WEEHU 2015 was, as always, amazing. The only reason it's taken me this long to write about it is other commitments, many of which are far less fun.
This year's WEEHU featured a new venue, still in the San Francisco area but outside of downtown, and followed the everything-under-one-roof model that MEEHU made popular. I am a huge fan of that model because it's extremely convenient.
Dani and I flew in Thursday to make sure we wouldn't have a repeat of last year, when I missed the first two classes I was supposed to teach because of flight delays. Despite having an early afternoon flight we still managed to get held up enough that we missed the "early bird" dinner, but there were friends all over and it was a good pre-WEEHU evening.
Friday was a day for teaching and meeting the many new people who were enjoying their first WEEHU. I got to open the educational part of the weekend with my "The Art of Teaching," the class about teaching classes, and then moved on to team up with LeeAllure in a workshop on mutual hypnosis. I had a brief break and then did "Kinky Human Tricks," which is still my favorite class because it never fails to be different each time.
The Friday night play party was a low-key affair. The organizers arranged for separate play areas for noisier/higher-intensity play (which was where the dungeon equipment was located) and quieter play or aftercare, and that formula seems to work very well. There was more socializing going on that first night than overt public play, at least in the open areas, so it was easy to float around and mix with people. I took an hour shift as a Dungeon Monitor on the quieter (mostly hypnoplay) side and there was no drama.
By Saturday WEEHU was in full swing. The classrooms were packed and the hallways jammed with happy people. I had a full room for "Erotic Hypnosis 101" and then a free period, which I ended up spending with a couple I met in the 101 who had questions and wanted a private hypnosis session for the submissive, which I was happy to do. Next I joined LizziDoll, DJ Pynchon, ZanyMo, and Shaman58 for EnScenic's Erotic Writers' Panel, which was all kinds of fun, and then taught "Use Your Words" to an appreciative group. After a little more one-on-one coaching Dani and I had dinner and hustled back.
Saturday night started for me my first-ever room trance. I'd seen them done before, but this was the first time I'd led one myself. We had a little trouble getting the group assembled -- a combination of late returns from dinner and confusion over where the room trance would be -- but we overcame that and got going in earnest.
I'm a big believer in negotiation and consent, so before doing the actual trance I made full disclosure of what the nature of the suggestions would be and what I expected of those who chose not to participate in the trance (basically, not to disrupt or interfere). I asked for consent for touch, as I often use touch in erotic trances, and gave out pink ribbons for people who preferred not to be touched to remind me of that. Then I went around the room asking for positive consent for the trance as described from each participant and started the actual session.
One of the challenges of hypnotizing a bunch of people together is that you can't stop, rewind, or adjust to each individual the way you can one-on-one. One way to compensate is to do extra deepening so the ones who are less responsive to the induction can have a little more time to settle into trance; the risk of that is that some people may get overly zonked in the process. I started with an overload style induction based on the "Nine things" formula I outline in The Mind Play Study Guide and then spent a few minutes in improvised deepening to help the stragglers catch up. I went around and gave a few people shoulder touches to help drop them down and noted that most of the group looked like they were in a good place to continue.
For the suggestion part of the trance, I started by suggesting a sense of mental openness, in which they felt their minds opening up to the idea of accepting suggestions. Since there tend to be a lot of Doctor Who fans in an *EHU audience, I brought up the concept of the Zero Room as a place of safety, where the mind can be at complete peace, defenses down. Then I invited them to imagine the patterns of neurons in their own brains firing in sequences, lighting up and going dim, creating constantly-changing patterns -- a sort of imaginary eye fixation intended to get them focused internally.
