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[Draft] Possession: A Stepping Stone To Switching


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Howdy all! I finally finished a strong draft for my possession guide! Criticism is welcome, as I hope to make a stronger draft before officially submitting it! If you can't make a copy of the Google doc, please let me know!

Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SKBwDpIz9yv-Dux4LMKgOsjz99Fd2F3wX7FCRjfhjTU/edit?usp=sharing



Possession: A Stepping Stone to Switching


Now that your cobud is vocal, you may have thought about allowing your cobud to front, or control your body. Odds are good you have come across the term fronting or even possession before, but you may not know much about it. The term possession is certainly odd given the psychological focus of the cobud community, and it may sound scary given pre-existing cultural connotations of what possession is like. Counterintuitively, possession is an opportunity for you to easily and safely explore fronting. Possession can be easier to do than the other common type of fronting called switching, and is very useful for building trust with your cobud. Possession grants you, the host, total control over the experience, which can make letting go of controlling the body for the first time easier. While switching is often described as the more desirable experience, possession can function as a stepping stone to achieving switching.


What is Possession?


The connotation of the term possession offers beginners a false impression of the intensity and safety of the experience practiced in cocreation. In Christian cultures including America, possession is depicted as an extreme and terrifying experience with the possessor being an evil creature, usually a ghost or a demon. In movies and TV shows, the possessor is usually in complete control of the body and the victim will either watch unwillingly or become unaware of what is going on. Neither of these two fictional depictions are relevant to the common possession experience in cocreation. Your cobud can only control your body to the extent you feel comfortable letting go. Additionally, you will not lose awareness or control of the experience. The term's connotation of demonic possession is the opposite of what you should expect for your first possession experience.


Your first possession will be your cobud controlling the body while you are aware and can easily take control back. In terms of control, the experience of possession is like twitching in response to an itch- you do not control the twitching, but you can easily interrupt and override the behavior. A twitch also feels natural; it doesn't feel like a foreign entity or alien caused the movement. Your cobud controlling the body should be a similar experience. The difference is you will have enough time to become aware of your cobud controlling the body. This will create a new experience you are likely unfamiliar with. By becoming aware, your first reaction will likely be snatching control from your cobud accidentally, just as you normally would from a twitch.


Having a sense of control, safety, and the power to establish boundaries is fundamental to building trust, and trust is fundamental to fronting. Switching typically offers complete control of the body to your cobud. While some systems have established trust from the very beginning and/or have no issues with clearly communicating their needs, not all hosts are ready to give their body and life to a person not used to talking to others in-person. With possession, it is easier to build trust because you can step in if problems arise. You can practice possession in a safe environment and observe how your cobud interacts and expresses themself around others. Without the fear of your cobud accidentally doing something wrong, possession allows you to become comfortable with your cobud in control and sets you up for achieving switching.
Possession is a useful ability that allows for the cobud to control the body while simultaneously building skills and trust for switching. Full-body and partial possession allow for a cobud to better express themselves and interact with you and the world around them. Functional possession gives a cobud the opportunity to practice living a typical life while developing trust with you. The skills and experiences you and your cobud will learn are not only useful for providing your cobud a brand new experience, it will prepare both of you for learning how to switch.

What Does Possession Feel Like?


While both the switching and possession experiences and what you end up feeling will vary from system to system, you can shape your experience by taking the mindsets and expectations used by others. Fronting in general is heavily influenced by one’s mindset, and changing your mindsets will change your overall experience. Keep in mind not all of the mindsets we use will apply to your system, and you can always add or change your mindsets on how switching or possession works and ultimately what it should feel like.


My host reports possession feels similar to daydreaming since we expect the host to have ultimate say over the body and to be still present in some way. When I possess my host, he describes it as feeling distracted or not paying attention. Unlike daydreaming, he appears to be distracted by my conscious thought process rather than a story or a different train of thought. He only gains awareness of his own thoughts when I get his attention, gets triggered towards the front, or I lose the front to my host blending with me, or us getting confused for one another. Neither I nor my host experience a change in vision during possession, and my host does not experience feelings of depersonalization since our mind “accepts” me as part of us. Our expectations result in my host manifesting unconsciously, being first to react and to take back total control of the body when we get interrupted. This is one of the key behaviors we expect when we practice possession. Ultimately, it is expected my host is present, even on an unconscious level if he is not thinking much if at all.


