and/or being a single parent?
I don't think this is a good reason to give up altogether during certain phases of our lives. It means we have to strive and adapt in new ways to attain our goals. In the end, it should mean a better witch.
It's important to have a good foundation in attaining and maintaining trance states. It is so important, for all the reasons I just stated. Why be a part of a magickal tradition if you can't experience magick? And how can you experience magick if you don't have the tools to do so? I encourage everyone, myself included, to take a step back, and re-train on trance states, it can only make us better!
Some words to digest...