From there, I transitioned into eliciting a general state of arousal and openness to pleasure. We increased that gradually, just until I could see some signs of arousal in a few of the higher-responding participants, then mixed in related emotions like lust, pleasure, excitement, and sexiness. Next, I suggested that in addition to having these feelings my participants could become highly attuned to those same feelings and emotions in the people around them. I brought in another geeky reference: the way a Cylon's spine glows with energy when they become aroused (this is from the remade Battlestar Galactica, of course), and suggested that the spine, which connects the brain with the body, can be like a highly sensitive antenna, picking up on the sexual energies in the area and transmitting those to your own brain, so that each person can share in the sexual energies of those around them, becoming aroused whenever they are near people who are aroused, and then in turn transmitting that to others. We kept on that theme for a few minutes, creating in each person's mind that concept that for the rest of WEEHU their antenna was active, and that they would feel arousal, pleasure, excitement, etc. from being in the vicinity of others who felt those things. I also added in that this could give them the freedom to explore, to play, to experiment with things they were curious about, always within their personal limits.
Then, while they absorbed and acted on that (and I could see them feeding off each other's arousal and pleasure, which was a good sign), I gave them suggestions about readily absorbing and internalizing the information and techniques they were learning in their classes, so that the material is easy to recall and use whenever they need it. Finally, I brought my group back still feeling that general sense of arousal, and basked in their happy smiles.
The room trance went really well, and people told me they enjoyed it a great deal. (If you're an *EHU organizer reading this, I would love to do that again in the future!)
I did another tour of DM duty during the Saturday night party. It was a very easy, pleasant duty because everyone was well-behaved and considerate of everyone else, at least on my end (the quiet end). I didn't hear of any incidents in the high-intensity areas, so I'm forced to conclude that *EHU goers are awesome. One thing that was particularly interesting to witness, while on duty, was a negotiation for someone's first rope scene. The negotiation was textbook, covering all of her questions and defining what the scene would be about -- a combination of rope and trance -- and the scene itself was extremely well conducted.
Sunday brought more classes, some of which were new for me. First thing I got to team up with my friend Dr. Headcrash for a class on resistance play. Headcrash and I come at it from different angles, so being able to combine our perspectives and provide several short, hot demos in the process made for a riveting class. We will do this one again at Charmed! in January.
Another new class, which I developed at panavatar's request, was one on hypnotic anesthesia and sensation play. It went very well; I had a great volunteer to demo with and the audience had lots of great questions and thoughts.
After the community leaders' roundtable, Dani and I got together to teach about dual inductions. There wasn't a lot of enthusiasm for breaking up into small groups, so we had a few people come up and practice it in front of the audience. One of our demo volunteers was the person who'd had that rope scene the night before; when it was her turn to be the hypnotee, I whispered a few hints to one of the volunteer hypnotists about reminding her of that experience, and the results were very satisfying all around. I love it when stuff like that happens!
For the last class period of WEEHU, panavatar and I teamed up for another new class that we developed together: "Hypnotizing Your Dom as a Form of Service". It's a topic I've been asked about at other events and it was a pleasure to present on it with panavatar, who has a lot of natural talent. We talked about the ways a submissive can effectively do hypnosis, with permission and consent, from the bottom without disrupting the power dynamic of the relationship. I could see people were struggling a little with how to apply it, so I put Dani on the spot and asked her to join me in a demo. She did beautifully, as I knew she would, and the demo made the material gel for a lot of people. It was a great final class, and one that panavatar and I will definitely do again.
Sunday evening we had a group dinner at a Chinese restaurant, where I shared a table with Dani, Lizzidoll, and several new friends. We got to hear a repeat of the hypnotic musical induction composed and performed Friday night for DJ Pynchon, which was awesome, and generally enjoy the company of the con-goers. After dinner we went back to the con hotel for some unofficial play time. I had a particularly enjoyable scene with someone from the local area and was in the hallway to enjoy GirlFriday's live rendition of her original song, "You're a Terrible Slut."
I went to bed ridiculously late and got up ridiculously early (for a 6am flight); the Sunday night low-key play was still going on at 4am when Dani and I were leaving the hotel, which gave us a chance to say goodbye to some people before hitting the road ourselves. We even got a micro-dose of WEEHU closure at the airport, when we ran into KalypsoScreams in the terminal. Then it was back to the mundane world, for now.
This was a great WEEHU for me. I got to teach some new material, to team up with people I admire and enjoy being with, and to do some one-on-one work and play with exciting and fun people. If you haven't been to an *EHU yet, you're missing out on a lot. Just sayin'.