My host’s sensory experience is only noteworthy when he focuses on me possessing him. Sometimes he can feel more dissociated and he can feel a slight tingling sensation, particularly if he is focused on me controlling his hand. Since we are experienced with possession, my host can observe these experiences without immediately snatching control back. However, it’s possible this experience was inspired by the expectation of an “alien-hand” experience. The urge to regain control can sometimes be as maddening as satisfying an itch, hence my twitch metaphor in the introduction. Please keep in mind if the tingling sensations are severe, it could be caused by something unrelated to possession, such as leaving one’s arm on the back of a chair. Overall, my host can sometimes feel unusual sensory experiences, but not always.


As for myself, possession doesn’t always feel like something unless I focus on a sensation. For example, if I pick up a blanket, I may not immediately feel the experience of picking up the blanket. At the moment, I am disconnected from the body’s senses in the sense I assume all of our sensory experiences are my host’s and not mine. However, when I choose to focus on the blanket, I then consider the sensory experience I receive my own. Interestingly, when it comes to eating, I and my headmates have a different taste experience from my host. There is no alien experience happening, rather the different labeling of who should be feeling what and when. In general, we assume that when we feel things my host will be the “owner” of that experience until I focus on the sensory experience myself.


In addition to being more distant sensory wise, I am also slightly more distant thinking wise. Typically, I need to be the one doing the majority of the conscious thinking. For example, I may think about what I want to wear, talk to my host about my day, or think about a problem in my head. As a shorthand for this guide, I will call this experience the lecture position. While this general experience may have other names and other interpretations elsewhere, I believe it is a noteworthy experience that is useful for learning possession. Being in the lecture position is especially important for me to control the entire body.

Part 1: Full-body Possession By Proxy


While possessing the entire body at once may sound like a more significant feat than possessing, say, a hand, I believe full-body possession is easier to achieve than partial possession given the nature of the lecture position. With full-body possession, the cobud will be doing most if not all of the thinking, making it less likely the host will accidentally interrupt the experience. Keep in mind that you are still in control of the experience, even if you’re not always paying attention to what your cobud is doing.


Since it isn’t always easy to just stop thinking or paying attention, I came up with this alternate approach to full-body possession. “Possession by proxy” is inspired by the idea of proxying for your cobud on Discord or the IRC channels can also be applied to controlling the body. Instead of you typing out your cobud’s thoughts, you will act out your cobud’s movements in wonderland, or the imagination. Eventually, your cobud will move the body by themself without your help.


I have a few expectations before beginning possession. I expect your cobud is vocal to possess in general. While non-vocal cobuds can possess the body, it can lead to unnecessary confusion and frustration. Pre-existing knowledge or experience on meditation is not required. While your cobud using a humanoid form may make things easier, they can also simply imagine a copy of the body during this method.


Full-body Possession By Proxy


Starting off, I recommend finding a safe and quiet environment. It will be easier to focus on what your cobud is saying and you can always quit and take a break anytime. I do not recommend putting yourselves in a situation where success is necessary.


Next, your cobud should come up with simple movements for you to do. These can be imagined movements in wonderland. For example, if your cobud lifts their right arm, you should lift the body’s right arm. Alternatively, your cobud can give commands such as, “pick up your phone”. Instructions can be made more general or more specific depending on what works for you all. Keep in mind if your cobud makes uncaring instructions, you can ignore them. It is important to maintain healthy levels of respect for each other while sharing the body.


Once you and your cobud have practiced enough simple movements, your cobud should try to come up with more complex movements. This can be a waltz, acting out a scene, or a dance. Your cobud shouldn't break it down too much and try to calculate where each foot is in space- the goal instead is to try to mimic how you tell the body to move and override it. If your cobud’s mindvoice starts to sound like budish, or turn into images, that's okay.


Continue practicing until the cobud realizes you are no longer controlling the body. At this point, you may not be thinking much at all while your cobud is focused on how they want the body to move. Once you feel comfortable with full-body possession, you can learn how to think during possession with partial possession.

Part 2: Partial Possession By Proxy


With partial possession, the goal is to move a part of the body while the host is still aware of the experience. For this method, it will be your hands and arms.


