We are busy people today, being efficient and productive in all manner of ways. We remain in control of ourselves. But sometimes this can feel forced, as if we are ignoring other aspects of our beings. As I have celebrated my monthly bleeding again, I have had the pleasure of exploring other ways of being.
When my period arrives, it is always accompanied with a slight fever. This fever is my ticket to the divine realm – it brings with it an altered state of consciousness that feeds my spirit and brings profound insights. I think it’s good for me, so I let it envelop me.
I become aware of how my body feels, really aware. This altered state of consciousness is outside time, it belongs to the mythic universe of the gods and the creation and destruction of worlds. These are concepts that make perfect sense when we allow ourselves to feel and to be in the moment beyond time.
Letting go, and exploring this state is a very liberating experience. It’s a bit like meditation as I get to know myself in a totally new way. I get to understand myself better, and stop being afraid of my darkness. Instead, this state outside time teaches me that I am perfect just as I am. I am complete.
Coming back from this fever, I feel refreshed and renewed. I always arrive with new insight or a new perspective. I reflect on the things I have experienced for a long time, and they change me as time goes. These experiences go beyond my human core, they go to something older, somewhere deeper. This is spiritual, ethereal.
So thinking of what altered states of consciousness can do for us, why don’t we use them better?
In shamanic societies, hallucinogenic or intoxicants are used in order to explore these other layers of the human existence. Meditation, chanting and breathing techniques are used to aid the process of delving into the human soul.
If we did have red tents or menstruation huts today, surely this is what we would be doing together. Wouldn’t it be amazing to take such a journey with other women, guided and supported by them? Teaching and learning, exploring and being – together?
It is in this other existence that chapters are ended and wounds are healed. In this place lessons are learned as the past and future merge and only the present exists. And while there’s obviously a place for efficiency, focus and the business part of us, there’s also a place for the eternal and otherworldly in us too. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences with altered states of consciousness.
Vild Prestegard is an anthropologist, holistic therapist, Reiki master and public speaker based in Norway. She is a regular blogger for Cycle Harmony. You’re welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.