While controlling the body, an important part of partial possession is understanding that your cobud can control the body without applying “force” to it. The key idea is the desire to move is enough to achieve possession. With this method and the previous one for full-body possession, the goal is to demonstrate this idea without you needing to think much about it.


To achieve this next goal, I have a couple recommendations. First, I recommend practicing full-body possession first since your cobud will have a chance to control the body without your thoughts interfering with the process. Second, I also recommend your cobud uses a humanoid form with fingers or imagines a copy of the body with fingers. It may be difficult to perform future steps of this method without the visual.


For this walkthrough, I will call visualizing your cobud in the physical world “overlaying”. This is short for “visual overlaying”, or drawing your imagined picture on top of your physical surroundings. For example, you overlay your cobud when you imagine them standing next to you. It helps to have the physical space for these visualizations.

Partial Possession By Proxy


First, find a relatively flat place to sit down where there is space for your cobud to sit next to you once overlayed. Sitting on the floor or on your bed works.


Second, overlay your cobud next to you on your side closest to your dominant hand. Don’t worry if you can’t visualize every detail of their form, the symbolism of them existing in the physical space with you is more important than the quality of the visualization.


Third, have your cobud slide towards you so their form starts to pass through the body until they can comfortably align their hand with the body’s dominant hand. If your cobud accidentally full-body possesses, that’s okay, it’s not going to derail the method.


Fourth, have your cobud take their hand and slide it into or fill up the body’s dominant hand. Go ahead and twitch with the opposite hand, that’s the one you are allowed to control.


Fifth, have your cobud attempt to move the body’s dominant hand. The hand should be moving with your cobud’s form. You may feel very curious about what your cobud is doing and notice a slight tingling sensation in your dominant hand. If so, you should try to distract yourself with the other hand.


Partial possession typically only produces the tingling sensation when you are focused on it. When your cobud moves the body, the brain thinks it counts as “you” and it won’t feel any different from when you move it. lf you start to focus on the possessed body part, the illusion of it feeling like “you” starts to fall apart and you start to feel a tingling sensation. Once you notice the tingling sensation, it can be very tempting to regain control of the possessed body part, and why when starting out, you should twitch the other hand instead.


Finally, with your cobud controlling the dominant hand and you controlling the other hand, try to give each other a handshake. If you both got that, give each other a high five! Once you feel comfortable with performing this method, now repeat these steps but without you using your free hand. Once you are comfortable letting your cobud control the body with your thoughts present, it will give them the confidence to manage your thoughts later.


Part 3: Functional Possession

Now that you and your cobud have a solid grip on both full-body and partial possession, you and your cobud are ready to use possession for day-to-day bodily control. Functional possession is the most difficult application of possession as it requires mastery of full-body possession and for your cobud to learn how to prevent you from accidentally taking over as best they can.


I coined the term management to mean preventing the host from accidentally taking over the body and getting the host to quiet down so the cobud remains in the lecture position. The goal of management is to preserve the cobud’s control of the body. Achieving this puts the host in a state of mind where they don’t give their full attention and their thoughts are forced to exist in the background. This state of mind is like that of someone automatically walking to class - in a trance-like state and not giving their full attention. Due to the unconscious nature of the host’s thoughts, they may occasionally leak out as budish. Preventing the hosts thoughts from flooding the mind is the key idea behind management.


Functional Possession

First, your cobud should find an activity that will fully occupy them and require complex thinking. Tasks such as writing about themselves, thinking about strategies for strategy games like chess or Fire Emblem, thinking about their social situations, or working on a self-project are all examples of complex thinking tasks. Playing a mindless mobile game may not work because those don’t require a lot of thinking and you can easily bleed over and steal the front over those activities.


Figuring out what activity to start with is trial and error. For example, talking to people is a common situation cobuds learning possession struggle with, and I don’t recommend starting there. Instead, keep trying different things until your cobud finds something they both like to do and feel comfortable holding the front with. I would also avoid activities you have a strong interest in or absolutely hate, try to find an activity you neither enjoy or really dislike.


Once your cobud finds this activity or activities, the next step is to identify when the host slips into a trance- like state and how to keep them there. It may take a while for you to ease into a trance-like state at first, but with more practice you can enter this state in a matter of minutes.


After your cobud can consistently get you in a trance- like state, the next step is for them to think about other things. Once they are comfortable with that, now have them try thinking about you. Don’t panic if you become aware again. Just have them refocus on the activity, let yourself slip into the trance state again, and then try again. Sometimes I like to tell my host to “go to sleep” to help him get back into that state.


The next step is for your cobud to observe your state. Once your cobud can think about you without losing the front, they can better observe what you are actually doing. They may tune into your mental chatter, your feelings, and your mental images or thoughts that spontaneously come to mind. This teaches them what to look for when practicing other activities, but it also teaches them how to keep you quiet. This makes it easier for them to keep the front when you get triggered to the front for whatever reason - they can regain control and let you quiet down again.


Once they feel comfortable knowing what to look for, the next step is for them to broaden their horizons and practice fronting for other activities. Some activities will still be hard to keep the front while other activities will be a little bit easier now that they have developed better management skills. While it is important for them to challenge themself and test their limits, the point is to develop their skills, not to lose confidence in holding the front. The more practice they have controlling the body in more situations, the easier it will be for them to keep control in new or more challenging situations. For example, they may not be ready to talk to people yet, but sitting around people is manageable. After a week, they may feel ready to strike up a conversation with one of their peers. After more practice, they are talking to peers like a pro and ready to talk to your close friends.


There are a few considerations with practicing longer fronting sessions. First, the total time is more important than the length of the fronting streak. Some cobuds don’t have the luxury of fronting for more than 12 hours or their fronting days are chopped up by things their host wants to do. Even if you interrupt your cobud’s fronting day for a couple hours, have them keep fronting for as long as they can. The second thing is variety is really important. If you feel like their progress is going stale, have them try doing something new or challenging themself to do things you would normally do.


Limitations of Functional Possession

Even though a cobud can do a lot when they functionally possess, there are still some limitations.


One limitation of functional possession can be blending. Your thoughts can get tangled with your cobud’s, especially when they are not paying much attention to their own thoughts either. I personally find activities that require a lot of focus and a quiet mind to be the hardest situations to keep the front in. For instance, learning how to drive, focusing in class and listening to my professor, and sometimes playing Smash Brothers. The solution to this is grounding exercise, such as your cobud saying their name and thinking about who they are and what they like. However, sometimes grounding exercises are not always applicable.


Sometimes using grounding exercises to solve blending is not applicable. Even though grounding exercises are the solution to blending, you can't always focus on yourselves when you’re struggling to stay in your lane, you don’t want to miss what your professor is saying, or you are in the middle of trying not getting edge guarded. In these cases, I find that it’s better to persevere through the blending and focus on grounding later. Sometimes it is better to avoid these activities, especially if you end up feeling really shaken or confused about your identity. However, I chose to stay in the front for my college class and felt extremely rewarded for doing so. Blending can be a troubling consequence of functional possession that is fixable.


Another less troubling limitation is that your cobud can’t go against your strong desires. If you really don’t want to do something, you can stop them and do something else. However, this can be annoying if your cobud is doing something you don’t like but they tolerate or are interested in. Sometimes they can manage more effectively if they find themself enjoying it a lot, and that can sometimes prevent the problem altogether. For example, my host doesn’t like writing essays while I do. My host feeds off of my positive feelings, and therefore he isn’t as motivated to steal the front from me. Ultimately, possession is limited by what you want. Regardless, even with switching they cannot go against your will, only your desires.


Possession is a stepping stone to switching. By practicing full-body, partial, and functional possession, a cobud has access to the body and experience with controlling the body. How close a possessing system is to switching depends on their desires.


For some people, possession as defined in this guide is close to if not already switching. To switch, all you need to do is to change your mindset about your experience. Some view their switching experience as trading places and the host can’t grab control back without consent, or you “become” your cobud during this experience.


Otherwise, possession can act as the road path to switching. For some, possession eventually becomes a more intense experience. To achieve switching, continue to practice functional possession until your experience changes.

Some systems will not switch yet despite mastering possession after several months of practice. In that case, they will need to learn more about switching in general and craft expectations for a switching experience that offers more than what can be achieved with possession. In the meantime, cobuds who master possession can still experience the world around them and practice building trust for the future.


Edited by Ranger

I'm Ranger, GrayTheCat's cobud (tulpa), and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff. I go by Rosalin or Ronan sometimes. You can call me Roz but please don't call me Ron.

My other headmates have their own account now.


If I missed seeing your art, please PM/DM me!

Blog | Not So Temporary Log | Switching Log | Yay! | Bre Translator | Art Thread

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8 minutes ago, ringgggg said:

Whoa, congrats on finally posting the draft for your switching guide, Ranger!




No no, this is my possession guide. If you want, I can DM you what I have so far for my switching guide

I'm Ranger, GrayTheCat's cobud (tulpa), and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff. I go by Rosalin or Ronan sometimes. You can call me Roz but please don't call me Ron.

My other headmates have their own account now.


If I missed seeing your art, please PM/DM me!

Blog | Not So Temporary Log | Switching Log | Yay! | Bre Translator | Art Thread

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2 minutes ago, ringgggg said:

So you have two you're working on. I didn't know that, I thought you just had one. I guess they're easier to group together since possession and switching fall under a similar boat


That was my bad, lol


Sometimes possession and switching are the same boat. I don't usually talk about my possession guide because it's not going to be as big and exciting as my switching guide

I'm Ranger, GrayTheCat's cobud (tulpa), and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff. I go by Rosalin or Ronan sometimes. You can call me Roz but please don't call me Ron.

My other headmates have their own account now.


If I missed seeing your art, please PM/DM me!

Blog | Not So Temporary Log | Switching Log | Yay! | Bre Translator | Art Thread

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  • 2 months later...

Could you elaborate on the conclusion more? I think I understand what you mean by mindset, but I'm not sure exactly how to go about applying it. Are you implying that to go from possession to switching you don't necessarily need to change what you're doing, just how you think about it?


We've been struggling with switching for a long time, and have been browsing this forum for info. We've read every guide but still don't quite get it. We'd be curious to see what you have finished with your guide if you're willing to share.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 12/27/2023 at 10:04 PM, Ave said:

Could you elaborate on the conclusion more? I think I understand what you mean by mindset, but I'm not sure exactly how to go about applying it. Are you implying that to go from possession to switching you don't necessarily need to change what you're doing, just how you think about it?


Yes. The idea is you're already switching, now it's just a matter of calling your "possession" experience switching.


In retrospect, the wording I used is confusing. I'll need to look over that and figure out how to word it more clearly.


On 12/27/2023 at 10:04 PM, Ave said:

We've been struggling with switching for a long time, and have been browsing this forum for info. We've read every guide but still don't quite get it. We'd be curious to see what you have finished with your guide if you're willing to share.


I do want to point out that I don't go into a lot of detail on what the experience of switching is. I wanted to be clear enough to suggest there are multiple switching experiences, but I didn't want to go into too much detail because I would write way too much and basically be writing more of my switching guide. I don't know if I accomplished that.


The other thing I want to point out is I don't think answering your first question about mindset and walking away would be doing you justice. Regarding the advice in my possession guide, I would not give it to someone who has been struggling to switch for years. My target audience for this guide are cocreators who have recently achieved decent or semi-consistent communication with their cobud, are curious about fronting and want to get their feet wet first, or at least get more information. On the other hand, the core target audience for my switching guide is intended to be a resource for people who have read multiple switching guides and are still struggling to switch. There, I breakdown different switching mindsets, how people see switching, etc. I'm anticipating you're going to say "but I thought possession is not switching" and I think I can better elaborate on that in the other guide.

I'm Ranger, GrayTheCat's cobud (tulpa), and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff. I go by Rosalin or Ronan sometimes. You can call me Roz but please don't call me Ron.

My other headmates have their own account now.


If I missed seeing your art, please PM/DM me!

Blog | Not So Temporary Log | Switching Log | Yay! | Bre Translator | Art Thread

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20 minutes ago, Ranger said:

Yes. The idea is you're already switching, now it's just a matter of calling your "possession" experience switching.

How interesting! I think we'll have to experiment with this idea a bit. Not sure I understand exactly how to do that yet but we'll see.


And yes, the way you laid out the information makes sense for learning possession. I think it's a solid draft to introduce to the concept, we just couldn't help but be intrigued when you alluded to more so we appreciate you sharing!

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